Stories

Danbury Hits Mach 8: Westerners Cruise to Best Win of the Season

<p>It was a balmy 75 degrees for first pitch Friday night as the Danbury Westerners took on the Valley Blue Sox in Holyoke, Massachusetts.&nbsp;</p><p><br></p><p>Alex Mach got the nod for Danbury against Valley’s Matt Lauria. Mach, the right hander out of UCONN Avery Point, toes the slab for just his second start of the season, his first on the road.&nbsp;</p><p><br></p><p>It was an ambush from Danbury in the top half of the first. Leadoff man Jakobi Davis got things started with a base hit to right field, stealing second base quickly thereafter. With one out and Davis leading off third, Matthew Bucciero worked a walk and stole second, drawing an errant throw and moving to third behind the scoring Davis 1-0 our score.</p><p><br></p><p>Mach pitched through a scoreless half of the first, allowing a walk and collecting his first strike out. The inning ended with a sparkler from second baseman Ryan Preisano, diving to his left to stab a hard hit ground ball.&nbsp;</p><p><br></p><p>Roman DiGiacomo led off Danbury’s second inning by turning around a 1-1 pitch, shooting a line drive single into right field. His first hit of the game, DiGiacomo’s single was the start of a great night for the right fielder: a night that would finish 4-5 with two doubles, two runs scored, and five runs batted in.</p><p><br></p><p>Mach found himself in a pickle in the bottom half of the 2nd, facing a bases loaded jam with just one out. Looking to wriggle out of trouble, Mach dialed up the fastball for a humongous strikeout, completing his Houdini act with a fly ball out to the warning track. Mach hangs a zero, Westies hit the sticks with a lead intact.</p><p><br></p><p>Danbury tacked on three runs in the third, courtesy of a pair of doubles from Lorenzo Rios and DiGiacomo. Rios’ double came first, a screaming 100 mph missile to the base of the wall in right. DiGiacomo’s two-bagger cashed in a pair of runs, inning ends 4-0.</p><p><br></p><p>The next smattering of runs came in the top half of the fifth and seventh. Kobe Mentzer, DiGiacomo, and Rios all doubled - driving in a combined five of Danbury’s six runs in the innings.&nbsp;</p><p><br></p><p>Coach Connor Farrell’s decision to bat Bucciero and Rios back-to-back continues to pay dividends, as the pair produced five runs between them Friday night (2 RBI, 3 R). &nbsp;</p><p><br></p><p>Danbury was cruising on defense, riding Alex Mach’s explosive arm through eight terrific frames. Undoubtedly the most Mach-nificent start by a Westerner this season, Mach surrendered just four hits, one walk, and a hit batsman to eight innings of seven strikeout, shutout baseball.&nbsp;</p><p><br></p><p>In a season where command and walks have been top of mind for Alex Mach, Friday night’s masterclass was the perfect storm he and the Westerners had been searching for.&nbsp;</p><p><br></p><p>“Offense got it going early, my defense made plays behind me, so I was pretty confident letting them put the ball in play” said Mach. In regards to limiting the walks, “It was pretty much mental, I was pitching to contact.” &nbsp;</p><p><br></p><p>Danbury pushed across four more runs in the eighth and ninth, none louder than Dante D’Amore’s solo home run. An opposite field blast, D’Amore crushed this one a whopping 379’ at 102 MPH.&nbsp;</p><p><br></p><p>James Riadt came on in relief in the ninth, allowing one run but holding down the Blue Sox for a phenomenal 13-1 Westerners win.</p><p><br></p><p>Your players of the game are Alex Mach and Roman DiGiacomo! Mach’s stellar night on the mound was the best start of the season by a Westerner, and his eight innings of shutout ball would play anywhere. DiGiacomo’s huge night at the bottom of the order helped Danbury turn over a lineup with some authority, a huge reason they were able to plate so many runs in the contest.&nbsp;</p>

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Danbury Non-Profit Settles Allegations of Misleading Enrollment in Head Start

<p>Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that CONNECTICUT INSTITUTE FOR THE COMMUNITIES, INC. (“CIFC”) has entered into a civil settlement agreement and has paid $85,600 to resolve allegations that two of its now-former employees falsely claimed to be homeless while enrolling their children in CIFC’s Head Start programs.</p><p>CIFC is a Danbury-based non-profit corporation that receives federal grants to operate Head Start programs in several locations in Connecticut.&nbsp;The Head Start program supports children’s growth from birth to age five through services centered around early learning and development, health, and family well-being.&nbsp;Services are available for children from birth to age three (“Early Head Start”) and ages three to five (“Head Start”) in center-based, home-based, or family child care settings.</p><p>Head Start programs are intended primarily for “children from low-income families” and “homeless children.”&nbsp;Head Start rules also permit programs to enroll children whose families are not “low income,” receiving public benefits, homeless, or in foster care, but the total number of children from such families cannot exceed 10 percent of all program slots.&nbsp;Grantees, such as CIFC, are required to verify applicants’ program eligibility and to keep paper records of those eligibility determinations.</p><p>The government alleges that, between September 4, 2013 through August 31, 2016, CIFC enrolled into its Head Start programs the children of two now-former CIFC employees – including the now-former Manager of Eligibility, Recruitment, Selection, Enrollment, and Attendance for CIFC’s Head Start programs – which were falsely documented as homeless and for which false supporting documents were created.&nbsp;The CIFC employees were not homeless.</p><p>To resolve its liability, CIFC has paid $85,600.&nbsp;CIFC received credit in the settlement for its cooperation with the government during its investigation.</p><p>The False Claims Act allegations resolved by the settlement were originally brought in a lawsuit filed by two whistleblowers under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act, which allow private parties to bring suit on behalf of the government and to share in any recovery.&nbsp;The relators (whistleblowers), former employees of CIFC, will receive $18,832 as their share of the recovery.&nbsp;The case resolved by this settlement was captioned&nbsp;<em>U.S. ex rel. Nichols et al. v. Connecticut Institute for Communities, Inc.</em>&nbsp;(Docket No. 3:20-CV-00262).</p><p>This matter was investigated by the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS-OIG) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.&nbsp;The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Gruber, with the assistance of Auditor Susan N. Spiegel.</p><p>People who suspect fraud are encouraged to report it by calling 1-800-HHS-TIPS.</p><p><em>Updated July 18, 2024</em></p><p><br></p>

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Ridgefield Playhouse announces special guests for Bernie Williams Day!

<p>Famed New York Yankees Centerfielder and guitarist extraordinaire, Bernie&nbsp;Williams,&nbsp;is back for our 8th&nbsp;Annual&nbsp;Bernie Williams Day! This longstanding Playhouse tradition features a star-studded day with celebrities from the worlds of sports and music, all to benefit the Ridgefield Playhouse’s Arts in Education program.</p><p>Purchase your tickets: <a href="https://ridgefieldplayhouse.org/event/8th-annual-bernie-williams-day" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">here</a></p><p>The day begins with a celebrity softball game at Ciuccoli&nbsp;field on the Playhouse campus with Bernie and a whole lot of special guests, preceded by an on-field ceremony to commemorate the day. During the game, the concession stand will be serving refreshments, snacks and commemorative merchandise! Plus, children (or adults – no judgement) can get their face painted for free!</p><p>Following the game will be a VIP cookout for all sponsors and VIP ticket holders. General admission attendees can head to&nbsp;<a href="https://ridgefielddimitrisdiner.com/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: var(--tec-color-link-primary); background-color: transparent;">Dimitri’s Diner</a>&nbsp;(16 Prospect St) and receive 10% off when they show their ticket!</p><p>After the cookout we’ll head indoors for an All-Star concert featuring Bernie Williams &amp; His Band of Friends. Stay tuned for special guest musician announcements. In previous years, we have welcomed musical guests GE Smith, Paul Simon, John Scofield, Paul Shaffer, Mindi Abair, and many others!</p><p>Proceeds benefit the Ridgefield Playhouse Arts in Education Program, which provides FREE educational performances, bussing, lunches, and books to thousands of students every year.</p><p><strong>Confirmed Game Guests:</strong></p><p>Mariano Rivera</p><p>Doc Gooden</p><p>Jeff Nelson</p><p>John Starks</p><p>Nick Fradiani</p><p>Nicky Cass</p><p>Jeremy Sisto</p><p>Kait Maniscalco</p><p><strong>Confirmed Musical Guests:</strong></p><p>Orianthi</p><p>Louis Cato</p><p><strong><u>Timeline</u></strong></p><p>11am Early Access Ticket Holders* | Family Friendly Activities Begin!</p><p>12pm Field Opens for Ticket Holders</p><p>1-3pm National Anthem, Check Presentation &amp; Celebrity Baseball Game</p><p>3pm BMW Sponsored VIP Cookout in Tent**</p><p>4pm Playhouse doors open for concert</p><p>5pm Indoor Concert</p><p>*Early Access Passes are limited. **Access is limited to Gold Circle Ticket Holders &amp; Event Sponsors</p><p>Please Note: Special guests will be announced periodically, and based on their schedules, are all subject to change.</p><p><strong>Thank You to Our Sponsors</strong></p><p><strong>Home Run</strong></p><p>The Donofrio Family</p><p><strong>Triple</strong></p><p>Canine Training &amp; Behavior Services, LLC</p><p>Merrill a Bank of America Co.</p><p><strong>Double</strong></p><p>BMW of Ridgefield</p><p>Durants Party Rentals</p><p>M&amp;T Bank</p><p>Carol &amp; Tom Newman</p><p>Tiger Sports</p><p><strong>Single</strong></p><p>Blue Moon</p><p>Nuvance Health</p><p>Ridgefield Rotary Club</p><p><strong>Additional Support By:</strong></p><p>Bailey’s Backyard</p><p>Bedford New Canaan Magazine</p><p>Bridge Street Premium Ice Company</p><p>Campari</p><p>Dr. Blaine Langberg</p><p>Freixenet Mionetto</p><p>Local-Insta</p><p>MBW Lawyers</p><p>The Painted Cookie</p><p>Pop Art! Kids</p><p>Town of Ridgefield</p><p>Whud Radio</p><p>&nbsp;</p>

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Whip Salon Teams up with SOAR Together for Summerfest: FREE Flower Crowns!

<p><span style="background-color: transparent; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Whip Salon Ridgefield is excited to announce that for this year's Summerfest, we are teaming up with SOAR Together to offer FREE flower crowns on Saturday, July 27th from 1-3pm. We hope you'll join us!</span></p><p><a href="https://www.mytime.com/express_checkout/138706/153623?utm_source=customer.io&amp;utm_medium=email_action&amp;utm_campaign=7%2F19%20-%20ridgefield%20only%20summerfest&amp;utm_content=main&amp;mobility=1" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="background-color: transparent; color: rgb(17, 85, 204);">Book Ridgefield Now</a></p><p><span style="background-color: transparent; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">SOAR Together’s mission is to help end epidemic levels of loneliness and social isolation through unique programs and community collaborations designed to uplift, inspire, and heal while bringing people together. SOAR (which stands for Social, Occupational, Artistic, Recreational) utilizes immersive, service-driven models to create opportunities for positive social connection through three programs: Flower Power, Social Seats, and SOAR Strolls. SOAR recently launched the Happy To Chat Collaboration across Fairfield County, a placemaking initiative including the creation of Chatty Benches and Community Tables.</span><a href="https://www.soartogetherct.org/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="background-color: transparent; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"> </a><a href="https://www.soartogetherct.org/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="background-color: transparent; color: rgb(17, 85, 204);">Learn more about SOAR Together</a><span style="background-color: transparent; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">.</span></p><p><span style="background-color: transparent; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Flower crowns will be done on a first-come, first-serve basis, but if you would like to book a hair or lash appointment, give our friendly hospitality team a ring at (203) 442-6444 or click below to book an appointment online.</span></p><p><a href="https://www.mytime.com/express_checkout/138706/153623?utm_source=customer.io&amp;utm_medium=email_action&amp;utm_campaign=7%2F19%20-%20ridgefield%20only%20summerfest&amp;utm_content=main&amp;mobility=1" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="background-color: transparent; color: rgb(17, 85, 204);">Book Ridgefield Now</a></p><p><span style="background-color: transparent; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Whip Salon Ridgefield is located at 23 Governor Street</span></p><p><span style="background-color: transparent; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Questions? Email </span><a href="mailto:ridgefield@whipsalon.com" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="background-color: transparent; color: rgb(17, 85, 204);">ridgefield@whipsalon.com</a><span style="background-color: transparent; color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"> or call (203) 442-6444</span></p>

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Join Fairfield County Bank for Insurance Day on July 26 in Danbury

<p>Fairfield County Bank Insurance is excited to host Insurance Day on July 26, 2024, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at our Danbury location, 114 Federal Road. This event is an excellent opportunity for you to learn how to protect what matters most: your home, auto, business, and life.</p><p>During Insurance Day, you will have the chance to meet our Personal Lines Insurance Advisor, Steven Monteiro. Steven will be on hand to provide personalized advice and answer any questions you may have about your insurance needs. Don't forget to bring your declaration pages for a complimentary review to ensure you have the best coverage.</p><p>In addition to valuable insurance information, refreshments will be served throughout the day. This is a great chance to enjoy some treats while gaining peace of mind about your insurance coverage.</p><p>To learn more about Insurance Day, <a href="https://www.fairfieldcountybank.com/general-information/news-events/InsuranceDayFederalRoad2024.pdf" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">click here</a>.</p><p>Join us on July 26th and take the first step towards protecting what matters most. We look forward to seeing you there!</p><p><br></p><p><br></p>

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Danbury residents named to dean's list at Tufts University

<p>Tufts University recently announced the dean's list for the Spring 2024 semester. Congratulations to Danbury residents Brooks Byrnes and Anneke Chan for making this esteemed list!</p><p>Dean's list honors at Tufts University require a semester grade point average of 3.4 or greater.</p><p>Tufts University, located on campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville and Grafton, Massachusetts, and in Talloires, France, is recognized among the premier research universities in the United States. Tufts enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions. </p>

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Fairfield County Bank Announces Ruden Report Achievement Scholarship Winners

<p class="ql-align-justify"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Fairfield County Bank is proud to announce the two recipients of the 2024 Ruden Report Achievement Scholarship, powered by Fairfield County Bank.</span></p><p class="ql-align-justify"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">The recipients are Avery Mikyska of Danbury High School and Madelaine Brooker of Ridgefield High School. The Ruden Report Achievement Scholarship, powered by Fairfield County Bank, is awarded yearly to Ruden Report student contributors based on meritorious performance, totaling $5,000.&nbsp;</span></p><p class="ql-align-justify"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Avery will attend the University of Michigan in the Fall and plans to study communication and media. Her career as a student contributor at the Ruden Report gave her the opportunity to begin working in journalism, and in-part fueled her decision to pursue a higher education associated in print media. Madelaine has accepted her admission to Florida State University to pursue a degree in nursing and is thankful for her time at the Ruden Report for helping build her interpersonal skills through sideline interviews.</span></p><p class="ql-align-justify"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Each of the recipients are graduating or current high school student contributors to the Ruden Report. Student contributors amplify the reach of the Ruden Report and can be seen on the sidelines of almost every high school sporting event in Fairfield County. “We are thrilled to support Avery and Madelaine in their college aspirations,” said Kelly Pellizzari, Fairfield County Bank Vice President and Branch Manager of the Mill Plain Road office. “Their efforts with the Ruden Report help tremendously to expand coverage of our Fairfield County high school athletes. We take great pride when our youth commits to making our community better.”</span></p><p class="ql-align-justify"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">David Ruden owns and operates the Ruden Report. Mr. Ruden has been reporting on the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference for four decades. He spent nearly 20 years with the Stamford Advocate and has freelanced for the New York Times and CBS Sports. </span></p><p class="ql-align-justify"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Fairfield County Bank is also a proud sponsor of the Ruden Report’s Player and Team of the Week.&nbsp;To learn more about the Ruden Report and how it supports Fairfield County student athletes and coaches visit&nbsp;</span><a href="https://therudenreport.com/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(0, 85, 147);">https://therudenreport.com/</a><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p><p><em>Photographed, from left to right: Avery Mikyska, Danbury High School. Kelly Pellizzari, Vice President and Branch Manager, Fairfield County Bank. Madelaine Brooker, Ridgefield High School.</em></p><p class="ql-align-justify"><br></p><p><br></p>

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