Roses & Thorns
Roses to the town of Bridgewater and its former longtime first selectman, Bill Stuart, on word from the FBI that its two-year investigation of the town is over and no charges will be filed against anyone in connection with the matter.
The FBI has never revealed why it hauled away numerous boxes of town documents in 2012, nor has it ever identified the focus of the probe. However, local speculation has been that Stuart was the target of the investigation, likely with regard to local allegations regarding his handling of appropriations from Bridgewater's Burnham Fund, a town-run charitable trust.
And, as new First Selectman Curtis Read has said, a "black cloud" has hung over the town and Stuart for many months. Stuart has steadfastly denied any wrongdoing; he was cleared by the state attorney general's office, and now the FBI has absolved him.
In light of the FBI's determination, the town of Bridgewater can put this matter behind it, and Stuart can move on in retirement with his reputation and legacy intact as an outstanding first selectman who served his community well for three decades.
Thorns to all the motorists who continue to drive while distracted and make the roads and highways dangerous places to be. All forms of distracted driving are perilous -- from reading, eating and changing clothes to talking on the cellphone and texting while driving.
Distracted driving kills 3,000 Americans annually and, in nearly every instance, the fatal crash was avoidable. By far the most hazardous -- and deadly -- form of distracted driving is the use of the cellphone, either for calling or texting. We applaud the state of Connecticut for enacting tougher distracted driving laws last year, and we extend roses to the area communities that have taken part over the past few months in a crackdown on distracted driving.
We strongly urge each and every driver to refrain from all the distractions that can make his or her vehicle a deadly missile -- and especially the use of the cellphone. We encourage family members, friends and passengers to discourage distracted driving, and we call on state and local police to strictly enforce distracted driving laws.
Life is too precious to be lost to careless, senseless driving behavior.
Roses to the Northville Baptist Church in New Milford on the celebration of its 200th anniversary this year.
From the church's founding in 1814, the congregation has held services in a few locations in the Northville district of New Milford, most notably for 169 years in its historic meetinghouse along Route 202 (Litchfield Road). A new church was built close by on Little Bear Hill Road in Northville in 1994, four years before the Rev. Matt Yukon arrived in town to assume leadership of Northville Baptist.
The church prides itself on its small, close-knit, family-oriented congregation and on its strong support of the New Milford Food Bank and outreach work with Butterbrook Hill Apartments, a senior living community in New Milford.
We wish Yukon and his congregation well as they embark on their third century as an active, caring community church.