Federal Judge Issues Warning While Giving Town, Firefighter Until Thursday To Settle Lawsuit

The town couldn’t meet an April 12 deadline to settle a firefighter’s lawsuit claiming that municipal officials for years failed to address abuse by a superior in the department, court documents show. In requesting a third extension on behalf of both parties that day, an attorney for the firefighter noted that “[t]he plaintiff has signed off and delivered all documents necessary to resolve the matter, but the Town’s attorney advised plaintiff’s counsel this afternoon that it cannot sign off, complete its process and deliver its final documents until April 21, 2021.”

“The parties do not anticipate that there will be any further extensions requested,” Shelton-based attorney Michael Lynch of Lynch Law Group LLC said in a joint motion filed in U.S. District Court. Though Judge Sarah A. L. Merriam agreed to extend the deadline for restoring the lawsuit to the docket to April 22, she wrote in her order, “The Court notes that the motion does not comply with Local Rule 7, which requires that any motion for extension of time be filed at least three business days in advance of the deadline.”

“The Court cautions counsel against assuming that the Court will generally be either able or willing to act on motions on such short notice in the future,” she said in the order. Filed in April against the town, the suit seeks damages on behalf of John Aniello, a 42-year-old white male hired as a full-time firefighter in 2006, according to a nine-count complaint. It claims that a captain in the New Canaan Fire Department over the course of nearly one dozen years made overtly racist and homomisic comments to the firefighter, while singling him out through criticisms, quashing his bids for promotion and hampering his ability to earn wages through overtime. 

Aniello’s employment with the town ended Jan.

May Fair 2021 Canceled Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

May Fair has been canceled this year due to the pandemic, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church officials said. Though the town has made “outstanding progress” on vaccinating residents and the state is permitting fairs to operate at 50% capacity, “we carefully discerned that it is still too early to attempt such a large, multi-faceted gathering,” according to a letter published by St. Mark’s Senior Warden Stan Twardy, Junior Warden Mark Thorsheim and event Chairman George Wright. “We believe that the joyful spirit of May Fair is rooted in the joyful Spirit of God,” the letter said.

Did You Hear … ?

Two more buildings at The Vue—the apartment and condo complex formerly known as Merritt Village—are on track to get their Certificates of Occupancy in the first week of June, according to a March activity report that the fire marshal presented Tuesday to the Fire Commission. Buildings C and D are located at 160 and 180 Park Street, respectively, according to Fire Marshal Paul Payne’s report. ***

A 2021 Range Rover, its keys left inside the vehicle, was reported stolen from a Jelliff Mill Road driveway at 10:12 a.m. Wednesday, according to New Canaan Police. The SUV last was seen parked there at about 10 p.m. the night before, Chief Leon Krolikowski said in a press release, and had not been recovered as of Wednesday afternoon. ***

The daffodils are blooming at Irwin Park, visited April 9 by Weed Street resident Duke Radman.

Quiet Heroes of New Canaan: Lally Jurcik

In walking her dog in the area of Frogtown Road and the Noroton River, Robin Bates-Mason has gotten a firsthand look at how quickly trash can build up along the roadside and in the waterway itself. People driving along Frogtown, a heavily used east-west connection between Ponus Ridge and Weed Street, often don’t realize how much garbage there is because they’re moving too fast. “And of course, when summer comes in and the vegetation comes in, you don’t see it as well, but when you’re a dog walker and you see it, Frogtown just awful, it’s really bad,” Bates-Mason said. “Unfortunately  it’s not the safest route to clean up.”

Even so, as she did a few years ago, Llewellyn Drive resident Lally Jurcik took the lead last week in organizing a neighborhood campaign to get families out and cleaning up, said Bates-Mason, one of several residents of the area who received an email with details. Armed with garbage bags and loaned “grabbers” supplied by New Canaan Inlands Wetlands Director Kathleen Holland—an advocate fo the town’s annual “Clean Your Mile” campaign, more below—Jurcik helped organize more than one dozen volunteers who picked up everything from coffee cups, plastic bottles and plastic bags to discarded dog poop bags and beer cans.

Pine Street Food Providers Sue Landlord for Breach of Lease

A company representing two concessioners at a Pine Street food court on Friday sued the property’s owner for breach of lease. According to the lawsuit filed on behalf of D&M Mirafiore LLC—a company whose principals include the owners of Dante’s Pizza and Miyuki at Pine Street Concessions—the owner of 75 Pine St. failed to give them first right of refusal to use additional space at the property, required by a 2016 lease agreement. 

“D&M has recently learned that Landlord has leased space at Premises to a third party without offering D&M the same terms and conditions offered to the third party,” according to the complaint, filed in state Superior Court by Westport-based attorney Richard Pate. 

“In fact, Landlord continues to refuse to disclose the same notwithstanding D&M’s numerous requests,” according to the complaint. “Such information would permit D&M to determine whether it would even have accepted the terms and conditions and therefore make this action possibly unnecessary.”

The’ businesses owned by husband-and-wife duo Dante and Miyuki Mirafiore were two of the three tenant food providers that opened in Pine Street Concessions with its launch four summers ago. The property’s owner, Grove Street-based New Canaan Lumber Company, is listed as defendant. 

D&M has suffered monetary damages, according to the complaint. 

The lawsuit also cites the landlord for violating state law relating to trade practices and breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing.