Monday, June 25, 2012

Mayor's Reading Challenge Kicks Off.

It's that time of year again, our annual reading challenge kicked off today at the Danbury Public Library.

Reading is critical to academic success and the Mayor's Reading Challenge is one way that we can encourage children to read during the long summer months.

The reading challenge requires children in grades 1-5 to read for at least 1 hour a week for 7 weeks, and those in grades 6-8 are required to read for at least 2 hours a week.

Each week challenge readers check in with our teen council members at the Library and record their time. At the conclusion of the 7 weeks the winners receive an invitation to attend a special awards ceremony.

Summer is a great time to read a book, so get busy Danbury readers!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Can You Give A Danbury Child a Hand?

On Tuesday June 19th I will be participating in a fundraiser to help a terrific organization in Danbury. The Samaritan Health Clinic in Danbury is a 501c3 Pediatric Clinic that meets primary care needs of over 1,000 kids in the Greater Danbury Area.

I have agreed to help raise money to fund an additional care specialists for ongoing or chronic needs kids.  The position will provide services above and beyond what the general practioner can provide.

So, here's where you can help. On Tuesday I will attempt to play 100 holes of golf. I am asking that you consider sponsoring me on a per hole basis to raise money for the clinic.

Once the event is over, I will email you a link and report to you how many holes I was able to play.

Then you just make your donation - it's as simple as that.

You could sponsor  a hole at any level from 25 cents and beyond and of course your donation is 100% tax deductable.

So waddaya say? Can you find it in your heart to help some Danbury kids? Just email me at to let me know that your all in for Danbury's children.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Entertainment License Good For Danbury's Downtown.

At the last Main Street Partnership meeting, the City of Danbury presented the concept of an Entertainment License that would be implemented for the Central Business District (CBD) in Danbury.

"Entertainment" has been somewhat of a controversial issue in the downtown. In 2003, in response to activity that was impacting the ability of local restaurants to do business in the Dining and Entertainment District, the City Center Board asked that Danbury review it's regulations and amend them to curtail underage parties and 18 to party 21 to drink events and the related conduct (binge drinking, fights, etc) that was proliferating the district.

In response, the City adopted the "60-40" rule and a host of other initiatives that would limit the kind of activity that the City Center Board was concerned with.

Clubs in existence at the time of the adoption of the new regulations were grandfathered as a pre-existing and anyone who wished to open a new club would have to comply with the new regulations.

After trial and error, it has been determined that while the regulations cut down on the activity that was problematic, it also applied a one size fits all standard to prospective night club owners that stifled investment and business development in the Dining and Entertainment District.

With the adoption in our code of ordinances of the licensing procedure, city staff can make a determination of the efficacy of a business proposal, hold club owners accountable for their conduct, and eliminate cost prohibitive requirements like the "60 - 40" rule (a requirement that says any night club must have 60% of their floor space dedicated to food service, and only 40% can be dedicated to alcohol sales).

We modeled our proposed ordinance after cities and towns with vibrant night lives (San Francisco and Burlington VT respectfully) in an effort to provide both flexibility and control over activities.

Some examples:

  • Underage events can be held, but patrons must be separated from alcohol by a physical barrier.
  • 18 to party 21 to drink events are out.
  • Music must be contained within the establishment - no more music blasting it into the street.
  • Specific hours of operation must be followed - hours generally follow state statutes, but it is part of the entertainment license.
  • Security must be provided outside the establishment to ensure patrons do not disrupt other businesses or the neighborhood once they leave the premises.
  • Areas around the premises must be cleaned of litter on a daily basis.

These are just a few of the requirements to obtain an entertainment license. If the club owners agrees to these regulations, we will issue a license and the club owner will not have to comply with the more onerous restaurant regulations. The license will be good for 3 years.

With the old Mannequins on White Street is being renovated and looking for a fall opening, the new license procedure should help spur additional investment in the district without the burden of our current regulations.

We will continue to evaluate our regulations as we look to find the "sweet spot" for prospective club owners in the Dining and Entertainment District.