Friday, August 30, 2013

Police Blotter 8/30

Here are the latest arrests as reported by Milford police.

And, don't forget to check the UPDATED Milford Crime Map: Milford Crime Map

Name: Gary Yackel, 61, Milford
Arrest date: Aug. 29, 9:30 a.m.
Pending charge(s): Violation of a protective order
Police say: Yackel contacted his wife by phone, who had a court-issued protective order barring him from doing so. 

Name: James Marino, 21, Stratford
Arrest date: Aug. 29, 11:29 a.m.
Pending charge(s): Sixth-degree larceny
Police say: Marino tried to take 17 cases of Red Bull from the Stop and Shop along East Towne Road. 

Name: Scott Morgan, 24 Milford
Arrest date: Aug. 29, 10:30 p.m.
Pending charge(s): Second-degree failure to appear
Police say: Morgan failed to appear in court on Aug. 5 to face a charge of having improper insurance coverage (and incident that occurred on Feb. 17).  

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Police Blotter 8/29

Here are the latest arrests as reported by Milford police.

And, don't forget to check the UPDATED Milford Crime Map: Milford Crime Map

Name: James Page, 67, Milford
Arrest date: Aug. 28, 11 a.m.
Pending charge(s): Evading responsibility; failure to drive right
Police say: Page left the scene of an accident that occurred on Roses Mill Road. 

Name: Albert Cicarelli, 55, Milford
Arrest date: Aug. 28, 12:50 p.m.
Pending charge(s): Illegally obtaining prescription drugs
Police say: Cicarelli tried to use a fake prescription at the Walgreen's along Bridgeport Avenue. 

Name: Frank Palumbo, 28, Milford
Arrest date: Aug. 28, 5 p.m.
Pending charge(s): Disorderly conduct
Police say: Palumbo threatened to damage the personal property of a relative who lives along Wheeler's Farms Road. 

Why Does Woodmont Exist?

Woodmont Borough Hall
I've written a couple of Woodmont-centric stories recently, and it got me wondering: why does Woodmont even exist?

Woodmont is a borough inside the city of Milford located (roughly) along between Long Island Sound and New Haven Avenue east of Abigail Street. The state recognizes it as an independent municipality, but look on any Woodmont resident’s license and it says they live in Milford.

The borough has a board of burgesses, which doesn’t have any real statutory authority – they can’t change zoning or pass laws or anything like that. Every Woodmont resident is a subject of both Milford city government – the mayor, the police, the board of aldermen, the school district, etc - and the borough.

That means: double government (quadruple if you count state/federal).

Woodmont residents pay a separate (small) tax that pays for a part-time police officer (actually a Milford cop working on overtime), a library, parks and recreation, and general operational expenses.

So what’s the point of having TWO GOVERNMENTS? Why would anyone find it desirable to live in a place where you have to pay an extra tax, which appears to fund a governmental pretend-party for a group of borough stalwarts? Do you really need more services if the city of Milford already provides you with police, parks and rec, public works, a library, and schools?

Well, I asked burgess Chuck Rockwell this question yesterday. I met him in the old borough hall along Clinton Street (a fairly charming old relic apparently erected as a temporary school during WWII). Woodmont is trying to build a new borough hall – doubling down on its existence – and is angling to get an abandoned fire station from Milford for $1. Meanwhile, another vacant fire station is being sold for over $500,000.

After a bit of back and forth with Rockwell, we got to the heart of the issue. Woodmont exists because:

“If [Woodmont] goes away, then we’ve failed to sustain our community,” is what he told me.

That’s not a direct quote, but it’s what Rockwell meant: Woodmont exists so that people in the neighborhood have something to rally around.

It’s not exactly about having that extra police car in the neighborhood (it’s an extremely safe place) or having a board of burgesses; it’s about preserving that old school, small town New England sense of democracy.

My next question: how long will Woodmont survive? Will the borough continue as all the older residents leave (die or otherwise)?  Will younger residents feel it's worth it paying a couple hundred extra on their tax bills to sustain a governmental mascot for the sake of community? 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

More on Milford School Enrollment Decline

Some have said that the article I wrote today about declining enrollment in Milford schools is unclear. I apologize if you feel that way because I always try to state things as plainly as possible. So, here’s the raw data on the enrollment situation in Milford.

According to state figures, here’s a decade of Milford enrollment:

2001-02…………………………………………………………7,368
2002-03…………………………………………………………7,455
2003-04…………………………………………………………7,525
2004-05…………………………………………………………7,525
2005-06…………………………………………………………7,569
2006-07…………………………………………………………7,504
2007-08…………………………………………………………7,384
2008-09…………………………………………………………7,303
2009-10…………………………………………………………7,135
2010-11…………………………………………………………6,958
2011-12…………………………………………………………6,794
2012-13…………………………………………………………6,560
2013-14…………………………………………………………6,364 (projected)

As you can see, the downward trend began in the 2006-07. If you do the arithmetic, here are the total gains/losses:

2001-02…………………………………………………………
2002-03…………………………………………………………+87
2003-04…………………………………………………………+70
2004-05…………………………………………………………0
2005-06…………………………………………………………+44
2006-07…………………………………………………………-65
2007-08…………………………………………………………-120
2008-09…………………………………………………………-81
2009-10…………………………………………………………-168
2010-11…………………………………………………………-177
2011-12…………………………………………………………-164
2012-13…………………………………………………………-234
2013-14…………………………………………………………-196 (projected)

The average loss/gain per year since declines began in 06/07: 150.6

Net loss since 2001-02 school years: 1,004

Some – including me – have asked the question why school budgets continue to increase if student enrollment is declining. The answer is not as simple as fewer students = smaller budget.

Rising personnel costs drive increases in most municipal budgets these days. I think it would be pretty reductive to say, “Hey, there are fewer students, so we should just fire all the excess teachers.”

Consider that class sizes in Milford have increased over the decade. Milford began 2002 with an average high school class size (the state keeps data for other selected grades, but I’ll use HS here as an example) of 18.7, below the state average of around 20. While that state average has decreased since then, Milford’s high school class size has risen, and has been above the state average since 2004-05.

Anecdotally, parents and teachers like smaller classes, because there’s the appearance that students can get more individualized attention. And some scientific studies (Project STAR) have found that smaller classes produce better achieving students.

So, maybe you don’t want to eliminate teachers until those average class sizes come below state average. One important point: the state hasn’t provided data for the last two school years, so class sizes might’ve fallen. However, Milford is projecting that class sizes will increase at five of the eight elementary schools (JFK, Orange Avenue, Calf Pen, Meadowside, and Orchard Hills) this school year.

Now, let’s take a look at actual budget increases. Here they are for the last few years according to the district:

2010-11…………………………………………………………$83,228,305 (expended)
2011-12…………………………………………………………$85,459,591 (expended)
2012-13…………………………………………………………$86,882,363 (adopted)
2013-14…………………………………………………………$88,843,283 (proposed)

Total increase between 2010-11 and 2013-14: $5,614,978

Here’s a budget summary so you can see where the increases occurred:

Total salaries
                2010-11: $60,181,302
                2013-14: $64,433,420
                                Total increase: $4,252,118

Total benefits
                2010-11: $4,354,916
                2013-14: $4,870,224
                                Total increase: $515,308

Total contracted services
                2010-11: $1,974,849
                2013-14: $1,817,363
                                Total increase: -$157,486

Total facilities
                2010-11: $4,962,730
                2013-14: $4,346,734
                                Total increase: -$615,996

Total transportation
                2010-11: $4,256,106
                2013-14: $4,647,467
                                Total increase: $391,361

Total other support
                2010-11: $1,141,435
                2013-14: $1,094,989
                                Total increase: -$46,446

Total tuition
                2010-11: $2,772,361
                2013-14: $3,313,462
                                Total increase: $541,101

Total educational supplies and equipment
                2010-11: $3,066,522
                2013-14: $3,416,222
                                Total increase: $349,700

Total other educational support
                2010-11: $518,084
                2013-14: $286,289
                                Total increase: -$231,795

So, salaries have obviously driven the increases, 75 percent to be exact. But, if you read the district’s budget summary for this year, administrators say that the major drivers of this year’s budget increases are 1) adoption of Common Core Standards, 2) school safety improvements, and 3) new state-mandated teacher and administrator evaluations

What can you conclude from all these these numbers? That the district is overstaffed for its size? That they pay too well? Well, Milford does pay above the state average, but the average salary is less than neighboring Stratford and Wallingford – and Stratford’s CAPT test scores are lower than Milford’s.

I think it’s really hard to conclude much except that the district is shrinking and personnel costs rise. Teachers still need yearly raises (really they do, just like any worker does). I am definitely looking forward to what suggestions the Long Range Planning Committee comes up deal with these issues – it could be anything, I suppose, from eliminating teacher positions to closing buildings. Who knows?

I would strongly advise anyone who’s interested in the future of the Milford School District to attend these committee meetings. Meeting minutes, agendas, and dates are right here.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Police Blotter 8/27

Here are the latest Milford arrests as reported by Milford police.

And, don't forget to check the UPDATED Milford Crime Map: Milford Crime Map

Name: Ramona McDuffie-Tyson, 28, Milford
Arrest date: Aug. 26, 1 p.m.
Pending charge(s): First-degree failure to appear
Police say: McDuffie did not appear in court on June 28 to face charges of criminal impersonation stemming from an incident that occurred on Feb. 24. 

Name: Derek Hill, 24, Hamden
Arrest date: Aug. 26, 5:30 p.m.
Pending charge(s): First-degree forgery, sixth-degree larceny, fifth-degree larceny
Police say: Hill tried to cash a $350 check stolen from a vehicle at Foran High School on May 17, 2007. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Independents Endorse Spalthoff

Spalthoff
Republican mayoral candidate Peter Spalthoff, 68, picked up an endorsement from the Milford Independent Party over the weekend. Those of you who were around in 2009 might remember that Spalthoff ran as an Independent for mayor that year, a move that some - but certainly not all - in the 2013 Republican party see as a bit of a problem

Here's Spalthoff's letter to the Register regarding the Independent endorsement:
"On Saturday,  August 26th I attended the Milford Independent Party's convention and I am honored to say that I was officially and unanimously endorsed by them as the candidate for Mayor.

I know many of the Independent Party members personally and they are all hard working individuals who have the same love for this City as I do. I commit myself to working on behalf of all my neighbors in Milford and once again, I am truly honored to have been endorsed by the Independent Party."
And just so we're all up to speed, Spalthoff is running against incumbent Democrat Ben Blake in this year's race.

Officer Compare Smashes Sandy Hook Fundraising Goal

Officer Michael Compare
I'm happy to report that Milford Officer Michael Compare raised over $4,000 for the Chase Kowalski Memorial Fund set up in the name of the 7-year-old who was killed in the Sandy Hook shooting in December. 

Compare had a goal of raising $3,000 by competing in a half-triathlon in June. Compare decided to run the triathlon in Kowalski's name because both of them love running - Kowalski, though very young, had competed in a triathlon at age 6, and ran in road races around Newtown. 

Here's a link to the Kowalski fund, which has a goal of being "a positive force to inspire community healing through family and children-focused initiatives and programs. By focusing on emotional healing and physical health and wellness, we will positively change the lives of children and their families." 

Police Blotter 8/26

Here are the latest Milford arrests as reported by Milford police.

And, don't forget to check the UPDATED Milford Crime Map: Milford Crime Map

Name: Jeffrey Brauner, 56, Milford
Arrest date: Aug. 24, 4:48 a.m.
Pending charge(s): First-degree burglary; third-degree criminal mischief
Police say: The homeowner at 10 Dixon Ave. heard a noise coming from downstairs. When he went to check it out, he found his neighbor - Brauner - had broken a window screen and was trying to get in to the house. Police say it was unclear why Brauner was trying to get into the home.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Milford Sex Offender-School Location Map

Here's more Milford data, visualized on a map. This includes all the addresses of registered sex offenders (not all are registered for offenses against a minor) and all the locations of schools, preschools, and daycare centers. 

Schools are blue stars, offenders are red pins.


Some sex offenders live pretty close to schools. By state statute, any sex offender who lives within 1,000 feet of the "real property" of a school et. al. can be prohibited from doing so by their risk assessment factor managed by a state board.  

"The board shall use the risk assessment scale to determine which offenders should be prohibited from residing within one thousand feet of the real property comprising a public or private elementary or secondary school or a facility providing child day care service," reads the state statute. 


First buybuy Baby store in Connecticut is in Milford

OK, the name of this store really irks me - the refusal to capitalize the first "word" in the name and the conspicuous allusion to spending money, especially - but it's the first location in Connecticut and that name stuff may not bother people who have babies and need to buy things for those babies.

Here's all you need to know about the first buybuy Baby store in Connecticut, which is in Milford:
"buybuy BABY is pleased to announce the opening of its new 30,489 square-foot superstore in Milford, CT featuring an exceptional selection of merchandise for newborns to toddlers including furniture, strollers, clothing, and much more. The store is located at 1201 Boston Post Road and is open Monday to Saturday from 9:00 AM to 9:30 PM and Sunday from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
The Milford store is the first buybuy BABY store in the state of Connecticut.

“We are excited to have opened our first store in Connecticut and look forward to sharing our long standing traditions of exceptional customer service, great value and a broad assortment of merchandise with the Milford community,” stated Glen Cary, Director of Stores for buybuy BABY.
buybuy BABY’s shopping environment offers customers a fun and exciting shopping experience. Its extensive selection includes an assortment of premier infant and toddler merchandise in categories including furniture, car seats, strollers, feeding, bedding, health and baby care, bath, safety, toys, learning and development products, clothing and a unique selection of seasonal and holiday products.

buybuy BABY has a web site, which can be found at www.buybuybaby.com. It carries a broad assortment of merchandise and features 24-hour customer service. buybuy BABY also offers a Baby Gift Registry available in all stores and online.
buybuy BABY was founded in 1996 and acquired by Bed Bath & Beyond in 2007. The Chain now operates more than 83 stores that range in size from 20,000 to 60,000 square-feet."

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Police Blotter 8/22


Here are the arrests from today's Milford police press release:

And remember, check out the Milford crime map - updated daily - that shows the geographic location of all crimes in Milford: Milford Crime Map

Name: Robert Gill, 49, Milford; Katherine Gill, 68; Debra MacLennan, 49, West Haven
Arrest date: Aug. 21, 6 p.m.Pending charge: Breach of peacePolice say: Police responded to a disturbance on Camden Street and an investigation revealed that the trio had gotten into an argument and shoved each other. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

NEW: Milford Crime Map


I was fooling around with Google Maps this morning and re-discovered that I can upload data. So, I decided to create a Milford crime incidents map. Check back daily - I'll add crimes as police release them on the blotter.

Here's the link: Milford Crime Map


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Man steals phone because he's 'got kids to feed'

Officer Jeffrey Nielsen, who usually does the Milford police press daily blotter, is on vacation this week. In his place is Lt. Vaughan Dumas (who actually used to do the same job as Nielsen, which is probably why he fills in when Nielsen is away). I'm not sure if Dumas is going to do the typical police blotter, but he sure has a flair for picking out interesting arrests. Here's what we got today: 

Police say a man stole a cell phone while brandishing a stun gun in the Devon section Monday night, and are asking for anyone with information to contact them.
 The theft happened around 8:30 p.m. Monday at the intersection of Naugatuck and Bridgeport avenues. A man described as being white, 6 feet tall, thin, and having long, dark hair approached another man and asked to borrow his cell phone.
 After making a couple of calls, the longhaired white man booked it eastbound on Bridgeport Avenue. The victim chased, but when the pair reached Avon Street, the longhaired man apparently pulled out a stun gun and set it off, producing an electrical arc.
 “I’ve got kids to feed,” he apparently shouted before running toward Berwyn Street.
 Milford police, with the help of a Stratford K9 dog, tracked the longhaired man’s scent, but lost it near Judson Place.
 The thief was wearing a white T-shirt and jeans, and appeared to be between 20 and 30-years-old. Anyone with information about the incident should contact Milford police at (203) 877-1465 and speak to Det. Sgt. Bassett. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Police Blotter 8/16

Can you guess what links all of these incidents together? I'll give you a hint: It runs from Florida to Maine. Send me an email at nmcnamara@nhregister.com with the answer and I will personally deliver a free copy of the New Haven Register to your house! 

Name: Jeryl Gray, 57, Statford
Arrest date: Aug. 16, 1:30 p.m.
Pending charge: violation of a protective order
Police say: Gray harassed a relative who has a protective order against him at 1500 Boston Post Road. 

Name: Ralph Moody, 43, New Haven
Arrest date: Aug. 15, 6 p.m.
Pending charge: sixth-degree larceny
Police say: Moody tried to take $435.12 worth of DVDs from the Wal-Mart along the Boston Post Road without paying for them. 

Name: Anthony Farrell, 38, Milford
Arrest date: Aug. 15, 9 p.m.
Pending charge: possession of narcotics, possession of narcotics with intent to sell
Police say: The tactical unit observed a suspicious vehicle in a parking lot at 1700 Boston Post Road. They investigated with the help of Cedar, a K9, who located five grams of crack cocaine that Farrell had apparently hidden in a body cavity. 

Name: Buffie Baker, 28, St. Louis, Mo. 
Arrest date: Aug. 16, 9 p.m.
Pending charge: assault on a police officer
Police say: After an incident at the Howard Johnson hotel at 1052 Boston Post Road, Baker was taken to Milford Hospital for detox. While there, she was combative with staff, and also grabbed a police officers arm causing minor lacerations. 

Name: Elizardo Velazquez, 27, Naugatuck
Arrest date: Aug. 16, 5 a.m.
Pending charge: second-degree breach of peace, third-degree assault
Police say: Velazquez caused a disturbance at the AMF Lanes bowling alley along the Boston Post Road when he "forced a former companion to the ground" causing her injury. 

It’s Easier to Rent Porn than Peckinpah

Want to watch Klaus Kinski in Cobra Verde tonight? Good luck finding a copy. 
After an informal survey, I have discovered that in New Haven County it’s easier to rent pornography than regular movies.

I came up with this theory while discussing with some people how hard it is to rent an actual movie in New Haven. I’m not talking about RedBox – that’s more akin to Netflix or downloading a movie; it’s too sterile and robotic of a service for me to count it as an actual video rental experience; and they don’t have old movies.

So, here’s a list of all the places in New Haven County (Milford to Madison, Waterbury to New Haven) you can rent regular, non-pornographic movies:

That’s it. The only one. And though I love its enormous collection, coffee bar, and unique categorizations, it’s a 20-minute, gas-draining trek through the back roads of New Haven and Hamden from my house. It’s an even longer trek from Branford or Milford or, god forbid, Meriden.

(Sadly, Dial M for Movies in Madison closed around two months ago, the last video rental store between New London and New Haven as far as I know.)

But if you want to rent porn, you’re totally covered. Here is a list of places that rent adult movies – and these are just a few, there are many more.
-VIP, Orange
-Video Temptations, Naugatuck
-Luv Boutique, Milford
-Everything Adult, West Haven
-Romantix, New Haven

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing that we have so many porn rental choices around here. I’m saying it’s ironic that it’s now easier around here to rent a derided (so far as litigation and moral outrage) genre than actual movies.

Video rental for me, as a person who grew up during the heyday of video rental stores and chains, is extremely fun; there’s nothing I like more on a Saturday or Sunday than walking into a store filled with tiny little boxes that I can take home and explore.

That’s a tactile experience that neither Netflix nor RedBox will ever fulfill. Netflix has a big, deep (as in thoughtful) collection, but there are many, many titles missing; RedBox is just for re-watching last summer’s blockbusters. At Best Video I can get anything – season two of “Homicide: Life on the Streets,” or “Cobra Verde” or, like, the Criterion Collection “Repo Man.” And, I can ask a clerk to make a recommendation if I need it.  

Is this Alabama? No one around here wants to rent actual movies? What a cultural failure, a void created by laziness. And in that void, porn thrives. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Are You Ready for the 2013 Milford Oyster Festival?

The 39th annual Milford Oyster Festival happens this Saturday (weather report: partly cloudy, 79 degrees)  whether you like seafood or not. The headliner this year is Blues Traveler with renowned harmonica shredding front man John Popper.

How hard can Popper shred on the mouth harp? Harder than renowned Long Island guitar shredder Stevie Vai can shred on a custom Ibanez JEM (w/handle) guitar.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Police Blotter 8/12

Here's what police are reporting for notable arrests from over the weekend (all from a Milford PD press release). 

Name: Benjamin Ruszkowski, 32, Milford
Arrest date: Aug. 9, 5:30 p.m.
Pending charge: second-degree criminal mischief
Police say: Ruszkowski damaged a window of a downtown business at 59 North Broad Street. Police arrested him on a warrant on Friday. 

Name: Joshua Downs, 22, Oxford
Arrest date: Aug. 10, 2 a.m.
Pending charge: third-degree criminal mischief
Police say: An officer on bike patrol downtown saw Downs damage a flower pot at a River Street business. When asked, police say Downs told them that he damaged the pot because he was mad about an argument he had with an acquaintance earlier in the day. Police say the value of the flower pot was $50. 

Name: Alexander Sandel, 28, Norwalk
Arrest date: Aug. 10, 2: 31 a.m.
Pending charge: DUI, failure to illuminate headlamps
Police say: They stopped Sandel while he was driving down the Boston Post Road with his headlights off. During an investigation, they determined he was under the influence of alcohol. 

Name: Angel Torres, 31, West Haven
Arrest date: Aug. 10, 4:30 p.m.
Pending charge: third-degree robbery, sixth-degree larceny, possession of drug paraphernalia
Police say: Torres took six bottles of men's cologne from Macy's, which were valued at $350. When an employee tried to stop Torres, police say, he fought with them, injuring one employee. When police arrested him, they say he had drug paraphernalia on him. 

Name: Meghan Schillo, 21, West Haven; Stephanie Onofrio, 21, Milford
Arrest date: Aug. 11, 2:10 a.m.
Pending charge: interfering with police, creating a public disturbance (Schillo); creating a public disturbance (Onofrio)
Police say: An officer on bike patrol saw a disturbance between two groups along Helwig Street. During an investigation, School "was uncooperative with police and grabbed an officer by the shoulders." 

Name: Benjamin Marino, 21, New Fairfield
Arrest date: Aug. 11, 12:30 p.m.
Pending charge: interfering with police
Police say: Got a call to do a "welfare check" on a man suspected of being on a hallucinogenic drug. They found Marino near East Broadway "acting irrationally." He then fled from police and was combative with them. They say he tried to kick 2 officers while being arrested. 

And a bonus ...

A Hartford man suspected to be under the influence of a hallucinogenic drug bit and spit on a police officer after trying to steal merchandise from the Sears at the Connecticut Post Mall over the weekend, police say.

Police arrested Rashaad Fredericks, 32, on Friday, on charges of third-degree robbery, two counts of assault on emergency personnel, third-degree assault, and sixth-degree larceny.

Police responded to the Sears on a complaint that Fredericks and a companion left the store with an electronic device valued at $45 without paying for it.

Before the police arrived, Fredericks “became uncooperative with store employees inside the mall.” His female companion fled the scene, police said.
While attempting to arrest Fredericks, police say, he bit an officer on the hand, and then spit on him. After they took him to a hospital, Fredericks told police he was on a hallucinogen, police said.

Fredericks was held in lieu of $2,500 bond and has a court date on Sept. 3.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Police Blotter 8/7

Here's what police are reporting for notable arrests from yesterday (all from a Milford PD press release). 

Name: Michelle Brady, 20, Milford
Arrest date: Aug. 6, 3:23 p.m.
Pending charge: third-degree larceny, five counts of third-degree forgery, third-degree conspiracy to commit larceny, five counts of conspiracy to commit third-degree larceny
Police say: An investigation revealed that Brady had taken a few personal checks from a person whose home she was staying at and cashed them in the amount of $3,195. 


Name: Robert Washington, 46, New Haven
Arrest date: Aug. 6, 11:39 p.m.
Pending charge: third-degree assault, violation of a protective order, two counts of violation of probation
Police say: they responded to a home along Bridgeport Avenue and discovered that Washington had hit his spouse. After doing a computer check, they found there was a protective order barring Washington from having contact with his spouse. They also found that Washington had two outstanding warrants for probation violation. He was held in lieu of $101,000 bond. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Joe Della Monica Takes Part in a Miracle

You might remember a couple of weeks ago a story we did about Joe Della Monica, a retired Milford cop, performing a mind-blowingly brave rescue of a guy from a car crash on the NJ turnpike. 

On Monday, Mayor Ben Blake honored Della Monica with a proclamation at a Board of Aldermen meeting.  In a speech after getting the proclamation, Della Monica revealed a few facts about the rescue that make it even more amazing.

Just a short recap: The Della Monica family was driving down the turnpike and this guy goes whizzing past them, driving awfully. A little farther down the highway, he crashes. Della Monica leaps out of his car and rescues the guy seconds before the car bursts into flame.
The car, after the rescue. 

With that in mind, here are more facts that prove that basically a miracle happened:

-Della Monica, an ex-cop, was first on scene. The other three people that happened to be there? An off-duty firefighter, an off-duty New York City cop, and an off-duty EMT (all separately just happened to be in the area).

-The fifth and sixth people to arrive on scene? A plastic surgeon and an ER nurse, who were able to stop a major arterial bleed in the crash victim's arm.

-The medical helicopter that took the victim to the hospital had just returned from a flight. If the accident happened a few minutes sooner, the victim might've had to wait longer, perhaps resulting in his death.

In my estimation, that incident was a one-in-a-billion cosmological alignment of trillions of pieces of randomized matter and DNA, the kind of miracle-hurricane that forms every so often at a specific time in a specific place that proves that there are tiny bits of order in a fiery, deadly, infinite, light-speed universe.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Opposition to Milford Domestic Violence Shelter: NIMBYism or Legit?

What I saw at last night's Board of Aldermen meeting was a group of residents trying to oppose a domestic violence shelter without opposing domestic violence victims. 

That is, they stuck to the line that they're opposed to the shelter because it is, in their opinion, in violation of the zoning in their neighborhood. It's an inappropriate use, they say. 

Here's a video of a woman testifying to that point, complete with a silent show of solidarity from some 30 or so people at the end:

(sorry for the poor quality - you might have to turn your volume waaaay up) 
video

Thing is, in talking with some neighbors, they've told me that they're opposed to the shelter for other reasons - that it would be dangerous for the neighborhood, that it would take a building off the tax rolls, and that it would lower property values. 

The property values/dangerous argument seems less palpable to me, since it essentially maligns battered women and children as undesirable, flea-bitten, or otherwise untoward; that their presence would bog down the neighborhood. Who wants to go out in public and say that?

On the other hand, the zoning violation argument seems more reasonable, especially for public consumption. But would the neighbors all accept the shelter if zoning was in order? 

Nope.

This morning I spoke to an attorney (Charles Willinger) representing a few neighbors in a zoning appeal of the shelter. Here's what he told me when I asked if the neighbors would accept the shelter IF all the zoning was in order: 

"Let them apply through the right channels," he said. "When and if they do apply, we will oppose it."

Also, there appears to be a movement to out the address of the shelter. The thinking is that if the address is outed, it would be too dangerous to have the shelter (because if abusers know about it, they'll go there) at all. One neighbor called the Register to inquire about taking out an advertisement bearing the address (this after I wrote a story about it specifically leaving out the address); others have publicly stated the address, which may cause it to appear on public records, free for anybody to see. 

What do you think? Is this a sincere effort by neighbors to ensure that zoning rules get followed - or is it just Not-In-My-Backyard-style fear of outsiders? Can anyone provide evidence that domestic violence shelters are detrimental? Should they be isolated? And would isolating shelters outside of residential zones end up harming the women and children who stay there?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Police blotter 8/1

Here's what police are reporting for notable arrests from yesterday (all from a Milford PD press release). 

Name:Frank Palumbo III, 28, Milford
Arrest date: July 31, 8:15 p.m.
Pending charge: first-degree failure to appear
Police say: Arrested Palumbo on a warrant for failing to appear in court on July 25 for prior incidents from March involving drugs, failing to appear in court, and probation violation

Name: Nathaniel McDuffie, 27, West Haven
Arrest date: July 31, 810:40 p.m.
Pending charge: possession of marijuana (less than 4 oz.)
Police say: They stopped McDuffie along Anderson Avenue because he didn't have a front license plate. During the traffic stop, they say they found 30 grams of marijuana in his car. 

Name: Tommy Asbury, 58, Bellingham, Wash. 
Arrest date: July 31, 11:45 p.m.
Pending charge: disorderly conduct
Police say: Asbury hit and pulled the hair of his spouse during an argument that took place at the Pilot Travel Center along Old Gate Lane.