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STANFORDVILLE — Stanford Community Day will again provide an opportunity for revelers to pick a favorite pair and cheer them to victory in what has become the traditional Push Cart Derby, organized by Helen Hamada and her husband, Kardsh Onnig of the Barraka Center for 3D Experimentation.

They began the event three years ago because, according to Hamada, “post election there was such a divide in this country that we thought, ‘Why don’t we try to do something in the community?’ Something that will be fun and bring everyone together — and it doesn...

Regional News

If you say it’s a recreational fire, you’d better be roasting marshmallows ...

karenb@lakevillejournal.com

The call that came in to 911 on a Friday evening was logged as a brush fire. But police and firefighters arrived to find a backyard gathering and a disgruntled neighbor.
The fire was deemed recreational, not out-of-control and not illegal.
The neighbor, one of many close by in the relatively dense neighborhood, said the frequent backyard fires fill his home with smoke odors. He fears the fires are large enough to ignite the tree canopy.

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Area cyclists offer theories on spills in Tour de France

asherp@lakevillejournal.com

The 98th running of the Tour de France bicycle race, which began on July 2 and ends on July 24, has had more than its fair share of accidents. All prior years of this worldwide classic had racer accidents, but the 2011 edition seems plagued by many more. The Tour covers 3,430.5 kilometers (2,131.6 miles) throughout much of France. Each leg of the race is called a “stage.”

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State employee layoffs cut into union budgets

HARTFORD — The 6,500 layoffs proposed by Gov. Dannel Malloy to balance the state budget — in addition to their impact on state government — will cut into the budgets of the unions that represent state employees.
The State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition and its member unions recently failed to pass a tentative agreement with Malloy, which led him to propose the layoffs.
Under the tentative agreement, state employees would have faced a wage freeze, which for some unions would have slowed the growth of their income.

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Shhh. Who said this money is to protect bog turtles?

cynthiah@lakevillejournal.com

A $25,000 grant from General Electric to the Nature Conservancy will help protect some of the Tri-state region’s wetlands and fens, which are home to a host of rare plants and animals.
The grant was awarded June 8 and comes from the General Electric Foundation.

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Nature Watch

What's the latest buzz?

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Former FOI head: Smaller agency will struggle with open government

winstedjournal@sbcglobal.net

After lobbying against changes that would reduce the power of the state’s Freedom of Information Commission (FOIC), the commission’s former executive director, Mitchell Pearlman, said this week that the state of open government in Connecticut remains “one big mess” for the foreseeable future.
Under Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s 2011-12 budget, which remains in executive-legislative limbo, the Freedom of Information Commission has been reduced in size and combined with eight other agencies to form a new Office of Governmental Accountability (OGA).

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I scream! You scream! We all scream!

shawi@winstedjournal.com

RIVERTON — Yes, ice cream is now available at the Riverton General Store. The store offers 19 flavors of Beck’s Ice Cream.
Store owner Leslie DiMartino said Beck’s Ice Cream had previously been offered at another local store for more than 20 years. Flavors include mud, swamp, buck tracks, toasted almond and chocolate chip cookie dough.
The store is located at 2 Main St. and is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, call 860-379-0811

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Fee increases at DMV will help budget

Along with a host of new taxes and other laws, changes at the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) went into effect Friday, July 1. Many fees were increased, and the Legislature passed several new laws aimed at streamlining services and making the DMV more efficient.
Most of the fees are going up only a few dollars. The fee to obtain a six-year drivers’ license was raised from $66 to $72 and a new penalty fee of $25 was added for failing to renew a drivers’ license or a commercial drivers’ license. The fee for a two-year registration of a passenger vehicle rose from $75 to $80.

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Good tunes and times in Riverton

shawi@winstedjournal.com

RIVERTON — Music was in the air during the first Riverton Music Festival, held on Saturday, July 2.
The outdoor music festival last from late morning all the way into the night on the town Green. More than 100 people gathered to enjoy folk, rock and big band swing.
Performers included Valley Swing Shift, The Girls of Mad River Crossing, The Al Fenton Big Band, The Rivertones and Vinyl Vortex.
Carl Gallmeyer, organizer of the festival, said a lot of people and businesses were involved in the organization of the event.

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Natural gas: boom, disaster or both?

Part one: A super field unfolds

NEW YORK STATE — Across the Hudson River, a 21st-century gold rush is on.
The mineral this time is natural gas and the players are some of the biggest names in the oil-and-gas industry, Exxon/Mobile and Chesapeake Energy among them. It’s locked a mile down in Devonian Shale, deposited 400 millions years ago as mud and plankton when the Appalachian basin was a sea and aged since to high-Btu-content fuel.

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