Jan. 1, 2000 – The new millennium arrives in Ridgefield
to fireworks and none of the feared computer glitches. Some 4,000 people have
braved the cold to attend Festival 2000.
Jan. 6, 2000 – Ed Karvosky announces his purchase of
Bissell Pharmacy at 382 Main Street.
Feb. 3, 2000 – CL&P offers the town a rail trail
after its remediation of arsenic contamination along the old branch line
railroad bed that’s now a power line right of way. Many neighbors oppose the
idea, while town officials generally favor it.
Feb. 13, 2000 – Ruth Wills, a legendary Ridgefield High
School teacher who taught there for 45 years, retiring in 1965, dies at 102.
March 9, 2000 – Ridgefield primary voters favor John
McCain and Bill Bradley for the Republican and Democratic Presidential
nominations, bucking the trend that eventually led to the George W. Bush/Al Gore
April 8, 2000 – John McCain brings his “Straight Talk
Express” to Ridgefield in support of Republican Mark Nielsen’s congressional
April 11, 2000 – Town officials meet with state public
health representatives to discuss how to combat the apparently growing threat of
mosquito-borne West Nile virus and eastern equine encephalitis.
April 14, 2000 – Kohl’s department store opens in Copps
Hill Plaza, taking over space that had once been Caldor’s and before that, W.T.
May 5, 2000 – Vandals with spray paint coat the windows
of 38 school buses and one van, closing schools for the day, costing taxpayers
about $115,000 for the lost day and the damage, according to Superintendent of
Schools Ralph Wallace.
May 11, 2000 – The renovation of the old Ridgefield High
School auditorium will be done by local firm Roche, Inc. and the new Ridgefield
Playhouse for Movies and the Performing Arts is slated to be ready by the winter
June 8, 2000 – The Ridgefield Library announces plans to
buy the Webster Bank building behind it on Prospect Street; the building,
previously the Village Bank, was originally the Ridgefield Playhouse movie
theater, built in 1939.
June 30, 2000 – Bridgeport Hydraulic Company announces
that its water in Ridgefield is unfit for drinking because of bacterial
contamination, affecting some 6,800 customers. It is nearly two weeks before the
all-clear is given and in the meantime, the utility supplies bottled water to
July 2, 2000 – St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church
celebrates its 275th anniversary; the present church building dates from 1915.
July 25, 2000 – Tiger Hollow, the upgrading and expansion
of Ridgefield High School sports facilities planned and financed by volunteers,
wins Planning and Zoning Commission approval.
Aug. 10, 2000 – Ridgefield’s last dairy farm, the
McKeons’ Arigideen Farm, closes and its 30 milking cows are shipped to New
Hampshire, Pennsylvania and upstate New York.
Sept. 6, 2000 – The Board of Selectmen unanimously vote
to rename the old high school The Richard E. Venus Municipal Building.
Sept. 10, 2000 – The Ridgefield Library hosts a reception
in honor of retiring director Anita Daubenspeck, who is leaving after 25 years.
Sept. 30, 2000 – At a Founders’ Day celebration, the
Ridgefield Preservation Trust’s Scott House committee launches public
fund-raising efforts to rebuild the circa-1715 saltbox as the home of a new
Ridgefield Historical Society on Sunset Lane. The earlier phase of fund-raising,
Jeanne Timpanelli reports, has already raised more than $440,000 of the $600,000
Oct. 5, 2000 – ROSA (Ridgefield Open Space Association)
has launched a petition drive for the acquisition by eminent domain of the
Bennett’s Pond properties formerly owned by IBM.
Oct. 12, 2000 – Two anonymous donors come forward with an offer to build a town senior center and First Selectman Rudy Marconi proposes using the Ippoliti property on Danbury Road, which will soon figure into plans for huge school building project, though not as the site for a school.
Nov. 7, 2000 – George W. Bush outpolls Al Gore by more
than 1,200 votes in Ridgefield and eventually wins the U.S. Presidency after the
U.S. Supreme Court intervenes in Florida’s vote counting.
Dec. 5, 2000 – Voters approve “The Bundle” – a
$90-million appropriation to convert the recreation center back into Barlow
Mountain Elementary School, renovate
the five existing elementary schools, East
Ridge Middle School and the high school, and build a new recreation center on
the Ippoliti property on Danbury Road.
Dec. 12, 2000 – The new Ridgefield Playhouse is packed
for an opening concert by singer/guitarist Jose Feliciano.
Dec. 19, 2000 – Celebrating its 125th anniversary, The Ridgefield Press publishes a history of the 20th Century featuring a timeline and the stories of Notable Ridgefielders.
Jan. 1, 2001 – Ed Helminski, director of the Ridgefield
Boys and Girls Club for 40 years steps down and is replaced by Terry Hughes,
one of the many young Ridgefielders who grew up as members of the club.
Jan. 17, 2001 – Ridgefielders at public hearing get
details of a plan that would allow the town to acquire 43 acres of the McKeon
Farm in Ridgebury as open space, preserving a piece of Ridgefield’s farming
heritage. Voters on Jan. 31 go on to approve the town’s participation in the
purchase with a group of private investors.
Jan. 27, 2001 – William I. Allen, government watchdog and
founder of Ridgefield’s Independent Party, dies at 67.
Feb. 5, 2001 – A very snowy winter is augmented by a storm that drops 15 to 20 more inches on Ridgefield.
Feb. 13, 2001 – J.R., a Bichon Frisé, owned by Cecelia Ruggles of Ridgefield, wins Best of Show at the Westminster Dog Show in New York.
Feb. 19, 2001 – Despite the signatures of 2,777
Ridgefielders on a petition asking for a vote on taking the Bennett’s Pond
Property by eminent domain, the Board of Finance effectively quashes that plan
by refusing to appropriate $10.6 million for its acquisition.
Feb. 28, 2001 – The school board approves placing an armed police officer at Ridgefield High School as a “school resource officer.”
March 1, 2001 – The family of Ridgefielder Jack Tobin
reveals he has been arrested in Voronezh, Russia, and charged with drug
possession, although Russian security services are also alleging possible
espionage. Fluent in Russian, Mr. Tobin was a Fulbright scholar studying the
Russian transition to a market economy. Charges are eventually raised that would
mean up to 15 years in a Russian prison.
March 8, 2001 – Grand Union, the only supermarket in the
village, will close. It is to be replaced by a CVS store.
April 10, 2001 – Ridgefield Democrats join in toasting
U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman, their 2000 candidate for vice president, at the
Jefferson-Jackson-Bailey Day Dinner in Danbury.
April 19, 2001 – Bridgeport Hydraulic Company prepares to
open its new pipeline into Ridgefield, solving supply and quality problems that
have plagued the system.
May 3, 2001 – After three months in Russian custody, Jack
Tobin is sentenced to an additional two years and 10 months. Diplomatic efforts
toward his release involve Secretary of State Colin Powell, as Congressman Jim
Maloney rallies support for Mr. Tobin.
May 15, 2001 – A majority of voters approve an advisory
measure that would have the town acquire the Bennett’s Pond property by
May 31, 2001 – Joan Voss, who was instrumental in
founding the Alternative High School in 1995, is named Teacher of the Year in
June 7, 2001 – Print and television reporters descend on
town to follow up on the story of the “phantom reviews” that appeared in
Sony Corporation ads, highlighting effusive praise by “David Manning of The
Ridgefield Press.” Mr. Manning, The Press confirms, was not and never had been
its film reviewer.
July 10, 2001 – A young black bear visits Ridgefield,
sampling bird food at several feeders.
July 11, 2001 – Daniel M. McKeon, “a leading citizen
and advocate of conservation and local history,” dies at 94. An organic farmer
and an accomplished horseman, he was a charter member of Ridgefield’s Planning
Commission in 1958 and the longtime chairman of the Planning and Zoning
July 22, 2001 – The first item of business at a meeting
between President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin is “the
Jack Tobin case,” reports Congressman Jim Maloney.
July 24, 2001 – After the Republicans decline to
renominate him, Selectman Steve Zemo, switches party affiliations and accepted
the Democrats’ nomination for the Board of Selectmen, in a year when First
Selectman Rudy Marconi, a Democrat, would run unopposed.
Aug. 8, 2001 – Jack Tobin is free: The 24-year-old
Ridgefielder lands at Kennedy Airport, accompanied by his father, John Tobin,
and Congressman Jim Maloney. A rally at Town Hall welcomes him home on Aug. 13.
Sept. 11, 2001 – Ridgefield, with the rest of the world,
is devastated by the terrorists’ attacks on the World Trade Center and
Pentagon. Churches fill for prayer services, volunteers head to New York, and
the town comes to a halt as it waits for news of victims and survivors. The dead
included Ridgefielders and Ridgefielders’ relatives Tyler Ugolyn, 23, Robert
Higley, 29, and H. Joseph Heller, 37, who were in the World Trade Center; Wilson
and Darlene Flagg, and Barbara Edwards, all on Flight 77 that crashed into the
Pentagon; and New York City firefighters John Williamson and Christopher
Sept. 25, 2001 – By a wide margin, Ridgefield voters
approve spending $11.6 million to acquire the Bennett’s Pond property, by
eminent domain if necessary.
Oct. 26, 2001 – Larry Aldrich, a prominent fashion
designer who championed contemporary artists, dies at 95. In 1964, Mr. Aldrich
founded the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum and gave the town Aldrich Park in
Nov. 15, 2001 – The remaking of Copps Hill Plaza begins
with ground-breaking for a new building along Danbury Road and will eventually
include demolition of a portion of the original plaza buildings, expansion of
Stop & Shop and the building of a freestanding Eckerd’s Drug Store. In the
process, the popular 33 1/3 Restaurant closes.
Nov. 18, 2001 – The Leonid meteor showers put on an
amazing show, one of the best in many years, which Ridgefielders who were up at
4 a.m. enjoy from the comfort of their homes or at a gathering at Great Pond
organized by the Discovery Center.
Nov. 27, 2001 – Ground is broken for Founders Hall, the
new senior center on the former Ippoliti property.
Dec. 13, 2001 – ASML Holdings NV, which had been
occupying the former Perkin-Elmer (former Benrus) building on Route 7, announces
plans to leave town, consolidate operations in Wilton and lay off up to 400
Dec. 20, 2001 – The town takes title to the 458-acre
northern portion of the Bennett’s Pond property.
Dec. 28, 2001 – A fire destroys a Pine Mountain Road home and kills its two residents, Rudy and Darlene Casagrande. Fire Marshal Dave Lathrop reports later it will be impossible to determine the cause.
Jan. 10, 2002 – The Board of Selectmen, as the
Bennett’s Farm Development Authority, begins planning for the development of
the southern 155 acres of the Bennett’s Pond property, which the town plans to
take by eminent domain from its owner, real estate developer Eureka V, LLC. In
February, Eureka sues to block the taking.
Jan. 17, 2002 – Ridgefield joins several other Housatonic
Valley area towns to hire legal representation to fight the Schaghticoke Tribal
Nation’s petition to be recognized by the federal government. With federal
tribal status, it is feared, the Schaghticokes might proceed to build a casino
on their reservation in Kent.
Feb. 25, 2002 – Scotts Ridge wins out as the name for the
new middle school on a 6-2 vote by the Board of Education. The other proposed
names were North Ridge, Mamanasco, and John Sturges (for the late chairman of
the school building committee).
Feb. 28, 2002 – The town learns that its sewage treatment
plant was releasing vast quantities of coliform bacteria over a period of months
in the previous year, because of decisions made by a now-replaced manager.
April 1, 2002 – Ground is broken for the addition to
Ridgebury School, and the following day, ground is broken for the addition to
Ridgefield High School.
April 8, 2002 – A new shuttle bus begins runs between
Ridgefield and the Katonah, N.Y., train station; commuters park in a special lot
at Jesse Lee United Methodist Church.
April 18, 2002 – A continuing drought leads to calls for
Ridgefielders to reduce water consumption by 20% by May 24. If that goal is not
met, the Board of Selectmen plans to enact emergency water conservation
April 25, 2002 – The Catholic church’s burgeoning
sexual abuse scandal touches Ridgefield as townspeople learn that a former
priest at St. Mary’s Church has been defrocked following “credible”
allegation of sexual misconduct.
April 26, 2002 – The town begins a weekend-long
celebration of the 225th anniversary of the Battle of Ridgefield.
May 16, 2002 – The Police Commission voices its
opposition to changing the name of Danbury Road to North Main Street, a proposal
that was brought to the selectmen by retailers. A public hearing is planned in
May 27, 2002 – The Bark Park opens on Prospect Ridge.
June 13, 2002 – Dunkin’ Donuts, a fixture in many
people’s lives, is preparing to move from its 107-109 Danbury Road location a
bit south, to the former Boston Market building on the opposite side of Danbury
June 25, 2002 – CHIRP (Concert Happenings in
Ridgefield’s Parks) begins its first free concert series in Ballard Park,
bringing out music aficionados every Tuesday all summer long. Selectman Barbara
Manners is the creator and manager of the series.
June 26, 2002 – Voters approve a 25-year lease of town
land to ROAR (Ridgefield Organization for Animal Rescue) for a site for a new
privately operated animal shelter.
July 18, 2002 – Ridgefield Realtors describe the market
as hotter than hot, with low interest rates making mortgages more affordable and
increasing demand, resulting in rising prices and quick sales.
July 25, 2002 – No one steps forward as an opponent for
State Rep. John Frey, who is up for re-election.
Aug. 1, 2002 – The town hears rumors that Donald Trump
may be working on plans with the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation to create a casino
on the former Union Carbide property in Danbury, just north of the Ridgefield
Aug. 13, 2002 – More than 5,000 Ridgefield customers lose
electricity in a 90-plus-degree heat wave as demand for power causes a primary
line on Grove Street to break.
Sept. 11, 2002 – More than 700 Ridgefielders turn out for
a remembrance ceremony at Ballard Park on the anniversary of the Sept. 11
Sept. 29, 2002 – The Scott House opens to the public as
the new home of the Ridgefield Historical Society on Sunset Lane, three years
after it was disassembled on Catoonah Street.
Oct. 1, 2002 – Speaking to the Chamber of Commerce, Gov.
John Rowland says “The best is yet to come” for Connecticut. Three years
later, he is in prison.
Oct. 15, 2002 – The new Scotts Ridge Middle School
finally opens; students spend the beginning of the school year sharing space at
East Ridge Middle School.
Oct. 17, 2002 – Among the honorees at the Old Timers
Association banquet is “Squash,” Aldo Travaglini, a fixture on Main Street
for some 70 years, first at Bissell’s Drug Store and then at his Ridgefield
Nov. 3, 2002 – In a sign of the times, firefighters from
four area towns gather at East Ridge Middle School to practice a mass casualty
event involving a school shooting. [A sniper in Washington, D.C., caused
cancellation of a Ridgefield school trip earlier in the fall.]
Nov. 13, 2002 – Voters at a town meeting reject a
proposal to rename Danbury Road North Main Street.
Nov. 14, 2002 – Superintendent of Schools Dr. Ralph
Wallace announces plans to retire in 2003. He came to Ridgefield in 1998.
Nov. 24, 2002 – Founders Hall, the new senior center,
Nov. 28, 2002 – Members of the First Church of Christ,
Scientist, celebrate the church’s 100th anniversary in town at a Thanksgiving
Nov. 30, 2002 – Some 100 people rally on Main Street in
opposition to a war in Iraq.
Dec. 14, 2002 – St. Mary’s Church learns that its pastor has resigned because of an allegation of sexual misconduct.
2003 – The town sells
Bennett’s Pond’s 460 acres to the state as parkland. The price is $4
million; the town had condemned the land from Eureka V, paying $11.5 million.
Jan. 12, 2003 – The Ridgefield Recreation Center on
Danbury Road opens with a traditional ribbon-cutting and public open house.
Jan. 14, 2003 – Ridgefield will continue to have a
village funeral home: Dan Jowdy, owner of Kane Funeral Home, will move the
business east from 41 to 25 Catoonah Street to a new building at the site of a
former gas station. The move is
necessitated by the Kane family’s plans to sell the current Kane Funeral Home
Jan. 23, 2003 – Ridgefield High School students organize
“Ride the Bus Day” as an energy saving protest to put a focus on America’s
oil consumption and its relations with the suppliers of oil in the Muslim world.
Feb. 17, 2003 – A President’s Day weekend snowstorm
drops more than a foot and a half of snow on the town; meteorologists at Western
Connecticut State University rank it in the top 10 of recorded snowstorms.
Feb. 21, 2003 – With the Homeland Security alert at level
Orange, Ridgefielders consider what preparations to make: They’re encouraged
to have family disaster plans and to stockpile emergency supplies including
plastic sheeting and duct tape, water and food, medicines and batteries.
March 4, 2003 – Town hall is evacuated after a roof beam
slips, causing ceilings to collapse, the result of construction work on an
elevator being added to the building. Some town offices are quickly
re-established in several locations; the selectmen are in the firehouse.
March 6, 2003 – Dr. Joseph Ellis announces he will retire
after 13 years as principal of Ridgefield High School and 41 years in education.
March 10, 2003 – Charles Coles, Jr., a retired president
of the Ridgefield Bank, active in the community and a student of Ridgefield’s
history, dies at 80.
March 13, 2003 – With the war with Iraq imminent, three
Ridgefielders prepare for deployment: Lance Cpl. Kevin Weber and Cpl. Mike
Delpino, both Marines, and Spec. Nick Ciarcia, an Army reservist. A community
prayer service for peace takes place March 19 at St. Stephen’s Episcopal
March 20, 2003 – Town planner Oswald Ingles, the
longest-serving town administrator, having been hired in 1972, announces plans
March 25, 2003 – Dr. James E. Sheehan, pediatrician to
generations of Ridgefielders over 43 years, dies at 80.
April 6, 2003 – A crowd of 300 rallies on Main Street in
support of American troops fighting in Iraq.
April 11, 2003 – David Harris is charged in the brutal
murder of his ex-wife, Simone Harris, at her apartment in Ridgefield.
May 1, 2003 – The Grand List reaches $4 billion,
following a revaluation.
May 8, 2003 – The town rallies to support popular barber
and Main Street caretaker Mike Montello, following his diagnosis with a brain
tumor. He dies Sept. 22.
May 14, 2003 – Dora Conti Cassavechia, Ridgefield town
clerk for 16 years, dies at her home.
June 3, 2003 – Elizabeth "Betty Grace" Nash, who was an editor of The
Ridgefield Press for 35 years, dies in Cocoa Beach, Fla., where she had been
living for 10 years.
June 8, 2003 – A Hummer, driven by an allegedly drunk
Stamford man, crushes the Cass Gilbert Fountain after going over concrete
planters and a raised platform designed to protect the marble fountain. It’s
expected that rebuilding the fountain will take a year.
June 22, 2003 – The Ridgefield Library celebrates its
100th anniversary with a party for the town.
June 26, 2003 – Ridgefield voters reject a negotiated
settlement that would have had the town pay $5.35 million to Eureka V plus allow
the company to develop the 155-acre southern parcel of Bennett’s Pond property
with a 160,000-square-foot office building and 225 townhouses.
Aug. 7, 2003 – Ridgefield Bank announces plans for a
merger with Fairfield County Bank, pending government approval [later received].
The banks are to each maintain their own names in their home territories.
Aug. 21, 2003 – Ridgefield and most of the Northeast goes
dark, the result of a fault in the power grid that took place in Ohio. The power
is out for 24 hours.
Aug. 31, 2003 – To the great sadness of their many
friends and loyal customers, the Amatuzzi family (George, Anna Maria, Gigi and
Vicki) close the popular Roma Pizzeria on Main Street.
Sept. 7, 2003 – After nine years as head of the
Redding-Easton regional school district, Dr. Kenneth Freeston becomes
Ridgefield’s school superintendent.
Sept. 25, 2003 – Boehringer Ingelheim announces a
$500-million expansion of its Ridgebury headquarters, with most of the new
construction on the Ridgefield portion of its campus.
Oct. 1, 2003 – Ridgefield restaurants go smokeless as a
new state law goes into effect, forbidding smoking in restaurants and nearly all
Oct. 23, 2003 – As the Aldrich Museum undergoes extensive
rebuilding, art goes on, in the form of “Big Baby,” a seven-foot high
sculpture of an infant, clad in a diaper, who sits in front of the museum
property on Main Street. Response is not entirely enthusiastic.
Nov. 4, 2003 – First Selectman Rudy Marconi easily wins a
third term, defeating Republican Marty Heiser by a nearly two-to-one margin.
Nov. 21, 2003 – Todd Szegedy Day, as proclaimed by Gov.
John Rowland, honors the 27-year-old Ridgefield native who is the new NASCAR
Featherlite Modified Touring Series Champion.
Dec. 4, 2003 – The Chamber of Commerce issues a “call
to action” to find a solution to the chronic lack of parking spaces in the
Village retail district. Three-hour parking limits don’t seem to be doing the
job and also aggravate visitors.
Dec. 21, 2003 – Winifred Aldrich, an artist and founder with her husband of the Aldrich Museum, dies at the age of 89.
January 2004 – Ridgefield Crossings opens the “harbor
Program,” an assisted living community for those who are memory impaired.
Jan. 2, 2004 – The face of the Big Baby – a
seven-foot-tall Styrofoam and clay child by artist Nina Levy, in front of the
Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum – is burned by vandals using a roadside flare.
Mailbox vandalism was also rampant.
Jan. 7, 2004 – The Selectmen discuss whether to sponsor
hunting of deer on town land to cut the size of the growing herd.
Jan. 14, 2004 – Schlumberger announces that it is moving
over the next two years to the Boston area to be closer to scientific and
educational research centers.
Jan. 19, 2004 – The first Spirit of Martin Luther King
community service award is given to Dave Goldenberg, active in promoting
affordable housing in Ridgefield.
Jan. 26, 2004 – Superintendent Kenneth Freeston proposes
a 13% increase in the school budget to $64 million.
February 2004 – Two veteran principals – Scotland’s
Barbara DePencier and Veterans Parks Robert Lynam – announce they will retire
February 2004 - The Ridgefield Playhouse is seeking a
Feb. 1, 2004 – Joseph E. Brunetti, a second generation
grocer who had operated one of the village’s last family markets and was a
longtime supporter of athletics programs, dies at the age of 83.
Feb. 4, 2004 - After more than 30 years as town health
officer, Dr. Patrick Neligan retires, and Chief Sanitarian Ed Briggs is named
the new health officer, the first time the job is held by a full-time town
Feb. 5, 2004 – John Edward Dowling, a popular Ridgefield
attorney and raconteur who won two Purple Hearts in World War II, dies at the
age of 82. The former FBI agent had been a probate judge and town attorney.
Feb. 9, 2004 – A survey finds that 94% of village
businesses believe there is a parking problem in the center of town, and 30
officials and merchants have a powwow on parking.
Feb. 21, 2004 – A 364-foot luge, one of only four like it
in the country, has been completed on the West Mountain property of Brett West,
and is the highlight of Cub Scout Pack 124’s annual Winter Carnival.
March 2004 – Two months after the death of their
10-year-old daughter, Cathy and Todd Tango create the Molly Ann Tango Memorial
Foundation to provide grants to families with special needs children.
March 2004 – Members of the Youth Commission meet with
middle school officials about the continuing problem of bullying.
March 1, 2004 – The school board reduces the $64 million
budget to $62.5 million, an 11% increase. Cuts include removing a police officer
from the high school.
March 2, 2004 - John Kerry is the Ridgefield winner in
Connecticut’s presidential preference primary. He gets 628 of 920 votes cast
for eight Democrats on the ballot, including John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich and
March 8, 2004 – The school board votes to restore
February and April week-long vacations, which had been eliminated in favor of
one week off in March.
March 11, 2004 – Voters will face an 11% tax hike unless
the Board of Finance cuts the proposed budgets, The Press reports.
March 20, 2004 – Sixties rock star Chubby Checker
(remember the Twist?) does two shows at the Playhouse.
March 22, 2004 – Paul Hazel, who spent more than 30 years
as school personnel director, announces he will retire in September.
March 26 – Paul J. Rosa Jr. dies at 76. He had been a
selectman and member of many town agencies during his 37 years of town service.
April 1, 2004 – Fearing its budget would not succeed with voters, the school board cuts another $1.2 million, and its increase is down to 8.98%.
April 13, 2004 – The Board of Finance cuts town and
school budgets, resulting in a proposed 8% tax hike.
April 13, 2004 – The Planning and Zoning Commission
refuses to endorse a Police Commission plan to put traffic lights for Route 116
and North Salem Road, where the commission has installed all-way stop signs as
April 20, 2004 – Toll Brothers applies to build 73
age-restricted condominiums off Route 7, to be called Regency at Ridgefield.
Units are expected to sell from $500,000 to $550,000 but in 2008 were mostly
going for $700,000-plus.
April 21, 2004 – State biologist Howard Kilpatrick tells
the selectmen there are probably 150,000 deer in Connecticut. In 1894, there
were fewer than two dozen.
April 24, 2004 – Coast Guard Petty Officer Nathan
Bruckenthal, a former Ridgefielder and volunteer firefighter, is killed
protecting an oil terminal off the Iraqi coast. He served with the Coast Guard.
May 1, 2004 – Lotus, a Chinese restaurant on Danbury Road
for 22 years, closes after its lease is not renewed.
May 2004 – Complaints about the large number of
“sandwich-board signs” on Main Street prompts the Planning and Zoning
Commission to discuss regulating temporary signs.
May 5, 2004 – First Selectman Rudy Marconi testifies
before the House Subcommittee on Government Reform in Washington, about faults
in the tribal recognition process that could lead to Indians’ buying land and
building a casino nearby.
May 5, 2004 – The Youth Commission approves setting up a
hotline to receive calls from bullying and harassment victims in the schools.
May 10, 2004 – Wicked, the Broadway musical whose score
is written by Stephen Schwartz of Ridgefield, is nominated for 10 Tony awards.
May 11, 2004 – The school budget, with a 9% increase, is
defeated by voters at a referendum, 2,747 no to 1,980 yes.
May 13, 2004 – Yankee ace reliever Mariano Rivera visits
Ridgefield High School to offer tips on athletic success to students, coaches
May 17, 2004 – The Board of Finance cuts another $1
million from the school budget, dropping the tax increase to 6%.
May 19, 2004 – A Ridgefield Deer Study Committee is
established to recommend what to do about the burgeoning deer population.
May 27, 2004 – Dr. Randall Balmer, an author, a professor
of religious history at Columbia, and a Democrat, announces he will run against
Republican John Frey for state representative.
May 31, 2004 – William von Zehle of Ridgefield, an Iraq
war veteran who was one of the first rescuers on the scene of the Aug. 19, 2003
bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad, is the Memorial Day speaker.
June 5, 2004 – The town mourns the death of President
Ronald Reagan. “I think he kind of restored pride in our country,” says
State Rep. John Frey.
June 8, 2004 – 5,201 voters – 34% of those registered
– turn out at a referendum to approve a $60-million school budget, with a 6%
tax increase. The vote is 2,880 yes, 2,321 no.
June 9, 2004 – David and Martha Campbell are named
“Citizens of the Year” by the Rotary Club.
June 14, 2004 – Three new principals are named: Adeline
Merrill at Farmingville, Lorraine A. Marcantonio at Veterans Park, and Mark H.
Solomon at Scotland.
June 18, 2004 – The first Relay for Life raises $195,000
to fight cancer.
June 22, 2004 – 340 seniors graduate from Ridgefield High
June 26, 2004 – The Westport Country Playhouse, whose
building is being renovated, begins using the Ridgefield Playhouse as its
temporary venue. Among the stars who show up during the season is Paul Newman.
June 2004 – Cercarial
dermatitis, or “swimmer’s itch,” has users of Great Pond’s beach
scratching. It’s caused by
parasitic water-borne larvae that burrow into the skin.
July 2004 – The fact that so many cell phones now include
cameras prompts the Recreation Center to ban them in the locker rooms, swimming
pool area, whirlpool or restrooms, “in order to protect the privacy of its
July 2004 – The Ridgefield Volunteer Fire Department
elects a new chief who doesn’t live in Ridgefield. Dave Cuny grew up here, but
resides in Bethel.
July 1, 2004 – State Rep. John Frey attends the
inauguration of M. Jodi Rell as governor, replacing disgraced and later
imprisoned Gov. John Rowland, who resigned.
July 7, 2004 – Steve Zemo, a member of the Board of
Selectmen since 1995, retires. Julia “Di” Masters, chairman of the Planning
and Zoning Commission, soon announces she’s a candidate for the seat and is
appointed, effect. Aug. 9.
July 8, 2004 – Terrar LLC wants to raze Belzoni’s Red
Lion restaurant on Route 7, which began life as a dog kennel, to build 50
July 20-21 2004 – The stop signs on North Salem Road at
Ridgebury Road are removed. The experiment to deal with the busy intersection
fails. As a result of the sudden change, several crashes occur.
July 29, 2004 – Nineteen veteran teachers retire, reports
personnel director Paul Hazel, himself about to retire. Among them are Arthur
Amend, Janet Belote, Jane Breen, Lois Brower, William Brower, Betty Gray Brown,
Dorothea Lang, Monica McMorran, and Curtis Pickup.
Aug. 2, 2004 – ROAR – Ridgefield Operation for Animal
Rescue – breaks ground on its new dog and cat shelter on South Street.
Aug. 5, 2004 – Two Ridgefield boys, Brian Schlierf, 8,
and Kevin Schlierf, 6, are in critical condition after a fire at a Dominican
Republic resort their family is staying at.
Brian dies Aug. 18. The community rallies to support the family through a
Aug. 18, 2004 – The selectmen decide to buy a reverse 911
system to make mass phone calls to residents in case of emergencies.
Aug. 29, 2004 – George Brunstad of Ridgefield, a retired
airline pilot who turned 70 three days earlier, becomes to be the oldest man to
swim the English Channel, crossing in 15 hours, 59 minutes.
Sept. 13, 2004 – A large party at the Amber Room in Danbury honors Tax Collector Mary Hart Foyt, who’s retiring after 37 years of service and is moving to Maine.
September 2004 – Ridgefield’s
Notable Trees is published by the Ridgefield Tree Committee and describes 20
significant trees here.
September 2004 – St. Mary’s School celebrates its 50th
anniversary and the completion of its rebirth to a full kindergarten through
eighth grade school.
September 2004 – Dr. Richard Lipton and three other local
doctors propose converting part of the old SVG/Benrus building on Route 7 into a
September 2004 – Norwalk Community College is considering
having classes in Ridgefield, possibly at the Community Center or the old high
Sept. 13, 2004 – High School Principal Dianna Lindsay
tells the school board that Ridgefield High School’s graduation in June should
take place at the O’Neill Center in Danbury, which is both air conditioned and
free from threats of rain that sometimes force graduations into the small RHS
Sept. 19, 2004 – The Rev. Wilma White delivers her final
sermon as minister of the Ridgebury Congregational Church. She arrived in 1996.
Sept. 21, 2004 – The Planning and Zoning Commission votes
8-1 to allow Toll Brothers to build 73 age-restricted condominiums on Route 7
north of Great Pond.
Sept. 23, 2004 – Only four member of the public speak at
a hearing on Terrar’s plan to build 50 condominiums on the Red Lion restaurant
site at Routes 7 and 35. “You’re actually putting down something here that
is a celebration of sprawl,” says one.
Sept. 29, 2004 – The new 19-member Deer Study Committee
has its first meeting.
October 2004 – Round Pond, once a town reservoir, becomes
state property, part of the “Centennial Watershed State Forest” that
includes 15,000 acres the state acquired from Aquarion Water Company, largely in
October 2004 – Chloride levels are so high in the well at
Scotland and Barlow Mountain Schools that children must drink bottled water.
Oct. 1, 2004 – Chambers Army and Navy Store at Danbury
Road and Grove Street closes after more than 20 years in business. The
competition is just too much.
Oct. 2, 2004 – Mary Wilson of The Supremes joins Broadway
composer Stephen Schwartz of Ridgefield in a benefit concert for the high school
Oct. 6, 2004 – Sunrise Cottage, an independent living
home for five people with developmental disabilities, is dedicated on Sunset
Oct. 15, 2004 – In a year when vaccine is in very short
supply, 500 older Ridgefielders line up outside the Visiting Nurse Association
to get a flu shot.
Oct. 21, 2004 – More than 1,000 political signs are
stolen or damaged in two weeks, angering candidates of both parties, The Press
Oct. 22, 2004 – Police are called to a possible burglary
at a ranch house on Branchville Road, only to find illegal living quarters for
18 workers at a Chinese restaurant.
Oct. 23, 2004 – A concert at the Playhouse raises money
to help the victims of embattled Darfur.
Oct. 26, 2004 – Ridgefield zoners adopt tougher
regulations, banning all kinds of temporary signs that make roadsides,
especially in the village, look “cluttered.”
November 2004 – In one week, the Ridgefield High School
girls cross country squad wins the school’s first-ever regional championship,
and the girls swim team captures the state Class L title.
Nov. 2, 2004 – John Frey defeats Randall Balmer, 8,824 to
4,478, gathering more votes than any other candidate on the ticket, including
George W. Bush (7,407).
Nov. 23, 2004 – Voters agree to spend another $3.5
million in a court-ordered settlement of the lawsuit filed by Eureka V LLC over
the condemnation of its Bennett’s Pond land. The town had already paid $8.5
million to Eureka, but the developer sued for $12 million more than that for the
458 acres, now a state park.
Nov. 23, 2004 – The Planning and Zoning Commission rejects Terrar’s plan for 50 condominiums at Routes 7 and 35, but an appeal is expected because the plan includes “affordable” apartments that, under a state law, make it difficult to veto a project.
December 2004 – The Ridgefield Basketball Association
proposes an outdoor basketball court at the high school to honor Tyler Ugolyn, a
1997 RHS graduate killed at the World Trade Center Sept. 11, 2001.
December 2004 – Ridgefield police have their first
“Shop with A Cop” program, treating a fifth grader whose father has vanished
and whose mother is out of work to a holiday shopping spree.
Dec. 3 and 4, 2004 – Nearly 70 downtown businesses join
in the fifth annual Holiday Stroll.
December 2004 – The Sky’s the Limit playground, built
at the Recreation Center with money raised by Rotary Club, opens. The playground
is especially designed for kids with handicaps, but is fun for more typical
December 2004 – The school board is debating whether to sign agreements with Coke or Pepsi to allow sale of their products in the schools in exchange for contributions.
January 2005 – Neighbors are vehemently opposed to a
proposed 11,000-square-foot maintenance building on Weir Farm property off Old
January 2005 – To deal with possible terrorist threats,
firefighters here are learning many new techniques.
January 2005 – Residents of the Abbott Avenue
neighborhood complain about a pony being kept at a home with only 0.17 acres.
The debate eventually leads to an ordinance aimed at controlling the kind of
animals allowed on small village lots.
January 2005 – Terrar LLC and Toll Brothers are suing the
Planning and Zoning Commission for rejection of their separate projects – 50
Terrar apartments and 73 Toll Brothers condos – at Routes 7 and 35.
Jan. 6, 2005 – The Friends of Ballard Park announce a
plan to improve the popular village park.
Jan. 7, 2005 – A Ridgefield school bus driver is arrested
for selling alcohol and tobacco to students.
Jan. 15, 2005 – Local performing artists like Kevin
Briody and Rabbi Jon Haddon give a concert to help victims of the Asian tsunami.
Jan. 17, 2005 – Ruth Leibowitz, chair of the Youth
Committee, is given the second annual Spirit of Dr. King Community Service
Jan. 24, 2005 – The school budget comes in just under the
8% increase “cap” agreed to by officials the previous year.
Jan. 24-25, 2005 – After the weekend’s near blizzard,
temperatures dip to minus 3, freezing pipes and triggering a cascade of heating
system problems in four of Ridgefield’s 10 school buildings. Three close
Monday and one also Tuesday.
February 2005 – The Ridgefield General Store, opened in
1984 at Copps Hill Common and moved to Route 7 in 2004, closes its doors.
February 2005 – An apologetic Stamford fireman, whose
Hummer smashed the Cass Gilbert Fountain on June 8, 2003, volunteers his time to
install stage lighting equipment at Ridgebury School.
Feb. 7, 2005 – High School principal Dianna Lindsay has
to temporarily step down from her post because the state rules she has not taken
an examination needed to be a Connecticut educator. A week later, she passes the
test, and is soon back on the job.
Feb. 6, 2005 – The Rev. Mark Delcuze, a veteran of 20
years in the ministry in Virginia and West Virginia, delivers his first sermon
as rector of St. Stephen’s Church.
Feb. 8, 2005 – Ridgefield firefighters say staffing is
March 2005 – Town officials are looking at putting a
water tower off Route 116 to help with water pressure and allow building of a
new main to the water-troubled Barlow Mountain-Scotland School site.
March 2005 – Eureka V LLC wants 510 condominiums for its
156 acres south of Bennett’s Pond, land zoned for corporate offices.
March 2005 – Franny Wood sends pizza, donated by Genoa
Deli, to her son, First Lt. David Wood, and 400 other soldiers in Iraq. The
pizzas are vacuum sealed. They were “absolutely delicious,” Lt. Wood
March 2005 – The ROAR dog and cat shelter, built and
maintained entirely with private funds, opens.
March 9, 2005– Complaints about noisy snowmobiles on the
frozen Pierrepont Lake prompt the selectmen to have a hearing on an ordinance
March 31, 2005 – The Community Prevention Council
distributes the Ridgefield Parent Network and Partyline Directory – a list of
parents who supervise their teens’
April 2005 – The Deer Committee determines that an ideal
maximum population of deer would be 20 per square mile. Estimates vary between
60 and 100 as the current population density.
April 2005 – At $171,000, the school superintendent
Kenneth Freeston is the town’s highest paid employee, earning nearly twice
what the first selectman, at $93,000, does.
April 5, 2005 – 120 people attend an Inland Wetlands
Board public hearing debating expanding buffer areas needing special building
permits near wetlands. Speakers are split pro and con.
April 6, 2005 – Jill Kelley receives the Edith B. Meffley
Award for conservation.
April 7, 2005 – A bus with 44 RHS freshmen on a field
trip to the Museum of Natural History is turned back after five students are
caught drinking in the back of the bus. All five are suspended.
April 7, 2005 – Nehemiah Lyman Keeler, a descendant of
the town’s earliest settlers and one of Ridgefield’s last native farmers,
dies at 91. He was born in 1913 in the “Pink House” on Ridgebury Road.
April 23, 2005 – The Ridgefield Historical Society hosts
an encampment in Ballard Park, commemorating the 228th anniversary of the Battle
April 24, 2005 –The Rev. Mark Allan, a Ridgefield lawyer,
is ordained a minister at the First Congregational Church.
April 27, 2005 – The former manager of a Subway shop here
is arranged on charges he bought alcohol for a 15-year-old girl in exchange for
May 2005 – A Charter Revision Commission is appointed by
May 2005 – House sales are showing signs of slowing. Only
78 sell in the first four months of the year, compared to 113 the same period in
May 5, 2005 – The first Senior Arts Festival opens at
May 10, 2005 – Town and school budgets pass at a
referendum, raising taxes by 6%.
May 11, 2005 – The selectmen renew Chez Lenard’s permit
for a hot dog stand, but Chad Cohen may have to move because a nearby landlord
who says the operation hurts business at his tenants’ shops.
May 18, 2005 –Delphine Marcus, a longtime Ridgefielder and WMNR broadcaster, dies at 73.
May 20, 2005 – The Ridgefield Fire Department receives a
donation of oxygen masks designed to be used on dogs and cats rescued from
May 22, 2005 – The town has “Senior Appreciation Day”
that includes 30 exhibits on community groups and services, plus food and
May 25, 2005 – Roy Cogswell, popular owner of The Early
Bird restaurant, dies at 57.
May 26, 2005 – A fire levels the Bissell Building,
holding the pharmacy, Gail’s Station House restaurant, and apartments. The
building is resurrected in 2008.
May 30, 2005 – Three mysterious sculptures, seated
human-like figures, show up on benches at the Branchville Station. No one knows
who put them there, and weeks later, Metro-North removes them. “It’s
amazing they’ve been here as long as they have,” says Lolly Turner, owner of
the Whistle Stop bakery in the station house. “People just sit down next to
them as if there was nothing unusual.”
June 2005 – Sally Anyan, music teacher in the Ridgefield
schools for 38 years, retires.
June 2005 – Experts say eating disorders are epidemic
among teenagers in the country and Ridgefield is not an exception.
June 2005– In what was a skillfully executed hoax,
parents of many Ridgefield High School seniors are greeted with mail bearing the
“news” that their child is failing English and will not graduate June 26.
June 2005– The 35-year-old preschool at Ridgefield High
School – designed to teach students about home care – closes.
June 2005 – Workers on the new Arnold’s Way development
off Main Street find a cannonball from the Battle of Ridgefield.
June 6, 2005 – Jason McKinnon, a native of Australia, is
named principal of Branchville School.
June 8, 2005 – A transformer explosion causes nearly two
days of power outages on Prospect Street. Merchants lose thousands of dollars
worth of food and business.
June 8 – Town Historian Kay Ables is named Rotary Citizen
of the Year.
June 17, 2005 – Ridgefield Academy pays $8 million to the
Sisters of Notre Dame, completing a six-year lease-to-purchase agreement and
gaining another 60,000 square feet of facilities on West Mountain.
June 20, 2005 – The Zoning Board of Appeals gives Mario
Conte a permit to turn the long-vacant gas station on Route 33, Wilton Road
West, into a country store. In 2008, it is still long-vacant.
June 26, 2005 – Ridgefield High School has its first
off-campus commencement, using the O’Neill Center at WestConn in Danbury.
About 330 students graduate.
July 3, 2005 – Belzoni’s Red Lion Grill, born a dog
kennel and a restaurant since the 1950s, closes to eventually make way for an
June 2005 – The Deer Committee issues a 26-page report,
favoring town-sponsored hunts on open spaces to help control the deer
population. One of 18 members opposes, feeling there are non-hunting ways of
June 2005 – Ridgefield police begin bicycle patrols in
July 1, 2005 – In the biggest residential sale in the
town’s history, E. Hunter and Jeannie Harrison pay $12 million for the former
McKeon farm in Ridgebury that includes 87 acres. Mr. Harrison, CEO of the
Canadian National Railway, and his wife plans to maintain the place as a horse
July 12, 2005 – A gasoline tanker truck crashes and
explodes on Route 7 near Simpaug Turnpike, killing the driver and closing the
road for days. Nearly 9,000 gallons of fuel burn, heavily damaging a bridge over
the Norwalk River that takes a year to replace. A one-lane temporary bridge is
in place within 36 hours. Police seek a white SUV that may have caused the truck
to swerve and jackknife.
July 14, 2005– Attorney A.J. Di Mattia, chairman of the
Republican Town Committee, announces he will run for first selectman against
incumbent Rudy Marconi.
July 2005 – Work begins on widening Route 7 north of
Ridgefield Ice Cream to I-84.
July 2005 – Dr. Peter Yanity announces he will retire as
a selectman, ending more than three decades of public service in Ridgefield.
July 14, 2005 – Sperry Andrews, an artist who, with his
wife Doris, led efforts to preserve his home, Weir Farm, dies at the age of 87.
July 22, 2005 – Jerry Marcus, a longtime Ridgefielder and
nationally syndicated Trudy cartoonist whose work appeared frequently in The
Ridgefield Press for four decades, dies at 81.
August 2005 – 20 condominiums are proposed for 66 Grove
August 2005 – After 40 years on the Conservation
Commission, Edith Meffley retires.
Aug. 29, 2005 – Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans and
almost immediately, Ridgefielders led by Selectman Di Masters begin planning aid
efforts under the name, Ridgefield Responds. The town adopts Pass Christian,
Miss., sending truckloads of supplies, plus other help.
Aug. 30, 2005 – 5,600 children show up for school.
September 2005 – In the wake of Katrina, premium gasoline
is reaching nearly $4 a gallon in Ridgefield.
September 2005 – Aquarion, the water company, proposes
putting a water tank in Pierrepont State Park as part of a plan to get a water
line to Scotland-Barlow Mountain Schools.
Sept. 7, 2005 – 61 local nurses volunteer to be available
in case of a local emergency.
Sept. 7, 2005 – Davis Harris, 59, pleads guilty to
murdering his wife with a baseball bat at a Danbury Road apartment in April
2003. He is sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Sept. 22, 2005 – The Planning and Zoning Commission
quickly approves plans for a new Bissell building that will look very much like
the one that burned down in May.
Sept. 24, 2005 – The Police Department has a semi-formal
dinner dance at St. Mary’s Hall to celebrate the department’s 50th
October 2005 – New Alliance Bank says it will open any
office in the old Chambers Army and Navy store. Three years later, the building
is still empty.
October 2005 – Temple Shearith
Israel begins having services at the First Congregational Church while its
building is being renovated and expanded.
Oct. 1, 2005 – A state ban on talking on a cell phone
while driving goes into effect. In the years that follow, Ridgefield police
pinch many hundreds of drivers for violating the law.
Oct. 8, 2005 – A 68-year-old Stony Hill Road woman dies
after a candle sets her house afire during a power failure.
Oct. 13, 2005 – Local Republicans charge that First
Selectman Rudy Marconi was a partner 18 years earlier in a Long Island-based
printing company involved in pollution and other legal entanglements. Mr.
Marconi is among 11 named defendants in a suit brought by the state of New York
to recover cleanup costs for pollution in Babylon, Long Island. Mr. Marconi says
he is not responsible for the pollution, though he was once a partner in the
Oct. 16, 2005 – Temple Shearith Israel breaks ground on a
$3 million expansion and renovation project.
Oct. 19, 2005 – The selectmen appoint a five-member Deer
Management Committee, led by Tom Belote who was co-chair of the previous Deer
Study Committee. It will oversee hunts on town land.
Oct. 20, 2005 – A two-year study of Route 35 finds that
strategic “tweaking” of many intersections, costing perhaps only a half
million dollars, could improve traffic flow.
Oct. 20, 2005 – Ridgefield High School sophomore Heather
Stephens and senior Josh Kearns each earn Fairfield County Interscholastic
Athletic Conference cross country championships – the first time since 1991
that the same school produced both boys and girls individual winners.
Oct. 26, 2005 – A security guard at Ridgefield High
School is arrested for selling drugs to students, and the company that supplies
guards is suspended.
Oct. 26, 2005 – Edna-May Olson, a founder of the OWLS and
a longtime vocal advocate for senior citizens, dies at 93. She was 90 when she
retired as the town’s agent for the elderly.
Oct. 31, 2005 – After 28 years with the department, Fire
Chief Louis Yarrish announces he will retire July 1, 2006.
Nov. 2, 2005 – Voters approve the town’s assuming
ownership of Mapleshade Cemetery, four of the 14 acres of graveyards bounded by
North Salem Road, Mapleshade Road, and North Street.
Nov. 8, 2005 – Incumbent First Selectman Rudy Marconi
takes 66% of the vote in defeating Republican challenger A.J. Di Mattia.
Nov. 9, 2005 – Eureka V LLC has a new plan for its 156
acres off Bennett’s Farm Road: 345 age-restricted condominiums and a
100,000-square-foot office building.
Dec. 1, 2005 – Wayne Addessi, whose family owns buildings
and a jewelry store on Main Street, suggests the town build a 300-car parking
garage on Bailey Avenue,
Fall 2005 – Two Newtown men are arrested for stealing
more than $40,000 worth of fuel oil from the Home Heating Oil terminal on Route
December 2005 – The King
Neptune, a fixture on the restaurant scene for 50 years, closes.
Dec. 1, 2005 – A 19-year-old Wilton man is arrested on an
assault charge, alleged he broke a bottle over the head of a 15-year-old
Ridgefield girl in a fight during a drinking party at a Ridgefield house.
Dec. 6, 2005 – William Frazee, who died in Oct. 19 at 99, left bequests of $200,000 each to the Ridgefield Fire Department and the Ridgefield Library plus grants to other local organizations, it is revealed in Probate Court.
Dec. 11, 2005 – The Rev. Dale Rosenberger preaches his
last sermon at the First Congregational Church, from which he is retiring to
take over a new congregation on Cape Cod. He
had been here nearly eight years.
Dec. 16, 2005 – A large number of police surround
Ridgefield High School after a report of a possible angry student with a gun.
Officials never explain exactly what triggered the incident, but no one is
Dec. 28, 2005 – A veteran and beloved school bus driver,
fired after some minor traffic accidents and then found to be suffering from
brain cancer, is rehired so she can get back her medical benefits, even though
Marlene Buturla cannot drive. Many in the community rally to her support.
January 2006 – The Ridgefield
Police propose demolishing their East Ridge headquarters, a 1890s house, and
replacing it with a new building. Preservationists object.
January 2006 – Electric rates increase 22%.
January 2006 – Vandals go on a
rampage late in the month, smashing dozens of mailboxes, and knocking down
Jan. 4, 2006 – Toll Brothers
pays $8.4 million for 27 acres north of Great Pond to build its 73-unit Regency
at Ridgefield condominiums.
Jan. 5, 2006 – Coordinated
raids on the Ridgefield and South Salem homes of a suspected “significant drug
dealer” by Ridgefield and Westchester County police uncover close to one
kilogram of cocaine, some $75,000 in cash, a loaded .45 caliber semi-automatic
handgun, and a stolen Kel-Tech .223 assault rifle.
Jan. 16, 2006 – Mary Ann
Baldwin receives the Spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Community Service Award.
Jan. 17, 2006 – Four days of
severe weather cause many problems, but most lasting are the pipes that burst at
the Keeler Tavern, damaging hundreds of old glass photographic negatives in the
Joseph Hartmann collection. The plates are sent to a restoration company.
Feb. 9, 2006 – After more than
130 years of publishing, The Ridgefield Press finally goes full color on its
Feb. 11, 2006 – Both
supporters and opponents of the war in Iraq stage demonstrations at the veterans
memorial by the Community Center.
Feb. 13, 2006 – The Board of
Education approves Mandarin as the seventh language taught at the high school.
Feb. 14, 2006 – The Planning
and Zoning Commission vetoes Eureka’s plan for 345 age-restricted condos, and
a 100,000-square-foot office building south of Bennett’s Farm Road.
Feb. 18, 2006 – Playing goalie
for St. Michael’s College hockey team in Vermont, Ridgefielder Kristen
Salierno breaks an NCAA record – the most saves in a game: 86. Nonetheless,
her team loses, 9-2, to Manhattanville.
Feb. 26, 2006 – Bishop William
Lori blesses the new organ at St. Mary’s Church. There’s also a concert in
Feb. 27, 2006 – Julie Sullivan
announces her retirement as principal of Ridgebury School.
March 2006 – Uranium is
discovered in a well serving 14 houses on Acre Lane and plans begin to provide
an Aquarion water line to the street.
March 2006 – Phyllis
Paccadolmi, who worked at the Ridgefield Library 53 years, dies at the age of
76. When she began in 1946, the library had two employees. When she retired in
1999, it had 18.
March 4, 2006 – Pulitzer
Prize-winning author Frank McCourt charms an audience of 500 people at the
March 7, 2006 – RHS basketball
Coach Ray Bielizna resigns amid allegations that he deliberately didn’t use
his best players for much of the final regular-season game against Bassick Feb.
22, resulting in a loss that dropped Ridgefield into a less tough tournament
category where it stood a better chance of doing well. The coach denies the
charges. His team backs him at a school board meeting. Two weeks later, school
administrators refuse to accept his resignation and he returns for another
March 15, 2006 – Former
Probate Judge Reed F. Shields dies at 85.
March 28, 2006 – Sunset Hall,
an 18,000-square-foot mansion built in 1912 on Old West Mountain Road, is placed
on the auction block by the owners, but no one bids enough. It had been on the
market for $11.5 million.
March 31, 2006 – After
learning he was not selected as the new fire chief, Assistant Chief Nick Gaeta
has an angry confrontation with First Selectman Rudy Marconi. The next day, the
selectmen call the behavior unacceptable, and tell him he can resign or take an
unpaid leave of absence. He retires. Later, he appeals his treatment. [The case
is still in litigation in September 2008.]
Spring 2006 – Two
Little Girls in Blue, a suspense novel by best-selling author Mary Higgins
Clark that is set in Ridgefield, is published by Simon & Schuster. The
author later speaks here.
April 6, 2006 – Town historian
Richard E. Venus, former postmaster and selectman, dies at the age of 91. His
365 Press columns, “Dick’s Dispatch,” tell the history of Ridgefield in
much of the 20th Century.
April 23, 2006– Matthew S.
Turley, a 21-year-old Ridgefield High School graduate doing mission work in
Argentina for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is struck by a
car and killed.
May 2006 – The housing market
in Ridgefield is “softening.” A total of 233 houses are on the market
compared to 149 the previous May.
May 2006 – Zeus, the police
department’s new dog, goes on patrol, sniffing for drugs and helping to find
lost people. His handler is Officer Shawn Murray.
May 8, 2006 – Heather Burford
takes over as the new fire chief. She is the first female fire chief in the
state and heads an all-male department.
May 9, 2006 – Only 18.6% of
the voters turn out to pass town and school budgets, totaling $111 million and
raising taxes 3.5%.
May 18, 2006 – The town’s
Emergency Planning Committee meets to consider “what happens in case of an
avian flu pandemic.”
May 22, 2006 – Two women who
have taught here for years are named principals: Elizabeth Smith of Ridgebury
School and Julie Droller of Veterans Park. Carl Charles is named new athletic
director at the high school.
May 31, 2006 – In one of the
biggest Town Meetings in many years, more than 700 people turn out and vote 531
to 194 to approve a controlled deer hunt on town properties.
June 2006 – The venerable
Limestone Service Station begins selling Irving gas, made in Canada and cheaper
than any other brand in town.
June 2006 – Superior Court
approves 50 multifamily units at the old Red Lion site, overturning
Ridgefield’s rejection because 15 of the units will be affordable housing.
June 2006 – The widening of
Route 7 north causes many traffic jams and irate motorists.
June 4, 2006 – More than 1,000
parishioners gather in Ballard Park to celebrate the 125th
anniversary of St. Mary’s Parish.
June 5, 2006 – William T.
Peatt Jr., a builder, contractor and Realtor in Ridgefield who for many years
ran Peatt’s Resort on Lake Mamanasco, dies at 80.
June 7, 2006 – Mary Creagh
dies at 97. She had attended the one-room schoolhouses at Starrs Plain and
Limestone, was a member of the last class to graduate from Hamilton High School
on Bailey Avenue in 1925, and taught in the Ridgefield schools from 1933 until
June 9, 2006 – A motorist
almost hits a bear crossing West Mountain Road.
June 13, 2006 – Heather
Burford is sworn in as fire chief.
June 21, 2006 – Edwin B. Allan
is Rotary’s Citizen of the Year.
June 25, 2006 – Victoria
Howell, 12, photographs a Black Bear on her family’s back porch on Flat Rock
June 26, 2006 – The town
begins improving Cain’s Hill Road, probably the steepest old road in heavy use
June 29-July 1, 2006 – The
town celebrates the 225th anniversary of the encampment of
Rochambeau’s troops in Ridgebury with a ball, re-enactments, a concert,
speakers, exhibits, and a Mass in a meadow, celebrated by Bishop Lori.
Summer 2006 – A new Little
League practice field is built on town land off Shadow Lake Road.
July 2006 – Dianna Lindsay,
high school principal, takes a job in Virginia.
July 2006 – Paying town
property taxes online begins.
July 2006 – Pond’s Edge
Professional Park, mostly medical offices, opens in the old
Benrus/Perkin-Elmer/Silicon Valley Group building on Route 7.
July 2006 – A townwide
property revaluation begins.
July 26, 2006 – The selectmen
name Kay Ables as town historian.
August 2006 – The Ridgefield
Symphony Orchestra terminates the contract of 10-year director Sidney Rothstein,
who had suffered a stroke. Mr. Rothstein sues.
August 2006 – The state
Department of Environmental Protection says bow hunting will be allowed at
Bennett’s Pond state park.
Aug. 3, 2006 – Olinto
“Lynce” Carboni, a multisport star in his youth and a dancer into his 90s,
dies at 97. He had worked for the school system until he was 91.
Aug. 5, 2006 – Albert Gaeta,
former fire chief, police commissioner, and plumber, dies at 80.
Aug. 8, 2006 – Anti-war
challenger Ned Lamont outpolls U.S. Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, 3 to 2, among
Ridgefield Democrats in the state primary. Lamont wins statewide, but by a
Aug. 9, 2006 – The selectmen
agree that instead of a new police station, the town should renovate and enlarge
the existing one.
Aug. 12, 2006 – The 100th
anniversary edition of the Nutmeg Festival takes place at St. Stephen’s
Church. The fair began in 1906.
Aug. 29, 2006– Bob Fortunato
lives up to his name when he wins $1.7 million in the Connecticut Lottery.
Aug. 31, 2006 – The Odd
Fellows sell their hall on King Lane to Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist
Church, which renovates it into a chapel and other facilities.
September 2006 – Because of a
mold problem, the high school library closes for eight days. The fix costs
September 2006 – The schools
begin using ConnectED, a system that can notify parents in an emergency, calling
up to 25,000 phones in three minutes.
September 2006 – 50 Coins, a
restaurant, opens off Main Street.
Sept. 1, 2006 – For the first
time in 17 years, the school year’s first head-count has found fewer students
than were there the year before – a total of 5,492, compared to 5,540 on Oct.
Sept. 1, 2006 – The Rev. John
Heeckt becomes minister of the Ridgebury Congregational Church.
Sept. 5, 2006 – Construction
begins on the new Boys and Girls Club, a $6-million project.
Sept. 6, 2006 – A Town Meeting
accepts the donation of 17 acres off Hickory Lane from the Bard family. Dr.
Harry Bard, Ridgefield school superintendent from 1924 to 1928, bought it in
Sept. 12, 2006 – The
Ridgefield Library reveals expansion plans that call for tearing down the old
Ridgefield Playhouse/Webster Bank building it owns.
Oct. 25, 2006 – Four
Ridgefield Marines, who went to Iraq together, arrive back home after seven
months of service. They are Corporal Anthony Ippoliti, Lance Corporal Frederick
Lohse, Lance Corporal Juan Ocampos and Lance Corporal Jon Olbrych.
November 2006 – Connecticut
Magazine again rates Ridgefield the number one town in its population class,
citing in particular its low crime rate and top rating for
“leisure/culture.” The crime rating was the lowest the magazine had found
since it started ranking towns in 1992.
November 2006 – Keith Jones,
who has written two books of Ridgefield history, one covering the farmers of
Farmingville and the other, the Battle of Ridgefield, reports he is moving to
Nov. 7, 2006 – Voters approve
charter changes that among other things lengthen the terms of the first
selectman and selectmen from two to four years.
Nov. 7, 2006 – In the
election, Gov. M. Jodi Rell, U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman (running as an
independent), and Congressman Christopher Shays all win by comfortable margins
Nov. 9, 2006 – Media flood
Peaceable Hill Road to cover the felling of this year’s Rockefeller Center
Christmas Tree on the Robert Kinnaird property.
Nov. 15, 2006 – The first
town-sponsored deer hunt begins at Hemlock Hills preserve.
Nov. 13, 2006 – Teachers agree
to a 3% a year pay raise for three years.
Nov. 14, 2006 – A 17-year-old
Ridgefield boy dies of an apparent suicide, and his parents charge that drugs
obtained at school led to the death. Officials vow to boost the battle against
December 2006 –
Deborah Ann’s Sweet Shoppe moves from near the Ancient Mariner, where
it started eight years earlier, to 381 Main Street, once the site of several
Dec. 11, 2006 – Responding to
concerns about drugs in school, the Board of Education decides to allow the
police dog to sniff high school lockers.
Dec. 19, 2006 – The town’s
first deer hunt ends; 25 are killed over about two months.
Dec. 27, 2006 – Scott Mullin
photographs myrtle blooming in his front yard as the weather continues to be
Dec. 30, 2006 – Charles F. Meffley, who chaired the committees that built Scotland and Branchville Schools, dies at 84.
2007 –The Ridgefield Film
Commission is created to woo moviemakers here.
January 2007 – Town officials
are talking about a parking garage to boost spaces at Branchville Station, but
concede it’s not apt to happen soon.
Jan. 2, 2007 – Superintendent
Kenneth Freeston announces he will retire in one year, but soon changes his mind
and becomes superintendent in North Salem, N.Y.
Jan. 10, 2007 – The selectmen
decide not to spend $1.3 million on 1.2 acres next to the police station, and
the Leary property is eventually developed for apartments.
Jan. 15, 2007 – Longtime
community volunteer Frank Lancaster receives the Spirit of Dr. King Ridgefield
Community Service Award.
Jan. 21, 2007 – National
Public Radio journalist Scott Simon speaks at the Playhouse in a benefit for
Jan. 21, 2007 – A 78-year-old
Ridgefield man is arrested for unlawfully discharging a firearm after shooting
himself in the foot while apparently trying to bag a raccoon.
Jan. 25, 2007 – Walgreens
confirms it plans to become the town’s fifth pharmacy. In summer/fall 2008,
the old A&P/CVS building at Danbury Road and Grove Street is razed and the
new Walgreens building erected.
Jan. 29, 2007 – William
Peeler, who led the Toys for Tots program from a small local operation to a
regional effort that distributes tens of thousands of toys each Christmas, dies
at 77. His wife, who helped the effort, had died June 21, 2006.
Jan. 30, 2007 – State Rep.
John Frey is named a member of the Republican National Committee.
Jan. 31, 2007 –Jeff Jaslow, a
longtime staff member, is appointed principal of Ridgefield High School.
February 2007 – Realtors find
a glut of “inventory,” but also are hopeful for a rebound in the housing
market. It doesn’t happen.
February 2007 – George
Harrison, owner for 16 years, announces he is closing the Ridgefield Photo Shop.
The 60-year-old business is a victim of the digital age.
Feb. 5, 2007 – A fire destroys
the Monahan home on Seth Low Mountain Road.
Feb 22, 2007 – John Katz,
longtime planning and zoning commissioner and youth advocate, explains why he
always wears black: “It’s
intellectual laziness,” he says. “I don’t
want to bother picking out colors.”
March 2007 – Chad Cohen sells
the Chez Lenard hot dog stand to Ridgefield native Michael Principi.
March 2007 – Air Age, which
had leased office space in the Venus Building, moves to Wilton. Dairyland USA,
also known as The Chef’s Warehouse, soon moves its headquarters to the space.
March 2007 – Police officials
tell the selectmen they want a 7,200-square-foot addition to the 100-year-old
police station. Cost is estimated at $5 million.
March 2007 – A campaign begins
to convince the TV show, Extreme Makeover Home Edition, to rebuild the home of
EJ Carfi, a fourth grader at Veterans Park School who has a rare skin disease so
severe that a touch can give him a blister. When the TV show picks someone else,
the community rallies, raises money and has the project done in the spring of
March 2007 – Some parents
complain about the use of An Inconvenient
Truth, Al Gore’s movie on global warming, in a high school course.
March 2007– The town
basketball tournament, a mid-March tradition since 1977, dies for lack of
March 5, 2007 – “We’re
having a period of enlightenment, where people are becoming more aware of the
risks that are out there,” Ridgefield economist Nick Perna tells PBS’s The
News Hour, commenting on the Feb. 27 stock market plunge.
March 11, 2007 – A Ridgefield
father is arrested for breach of the peace and disorderly conduct after grabbing
an eight-year-old hockey player by the collar, shaking him and screaming at him
after a championship game ends.
March 14, 2007 – Assistant
Superintendent Michael Hibbard confirms he’s quitting to join Superintendent
Kenneth Freeston as a North Salem school administrator [see Jan. 2,
March 19, 2007 – A 19-year-old
Bedford, N.Y., driver is sentenced to prison for the death of his passenger,
17-year-old Michael Plunkett of Ridgefield, in a December 2005 car crash in
Bedford. The Bedford teenager was allegedly driving under the influence of drugs
at the time, and a month later, was arrested for drunken driving after another
crash the seriously injured another passenger.
March 20, 2007 – Secretary of
the State Susan Bysiewicz demonstrates the new optical scanning voting machine
to students at Ridgefield High School.
March 23, 2007 – Pauline
Frulla Moylan, longtime Republican registrar of voters who had been one of the
town’s first girl scouts, dies at 83.
April 2, 2007 – The school
board narrows its superintendent search to Deborah Low, who is assistant
superintendent for curriculum and instruction in Wilton.
April 12, 2007 – Dr. David E.
Weingast of Main Street, superintendent of schools from 1967 to 1977 and author
of four books of history, dies at the age of 94.
April 16, 2007 – In what is
called the worst flooding since 1955, the Norwalk River overflows its banks in
many places along Route 7 and sweeps away the long-famous Branchville antiques
shop that had straddled the river for 75 years. With just over five inches of
rain having fallen Sunday night and Monday in already rain-soaked Ridgefield,
dams burst at Stonehenge Inn and Woodcock Nature Center. Some roads are closed
for two days, and the state is eventually declared a disaster area.
April 17, 2007 – Gov. M. Jodi
Rell helps the town break ground on 20 units of affordable housing on Prospect
Ridge. In the past 33 years, the state has helped Ridgefield provide 140 units
of subsidized housing, including these.
April 17, 2007– None of the 10
Ridgefield students who attend Virginia Tech University is injured when a gunman
kills 32 students and faculty.
May 2007 – Newsweek magazine
ranks Ridgefield High School 440th in the nation, third in
Connecticut, and first in Fairfield County for academic quality. The ranking is
based largely on the number of students taking advanced placement courses.
May 1, 2007 – Eureka V applies
for a 509 unit housing development on its 153 acres south of Bennett’s Farm
Road. It would include affordable units and cover 55 acres, leaving 98 acres for
May 3, 2007 – Developer Jerry
Tuccio, who built more than 1,000 houses in Ridgefield over 25 years, announces
he plans to give $125,000 to help five of his developments refurbish recreation
May 14, 2007 – The Ridgefield
Library receives an anonymous $1 million gift for its building campaign.
May 15, 2007 – For the annual
budget referendum, optical scan voting machines are used in Ridgefield for the
first time. Only 19% of the eligible voters turn out, and while they approve the
budgets and planning for a police station addition, they reject a $1.4-million
proposal to improve Onalfo field.
May 16, 2007 – A
“microburst” with winds near hurricane strength hits town late in the
afternoon, felling countless trees and wires, closing more than 60 roads, and
leaving thousands without power for up to three days. Downed trees trap 15 to 20
school buses that are delivering elementary pupils to their homes, but no one is
May 28, 2007 – The Memorial
Day parade uses a new route – from Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church,
as usual, straight up Main Street to Ballard Park. In recent years, it had
turned east on Prospect Street, marched down East Ridge and over Market Street
to the Community Center. The route is deemed too long and steep, especially for
older marchers. Post-parade ceremonies now take place in the park instead of at
the Community Center. Keynote speaker is Paul Bucha, who received the
Congressional Medal of Honor for valor in the Vietnam War.
May 31, 2007 – Matthew
Gabriele, an East Ridge Middle School seventh grader, makes it to the quarter
finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.
June 2007 – Dr. Lyn Merrill,
principal of Farmingville School and a 33-year staff member here, retires, but
later in the year is elected a member of the Board of Education.
June 2007 – Barlow Mountain
Principal Patricia Michael is named the new assistant superintendent of
curriculum and instruction, replacing Dr. Michael Hibbard.
June 3, 2007 – Ridgefield’s
first triathlon takes place as 250 people swim a half mile across Great Pond,
bicycle 15 miles through Ridgebury, and run 3.4 miles to end up at Veterans Park
June 13, 2007 – A federal jury
finds First Selectman Rudy Marconi violated Edward Tuccio’s First Amendment
right to petition the government, by refusing to meet with him about a
development plan. The jury fines him $1. Mr. Marconi appeals and the verdict is
overturned [see Oct. 25, 2007].
June 13, 2007 – Michael Ryer,
Realtor and longtime community volunteer, is named Rotary Club Citizen of the
June 20, 2007 – Neighbors
oppose a postal plan to put more parking spaces next to the post office,
demolishing a 100-year-old house in the process.
June 21, 2007 – Developer
Edward Tuccio, who sued Rudy Marconi, announces he will run against Mr. Marconi
for first selectman. Mr. Tuccio fails to get any backing and eventually drops
June 21, 2007 – Hersam Acorn
Newspapers, publisher of The Ridgefield Press and seven other community
newspapers, announces it will buy 11 more newspapers, plus two printing plants
and other publications.
June 24, 2007 – 417 Ridgefield
High School seniors graduate.
June 25 & 27, 2007 – The
last men’s and women’s monthly dinners are held at the Italian American
Club, which is closing its banquet hall and leasing the space to Nature’s
Temptations, a health food store.
June 25, 2007 – The Connecticut General Assembly votes to
name stretches of highway in Ridgefield for two prominent citizens, the late
Dick Venus and the late Liz Leonard. West Lane from the fountain to the Little
Red Schoolhouse (Route 35) would be the Richard E. Venus Memorial Highway and
North Salem Road from Barlow Mountain Road to the New York State line (Route
116) would be the Elizabeth M. Leonard Memorial Highway.
June 28, 2007 – HSBC, the Hong
Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp., announces plans to open a branch at 108 Danbury
Road [the old Duchess Restaurant].
July 1, 2007 – Deborah Low begins work as school
July 3, 2007– Gino Torcellini,
who had managed Silver Spring Country Club for 40 years and was a longtime town
treasurer, dies at 88.
July 5, 2007 – School board
member Scott Mason confirms he is running for first selectman on the Republican
Aug. 24, 2007 – Martin Lawrence and Raven-Symone shoot
scenes for the film, College Road Trip,
at the Community Center.
Sept. 4, 2007 – A lone man robs the Citibank office at
the north end of Main Street; it’s Ridgefield first bank robbery since 1984.
The robber is caught several weeks later, after a car crash following a bank
robbery in Monroe.
Sept. 11, 2007 – Jeanne Timpanelli, a founder of the
Ridgefield Historical Society who led the effort to save the 18th Century Scott
house and move it to Sunset Lane to become the home of the new Ridgefield
Historical Society, dies at 83.
Oct. 2, 2007 – Aldo “Squash” Travaglini dies at 93. His nickname became part of the local vernacular from his 66 years working on Main Street, 36 of them as owner of the Ridgefield News Store.
Oct. 11, 2007 – Two and a half years after the fire that
destroyed the Bissell building on Main Street, works is ready to proceed,
Oct. 13, 2007 – The new Ridgefield Boys and Girls Club on
Governor Street, complete with an outdoor pool, has its grand opening.
Oct. 19, 2007 – Branchville Elementary School Principal
Jason McKinnon, who is the town’s first Australian school administrator,
passes the test and becomes an American citizen, to the delight of his fifth
grade study partners.
Oct. 25, 2007 – A federal
judge dismisses a jury verdict in a suit against First Selectman Rudy Marconi
and the town, brought by Edward Tuccio who claimed his civil rights were
violated. Judge Peter Dorsey said Mr. Tuccio’s claim had no basis in law.
Nov. 6, 2007 – With more than 70% of the vote, Rudy
Marconi is re-elected to his fifth term as first selectman, defeating Scott
Mason. It is the first four-year term under the new charter provisions. It is
also the first town election in which Ridgefielders vote with optical scan
equipment rather than the old mechanical style lever machines.
Nov. 17, 2007 – The Ridgefield High School boys varsity
soccer team wins the Class LL state title; it was the third championship in
program history, the first since 1984.
Nov. 28, 2007 – After more than a year of battling over
ponies kept on a small Abbott Avenue lot, a Town Meeting approves an ordinance
prohibiting people from keeping livestock on plots of land of less than one-half
Dec. 6, 2007 – Hudson City Savings Bank of New Jersey announces plans to open what will be Ridgefield’s 16th banking office; it will be the 12th banking corporation to have a presence in the town.
Dec. 13, 2007 – The donation of five Tasers to the
Ridgefield Police Department by an anonymous donor kicks up a ruckus, with some
selectman arguing that a private donation was driving public policy. The police
keep the Tasers, which had been cut from several previous budget requests.
Dec. 18, 2007 – The Planning and Zoning Commission
refuses to prohibit first floor office space in the Central Business District.
Jan. 6, 2008 – More than 1,400 people attend the opening
party for the Ridgefield 300th celebration. The event in the
Community Center includes many exhibits, actors as historic personages, and even
ice sculptures (which soon melted in the above-average January weather).
Feb. 11, 2008 – Pizza Hut on Danbury Road closes, making
no announcement and no explanation.
Feb. 26, 2008 – Dr. Peter Yanity, former selectman and
founder of youth sports programs, who practiced dentistry in Ridgefield for 49
years, dies at 81.
March 1, 2008 – The Governor’s Ball at the Community
Center is part of the 300th Anniversary Celebration. Named for
Governor Phineas Lounsbury, who built the center as his home, the event is also
attended by current governor, M. Jodi Rell.
April 23, 2008 – As the subprime mortgage losses mount
nationwide, Ridgefield’s pension fund has seen an 8.5% drop and town officials
consider suing the management firm that put town money into a riskier fund than
the Pension Commission had approved.
May 10, 2008 – The new music director of the Ridgefield
Symphony is named. Gerald Steichen is one of four finalists who conducted the
orchestra in the 2007-08 season.
May 15, 2008 – With a run up in gas prices to $4 and more
per gallon, Ridgefielders begin changing their driving habits, somewhat.
May 16, 2008 – The Field of Flags, 4,576 small American
flags, is placed on the lawn of the First Congregational Church to pay tribute
to the members of the U.S. military forces who have died in Iraq and
Afghanistan. The memorial, which moves from church to church, and sadly, grows,
remains in Ridgefield till July 6.
May 25, 2008 – Museum in the Streets is dedicated. The 30
illustrated historical plaques have been erected throughout the village and in
Branchville and Ridgebury.
June 7, 2008 – Thanks to the donations of money,
materials and labor by hundreds of Ridgefielders and others, E.J. Carfi, his
mother, Jodi, dad, George, and sister, Carina, move into their rebuilt home,
which has special facilities to ease life for E.J., 11, who suffers from a rare
disease that makes his skin incredibly fragile.
June 13, 2008 – Ridgefield gets its first Farmers Market,
a place where local growers will gather weekly to sell locally grown produce and
June 26, 2008 – As the price of fuel oil hits $5 a
gallon, town zoning officials consider regulating wood-burning furnaces.
July 4, 2008 – Rabbi Eric Eisenkramer conducts his first
Shabbat service as the new spiritual leader of Temple Shearith Israel. Rabbi Jon
Haddon, who retired after 21 years at the temple, remains as Rabbi Emeritus.
July 5, 2008 – Ridgefield celebrates its 300th birthday
with a parade featuring 10 marching bands and 29 floats, a town fair, an
old-fashioned game of base ball, and a concert by the Air Force Band. Despite
torrential downpours the night before (after the July 4 fireworks had ended), it
does not rain on Ridgefield’s parade and the only people who get wet are the
ballplayers sliding for catches on a saturated Veterans Park field.
July 21, 2008 – Theodore “Ted” Kunst, 54, drowns in
Pierrepont Pond after his kayak overturns; officials believe he became entangled
in the heavy weeds.
July 31, 2008 – Joining the trend in retail, the
Ridgefield Library begins offering Express Checkout. Patrons use a special touch
screen to scan their library cards and items they wish to take home.
Aug. 13, 2008 – The Board of Selectmen declines to change
the name of Pump Lane to Somerset Place.
Aug. 27, 2008 – Ridgefielder Paul Bucha, a Congressional
Medal of Honor winner for service in Vietnam, leads the Pledge of Allegiance at
the Democratic National Convention, which nominates Barack Obama for President.
Mr. Bucha is a national security and veterans affairs adviser to Senator Obama.
Sept. 2, 2008 – A moose visits Ridgefield; it’s sighted
near Route 7 and days later are photographed in the backyard of a Great Hill
Road home. The roaming moose possibly meets its fate three weeks later when one
is killed on I-684 in neighboring Lewisboro, N.Y., causing a nine-car pile-up.
Sept. 4, 2008 – Ridgefield schools now employ video
security and intercom buzzers to control who enters the building; the school
board discusses even more security, in the form of a computerized “visitor
management” system, which would require visitors to provide a photo ID for
Sept. 12, 2008 – Police Chief Richard J. Ligi dies
suddenly at age 60. He joined the force in 1967 as a clerk, when he was too
young to carry a gun, and rose through the ranks before being appointed chief in
Sept. 17, 2008 – Mike Principi, owner of the Chez Lénard
hot dog cart on Main Street, gets a chance to serve a special hot dog creation
to domestic doyenne Martha Stewart during her television show.
Sept. 28, 2008 – Hundreds of people attend a three-hour
party, with exhibits, marking the end of Ridgefield’s 300th
birthday celebration that began in January.
Oct. 1, 2008 – The State Highway Department announces it must close lower Branchville Road for two months in order to repair a retaining wall at Greims Pond, an old quarry.