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Bipartisan RTM Approves Cooke-DaRos Settlement

by marcia chambers | Nov 25, 2014 1:34 pm

Marcia Chambers Photo In a 21-2 bipartisan vote, the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) last night approved a final legal settlement between the town and landowner Wayne Cooke that will now end Cooke’s litigation against Unk DaRos, the former first selectman, and Tax Assessor Barbara Neal.

Over the past week, the Board of Selectman (BOS), the Board of Finance (BOF), an RTM committee, and now the RTM met all met in executive session, behind closed doors to hear the town’s attorneys and the attorney for the town’s insurance carrier present a variety of legal scenarios in the event the cases went to trial. Click here to read the story.

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Town Settles Islamic School Tax Case

by marcia chambers | Nov 24, 2014 12:38 pm | Comments (4)

File Photo Tariq and Kamran Farid, owners of Edible Arrangements International, have reached a settlement with the town regarding the back taxes the town says they owe on their now abandoned Islamic Academy school property.

The school, ordered closed by the town earlier this year because it was deemed structurally unsafe for human use, lies vacant. It is located at the site of the former Pine Brook/Wightwood Elementary School at 56 Stony Creek Road and is currently for sale.

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Suspected Car Thief Injures Two Branford Police Officers

by marcia chambers | Nov 23, 2014 9:06 am

Branford Police Department A Massachusetts man with a long criminal record and a history of assaulting police officers, police said, was arrested Saturday morning and charged with assaulting two Branford police officers after they tried to take him into custody. He escaped, fled and was later captured. 

Officer Lue Sobieraj was just finishing up his night shift shortly before 8 a.m. and Officer John Casella, was into his first hour on the day shift, when they began investigating a suspicious auto then parked in the area of 738 East Main St. Police checked the license plates and found it had been stolen in Wethersfield on Wednesday.  The driver may have been asleep in the car when the two officers approached the car. They began to question him. He was later identified as Michael Lear, 46, of Hull, Mass.

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Cool Events Here and Elsewhere This Weekend

by marcia chambers | Nov 21, 2014 1:58 pm

It feels a lot like winter these days even though winter does not officially arrive until Dec. 21. However, temperatures are expected to warm up this weekend. Saturday and Sunday are great days to be outdoors. And, to be indoors as well. The weekend offers the Branford Land Trust’s annual pre-Thanksgiving Walk and inside local artists open their studios in Branford, Guilford and Madison. There’s some cool jazz too. For the fun of it, we’ve extended the weekend to Monday to include a special Home for the Holidays party at Home restaurant on Monday night. The event is to benefit the Cosgrove Animal Shelter. 

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A Village Is Born

by Diana Stricker | Nov 21, 2014 1:03 pm

Diana Stricker Photo The “village” of Stony Creek will soon become an official village. 

Branford’s Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) voted 4-1 Thursday to grant the Village District designation to the quaint seaside community. The executive board of the Stony Creek Association (SCA) asked for the designation to help protect the unique character of its community.

When the ruling goes into effect Feb. 1, an architectural review board will be created to make recommendations to P&Z regarding major renovations or sizable new construction of both residential and commercial buildings.

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BOE Approves 3-year Teachers’ Contract

by Diana Stricker | Nov 20, 2014 1:10 pm

Diana Stricker Photo A three-year agreement has been reached with Branford teachers that gives them about 3 percent salary increases each year, and requires them to enroll in a high deductible health savings plan by the third year.

The Board of Education (BOE) unanimously approved the contract Wednesday night. All nine board members were present. The Branford Education Association (BEA), which represents about 310 teachers, ratified the agreement last week.

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Finance & Select Boards Approve DaRos-Cooke Settlement

by marcia chambers | Nov 19, 2014 8:46 am

Marcia Chambers Photo The Board of Finance (BOF) and the Board of Selectmen (BOS) last night approved a $500,000 settlement to end a series of lawsuits brought by land owner Wayne Cooke against former First Selectman Unk DaRos and Tax Assessor Barbara Neal. The boards acted after learning information they said convinced them settlement was in the best interests of the town.

Each board met separately in executive session at the Community House on Church Street where Bill Aniskovich, the town attorney, and Thomas R. Gerarde, the town’s insurance attorney, outlined in private the issues, the various scenarios and their reasons for settlement.

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Town Attorney Strikes Out With SCA

by Diana Stricker | Nov 18, 2014 10:03 am | Comments (2)

Sam Stricker Photo UPDATE NOV. 18—The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) voted 5-0 Tuesday night in support of the permit that was issued by Branford’s Zoning Enforcement Officer to the Legacy Theatre. This means the Legacy may go forward with its plans to renovate the former Puppet House.

It also means the appeal by the Stony Creek Association (SCA) was denied. “I’m not surprised, but I am disappointed,” SCA chair Dan Bullard told the Eagle following the meeting.

The Tenant Fit-Up permit allows the Legacy group to proceed with interior renovations to the former Puppet House. There is a possibility that the SCA could file an appeal of the ZBA decision.

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Town Eyes Transit Grant for Future Development

by Diana Stricker | Nov 18, 2014 8:23 am

Branford is hoping to develop a comprehensive plan for commercial and residential areas near the soon-to-be-completed expansion of the Shoreline East Train Station.

Town Planner Jose Giner submitted an application Friday for a $200,000 state grant to conduct a Transit Oriented Development (TOD) study of the area. The grants are administered by the state’s Office of Planning and Management. (OPM). Decisions about the grants are expected to be made in December. The study area would include neighborhoods such as Meadow Street, Montowese Street, the Fourth Ward, and the Branford Landing Marina.

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Wang Jury Selection Slated For April

by marcia chambers | Nov 17, 2014 8:29 am

Fille Photo Jury selection in the trial of Dr. Lishan Wang is expected to get underway in April, roughly five years to the month since Dr. Wang is accused of gunning down Dr. Vanjinder Toor outside his Branford condo. Dr. Wang is accused of killing Dr. Toor a few years after a workplace dispute that ended Dr. Wang’s medical career.

Senior Superior Court Judge Thomas V. O’Keefe, Jr., the newly assigned trial judge in the case, asked Dr. Wang in court Friday if April would work for jury selection. Dr. Wang, who is indigent and is representing himself, said, “April sounds good.” 

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