Saying goodbye to 2017 — The year in review
As another year closes, once again residents are left wondering “where did the time go?”
Though it has only been a year, Trumbull once again had its share of news, some important, others funny, and some sad. Once again the Trumbull Times takes time out to recap the year’s top stories, in no particular order.
New woman in charge
Vicki Tesoro led the way as Democrats turned what had been a solidly red town a decidedly blue-shade of purple on Election Day.
Tesoro beat Republican Paul Lavoie and petition candidate Michael Redgate in a wide-open three-way race made more interesting by the fact that four-term incumbent Timothy Herbst had opted not to run again, citing a desire to focus on his campaign for governor.
Tesoro, who had narrowly lost to Herbst in 2015, garnered 4,718 votes, to Lavoie’s 4,157. Redgate collected 1,518 in a strong showing for an unaffiliated candidate.
In other races, Democrat Anthony Musto defeated John Ponzio in a rematch of their 2015 race for Town Treasurer, also won by Musto. And Republican Suzanne Burr Monaco retained the Town Clerk’s office defeating Mary Markham 5,190 to 4,955.
Down the ballot, Democrats took control of the Town Council for the first time in eight years, turning a 15-6 GOP edge into an 11-10 majority. Republicans held onto their majorities on the Board of Education and Board of Finance.
Schools buck trend
Trumbull’s Catholic schools were left out of a diocesan plan to close a number of schools in the region.
Under the plan, St. Jude of Monroe and St. Joseph elementary of Shelton (not to be confused with St. Joseph High School of Trumbull) were closed due to falling enrollment. Trumbull’s Catholic schools, St. Catherine of Siena and St. Theresa, with 220 and 260 students respectively, retained strong class sizes.
The diocese listed several reasons for the downward trend in Catholic education, including a general decline in religiosity in the country. Bishop Frank Caggiano pledged to help middle class families with tuition, which at about $5,400 per student is a relative bargain, but still a challenge for families, especially those with two or more children in Catholic education.
Baby delivered on Route 25
While racing to Bridgeport hospital, OB/GYN Dr. Ronika Choudhary, received a phone call from a patient that said delivery was imminent.
Both the patient and Choudhary were driving along Route 25 at the time. Beth Cannone, who works for Choudhary said the doctor pulled over along Route 25, just past Route 15 in Trumbull to wait for her patient who was driving the same route. Choudhary spoke with the patient and she was ahead of her on Route 25, she told the patient she would pull over. She heard her [the patient] in the background screaming like she wanted to push, Cannone said.
Once the patient pulled up behind Choudhary, she went over to meet with her patient who was crowning. Choudhary delivered a healthy baby girl at 5:15 p.m..
A string of bear sightings kept Animal Control Officer Lynn Dellabianca busy this year. Dellabianca was unable to locate any of the animals, but even if she had she is not equipped to capture or subdue bears, so the goal of the department was to make residents aware that bears are in the area and to take steps to avoid attracting them.
Bears on the move are typically looking for food, so Dellabianca urges residents not to put out easy meals for them. That can mean not putting out bird feeders and not leaving food out for outdoor pets. Also, bears can be attracted to the smell of rotting food buried in compost piles.
Herbst steps aside
Timothy Herbst had announced his intention to run for governor in January, and it had been rumored around town for months that he would not seek a fifth term as first selectman.
In May, Herbst made it official, declaring that he was “all-in” on the effort to win the governor’s office.
Educator’s legal woes
The arrests and jailing of former Board of Education Chairman Stephen Wright rocked the town when news broke that Wright had been arrested four times for driving under the influence of alcohol in a 12-week span. Wright eventually cut a plea deal and served four months in jail.
Following his release, Wright, a member of the state school board, missed his first scheduled meeting with his probation officer, and state officials found he had given a false address and phone number to probation officers. He was re-arrested in late November and sentenced to an additional seven months jail time.
It was a typical June afternoon when a 69-year-old Trumbull resident drove into Twin Brooks Park for a little relaxation. As he sat in his car, the man was approached by a young man who pulled the door open and pointed a gun at him. A struggle ensued as the would-be victim would not surrender his car.
The suspect soon gave up and fled in another vehicle. He and an accomplice were later arrested in Fairfield after a report of another attempted armed robbery. Police also found a black BB gun in the car.
Fugitive carny arrested
A 58-year-old carnival worker was arrested him on sexual assault charges at the Trumbull Fall Festival location Sept. 7.
According to reports, Trumbull officers were contacted by New York State police, informing them that a carnival worker believed to be in town was wanted on two counts of sexual assault. New York officers described the suspect and said he was an employee at the amusement ride company that was contracted to provide carnival rides and games at the festival.
Officers went to Trumbull High School, where the event was held, shortly before noon on Thursday, the day before the festival opened, and arrested Roy Hillyard, 58, of Henrietta, N.Y.
Trumbull police charged Hillyard with being a fugitive from justice. He was later extradited to New York to face sexual assault charges.
Trumbull takes Manhattan
The Trumbull High School Golden Eagle Marching band is pretty busy under normal circumstances, but this year’s march in New York’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade made the November schedule downright hectic.
When the band’s competition season ended, members immediately went back to work putting together a routine to perform before about 3.5 million people in the annual Christmas season-opening event. In preparation for the day the band performed at Trumbull schools, and in Westfield Trumbull mall. Thanksgiving Day was a 14-hour sprint, with the band boarding buses for the drive to New York, a brief rehearsal in Herald Square, then a bus ride to the parade’s starting location. Following a brief nap on the bus the marchers lined up for the 2.5-mile walk through the city, back to Macy’s and then back onto buses for the ride back to Trumbull. The band was one of only a dozen to participate in parade out of the hundreds that applied.
Shots fired on Halloween
A Trumbull homeowner may have fired a gun near some Bridgeport youths about 9 p.m. on Halloween, according to police.
Officers responding to a report of shots fired near Leffert Road found a group of youths running toward Unity Road. The youths told police someone was shooting a gun on Foster Avenue. Officers later found several empty handgun casings near the intersection of Leffert Road and Foster Avenue, in the Nichols section of town.
Police interviewed witnesses and residents, and believe there was a dispute between the youths and a resident, who fired a gun to scare the youths, who may have been tampering with several parked vehicles in the area.
DUI suspect wanted a ride
A Trumbull man allegedly mistook a police officer for a Uber driver immediately prior to getting arrested on DUI charges early on New Year’s Day.
According to reports, an October Lane homeowner called police shortly after 1 a.m. to report that an intoxicated man was trying to enter his home. While police were en route, a second caller reported that a pickup truck crashed into a tree at the end of a driveway on the same street.
Upon arriving at the scene, police identified the suspect standing near the road. When an officer approached, the suspect allegedly asked if he was his Uber driver.
Police noted the man’s slurred speech and asked how much alcohol he had consumed that night, to which he replied, “New Year’s Eve,” police said.