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answerbook.2011
the ridgefield press special section

2 • ridgefield answerbook

august 18, 2011

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august 18, 2011

Table of Contents
Complete index on pages 78-79 History ........................................................................6 Demographics..........................................................11 Government.............................................................14 Town Officials ..........................................................24 Schools .....................................................................26 Public Services .........................................................35 Map of Ridgefield Points of Interest .....................39 Property Issues .........................................................43 Utilities .....................................................................47 Emergency Services .................................................48 Religion ....................................................................53 Health ......................................................................54 Senior Citizens .........................................................61 Children & Teens .....................................................63 Recreation................................................................65 Entertainment .........................................................68 Clubs & Organizations ............................................70 Media .......................................................................72 Business ....................................................................73 Food & Shopping ....................................................74 Transportation .........................................................75 Pets & Animals.........................................................76 Ridgefield Web Sites ...............................................79

Published annually by Hersam Acorn Newspapers as a special section of The Ridgefield Press. Copies are also available at real estate offices, town hall and Chamber of Commerce. For additional copies, call 203-438-6544. Contents are online at TheRidgefield-Press.com. Thomas B. Nash, publisher Gregg Bartlett, editor Mary Anne Hersam, vice president of sales Laurie Campbell, account executive Cover photo by Ian Murren Cover design by Ian Murren Map by David Raabe

Please send updates, ideas, or corrections to: answerbook@acorn-online.com

©2011 Hersam Acorn Newspapers 16 Bailey Avenue, Ridgefield, Conn., 06877

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ridgefield answerbook • 5

6 • ridgefield answerbook

History

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When was the town founded and by whom? Coastal land for farming was becoming scarce at the turn of the 18th Century, and Norwalk residents looked to the north for new fields to plow. On Sept. 30, 1708, Chief Catoonah, a Ramapoo Indian, deeded about 20,000 acres in exchange for 100 pounds of Connecticut currency to 32 colonists, mostly from Norwalk. Ridgefield was officially created a year later by the General Assembly. In 1714, it received a town patent from Queen Anne of England. Where did the name come from? Ridgefield was named for the several north-south ridges running near the center of town. What are some historic points of interest? Remnants of American Indian settlements have been found in several areas of town, some thousands of years old. The best known are along northern Main Street, at Lake Mamanasco, and along the Norwalk River. The Keeler Tavern Museum on Main Street, a historic stopping place for weary travelers, has been restored and is now a museum depicting life in the town’s Revolutionary War period (see below). In April 1777, the British invaded the town on the way from Danbury to the sea. Battles took place along North Salem Road and near Casagmo on Main Street, where a monument marks the burying place of several British and American soldiers. General Benedict Arnold’s horse was shot out from under him on upper Main Street. Several dozen mills existed in Ridgefield over its nearly three centuries, and some still stand on Saw Mill Hill Road, but are now private homes. The town has been home to many artists and writers, includ-

ing playwrights Eugene O’Neill and Clare Boothe Luce, and Ms. Luce’s husband, Time/Life chief Henry Luce. Artist J. Alden Weir’s home at Nod Hill Road and Pelham Lane is part of Connecticut’s first national park, Weir Farm. A permanent installation that came about as part of Ridgefield’s 300th anniversary activities in 2008 is the Museum in the Streets, a network of 30 plaques with pictures and stories of Ridgefield history. They are arranged in a way to provide an interesting walk around town. A printed guide is available at town hall and the Chamber of Commerce. It may also be downloaded from ridgefield300.org/museum. What’s the story behind that old school on West Lane? The “Little Red” Schoolhouse at the corner of West Lane and South Salem Road is also known as the Peter Parley Schoolhouse or the West Lane Schoolhouse. The school, built between 1750 and 1760 and used until 1915, was named after Samuel Goodrich, who wrote under the pen name of Peter Parley. He attended the school from 1799 to 1803 and wrote his “Parley Tales” based on his experiences at school. He went on to become a school book publisher and is considered by some to be the father of the modern textbook. The Ridgefield Garden Club restored the school and offers open houses on a few summer Sunday afternoons with garden club volunteers. These are announced in The Ridgefield Press. As this Answerbook was going to press, an arrangement was being worked out to have the Ridgefield Historical Society take over the stewardship of the West Lane schoolhouse. The garden club planned to continue to take care of the landscaping. What are the oldest houses in town? The oldest known home was built in 1712 or 1713 for the

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august 18, 2011

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8 • ridgefield answerbook

History

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Rev. Thomas Hauley, a Harvard graduate who served as minister from 1714 until 1735. It stands at the corner of Main Street and Branchville Road. Where did the fountain on Main Street come from? The fountain was designed by the world-renowned architect Cass Gilbert around 1915, when he lived in the Keeler Tavern on Main Street. He gave the fountain to the town in honor of his wife. Mr. Gilbert is probably best known for his designs of the U.S. Supreme Court building and Woolworth Building, among others. Are there any town histories? The Keeler Tavern Museum tells the story of the property from its earliest days as a farmhouse through its years as a tavern, hotel and wealthy family’s estate. The book, with 52 pages of color photographs and text, may be purchased for $10 at the museum gift shop. The museum also published A View from the Inn, the diaries of Anna Ressiguie, who lived at Keeler Tavern in the mid1800s. It offers a fascinating view of mid-19th Century life in Ridgefield. The price is $36 at the museum. For details, call 203-438-5485. The Postcard History Series edition on Ridgefield 1900-1950 is by Ridgefield Press Editor Jack Sanders. Published in 2003, copies are available for sale at Books on the Common, Ridgefield Hardware, and the Chamber of Commerce among other places, or by calling 1-888-313-2665. The price is $19.99. Farmers Against the Crown is a comprehensive account of the Revolutionary War Battle in Ridgefield, April 27, 1777, by Keith Marshall Jones III, published in 2002. Also by Mr. Jones is The Farms of Farmingville, published in 2001. It is a 200year history of 23 surviving farmhouses in Ridgefield and the families who lived in them. Published by Connecticut Colonel Publishing Company, the book may be purchased for $34.95 at the Keeler Tavern Museum, Books on the Common, and Squash’s. George L. Rockwell’s History of Ridgefield, available at bookstores and the Keeler Tavern Museum in a reprint edition, was originally published in 1928 and covers the town from 1708 to around 1920. Its 583 pages include many old photos. The book is $35 at Keeler Tavern Museum. Ridgefield in Review, Silvio Bedini’s 396-page history published in 1958, is out in a reprint and includes some of the history found in Rockwell, plus much additional material and more about 20th Century Ridgefield. Mail order from Higginson Book Company, 148N Washington Street, Salem, MA 01970, at $44.50. The Centenary, a 184-page look at Ridgefield since 1875 from the pages of The Ridgefield Press, was published on the paper’s 100th anniversary in 1975. It’s $5 at The Press office, 16 Bailey Avenue. The Proprietors of Ridgefield by Glenna M. Welsh is a 188-page illustrated collection of essays on aspects of early Ridgefield and colonial life, published in 1976. It’s $15 at the Keeler Tavern Museum. Impact: The Historical Account of the Italian Immigrants of Ridgefield, Connecticut by Aldo P. Biagiotti tells where the town’s Italian-American families came from and how they prospered in Ridgefield. It has many photos and biographical sketches. The book sells for $14.95 at the Italian-American Club, 32 Prospect Street. Five Village Walks, published by the Ridgefield Archives Committee, details walking tours of the village, pointing out historic and otherwise interesting locations, illustrated with many old photos and engravings. The book was written by Jack

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august 18, 2011

ridgefield answerbook • 9

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10 • ridgefield answerbook

History

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Sanders, a longtime Ridgefield Press editor. Copies at $5 are available at many stores, the Keeler Tavern Museum, and The Ridgefield Press. Images of America: Ridgefield is a 128-page paperback containing more than 230 pictures of Ridgefield from the 1880s through the 1950s, taken from old photos (many by Joseph Hartmann — see below) and postcards. Published by the Ridgefield Archives Committee in the summer of 1999, copies are available at town hall, bookstores and elsewhere at $18.99. Notable Ridgefielders, published by Hersam Acorn Newspapers in December 2000, is a Who’s Who of People Who Made News in the 20th Century. Copies are available for $5 at Hersam Acorn Newspapers, 16 Bailey Avenue, or online at TheRidgefieldPress.com. The Barbour Collection: Vol. 36 is a statewide collection that indexes Ridgefield births, marriages, and deaths from 1709 to 1850. For information, visit genealogical.com. The History of Ridgefield, Connecticut, is an early work, published in 1878 by the Rev. Daniel Teller of the First Congregational Church. It has interesting early photographs. For used copies, check abe.com. St. Stephen’s Church, 1725 to 1975 was written by Robert S. Haight. Copies are sold by the church; e-mail info@ststephensridgefield.org for information. Does the town have a historical society? The Ridgefield Historical Society is headquartered in the Scott House, dismantled in 1999 and reconstructed in 2002 on the corner of Sunset Lane and Grove Street. It stood first on Main Street, then on Catoonah Street. The current president of the society is Gary Singer. The society encourages historic preservation, collects and

catalogs materials, sponsors publications and exhibits, and offers workshops and assistance to those interested in local history. Members of the society can also assist people in their genealogical searches. At the Scott House, people may access a database of Ridgefield history materials. The society’s Web site makes available online its research library of photos, archives, and objects databases on Ridgefield’s past. The society welcomes donations of historical interest, particularly old photos, postcards, diaries, letters, publications, maps, books, or any other documents related to Ridgefield. For more information, call the society at 203-438-5821 or visit its Web site at ridgefieldhistoricalsociety.org. Does the town have a historian? Kay Ables is the town historian. Where else can I find out about Ridgefield’s history? For information, maps, and pictures, visit online at jackfsanders.tripod.com/history.htm. What’s the history of the Keeler Tavern Museum? The building at 132 Main Street has been a farmhouse, tavern, stagecoach stop, post office, hotel for travelers, and the home of noted architect Cass Gilbert. Today it is a museum. Built as a house in the early 1700’s, it is named for tavernkeeper Timothy Keeler, who turned it into an inn in 1772. It also came to be known as Cannonball House because in the Battle of Ridgefield in 1777, the British army fired a small cannonball, which became embedded in the tavern’s north wall. The tavern today is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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History

ridgefield answerbook • 11

What is the Hartmann collection? The Hartmann committee of the Keeler Tavern Museum has a collection of glass plate negatives of Ridgefield pictures taken by photographer Joseph Hartmann. The collection was originally given to The Ridgefield Press by Mr. Hartmann’s daughter, Elsa; photographs from the negatives have frequently appeared on the history page of The Press, and many are in Images of America: Ridgefield .

The Press has since given the tavern the collection, which consists of thousands of glass negatives dating from around 1890 to the early 1930’s. Mr. Hartmann photographed many people, places and school groups in Ridgefield and surrounding towns. For more information on the collection, call Kay Ables at 203-438-3453 or Kam Daughters at the Keeler Tavern Museum at 203-438-5485.

Demographics
How big is Ridgefield? Ridgefield is 34 square miles and occupies about 5.3% of Fairfield County. The altitude ranges from 379 to 890 feet. How many people live here? The Connecticut Economic Resource Center Town Profile for 2011 reported Ridgefield’s population in 2010 at 23,562, up from 23,132 in 2009, down from 24,031 in 2008 and 23,643 in 2000. In 1990 Ridgefielders totaled 20,919. The population here is expected to decline a bit to 23,346 by the middle of the new decade, in 2015. The state’s population totaled 3,511,137 in 2010, up from 3,497,398 in 2009 and 3,405,565 in 2000. While the state and county populations are expected to grow slightly (0.2%) by 2015, the number of Ridgefielders is projected to dip by 0.2%. Fairfield County’s population totaled 898,137 in 2010, up from 882,567 in 2000 and 827,645 in 1990 In Ridgefield last year there were 12,056 females and 11,506 males. The predominate race/ethnicity of the Ridgefield population is white (21,999, or 93.4%). Others: black (394), Asian Pacific 722), Native American (13), other multi-race (434) and Hispanic, any race (717). What’s the median age? The median age of Ridgefielders is 42. Ridgefielders who are between 25 and 49 years old are the largest age group at 7,567 persons, or 33% of the population, followed by those 50 to 64 (5,358, 22%), five to 17 (4,898, 20%), 65 and older (2,859, 12%), infant to four (1,650, 8%) and 18 to 24 (1,230, 6%). What’s the educational experience of Ridgefielders? Of the Ridgefielders who are 25 or older, 10,616 (67%) have attained a bachelor’s degree or higher and 2,797 (18%) have had “some college,” while the educational attainment of 1,859 (12%) is a high school diploma, according to the 2010 data. In the state, the percentages are: 35%, bachelor’s or more;

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12 • ridgefield answerbook

Demographics

august 18, 2011

25%, some college; 29%, high school graduate. How many households are here? According to the 2010 data, there were 8,342 households, up from 8,157 in 2009, down from 8,421 in 2008. What is the median income? The CERC profile put median household income in Ridgefield at $131,677 in 2010, a significant drop from $137,015 in 2009. The median income in Fairfield County was $77,620 in 2010, compared with $82,184 in 2009. The state median income averaged $65,686 in 2010, down from $68,055 in 2009. What’s the unemployment rate here? According to the Connecticut Department of Labor, at the end of May 2011 Ridgefield’s labor force totaled 11,849 people. There were 11,126 employed and 723 unemployed for an unemployment rate of 6.1% up from 5.8% a year ago, and about the same rate in 2009. The state unemployment rate in May 2011 was 9.1%, up from 8.8% in the early summer of 2009. What is the poverty rate? The poverty rate was 1.8%, compared to 7.5% in Fairfield County and 8.7% in the state, based on 2009 data. How are house sales and prices faring here? At a time when some areas of the country were still slumping, Ridgefield’s real estate market appeared stronger in 2010 than 2009, by a broad range of indicators, The Ridgefield Press reported in early February. In 2010, there were 271 closings of single family homes in town ranging in price from $180,000 to $2.5 million, up 24%

from 219 sales ranging between $120,000 to $2.47 million in 2009, according to a Century 21 Landmark Properties report based on Multiple Listing Service numbers. Also drawing figures from the Multiple Listing Service, a William Pitt Sotheby’s year-end report using slightly different numbers but showing a similar trend, counted 272 closed sales of single family homes in Ridgefield in 2010, up 23% from 222 in 2009 and up 14% from 239 in 2008. The median sales price of those single family houses sold was $689,000 in Ridgefield in 2010, up 8% from $647,000 in 2009 but down 4% from a median price of $729,000 in 2008 — which was the year the world financial crisis hit in the fall, sending things tumbling down. According to town officials, revenues related to real estate were stronger in 2010, after taking a plunge in late 2008 that lasted through 2009. Excluding things like gifts and no-money transfers within families, the town clerk’s office saw a broader range of transactions (not just homes but also condominiums, vacant land, business property, etc.) turning up in the past year: From 525 transactions in 2007, the number of sales fell to 412 in 2008, bottomed out at 355 in 2009, and bounced back with a 14% increase to 404 transactions in 2010. Real estate conveyance taxes, which reflect both volume and price of sales, ranged from a high of $1,046,000 in 2006-07, when times were good, to $866,000 (down 17%) in 2007-08 and $548,000 (down 36%) in 2008-09. In 2009-2010, the taxes were $718,000 (up 31%). For the first half of 2010-11, conveyance taxes were $384,000. Single family home prices were up this past spring but the number of houses that sold was down. The average sale price rose to $798,473 in the second quarter, up from $734,931, according to a Prudential Connecticut Realty report. But only 38 homes sold, compared to 43 in the first quarter. In the spring of 2010, 59 homes were sold in the second quarter, while 36 sold in the first quarter. The average number of days that a home has stayed on market before selling was 225 in the first six months of 2010, down from 323 in 2009. On July 1, 2010, the inventory of homes on the market stood at 259, compared to 288 at that time in 2009. What is the town’s bond rating? Ridgefield holds the highest rating from the three major services: Standard & Poor’s Investor Services, Moody’s, and Fitch. The higher the rating a town receives, the lower the interest rates it is charged when it borrows money by issuing bonds. How far are we from major cities? The town is 53 miles from Hartford, 147 miles from Boston and 50 miles from New York City. Ridgefield is 22 miles from the nuclear power plant in Buchanan, N.Y., outside the 10-mile radius danger zone. What is the average temperature? The average spring temperature is 47.5 degrees; for summer it is 69.5; fall, 52.2, and winter, 28.4 degrees. What is the average rainfall and snowfall? The average yearly precipitation is 45.7 inches (which includes melted snow). Seasonal snowfall averages 42.5 inches. The wettest month is September with an average of 4.99 inches of rain. Hartford tends to have less rain, but more snow with 46.7 inches. Bridgeport has less snow and less rain.

august 18, 2011

ridgefield answerbook • 13

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14 • ridgefield answerbook

Town Government

august 18, 2011

Where are town offices? What are their hours? Ridgefield Town Hall is the big brick building with an eagle atop its front entrance at 400 Main Street on the corner of Main Street and Bailey Avenue. Its hours are Monday to Friday 8:30 to 4:30. It holds the offices of the selectmen, treasurer, town clerk, tax collector, assessor, probate court, parking authority, and registrars of voters. The number for general information is 203-431-2700. The town Web site is www.ridgefieldct.org. The town hall annex at 66 Prospect Street, in the Richard E. Venus Municipal Building (also referred to as the old high school), contains the planning and zoning, building, health, and conservation departments, and the youth services bureau. It’s open Monday to Friday 8 to 4. The Parks and Recreation Department is in the Ridgefield Recreation Center, 195 Danbury Road. Office hours are 8:30 to 4:30, Monday through Friday. The center is open Monday to Friday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 6 to 6; and Sunday, 9 to 6. The department phone number is 203-431-2755; the Web site is ridgefieldparksandrec.org. Who is the chief executive of the town? Rudy Marconi, a Democrat, was first elected first selectman in November 1999. His current four-year term expires at the end of November 2011 and he has announced he will seek a sixth term this fall. A lifelong Ridgefielder, Mr. Marconi served four years on the Planning and Zoning Commission and four years on the Board of Selectmen before becoming first selectman. The first selectman, who makes a salary of $110,565, serves as ex-officio member of all town boards, committees and commissions. He may be reached at 203-431-2774 or by e-mail at selectman@ridgefieldct.org.

What is the Board of Selectmen? The Board of Selectmen is made up of five members, including the first selectman. The selectmen are Barbara Manners (D), Andrew Bodner (R), Di Masters (D) and Maureen Kozlark (R), (who won a special election in late April to take over a seat vacated by Joan Plock, who served as a selectman for nine years). Their terms expire in 2011. The selectmen are responsible for generally managing the town, including appointing the personnel for the boards and committees, but are not involved in managing the schools. They propose budgets, ordinances, infrastructure projects, and various policies for the town, and supervise projects. They also supervise many town agencies. Selectmen are elected to two-year terms and are not salaried. The first selectman receives a full-time salary. To reach the board, call 203-431-2774 or e-mail selectman@ridgefieldct.org. Di Masters offers a weekly “Lunch with Di” series. Townspeople are invited to bring their questions, comments, and a bag lunch the first Wednesday of each month, October through May, from noon to 1, to the small conference room on the lower level of town hall. You might want to call 203-431-2774 or e-mail dimasters@yahoo.com to make sure the event is still on for a particular day. Is there a directory of town officials? A directory of town officials may be found in this book and in the information office of the town hall on Main Street. Many officials, both elected and appointed who are not in the Town Officials list, are named throughout this chapter of the Answerbook. Some officials may also be found on the town Web site.

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august 18, 2011

Town Government

ridgefield answerbook • 15

What’s the grand list? A New England term, the grand list is the town’s tax base and reflects the assessed values of all taxable property in town. In this state the property assessment is 70% of the fair market value of the property as established by the assessor’s office. The assessor compiles it as of every Oct. 1. In these tough economic times, the town’s tax base showed growth — 0.7% — on the Oct. 1, 2010 grand list that was slightly better than the year before. The grand list for 2009 had inched up by 0.6% to $5.525 billion, an increase of almost $33 million over the 2008 list (which had grown 1.1% from the previous year). The town’s new grand list totals about $5.5 billion ($5,552,992,756, to be precise) after an increase of more than $36 million, according to Assessor Al Garzi. Three categories make up the grand list, with real estate by the far the largest component. Real estate consisting of 10,372 properties was $5,216,846,974 in total assessed value (70% of market value at the time of the last revaluation). Business equipment, called “personal property,” totaled $107,546,567 in assessments, in 1,548 different accounts. Motor vehicles, 21,446 of them, came to $228,899,215 in total assessments. The breakdown of the 2009 grand list: $5.18 billion in total real estate assessments, $219 million in total motor vehicle assessment and $112 million in total personal property assessments, which are taxable business equipment and furnishings. What is a mill rate? The annual mill rate is essentially the tax rate, which is equal to $1 for every $1,000 of assessed value on a property. The Board of Finance calculates how many mills of taxation it will take to pay for the budget, minus other revenues. The current mill rate (approved at the Annual Town Meeting in May) is $20.61 (up 1.03% from 2009-10) for every $1,000 of assessed value. If your house is assessed at $800,000, and you multiply that by 0.02061 (the mill rate), you will pay $16,488 in town taxes (or $168 more than under the past year’s rate of 20.40 mills). What is the town budget? A 2011-12 budget of $124 million for the town and public schools was passed by voters in May. It represented a 1.49% increase from the previous fiscal year. The tax rate increased about 1%. Of the total budget, $79 million (up 1.81%) is for school operations. The $45 million ($44.7 million last year) balance includes $31.5 million ($30.9 milllion in 2010-11), up 1.76%, the selectmen budgeted to cover general government, police, fire, public works, parks and recreation, the library. Plus $13.7 million in debt service payments toward the town’s approximately $100 million long-term debt were approved, down $100,000. About $4 million for six capital projects was also approved. These include purchasing four police cruisers, and borrowing for energy efficiency projects in school and town buildings, road reconstruction, drainage work, paving and infrastructure improvements, a fire truck and ambulance plus smaller projects. The budget of $122.7 million for 2010-11 had represented an increase of 1.55% or almost $1.87 million over the previous year. The mill rate (tax rate) increased by almost 2% last fiscal year. What does the tax collector do? This office collects real property taxes, motor vehicle taxes, and personal property taxes, as well as sewer use and assessment charges. Taxes cover the fiscal year July 1 to June 30. The tax

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16 • ridgefield answerbook

Town Government

august 18, 2011

collector’s office number is 203-431-2779. The office is open 8:30 to 4:30 Monday through Friday, and some Saturdays from 9 to noon. Where and when do I pay my town taxes? The tax collector’s office is in town hall on Main Street. Tax payments are divided into real estate, motor vehicle, and personal property. Unlike most towns in the state, which are on the semi-annual plan, real estate and personal property taxes here are due quarterly — on July 1, Oct. 1, Jan. 1 and April 1. Taxes on motor vehicles owned as of Oct. 1 are due the following July. Vehicles registered between Oct. 2 and the following July 31 incur vehicle supplement bills, due in January. Personal property taxes are collected quarterly, the same as real property taxes, if they exceed $100. Property tax bills are sent out in late June of each year for the entire year. You must contact the tax office if you do not receive a tax bill. Failure to receive a tax bill does not release you from paying any taxes or interest for late payments. You may pay your taxes in person at town hall during business hours, by mail, or you may pay online at officialpayments.com. There is a fee for paying online. I got a tax bill for a car I no longer own; what should I do? Notify the tax assessor at 203-431-2706. Also notify the Department of Motor Vehicles to make certain it has a record of returned plates. In the case of a leased vehicle, when you terminate your lease, you must provide the tax assessor with a return of plate receipt or a letter from your insurance company showing the vehicle canceled from your policy as soon as possible.

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august 18, 2011

Town Government

ridgefield answerbook • 17

What happens if I don’t pay my taxes on time? Taxes must be paid within one month of the due date to avoid interest or penalty. Failure to pay taxes in a timely manner results in an interest charged on the unpaid balance at the rate of 1.5% a month (annual rate of 18%), and a lien is placed on the land records in the town clerk’s office, which prevents any sale of property until taxes and lien fees are paid. In the case of delinquent taxes on motor vehicles, you will not be able to register any vehicle in your name until all taxes, interest, and collection costs are paid. Does the town ever foreclose on tax-debtor property and have tax sales? Yes, all tax sales and foreclosures are advertised in the newspaper. Foreclosures are processed through the Superior Court in Danbury. Who determines property assessments? Assessments are handled through the assessor’s office (203431-2710). In Connecticut, all property assessments reflect 70% of market value. How do I find out how much a house is assessed for? A field card in the tax assessor’s office will show property values. These are public record. You may also access them online at the tax assessor’s page at ridgefieldct.org. How do I know if my assessment is correct? In general, to determine if your assessment is correct you should ask yourself the following questions: Can I sell my property for approximately that amount (remembering that the property assessment equals 70% of market

value)? Does the assessor’s office have the correct information on my property? How much are similar properties in my neighborhood selling for? What do I do if I think my assessment is unfair? Your first step is to call the tax assessor’s office (203-4312710) to review the assessment for any possible inaccuracies. If none are found and you still consider the assessment unfair you may apply to appear before a scheduled hearing of the Board of Assessment Appeals, which meets in February or March. Call the assessor’s office for details. Can anyone receive a tax break? There is a tax exemption for the elderly who have owned property for at least a year, and the town has a program in which residents over the age of 65 who qualify financially may defer tax payments at a nominal interest rate. There is also a state tax break, but you must meet income requirements, which can be verified through the assessor’s office. Veterans who have been honorably discharged from active duty at a time of war may file their DD214. If they qualify financially, they may receive a deduction off their property or vehicle assessment. The filing period ends Oct. 1. A disabled person who owns a home or car may receive an assessment reduction. For details on any of these tax reductions, call Assessor Al Garzi at 203-431-2706. You may also visit the tax assessor’s page online at ridgefieldct.org.

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18 • ridgefield answerbook

Town Government

august 18, 2011

What are local political parties and enrollment? Shortly before the election last fall, there were 16,311 registered voters in Ridgefield: 6,048 Republicans, 4,623 Democrats, and 5,537 who were unaffiliated, according to the secretary of the state office. There were also 103 members of minor parties including Independents, Libertarians, Green Party and Concerned Citizen members. What do the registrars of voters do? The registrars keep up to date with current voting laws, maintain the lists of qualified voters, keep the voting machines in working order, and register new voters. The registrars’ term of office was increased from two years to four years after a town charter revision was approved in the fall of 2010. Ridgefield has two registrars of voters: Cynthia Bruno (Democrat) and Hope S. Wise (Republican). Ms. Bruno may be reached at 203-431-2771 (e-mail: demsregistrar@ridgefieldct.org); Ms. Wise at 203-431-2772 (e-mail: GOPregistrar@ridgefieldct.org). Their offices are open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 8:30 to 4:30 (summer hours: 9 to noon). The next scheduled election is on Nov. 8. Who may register to vote? To register, one must be a U.S. citizen, living in Ridgefield and 18 years old or older. There is no length of residency requirement to register. Seventeen-year-olds may preregister, as long as they turn 18 by Election Day. Where and when may I register? You may register to vote at the registrars’ office or with the town clerk, both in the town hall. You may also register to vote when you are renewing your driver’s license. An application

comes with your renewal form. People may also register by mail. Forms may be obtained from Ridgefield Library (203-4382282) or downloaded from sots.state.ct.us. The deadline for registering is generally two weeks before an election if registering by mail or one week in advance if registering in person. You may register to vote for referendum up to the day before ballots are cast. Do I need to bring documents when I register? You should have identification to prove who you are, such as a driver’s license or a passport. Do I need to renew my voting privileges? No, renewal of the privilege is not necessary unless you have moved away for a period and are moving back to the town. Who can vote in a primary? Registered voters who are members of a party may vote in that party’s primary only. Are there voting districts in town? There are three voting districts: south district (#1) votes at the East Ridge Middle School; the central district (#3), at the Yanity Gym (at the old high school), and the north district (#2) at Scotts Ridge Middle School on Route 116. When you register, you will receive a card telling you where to vote. If the card is lost, you may call the registrars of voters (203-431-2771 or 203-431-2772) for the information. Sometimes, as with budget votes, only one polling place is used. Keep an eye on The Press for details.

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august 18, 2011

Town Government

ridgefield answerbook • 19

Who can vote by absentee ballot? Registered voters who have a legitimate reason why they cannot vote in person are entitled to the absentee ballot. The most common reason is you will not be in town during any of the voting hours. You may also cast an absentee vote if you are ill or if voting at the polls conflicts with your religious beliefs. Call the registrars’ office (203-431-2771) or the town clerk (203-431-2783) for details. An absentee ballot may be used in any election or referendum, and may be obtained by filling out an application at the town clerk’s office in town hall, Main Street. Return the application to receive the ballot. Can a non-resident property owner vote here? Yes, but only in matters dealing with taxation. The non-resident must be a citizen and own property by October of the previous year. What is a referendum? A referendum is a machine vote on a town issue, such as budgets, contracts, and major projects like new schools and town and school building improvements. When do elections of town officials take place? The election of town officials is held every two years in oddnumbered years. Elective local offices include first selectman, town clerk, registrar, tax collector, treasurer, Board of Selectmen, Board of Finance, Board of Education, Police Commission, Planning and Zoning Commission, Board of Assessment Appeals, and Zoning Board of Appeals. The probate judge is elected every four years, in an even-numbered year. Can I look up old deeds in the town hall? Records and deeds dating to 1709 may be found in the town clerk’s office in the town hall on Main Street. Are birth, marriage and death records public? Marriage and death records are open to the public. Birth records are not; the law keeps them confidential. Besides the clergy, who may perform weddings in Connecticut? A justice of the peace or a probate judge can also perform weddings. The town clerk’s office (203-431-2783) in town hall on Main Street has a list of justices of the peace. Where do I get a marriage license? A marriage license may be obtained in the town where either spouse-to-be lives, or where the wedding will take place. Both parties must appear in person at the town clerk’s office. No blood test is needed. The fee is $30; the license is issued immediately and is good for 65 days. For details, call 203-431-2783. As of Nov. 12, 2008, same sex marriage became legal in Connecticut. The requirements for entering a same sex marriage are the same for an opposite-sex marriage. Since 2005, Connecticut recognized civil unions between two people of the same sex, which granted them the same benefits, rights and protections as are granted to spouses in a marriage. All civil unions converted into marriage on Oct. 1, 2010. For details, go to Connecticut Public Health section at ct.gov.

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20 • ridgefield answerbook

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august 18, 2011

Where do I get a certified copy of a birth certificate? Official copies of birth certificates for persons whose parents were living here at the time of their birth are obtained from the town clerk’s office; there is a modest fee. These are confidential, however, and available only to the person whose name is on the certificate or to a parent, child, grandchild, or guardian if the person is a minor. For an application, visit the town clerk’s office or go online to the town clerk’s Web page at ridgefieldct.org. Where may I get a passport? You may obtain a new passport or renew an expired one by filling out an application at the post office on Catoonah Street. Passport hours are 10 to 3. To obtain a new passport, a birth certificate with a raised seal is necessary as well as two copies of a current passport-size photo. Applications must be signed before the issuing agent. For more information, call the post office at 203-438-6561. Other area post offices that have passport application services: Wilton’s, 15 Hubbard Road Wilton (203-762-5555), Darien’s, 30 Corbin Drive, Darien (203-655-2595); Springdale Post Office, 24 Camp Avenue, Stamford (203-321-3910) Ferguson Library at One Public Library Place and the Harry Bennett Branch, 115 Vine Road, Stamford (203-964-1000). For complete information, visit the U.S. State Department site at state.gov. How can I get involved in town government? If you are affiliated with a party, get in touch with your town chairman: Democrats, Susan Cocco, 203-431-6076 (or visit ridgefielddems.org); Republicans, James Carroll, chairman@ridgefieldgop.org (ridgefieldgop.org); or Independents, Dominic D’Addario, 203-438-4397. You may also call

the Board of Selectmen (203-431-2774), which is frequently looking for candidates to serve on appointed boards and commissions. If you are interested in a particular agency, such as the school board or planning and zoning, try attending their meetings regularly and watch for a vacancy to open up. How are board or commission members chosen? Most of the major town agencies are elected by the voters for two- or four-year terms. However, among the more than 40 town agencies are many volunteer boards and commissions (see below) that have members who are appointed by the Board of Selectmen. What boards and commissions are elected? The Boards of Selectmen, Finance, and Education, Police Commission, Planning and Zoning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, and Board of Assessment Appeals are elected. To be considered for an elective seat, apply to a town committee or attend a party caucus and submit your name. For more information, call 203-431-2774. What boards, commissions, committees are appointed? The Board of Selectmen appoints members of the Affordable Housing Committee, Annual Town Meeting Committee, Architectural Advisory Committee, Board of Ethics Commission, Building Code Board of Appeals, Cable TV Advisory Council, Charter Revision Commission, Citizens Against Casino Expansion, Commission on Aging, Commission for the Disabled, Conservation Commission, Deer Management Committee, Economic Development Commission, Golf Committee, Graveyard Restoration Committee, Historic District Commission, Housing Authority, Insurance and Risk Management Committee, Library

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august 18, 2011

Town Government

ridgefield answerbook • 21

Board of Directors, Lyme Disease Task Force, Master Building Committee, Parking Authority, Parks and Recreation Commission, Pension Commission, Ridgefield Arts Council, Ridgefield Design Council, Ridgefield Prevention Council, Senior Tax Credit Committee, Tree Committee, Water Pollution Control Authority, and the Youth Commission. What town officials are appointed? The selectmen also appoint five constables, the town attorney, municipal agent for the elderly, director of emergency services, HART Board of Directors, director of health, director of social services, assistant treasurer, tree warden, town historian, and assistant town historian. What is the town meeting? There is one annual town meeting, on the first Monday in May. It deals with the town and school budgets, and sets the tax rate. However, the budgets are usually taken to a referendum to allow a greater number of people to vote conveniently. If there’s no referendum, the town meeting can pass, approve, or reject a budget, but it cannot increase a budget. Other special town meetings may be called when needed throughout the year. Voters may discuss and approve or reject such things as financial appropriations, capital projects or the adoption of new or amended ordinances. Any registered voter may participate. Non-voter property owners who are citizens may vote on financial issues. The selectmen can call special town meetings, or voters can petition for them. All town meetings require that a legal notice appear five days prior to the date in a newspaper having substantial circulation in the town, advertising their time, place and content.

What does the town clerk do? Town Clerk Barbara Serfilippi (203-431-2783), a full-time salaried official, is responsible for recording all land records, which include deeds, mortgages, liens, attachments, various contracts, foreclosures, and property maps. The town clerk also maintains birth, death, and marriage records, and veterans’ discharges; sells dog, fishing and hunting licenses; issues marriage and civil union licenses; accepts tradename certificate filings and liquor permit filings; and swears in all town officials. The town clerk also attends and takes a record of all town meetings, and prepares the material for all elections and issues absentee ballots for elections and referendums. The town clerk is elected for a two-year term. What does the town treasurer do? Town Treasurer Maureen Kiernan (203-431-2763), also a salaried position elected for a two-year term, manages all town income, and invests and distributes money as directed by the Board of Selectmen, Board of Finance, and Board of Education. This office signs all town checks. What does the town planner do? Town Planner Betty Brosius (203-431-2766) is responsible for planning the town, suggesting changes for growth, and supervising subdivisions and other developments regulated by the Planning and Zoning Department and the Inland Wetlands Board, Flood Control, and the Aquifer Protection Agency. She reviews all applications before the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Inland Wetlands Board, and directs the department, which includes the Zoning Enforcement Officer, the Wetlands Inspector, and administrative staff. She is appointed by the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Ridgefield Parks and Recreation offers a variety of Fall recreation ������������������������������������������������������������������ programs for children and adults! Register today! ��������������������������������������������������
Dance • Karate Dance • Karate • Tennis • Yoga • Zumba • Golf Dog Obedience Classes • Aquatics • Spinning Dog Obedience Classes Pickleball • Running Club • Chess for Kids Pickleball • Running Club • Chess for Kids Gymnastics • Skate Park • Scuba Diving Gymnastics • Skate Park • Scuba Diving Youth Enrichment Classes • Holiday Camps Youth Enrichment Classes • Holiday Camps Breakfast with Santa MORE!! Breakfast with Santa andand MORE!!

Your active partner in Community, Wellness and FUN! We make it easy for everyone to stay fit and have fun! Visit us to take a tour, purchase an annual membership or get more information on our programs! 195 Danbury Rd - Ridgefield, CT - www.RidgefieldParksandRec.org - (203) 431-2755

22 • ridgefield answerbook

Town Government

august 18, 2011

What does the Wetlands Inspector/Agent do? Wetlands and Conservation Inspector/Agent Aimee Pardee (203-431-2383) reviews all applications for building permits and earth-moving activity in relation to the potential effect on wetlands. Some applications are referred to the Inland Wetlands Board for permit, and some can be granted administratively by the agent. When permits are issued, the Wetlands Inspector monitors and inspects the activity to assure compliance with the permit. She also assists the Conservation Commission with inspections of open space and monitoring for compliance with open space restrictions. What does the zoning enforcement officer do? Zoning Enforcement Officer Richard Baldelli (203-4312768) makes certain that builders, developers and others obey the zoning regulations. He is full time, salaried, and appointed by the Planning and Zoning Commission. What does the building inspector do? Building Inspector Bill Reynolds (203-431-2743) is responsible for reviewing building permit applications, and approving them when they meet the state building code requirements. He periodically inspects construction during a project and, upon completion, issues a certificate of occupancy if the project complies with the building code. Enforcing the building code along with the Health and Fire Departments is also a major responsibility. He is full-time, salaried, state-certified, and is appointed by the first selectman with the approval of the Board of Selectmen. The building department is in the Town Hall Annex at 66 Prospect Street. Hours are 7:30 to 4, Monday through Friday.

What does the tree warden do? Tree Warden John Pinchbeck (203-431-2358) keeps track of trees on town property to protect them as well as to keep them from becoming a hazard. He makes roads safer through taking down dead trees or limbs, or by trimming. He plants and replaces trees as needed. Who is the town’s judge of probate? The office of probate judge, an elected position, is currently held by Judge Joseph Egan, a Republican. The judge establishes the validity of wills and administers the estates of people who die without wills. He can also terminate parental rights, approve adoptions, act on a minor’s estate, approve guardians for handicapped people, and grant name changes. The chief clerk, Jacqueline Buckle, is available on a daily basis and the judge by appointment. Call 203-794-8508. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 4:30 in the Clifford J. Hurgin Municipal Center, One School Street, Bethel 06801. Ridgefield has had its own probate court since the 1840s. But by January 2011, the local probate court had a new location and new name. As part of the consolidation of Connecticut’s probate courts, the state legislature placed Ridgefield, Bethel, Redding and Newtown in a new probate district, Region 4 South. Early last year, the first selectmen from the four towns chose Bethel as the location of the court and agreed on naming it the Northern Fairfield County Probate Court. What does the Board of Finance do? The Board of Finance is responsible for approving the town budget. Every May the board presents the budget during the annual town meeting. It has to publish an annual report. The five members are elected to four-year terms that overlap. (For mem-

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august 18, 2011

Town Government

ridgefield answerbook • 23

bers, see list of town officials.) What’s the Planning and Zoning Commission? The nine-member Planning and Zoning Commission is responsible for the overall planning of the town and preparation of the comprehensive town plan. Duties include regulating the use and development of Ridgefield’s land including approving subdivisions and major commercial developments, such as shopping centers and office buildings. The commission also serves as the town’s Inland Wetlands Board and the Aquifer Protection Agency. The nine members are elected every two years for overlapping four-year terms. (For members, see list of town officials.) What does the Conservation Commission do? The Conservation Commission is responsible for the maintenance and preservation of the town’s natural resources. Nine appointed members serve three-year terms. The commission reviews development applications, walks sites, and makes recommendations to the Planning and Zoning Commission, Inland Wetlands Board, and Zoning Board of Appeals. The commission’s page at ridgefieldct.org (click on Commissions) includes a Catalog of Ridgefield Open Spaces. Details and maps on the open spaces are included in The Ridgefield Walk Book, which can be purchased at the town hall, Chamber of Commerce, Books on the Common, and Ridgefield Office Supply. The commission manages an Open Space Conservation Fund and accepts gifts of land. The commission’s Rangers program uses volunteers to maintain the town’s open spaces; call 203-431-2713 for information. The e-mail address is conservation@ridgefieldct.org. Members are Dr. Benjamin Oko, chair; Susan Baker, Carroll Brewster, David Cronin, Pat Sesto, Kitsey Snow, Beth Yanity, Terry Manus and Alan Pilch. What is the Zoning Board of Appeals? The Zoning Board of Appeals, a body of five regular and three alternate elected members, has the power to waive or vary certain planning and zoning requirements if it can be shown that those requirements create an unfair hardship that is not of the property owner’s own creation, and the waiver or variance will not harm others. In addition, the board can hear appeals of decisions of the zoning enforcement officer. The board meets twice a month on Monday evenings. Call 203-431-2786 and ask for administrator Marjorie Tippet. Regular members are listed under Town Officials. Alternate members are David Choplinski (R), Henry Seemann (D) and Michael Stenko (R). What’s the Parks and Recreation Commission? The appointed Parks and Recreation Commission is responsible for maintaining the town’s parks and athletic fields, as well as the town’s indoor swimming pool at the Recreation Center. The commission also runs many programs, often involving athletics or exercise, and publishes program booklets seasonally. The commission is in charge of Martin Park, the town’s only public beach. It appoints a superintendent, currently Paul Roche, a paid full-time employee in charge of the department’s paid staff. Commissioners are: Barbara Dobbin, chair; Phil Kearns, Evie Bottali, Gina Carey, Jon Chase, Wayne Tinker and David Thaxter. They may be e-mailed at parksandreccommission@rid gefieldct.org. What does the Police Commission do? The five-member, elected Police Commission (formally called the Board of Police Commissioners) handles general management and supervision of the Ridgefield Police Depart-

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24 • ridgefield answerbook

Town Officials
Rudy Marconi (D) Barbara Manners (D) Di Masters (D) Andy Bodner (R) Maureen Kozlark (R) Peter Gomez (ch) (R) Jill Bornstein (R) Marty Heiser (R) Margaret Price Sims (R) David F. Ulmer (D) Austin C. Drukker, Jr. (ch) (R) Irene Burgess (D) Russell Katz (R) Lyn Merrill (D) John Palermo (R) Sandi H. Rose (R) Amy Shinohara (D) Richard Steinhart (R) Paul Sutherland (D) Rebecca Mucchetti (ch.) (R) Michael Autuori (R) Peter Chipouras (R) Joseph Fossi (D) Nelson Gelfman (D) John Katz (R) Philip Mische (D) Patrick J. Walsh (R) George Hanlon (R) Charles Creamer (ch) (R) Duane C. Barney (R) Steven E. Coury (R) Dwayne Escola (D) Glenn R. Smith (R) Robert R. Jewell (R) Richard Mincer (R) Jeff L. Bonistalli (D)
David Coles Al Garzi Bill Reynolds Kevin Redmond Heather L. Burford David Lathrop Ed Briggs Joseph A. Egan, Jr. Carole Konner Jeanne Wolnick John Roche Peter Hill Hope S. Wise (R) Cynthia Bruno (D) Carole Konner Deborah Low Jane Berendsen-Hill Barbara Serfilippi Charles Fisher Betty Brosius Maureen M. Kiernan John Pinchbeck Richard Baldelli

august 18, 2011

First Selectman Second Selectman Selectman Selectman Selectman Board of Finance

selectman@ridgefieldct.org mannersb@aol.com dimasters@yahoo.com andrewmbodner@aol.com maureenkozlark@gmail.com pgomez@ridgefieldct.org jbornstein@ridgefieldct.org heiserhouse@aol.com mprice@ridgefieldct.org dulmer@ridgefieldct.org adrukker@ridgefield.org BoardofEd@ridgefield.org rkatz@ridgefield.org lmerrill@ridgefield.org jpalermo@ridgefield.org srose@ridgefield.org BoardofEd@ridgefield.org rsteinhart@ridgefield.org psutherland@ridgefield.org 197 Farmingville Road P.O. Box 269 111 Minuteman Road 174 St. John’s Road 374 North Salem Road 473 Ridgebury Road 24 Neds Lane 6 Riverside Drive 238 West Lane 27 Sprucewood Lane 21 Seth Low Mountain Road 10 Revere Place Catoonah Street 209 Mimosa Circle 150 Danbury Road 56 Branchville Road 16 Settlers Road
40 South Street assessor@ridgefieldct.org 66 Prospect Street controller@ridgefieldct.org rfdchief@ridgefieldct.org firemarshal@ridgefieldct.org eb.health@ridgefieldct.org (New Probate Court in Bethel) socialservices@ridgefieldct.org municipalagent@ridgefieldct.org 76 East Ridge Road highway@ridgefieldct.org gopregistrar@ridgefieldct.org demsregistrar@ridgefieldct.org socialservices@ridgefieldct.org superintendent@ridgefield.org taxoffice@ridgefieldct.org townclerk@ridgefieldct.org cf.eng@ridgefieldct.org 66 Prospect Street treasurer@ridgefieldct.org 60 South Street 66 Prospect Street

203-431-2774 203-431-6501 203-431-8738 203-438-2620 203-438-4569 203-431-2721 203-438-6130 203-438-9341 203-438-2626 203-431-7767 203-438-7543 203-431-1291 203-438-2546 203-431-2800 203-438-1887 203-438-2907 203-894-1608 203-438-9442 203-431-9336 203-431-2766 203-431-2766 203-431-1232 203-431-6375 203-438-4107 203-438-2227 203-438-8102 203-438-7450 203-431-3016 203-438-3006 203-438-7223 203-438-4178 203-438-6818 203-438-7513 203-438-6534 203-431-4906 203-431-6833
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Board of Education

Planning and Zoning

Zoning Board of Appeals

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Animal Control Officer Assessor Building Inspector Controller Fire Chief Fire Marshal Health Director Judge of Probate Municipal Agent/Disabled Municipal Agent/Elderly Police Chief Public Services, Director Registrar of Voters Registrar of Voters Social Services, Director Superintendent of Schools Tax Collector Town Clerk Town Engineer Town Planner Town Treasurer Tree Warden Zoning Enforcement Officer

august 18, 2011

Town Government

ridgefield answerbook • 25

ment. Members field letters from the public, act as a buffer between the public and non-emergency issues and generally oversee the department. The commission appoints the police chief, currently John Roche, who reports to the commission. The commission conducts a monthly meeting open to the public the second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall Annex Building. Members are: Charles Knoche (R), chair; Thomas Reynolds, Susan Craig (R), George Kain (D), and Carl Lecher (R). Messages for the commission may be left at 203-438-6531, voice mail 1049. What state senatorial district are we in? Ridgefield is in the 26th Senatorial District along with Redding, Weston, Westport, Wilton and parts of Bethel and New Canaan. Our senator is Republican Toni Boucher. She may be reached at 5 Wicks End Lane, Wilton, 203-762-3232 or 800-842-1421. You may also write to her at Senate Republican Office, LOB Room 3400, Hartford, CT 06106. E-mail her at ToniBoucher@cga.ct.gov. Visit online at senaterepublicans. ct.gov/sen_info/Boucher.aspx. What state House district are we in? We are in the 111th District, covering just Ridgefield. Our state representative is John H. Frey, Republican Whip. He may be reached at 2 Copps Hill Road, Ridgefield, 06877, 203-4316799; or Legislative Office Building, Room 4200, Hartford, CT 06106, 800-842-1423. His Web site is repfrey.com. E-mail: John.Frey@housegop.state.ct.us. How can I write the governor? Write to Gov. Dannel Malloy at State Capitol, 210 Capitol

Avenue, Hartford 06106, call 800-406-1527, 866-712-6998 or 860-566-4840. The govenor’s Web site is ct.gov/malloy. Mr. Malloy, a Democrat and a former Stamford mayor, was elected to his first four-year term in November 2010. Who represents Ridgefield in Congress? Ridgefield is in the 4th Congressional District and is represented by Jim Himes, a Democrat, re-elected to a second term in the fall of 2010. His local office is at 888 Washington Blvd., Stamford 069012927. Local phone numbers are 203-310-7711; fax 203-2107703 In Washington, he is at 214 Cannon HOB, Washington, D.C. 20515; 202-225-5541, fax 202-225-9629; Web site: himes. house.gov. Who are Connecticut’s senators? A new junior senator, Richard Blumenthal, a former attorney general for the state, joins senior senator Joseph Lieberman. Write to or visit Senator Blumenthal, a Democrat, at 30 Lewis Street, Suite 101, Hartford CT 06103, call 860-258-6940. His office in the nation’s capital is at G55 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510, phone: 202-224-2823. Email: Blumenthal@senate.gov. Web site: blumenthal.senate. gov. Senator Lieberman, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, may be reached at 706 Hart Senate Building, Washington, D.C. 20510, 202-224-4041; or 1 Constitution Plaza, 7th Floor, Hartford 06103, 800-225-5605, fax 860-549-8478; or e-mail Senator_Lieberman@Lieberman.senate.gov. Web site: lieberman.senate.gov. He has announced that he will not seek re-election in 2012.

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26 • ridgefield answerbook

Schools

august 18, 2011

What does the Board of Education do? Board tasks include proposing a budget to run the schools, overseeing spending, setting policies and rules, hiring the superintendent, approving administrators, adopting books and courses, negotiating staff contracts, and hearing citizen appeals. Where is the school district office? The office is at 70 Prospect Street (203-431-2800) in the old high school. Central office administrators, including Superintendent of Schools Deborah Low, work there. During the school year the office is open 8:30 to 4:30; summer hours are 8 to 3:30, except high school office hours, 7 to 2:45. The school district Web site is www.ridgefield.org. What public schools are in town? Ridgefield has six elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school. Ridgefield High School, 700 North Salem Road, 203-4383785, Jeffrey Jaslow, principal; for ninth through 12th grades. East Ridge Middle School, 10 East Ridge Road, 203-4383744, Martin Fiedler, principal; for sixth through eighth grades. Scotts Ridge Middle School, 750 North Salem Road, 203894-3400, Timothy Salem, principal; for sixth through eighth grades. Barlow Mountain Elementary School, 115 Barlow Mountain Road, 203-894-7700; Rebecca Pembrook, principal; for preschool through fifth grades. Branchville Elementary School, 40 Florida Road, 203-5447980, Jason McKinnon, principal; for kindergarten through fifth grades. Farmingville Elementary School, 324 Farmingville Road, 203-431-2830, Susan Gately, principal; for kindergarten through

fifth grades. Ridgebury Elementary School, 112 Bennetts Farm Road, 203-438-6555, Elizabeth (Liz) Smith, principal; for kindergarten through fifth grades. Scotland Elementary School, 111 Barlow Mountain Road, 203-438-6563, Mark Solomon, principal; for kindergarten through fifth grades. Veterans Park Elementary School, 8 Governor Street, 203438-6571, Julie Droller, principal; for kindergarten through fifth grades. Ridgefield Alternative High School is at Ballard Green and serves students who otherwise might not be successful at Ridgefield High School. Students apply and attend by choice. All students going into the 10th through 12th grade are eligible to appy. They are considered Ridgefield High students and receive a Ridgefield High School diploma. What are the hours of operation at the schools? Schools hours at Ridgefield High School are from 7:25 to 2:15; early dismissal is 10:55. East Ridge and Scotts Ridge middle schools’ school days run from 8 to 2:50; early dismissal is 11:30. Branchville, Ridgebury, and Scotland elementary schools’ hours are from 8:35 to 3:25; early dismissal is 12:05. Barlow Mountain, Farmingville, and Veterans Park elementary schools’ hours run from 9:10 to 4; early dismissal is 12:40. A full-day kindergarten program began last fall. Delayed openings are two hours after a school’s regular start time. What are school holidays and vacations? The 2011-12 public school year begins for students in kindergarten through ninth grade on Wednesday, Aug. 31, and for stu-

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august 18, 2011

Schools

ridgefield answerbook • 27

dents in grades 10th through 12th on Thursday, Sept. 1. Student holidays and vacations are: Labor Day, Sept. 5; Rosh Hashanah, Sept. 29; Columbus Day, Oct. 10; professional development day for teachers, Oct. 11; Veterans Day, Nov. 11; early dismissal, Nov. 23; Thanksgiving, Nov. 24-25; early dismisal, Dec. 23; holiday recess, Dec. 26-30; New Year’s Day observed, Jan. 2; Martin Luther King’s birthday observed, Jan. 16; Presidents’ Day, Feb. 20; professional development day, Feb. 21; professional development day, April 5; Good Friday, April 6; spring recess, April 16-20;; Memorial Day, May 28. The tentative last full day of school for students is June 12, depending on the number of snow days used during the year. Storm closing days are added to the end of the school year. The calendar reserves 12 extra days through June 28. What are the enrollment numbers in the public schools? A total of 5,377 students were in the Ridgefield Public Schools’ kindergarten to 12th grade classrooms, according to the Oct. 1 count that was provided to the state. In addition to being 47 more students than had been projected for budget planning, that was 15 more than showed up in the “fifth day” count traditionally taken as a start of-school number. That’s was not to say the general enrollment trend — fewer kids in school — has changed. The 5,377 K-12 total was still 33 students fewer than the previous year’s official enrollment of about 5,400. And while larger than expected at 352 students, kindergarten was still the lowest enrollment grade in the system. First grade, at 358, was the second, and the largest was ninth grade, with 464 students. And that 5,377 is not really everyone. The schools’ Oct. 1 head count showed 5,425 in-town students if the special education preschool’s population — children un-

der 5 — was included. There was an even higher total — 5,463 — counting the 38 special needs students Ridgefield sends to specialized “out of district” schools. School by school enrollments in 2010 (with projections for 2011 and 2012, according to school administration reports): Barlow Mountain, 366 (354/353); Branchville, 443 (434/428); Farmingville, 346 (331/332); Ridgebury, 409 (402/388); Scotland, 385(384/392); Veterans Park, 344 (343/330); East Ridge, 742 (737/722); Scotts Ridge, 582 (581/555); Ridgefield High, 1,760 (1,757/1,746) students. A demographer has projected enrollment to fall by 500 or more by 2015 (4,867 low projection, 4,973 high projection) and by 800 or more by 2020 (4,309 low projection, 4,564 high projection). Total enrollment peaked at 5,540 in the 2005-06 school year. What is the average class size in our elementary, middle and high schools? According to the Board of Education’s 2010-11 class size report, the desired class size practice is 20 students in kindergarten and first grade; 24 students in second grade, 25 students in third through 12th grades. The class size maximum practice is 21 for kindergarten and first grade, 24 for second grade and 26 for others. What are the average SAT scores for the seniors at the high school? The RHS Class of 2010 SAT scores were strong compared to national and state averages, but Ridgefield’s average scores were at or near the bottom of the group of seven suburban Fairfield County high schools the state compares Ridgefield to — District Reference Group A or “DRG-A.” On the math SAT, the seven

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28 • ridgefield answerbook

Schools

august 18, 2011

school range for the DRG was 561 to 611, with Ridgefield sixth at 585. The DRG-A average was 594. On the SAT’s critical reading exam, the DRG-A range was 569 to 587, with Ridgefield seventh of seven at 569. The DRG average was 578. On the writing SAT, the DRG range was 580 to 610, with Ridgefield tied for last at 580. The total average scores of 1,734 (out of a possible 2,400) for Ridgefield ranked it sixth behind New Canaan (1,796), Weston (1,793), Darien (1,780), Westport (1,777) and Wilton (1,768) and ahead of Region 9 (Easton-Redding school district at 1,712). How have students performed in the National Merit Scholarship program? Five Ridgefield High School students were named finalists in the 2011 National Merit Scholarship Program. The students were chosen from more than 15,000 semifinalists throughout the country to move onto the finalists status. Four Ridgefield High School seniors, in the Class of 2009, were chosen as National Merit Scholarship finalists. The finalists, who represented less than 1% of U.S. high school seniors, included the highest scoring entrants in each state. In addition, 20 (22 from Class of 2009) seniors received National Merit letters of commendation, meaning they placed among the top 5% of students who entered the competition nationwide. Are there other noteworthy academic acheivements? Yes, indeed. The Advanced Placement program named two “state AP scholars” — one male and one female student with the highest average scores for each of the 50 states. In 2010, both of Connecticut’s were from Ridgefield. RHS also had 14 National AP Scholars, 72 AP Scholars with Distinction, 46 AP Scholars with Honor, and 63 AP Scholars.

In Ridgefield all students enrolled in AP courses take the national Advance Placement tests. And 94% of them achieved scores of 3, 4 or 5 on the test — meaning they qualify for credit at most colleges. RHS had 454 students — 52% of the junior and senior classes — taking AP courses and tests. What testing is given to preschool children? There is no formal testing, but a reading and math inventory is given, as well as a speech screening. What tests do students take? The Connecticut State Mastery Test is a state-mandated, criteria-reference test. It is given to students in third through eighth grade. The Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT) is the state-mandated test given in 10th grade. In addition, the district conducts internal testing in reading in the elementary schools. How have students fared on the Connecticut Mastery Test? The Connecticut Mastery Test is given to students in third through eighth grades each year. The latest scores available are for students who took the test in 2010. The latest scores show RHS students as performing much better than their peers in Connecticut, though more middle-of-the-pack when compared to students from area suburban towns. The 2011 scores were generally stronger than in past RHS scores. Following are the percentages of Ridgefield students who scored at or above goal: Third grade: math 87%, reading 79.5%, writing. 78.3% Fourth grade: math 89.8%, reading 82.2%, writing 84.7%.

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SKATING AND HOCKEY PROGRAMS FOR ALL AGES

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august 18, 2011

Schools

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Fifth grade: math 93.8%, reading 85.3%, writing 86%, science 88.4%. Sixth grade: math 92.4%, reading 90.2%, writing 90.2%. Seventh grade: math 90.7%, reading 95%, writing 86.8%. Eighth grade: math 91.6%, reading 92.5%, writing 87.2%, science, 85.1%. How have students performed on the CAPTs? The Connecticut Academic Performance Tests, known as the CAPTs, test for proficiency in math, science, reading, and writing. Results were released by the state in July 2011. Scores below are for the test taken in March by the then-Ridgefield High School sophomore class who performed best in math and writing. The percentage of students who scored at or above state goals are as follows (compared with 2010 scores): math — 88% (81.2%); science — 77.5% (76.4%); reading — 81% (82.5%); writing — 91.2% (92.3%). What interscholastic sports are offered at the high school? Ridgefield High School offers the following sports with varsity (V), junior varsity (JV), and freshman (F) levels noted: Fall: boys: cross country (V), football (V/JV/F), soccer (V/ JV/F); girls: cheerleading (V), cross country (V), field hockey (V/JV/F), soccer (V/JV/F), swimming/diving (V/JV), volleyball (V/JV). Winter: boys: basketball (V/JV/F), ice hockey (V), indoor track (V), swimming/diving (V/JV), wrestling (V/JV), skiing (V/JV); girls: basketball (V/JV/F), cheerleading (V), ice hockey (V), indoor track (V), skiing (V/JV). Spring: boys: baseball (V/JV/F), golf (V), lacrosse (V/JV/F), outdoor track (V), tennis (V/JV), volleyball (V/JV); girls: golf (V), lacrosse (V/JV/F), outdoor track (V), softball (V/JV/F), tennis (V/JV). (The junior varsity tennis team is a co-ed team.) What extracurricular activities are at the high school? The choices are many and change from year to year: Anime Club, Art Students Association, Beat Influence (Techno Music Club), Best Buddies, Captain’s Council, Chess Team, CAVC Club (Computer, Audio and Visual Communication), Dance Team, Dance, Dance Revolution, Debate Team, DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America), Diversity Club, Docent Program Aldrich, Docent Program Keeler Tavern, Foreign Language Club, Frisbee Club, Future Business Leaders of America, Guitar Club, Habitat for Humanity, Interact Club, International Thespian Society, International Club, Key Club, Knitting Club, Latin Club, Lighting Club, Literary Group, Lodestar (literary magazine), Madrigals, Marine Biology, Martial Arts Club, Math League, Mock Trial, Model U.N., Outreach Club, Philosophy, POWER (Project of Women’s Essential Rights), Ridgefield Astronomy Club, Roots & Shoots, Straight/Gay Alliance, STAND, Student Union, Tiger’s Roar (student newspaper), Tiger’s Den (pep club), Yearbook (The Caudatowan), Youth Against Cancer, and Youth to Youth. What musical groups are at the high school? The high school sponsors and supports the RHS Orchestra, Students for the Performing Arts, Concert Band, Jazz Band, Chamber Ensembles, Concert Choir, Madrigal Singers, and Pep Band. A schedule of concerts is issued by the Student Activities office and also appears in The Ridgefield Press. What is the ABC program? A Better Chance is a national program that provides academ-

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30 • ridgefield answerbook

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august 18, 2011

ically talented minority students access to good schools, both private and public, that they otherwise could not attend. In this area, Ridgefield, Wilton and New Canaan have ABC chapters. Ridgefield’s ABC has a house in town where the ABC students live during the school year, attending classes at Ridgefield High. Donald DeYoung is president. For information, visit ridgefieldabc.org. Send general questions to info@ridgefieldabc.org. What is the current school budget? In early May voters approved a $79 million budget for schools, up 1.81% over the 2010-11 budget (which had been reduced by $850,000 by the Board of Finance.) The new budget includes the school board’s $700,000 plan to go from half-day to full-day kindergarten. Major capital projects approved include $1.9 million for energy efficiency projects in school and town buildings and $170,000 for asbestos floor tile replacement in Veterans Park and Farmingville schools. What is the salary range for teachers? For 2010-11, salaries for full-time teachers in the Ridgefield Public Schools began at $46,167 for a starting teacher with no experience and a bachelor’s degree. That put Ridgefield third from the bottom in the group of seven high-achieving Fairfield County school systems that the state compares Ridgefield to, DRG-A. The DRG-A range for starting teachers is from $44,211 in the Redding-Easton district to $47,760 in Weston. The maximum for a veteran teacher with a master’s degree is $82,038 in Ridgefield, lowest in the DRG, with other towns ranging from $82,384 in Redding and Easton to $95,516 in Darien. Atop the teachers’ salary scale in Ridgefield is $103,129 for a teacher with a doctorate and 17 or more years of experience.

The salaries of principals in Ridgefield ranged from $139,871 to $161,392 in 2010-11. Who is the superintendent of schools and how much does she earn? Deborah Low joined Ridgefield public schools as superintendent in July 2007. Previously, she served as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in Wilton. In 2010-11 the superintendent’s base salary was $193,800 with a $17,000 annuity. Additional incentive payments can add as much as $18,000. How and when do I register a child for school? To register, call the school, talk to the secretary, and acquire the necessary forms. Kindergarten registration takes place in late February/early March. Children in private kindergartens who will attend first grade in a public school should be registered in May at the school they will attend. Kindergarten orientation takes play in May. Full day kindergarten began in the 2010-11 school year. If your child is to be enrolled in an elementary school and you do not know the district, call the transportation department at 203-431-2800. To register a high school student schedule an appointment with a guidance counselor through the guidance secretary. Bring proof of residency and proof of immunization. What kind of information does the school require for registration? For kindergarten, the schools require proof of residence, a birth certificate with raised seal, and proof of immunization. Children who live in the town go through a pre-kindergarten

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august 18, 2011

ridgefield answerbook • 31

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32 • ridgefield answerbook

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august 18, 2011

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screening in May. Those moving in after May must register at the school they’ll attend. For transferring students, the schools require a copy of their transcript or report card and their medical forms, proof of address and immunization. When can my child enter kindergarten? Any child who turns five years old before Jan. 1 during a given calendar year may enter kindergarten that fall; otherwise they enroll the next year. Parents may hold a child back, particularly if the child was born late in the year. Parents should discuss the situation with their school principal. The decision is left up to the parents. How can I find out if school is canceled because of bad weather? Announcements are made between 6 and 8 a.m. on WLAD 800 AM, WCBS 880 AM, WRCH 100.5 FM, WEBE 107.9 FM, Channel 3, Channel 8, and Channel 30. On the Internet, check the school Web site at ridgefield.org. A handy feature there is the “eAlerts” for which parents may sign up. Ridgefield Public Schools also offer voicemail notification for emergency and unanticipated early dismissal information (but not snow cancellations), and e-mail notification for official school communications. For information, visit the school district Web site, click on District Calendar and scroll down to Emergency Early Dismissals. What is the district’s school bus policy? The district does not provide door-to-door service. It may happen that a bus stop is outside someone’s house, but in general the maximum walking distance for a stop is one mile. Schools try to deliver kindergartners as close as possible to their homes. What is special education? Who does it help? Special education includes a variety of programs to deal with things that prevent children from achieving academically or functioning in a regular classroom. Among those helped by special education are children with learning disabilities, physical handicaps and emotional problems, and mentally challenged children. Special education is federally mandated, but the town pays more about 95% of the cost of programs. How can I find out if my child should have special education? Call the school guidance counselor, or talk to your classroom teacher, to discuss whether your child may need special education. You may also call the district office to speak to someone in the special education department. Is there a PTA in town? What does the PTA do? Each school has its own Parent Teacher Association. The PTAs are made up of parents and teachers (and, at the high school, students) and raise money, support school events, and try to further the interests of the schools. The Ridgefield Joint Council of PTAs supports and coordinates the separate PTA groups. For the names of PTA presidents, call the school. For general information, visit the district Web site, ridgefield.org, and click on the individual schools. Can I rent space in a school? A non-profit organization may inquire with the school principal about renting space. How many nursery schools/preschools are in town? Nursery schools are: All For Twos, The Preschool Playhouse (203-438-0732/allfortwos.com), Almost Home Child Care

august 18, 2011

Schools

ridgefield answerbook • 33

and Preschool (203-894-8208/almosthomecc.com), Creative Children’s Korner (203-438-3001/cckpreschool.com), Enchanted Garden Creative Arts (203-431-3350 /enchantedgardenarts.com), The Growing Tree (203-431-6152), Jesse Lee Day School (203-438-9204/methodistnurseryschool.org), Kaleidoscope Kids (203-748-1177/kkidsridgefield.com), Littleville Preschool (203-431-2755/ridgefieldct.org click on Parks & Recreation), Maimonides Early Education (formerly Maimonides Academy of Western Connecticut in Danbury/mawcschool.org), which has an early childhood program has relocated to Ridgefield at Temple Shearith Israel, at 46 Peaceable Street (203-748-7129; e-mail NaavaMEE@aol.com); My Nursery School (203-438-0802/mynurseryschool.com), Landmark of Ridgefield Academy (203-894-1800/ridgefieldacademy.com), Ridgefield Community Kindergarten (203-438-3025/ridgefieldcommunitykindergarten.com), Ridgefield Montessori School (203-438-4506/ridgefieldmontessori.com), Saint Mary Preschool (203-438-7288/smsridgefield.org), St. Stephen’s Nursery School (203-438-6806/ststephens-ridgefield.org), and Wizards and Rainbows Kindergarten Enrichment (203-4384317). What private schools are here or nearby? Ridgefield Academy (203-894-1800)/ridgefieldacademy.org) offers preschool through eighth grade programs at 223 West Mountain Road. New this fall is its state-of-the-art media center. Saint Mary Catholic School (203-438-7288/smsridgefield. org) at 183 High Ridge Avenue offers a preschool (full-day and half-day classes for three-, four- and five-year-olds) plus kindergarten (full-day) through eighth grade. The Hebrew School for the Arts is geared for Jewish stu-

dents who attend area public schools, and will meet on Sunday mornings at a central location in town. To register, call 203-7484421 or visit ChabadRidgefield.com. Our Lady of Fatima in Wilton (203-762-8100/olfrs.org) is a Catholic school for pre-school through eighth grade; it has an all-day kindergarten. The Wooster School in Danbury (203830-3900/woosterschool.org) has kindergarten through 12th grade. The Harvey School (914-232-3161/harveyschool.org) in Katonah, N.Y., has sixth through 12th grades. In New Canaan, St. Luke’s (203-966-5612/stlukesct.org) has grades five through 12 and New Canaan Country School (203-972-0771/countryschool.net) grades kindergarten through nine. Greens Farms Academy (203-256-7514/gfacademy.org) is a private kindergarten through 12th grade coed day school in Greens Farms. Immaculate High School (203-744-1510/immaculatehs.org) is a Catholic coed high school in Danbury. Catholic schools reported that non-Catholic students are welcome. Is there an adult education program here? The Ridgefield Adult Education program now Ridgefield Public Schools’ Continuing Education Program, runs evening classes for those 16 and older during the fall, winter and spring. Catalogs are mailed to all households. Students 62 and older and the disabled qualify for a discount. Call 203-431-9995 for details or e-mail Director Peggy Bruno via ridgefieldadulte ducation@yahoo.com. Course descriptions are online at ridgefieldschools.org. There are also many “ed2go” online courses at ridgefiekdschools.org/online.html. The office is on the second floor of the Richard E. Venus Municipal Building. Founders Hall at 193 Danbury Road (203-431-7000) offers a wide-range of academic classes as well as a variety of art and dance classes for those ages 60 and older. Visit founders-hall.org.

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Where can I take college courses nearby? Western Connecticut State University (203-837-8200/wcsu. edu) in Danbury offers both graduate and undergraduate courses as does the University of Connecticut in Stamford (203-2518400/stamford.uconn.edu) and Fairfield University (203-2544000/fairfield.edu) in Fairfield. Norwalk Community College (203-857-7000/nctc.comnet.edu) also offers a complete degree program. Is there an art school nearby? The Ridgefield Guild of Artists (203-438-8863/rgoa.org) on Halpin Lane off Prospect Ridge offers instruction for beginners and advanced students, as well as many children’s programs. The Wooster Community Art Center (203-830-3984) in Danbury offers art courses. Silvermine School of Art (203-9669700/silvermineart.org) is in New Canaan. Is there a dance school in the area? Enchanted Garden Conservatory of the Arts (203-894-1987/ enchantedgardenarts.com), 529 Ethan Allen Highway (Route 7) and its School of the Arts (203-431-3350) at 165 Danbury Road (Route 35); Hot Shoes (203-431-6414/hotshoesdance.com) at 15 Danbury Road; The Ridgefield School of Dance (203-6441436/theridgefieldschoolofdance.com), 66 Grove Street; The Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance (203-438-5597/ridgefielddance.org), 444 Main Street; Ridgefield Studio of Performing Arts (203-431-8728/rspaonline.com) 109 Danbury Road; Walter Schalk School of Dance (203-762-7508/walterschalk. com), and Ridgefield Parks and Recreation (203-438-2755/ ridgefieldct.org). New to Ridgefield is The Little Gym of Ridgefield (203-4312150/tlgridgefieldct.com), which offers dance programs (and

gymnastics, karate and more) for children. Founders Hall offers dance classes for those 60 and older. Are there any music schools nearby? Sharps & Flats at 31 Bailey Avenue (203-438-3300/sfmusic. biz) offers lessons in piano, woodwinds, strings, and voice. Email: sfmusic@att.net. Hearts and Minds Music at 19 Danbury Road (203-4383300/heartsandmindsmusic.com) offers the Kindermusic curriculum for children from infancy through age seven. Ridgefield Music at 19 Governor Street (203-438-7446) offers instruction in most band and orchestral instruments as well as piano and guitar. Enchanted Garden offers music lessons, rock ensemble programs. production studios (plus drama classes and more). Where is the nearest vocational school? Henry Abbott Regional Vocational and Technical School (203-797-4460) on Hayestown Road in Danbury offers an academic curriculum leading to a high school diploma along with programs in automotive repair and body work, automotive technology, carpentry, culinary arts, drafting, electrical, electronics, graphics technology, hairdressing and barbering, HVAC, manufacturing technology, and plumbing and heating. There is no cost for Ridgefield residents, and bus transportation is provided. An eighth-grade transcript is required. Post-graduates and adults interested in a program may call 203-797-4460, ext. 4427 for information. The school’s Web site is cttech.org/abbott.

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Public Services

ridgefield answerbook • 35

Where is the library and when is it open? The Ridgefield Library (203-438-2282) is at 472 Main Street. It is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 to 6, Tuesday and Thursday from 10 to 9, Saturday 9 to 5; and Sunday 1 to 5 (Labor Day to mid-June). It is closed for some holidays and on summer Sundays. The library’s Web site is ridgefieldlibrary. org. The director is Chris Nolan (203-438-2282, ext. 1002/cbnola n@ridgefieldlibrary.org). Other key phone number extensions (ridgefieldlibrary.org/ contact/#staff/): To reserve a meeting room: 1013; for Children’s Services: 1024; for Teen Services: 1004; for Adult Programs: 1013; for Book Club requests: 1011, for Homebound Delivery: 1003; to make a donation (which can also be done online) :1009. How many books does our library have? The library, with nearly daily 1,100 visitors, has more than 130,000 books, DVDs, audio books, videos, recorded music, and magazines. Reference desk: 203-438-2282, ext. 1015 or 1016 or send e-mail to: referencedesk@ridgefieldlibrary.org. You can “text a librarian” by texting askrdg followed by your question to 66746. What does the Ridgefield Library offer besides books and magazines? The library offers numerous online services, including specialized databases and an online catalog connecting Ridgefield with libraries across the country. Additional reference services include periodicals and other research materials on microfiche and microfilm and the Ridgefield Press archive in microfilm and electronic format (depending on date).

The lending collection includes audiobooks on cassette and CD and available for download; feature, children’s and documentary films on VHS and DVD; music CDs; educational CDROMs, and video games for PlayStation 2, XBox, and Game Cube. The library also offers Internet access, personal productivity software and children’s multimedia educational software from more than two dozen computer stations, as well as wireless Internet access for those with laptops. Reference help is available 24/7 through the library’s Web page. The library is “always on the look-out for the next emerging format, from Kindle e-books to downloadable audio,” the site declares. Can I access the catalog from my home? The library’s Web site, ridgefieldlibrary.org, gives information about the library, its collection and programs; access to the catalog; and to many of its online database services. May I borrow books from other libraries with my Ridgefield card? Your local library card may be used at most public libraries in Connecticut. Books borrowed at other libraries in Connecticut may be returned here, and the library will send them to the proper library. You may also borrow items through an interlibrary loan. Are there any library activity groups? Children’s Services offers a range of activities for young people, from newborn through high school. For young children there are drop-in storytimes and Friday Flicks, Mother Goose movement and music, and special programs from time to time.

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august 18, 2011

Public Services

ridgefield answerbook • 37

For school age children there are book discussion clubs; a summer reading program with components focusing on art, drama, and music; classical music programs; reading to therapy dogs; crafts; Scrabble games; and special events such as PJ Storytime and talent shows and a summer reading program. A Teen Services librarian organizes special programs for young adults in middle and high school, including a book discussion group, a film series, special events and a summer reading program. For registration information, call 203-438-2282. Adult programs include movies, discussion groups, lectures, seminars, concerts, poetry readings, special events, and clubs such as the Shutterbugs photography club, a memoir writing group, and the Writer’s Guild. Many programs take place in the Dayton Program Room, which may also be rented for private or business functions. Call 203-438-2282 for details or pick up the Biblioevents newsletter at the library. Check also the Library Lines column in The Press. Does the library use volunteers or need books for book sales? The Friends of the Ridgefield Library is a volunteer organization that supports the library in many ways. Its principal fund-raising activities include spring and fall used book sales each year, for which it accepts book donations (subject to certain conditions). For upcoming sale dates and information about donating books and other events, call the group’s president, Ann Jepson, at 203-438-6494 or send e-mail to friends@ridgefieldli brary.org. For information about volunteering with or becoming a member of the Friends, get in touch with Ms. Jepson. The Friends board meets on the first Monday of most months at 10 a.m. in the Dayton Program Room. Volunteers are also used extensive-

ly by the library directly to assist staff with library operations and special programs. Community service volunteering opportunities are available. For information, call Assistant Director Mary Rindfleisch at 203-438-2282, ext. 1009, or contact the Friends Volunteer Communications Chair Ginny Canfield at vcanfield@comcast.net or 203-438-9890 for more information. What is the Ridgefield Community Center? The Ridgefield Community Center in the stately 1896 Lounsbury House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a vital component to the history of the town. The property is owned by the Town of Ridgefield, but is operated by a separate 501 (C) (3) nonprofit organization, is self-supporting and receives no tax money. The house offers an elegant and sophisticated setting for weekday and weekend rentals available for meetings, corporate events, private parties, weddings, anniversary celebrations, fund-raisers and other occasions. Memberships are available. Benefits include members-only events, reduced rental rates and special prices on ticketed events. The Ridgefield Community Center, at 316 Main Street, and can be reached by calling 203-438-6962. Office hours are typically 9 to 5, Monday through Friday, but are subject to change. It is suggested to call ahead. Appointments for viewing are strongly encouraged. The Web site is lounsburyhouse.com. How can the town social worker help me? The Department of Social Services (203-431-2777) offers information and referrals and helps people apply for local, state, and federal benefit programs. Through its director, Carole Konner, who is also the municipal agent for the elderly and the disabled and Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator, the

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38 • ridgefield answerbook

Public Services

august 18, 2011

department helps families and non-disabled adults, including senior citizens. E-mail: socialservices@ridgefieldct.org. Jeanne Wolnick is the municipal agent for the elderly and may be reached at 203-431-2754 or via e-mail at municipala gent@ridgefieldct.org. Services include assistance to persons with disabilities with filing for Social Security Disability, Title XIX (Medicaid) as well as applications for fuel assistance, ConnPACE, Nu-Start, housing applications and certification for SweetHART Bus passes. Transportation for emergency out-of-town medical appointments can sometimes be arranged for disabled residents. The agent for the disabled is available to accompany clients to Social Security, State Social Services and Department of Mental Retardation offices when required. The department also provides special parking permit applications, as well as outreach for services that include legal, medical and housing. Services available to elderly residents through the department include a fuel assistance program, a rent rebate program and a property tax deferment program. Also, financial assistance may be available to low income seniors for specific needs. Specific programs, such as the Friendly Shopper Service Program and Latchkey Kid Program and Campership Program ae detailed under Senior Citizens and Children & Teens in the Answerbook. Does the town have a food bank? There is a non-perishable food pantry at town hall. It is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 11:30 and 2:30 to 4:30. People who wish to use the food pantry must check in on their first visit with the Department of Social Services. Donations of non-perishable food and personal care and household products are appreciated and may be dropped off at the department’s office on the second floor, accessible via elevator. For more information, call 203-431-2754. Meals on Wheels provides “nourishing meals to those needing assistance” on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings before noon. Meals for the non-delivery days are included with deliveries for those who cannot get out or are unable to cook. It is staffed by volunteers on the kitchen staff, drivers and others. Call 203-438-8788 or visit online at mealsonwheelsofridgefield. org. Local churches and synagogues organize food, clothing, and toy drives in response to need. There are always places to contribute before Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Contact the organization of your choice. Are there any charitable organizations in town? The Friends of Ridgefield Community Programs is a charitable organization that will act as a receiver of donations to the town. For example, if someone wanted to donate money for the acquisition of open space or make a contribution toward the annual Family Fourth of July fireworks event, they could do so through this entity. For details, call Town Clerk Barbara Serfilippi at 203-431-2783. The Ridgefield Emergency Fund, consisting entirely of donations, helps needy Ridgefielders with food, utilities and other basic needs. You may donate by sending a check, payable to Ridgefield Emergency Fund, to the Social Services Department, Town Hall, 400 Main Street. As its name implies, the Evelyn C. Peeler Children’s Holiday Gift Fund helps the less fortunate children of Ridgefield through a variety of programs including holiday gifts, holiday meals, purchases of clothing, back-to-school supplies and more. The group operates under the auspices of the Ridgefield Clergy Association and is fiscally sponsored as a non-profit organization by the First Congregational Church. Contributions may be sent to the Evelyn C. Peeler Children’s

Holiday Gift Fund, c/o UPS Store #218, 54 Danbury Road, Ridgefield, 06877. For information, call Susan Ferguson at 203431-4546 or Nancy Sampson at 203-431-0910. How can I help the Salvation Army or Goodwill? Donations for Goodwill may be brought to its trailer near the Recycling Center on South Street. There is a manned Goodwill Donation Center at the All Seasons Shopping Center, 231 Ethan Allen Highway, open Monday through Saturday from 8 to 7; and from 10 to 4 on Sunday. Visit goodwillwct.org. Items for the Salvation Army to resell may be brought to its thrift store, 129 Main Street, Danbury (203-792-9799). Hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 to 5. The non-profit organization has a toll-free phone number to call to arrange pick up of donations of clothing, furniture and household items: 1-800728-7825. Where are burial plots? How would I get one? Burial plots are available in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Mapleshade Cemetery, Fairlawn Cemetery, Ridgebury Cemetery, and Branchville Cemetery. Each is independently owned. To contact the owners or for more information about the sites, call Kane Funeral Home (203-438-6597/kanefuneralhome.net) or Bouton Funeral Home (203-544-8461/boutonfh.com). Are there any short-term rentals available? Ridgefield Apartments offers apartments and single-family homes available for rent by the week or month or long term. Call 203-431-0143, ext. 10, or visit ridgefieldapartments.com. E-mail: info@ridgefieldapartments.com. What can I do with a worn-out American flag? The Ridgefield Detachment 44 of the Marine Corps League collects worn American flags for proper disposition. Flags that are torn, faded or otherwise unserviceable should not be thrown away. They may be brought to specially marked red containers at the transfer station or the Marine Corps League building at 25 Halpin Lane. The Marines will periodically burn the flags in accordance with proper flag protocol. For information, call 203438-4333. E-mail:ridgefieldctmcl@yahoo.com. Is there a community calendar of events? The Ridgefield Arts Council maintains an invaluable online calendar showcasing local events at ridgefieldartscouncil.org. The Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce calendar lists yearly events as well as other announced events at ridgefieldchamber. org. Arts and events calendars are accessible via the town’s Web site under the “Visit Us!” link. Maps of Main Street and Fairfield County and more are available there, too. The Ridgefield Press’s Date Book column is a list of a wide variety of special events open to the public. The Arts & Leisure section of The Press offers weekly listings of upcoming events, both in town and in the region. Both are updated weekly and posted online at TheRidgefieldPress.com. Where can I get help with my income taxes? Any Ridgefield taxpayer who meets income and simple tax return criteria may receive free assistance in filling out federal and state tax forms through the seasonal AARP Tax-Aide Program. The program begins in February and continues through mid-April. Call Peter Massagli at 203-438-2755. The Internal Revenue Service has various help lines: federal tax information, 800-829-1040; Tele-Tax (recorded tax info), 800-829-4477; Problem Resolution Office, 800-829-1040; or the Hearing Impaired TV/Tele-TTY, 800-829-4059.

august 18, 2011

ridgefield answerbook • 39

n
Business, Industry Centers
1. Boehringer Ingelheim Headquarters 2. Branchville Business District (Routes 7 & 102) 3. Copps Hill Plaza 4. Copps Hill Common 5. Donelly Shopping Center 6. Girolemetti Court 7. Hersam Acorn Newspapers Ridgefield Press 8. Ridgefield Commerce Park 9. Ridgefield Shopping Center 10. Yankee Ridge Shopping Center

Points of Interest
27. Barlow Mountain elev. 950 ft. (in Pierrepont State Park) 28. Pine Mountain elev. 1,000 ft. (highest point in town) 29. West Mountain elev. 980 ft.

Geographical Features

Historical Sites

Cemeteries

11. Branchville Cemetery 12. Fairlawn Cemetery Mapleshade Cemetery Ridgefield Cemetery 13. Ridgebury Cemetery 14. St. Mary’s Cemetery

Churches, Religious Centers

16. First Church of Christ, Scientist 17. First Congregational Church 18. Ignatius Retreat House 19. Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church 20. Ridgebury Congregational Church 21. Ridgefield Baptist Church 22. St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church 23. St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church 24. St. Mary’s Church 25. St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church 26. Temple Shearith Israel

30. Battle of Ridgefield Marker (Revolutionary War Burial Site) 31. Benedict Arnold’s Horse Shot From Under Him 32. Big Shop (1800s Factory/Community Center) 33. Cass Gilbert Fountain 34. French Cavalry Had Barracks Near Here During Revolution 35. Hauley House (Oldest House in Town, Private) 36. Local Tribes Had Settlements Hereabouts 37. Keeler Tavern Museum 38. Old Branchville Schoolhouse 39. Ridgefield Historical Society Headquarters 40. Settlers Rock 41. Titicus Schoolhouse 42. West Lane Schoolhouse (Little Red Schoolhouse) 43. Ye Olde Burying Ground

Parks and Open Spaces

44. Aldrich Park 45. Ballard Park and Playground 46. Bark Park 47. Bennett’s Pond Open Space 48. Florida Refuge 49. Great Swamp 50. Hemlock Hills 51. Lake Windwing Park 52. Levy State Park continued on page 42

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42 • ridgefield answerbook

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Parks and Open Spaces (Continued)
53. McKeon Farm Town Pasture 54. Norwalk River Nature Study Area (Public) 55. Pierrepont State Park 28. Pine Mountain Preserve 56. Richardson Park 57. Sturges Park 58. Weir Farm National Park 59. Woodcock Nature Preserve 29. West Mountain Refuge

Points of Interest
80. Ridgefield Municipal Golf Course 81. Silver Spring Country Club 82. State Boat Launch 83. Winter Garden Ice Arena 68. Yanity Gym Graham Dickinson Spirit Skate Park

Schools

Public or Government Facilities

60. Ballard Greenhouse 61. Branchville Train Station 62. Community Center 63. Dog Pound 64. Fire Department 65. Highway Department 66. Post Office 67. Recycling Center 68. Richard E. Venus Municpal Building (Town Hall Annex) Board of Education Visiting Nurse Association 69. Ridgebury Firehouse 70. Ridgefield Library 71. Ridgefield Police Headquarters 72. ROAR Animal Shelter 73. Sewage Treatment Plant 74. Town Hall 75. Trash Transfer Station

84. Barlow Mountain School 85. Branchville School 86. East Ridge Middle School and Fields 87. Farmingville School 88. Ridgebury School 15. Ridgefield Academy (Private) 89. Ridgefield High School 90. Scotland School 91. Scotts Ridge Middle School 92. St. Mary’s School 93. Veteran’s Park School

Senior Citizens

60. Ballard Green Apartments 79. Founders Hall 94. Laurel Ridge Heatlh Care Center 95. Prospect Ridge Munnicipal Housing 96. Ridgefield Crossings

Social, Cultural Centers

Recreation

76. Boys and Girls Club 77. Great Pond Club (Private) 78. Martin Park Beach 79. Recreation Center

97. Aldrich Museum 41. American Legion Hall 93. The Barn (Teen Center) 98. Italian-American Club 99. Marine Corps League 100. Ridgefield Guild of Artists 101. Ridgefield Playhouse 102. Ridgefield Theatre Barn 103. Star Park

august 18, 2011

Property Issues

ridgefield answerbook • 43

How can I research the town’s zoning laws? The Planning and Zoning Commission adopted a completely revised and updated set of zoning regulations on May 1, 2007, after almost two years of work. The regulations have been made easier to use and understand. The most substantial changes involve calculations for lot coverage and floor area, establishment of a Village District within the Central Business District, updated zoning definitions, change of use procedures for commercial properties, establishment of an integrated age-restricted housing district, sign regulations, and changes in architectural review requirements. Copies of the regulations may be purchased at the Planning and Zoning Office at the Town Hall Annex, 66 Prospect Street, or downloaded from the town’s Web site at ridgefieldct.org, under Departments / Planning and Zoning / Zoning Regulations. There is also a link to subdivision regulations there. For what kinds of work do I need a building permit? Any and all construction requires a permit from the building department. This includes internal and external remodeling, enlarging, additions, and new construction. Call 203-431-2743 for more information. When do I need a zoning permit? A zoning permit is needed for any interior or exterior construction or use of property, such as a swimming pool or in-home medical office. Call 203-431-2766 for complete information. When do you need sewer approval? Approval for sewers is needed when seeking a permit for an addition, a new home, a new business, and it may require approval from the town sanitarian (203-431-2745) or the Water Pollution Control Authority (203-431-2734). This is a prerequisite to a zoning or building permit. Whom do I call if my neighbor’s septic system is leaking onto my property? Call the health department (on the second floor of at the Town Hall Annex at 66 Prospect Street) at 203-431-2745. Public health nuisance complaints can be made via an online form at the health department page on the town’s Web site. Anonymous complaints aren’t accepted. Can I rent an apartment in my house? Accessory apartments may be created and rented in houses within certain areas of the town. Accessory Success is a 24-page guide to creating an accessory apartment. It covers logistical, financial, regulatory, and practical issues regarding such apartments. Copies are available at the information center in the town hall, at the Planning and Zoning Department in the town hall annex at 66 Prospect Street, or by e-mailing the Ridgefield Affordable Housing Committee at affordablehousing@snet.net. For specific information, call the Planning and Zoning office at 203-431-2766. Can I start a bed and breakfast? A bed and breakfast may be operated with a permit and compliance with certain regulations. Among other things, the operation must be run by the resident owner of the property and there must be adequate off-street parking. Call Planning and Zoning at 203-431-2766. Do I need a permit for a business in my home? Certain “customary home occupations” in residential zones

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Property Issues
town plows.

ridgefield answerbook • 45

may be operated as-of-right or with a permit from the zoning enforcement officer, and other businesses may be operated with a special permit from the Planning and Zoning Commission. Call 203-431-2766 for details. Are there any requirements for putting up signs? The town has specific sign regulations, and generally signs require a permit from the zoning enforcement officer. There are exceptions, including: residential signs not more than two square feet in total area; temporary political signs; historic plaques issued by the Ridgefield Historical Society. Also exempted are temporary signs for special events for non-residential uses in residential areas, such as religious institutions or nonprofit agencies. These signs may not exceed six square feet, may not be posted more than two weeks prior to a special event, must be posted only on the property where the event takes place, may not be in any street right-of-way, and must be taken down promptly after the event has taken place. Real estate “for sale” signs may not exceed four square feet. Who is responsible for shoveling snow off sidewalks? That is the responsibility of property owners with frontage abutting the sidewalk. Snow must be removed from sidewalks within eight hours of the end of a storm, but not later than noon of the following day. If it is not removed within 24 hours, the town will hire a contractor to do so at the property owner’s expense. Snow plowed or shoveled out at the end of a driveway should be put to the side, not out into the road. Violators may be fined. Homeowners should shovel or plow their driveways so all snow is pushed to the right side as you face the road. This will minimize the amount of snow pushed back into a driveway by

What happens if my mailbox is damaged by a town snowplow? The town does not accept responsibility for damage to private property within the town right-of-way, which often extends 10 to 20 feet on either side of a paved road. In the event of mailbox damage, the town will only repair or replace mailboxes having actual contact with snow removal equipment, not mailboxes damaged by the force of snow being plowed. When installing your mailbox and its post, take into account the rigors of snow removal. Consider positioning your mailbox to minimize the force of snow that will be pushed against it. How do I get a burn permit? Burn permits are issued by the fire marshal’s office at Ridgefield Fire Headquarters, 6 Catoonah Street. You may fill out a form at the firehouse Monday through Friday from 8 to 4. The fee is $10. You may burn only brush; a permit is required. Burning of leaves is not allowed in Connecticut. If a tree from my property falls on a town road during a storm, who is responsible for the clean-up? If the tree falls within the town right-of-way, the town will clean it up. Call the highway department at 203-431-2748. Any part of the tree that falls on private land is the homeowner’s responsibility. For trees on the public right-of-way, call Tree Warden John Pinchbeck at 203-431-2358. What is radon gas? How serious is it? Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that is a naturally occurring

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46 • ridgefield answerbook

Property Issues

august 18, 2011

decay product of radioactive uranium. It may increase the risk of lung cancer and occurs in this area. Radon gas gets into homes through cracks in foundations, block walls, sump pumps, drains and other openings in cellar floors and walls. It can also be released into the air by running water from faucets and showers if the source of water is a well with high levels of radon. The simplest way to find out if your home has high levels of radon is a carbon filter test, which can be done by the homeowner. Kits are available at area hardware stores, private labs, or may be purchased by calling the Radon Hotline — 1-800-SOSRADON — operated by the National Safety Council. Can I take care of my garbage myself? You may take your own trash to the refuse transfer station on South Street. You must first get a free permit from town hall (bring your car registration). Using a car requires either tokens or money for the amount of garbage. The transfer station is open Monday to Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. For information, call 203-431-4137. What will they not take at the transfer station? The transfer station will not take hazardous materials (motor oil, anti-freeze, oil-based paiints, etc.), toxic or dangerous chemicals of any kind. Items mandated by the state to be recycled must be taken to the adjacent recycling center. A detailed list is on the town Web site ridgefieldct.org; click on Transfer Station. You may also call 203-431-4137. Call town hall (203-431-2700) for information on periodic hazardous waste collections. (See below.) Where can I get rid of my hazardous waste? A regional hazardous waste collection day takes place every

fall at the Danbury Public Works Department. This year it is Saturday, Sept. 24, from 9 to 2. Area towns including Ridgefield participate to reduce costs; the program is free to residents (proof of residency required). The spring collection event is usually the third Saturday in May at the Newtown Public Works facility. For details, visit the Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority Web site at hrra.org. Residents of HRRA communities who need to use a collection event in which their municipality is not participating, may do so if they pre-register before the day of the collection by calling HRRA at 203-775-6256, ext.304. What items are considered hazardous waste? Items that may be brought to the Hazardous Waste Day collection include paint thinner and strippers, photographic chemicals, insecticides, herbicides, household and automotive cleaners, disinfectants, waste fuels, oil-based paints, varnishes, solvents, degreasers, pool chemicals, anti-freeze and other vehicle fluids except motor oil. Motor oil must be taken to a service station. For a complete list of what is accepted, visit hrra.org. Nickel-cadmium batteries, a mandated recyclable, are not accepted at our recycling centers. The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Association runs a national program for recycling Ni-cad batteries; call 800-BATTERY to find a local store that accepts them. Alkaline batteries no longer contain mercury and may be thrown away with the household trash. Batteries manufactured before 1992 may contain mercury, however, and should be dropped off at the regional household hazardous waste day. Latex paints are not hazardous waste and should not be brought. What do I recycle and where do I take it? The Ridgefield Recycling Center at 59 South Street will take glass bottles and jars; aluminum, steel, tin and aerosol cans; plastic #1-6 bottles but only ones with necks; newspapers, magazines, brown grocery bags and catalogues; corrugated cardboard; aluminum foil and trays; white office paper, computer paper and mixed paper (junk mail, cards, manila folders, colored paper); phone books; milk and juice cartons and aseptic containers (frozen food and ice cream containers); and plastic bags. This summer the Recycling Center began accepting “single stream recycling.” The service allows customers to combine all recyclable materials together in one container and is available to all business and residential customers. The center will continue to accept “dual stream and source separated material” with the addition of a single stream acceptance area. Single stream recycling is also available to Ridgefielders who use a trash hauler to collect recycling from their home. The center will not accept annual reports, automotive products, books, brown envelopes, carbon forms, chipboard, coated copy paper wrappers, diskettes, FedEx envelopes, folders, goldenrod envelopes, oils, light bulbs, mirrors, oil containers, paint cans, plastic pails and toys, polystyrene (Styrofoam), red rope, spiral binders, waxed paper, white goods, wood, fruit and vegetable boxes, or hazardous and infectious waste. Scrap metal and yard waste may be left at the transfer station. The Recycling Center (203-431-2343), is open 7:30 to 3, Tuesday through Saturday, and is next to the transfer station. A detailed list of what is accepted and not accepted for recycling is online at ridgefieldct.org, click on Recycling. Can I recycle a cell phone? Ridgefield’s Department of Social Services provides seniors and the disabled with deactivated cell phones capable of reaching 911. The department accepts donations of phones and chargers on an on-going basis. To make donations, call 203-431-2777.

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august 18, 2011

Utilities

ridgefield answerbook • 47

Who provides electric power? Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) provides electricity. For customer service — or for downed, burned, or hanging wires or if you see a flash or hear a loud noise — call 800-286-2000 any time (TTY/TDD: 800-842-0010). The utility’s Web site is cl-p.com. The site includes an “outage map” showing a town by town listing of customers reported without electricity during and after storms and due to techinical problems. The company’s Web site also offers advice and incentives. like rebates on your bill, for making your home and electrical appliances more energy efficient. There are also answers to power outage questions such as why a neighbor’s electricity is restored before yours, who gets power back first and whether a home generator is a safe bet. Where does our water come from? Aquarion, the community’s water company, delivers water through its Bridgeport-based distribution system and wells in Ridgefield. Smaller private water companies exist at the Ridgefield Knolls and Ridgefield Lakes, and make use of wells. Otherwise, homes are served by their own wells, which tap into underground streams or aquifers. What parts of town have public water? Aquarion (800-732-9678/aquarion.com) serves the central and west central parts of town. This stretches down Route 33 south to St. Johns Road and north along Route 35 to Farmingville. Going toward New York, it reaches up to the Eleven Levels area and out West Lane. Small water companies serve parts of the Ridgefield Lakes and the Knolls. How much does water company water cost? Aquarion charged $2.408 per 100 cubic feet (748 gallons) for the first 42,000 cubic feet, then $1.551 per 100 cubic feet over 42,000 in 2009. There was also a quarterly service charge of $23.41 or $35.11 depending on the meter size. Will I have water if my power goes out? If you’re on public water, there will still be water. However, many families use wells with electrically powered pumps. If there’s no power, these pumps cannot pull the water into the house. If yours is a home with a pump, don’t count on water during an outage, unless you have a power generator. What parts of town have sewer service? There are three sewer districts. The districts and their rates are: District I, South Street, $390; District II, Route 7, $340; District III, Turner Hill, $320 A new hook-up is $5,700 in Sewer Area I (village district) and $1,750 in Sewer Area II (business district). Arrangements can be made to pay the hook-up fee over a 10-year period with a 3% annual interest charge. Who offers cable TV? Comcast in Danbury (1-800-COMCAST) covers Ridgefield. Services include basic cable, digital cable, digital phone, and high-speed Internet. Details are on the Web site at comcast. com. Satellite TV and Internet TV provide other options out there these days.

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48 • ridgefield answerbook

Emergency Services
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In an emergency how do I get fire, police or ambulance help? Call 911. Only emergencies, such as injuries, accidents, crimes in progress, fires, and medical emergencies should be reported to 911. Information questions and calls that are not emergencies tie up the lines and real emergencies cannot be reported. Who answers the 911 line? The Ridgefield Police answer local 911 calls. There is a statewide mobile 911 system that enables dispatchers to quickly track a cell phone caller’s location anywhere in the state. Where is the nearest emergency room? The nearest emergency room is at Danbury Hospital (203739-7000) at 24 Hospital Avenue; call 203-739-7100 (emergency department). The hospital also has a toll-free number, 800-516-3658. There is also an emergency room in Norwalk Hospital at 34 Maple Street. Call 203-852-2000 (connecting to all departments) or toll-free at 800-789-4584. Poison Control Center: 1-800-222-1222. Crisis Intervention Hotline: 1-888-447-3339. What kind of emergency ambulance service does Ridgefield provide? The town has two advanced life support ambulances at the Catoonah Street station and a paramedic service on duty 24 hours a day. The paramedics can provide resuscitation and advanced life support and respond to ambulance calls in special paramedic vehicles. The ambulances themselves are operated by the town’s career firefighters, who are also qualified Emergency Medical Technicians, including eight who have had advanced training

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august 18, 2011

Emergency Services

ridgefield answerbook • 49

(AEMTs). (On the volunteer side, five members are EMTs and six are MRTs.) A dozen firefighters are certified medics. Both ambulances are equipped with defibrillators. The fire engine at Station II in Ridgebury is equipped with emergency medical equipment, including a defibrillator, and responds to all EMS calls in Ridgebury and in town when needed. Where will the ambulance take me? The ambulance will take you to Danbury Hospital unless you request it to go to Norwalk Hospital. How much does an ambulance call cost me? All rates are established by the state, but may vary due to Medicare and Medicaid rules. In February, the town’s selectmen approved the state’s recommended 3% increase in ambulance rates. Basic care support transport, such as someone with a broken ankle, is $530. An advanced life support transport, such a cardiac arrest, costs $841 to $868, depending on equipment and medications needed. There is a mileage charge and other special charges that may accrue. An outside service bills a patient’s insurance company and/or Medicare. If someone is suffering financial constraints and is having difficulty paying the balance of the bill, they are encouraged to speak in confidence with Carole Konner, Ridgefield’s director of social services at 203-431-2777. Where is the fire headquarters? Fire headquarters (203-431-2724) is at 6 Catoonah Street, near the post office. The fire department also has a substation at 169 Old Stagecoach Road in Ridgebury. The fire marshal’s office (203-431-2729) is at 6 Catoonah Street.

On-duty firefighters staff two engines, one at headquarters and the other at Station II in Ridgebury. Thirty-three career firefighters are supplemented by 50 volunteer members — firefighters, fire police, and support personnel — and eight dispatchers. Firefighters have been trained in motor vehicle rescue, handling of hazardous materials, confined space and high-angle rescue, cold water and ice rescue, and more. Who runs the fire department in town? The fire chief is Heather L. Burford. She may be reached at 203-431-2726 (rfdchief@ridgefieldct.org). The fire marshal is David A. Lathrop. He may be reached at 203-431-2729 (firemar shal@ridgefieldct.org). How can I become a volunteer firefighter? To become a volunteer firefighter, you must fill out an application and pass a training program. For more information on becoming a volunteer, call 203-431-2730 or stop by the station. Is there a ladies auxiliary? Yes, the group meets the second Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. (September through June) at 6 Catoonah Street. Call 203-431-2725 for information. What is the starting salary for a paid firefighter? A firefighter at the bottom of the union scale had an annualized pay of $45,536 from July to December 2010 and $46,219 from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2011 — which works out to $45,878 over the length of the current fiscal year. At the top of the scale are fire captains, the top level of which went from $75,128 to $76,255 a year in January -— for $75,692 for the fiscal year. The fire marshal is also a union member, and the top step at that position

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50 • ridgefield answerbook

Emergency Services

august 18, 2011

went from $78,696 to $79,876 — $79,286 for the year. Firefighters get annual premiums that reflect differing levels of medical training. At the bottom an EMT-I gets $1,600 a year added to the base pay, and a top paramedic gets $3,600 above base. (The firefighters union has 35 members. In a cost-cutting agreement with the town, they put off raises half a year, from the start of fiscal year last July until this January.) What kind of equipment does the fire department have? The department has three pumpers, two tankers, two ambulances, a rescue truck, ladder truck, and assorted smaller vehicles. The two full-time engines are equipped with the Jaws of Life, water rescue equipment, oxygen (with masks for humans, dogs, and cats), air bags, lights and a wide assortment of lifesaving tools. How many calls does the fire department answer? In 2010, the fire department responded to 3,248 calls, including 2,103 emergency medical/rescue incidents and 64 fire incidents. There were 179 hazardous incidents (carbon monoxide, hazardous materials and fuel spills), 346 service calls, 371 false alarms and false calls. Others included 23 in the severe weather/ natural disaster category, 158 “good intent” incidents, and two “explosion/overheat” incidents. If I need the fire department, will I get billed? No. Must my fire alarm be registered? All monitored fire alarm systems must be registered with the Ridgefield Fire Department. There is no fee. Call 203-431-2726

or e-mail fire@ridgefieldct.org to request a form. You can also download it from the fire department Web site at ridgefieldct. org. Can the fire department gain emergency entry to my home? Yes, if you have a Knox box. This is a key lock box mounted near the front door containing keys, electronic access cards, floor plans and other emergency information. The key to the Knox box is on the fire truck or ambulance, so the fire department can get inside when responding to an alarm. For information, call 203-431-2726 or e-mail fire@ridgefieldct.org. Sample Knox boxes are at fire headquarters. Where is the police department? The police department is at 76 East Ridge Road, at the corner of Governor Street, one block east of Main Street. For routine matters, call 203-438-6531. The detective division can be reached at 203-431-2794. The drug tip hotline is 203-431-2345. Headquarters is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The police chief is John Roche. How many policemen does the town have? Ridgefield has a chief of police, one major, three captains, five lieutenants, five sergeants, 26 officers, and seven civilian personnel. As many as eight police officers cover the town, depending on shift and available staff. The officers in the uniform division — recognizable in their gray and maroon — patrol by car or motorcycle and offer aid to motorists. There is also a bike patrol, which focuses on the Main Street area and Copps Hill area of town. The department also maintains a six-member honor guard and provides funeral escorts for families. Is there a K-9 unit? Yes, a German shepherd dog named Zeus patrols with Officer Shawn Murray. Zeus’s skills include finding drugs, tracking lost people, and crowd control. Is there a youth officer? Det. Mark Giglio is responsible for investigating all juvenile cases handled by the police. He also investigates adult cases and teaches DARE classes. The School Resources Officer is Officer Fernando Luis. What are the town’s police activity statistics? Ridgefield Police dealt with nearly 17,000 incidents between January and Oct. 31, 2009, everything from frightened person calls to narcotics arrests. Connecticut Magazine found Ridgefield’s crime rate is lower than any other town in its population group (from 15,000 to 25,000). It placed the crime rate at 0.45 per 1,000 residents, based on statistics from 2004, 2005 and 2006, in such major crimes as murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and car theft. For the first 10 months of 2009, police reported 3,589 motor vehicle incidents, including stops, tickets and warnings; the department investigated 543 auto accidents and there were 22 driving under the influence arrests; responded to 102 domestic incidents (141 in 2008), made 34 narcotics-related arrests; reported 12 burglaries, 50 incidents of larceny from a motor vehicle, 37 identity theft and 13 Internet and e-mail scams. There were 25 incidents involving juveniles, nine minors arrested on alcoholrelated charges and 10 investigations for missing or runaway persons during that period. Other statistics included 906 burglar alarms, 273 medical as-

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Emergency Services

ridgefield answerbook • 51

sists, 73 deer dead and tagged, 112 noise complaints, 210 citizens fingerprinted as a service, 99 reports of criminal mischief, 133 hang-up 911 calls, and 40 frightened person reports. The town issued more pistol permits, 72, up from the previous year’s 50. What is the salary of a beginning police officer? Police union salaries for 2010-11 fiscal year ranged from $55,791 for a starting patrol officer to $102,566 for a top-step captain, the highest position in the union. There are 36 unionized Ridgefield Police officers. (The police chief and major aren’t in the union.) The last contract set starting police salaries at $53,904 as of July 1, 2009; $55,791 as of July 1, 2010; and $57,744 as of July 1, 2011. Are the police involved in any community programs? The police department sponsors several community programs. DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) is offered to fifth and seventh graders. The emphasis is to help students recognize and resist pressures that influence them to experiment with alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and other dangerous substances. GRADD (Government of Ridgefield Against Drunk Driving) is a cooperative effort among the police, students, teachers, and citizens to ensure a safe and sober graduation period for students. The department also organizes a Halloween party for Ridgefield children at the recreation center on Oct. 31 that features a haunted house, costume parade, refreshments and prizes.

Is there a Neighborhood Watch Program? Ridgefield has 50 neighborhoods involved in this program. For information, call Capt. Clifford Scharf at 203-431-2797. What is the Citizen Police Academy? The police department’s Citizen Police Academy is open to Ridgefielders 18 or older. It is a nine-week program designed to educate participants about different aspects of police work. Classes may include Crime Scene Investigation, Computer Crimes, Laws of Arrest, and Firearms Safety. It does not train or authorize anyone to act as a police officer. To register, call Capt. Clifford Scharf at 203-431-2797. I need to be fingerprinted for an application. Will the police do it for me? The police will do fingerprints for residents for pistol permit applications, employment applications, citizenship and local business employment needs. Call 203-438-6531 for information. Do I need to register my burglar alarm? Yes, residents are required to register their security alarms with the police department’s records division. A registration form must be filled out. Is there a fee for false alarms? Yes. Fines for false alarms are issued monthly. There is no charge for the first false alarm. The second and third false alarm in a month carry a $25 fine. The fourth and subsequent false alarms in a month carry a $50 penalty.

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52 • ridgefield answerbook

Emergency Services

august 18, 2011

What is CERT? It stands for Community Emergency Response Team. Ridgefield’s CERT is trained by the Department of Emergency Management, led by Fire Chief Heather Burford and Deputy Manager Dick Aarons. The to teach citizens seceip dnik-a-fo-eno erutcutunam dna and manufacture one-of-a-kind pieces to protect their familiesfree program aimsthe event of natuWe ca diamonds and manufacture of jewelry... We cut f diamonds sdnomaid tuc eW how and neighbors in vaS dna secirP elaselone-of-a-kindcpiecesatBTruly Wholesale Prices andral or man-made disasters — hurricanes, ice storms, terrorist atohW ylurTBuyt Directyuof jewelry... ta eriD Save! tacksway in stylingthe area is shut off from emergency services due eht dael ot euniWhyw ,pihsretail rwhenayou ncan rof demialccA from continue to lead the — in case tnoc e pay Acclaimed elbaour moc i ruo buy direct namstfa c for r p incomparable craftsmanship, we the ig era liated ot manufacturermConsummate sskill mmusnoprices land save! to detail to roadblocks or more pressing emergencies. noitnetta andsluxury. at nu dna llik eta and uncompromising attention gni imorp oc truly wholesale C .yruxu dna are given to every piece. CERT members have been dispatched in a number of ways ����������������������������������������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������� in town, such as in helping to organize the town’s emergency supplies, taking appointments for the H1N1 vaccine, and providing assistance during major town events like the Family Fourth. Once you’re a trained member of a CERT, the program ������������������ � offers a number of additional classes you may choose to take ���������������������� to expand your knowledge and focus on a specific area. CERT ����������������� has a number of specialized teams that members may join in �������������������������������������� areas of communications, emergency sheltering, rehabilitation, the State Animal Response team — responsible for sheltering animals in emergencies — and team members who wish to work in the Emergency Operations Center at the Yanity Gym. The next CERT course in Ridgefield starts in the fall. If you have any questions or want to learn more contact Mr. Aarons at raarons@snet.net.

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What should I do in the event of an emergency? For emergencies like widespread blackouts or hurricanes, you might want to listen to radio station WLAD/800 AM, based in Danbury. That is if you heeded advice and stocked up on batteries for your battery-powered radio you acquired for emergencies. ecalkce 18Kt sapphire � Handcrafted n dnomaid dna andhdiamond 1 detfarcdnaH ������������������ eri ppas tK8 necklace The town has set up an Emergency Operations Center to lav gem quality r lau set with o eulb rewolfcornflower q meg htiw tes ���������������neoc lytiand blue ovalh coordinate all town agencies in the event of an emergency such sapphires 1.22 dna thgweighttot .st22.10cts. ppas .stc0 50cts. total i w a c05 seri �������������������ddiamonds. latot as an enormous loss of power, an ice storm, or a hurricane. It is total weight ai ni thgiew .sdnom in ���������������������� generations)ceip A( not a shelter. The town’s head of emergency management is Fire (A piecentoitcherish for hsirehc ot e )s o areneg rof Chief Heather Burford. ������������������������������������������������ The town also has implemented a reverse 911 system to notify Also, save ,s naB gnid Wedding Bands, evas ,osl Anniversary Bands,residents in Earrings, of a major townwide emergency. ResiDiamond Stud the event aiD ,sdnaB yrasrevinnA dnomaiDondDiamond deW dnomaiD noDiamondA dents whose numbers are published in the phone book have auaiD htiw tes sgnirraE dnaDiamondtePendants,eNecklaces,tnadneP dnomaiDand Earrings set with Diamonds, Emeralds, sgniR ,s lecarB ,s calkceN ,s Bracelets, Rings tomatically been nots esool fo noitceles egraL Rubies randirSapphireserihallapricearanges. Large selection of loose stones, gem quality added to the system. Those with unlisted num.segna ec p lla ni s in pp S dn seibuR bers may jewelry. sapphires, dna seib r ,sdla and ,serihppa to etirovaf nwo ruoy ngised ot ,etinaznatemeralds,urubies remetanzanite, s design your own favorite piece ofparticipate by filling out a form and sending it to the ����������������������������������������������������� Ridgefield Fire Department. You may download the form from dnomaiD tuoba noitacude etelpCome visit evigweiw ewgive tyou a moC moc a uoy us, ll will ,su isiv e complete education about Diamonds and Web site, click on Emergency Preparedness. the town Gems. 431 Post Road East, Westport, Compo Shopping Center There are three shelters in town that will provide food, water, and sleeping accommodations: Scotts Ridge Middle School, Suite 18, Second Floor (Above Cohen Optical) Branchville Elementary School, and Yanity Gym. In the event they are needed, residents would be directed according to their voting district. 431 Post RoadtneC gWestportoCompotroptseW ,tCenteroR tsoP 134 re East, nippohS pmoC Shopping saE da The health department will provide information in the event of a public health crisis. The department would coordinate an Suite 18, SecondtpO nehoC evoCohen olF dnoceS ,81 etiuS )laci Floor (Above bA( ro Optical) inoculation center/clinic with the support of the Ridgefield Visit(203) 222-18941or 22 ro 4981-222 )302( 034 -1 221-1430 ing Nurses Association. Volunteer nurses, doctors, pharmacists, Hours: Tues-Sat 10-5pmyror ih a saappointment by h . .S xe dna sdnomaid ytilauq enif htiS.Z.rhasoasuc gniylofpsupplyingscustomersZwith fine quality diamonds and excellent service. w s em t history p us fo ot mental health workers, and non-medical volunteers are needed and may call the health department at 203-431-2745.

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What is “Are You OK?”, and how do I sign up for the service? ������������������� Volunteers in the “Are You OK?” program make a round of ���������������� calls to senior citizens in town to check up on their well being ������������������� ���������������� each day. Sponsored by the Ridgefield Woman’s Club, the service on the second floor of the Ridgefield Fire Department has been manned by volunteers for many years. About 25 seniors ���������������� receive calls from "Are You OK?" each morning around 8. To subscribe, seniors may leave a message at 203-438-6777, and a volunteer will call back to collect information, including emergency contacts and family.

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It’s Worth a Trip From Anywhere

203-222-1894

august 18, 2011

Religion

ridgefield answerbook • 53

What houses of worship are in town? Chabad Jewish Center, 54 Danbury Road, Suite 312, 748-4421 (ChabadRidgefield.com/e-mail contact: Rabbi@ChabadRidgefield.com); First Church of Christ, Scientist, 260 Main Street, 203-438...yrlewej fo seceip dnik-aTheeno erutcutunam dna sdnoa aid tuc eWis at YZ -fo- only place to purchase manufacture one-of-a-kind pieces We caf diamonds and mdiamond 4780 christiansciencect.org/ridgefield/); !evaS dna secirP elaselMfg. ylurTBuydiamondsTruly manufacture and Save ohW We cut tceriD yatB and Wholesale Prices ta Direct u First Congregational, 103 Main Street, 203-438-8077 (firstJewelry congregational.com); gnilyts ni yaw eht dael ot euone-of-a-kindspiecesaour mocni ruo rof demidirect from the to lead the nitnoc ew ,pihsAcclaimed elb of jewelry. Buy alccA nam tfarc for rap incomparable craftsmanship, we continue Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist,ec207 rMainnevig era liated ot noitnetta andsluxury. Consummate sskill mmusnoC .yruxul dna attention to detail are giv . eip y eve ot Street, gni imorpmocnu dna llik eta and uncompromising manufacturer at truly wholesale prices and SAVE! 203-438-8791 (jesseleechurch.com); ��������� 203-748������������������������������������� Ridgebury Congregational, 602 Ridgebury Road,��� ����� ����� ������������������������������������������������������� As a diamond cutter and manufacturer, we 2806 (ridgeburychurch.org); Ridgefield Baptist, 325 Danbury Road, 203-438-5751 (ridgeguarantee and accompany each diamond fieldbaptist.org); with a certificate of authenticity from GIA Ridgefield Baha’i Community, P.O. Box 424, Ridgefield 06877, 203-544-6021; (Gemological Institute of America). The most St. Andrew’s Lutheran (ELCA), 6 Ivy Hill Road, 203-438widely recognized laboratory in the world, 0606 (standrewselca.com); used extensively by the diamond industry. St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic, 520 Ridgebury Road, 203438-7292 (stsetonridgefield.com); St. Ignatius Retreat House, 209 Tackora Trail, 431-0201; ������������������������������ St. Mary Roman Catholic, 183 High Ridge, 438-6538 (st������������������������������� marysridgefield.org); St. Stephen’s Episcopal, 351 Main Street, 438-3789 (ststephens-ridgefield.org); Temple Shearith Israel (Reform), 46 Peaceable Street, 4386589 (tsiridgefield.org). For information on services, call the church or temple. Occassionally The Ridgefield Press runs this information under Religious Services. During holidays service times often change so it Round Radiant Princess is a good idea to call ahead or check Web sites. Are there Bible study programs? Ridgefield Baptist offers Women’s Bible Study the first and third Wednesday of the month at 9:30 a.m. St. Mary’s offers daytime and evening Scripture Study programs, Monday mornings and Monday evenings. Call Mary Jo Calamai at 203-431-1309 (for daytime study) or Bev Scott at 914-763-6243 (for evening study). Jesse Lee Memorial offers Morning Bible Study on Wednesdays at 10, and Women’s Bible study on Thursday mornings at 9:30. St. Andrew’s offers Spiritual Partners, which is a program of selected biblical readings followed by conversation with a partner.

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Also save on diamond wedding bands, diamond anniversary bands, diamond stud earrings, ecalkce 18Kt sapphire eri ppas tK8 necklace Handcrafted n dnomaid dna andhdiamond 1 detfarcdnaH diamond with o eulb rewnecklaces, meg htiw tes rings lav gem quality nroc ytilau blue oval set pendants, olfcornflower q bracelets, and earringsstset.2with tdiamonds,c0emeralds, rubies sapphires 1 2 dna hgweighttot .st22.10cts. ppas . c0 50cts. total iew la and 5 serih total weight aiddiamonds. .s nom in ni t ranges. and sapphires indall pricehgiew latot Come visit (A piecentoitcherish for generations) eip A( )s o areneg rof hsirehc ot ec us, we’ll give you a complete education about diamonds and gems.

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431 Post RoadtneC gWestportoCompotroptseW ,tCenteroR tsoP 134 re East, nippohS pmoC Shopping saE da Is there a group for clergy? Yes, the Ridgefield Clery Association, which sponosors Suite 18, SecondtpO nehoC evoCohen olF dnoceS ,81 etiuS )laci Floor (Above bA( ro Optical) events such as the community Thanksgiving worship service and (203) 222-18941or 22 ro 4981-222 )302( 034 -1 221-1430 others, that attempt to bring the faith communities of Ridgefield Hours: Tues-Sat 10-5pmyror ih a saappointment civres tnellec e dna w s em t history p us fo ot by h . .S together and collect donations to help the less.efortunate. xThe sdnomaid ytilauq enif htiS.Z.rhasoasuc gniylofpsupplyingscustomersZwith fine quality diamonds and exc chairman is the Rev Mark Delcuze, pastor of St. Stephen’s.

It’s Worth a Trip From Anywhere

203-222-1894

54 • ridgefield answerbook

Health

august 18, 2011

How can I find a good family doctor? You may call the Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association at 203-438-5555 with offices at 90 East Ridge Road for a list of area physicians. However, the association is unable to make a recommendation. Area hospitals will also offer referrals for affiliated doctors. For Danbury Hospital, call 800-516-3658 or 203-739-7000 or visit danburyhospital.org; for Norwalk Hospital, call its physician referral service at 866-NHB-WELL or visit norwalkhospital.org. What does the health department do? The Ridgefield Health Department ensures the health and safety of the public by providing preventative, educational, and regulatory services. It is staffed by Director of Health Edward Briggs, and Mary Ellen Miller, health administrator. Lyme community coordinator is Jennifer Reid. A primary responsibility of the staff is enforcement of the Connecticut Public Health Code. This may include inspecting and approving wells, public swimming pools and bathing areas, septic systems, subdivisions, building additions, daycare centers, schools, housing and lead paint, or complaint investigations. The office also conducts food service establishment inspections, and food-borne illness outbreak investigation, communicable disease follow-up, and emergency response planning. Public health education materials are also provided on a variety of topics such as water treatment, radon, and Lyme disease. The health department can be reached at 203-431-2745. The office is in the Town Hall Annex at 66 Prospect Street and is open from 8 to 4, Monday through Friday. Is there a nursing home in town? Laurel Ridge Health Care Center, at 642 Danbury Road

(203-438-8226/athenahealthcare.com/lr), is a skilled nursing facility. Quality-related information on nursing homes is available online at medicare.gov. How can I arrange for home care? Call the Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association at 203-4385555 or have your physician or a friend call. For those coming home from the hospital or a rehab facility, the hospital case manager or social worker can call the Ridgefield VNA to arrange your home care. Home care services provided by the Ridgefield VNA include home care nurses, short-term rehab at home, home health aides, home makers, companions, live-ins, senior care management, medical social work services, IV therapy, dietary counseling, travel vaccine consultation/immunizations, home telemonitoring, Lifeline Medical Alert Service, wound care, and palliative care. The association’s Web site is ridgfieldvna.org. RVNA runs a column in The Press highlighting services and upcoming events. The Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association also offers Family Care Services for seniors, young families and infants and toddlers. Home health aides will assist with light housekeeping, laundry, bathing, shopping, meal preparation, transportation, companionship, and personal care such as feeding, dressing, bathing and toileting. Call the RVNA at 203-438-5555. Is there a clearinghouse of information on home health care? Home Health Compare allows consumers to see clinical information about home health agency quality. The service is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Ser-

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august 18, 2011

Health

ridgefield answerbook • 55

vices. It is available online at medicare.gov. What is hospice and palliative care? Who offers these services? Hospice and palliative care focuses on pain relief, symptom control and comfort for terminally ill patients, allowing them to be cared for where they are most comfortable, usually at home. The Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association (203-438-5555/ridgefieldvna.org) offers palliative care. Regional Hospice of Western Connecticut, a nonprofit, Medicare-certified agency, serves Ridgefield with three programs. CARES at Home serves patients still seeking curative treatments; the hospice program is for patients with serious, chronic, or life-limiting illnesses; Healing Hearts is a free bereavement program for children and adults. Call 203-797-1685 or visit regionalhospicect.org. Laurel Ridge Health Care Center, at 642 Danbury Road (203-438-8226), offers both palliative care and hospice that is focused on pain management, symptom control and quality of life for residents. Is there a clearinghouse of health services? Infoline of Southwest Connecticut offers information and referrals on adult day care, nutrition, home care, respite care, health services, mental health, social services, legal services, transportation, financial services, and other topics. Call 211 or visit 211infoline.org. The Connecticut Self-Help Network is a statewide clearinghouse for all support groups across the state. Its Self-Help Directory lists more than 1,450 local and statewide groups dealing with abuse, addictions, bereavement, disabilities, health, mental health, parenting, and many other stressful life situations. It also

has contact information for more than 1,000 national networks. For information, call 203-789-7645 or visit theconsultantcenter. org and peruse the links there. How does the town help the handicapped? Carole Konner, the municipal agent for the disabled (203431-2777), can provide information on all social services available, including entitlement programs, CONN-PACE, energy assistance, home visits, assessments, and transportation. Ms. Konner, director of the social services department, also offers referrals for medical, housing, and other programs. Ridgefield also has a Commission for the Disabled, an advocacy group that helps fight for the needs of the disabled. If you have a problem or suggestion, write Chairman Emma Lou Benedict, Commission for the Disabled, Ridgefield Town Hall, 400 Main Street, Ridgefield. The town uses SweetHART buses that offer door-to-door service and will also go to Danbury; call 203-748-2511. Ms. Konner issues certification for Sweet-HART buses. FISH (Feel I Should Help), a volunteer organization, provides transportation to dental and medical appointments in Wilton, Norwalk, Danbury and Ridgefield. Advance notice of two businesses days is required. Be prepared to give detailed information on where, when, and how long (if it is a hospital appointment) the appointment is. A volunteer will contact you directly. Call 203-438-8290. Is there a rehabilitation facility in town? Laurel Ridge Health Care Center, at 642 Danbury Road (203-438-8226), offers short-term recovery and rehabilitation programs following a full range of surgical procedures and medical diagnoses.

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56 • ridgefield answerbook

Health

august 18, 2011

When are the local pharmacies open? Bissell Pharmacy, 23 Governor Street, (203-438-6600/bissellpharmacy.com) is open 9 to 6 Monday through Friday, Saturdays 9 to 5 and Sundays 9 to 1; the pharmacy at CVS, 467 Main Street (203-431-8888/cvs.com) is open (pharmacy section) 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 to 8 Saturdays and 8 to 6 Sundays ; the pharmacy at Rite Aid in the Copps Hills Plaza, 125 Danbury Road, (203-438-7378) is open 8 to 8 Monday through Friday, Saturdays from 9 to 6 and Sundays 9 to 5; the Stop & Shop pharmacy, also in Copps Hill, is open Monday through Friday, 8 to 8, Saturday, 9 to 5 and Sunday, 9 to 3; the pharmacy at Walgreens at 46 Danbury Road (203-894-8744/ walgreens.com) is open Monday through Friday from 8 to 10, Saturday and Sunday from 9 to 6. How do I get a handicap parking permit or license plate? You may apply for a permit or disability plates at the Department of Motor Vehicles, 2 Lee Mac Avenue, Danbury; 540 Main Avenue in Norwalk; or the satellite office at 888 Washington Boulevard in Stamford. Applicants must provide proof of disability with form B-225. Call 800-842-8222. For more information, call the municipal agent for the disabled at 203-431-2777. Who organizes blood drive? How can I give? The American Red Cross (203-792-8200), which has a chapter office in Danbury, needs blood donors all the time. Call to find out when and where a convenient blood drive will be operating. Blood drives held in town are usually announced in advance in The Press. The Red Cross also need volunteers. Blood donation inqui-

ries: bloodct.org or call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-433-1879). Connecticut Chapter of the American Red Cross Web site: ctredcross.org. Are there CPR classes in town? The Ridgefield Fire Department (203-431-2726) offers courses on a regular basis. The Red Cross in Danbury (203792-8200) and the American Red Cross, Connecticut Region chapter (877-287-3327) also offer information on upcoming classes. You may also check with Ridgefield Adult Education at 203-431-9995 or online at ridgefieldschools.org. Also, check Ridgefield Happenings in The Press for announcements. Is there an annual health fair in town? The Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association hosts a health fair every spring with dozens of free medical screening and information areas for all ages. Call RVNA (203-438-5555) for details or visit ridgefieldvna.org. Does Ridgefield have a travel health clinic? The Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association has a travel health clinic that offers comprehensive travel consultations/immunizations to travelers age 18 and over. Call RVNA at 203-438-5555 for more information. Are there flu and pneumonia clinics in town? The Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association offers flu, pneumonia, and if necessary H1N1 flu (swine flu) shots at several convenient clinics around town. Dates and times will be listed in local papers, on te RVNA Web site, or by phone at 203-4385555. A flu and pneumonia postcard will be mailed in September. (If you have not received this postcard in the past and would like to be on the mailing list, call 203-438-5555.) Flu shots will also be available on Election Day at all polling places from 9 to 2. Pneumonia vaccinations are available at all flu clinics. See ridgefieldvna.org for a complete list of those at risk. Call RVNA at 203-438-5555 for details. What about the vaccine for shingles? The Ridgefield VNA has the shingles vaccine; a single dose is indicated for adults 60 years of age and older. A doctor’s prescription and appointment are required. There is a fee. Call 203438-5555. What vaccines are available for young adults? The Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association offers meningococcal vaccinations during clinics held in the summer. Clinics are geared towards college bound freshmen who are at a modestly increased risk of this disease. The CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics recommend this vaccine for all adolescents beginning at age 11-12. Call RVNA at 203-438-5555. The Ridgefield VNA also has human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for girls 9-18 at its Well Child Clinic. HPV vaccinations are available for women ages 18-26 during regular business hours with a prescription and an appointment. The CDC recommends all girls 11-12 years of age get this vaccine. It is also recommended for girls and women 13-26 who have not already received it. There is a fee. Call 203-438-5555 for details. Are young children screened for hearing or sight problems? The Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association offers preschool vision and hearing screenings during the Annual Health Fair held in the spring.

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august 18, 2011

ridgefield answerbook • 57

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Helping patients return home to their highest level and earliest timeframe possible are our goals in our shortterm recovery and rehabilitation program
Tours available ~ Pre-booking recommended for elective surgery

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58 • ridgefield answerbook

Health

august 18, 2011

Are there local well-child clinics? Well child, sports, camp, and school physicals and required immunizations are offered through the year at the RVNA’s Well Child Clinic for children from newborn through age 18. The cost is $50 including all required immunizations with a sliding scale available. Appointments are necessary; call RVNA at 203-4385555. Is there help for new mothers? The Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association offers a maternal child care program for new moms. A newborn assessment, a daytime support hotline and help with feeding, bathing, dressing as well as light housekeeping and meal preparation are some of the services offered. For more information call RVNA at 203438-5555. Is there free blood pressure screening in town? The Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association has a free blood pressure clinic on the first Monday of each month from 9:30 to 11 at Ballard Green, the first Thursday of each month from noon to 1:30 at Founders Hall, the third Monday of each month from 2 to 3 at the Recreation Center, and the third Wednesday of each month from 1 to 2 at the RVNA. Call the RVNA at 203-4385555 for information; no appointment is necessary. How about cholesterol screenings? Free cholesterol screenings are offered each year during the Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association’s Annual Health Fair. For information call RVNA 203-438-5555. What health-related support groups are there? Al-Anon and CODA meet at the Ridgefield VNA on a weekly

basis. Call 203-438-5555 for a schedule. The Lyme, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia Support Group meets the second Thursday of each month from noon to 1, at the Ridgefield VNA office. Call Jennifer Reid at 203-431-0462. Periodically, Regional Hospice will hold a bereavement support group in town. Call 203-797-1685, ext. 37 for information. There are many other support groups in Ridgefield and surrounding towns. Check with Norwalk and Danbury Hospitals, the American Cancer Society (203-563-0740) or call Carole Konner, director of social services, at 203-431-2777. Call Infoline at 800-203-1234 for a list of statewide support groups and agencies that provide assistance. What is SPHERE? SPHERE Inc. (Special People Housing Education Recreation Employment) is a not-for-profit corporation that develops and promotes programs that enable adults with disabilities in Ridgefield to be independent and have meaningful lives. For information about the group, e-mail Valerie Jensen at valerie703@yahoo.com or visit spherect.org. Ridgefield “Out and About” is an activities program for adults (18 and older) with special needs. More information is available through monthly flyers or by calling Susan Bonistalli at the Ridgefield Recreation Center at 203-431-2755. Where can I find information about cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, and support services? The American Cancer Society’s 24-hour, information line, 1-800-ACS-2345 and Web site, cancer.org, can help anyone better understand a cancer diagnosis. The American Cancer Society provides free rides to-and-from cancer treatment, one-on-one personal support for breast cancer patients, and free wigs and beauty classes to help women with the side effects of treatment. Volunteers are always needed for these programs; call 1-800889-3340 and press 3 to volunteer or for more information. Where can I find free transportation to-and-from my cancer treatments? The American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program provides free transportation for cancer patients to-and-from their treatment. Call 1-800-889-3340 and press 3 for information. Volunteer drivers are also needed. Are there substance abuse treatment centers around here? MCCA (Midwestern CT Council on Alcoholism), with an office in the Richard E. Venus Municipal Building, offers residential and outpatient programs, assessments and referrals. Call 203-438-8680. The main office is at 38 Old Ridgebury Road in Danbury. Call 203-792-4515. The Web site is mccaonline.com. There is an adolescent residential treatment program at 57 West Rocks Road in Norwalk (203-847-4814). Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan (800-899-4455/silverhillhospital.org) has inpatient programs for addictive disorders. St. Vincent’s Behavioral Health Services, formerly HallBrooke (203-277-1251/hallbrooke.org) has inpatient programs at its Westport location. Outpatient services are available at Hall-Brooke in Norwalk. Norwalk Hospital has a wide range of mental health and substance abuse services on both an inpatient and outpatient basis. Call 203-852-2988. Four Winds Hospital in Cross River, N.Y. (914-763-8151), offers the Choices program.

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august 18, 2011

Health

ridgefield answerbook • 59

What type of help is available for the mentally ill and their families? The Ridgefield Visiting Nursing Association has a psychiatric nurse who is available to provide psycho-social support, counseling and medication management at a patient’s home. Call the RVNA at 203-438-5555. Family and Children’s Aid, 75 West Street, Danbury, offers a number of services including a mobile emergency psychiatric service with both over-the-phone crisis help and treatment workers who can travel to a person’s home or other location to manage psychiatric emergencies in children up to age 17. For information, call 203-748-5689. In a crisis, call 866-543-2774. Family Center Services (203-852-2988) offers services in affiliation with Norwalk Hospital’s Department of Psychiatry. New Heights, a program of Catholic Charities, is a psychosocial rehabilitation program for adults with mental illness at 66 West Street in Danbury. For information, call 203-794-0819. Mental health services are also available through these hospitals: Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan (866-542-4455/silverhillhospital.org); Four Winds Hospital in Cross River, N.Y. (914-763-8151); St. Vincent’s Behavioral Health Services in Westport (203-227-1251); Danbury Hospital (203-797-7000); and Psychiatric Services at Yale, through Yale-New Haven Hospital (800-275-9253). For information about supervised apartments or for consultations, call the Mental Health Association of Connecticut’s Supported Living Community (203-797-8621 or 203-798-2527). The association has a list of support groups and self-help groups throughout the state; call 800-842-1501 or visit online at mhact. org. The Care Network, a group of three area health care agencies, offers treatment, counseling and help in finding community

resources; call 800-898-HOME. Director of Social Services Carole Konner (203-431-2777) can also offer referrals. Where can I get help for an eating disorder? Four Winds Hospital in Cross River, N.Y. (914-763-8151), offers inpatient and outpatient services with group and individual therapy. The Wilkins Center for Eating Disorders (203-5311909/wilkinscenter.com) in Greenwich offers outpatient care. Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan (866-542-4455/silverhillhospital.org) offers inpatient and transitional living programs. The Renfrew Center of Connecticut in Wilton (800-RENFREW/renfrewcenter.com) offers an intensive outpatient program for young people and adults with eating disorders. The center also offers nutritional counseling and support groups. Is there a therapeutic riding program? Pegasus Therapeutic Riding (845-669-8235/pegasustr.org) is based in Brewster, N.Y., but offers programs at horse farms throughout Fairfield County. Pegasus helps bring the therapeutic benefits of horseback riding to handicapped people of all ages. Should I worry about Lyme disease here? Lyme disease, spread by blacklegged or deer ticks, is prevalent. The Ridgefield Health Department’s B.L.A.S.T. Lyme Disease prevention program encourages residents to take precautions on a daily basis. The most effective steps every family can take include bathing or showering after outdoor activity, looking for ticks and rashes, applying repellents to clothing and skin, spraying the perimeter of the yard and treating pets as the veterinarian recommends. Products containing DEET will repel ticks and decrease the

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60 • ridgefield answerbook

Health

august 18, 2011

chances of a tick bite. Studies suggest that for blacklegged ticks, DEET concentrations around 30% to 40% may be necessary for adequate protection. Several products contain 0.5% permethrin which is for use only on clothing or other fabrics. Permethrin works primarily by killing ticks on contact and provides a high level of protection. Safety questions should be directed to the National Pesticide Information Center at 1-800-858-7378 or npic.orst.edu. Complete information on tick-borne disease prevention and tick management is available online in the Tick Management Handbook provided by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station at ct.gov/caes. Other infections are also carried by the blacklegged ticks in this area. Anaplasmosis (formerly known as Human Granulocytic Ehrlichiosis) symptoms include high fever, headache, chills, malaise, muscle and joint pain, nausea, and vomiting. Acute weight loss, low platelet count, and a low white blood cell count can also occur. Babesiosis is a malaria-like illness with symptoms from mild flu-like illness to severe, life-threatening disease. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, chills, sweats, headache and muscle pain beginning one to six weeks after the bite. The disease can be severe or fatal in the elderly, the immunesuppressed and people without spleens. One tick may carry multiple infections. Where can I get more details on Lyme disease? Visit the Town of Ridgefield Health Department Web site at ridgefieldct.org or call 203-431-2745 for complete information on the B.L.A.S.T. Lyme Disease program, started in 2008, and related information sources. Contacts: Jennifer Reid, community coordinator, Tick-borne Disease Prevention Program, Ridgefield Health Department; or Sharon Antunes, assistant health director, at 203-431-2745. Web

site: blastlyme@ridgefieldct.org. E-mail: blastlyme@gmail. com. The Ridgefield Lyme Disease Task Force is a non-profit organization focused on decreasing the prevalence of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. It meets the second Sunday of the month in the town hall annex, 66 Prospect Street, at 3, and holds special events. For more information, contact RLDTF@comcast.net or call 203-431-7006 Is there a local Lyme disease support group? The Ridgefield Lyme Disease, Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Support Group meets the second Thursday of each month from noon to 1 at the Visiting Nurse Association offices at 90 East Ridge in the Venus Building. For information, call Jennifer Reid at 203-431-0462 or e-mail RLDTF@comcast.net. For directions, go to ridgefieldvna.org and click the Community Wellness Programs tab. What is rabies? How prevalent is it in this area? Rabies is a fatal disease caused by a virus that travels through the body to the brain via the nervous system. Once it reaches the brain, it causes encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, which results in neurological damage and cannot be treated. In April 1991 the first two cases of rabid raccoons in Connecticut were confirmed in Ridgefield. Raccoons, skunks, and bats are the most common carriers of the rabies virus, however there was an incident with a rabid woodchuck, also known as a groundhog, on the Wilton-Weston border. The best way to protect yourself against rabies is to not approach or handle wild animals (dead or alive) or strange pets and to keep your own pets vaccinated (see Animals section). What is West Nile virus? West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne infection that can cause encephalitis. Since mosquitoes can breed and reproduce in any stagnant water that lasts more than four days, people can best protect themselves by eliminating any such pools of stagnant water around their homes, such as birdbaths, old tires, kiddy pools, and clogged gutters. Minimize outdoor activities between dusk and dawn. Consider the use of mosquito repellent. Approved repellents include DEET, Picaridin, and oil of lemon eucalyptus. For information on insect repellents and their active ingredients, go to the National Pesticide Information Center at npic.orst.edu or cdc.gov. Viral encephalitis may not have any symptoms at all; mild cases may include a slight fever and/or headache. Severe infections are marked by a rapid onset of a high fever, head and body aches, and usually occur five to 15 days after exposure. There is no specific treatment for viral infections, other than to alleviate symptoms and provide supportive care. Those who may be most susceptible to encephalitis are infants, the elderly and people with damaged immune systems. For more information, call the health department at 203-4382745. Where is smoking banned? Smoking is banned in all public buildings in Ridgefield. A state law bans smoking in all restaurants, bars, health care institutions, schools, retail stores, elevators, and private businesses. Do we have an Alcoholics Anonymous chapter? There are many AA meetings in Ridgefield and Ridgebury. For a schedule, call 203-778-6777, the Web site is ct-aa.org. AlAnon, for families of alcoholics, and Alateen, for young people affected by a drinking problem, can be reached at 1-888-8252666 or 203-206-0599. The Web site is ct-al-anon.org.

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august 18, 2011

Senior Citizens

ridgefield answerbook • 61

What is SPIF? SPIF is the acronym for the Senior Positive Initiative Forum, a town committee that works to meet the needs of Ridgefield’s senior population. The chairman is Mary Ann Baldwin, director of the social services department. For information, call 203-431-2777. What is the Gold Card? This is a town discount card for Ridgefielders 65 or older. It is good for discounts at participating businesses and services around town. For information, call Mary Ann Baldwin at 203431-2777. What special housing is available for the elderly? Ballard Green (203-438-9845) is independent housing for the disabled of any age or those who are 62 years or older with an annual income of less than $42,000. Prospect Ridge (203431-9943) is for the frail elderly with 24-hour supervision; the same rules apply. For both, applications are needed. A complete list of senior housing available in a 14-town region of southwestern Connecticut (including Wilton and Norwalk) is available from the Area Agency on Aging (203-333-9288) in Bridgeport. Is there a nursing home in town? Laurel Ridge Health Care Center, 642 Danbury Road (203438-8226/athenahealthcare.com/lr), is a skilled nursing facility. It offers short-term recovery and rehabilitation programs as well as services for those in need of long-term skilled nursing care. How about a retirement community? Ridgefield Crossings, 640 Danbury Road (203-431-2255) offers independent and assisted living, with the Lighthouse Club for those with memory impairment. Residents enjoy their own private apartments with dining, housekeeping, transportation, and concierge services and social programs. Personalized care plans are available. Regency at Ridgefield is a 73-unit age-restricted condominium project for active adults at 638 Danbury Road. Units are priced at market rates. For information, call 203-431-1818. Meadow Ridge (203-544-7777) at 100 Redding Road in Georgetown is a private complex offering a variety of independent and/or assisted living services, including care for Alzheimer’s patients. Is there a senior center? Founders Hall at 193 Danbury Road (203-431-7000) is Ridgefield’s recreation and education center for seniors. It is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 4:30. Founders Hall offers four 10-week semester programs per year. From classes in art history and American history to studies of classical music and world religions, there is a full schedule of academic courses. Oil painting, drawing and a full range of crafts are taught in the Art and Craft Studios. The Computer Lab offers beginning and advanced computer classes. The Fitness Studio has a full schedule of exercise classes including aerobics, yoga, tai chi, and dance. Contemporary and classical movies are offered free in the media room on a regular schedule. Trips are part of the On-The-Road program to destinations such as New York City, Foxwoods, and theater matinées. There are also overnight trips to destinations such as Quebec, Maine, and Washington, D.C. Drop in for a tour and to register for membership. There is no fee for membership. The Web site is founders-hall.org. Programs and events are highlighted in “Founders Hall,” a regular column in The Press.

Are there clubs or social groups for seniors? Many groups meet at Founders Hall (which has drop-in groups on topics such as writing, genealogy, wood-carving, sewing, bridge and much more) or the Recreation Center. Parks and Recreation (203-431-2755) offers many activities. AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) has a chapter (see below). Community Center Card Players meet Tuesday mornings at 10 at the Ridgefield Community Center. Call Chris Robertson at 438-6165 or 438-6962. OWLS (Older Wiser Livelier Set) meets the first Thursday at Founders Hall from 10:30 to noon; call 203-431-7000. OWLS serves as a social network for townspeople who want to spend their time with others their own age. Membership is open to any Ridgefielder who is 60 or older, has a spouse in that age range or is retired from working. The Ridgefield Men’s Club, for retired and semi-retired residents, meets the first and third Wednesday mornings at the First Congregational Church at 10. Visit ridgefieldmensclub.org or call Bud Rigby at 203-438-5702. The Senior Men’s Golf Association, for those over 62, plays Thursday mornings at Ridgefield Golf Course. For information, call Bud Rigby at 203-438-5702. St. Mary’s Widows and Widowers Club offers spiritual and social outlets as well as support for one another. Call St. Mary’s parish at 203-438-6538 or Marion Freer at 203-438-3562 or Nancy Quain at 203-438-7451. St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church offers senior luncheons. Call 203-438-3789.. What does the AARP offer? The Ridgefield-area Chapter 4852 meets the second Wednes-

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62 • ridgefield answerbook

Senior Citizens

august 18, 2011

day (except in July and August) at 10, at the recreation center. Meetings combine socializing with a presentation by a guest speaker. The chapter also sponsors trips, ranging from day trips up to a full week away. Chapter president is George Gill. Call membership chairman Anna Cleveland at 203-438-9886 or Al Ryff at 203-438-5737. For national AARP, call 800-424-3410. Two programs the chapter offers are the 55 Alive/Mature Driving Course and assistance with income tax preparation. The driving course meets regularly at Ridgefield Crossings. Call Ed Van Den Ameele at 203-431-3183. Ridgefielders 60 and older with low to moderate incomes may call the AARP TaxAide program to get help in filing their federal and state returns. The free, confidential service is available Feb. 1 to April 15. For more information, call Peter Massagli at 203-438-2755. What is Meals on Wheels? Meals on Wheels (203-438-8788) delivers lunch and a main meal for those unable to cook for themselves. Services can be provided for as many days of the week as needed. There is no income limit or medical condition necessary to benefit. Fees are nominal and no one is turned away for financial reasons. Whom should I call for special help for the elderly? The Municipal Agent for the Elderly, Jeanne Wolnick, is in town hall (203-431-2754) Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 4:30 and can provide information on community resources for seniors and help seniors fill out applications for a state prescription discount card (Conn-Pace), fuel and energy assistance and rent rebates. She is available for home and agency visits by appointment.

Is there special transportation for the elderly? FISH (203-438-8044) provides free rides to senior citizens and disabled residents to medical and therapy appointments in Ridgefield, Wilton, Danbury and Norwalk; call a week or more in advance of appointment to schedule a ride. The service is available from 9 to 5. Anyone interested in volunteering to drive one day a month may call Linda Zembron Sell at 203-438-8290. The Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association’s Friendly Driver Program helps RVNA patients with no means of transportation get to medical appointments. Call 203-438-5555. SweetHART is a public bus system for people over 60 and anyone with disabilities. Door-to-door service in Ridgefield and Danbury is provided with reservations made in advance. Reservations are accepted from two weeks before the trip; early bookings are encouraged. The service is available Monday through Friday from 8:45 to 4:45, with no service on Saturday or Sunday. For reservations, call 203-748-2511. For information, call 203-748-2034. St. Mary’s Van Service takes people to Sunday Mass who would find it difficult to get to church on their own. The volunteer drivers also take people to medical appointments. Call 203-438-6538. Is there a program to help seniors stay in their homes? RVNA’s Quality Living at Home program has identified and built community partnerships that resulted in enhanced or new services to enable seniors to remain in their homes. This free service includes: a home & property maintenance directory, healthcare options, financial and legal resources, transportation information, social connections, education, and wellness programs. Call RVNA at 203-438-5555, ext. 1005. The Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association offers a Senior Care Management Program to help residents maintain independent living safely in their own home. Services include personal care, medical care, home management, and financial issues. An initial consultation by a licensed clinical social worker is courtesy of the Ridgefield VNA for Ridgefield residents. Call 203-438-5555. Ridgefield VNA also offers help with light housekeeping, laundry, bathing, shopping, meal preparation, transportation, companionship, and personal care such as feeding, dressing, bathing and toileting. Call 203-438-5555. Is there a service that will check up on senior citizens? The Ridgefield Woman’s Club sponsors Are You OK?, which provides a daily phone check to Ridgefielders over 60 or to those who are homebound or medically disabled. For details, call 203438-6777. HealthWatch, sponsored by the Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association (203-438-5555), offers seniors a pushbutton communicator to summon help in an emergency. The Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association offer Lifeline, a medical alert service. A pushbutton communicator that signals Lifeline personnel of an emergency. They will phone immediately, and if no one answers, help will be sent. For details, call RVNA at 203-438-5555. Ridgefield’s Department of Social Services provides seniors and the disabled with deactivated cell phones capable of reaching 911. Call Jeanne Wolnick at 203-431-2754. Is there a directory on services for the elderly? The town’s Commission on Aging publishes a handy guide called the Ridgefield Directory of Services for Seniors and Residents. Copies are available at the information office in the town hall. If you need a copy mailed, call Jeanne Wolnick at 203-431-2754 or the switchboard at 203-431-2700.

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august 18, 2011

Children & Teens

ridgefield answerbook • 63

How do I find a day care facility for my child? Ridgefield has more than a dozen day care centers and/or group day care homes, licensed by the state for children six weeks to 12 years old. For information on who is licensed, call the state’s day care licensing office at 800-282-6063. For a quick directory, go to the Childcare Center.US Web site childcarecenter.us/connecticut/ridgefield_ct_childcare, and a long list of local day care centers and their contact information will appear. For information on child care in the area, call the Connecticut Child Care Unit Infoline at 800-505-1000 or call Infoline at 211. How can I make certain the day care provider is properly certified and the facilities are safe? All day care centers should be licensed by the state and you should ask to see this license. Child care officials also suggest parents check the center’s open door policy on dropping in unannounced to observe staffers with the children, ask about the child-adult ratio, and in general look around the center to see if it is clean and child-proofed. Parents should check to see that centers attend to children’s basic needs in a timely fashion. How often are day care facilities inspected? Day care centers are inspected by the state and town health department every two years, when the license is up for renewal. About 33% of all home-based day care centers in the state are inspected annually at random. The state also makes an inspection whenever a complaint against a facility is filed. Visits to investigate complaints are unannounced; if the state finds problems, it will then work with the facility to bring it into compliance. If the complaint involves neglect and/or child abuse, the state works with the Department of Children and Families and police to investigate. The town health department assists the state in environmental aspects of the inspection such as reviewing the facility’s bathrooms, diaper changing areas and food storage/handling. Although the spot checks fall around the time the license is expiring, their exact date is not announced ahead of time. Is there a clearinghouse for jobs for students? The Ridgefield High School Youth Employment Services (YES) has a job board in the student activities office. Call 203438-3785, ext. 1047, e-mail yes_sao@ridgefield.org. YES is sponsored by the RHS PTSA. Check the RHS page at the public school’s Web site at ridgefield.org and the PTSA link there. For a summer job with the town, apply at the personnel office on the second floor of town hall on Main Street. Speak to the director of personnel for more information at 203-431-2775. Are there any leadership programs for teens? Members of the Philanthropic Youth Council learn leadership and teamwork skills and the responsibilities of helping those in need. Members are high school students who live in Ridgefield. Operating under the umbrella of the Ridgefield Community Foundation, the students primarily raise money for charitable causes. Membership applications are accepted in late summer. For information, visit www.ridgefieldpyc.org. Council members’ names and e-mail address are posted there. Mark Yolen (Daveyol@aol.com) is an adviser. Is there a place for teens to meet? The Barn at 10 Governor Street (203-431-2381/e-mail: barn@ridgefieldct.org) is a meeting place with activities for young people in sixth through 12th grade, including video games,

a big-screen TV, foosball, pool, and outdoor picnic benches and basketball hoops. Activities include art classes, dances, field trips, and community service projects. The teen center is generally open on Wednesday from 2 to 6 p.m., Friday from 2 to 10 p.m. and Saturday from 2 to 6. It is also used for birthday parties and concerts on the weekend. The facility is available for party rentals. For information, call 203-894-1618. Is there a Safe Rides program here? Safe Rides provides more than 1,200 rides every school year. The student-run program is available Friday and Saturday nights, 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., October through June. Students may call for a ride at 203-438-3789 and receive a confidential ride home for whatever reason. Who offers counseling to children and teens? The Ridgefield Youth Service Bureau is a nonprofit agency that offers free and confidential counseling to Ridgefield children and families. The office at 90 East Ridge Road (second floor, above RVNA offices) is open by appointment. For more information, call 203-438-6141. Kids in Crisis supervises an outreach counselor at Ridgefield High School (room B325/203-438-3785, ext. 1210). The counselor works full-time during the school year and is independent of the guidance department but works closely with it. The organization Kids in Crisis is available to young people 24 hours a day by calling 203-327-KIDS. The Ridgefield Community Coalition Against Substance Abuse has a mission to address the problems of alcohol and substance abuse throughout the community with a special focus on youth substance abuse prevention. Phone: 203-431-1893. Web site: ridgefieldcoalition.org.

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64 • ridgefield answerbook

Children & Teens

august 18, 2011

Is there a group that serves as an advocate for youth? Yes, the Ridgefield Youth Commission. It is an eight-member board that “ensures participation, planning and development by the community of youth services...” Minors are permitted to be members. Co-chairs are Ruth Leibowitz and Denise Dammer-Qualey. It generally meets on the first Wednesday night of the month at 7 in the small conference room in the town hall. Can anyone provide insight on teen issues? Leslie Brown and Lisa Perry are TeenTalk counselors at Ridgefield High School and East Ridge Middle School, respectively. They are trained professionals provided by Kids in Crisis to help Ridgefield students with issues such as peer pressures, family conflict, drug and alcohol use, mental health concerns, stress management, and Internet use and abuse. To contact them, call Ms. Brown at 203-438-3785, ext. 1210 (lbrown@ridgefield. org) or Ms. Perry at 438-3744, ext. 1629 (lperry@ridgefield. org). Is there a Boys Club or Girls Club in town? The Ridgefield Boys & Girls Club (203-438-8821/rbgclub. com) is at 41 Governor Street. During the school year, the club is open weekdays for after-school activities until 6 for elementary school members, until 7 for middle school members, and until 8 for high school members. It is also open late Fridays for specific age-appropriate activities, Saturdays from 11 to 4 and evenings for select activities, and Sundays for specific programs. Programs are offered in five core categories: health and life skills, the arts, character and leadership, education and career development, and sports, fitness, and recreation. A main attraction is a summer camp program. How can my child find a scout troop to join? Usually, letters are sent home through the schools. You may also call the Girl Scout Council of Southwestern Connecticut in Wilton at 203-762-5557 or go online to gscswct.org; or Boy Scouts of America Connecticut Yankee Council in Milford at 203-876-6868. Visit online at ctyankee.org. Are there summer camps here? Parks and Recreation offers a variety of summer day camp opportunities for preschoolers through 15-year-olds. Registration begins in March. Call 203-431-2755 for more information on summer camps. Parks and Rec also offers The Kovacs Soccer Camp for ages 5-12 every July. Call 203-431-2755. There are also many private and specialty camps including the Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield (203-438-8821/rbgclub.com); ramp camp at the Graham Dickinson Spirit Skate Park (203431-2342); horseback riding camps at The Ridgefield Equestrian Center (203-438-7433/ridgefieldequestriancenter.com); Starbuck Equestrian (203-438-7749/starbuckequestrian.com) and Stony Meadows Farm (203-431-8586/stonymeadowsct. com); art programs at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (203-438-4519/aldrichart.org), Ridgefield Guild of Artists (203438-8863/rgoa.org); dance and cheerleading at the Ridgefield Studio of Performing Arts (203-431-8728/rspaonline.com), history camp at the Keeler Tavern Museum (203-438-5485/ keelertavernmuseum.org); tennis camp at the Ridgefield Tennis Club, formerly Ridgefield Athletic Club, (203-431-1466/ ridgefieldtennisclub.com); All For Kids “creative thinking” camp (203-438-0766/allforkidsct@yahoo.com); KidsKamp for preschoolers (203-438-0802/mynurseryschool@aol.com); The Children’s Corner (203-438-3737/thechildrenscorner@hotmai l.com); Ridgefield Academy summer programs (203-894-1800, ext. 106/ridgefieldacademy.com); Kaleidoscope Kids Summer Science Camp (203-748-1177/kaleidoscopekids@hotmail.com);

Winter Garden Arena (203-438-4423/wintergardenarena. com); Enchanted Garden (203-431-3350/EnchantedGardenKids.com); Baseball Plus (203-431-4131/baseballplusct.com); Tigers Edge training camps in wrestling and lacrosse (203-4380910/tigersedge.net), SCOR Camps/Soccer Club of Ridgefield (203-438-7267/scor.org), ShootOut Soccer Camp (203-7706064/shootoutcamp.com) and Tiger Hollow Lacrosse Camp (203-894-7597/tigerhollowlacrosse.com). What kinds of youth sports programs are there? Little League serves boys and girls 5 to 12 years old. Registration for the spring season is in January. Check The Ridgefield Press sports section for times and places or call the Little League Hotline, 203-894-8863; ridgefieldlittleleague.org. Ridgefield Little League also offers a girls fastpitch softball program for ages five to 14. Babe Ruth League is for ages 13 through 15. Players are divided by age groups. Sign-ups are in January. Visit online at ridgefieldbaberuth.org. The Ridgefield Girls Softball League is open to girls in grades K-8. The season runs from April to June. Call the Boys and Girls Club at 438-8821 for more information. Ridgefield Youth Football & Cheer registration times and places appear in The Ridgefield Press. The Web site is ridgefieldyouthfootball.org. It has been accepted into the Fairfield County Football League. Cheerleaders are a part of the youth football organization known as the Ridgefield Raiders. Check the Web site for details. The Soccer Club of Ridgefield (SCOR) has both in-house and travel soccer leagues in the fall and spring. Registration for the spring season is in late January-early February; sign-up for the fall season is late May-early June. Call 203-438-7267 for additional information or go online to scor.org. The SCOR Soccer Academy offers a program for children entering kindergarten through eighth grade. The Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield offers an indoor soccer league. Call 203-438-8821. The Ridgefield Basketball Association (203-894-1523/rbahoops.com) offers clinics, instruction, and in-house and travel basketball for boys and girls 5-18 years old. The Ridgefield Lacrosse Club has a spring season for boys and girls in grades K-8. Visit ridgefieldlax.com or call 203-4381397. The Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield offers tennis for beginners and advanced players at the Ridgefield Tennis Club. Transportation is provided. Call 203-438-8821 or visit online at rbgclub.com. The Ridgefield Youth Wrestling program is open to all Ridgefield elementary and middle school students. The season begins in November and runs through February. Children learn scholastic wrestling skills and compete against athletes of similar weight, age, and experience. For information, call or e-mail Jim Murphy (203-431-6274/mainma709@aol.com) or visit online at ridgefieldyouthwrestling.com. Are there any non-structured sports for kids? Sandlot Sports have made a comeback at the Boys & Girls Club. Youngsters play for the sake of the game, with minimal intervention from staff. Sports include basketball, floor hockey, whiffle ball, flag football, and indoor soccer. Call 203-4388821 or visit online at rbgclub.com for details. Where can I go for baseball and softball cage rentals, instruction and camps? Baseball Plus (203-778-4131) at 88 Sugar Hollow Road.

august 18, 2011

Recreation

ridgefield answerbook • 65

Where is the recreation center and what is there? The Ridgefield Recreation Center complex (203-431-2755) is at 195 Danbury Road (Route 35). Office hours are 8:30 to 4:30, Monday through Friday. The center is open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 6 to 6 on Saturday, and 7 to 6 on Sunday. The recreation center offers a pool, gymnasium, fitness center with locker rooms featuring steam and sauna, multi-purpose rooms for programs, a child-care area, lounge, and food court. Also on the property is the Founders Hall Senior Citizen Center and the Sky’s the Limit fully accessible playground. Recreation Center membership includes use of the pool during recreation swim and discounts on programs. The fees are $125 for a single, $190 for a couple, $250 for a family. Add-ons are $230 per person for use of the lap pool and $360 per person for use of the Wellness Center. There is a 10% discount for seniors and disabled members. Pool drop-in fee is $10 and guest fee is $12. The Ridgefield Parks and Recreation Guide, which lists seasonal programs, is mailed to all households. Copies are also at the Recreation Center or may be downloaded from ridgefieldct. org. Or ridgefieldparksandrec.org. You can send e-mail to recinfo@ridgefieldct.org to get on a list to receive updates and newsletters. What local parks are there? What do they offer? Ballard Park on Main Street is a full-fledged park, complete with a playground and a bandstand. Special events are held there. Martin Park is Ridgefield’s local swimming hole, with a public beach on spring-fed Great Pond. For summer swims, there is a daily fee ($15) or you may purchase a seasonal tag ($160 per family/$85 for singles/seniors free) at the parks and recreation office on Danbury Road (203-431-2755). Senior citizens who are Ridgefield residents are admitted free. Each membership receives a guest card good for four free visits for guests. Veterans Park, where Veterans Park School is, Ridgebury School and Branchville School all offer a good sledding hill plus athletic fields and a playground. With swings and picnic tables, Richardson Park, off Route 116, is ideal for picnics and also hiking. Pierrepont State Park on Barlow Mountain Road has miles of trails plus fishing on Pierrepont Pond. Lake Windwing on South Shore Drive has Little League fields, hiking, and cross-country skiing. Aldrich Park on New Road offers hiking trails. Sturges Park on Rippowam Road offers camping and hiking. There is also the Bark Park on Prospect Ridge where dogs may run off the leash. A full list of fields and parks is in the recreation brochure and online. How much open space is in Ridgefield? Ridgefield’s open space encompasses about 5,200 acres. That is nearly one-quarter of the town’s area. The largest open spaces include Bennett’s Pond, Hemlock Hills/Lake Windwing, and Pine Mountain. Bennett’s Pond is on Bennett’s Farm Road, off Route 7. The 440-acre property offers two trails along old logging roads and pre-existing trails. The orange trail connects to Pine Mountain Preserve and the blue trail connects to the Hemlock Hills property. Hemlock Hills/Lake Windwing offers a variety of trails and a deep gorge near the Pine Mountain entrance. Parking and trail entrances are at North Shore Drive, Ned’s Mountain Road, South Shore Drive ballfield, and Pine Mountain Road. Pine Mountain trails are difficult with steep sections over

rocks, but the payofff is a panoramic view of Long Island Sound. There is parking for five cars at the trail head at the end of Pine Mountain Road. Where can I go hiking? The Ridgefield Walk Book lists many parks and open spaces for hiking. They include Hemlock Hills (273 acres); Pine Mountain (289 acres); Peterson Gorge (16 acres); Ridgebury Slope (14 acres); Kiah’s Brook Refuge (12 acres); Sarah Bishop Preserve (39 acres); Levy Park (38 acres); Barrack Hill Refuge (9 acres); Bobby’s Court (34 acres); Brewster Farm (104 acres); Topstone Preserve (9 acres); Beechwood (14 acres); MarJoy Pond/Casey Lane (47 Acres); West Mountain Refuge (55 acres); Blacksmith Ridge (15 acres); Peaceable Refuge (16 acres); Florida Refuge (61 acres); Aldrich Park (37 acres); Norwalk River Environmental Study Area (6 acres); Seth Low Pierrepont State Park (313 acres); Woodcock Nature Center (70 acres with access to 143 acres); Bennett’s Pond (460 acres, two trails). The book’s maps show access and parking. The book may be purchased for $5 at the town hall, Ridgefield Office Supply, or the Chamber of Commerce. You may also purchase a map of open spaces for $3 from the Conservation Commission office at 66 Prospect Street in the town hall annex. Aquarion issues hiking permits that give access to the fivemile Saugatuck Nature Trail along the shore of the Saugatuck Reservoir and 35 miles of scenic trails in Redding and Weston. Call the watershed management department at 203-452-3510. What is the Rail Trail? The Rail Trail is a 2.4-mile stretch that can be accessed at the end of Prospect Street or Halpin Lane, where there is parking.

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66 • ridgefield answerbook

Recreation

august 18, 2011

It follows the old railroad tracks to Florida Road and is open for walking, jogging, cross-country skiing, or snowshoeing. No bikes or motorized vehicles are allowed. Are mountain bikes allowed in open spaces? Mountain biking is legal in open spaces around town but, due to erosion of the trails, conservationists urge bikers to use extreme care. Regional popular spots nearby include Bear Mountain Reservation in Danbury, 203-797-4632; Cranbury Park in Norwalk, 203-854-7806; or Huntington State Park in Redding, 860-4243200. Can I go in-line skating or skateboarding here? The Graham Dickinson SPIRIT Skate Park, 60 Prospect Street behind Yanity Gym. Normally, the park is open seven days a week from March through late fall, weather permitting. closing in early December. Hours are noon to dusk during the summer and 3 to dusk during fall hours which start Sept. 1. It is open weekends, holidays, and school vacation days noon to dusk, 3 to dusk on school days. Skaters may purchase an annual membership, buy a six-visit pass, or pay a daily drop-in rate or a weekend rate. Lessons and camps are offered. For information, call Linda Caponetti at 203431-2368 or e-mail skatepark@ridgefieldct.org. The rinkside number is 203-431-2342 during regular hours in season. A parent-child skate park at the new recreation center on Route 35 is designed to allow young children to learn to skate. Where can I go ice skating? Winter Garden, 111 Prospect Ridge Road (behind East Ridge Middle School), is open for public skating from September to late May. A synthetic skating surface used for training purposes is open all year. There are seasonal hockey leagues for youths and adults, summer hockey camps, and learn-to-skate (figure skating) programs. Call 203-438-4423 for information or visit online at wintergardenarena.com. Pond skating in town is at your own risk. Lake Mamanasco and Pierrepont State Park are popular spots. Skating is not allowed on reservoirs. What adult sports are offered? Men’s basketball takes place every Sunday morning from 6:30 to 9:30 and every Wednesday night from 8 to 10:30 at the Yanity Gym, and every Sunday morning from 9 to 11 at the Recreation Center Gym. To participate, just stop by ready to play; a modest fee will be collected from those who are not members of the Recreation Center. Open to men 18 and older. Women’s drop-in basketball takes place at the Recreation Center gym from September to May on Monday evenings from 8 to 10. There is a drop-in fee for non-members. Open to women 18 and older. There is also a summer basketball league at the Yanity gym. Check rbahoops.com for details. For the Ridgefield Men’s Softball League, call Mike Bedini at 203-788-5137; for the Ridgefield Women’s Softball League, contact Anne Marie Watsik at amwatsik@att.net. The Web site is rwsa.net. Adult tennis lessons are offered at Yanity Gym. Call 203431-2755. Are there activities for special adults? The Out and About Club is open to all adults 18 or older with special needs. The club meets twice a month and offers a variety of activities. Fees vary. For details, call Susan Bonistalli at 203-431-2755.

Is there a public golf course? Ridgefield Golf Course at 545 Ridgebury Road (203-7487008) is Ridgefield’s public golf course. Greens fees are $25 for residents all week ($15 for seniors who are 62 and older and juniors, 17 and under, on weekdays). There are discounts after 4 p.m. For details, visit ridgefieldct.org and click on Ridgefield Golf Course. Or go to ridgefieldgc.com. Is there a golf league I can join? The Ridgefield Ladies Golf Association offers both nine and 18 hole leagues. Call Debbie Murphy at 203-438-9301 or visit rlga.net. The Ridgefield Men’s Golf Club is open to area residents and offers an extensive list of tournaments. There is also Ridgefield Senior Men’s Golf. For information on either group, visit online at rgconline.org. Are there any miniature golf courses in town? The Golf Performance Center, formerly Belmont’s Golf, at 824 Ethan Allen Highway (203-790-4653/belmontsgolf.com), has both miniature golf and a driving range. Where can I go swimming here? Martin Park, on Great Pond, is a public beach, for which there is seasonal membership. There are daily drop-in rates for residents and non-residents ($15 and $20, respectively) but senior residents (60 and older) are admitted free. The Ridgefield Recreation Center has an indoor pool for recreational and lap swimming. Parks and Recreation also has a lesson program. For details, call 203-431-2755. Are there any competitive swimming opportunities? The Barracudas, run through the Parks and Recreation Department, is a summer swim team for boys and girls age five to 16. The Ridgefield Aquatic Club (RAC) is a year-round competitive swim program offering many levels for swimmers of all ages and abilities, including the Olympic Way program, a precompetitive program, and four competitive swimming levels, depending on ability and commitment. RAC even offers a Masters program for adult swimmers. The team practices at Barlow Mountain pool in Ridgefield and at WestConn in Danbury. Visit online at racswimming.org or call Head Coach Bob Shearer at 203-438-3951/e-mail racswimming256@aol.com. Are any public beaches on Long Island Sound? One of the most popular spots to visit is Sherwood Island State Park (203-226-6983) in Westport. It has a long beach, changing and eating areas, two large picnic grounds, space to play beach sports, and a concession stand in season. For details online visit ct.gov/dep and click on Outdoor Recreation / State Parks & Forests. Are there any bicycling clubs in the area? Sound Cyclists runs group rides throughout Fairfield County year round. There are special events, a newsletter, and members are entitled to discounts at more than a dozen area bicycle shops. For more information, visit soundcyclists.com. What local health clubs are available? The Fitness Studio at 109 Danbury Road in Copps Hill Commons (203-431-0006/everywomanspirit.com). Ridgefield Fitness Club, 66 Grove Street (203-431-7796/ ridgefieldfitness.com). Body Sense, 456 Main Street (203-894-8558/bodysenseridgefield.com).

august 18, 2011

Recreation
satonic.

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The Ridgefield Recreation Center on Danbury Road, (203431-2755/ridgefieldct.org). Results Personal Training at 17 Governor Street (203-4388771/resultspt.com). Herzog Body Tech at 383 Main Street (203-438-1190/herzogbodytech.com). Personal Training Professionals of Ridgefield, CT at 105 Danbury Road, Unit 102 (203-431-4PTP/ptpfranchise.com/ptp_ ridgefield/). Your Personal Best Trainer studio at 10 Roberts Lane (203438-6709/personalbest35.com). Buddhi Mat Yoga at 66 Danbury Road (203-403-2399/buddhimatyoga.com). Snap Fitness of Ridgefield at 1 Ethan Allen Highway (203544-0047/snapfitness.com/ridgefieldct). Club 24, 901 Ethan Allen Highway, Ridgefield (203-4317610/club24gyms.com). Is there a jogging trail here? Ridgefield High School on North Salem Road has a running track. For wild trail running, try Pierrepont State Park off Barlow Mountain Road. The Pine Mountain and Hemlock Hills open space lands offer challenging trails over a combined 562 acres; they may be accessed from Lake Windwing off South Shore Drive. The Rail Trail off Halpin Lane is also good for jogging. Are there any running clubs in the area? Wolfpit Running Club meets regularly for running and walking. Members hold a couple of road races yearly including the annual Ridgefield Half-Marathon in early October. Visit wolfpitrunningclub.org. Are there any parades in town? The Memorial Day Parade is the most popular parade in town. The local joke is that if you aren’t watching it, you are in it. There is also a small homecoming parade in the fall, put on by the Ridgefield High School students to show class spirit. Is camping allowed anywhere in town? Camping is allowed in certain areas with a permit. Camp sites are at Hemlock Hills, Lake Windwing, and Sturges Park. Call 203-431-2755 for permit information. Can I rent a field for a picnic and softball game? One field is set aside for such purposes. Call 203-431-2755 to apply. Are there any nature centers in or near town? Woodcock Nature Center is at 56 Deer Run Road, just across the Ridgefield line, in Wilton (203-762-7280/woodcocknaturecenter.org). The Nature Center building is open to visitors Monday through Friday, 9:30 to 4. Grounds and hiking trails are open daily dawn to dusk. The center offers such nature programs as moonlight hikes, composting demonstrations, bird seed sales, and its annual wreath decorating festival. Where may I launch a boat in town? State boat ramps are at the southern end of Lake Mamanasco, on Mamanasco Road, and on Pierrepont Pond at Pierrepont State Park, Barlow Mountain Road. However, gasoline motors are not allowed on either pond. Are any streams good for canoeing here? Many lakes and ponds are good for canoeing, but not many streams or rivers. Some sections of the Norwalk River along Route 7 are navigable, but the nearest sizable river is the Hou-

Is there a rowing club? The Norwalk River Rowing Association (203-299-5467) offers youth and adult programs, instruction, and recreational and competitive activities. Visit norwalkriverrowing.org. Where can I go fishing in town? Fishing is available in all public ponds and lakes, if you have a fishing license. For privately owned ponds and lakes, permission from the owner must be obtained. Popular are Lake Mamanasco, with public access from Richardson Park or the state boat launch, and Pierrepont Pond, with access from Pierrepont State Park. Aquarion offers fishing permits that allows access to reservoirs in Weston, Redding, Monroe and Shelton. Call the watershed management department at 203-452-3510 or 203-4457341 for details. Where do I get a fishing license? Inland fishing licenses are $28 (free to seniors and the disabled) and are required for anyone 16 and older. They are available at the town clerk’s office and many tackle shops. Fishing licenses are not needed in the marine district unless you are taking lobsters or menhaden. For details, check the Connecticut Angler’s Guide, available free at the town clerk’s office or online at dep.state.ct.us. What do I need to get a hunting license? To obtain a hunting license, you must have had a resident license within the last five years or have proof of successful completion of a hunter safety course. A firearms hunting license costs $28, $15 for a junior (age 12 to 15) firearms hunting license. An archery license is $60, $26 for juniors. Hunting licenses may be purchased at town hall, archery licenses must be applied for by mail. Permits for hunting specific animals are extra. The Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide is available free at the town clerk’s office, call 860-424-3000, or visit the Web site at ct.gov/dep. Where can I go hunting in town? Hunting is permitted on the state-owned portions of Great Swamp, off Farmingville Road and Ivy Hill Road, and in a section of Norwalk River flood control land near the intersection of Route 7 and Simpaug Turnpike. While hunting is usually permitted on sizable state-owned tracts, it is specifically prohibited in Pierrepont State Park because of a deed restriction. You may also hunt on private property. All hunters are required to have permission from the landowner when hunting on private lands. Verbal permission for the hunting of animals other than deer and turkey is sufficient. Deer and turkey hunters must carry the written permission of the landowner for the current season on official DEP forms. A landowner must have a minimum of 10 acres to authorize the use of a rifle for deer hunting. How can I participate in Ridgefield’s annual deer hunt? In response to the abundant deer population, the town runs a controlled hunt on several town-owned open spaces. Applications to participate are available at the town clerk’s office in town hall. Who teaches firearms safety courses? Call the state’s Conservation Education Firearms Safety office in Burlington at 860-675-8130 or check with the town clerk’s office.

68 • ridgefield answerbook

Entertainment

august 18, 2011

Where can I see a movie in town? The Ridgefield Playhouse, 80 East Ridge Road, shows firstrun movies as well as a Lost and Found film series, Family Film Series, and Director’s Cut Festival. Call 203-438-5795 to hear what’s playing or visit ridgefieldplayhouse.org. Also, check out the Stepping Out pages in The Press. The Ridgefield Library (203-438-2282/ridgefieldlibrary.org) shows films on a regular basis. Are there any amateur theatrical companies? The Ridgefield Theater Barn at 37 Halpin Lane is a charming, converted, heated and air-conditioned dairy barn on Halpin Lane. The regular season consists of four full-scale productions including a mix of comedies, dramas, and musicals. Performances are presented cabaret style at tables and the audience may bring their own food and drink. There are open auditions for all productions and roles for behind-the-scenes people. The Theater Barn also offers a play reading series of unproduced works, comedy improvisation, storytelling, special events, and theater workshops for children. For information, call 203-4319850 or visit ridgefieldtheaterbarn.org. Is there live comedy in town? The Dancing Curtain LLC Is a comedy business founded in Ridgefield. The Dancing Curtain produces clean, comfort comedy (sketch comedy, improvisation, and standup) at various venues throughout Connecticut, New York and beyond. The Dancing Curtain also teaches acting classes for kids, adults, and seniors at various venues in Connecticut. The Dancing Curtain is also available for private bookings such as fund-raisers and private parties. Visit www.thedancingcurtain.com or e-mail Khristee Rich, founder and president, at khristee@thedancing curtain.com. Are there any local orchestras? The Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra, an orchestra of professional musicians, presents a subscription series of live classical music each year. The orchestra also offers a family concert, youth competition, and special concerts for Ridgefield schools. Volunteers to help support the symphony are always welcome. Season tickets and individual tickets are available. For tickets and information, call 203-438-3889 or visit ridgefieldsymphony. org. The Western Connecticut Youth Orchestra is open to students in sixth through 12th grade. Auditions take place in early September. There are weekly rehearsals. Audition requirements are available online at ridgefieldsymphony.org. Does Ridgefield have a concert hall? The Ridgefield Playhouse is a performing arts center at 80 East Ridge Road. It has hosted nationally known performers like Jose Feliciano, Joan Baez, Clint Black and many others. There are music, dance, film society, lecture, first-run films, comedians and theater programs scheduled throughout the year, as well as arts in education programming, and community events such as a free outdoor performance every summer. For information, call 203-438-5795 or visit ridgefieldplayhouse.org. Is there an artists’ group here? The Ridgefield Guild of Artists (203-438-8863/rgoa.org) is a community-based arts organization serving the greater Ridgefield area for over 30 years. The guild promotes the visual arts and art education by providing high quality gallery space for ongoing member and invitational exhibitions, teaching studios for children and adult classes and artists-in-residence programs. The guild’s annual Juried Exhibition takes place each Septem-

ber-October and attracts artists from all over New England as well as New York and New Jersey. In early December the guild is transformed into a shoppers’ dream with Festive Home. The guild is at 34 Halpin Lane and is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 4. Radius is an artist development program co-produced by the Ridgefield Guild of Artists and Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. There are exhibitions, networking opportunities, and workshops. For information, call the Aldrich at 203-438-4519 or visit aldrichart.org. Is there an arts council in town? The Ridgefield Arts Council is a volunteer, town appointed, not-for-profit organization that supports artists and arts organizations in town through events, quarterly meetings with local arts organizations and the arts calendar on the council’s Web site. There are three main events per year: The Behind the Scenes Honors, an awards event at the Lounsbury House honoring volunteers in the Ridgefield arts community; a networking event for artists of all disciplines at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in the spring, and the Ridgefield Cultural Festival at Ballard Park in the fall. The council has an online events calendar showcasing all local events at ridgefieldartscouncil.org. The public is welcome to use it as a reference as well as add upcoming listings. Local artists and arts organizations may contact the council to be listed on the Web site and for general support. To be notified of weekly arts events, join the council’s mailing list and a listing will be sent to you every Sunday. E-mail: info@ridgefieldartscouncil.org. For up-to-date information about the arts in Ridgefield you can follow the Ridgefield Arts Council on Twitter, twitter.com/ artsnridgefield, and Facebook by typing Ridgefield Arts Council in the search bar. The council’s monthly meetings are open to the public. Meetings are the first Tuesday of every month in the small conference room at the town hall at 7:30 p.m. If you are interested in being a member or in volunteering, contact Alison Greeley, chair, at agreeley@ridgefieldartscouncil.org or leave a message at the town hall at 203-431-2700. Are there any singing groups I can join? A diverse group of more than 80 men and women, The Ridgefield Chorale has brought the joy of singing to local communities for nearly 30 years. Renowned for a repertoire of Broadway show tunes and popular music, the chorale performs in a variety of concerts and productions throughout the year. No auditions are required; all voice parts welcome. For information, visit online at ridgefieldchorale.org. The Adesso Choral Society performs contemporary music, particularly works by New England composers. The group rehearses Tuesday nights, 7:30 to 9:30, beginning in September, in the director’s home at 115 Sleepy Hollow Road. For information, or to arrange an audition, call Margaret Collins Stoop at 203-438-2980 or visit online adessochoralsociety.com. Camerata d’Amici is a 40-voice choral music group. The repertoire ranges from well-known spirituals to classical pieces. Rehearsals are Thursday nights at 7:30 at South Salem Presbyterian Church in South Salem, N.Y. Auditions take place year-round. E-mail director Kristin Sponheim at info@cameratadamici.org. For information, visit cameratadamici.org. Where can I go dancing or hear live music? There are many venues for live music from rock to jazz including Luc’s Cafe (203-894-8522), the Bar & Grille on 7 at 967 Ethan Allen Highway (203-438-6033); Bernard’s Inn (203-438-8282), Southwest Cafe (203-438-3398), The Aldrich

august 18, 2011

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Contemporary Art Museum (203-438-4519), Piccolo Pizza (203-438-8200), Fifty Coins Restaurant (203-438-1456), Little Pub at 59 Ethan Allen Highway (203-544-9222), Terra Sole Ristorante at 3 Big Shop Lane (203-438-5352) as well as the Georgetown Saloon (203-544-8003) and Lumberyard Pub (203-544-7287) in Georgetown. For up-to-date information, check the After Dark listings in the Arts & Leisure section of The Ridgefield Press. Is there any place to hear folk music? The Acoustic Celebration presents a series of concerts from October to May, once or twice a month on Sunday evenings at Temple Shearith Israel (unless otherwise indicated). Tickets may be purchased online ($2 Paypal fee), at the door ($5 extra) or at Ridgefield Music at 19 Governor Street. For details, call 203-431-6501 or visit online at acousticcelebration.org. The Ridgefield Library offers folk and songwriters series. Call 203-438-2282 or visit ridgefieldlibrary.org for information. Keeler Tavern offers periodic folk music concerts. Visit keelertavernmuseum.org or call 203-438-5485. The nearby South Salem Library has folk concerts during the year (except in summer) usually on the first Saturday of the month (914-763-3857). Where can I hear chamber music? The Keeler Tavern Museum sponsors the Louise McKeon Chamber Music Concert Series each spring and fall. Tickets are sold at the door. For information, check the newspaper listings or call the museum at 203-438-5485. You may also visit keelertavernmuseum.org and click on Events. Is there a concert series that focuses on sacred music? The First Congregational Church on Main Street offers the Fountain Music Series, which emphasizes music with a sacred theme: excellence in all things, and all things to God’s glory. Seven free concerts are offered — one a month — from October through May, excluding November. The schedule is posted on the church Web site, firstcongregational.com, or call 203-4388077 for details. The church also offers a Lenten Organ Recital series. Are there any free summer concerts? Free family concerts take place Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 7, late May through Sept. 1, in Ballard Park. The CHIRP (Concert Happenings in Ridgefield Parks) schedule is online at chirpct.org (which is musically enhanced for visitors). The series is supported by several sponsors, including the town, and contributions. There is also a series of military concerts throughout the year. Check at chirpct.org for the schedule. What museums are in town? The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is at 258 Main Street (203-438-4519). Exhibitions reflect the museum’s mission to be a national leader in the exhibition of significant and challenging contemporary art with an emphasis on emerging and mid-career artists. The Aldrich does not have a permanent collection, mounting three cycles of major, temporary exhibitions as well as more than 10 smaller exhibits each year. The museum also offers educational programs and a performing arts series for all ages. The museum’s store offers museum publications, limited edition/unique art works, a line of limited edition art works created specifically for sale at The Aldrich by artists who have exhibited there. The Aldrich is open Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 5. Admission is $7; $4 for seniors and students; children under 18

free; free admission on Tuesday. The Web site is aldrichart.org. The Keeler Tavern Museum (203-438-5485), 132 Main Street, reflects Ridgefield’s history. Built in 1713, the museum was once an 18th Century tavern, home for many generations of the Keeler family, and later the home of noted architect Cass Gilbert. Today it is a historical museum run by the Keeler Tavern Preservation Society. Costumed guides lead tours through rooms reflecting different periods of the home’s history. Special events are held throughout the year. In addition to period furnishing, the museum collection includes artwork, costumes, textiles, documents, tools, toys, and the glass plates taken from 1890 to the 1930s by photographer Joseph Hartmann. The museum also maintains a garden in the style of the early 20th century, marking the time Cass Gilbert was in residence. In the front courtyard, a Colonial herb garden has been restored. The gardens are open to the public daily, year round, from dawn to dusk. There is no admission charge. The museum is open February through December on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4; guided tours by costumed docents are offered. (The museum is closed in January and certain major holidays.) Entry fee is $5 adults, $3 seniors (62 and older) and students, and $2 for children under 12. Members are admitted free. Donations and volunteers are always welcome. Call 203-438-5485 or visit keelertavernmuseum.org. What is the Discovery Center? The Discovery Center, a non-profit organization based in Ridgefield since 1985, offers families and children an opportunity to learn about and appreciate nature, science, history and the arts, through programs ranging from nature walks to whitewater canoeing. Most programs are free to members. For details, call 203-438-1063 or visit ridgefielddiscovery.org. E-mail info@ridgefielddiscovery.org. What’s Weir Farm? Weir Farm — Connecticut’s only national historic site — is on Nod Hill Road on the Wilton-Ridgefield town line and is run by the National Park Service. The farm was the summer home of American painter J. Alden Weir (1852-1919) and believed to be a seminal site for the development of American Impressionism. Today, as many artists come to the farm to interpret the landscape in their art medium as do people to walk the property. There are guided tours of the property, rotating art and history exhibitions, and visitors may follow a self-guided painting sites trail. Lectures and art classes are often offered. The Weir House, Weir Studio, and Young Studio have been undergoing restoration. For current information, call 203-834-1896 or visit nps. gov/wefa. Weir Farm Art Center at 735 Nod Hill Road (203-761-9945) is a private, non-profit organization and the cooperating association of the Weir Farm National Historic Site. Adjacent to Weir Farm is the Weir Preserve, owned by The Weir Farm Art Center, which provides art-related programs at the farm and elsewhere. Weir Preserve offers 110 acres of hiking trails through fields and woodlands. There are also special programs throughout the year. For information, visit weirfarmartcenter.org. Can I get a guide to interesting places to go? The Ridgefield Press publishes a guide every spring called 100 Things to Do, which lists activities and places to visit within about an hour from Ridgefield. Call 438-6544 for information. The Chamber of Commerce, 9 Bailey Avenue, has information and seasonal pamphlets on some area activities. Call 203438-5992. Visitors or people new to the area can visit the Western CT

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Convention and Visitors Bureau site at visitfairfieldcountyct. com for tourism information, special events, guides and calendars. For travel information about northwestern Conneticut, visit litchfieldhills.com or call 800-663-1273. The official Connecticut State Vacation Guide is available at ctvisit.com. Can I rent a hall for a party or a reception? A place rich in history is the Ridgefield Community Center (203-438-6962) on Main Street, with eight rentable rooms. The Keeler Tavern Museum (203-438-5485), Main Street, has the

Cass Gilbert Garden House available for receptions and parties. Bernard’s Inn at Ridgefield (203-438-8282) on West Lane has an outdoor wedding garden with a pergola for the ceremony. There is also Stonehenge (203-438-6511) on Stonehenge Road, Silver Spring Country Club (203-438-2671) on Silver Spring Road, and the Elms Inn (203-438-2541) on Main Street, all offering quaint locations. Rooms for groups may also be rented at the Ridgefield Library (203-438-2282), The Barn (203-431-2381), and some of the churches’ halls. Temple Shearith Israel at 46 Peaceable Street opened a renovated reception facility, the Pavilion, in the fall of 2009, available for parties and events.

Clubs & Organizations
I want to do some volunteer service. Where do I find out what’s available? Many of the civic groups and organizations listed throughout the pages of the Ridgefield Answerbook welcome volunteers. A list of community groups is also kept in the office on the second floor of the Ridgefield Community Center and is available online at the center’s Web site (lounsburyhouse.com). Another handy list of clubs and organizations can be found at the Ridgefield Library’s Web site, ridgefieldlibrary.org, by clicking on the link Ridgefield Online. In particular, the Friendly Shopper Service Program matches volunteers with seniors and disabled people who need a companion to take them shopping. Call Carole Konner at 203-431-2777. FISH asks people who can drive to volunteer one day a month. Call Linda Zembron at 203-438-8290. The Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association also has many volunteer opportunities. Call 203-438-5555. ROAR needs volunteers over 18 to help out at the animal shelter. Call 203-438-0158. VolunteerSolutions.org, a United Way initiative, lists area nonprofits looking for volunteers. Go to the site and type in Ridgefield’s zip code. A recent check found more than 150 organizations having posted information about volunteer opportunities. Is there a United Way group that serves this area? Yes, United Way of Western Connecticut, which serves Ridgefield and 12 other neighboring communities. The office is at 85 West Street, Danbury. For more information, call 203792-5330 or visit unwesternct.org. United Way of Connecticut’s site, ctunitedway.org, offers volunteer opportunities but also job postings and services for the jobless. Where can I get a guide to the town’s government and community-minded organizations? For information not found in The Ridgefield Answerbook, call the Community Center (203-438-6962), or the Information Office of town hall (203-431-2700). Also. check the library’s Web site’s Ridgefield Online links. How can I get involved in a political party here? To help the Republican Party, e-mail Republican Town Committee Chairman James Carroll at chairman@ridgefieldgop. org (or visit ridgefieldgop.org); to get involved in Democratic Party activities, call Democratic Town Committee Chair Susan Cocco at 203-431-6076 (or visit ridgefielddems.org). To help the Independent Party, call Dominic D’Addario, 203-438-4397. What fraternal organizations are in town? Fraternal groups include the Italian-American Mutual Aid Society (203-438-2028) and the Jerusalem Lodge of Masons (203-894-1704). Is there a Knights of Columbus chapter? Marquette Council #245 serves the greater Ridgefield area including St. Mary’s parish and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Council meetings are the first and third Thursday of each month in the Parish Barn next to St. Mary Church. For information, visit kofc245.org. Is there a group for newcomers to town? The Newcomers Club of Ridgefield is a nonprofit social organization run entirely by volunteers. Membership is open to any Ridgefield resident who has lived in town five years or less or who has had a major life change such as leaving the work force for child rearing or retirement. Many activity groups are offered, including those that focus on children, sports, men’s and ladies’ night out, and childless couples. For more information, visit ridgefieldnewcomers.org where there is an online application and membership details. What does the League of Women Voters do? The league works to increase voter participation through voter registration drives and education. Members also study local, regional, state, and national issues, take a position on them, and then publish their findings. In early February, the league sponsored a new event, Speak Up, Ridgefield, a question-and-answer forum that gave residents a chance to meet town officials and ask questions. League president is Brigitta Stone (e-mail: birgittastone@comcast.net or call 203-438-9896). The Web site is lwvridgefield.org. What is the Old Timer’s Association? The Old Timer’s Association provides scholarships to Ridgefield High School graduating seniors who are scholar-athletes and honor leaders in sports. A civic award is also given to a person or family who has contributed to the town. For more information on the association and membership, call Tom Belote at 203-431-6430 or write to 24 Bailey Avenue, Ridgefield 06877. What does the Rotary Club do? The Rotary Club (P.O. Box 41, Ridgefield) of Ridgefield or Ridgefield Rotary Club participates in a number of community events including the Egg Hunt in Ballard Park and Sale-a-bration sidewalk sale. It’s main fund-raiser is A Taste of Ridgefield. The club also offers a scholarship to a Ridgefield High School senior who exemplifies the Rotary motto of Service Above Self. It has joined other Rotary Clubs to help eliminate polio through immunization of children worldwide. The club held an Amber Alert registration during Summer-

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fest 2011 where more than 150 children were entered into the National Amber Alert Database. This program records minimal, yet essential, encrypted information about a child, including a photo, which is accessible only by the police during an emergency. The Ridgefield Rotary Club meets at the B & G Grill 6:30 p.m. every Wednesday and at Dimitri’s Diner 7:30 a.m. biweekly Fridays. Guests are always welcome and encouraged to contact membership chair Sue Manning at 438-4585. For more information, visit ridgefieldrotary.com. Ridgefield has a second Rotary club, the Rotary Club of Ridgefield-Sunrise or Sunrise Rotary Club. Both groups are members of Rotary International, a 106-year-old service organization. Sunrise Rotary was formed last year with 25 members. It was officially chartered with 28 members and is still growing. Rotary has programs that offer its members the opportunity to meet others outside the community. For example, the Rotary Friendship Exchange allows Rotarians and their families to visit Rotarians in other countries, and for foreign Rotarians to visit here. Other programs encourage service and leadership among young adults. The club meets every Tuesday morning at 7:15 at The Bissell House. For more information, call John Metzger, at 203-4386444 or e-mail jmetzger@gpsginc.com. Web site: rotary.org. What does the Lions Club do? The Lions Club (ridgefieldct.lionwap.org) has the elimination of unnecessary blindness as its primary mission, but works with many other charitable organizations as well. The club collects used glasses in a yellow mailbox in front of Stop & Shop, as well as in blue and white boxes in town hall, the post office and several offices around town. The club also raises money for a scholarship and supports a Little League team. The Lions Club has supported Meals on Wheels, Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association, Ridgefield ABC, Boys and Girls Club, Ridgefield Library and the Women’s Center of Greater Danbury. For more information, call Jill Johnston, membership chairman, at 203-431-1513 or e-mail jcjohnston@optimum.net. Incoming club president is Chuck Hancock (203-438-1332). Is there a local men’s club? The Ridgefield Men’s Club exists to provide and promote fellowship to retired or near-retired men in Ridgefield. There are activities in a dozen or more groups such as bridge, computer, financial, fishing, wood carving, and gourmet luncheon/ dinner groups. For more information, visit ridgefieldmensclub. org. Is there a women’s club? The Ridgefield Woman’s Club meets the first Thursday of the month except in July and August. It supports projects throughout the community. For information, call Phyllis Tiani at 203-431-0220, e-mail phylco5@aol.com, or write to P.O. Box 288, Ridgefield 06877. What is the Toastmasters Club? The Ridgefield Toastmasters Club is a new local organization being formed. Toastmasters International, a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills, has been working to established a new club in Ridgefield. More than 25 guests attended the first meeting in the spring. Toastmasters International has more than 260,000 members in more than 12,500 clubs in 113 countries. Since its founding in October 1924, the organization has helped more than four million men and women

deliver presentations with poise and confidence. Regular meetings are scheduled for the second and fourth Tuesday from 7:30 to 9 p.m., in the large conference room at town hall. Information is available at toastmasters.org. For information about the upcoming meetings, contact Carmine Coco De Young at 203-438-6999 or scribespen@aol.com. Are there any parent groups? The MOMS Club of Ridgefield and Redding is a support group for mothers (Moms Offer Moms Support) who stay at home with their children, including those who have home-based businesses and those who work part time. The club has divided into two groups. For details go online to http://momsclubridgefield.tripod.com. As part of its maternal child care program, the Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association offers a daytime support hotline. Call RVNA at 203-438-5555. What is SPHERE? SPHERE stands for Special People Housing Education Recreation Employment. It’s a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities. For more information, contact Valerie Jensen at valerie703@yahoo.com or 203-644-0203. Is there a group for writers? The Writers Guild of Ridgefield meets the third Tuesday of the month at the Ridgefield Library. The Memoir Writing Group meets the first Saturday of the month at the library. For details on either group, call Lesley Lambton at the library at 203-438-2282, ext. 1013. Or visit rwgct.blogspot.com. What does the Friends of the Ridgefield Library do? The Friends is a volunteer organization that financially supports the library and its programs, mainly through its book sales each year. Used book donations from the public are accepted at the circulation desk of the Ridgefield Library. For membership information, call the library at 203-438-2282. What garden clubs are here? Ridgefield has three garden clubs: Caudatowa Garden Club (Susan Mercurio, 203-431-4987); Ridgebury Garden Club (Tammy Conley, 203-778-2411); and the Ridgefield Garden Club (Mary Swett, 203-438-3886). Is there a group devoted to open space? The mission of the Ridgefield Open Space Association (ROSA) is dedicated to the acquisition and preservation of open space throughout town. To get involved, visit rosaopenspace.org or call 203-431-6662. The Web site has a catalog of open spaces in town. Is there an environment group in Ridgefield? The Ridgefield Action Committee for the Environment (RACE) acts as a catalyst developing, receiving, and disseminating information on environmental programs sponsored by town government, the schools, faith communities, the library, business, and civic-social groups. RACE also provides a link to our legislators, the Environment Committee of the State Assembly, the DEP, and other state agencies. Visit racefortheearth.com or call 203-431-0184 for assistance or to volunteer. Does Ridgefield have a community garden? The town’s community garden on Halpin Lane has 27 plots, 10 by 20 feet, available first-come, first-served. The garden is

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fenced and water is available. The cost per plot is $25 for the season. Call Edith Meffley at 203-438-6108 or Robin Howard at 203-431-0089. Is there a sewing club in the area? The St. Mary’s Sewing and Craft Guild is open to all. Call Carmel Battista at 203-431-1309.

What veterans organizations are there in town? For the American Legion Post 78, call Robert Tulipani, 203-438-3890, (Web site: amlegionpost78.org); Marine Corps League, call 203-203-438-4333/orgsites.com/ct/ridgefieldctmcl); and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, 90 East Ridge Avenue, P.O. Box 423, Ridgefield. Connecticut Department of Veteran’s Affairs Web site: ct.gov/ ctva/site/default.asp.

Media
What newspapers cover the town? The Ridgefield Press (203-438-6544/TheRidgefieldPress. com), a weekly, is the major publication covering our town. The News-Times, a daily in Danbury (203-744-5100/newstimes. com), covers Ridgefield events and people. Can I read The Press online? Those looking for the latest Ridgefield news can find it on The Ridgefield Press online site, TheRidgefieldPress.com; those looking for stories from previous issues can find them in the same place. Users can register and log in for free. For the latest, up-to-the-minute news, sign up for Breaking News from The Ridgefield Press. Log onto TheRidgefieldPress. com and click on Breaking News in the upper right-hand corner. You can also follow town news via Twitter. Sign up at Twitter. com/RidgefieldPress. You can follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/Ridgefield Press. Page one stories and top sports stories from the current week’s issue of The Press are available on the paper’s home page and remain accessible at no charge for several weeks. Additional stories are also posted online daily. The entire content of the newspaper is added to the archive within about two weeks after publication. The Press’ archives are searchable by going to TheRidgefieldPress.com and clicking on “Print Archives” on the left-hand side of the page. Users may then search for information going back as far as June 2003. Just enter a keyword or phrase, choose a time frame (or search all available years), and click “search.” The first few paragraphs of all articles that match the search criteria entered are available for previewing. To access the entire article, several pricing options are available. Pictures from The Press are not available through the archive, but may be ordered by calling 203-438-6544, or e-mailing newsroom@acorn-online.com. An up-to-date calendar, a guide to the Web sites of Ridgefield’s civic and charitable organizations, the Ridgefield Answerbook, and past Ridgefield Press columns, as well as access to the Hersam Acorn classifieds, real estate listings, and the top stories from the Arts & Leisure section are also available at no charge on The Press Web site. Current obituaries, indexes of obituaries that appeared in The Ridgefield Press from 1875 to 1999, as well as complete obituaries from spring 2000 to mid-2005 are also available. Ridgefield’s History Archives include the Press columns 25 Years Ago and 50 Years Ago, as well as Notable Ridgefielders, old pictures of town, cemetery information, Ridgefield Names columns, and more. At the Ridgefield Forum, visitors can view and add comments to the various issue threads. The “Improve Ridgefield” interactive feature enables visitors to the Web site to report a pothole, broken traffic light, or other road problems and check on the progress of getting things fixed. Are there any local television news programs? Ridgefield High School has its own television station, called Tiger TV, which plays during the school year and advertises local events. It’s on cable Channel 22. How can I get an announcement in the papers? For The Ridgefield Press (203-438-6544), you may e-mail letters, press releases, birth and wedding announcements, or highresolution digital photographs to newsroom@acorn-online.com. The deadline for general news releases is by 4 on the Thursday before publication. Sports stories should be e-mailed by Monday at 4, to sports@acorn-online.com. Typed stories can be dropped off at the Press office at 16 Bailey Avenue. Send arts news submissions at least two weeks in advance to arts@acorn-online. com or call 203-894-3384. The Press has a free guide on how to write publicity releases as well as submission guides for news, letters, photos, and obituaries. They are available online at TheRidgefieldPress.com; click on Help. To get something in The News-Times, call 203-744-5100, fax to 203-792-8730 or e-mail editor@newstimes.com. How do I get an ad in The Press? For classified advertising, call 1-800-372-2790 or e-mail to: Classified@hersamacorn.com or fax to: 203-926-2092. For display advertising, call Laurie Campbell at 203-894-3322. Deadlines are detailed at theridgefieldpress.com; see Classified and Help tabs. For subscriptions, call 800-327-2790. Do any specialty publications cover our area? Ridgefield Magazine reports news and features about town. Call 203-431-1708 or visit ridgefield-magazine.com. It is a Morris Media Group publication with offices at 386 Main Street, Ridgefield. Connecticut Magazine (203-830-6600/connecticutmag.com) is a general interest magazine. Fairfield County Business Journal (914-694-3600/fairfieldcbj.com), published weekly, contains business news of the county. Fairfield County Weekly (203-382-9666/fairfieldweekly. com) covers activities, arts and news in greater StamfordNorwalk-Bridgeport and is free. How can I find out local Web sites, blogs and online resources? There is a list of local Web sites on page 79 of this Ridgefield Answerbook. There are also links to local organizations online at ridgefieldct.org, TheRidgefieldPress.com and ridgefieldlibrary.org. News, events and discussion can be found at Ridgefield Patch (ridgefield.patch.com). Talk of the Town and more can be found at Ridgefield’s HamletHub (hamlethub.com/ridgefield). Also search blog. ctnews.com.

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The Official Connecticut State Vacation Guide (including a special section on Fairfield County) is an interactive online guide available at the state tourism bureau Web site, ctvisit.com. You can also go to visitfairfieldcountyct. com or call 860-5674506 Are there any public radio, classical or jazz stations in the area? WSHU-FM in Fairfield (91.1 mHz) is a National Public Radio station and also carries much classical music.

Connecticut Public Radio’s WEDW-FM in Stamford (88.5 mHz) also carries NPR and news talk format, audible in many parts of town, while its higher-powered but more distant sister station, WNPR-FM in Norwich (89.1 mHz) can also be heard here. WKCR-FM (89.9 mHz) at Columbia University in New York City is a jazz station. WPKN-FM in Bridgeport (89.5 mHz) carries a mix that includes jazz. WMNR-FM (88.1 mHz) in Monroe carries mostly classical music, but Saturdays from 5 till midnight programs music from the 20s through the early 50s, including much big band and swing.

Business
Who are the town’s top taxpayers? According to the 2010 Grand List data provided by the town assessor’s office, the top commercial taxpayers and their gross assessments are: 1.) Boehringer Ingelheim - $292,493,562 2.) Equity One (Copps Hill) Inc. - $27,362,999 3.) Ridgefield Professional Office - $14,632,689 4.) Ridgefield Bank - $11,512,110 5.) Eureka V LLC - $11,291,780 6.) Flat Rock Corp. - $10,876,990 7.) Ireif II Ridgefield SH LLC - $10,506,190 8.) Schlumberger Well - $9,131,500 9.) Athena Holdings - $8,110,200 10.) Girolametti Realty Inc. - $6,934,110 What does the Chamber of Commerce do? The mission of the Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce (203438-5992/ridgefieldchamber.org) is to promote economic vitality through member engagement, hospitality, collaboration, education, and advocacy. The Chamber is not-for-profit volunteer organization, but it is also a business. The membership base is a partnership of business and professional people working together for the betterment of the community by providing programs referred to as NEAT: Networking, Education, Advocacy and Tourism. The Chamber and its programs have a direct impact on the business community. The Chamber encourages shopping locally through its Gift of Choice Program and promotion of Fridays After Five in the downtown business district. The Chamber also provides numerous opportunities for its members through Rise & Shine Ridgefield Breakfasts featuring business savvy speakers; Business After Hours affording the opportunity to network; and Educational Seminars geared to small and home-based businesses. Summerfest, formerly Sale-A-Bration, is the annual street fair. In addition members participate in a yearly Business Expo. Committees and task forces work on an Annual Golf Outing, Inaugural Ball and a Fall Festival. The Chamber also serves as the community’s tourism center providing relocation and Welcome to Ridgefield packages for visitors and new residents. It also publishes the Business Directory & Shopping Guide for Ridgefield each year. What is Downtown Ridgefield? Downtown Ridgefield Inc. is a merchants’ association dedicated to promoting and enhancing downtown Ridgefield. With strong ties to the community, the members of Downtown Ridgefield are proud sponsors of four major events each year: Spring Fest in May, Sidewalk Sales in July, Fall in Love with Ridgefield in October, and the Holiday Stroll in December. Each event is unique in character, and offers something to everyone. These events are free and open to the public, and are the organization’s way of both promoting the economic vitality of the town, and saying “thank-you” for shopping, dining and strolling in downtown Ridgefield. Downtown Ridgefield also offers a gift certificate program where certificates are redeemable at its participating members. Certificates may be purchased at the Main Street branch of Ridgefield Bank or by mail. For information, visit the Web site downtownridgefield.com. Who protects consumers? The state Better Business Bureau is in Wallingford. For information, call 203-269-2700 or visit online at ct.bbb.org. The Better Business Bureau provides reports on businesses, charity groups, and organizations. It can help resolve consumer disputes with businesses and promotes ethical business standards. You may file a complaint online at bbb.org or ct.bbb.org or call for information. You may also file a complaint about a business through the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection hotline at 800-842-2649 or visit ct.gov/dcp. The department will investigate cases where consumers feel they were cheated or defrauded. It will also accept written complaints, which can be mailed to 165 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, 06106. Who welcomes newcomers? Personal Touch Welcome visits families who have relocated to or within town with a basketful of helpful information about the community and gift certificates from local merchants. She also has a basket of gifts for new parents. Call Dee Strilowich (203-438-0128/personaltouchwelcome.com) to schedule an appointment. Is there a place to rent meeting space? The Ridgefield Community Center’s Lounsbury House is an elegant and sophisticated meeting space, different from ordinary conference hotels and meeting sites. It offers eight rentable rooms in varying sizes with flexibility, reasonable price structure, audio-visual equipment, tables, chairs, handicap access, ample parking, wireless access and a unique environment. Weekday rentals, either full-day, half-day or evening usage are available. The center is at 316 Main Street, and is open weekdays from 9 to 5. Call 203-438-6962 or visit online at lounsburyhouse.com. Ridgefield Parks and Recreation (203-431-2755) offers facilities rentals and the Ridgefield Library (203-438-2282) offers the Dayton Program Room for rent. Where can I send or receive a fax? The UPS Store, 54 Danbury Road (203-438-7200) and Ridgefield Office Supply, 389 Main Street (203-438-3635). There are fax machines at the Ridgefield Library, but only for sending faxes.

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Where can I get copies made? Ridgefield Office Supply (203-438-3635) has a complete copy shop offering color and digital work and other services. The UPS Store (203-438-7200) provides color copy machines. The Ridgefield Library has a scanner at the Information Services area. Color and black and white prints may be made. Where can I recycle those packing peanuts? Any UPS Store will take them for re-use. In town, drop them off at 54 Danbury Road. “Green” Web sites offer creative ways to reuse those packing peanuts, including “The Green Cheepskate” at thedailygreen. com. Printer cartridges can be recycled by taking them to Ridgefield Office Supply, Nature’s Temptations, or town hall. When is the post office open? Box and lobby hours at the post office on Catoonah Street are Monday through Friday 4:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays from 4:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Sundays (boxes section only) from 10 to 1. The window is open Monday-Friday, 8:30 to 6, and Saturday 9 to noon. It’s closed Sundays and all federal holidays. For more information, call 203-438-6561. Are there any 24-hour mail box services? The UPS Store, 54 Danbury Road, 203-438-7200, has small, medium and large boxes, with six- and 12-month prepaid con-

Where can I buy stamps besides at a post office? Stamps are available at Ridgefield Office Supply, 389 Main Street, (203-438-3635) and at The UPS Store, 54 Danbury Road (203-438-7200). You may also buy stamps at CVS at 235 Main Street, Stop & Shop in Copps Hill Plaza and at the quick checkout in Ancona’s Market, Branchville Road. Where can I send packages or overnight mail? The UPS Store, 54 Danbury Road, (203-438-7200) will send packages and mailers. UPS will pick up at the home for a small extra charge; the post office will pick up Express Mail for a flat fee provided a staffer is available to make the pick-up. Federal Express picks up at the home for a fee. For information, call UPS (800-742-5877), FedEx (800-2385355), or the post office at 203-438-6561. Are there any hotels, motels, inns, or bed-and-breakfasts here? The Elms Inn, 500 Main Street (203-438-2541/elmsinn. com), The West Lane Inn, 22 West Lane (203-438-7323/westlaneinn.com), Stonehenge Restaurant & Inn, 35 Stonehenge Road (203-438-6511/stonehengeinn-ct.com), and Green Rocks Inn, 415 Danbury Road (203-894-8944/greenrocksinn.com) have overnight rooms. Days Inn (203-438-3781) is a motel at 296 Ethan Allen Highway.

Food & Shopping
What supermarkets are in town? The town has two supermarkets. Ancona’s, 720 Branchville Road, Branchville, (203-544-8436) is the only locally owned supermarket and is associated with the IGA stores. Stop & Shop is in Copps Hill Plaza, (203-438-7317). Milillo Farms (203-438-6677) offers meat, fresh fruits and vegetables, convenience foods, fresh breads, and other food items. It is at 424 rear Main Street (in the municipal parking lot off Bailey Avenue). Nature’s Temptations is an organic food market at 32 Prospect Street (203-438-5443/naturestemptations.com) offering dairy products, meat, deli items, produce, and non-food groceries. Is there a butcher shop in town? Ridgefield Prime (203-894-3273) in Copps Hill Commono is a gourmet butcher and seafood shop that also sells prepared food to go. Is there a thrift shop? The Thrift Shop on Catoonah Street is open noon to 4 Monday through Friday and 10 to 1 on Saturday. It accepts any clean, usable, and up-to-date clothing, as well as books, records, household items, and small appliances. Items may be dropped off Monday through Friday from noon to 3:30; Saturday from 10 to 12:30. Do not leave items outside; bring them into the shop. For more information, call 203-438-3328. The money raised by the thrift shop is donated to many different organizations and charities, including scholarship grants for nursing students. Are there any clothing consignment stores? The Children’s Cottage at 23 Catoonah Street carries children’s clothing, maternity clothing, toys, books and such. Call 203-438-3933 or visit childrenscottageonline.com. For women’s clothing and accessories, there is Bring N Buy, 590 Danbury Road. Call 203-438-7714 or visit discountdesignerclothingbbt.com. Are there any department stores? The only department store in town is Kohl’s in Copps Hill. The number is 203-438-7767. The nearest mall is the Danbury Fair Mall, near where I-84 intersects with Route 7. Where is the nearest farmers’ market? Markets open this season include Ridgefield (new location is behind 27 Governor Street, on lawn near Governor Street municipal parking lot and Boys and Girls Club), open Fridays, 2 to 6 (203-894-8690/ridgefieldfarmersmarket.org); Branchville (at the train station) open Saturdays from 10 to 3); Georgetown (4 Old Mill Road, near Main & Route 57) open Sundays, 10 to 2 (203-544-9205); New Canaan (Center School parking lot) open Saturdays, 10 to 2 (newcanaanfarmersmarket.net); and Weston, Saturdays, 9 to noon, at the Weston Historical Society on Route 57. Farmers’ markets are generally open through October. For more Connecticut farm market listings, check ctfarmfresh.com. Gossett Brothers (914-763-3001), a South Salem, N.Y., nursery on Route 35 has a farm market on Saturdays, 9 to 1. The Hickories is a working farm at 126 Lounsbury Road that operates under a four-season growing schedule. Sales to the public start with maple syrup in spring, fresh fruits and vegetables all summer, and pumpkins and hayrides in the fall. The greenhouse offers fresh salad greens and spinach all winter. The farm stand on Lounsbury Road is open mid-June through September. At other times, go online to thehickories.org. The Garden of Ideas on Route 116 sells homegrown produce at a self-serve farm stand open weekdays from 7 to 5 and weekends from 10 to 4. Where can I pick my own fruits and vegetables? You may pick your own berries in the summer at The Hickories, 126 Lounsbury Road (see above). Visit thehickories.org for

august 18, 2011

Food & Shopping

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details. Blue Jay Orchards at 125 Plumtrees Road in Bethel (203748-0119/bluejayorchardsct.com) is well-known for apple and pumpkin picking. Early apples are expected to arrive in August; pick-your-own starts in September and continues through early November. Different varieties of apples ripen at different times so availability depends on time of season. Silverman’s Farm at 451 Sport Hill Road in Easton (203261-3306/silvermansfarm.com) offers pick-your-own peaches and apples from mid-July to mid-October. There is a farm market, florist, animal park, seasonal cider mill and tractor rides. Warrups Farm on John Read Road in West Redding (203938-9403/warrupsfarm.com) is an organic farm offering pickyour-own flowers, fruits, vegetables and pumpkins. Where can I rent party supplies? Where can I rent power tools and lawn equipment? A rental outlet is Party Depot of Ridgefield, 98 Danbury Road, 203-438-4722. For tables, chairs, and tents, call Keough’s

Do It Best Rental at 544-8370. For tools, cleaning and landscaping equipment, machines and home improvement gear, try Young’s of Ridgefield, 91 Danbury Road (203-438-6760/youngs13.tripod.com). Keough’s Do It Best Rental on Route 7 (203-544-8370/keoughs.com) offers a variety of tools and equipment from paint sprayers to jackhammers and backhoes. Does the town have a sidewalk sale? Ridgefield’s annual Summerfest, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Ridgefield, take place in July. Merchants set up booths outdoors and there is entertainment, assorted food and drink, and family activities. Are there any bookstores in town? Books on the Common (203-431-9100/booksonthecommon. com), moving to 404 Main Street this month, sells new books for all ages.

Transportation
Who maintains and plows the roads in town? The town Highway and Public Services Department, 60 South Street, (203-431-2748), under the direction of Highway Superintendent Pete Hill, maintains all the town roads. State roads are maintained by the Connecticut Highway Department (call the police, 203-438-6531, or the state highway department (203-797-4157) to report problems with state roads). State roads include Route 35, Route 33, Route 7. To whom do I complain about a pothole? Notify either the police department (203-438-6531) or the highway department (203-431-2748) about potholes or other road problems. For potholes or other complaints about a state road, call the state highway department at 203-389-3020. What hours are the municipal parking regulations enforced? Parking regulations in the municipal lots are enforced from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. There are two-hour and three-hour parking spaces. The municipal lot on Governor Street, next to the Boys & Girls Club, provides all-day (but not overnight) parking. Can I get a special permit to park in town? Permits are sold through lottery every June and December, allowing all-day parking in certain limited-time lots in the village. Lots include CVS, Mariner, Bailey Avenue, and Donnelly. For application details, call the parking authority at 203-431-2765. The fee is $60 for six months. Where are the closest motor vehicle department offices and when are they open? The nearest are in Danbury at 2 Lee Mac Avenue and Norwalk, 540 Main Avenue. Both are open 8 to 4:30 on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday; 8 to 7 on Thursday, and 8 to 12:30 on Saturday. For information, call 800-842-8222 or visit ct.gov/dmv. Is there an emissions testing program? Yes. You will be notified by mail of your test days. Vehicles must be tested every other year. New vehicles less than four years old or more than 25 years old are exempt. If you do not have your vehicle tested, it does not pass, or has not been granter a waiver, DMV will not renew your registration. For information and testing stations, call 1-888-828-8399 or visit online at ctemissions.com. In Ridgefield, motorists can get their emissions test done at Limestone Service Station (203-438-8028), 399 Danbury Road, or Copps Hill Shell (203-438-2433), 130 Danbury Road. At what age may a person begin driving? A student must be 16 years old to take driving lessons. For those under 18 who do not attend a state-licensed driving school or driver’s education program, a Home Training Certificate must be issued at least one month before the driver’s exam. There is a mandatory five-hour program covering safe driving practices. Call 800-842-8222 for more information. For driver’s ed information, call 800-732-8090. Are there any other restrictions on teen drivers? Yes. A state law prohibits teens under the age of 18 from driving between midnight and 5 a.m. unless it is for school, a job, religious activities, or a medical necessity. New restrictions teen driving and learner’s permits are frequently adopted, so check the DMV Web site. What is the law regarding driving and cell phone use? A state law bans the use of hand-held cell phones by adult drivers. It bans all cell phone use by teen drivers — 16 and 17 years old — except to call 911 or other emergency numbers. They may not use any other mobile electronic devices while driving including hand-held computers or other devices with a video display. Who must wear seat belts? Drivers and front-seat passengers, and all rear-seat passengers 6 to 16 years old, must wear seat belts when riding in a motor vehicle. Car seats are required for children younger than 6 or less than 60 pounds. Children must travel in rear-facing car seats until they are a year old and weigh at least 20 pounds. What rights do pedestrians have? Pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks. There is a crosswalk at every intersection, even if it is not marked by painted lines. Drivers must slow or stop and grant the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing at a marked or unmarked crosswalk. If the walkway is regulated with a Walk/Don’t Walk light, pedestrians must wait for the Walk sign.

76 • ridgefield answerbook

Pets & Animals

august 18, 2011

What does Ridgefield Animal Control do? The canine division of the police department is managed by Animal Control Officer David Coles and deals with domestic animals, specifically dogs, and any wild animal that comes in contact with a domestic animal or person. The canine shelter is at 40 South Street. The department does not do pest control or body removal. The phone number is 203-431-2711 or e-mail canine@ridgefieldct.org. Where do I get a dog license? The town clerk in the town hall sells dog licenses. All dogs, six months and older, must be licensed. Call 203-431-2783. A current rabies certificate is required. For a reduced cost, proof of the dog’s being spayed or altered must be shown. The cost is $19 for an animal that has not been spayed or altered, and $8 for an animal that has. Dogs must be licensed by July 1. The fine for having an unlicensed dog is $75. Connecticut state law requires that all dogs and cats be given rabies vaccinations. (Cats do not need licenses.) Are there animal hospitals in town? There are Quarry Ridge Animal Hospital at 30 Old Quarry Road, 203-438-8878; Ridgefield Animal Hospital at 614 Main Street, 203-431-4444; and Ridgefield Veterinary Hospital, 722 Danbury Road, 203-438-2658. My dog is lost. Where can I get help? Call Ridgefield Animal Control at 203-431-2711. You may also want to call the animal control officers in neighboring towns, particularly if your dog has been missing more than 24 hours.

What is the law regarding roaming dogs? Dogs must be confined to one’s own property or under control, such as with a leash, if off the property. It is illegal to allow a dog to soil any private property, school ground, public park, public street, sidewalk or right of way, or public property. Ridgefield has a pooper-scooper law, and people walking their dogs are reminded to clean up after them. Violators can be fined. Where is a good place to take a dog for a run? There is a park in town just for dogs. The Bark Park is on Prospect Ridge and Hampton Court, next to Congregate Housing. Be sure to obey posted rules and clean up after your dog. Where can I adopt a dog or cat? Dogs may be adopted at the dog pound on South Street (203431-2711). The ROAR Shelter at 45 South Street (203-4380158/roar-ridgefield.org) offers adoptions of dogs and cats that have been surrendered by their owner or adoptable animals rescued from other shelters. Many shelters, including Ridgefield Animal Control, list adoptable animals on petfinder.com. What is ROAR? The Ridgefield Operation for Animal Rescue (ROAR) is a private, nonprofit organization headquartered at the shelter at 45 South Street. ROAR’s mission is to promote responsible treatment of abandoned and sheltered animals and to find them loving homes, and to bring animals and people together in mutually satisfying relationships. For information, visit online at roarridgefield.org or e-mail shelter@roar-ridgefield.org Where can I take my pet in an emergency? The Animal Emergency Clinic of Danbury (203-790-6383) is at 22 Newtown Road, Danbury. It is open Monday through Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. and Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. the following Monday; and 24 hours on most holidays. May I keep horses and livestock? Owners of property in the R-7.5, R-10, R-20, and SDR20 zones — most of which are in the downtown area of Ridgefield— may not keep livestock on plots of less than half an acre. The town defines livestock as “any camelid or hooved animal such as cattle, bison, swine, goats, sheep, lamas, horses, ponies, donkeys, mules, and other hooved animals, and poultry.” Violators can be fined $100 to $250 per day. Any groups that rehabilitate injured or sick wildlife? In town is Back to the Wild Rehabilitation Inc. (203-4380618/backtothewildrehab.com), which specializes in birds, primarily raptors (hawks, eagles, vultures, etc.) and specifically owls. The organization will also work with abandoned nonwildlife such as ducks, geese, parrots, and peacocks. Wildlife in Crisis (203-544-9913/wildlifeincrisis.org) helps rehabilitate orphaned, sick and injured wildlife. The organization welcomes volunteers and donations. The mailing address is P.O. Box 1246, Weston 06883. Both are state-certified wildlife custodians and are also permitted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife to rehabilitate migratory birds. Are there any trails here suitable for riding? There are small equestrian trails all over town but the major trails seem to be in three key areas: near the Woodcock Nature Center, near Chestnut Hill and Ridgebury roads, and through easements at the horse farm on Mopus Bridge Road. For more specific information, call the conservation office at 203-4312713.

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august 18, 2011

ridgefield
answerbook.11
i n d e x o f r idgef i e l d a n s we r b o o k
ABC A Man With a Van . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Albano Appliance & Service, LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 All Destinations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Animal Fair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Ann’s Place . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Barbara Martin/William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty/Wilton . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 BBM Home Improvement. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Bissell Pharmacy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 BMW of Ridgefield . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Books on the Common. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Branchville Oil Co. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Branchville Self Storage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Brunjes Chiropractic. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Cannondale Animal Clinic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Century 21 Landmark Properties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80 CCL Castelli Construction & Landscape, Inc . . . . . . . . . . 44 Coldwell Banker Real Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Copps Hill Shell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Craig & Son. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 CrossFit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Debbie Chase/Prudential CT Realty. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Deborah Ann’s Sweet Shoppe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Dimitri’s Diner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Doctors’ Pediatric PC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Dr. Allan Phillips, DDS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Dr. Capanna-Hodge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Electrolysis & Medical Skin Care. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 Exteriors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 Fairfield County Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Family Medical Associates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 General Service Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Genoa Deli & Pizza . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Georgetown Martial Arts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Georgetown Veterinary Hospital . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Glass Guys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 The Golf Performance Center. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Gossett’s Farmer’s Market . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 The Greens at Cannondale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Gregory & Adams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Heritage Automotive Restorations Ltd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Kane Funeral Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Keeler Tavern Museum & Garden House . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Landmark Academy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Laurel Ridge Health Care Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57

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a d ve r t i s e r s

The Little Pub . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Lock Install . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Lucci Electric . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 MacDonald Pin Dancers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Nancy O . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Nature’s Temptations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Nita Mohler/William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Nutmeg Livery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Oliver’s Place . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Osgood Construction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Osteopathic Wellness Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Pam Kosakow & Bart Wickstrum/ Coldwell Banker Real Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Practically Green . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 PTP of Ridgefield . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Quality Seamless Gutters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Quarry Ridge Animal Hospital . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Redding Nursery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 Ridgefield Academy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Ridgefield Boys & Girls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Ridgefield Community Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Ridgefield Family Eye Care . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Ridgefield Hardware . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 The Ridgefield Montessori School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Ridgefield One . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Ridgefield Printing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Ridgefield Recreation Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Ridgefield Roofing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Ridgefield Visting Nurse Assocation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Ron’s Home Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Saint Mary School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Services Guide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Starbuck Equestrian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Taylor Rental . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Temple Shearith Israel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Tickborne Disease Prevention Study. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Touch of Sedona. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Union Savings Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Winter Garden Ice Arena . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty/Ridgefield . . . 3 Wooster School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37, 60 Y.Z. Jewelry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52, 53 Yankee Doodle, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Young’s of Ridgefield. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

78 • ridgefield answerbook

Reader’s Index
Connecticut Mastery Test, 28 Conservation Commission, 20, 23 Consignment stores, 74 Consumer protection, 73 Counseling, teen, 63 CPR, 56 Danbury Hospital, 48, 54, 59 Day care, child, 63 Deeds, old, 19 Deer, 59, 67 Department stores, 74 Discovery Center, 69 DMV offices, 75 Doctors, 54 Dogs, 76 Downtown Ridgefield, 73 Eating disorders, 59 Elections, 19 Electric power, 47 Emergency Operations Center, 52 Emergency rooms, 48 Emergency shelters, 52 Emergency, town wide, 52 Emissions testing, 75 False alarms, 51 Family & Children’s Agency, 30 Farmers’ markets, 74 Fingerprints, 51 Fire department, 49, 50 First selectman, 14 FISH, 55, 62, 70 Fishing, 65, 67 Flags, old, 38 Flu shots, 56 Folk music, 69 Food bank, 38 Football, 29, 64 Founders Hall, 33, 34, 61, 65 Founding of town, 6 Fountain, 8 Friends of the Ridgefield Library, 71 Garbage, 46 Gold card, 67 Golf, 29, 66 Goodwill, 38 Governor, 25 Grand list, 15 Health department, 42, 52, 54 Health services, clearinghouse, 55 Health fair, 56 Hiking, 65 Historian, town, 10 Historic points of interest, 6 Histories, town, 8 Home businesses, 43, 44 Home health care, 54 Horses, 76 Hospice, 55 House, state, 25 Houses of worship, 53 Houses, old, 6 Housing sales, 12 Hunting, 67 Income, median, 12 Infoline, 55, 58, 63 Inns, 74 Italian-American Mutual Aid Society, 70 Jobs for students, 63 Jogging, 67 Keeler Tavern Museum, 10, 64, 69, 70 Knights of Columbus, 70 Lacrosse, 29, 64 Laurel Ridge Health Care Center, 54 League of Women Voters, 70 License, dog, 76 License, driver’s, 75 License, fishing, 67 License, hunting, 67 License, marriage, 19 Lions Club, 71 Little Red Schoolhouse, 6 Lyme disease, 60 Magazines, 72 Marine Corps League, 31, 72 Masons, 70 Meals on Wheels, 30, 57 Mental illness, 59 Mill rate, 15 MOMS Club, 71 Movies, 68 Museum in the Streets, 6 Museums, 6, 69 Music, chamber, 69 Music, folk, 69 Music, live, 68, 69 Music, sacred, 69 Music schools, 34 National Merit Scholarship, 28 Newcomers Club, 70 Newspapers, 72 Norwalk Hospital, 48, 49, 54 Nursing home, 54 Officials, town, 24 Old Timer’s Association, 70 Open space, 65, 67, 71 Orchestras, 68 Parking permit, 75 Parking, 75 Parks and Recreation Commission, 23 Parks, 65 Passports, 20 Permit, building, 22, 43 Permit, burn, 45 Permit, zoning, 43 Pet adoptions, 76 Pharmacies, 56 Philanthropic Youth Council, 63 Pick-your-own, 74, 75 Planner, town, 18 Planning and Zoning, 23 Playgrounds, 65 Police Commission, 19, 20, 23 Police department, 50 Political parties, 18

august 18, 2011

100 Things to Do, 69 911, 48 AARP, 38, 61, 62 ABC program, 29. 30 Absentee ballots, 19 Adult education, 33 Alarms, 50 Alcoholics Anonymous, 60 Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, 64, 68, 69 Ambulance service, 48 American Cancer Society, 58 Animal control, 76 Animal hospitals, 76 Animals, roaming, 76 Apartments, 43 Aquarion, 47, 65, 67 Artists groups, 68 Assessments, property, 15, 17 Bark Park, 65, 76 Barn, the, 63 Baseball, 29, 64 Basketball, 29, 63, 64 Beaches, 66 Bed and breakfast, 43, 74 Better Business Bureau, 73 Bible study, 53 Bicycling, 66 Bikes, mountain, 66 Birth certificate, 19 Blood drives, 56 Blood pressure, 58 Board of Education, 19, 24, 26 Board of Finance, 15, 19, 22, 24 Board of Selectmen, 14, 19, 24 Boards, town, 20 Boating, 67 Bookstores, 75 Boys and Girls Club, 64 Budget, school, 30 Budget, town, 15 Building inspector, 22 Cable TV, 47 Calendar of events, community, 38, 68 Calendar, school, 27 Camping, 65, 67 Camps, summer, 64 Cats, 76 Cell phones, 46, 48, 75 Cemeteries, 38 CERT, 52 Chamber of Commerce, 38, 73 Cholesterol screening, 58 Churches, 53 Clinics, flu, 56 Clinics, well-child, 58 Clubs, senior, 70 Colleges, 34 Commissions, town, 20 Community gardens, 71 Concert hall, 68 Concerts, summer, 69 Congress, U.S., 25 Connecticut Academic Performance Test, 29

Population, 11 Postal service, 74 Potholes, 75 Preschools, 32, 33 Probate, 22, 24 PTA, 32 Rabies, 60 Radio stations, 73 Radon gas, 45 Rail Trail, 65 Records, public, 19 Recycling, 46 Registrars of voters, 18 Rental equipment, 75 Rental space, 73 Retirement communities, 61 Ridgefield Arts Council, 68 Ridgefield Chorale, 68 Ridgefield Community Center, 37, 61, 70 Ridgefield Community Foundation, 63 Ridgefield Guild of Artists, 64, 68 Ridgefield Historical Society, 6, 10 Ridgefield Library, 35, 68, 69, 70 Ridgefield Men’s Club, 71 Ridgefield Newcomers Club, 70 Ridgefield Playhouse, 68 Ridgefield Press, 72 Ridgefield Recreation Center, 14, 58, 65 Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association, 52, 54, 56, 70, 71 Ridgefield Woman’s Club, 71 ROAR, 70, 76 Rotary Clubs, 71 Running, 67 Safe Rides, 63 Salaries, fire department, 49 Salaries, police department, 51 Salaries, teachers, 30 Salvation Army, 38 SAT scores, 27, 28 School calendar, 26, 27 School cancellations, 32 School clubs, 29 School district office, 26 School registration, 30 Schools, art, 34 Schools, dance, 34 Schools, nursery, 33 Schools, private, 33 Schools, public, 26 Scouts, 64 Senate, state, 25 Senate, U.S., 25 Senior center, 61 Senior housing, 56 Senior transportation services, 62 Septic systems, 43 Sewers, 43

august 18, 2011

Reader’s Index
Sports, youth, 64 Street fair, 74 Substance abuse, 58 Supermarkets, 73 Support groups, 58 SweetHART, 55, 62 Swimming, 29, 66 Synagogues, 53 Tax aides, 38 Tax collector, 15 Taxes, property 15, 16 Tennis, 29, 64, 66 Theater company, 68 Thrift store, 38, 74 Town clerk, 21 Town meeting, 21 Town offices, 14 Town planner, 21 Transfer station, 46 Transportation, senior, 62 Travel shots, 54, 56 Treasurer, town, 21, 24 Trees, 22, 45 Unemployment rate, 12 United Way, 70 Vaccines, HPV, 56 Vaccines, meningococcal, 56 Vaccines, shingles, 56 Veterans, 72 Volleyball, 29 Volunteers, 70 Voter enrollment, 18 Voting, 18 Waste, hazardous, 46

ridgefield answerbook • 79

Sewing club, 61, 72 Sidewalk sales, 72, 75 Signs, 45 Singing groups, 69 Skate park, 64, 66 Skating, ice, 66 Snow removal, 45 Soccer, 29, 64 Social services, 24, 46, 49, 55, 58 Softball, 29, 64 Special education, 32 SPHERE, 71 SPIF, 61 Sports, adult, 66 Sports, non-structured, 64 Sports, school, 29

Water, public, 47 Web sites, 79 Weddings, 19 Weir Farm, 6, 69 West Nile virus, 60 Wetlands, 22 Winter Garden, 64, 66 Woodcock Nature Center, 67 Writers’ groups, 61, 71 Wyldlife, 53 Young Life, 53 Zoning Board of Appeals, 23 Zoning enforcement, 22 Zoning laws, 43

Ridgefield Web Sites
ABC Program: ridgefieldabc.org Acoustic Celebration: acousticcelebration.org Adesso Choral Society: adessochoralsociety.com Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum: aldrichart.org American Association of University Women: aauw-ct-ridgefield.org American Legion Post 78, Ridgefield: amlegionpost78.org Back to the Wild Rehabilitation: backtothewildrehab.com Boy Scout Troop 76, based at Jesse Lee: troop76.org Chabad Jewish Center of Ridgefield: chabadridgefield.com CHIRP (Concert Happenings in Ridgefield Parks): chirpct.org Democratic Town Committee: ridgefielddems.org Discovery Center (nature, history, environmental, and youth programs): ridgefielddiscovery.org Downtown Ridgefield: downtownridgefield.com First Church of Christ, Scientist (with a link to the Christian Science Monitor): christiansciencect.org/ridgefield First Congregational Church (with a collection of recent sermons): firstcongregational.com Founders Hall: founders-hall.org Goodwill Industries: goodwillwct.com History of Ridgefield: jackfsanders.tripod.com/history.htm Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials (covers regional issues and offers interesting maps): hvceo.org Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church: jesseleechurch.com Keeler Tavern Museum: keelertavernmuseum.org Knights of Columbus: kofc245.org League of Women Voters of Ridgefield: lwvct.org/ridgefield Marine Corps League Ridgefield Detachment: orgsites.com/ct/ridgefieldctmcl Meals on Wheels: mealcall.org/meals-on-wheels/ct/ridgefield.htm MOMS Club of Ridgefield and Redding: momsclubridgefield.tripod. com National Charity League, Nutmeg Chapter: nclnutmeg.com R-Comm (Ridgefield’s emergency communications group of ham radio operators; local radio information, weather sources, emergency info, etc.): studioone-ct.com/R-Com/ Newcomers Club: ridgefieldnewcomers.org Republican Town Committee: ridgefieldgop.org Ridgebury Congregational Church (with a history of Ridgebury): ridgeburychurch.org Ridgefield Academy: ridgefieldacademy.com Ridgefield Action Committee for the Environment: racefortheearth. com Ridgefield Adult Education: ridgefieldschools.org Ridgefield Arts Council: ridgefieldartscouncil.org Ridgefield Aquatic Club: racswimming.org Ridgefield Babe Ruth Leauge: ridgefieldbaberuth.org Ridgefield Baptist Church: ridgefieldbaptist.org Ridgefield Basketball Association: rbahoops.org Ridgefield Boys & Girls Club: rbgclub.com Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce: ridgefieldchamber.org Ridgefield Chorale: ridgefieldchorale.org Ridgefield Community Center: lounsburyhouse.com Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance: ridgefielddance.org Ridgefield Farmers Market: ridgefieldfarmersmarket.org Ridgefield Golf Club: rgconline.org Ridgefield Guild of Artists: rgoa.org Ridgefield Historical Society: ridgefieldhistoricalsociety.org Ridgefield Lacrosse: ridgefieldlax.com Ridgefield Ladies Golf Association: rlga.net Ridgefield Library: ridgefieldlibrary.org Ridgefield Lions Club: lionwap.org/RidgefieldCT Ridgefield Little League: ridgefieldlittleleague.org Ridgefield Men’s Club: ridgefieldmensclub.org Ridgefield Newcomers Club: ridgefieldnewcomers.org Ridgefield Open Space Association: rosaopenspace.org Ridgefield Parks and Rec: ridgefieldct.org Ridgefield Playhouse: ridgefieldplayhouse.org Ridgefield Press: TheRidgefieldPress.com Ridgefield public schools: ridgefield.org Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra: ridgefieldsymphony.org/ Ridgefield Theater Barn: ridgefieldtheaterbarn.org Ridgefield Tigers: ridgefieldfootball.com Ridgefield Town Government (official site): ridgefieldct.org Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association: ridgefieldvna.org Ridgefield Women’s Softball League: rwsa.net Ridgefield Young Life: ridgefieldct.younglife.org ROAR: roar-ridgefield.org Rotary Club: ridgefieldrotary.org Soccer Club of Ridgefield: scor.org St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church: standrewselca.com St. Elizabeth Seton: stsetonridgefield.com St. Mary’s Church: stmarysridgefield.org St. Mary’s School: smsridgefield.org St. Stephen’s Church: ststephens-ridgefield.org Temple Shearith Israel: tsiridgefield.org Tyler Ugolyn Foundation: tylerugolyn.com Winter Garden Arena: wintergardenarena.com Wolfpit Running Club: wolfpitrunningclub.org Other sites: American Red Cross, Connecticut region: ct.redcross.org Aquarion: aquarion.com Boy Scouts of America Connecticut Yankee Council: ctyankee.org Connecticut General Statutes: cslib.org/statutes/ Connecticut State Government: ct.gov Connecticut General Assembly: cga.ct.gov Family & Children’s Aid: fcaweb.org Girl Scouts of Southwestern Connecticut: gscwct.org Housatonic Valley Tourism: housatonic.org Regional Hospice of Western Connecticut: regionalhospicect.org

80 • ridgefield answerbook

august 18, 2011

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