The Week in Brief: “Danbury 11” Settlement, Flooding, Sherman Alexie & Video Game Rock

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by Joshua L. Durkin

Photos by Carol Kaliff / The News-Times, Mandee Potter, Rob Casey

It’s been an eventful and waterlogged week.  Governor Dannel Malloy visited flood-damaged New Milford, the hot immigration case of “The Danbury 11” reached a pricey settlement and the Mega Man rock opera by The Protomen returned to Heirloom Arts Theatre.  Also, a few big names are coming to WestConn in the coming weeks.

by Joshua L. Durkin



The heavy rains forecasted for the end of the week were bad reminders of the heavy rain that fell last Sunday and caused floods, washouts, and yet unknown amounts of damage. However, not as much as was feared ended up raining last night.

Some of the damage from the flooding and rains last weekend will take a long time to repair.

Carol Kaliff / The News-TimesIn New Milford, a 900 square foot sinkhole took out Chinmoy Lane and stranded many families. The sinkhole was visited by Governor Malloy, who toured other flood areas in New Milford, including Route 7 by the Cookhouse, and pledged to Mayor Pat Murphy that the state would help out the town.

The businesses were flooded out from the Cookhouse on Route 7 to Big Y down the street. The Big Y parking lot and business opened again on Wednesday, with the parking lot full of mud, and debris.

Along Route 133 in Bridgewater and visible from the bridge over Lake Lillinonah, mud flows, debris, and a boat dock were visible out on the lake in what appeared to be an island of rubbish.

In equally important news, on March 8, the News Times reported that the Danbury 11 case will be settled in a $400,000 civil rights lawsuit that stems from an incident in September 2006, during which 11 day laborers were arrested and handed over to Federal ICE officials. The civil rights lawsuit claimed the action was racially motivated.

On March 10,  Fox News reported that the settlement reached $650,000. The full settlement includes $250,000 from the Federal government, which explains the discrepancy.

Al Robinson of the Hat City Blog raised the point that five-term Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton appeared to have lied initially about the case, saying that the Danbury Police Department had nothing to do with the arrests, which is not true.

As part of the settlement, the city of Danbury admits no wrongdoing.

In other news, Illinois ends the death penalty in their state, which is significant to look at from a Connecticutter point of view – the death penalty could very well be abolished in our state this year as well. Dannel Malloy indicated in a Courant interview, and numerous times while campaigning, that he would sign legislation to abolish the death penalty in Connecticut if it reaches his desk.

Illinois is the 16th state to abolish the death penalty, according to an AP article printed in the Guardian. Democratic Governor Pat Quinn said he took two months to deliberate over whether to abolish the death penalty or not, but decided that “If the system can’t be guaranteed, 100% error-free, then we shouldn’t have the system,” according to the AP article.

This spring at Western Connecticut State University, Sister Helen Prejean, renowned author of Dead Man Walking, will visit and discuss capitol punishment on April 14.

On Thursday, New York State Republican Representative Peter King has made his own murky hurricane of public supportThe Protomen at Heirloom Arts Theatre. and public disgust after pressing to hold congressional inquisition hearings regarding the supposed radicalization, as King sees it, of Muslim Americans.

Rep. Peter King, who some consider to be a xenophobic bigot, has been criticized for progressing hatred towards the entire Muslim population in America.

The problem with this kind of diatribe towards a large group of Americans is that the same hatemongering has happened many times before. It seems to make sense in the short reaction time, but doesn’t make sense when you take time to consider what it would mean to replace the word “Muslim” with “Irish”, “Jewish”, “Black” or” African-American”.

King will make a splash, as anyone who proposes such a fundamentally ignorant point of view would, but he’ll have to learn from history when he finds fewer people holding the door for him, and more people glancing at him and looking away out of shame.

In much better news, The Protomen rocked Danbury once again on Wednesday night. The Protomen’s K.I.L.R.O.Y., who plays steel hammer and what looked like an enormous steel pipe, bestowed upon the audience a new name: Connecticutioners.

The famous Mega Man rock opera from Nashville, Tennessee, has played several times at the Heirloom Arts Theatre over the last three years.

Raul Panther, vocals and silver keytar, wrote in an e-mail interview with Joy Stick Division of their decision to form their band: “At the time, we noticed a void in rock and roll. A hole that could only really be filled with grown men and women painting up like robots and playing some fierce and furious rock music based on a 1980s video game.” Which is exactly what you get from their show.

Sherman Alexie.  Photo by Rob CaseyOn March 14 in the Ives Concert Hall at 181 White Street, WestConn will host author Sherman Alexie. Alexie wrote “War Dances”, which won the 2010 Pen/Faulkner Award for Fiction. The award was founded in 1981 and, according to the website,

And to keep Connecticut in national news, freshman Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal joined with three other Democratic Senators, reported Tom Cleary in a Hearst Media Group blog, to warn Facebook not to release addresses and phone numbers of Facebook users to application developers.

Senators Charles Schumer, Al Franken, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Blumenthal urged Mark Zuckerberg to reconsider the plan to “allow application developers to request and obtain Facebook users’ mobile phone numbers and home addresses….”

The letter goes on to state: “Anyone with ten minutes, $25, and a Facebook user’s phone number and address and no other information [their italics] can obtain a breathtaking amount of information about that Facebook user – and that Facebook user’s family, friends, neighbors, and landlord. Combined with a targeted Google search, these two pieces of information can allow someone to obtain almost all of the information necessary to complete a loan or credit card application. It is hard to contemplate all of the different ways in which this information could be abused.”


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