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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

07/16/08 FBI Press Release - Betterridge Jewelry Robbery Of February 14th

July 16, 2008
Press Release





Nora R. Dannehy, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that ERIC ORTIZ, 36, of Bridgeport, was sentenced today by Senior United States District Judge Ellen Bree Burns in New Haven to 72 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for his assistance in the robbery of a Greenwich jewelry store. On February 14, 2008, ORTIZ pleaded guilty to one count of committing Hobbs Act robbery.

According to documents filed with the Court and statements made in court, on September 1, 2006, ORTIZ aided and abetted the armed robbery of Betteridge Jewelers in Greenwich. In an effort to facilitate the success of the planned robbery of Betteridge Jewelers, he and his brother, Ernesto Ortiz, created a diversion on Greenwich Avenue by lighting fire to an automobile they had driven to a location just south of Betteridge Jewelers. After lighting fire to the vehicle, the ORTIZ brothers fled the scene in another vehicle.

At about the same time, Charles Kertesz entered Betteridge Jewelers wearing a motorcycle helmet and brandishing a firearm and proceeded to rob the store at gunpoint, taking approximately $4.7 million worth of jewelry. Kertesz fled the store with the jewelry in a backpack and mounted a stolen motorcycle to escape. In the course of fleeing the scene, Kertesz dropped the backpack containing the stolen jewelry.

ORTIZ has been in custody since his arrest on April 25, 2007.

On June 17, Judge Burns sentenced Kertesz to 258 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for committing this armed robbery and the armed robberies of three other jewelry stores in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and for violating the conditions of his supervised release following a prior federal conviction.

Ernesto Ortiz has pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing.

This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation - New Haven Violent Crimes Safe Streets Task Force, and the members of local law enforcement agencies including the Greenwich, South Windsor, Glastonbury, Bridgeport, Ansonia, Shelton and Natick (MA) Police Departments.

This case is being prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant United States Attorney Anthony Kaplan and Assistant United States Attorney Paul Murphy.

FBI Home Page

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07/16/08 Tour of Greenwich, CT.

07/16/08 PRESS RELEASE: Himes Tops $2 Million

Jim Himes for Congress

July 16, 2008
Contact: Michael Sachse, 646 265-0556, Michael@HimesforCongress.com

Democratic Candidate raises $678,000 since April 23rd, 68% of contributions are $100 or less

BRIDGEPORT, CT - Jim Himes, Democratic candidate for Congress in Connecticut's Fourth Congressional District, made the following comments today regarding the fundraising totals in his July 2008 Quarterly FEC report:

"Voters are clearly ready for real change in Washington this year, and for a Congressman who understands the challenges they are facing," said Himes. "Every single day, I hear more and more concerns from families here about the economy, gas prices, energy, healthcare, and education. These are issues that are severely impacting us all, and which demand real leadership now - leadership we should have seen from Washington long ago. As Congressman, I will stand up for families in our district every day."

"Our success this past quarter with small-dollar donors shows that Jim's message of standing up for middle class opportunity is truly resonating," said Maura Keaney, Himes' campaign manager. "Over two-thirds of our contributions this quarter were in amounts of $100 or less. Small-dollar donors are buying in to this campaign in skyrocketing numbers because they know Jim will stand up for middle class families and for an end to the failed Bush-Shays economic policies. So many voters who are just now learning about Jim are enthusiastically joining our effort because they see that he will lead on the huge challenges facing middle class families in our district."

Related Details:

- Himes raised $678,718 in the period covered by the July quarterly report, April 23rd - June 30th, for a total of over $2 million raised this cycle.
- Added to the Pre-Convention Report, which covered the period from April 1st - April 22nd, Himes raised a total of $698,445 in the second quarter of 2008.
- Demonstrating continued strong grassroots and online support, 68% of contributions in the 2nd quarter were $100 or less.
- Despite a bold strategic decision to start advertising on television in June, the Himes campaign still had $1,444,354 cash on hand as of June 30th.


Paid for by Jim Himes for Congress

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07/16/08 Justin Currytto: "The police can't pick sides but if they could, they'd be on our side."

County Fair: Field Reports

Fairfield Weekly

You've probably heard about the Whiffle Ball field by now.

Reporters from News 12, the three Greenwich newspapers, CBS News, the Associated Press and the New York Times have trudged through the neck of Riverside where a dozen teens cleared out brush in a town-owned drainage ditch, erected a plywood replica of Fenway Park's Green Monster and adorned it with American flags and Taco Bell ads.

Their goal? Play Whiffle Ball. Some neighbors' reaction? Hire a lawyer to remove them.

A steady stream of town officials (with 230 people in Greenwich's Representative Town Meeting, there are a lot of them) have visited the field, and it's attracted more passersby than a David Blaine hunger stunt. The teens say Massachusetts minor league team the Brockton Rox and marketing execs from Taco Bell itself have voiced their support.

"Pretend that the president was just here," Justin Currytto, 16, the unofficial leader of the group, whispered to us during an interview mid-last week, trying to trick a red-headed kid returning to the field.

On any given weekday, Currytto said, a dozen teenagers are around; on weekends, it's 40 or so. "Sometimes baseball players from the 1900s come out of the fence," Jeff Currivan, 17, joked.

When neighbors started telling them to get lost and taking their pictures for some presumed court case, Currytto went to the town government. "The police can't pick sides but if they could, they'd be on our side," he said. Indeed, one officer stopped by, not to relay any complaints, but to get the latest on the fate of the field.

A worried neighbor, who wouldn't give his name for fear of retribution (presumably in the form of being repeatedly tapped by yellow plastic bats) said, "We all love Whiffle Ball. I remember games with my brothers but the issue here is that private citizens cannot take public land and put it to their own uses. It sets a dangerous precedent. It's the first step towards chaos."

RTM member Dodie McCollem drove by and said, "I think this is the greatest thing kids can do... Would the neighbors rather see them in downtown Greenwich looking for drugs?" Another woman stopped and scoffed at the field, saying one of the teens in the group had broken into her house but she wouldn't identify the supposed perpetrator or herself.

When we returned on the weekend, the crowd (some drawn by the media attention) had grown with girls, pre-teens and kids from outside of Riverside added to the mix.

"There are other fields but I like this one because you can hit the ball over a wall," said tot Griffin Golden whose pro-field father drove him in from Old Greenwich.

And the neighborhood seemed media-ed out. "Neighbors are keeping to themselves," said Currytto. Buzz about the field was lodged into their Greenwich Time boxes daily and, when approached, residents seemed tepid to talk to another reporter. (You move to Greenwich to get away from the omnipresent media buzz of New York City, right?) "I think it's been played out," said Brendan Cullins, whose house is next to the field. "Most people on this block are fine with it; it's just a handful of people who are complaining."

A woman—later identified to us as Liz Pate, who told Greenwich Time "she has felt like a prisoner on her own property" because of the field—raised her hand and murmured, "please" when we approached her.

The end decision may rest with Greenwich first selectman Peter Tesei, who was also there on Saturday, meeting with the kids and generally "lowering the emotions; the tensions have mushroomed out of control." He says no one has legally threatened the town, that the wall presents a liability and the most likely compromises are the field staying but the wall going or the kids moving to a new locale. He hopes to reason with the angrier neighbors. "The one thing I have zero tolerance for is a lack of civility. Reasonable people can work out a compromise."

As for the media coverage? "It's sad that whenever the media focuses on Greenwich, Connecticut, they always treat it as a snobby, upper-class place" said Tesei, a fifth-generation Greenwich citizen.

Fair enough, but we will point out we talked to more than one maid or housekeeper when we knocked on doors.

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07/16/08 Jean-Louis Gerin talks about using melted candy

You Asked For It

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Q. What can I do with chocolate truffles that have melted? I have about 2 pounds of them. Can I bake with it? I tried to use it as icing on a cake. I melted it down in the microwave oven, put it on a cooled down cake. When I cut a piece, it separated from the cake. It was candy again. What can I do with this other than just eating it, which I don't want to do?

— Shirley Shmilowitz,


A. A call to our dear friend Jean-Louis Gerin, maitre cuisinier de France and owner of Restaurant Jean-Louis located in Greenwich, Conn., and we had an answer for Shmilowitz.

According to Jean-Louis, the first problem comes from keeping the truffles too long. They should be eaten or used within 3 weeks or at the very most a month. Truffles lose fat content the longer they are kept.

To reconstitute those fat-deprived truffles, Jean-Louis suggests adding oil back into the basic melted candy. He mentions heavy cream, butter, oil, vegetable shortening or even a combination of heavy cream and one of the fats. (The exact amount of the fat cannot be given, but begin with small amounts.)

Make sure you use a heavy saucepan and low heat and never let the mixture boil. After everything has melted together, let the mixture cool slightly, then use a food processor fitted with the metal blade or a stand mixer with the whisk attachment to process or beat the mixture well.

Pour the mixture into paper-lined mini muffin cups to emulate the original small truffles. Or you can try using your reconditioned truffles experimentally, such as in a frosting.

Please send your comments to GreenwichRoundup@gmail.com

07/16/08 Chris chris Fountain Opines On Trees

Once again, according to Greenwich Time, our town officials, including a so-called Republican, Peter Crumbine, are nosing around a proposal to regulate the cutting of trees on private property.

"Republican Selectman Peter Crumbine asked Tree Warden Bruce Spaman if he could consider adopting a similar ordinance curbing the removal of trees on private property.

"There is a lot of interest in the community and concern about a great deal of clear cutting in town," Crumbine said. "Are you considering what you can or can't do about that?"

Spaman said while the town doesn't currently regulate the removal of trees on private property, some towns have adopted restrictions limiting removal of trees on private land successfully.

"I expect that to be the other shoe to drop," Spaman said.

Look - I like trees, and even have a few of them on my own property, providing shade, a home for squirrels and all sorts of ecologically-friendly benefits. But the typical Greenwich homestead is cluttered with the things, and, here's a shock, they're all second (or third or fourth) growth. No one ever built a stonewall in a forest, so when you trip over one when hiking, be assured that you're traipsing through a former pasture.

Similarly, Fort Stamford,on Den Road, was sited where it was so that Revolution-era soldiers could keep an eye on British traffic on Long Island Sound. It was a clear sweep of farmland from the top of the hill to the water, a distance of, what, 8 miles? Try spotting even a glimpse of water from that vantage point today and you'll fail.

Mature, well-sited trees add value to a house, but a clutter of scraggly celulose that preempts a yard does nothing but detract from that value. Who is to decide between preservation and removal? Mr. Crumbine and his supporters want to hand off that right to yet another commission. I think that Greenwich homeowners should fight to reserve the decision to themselves.

More From What It's Worth:

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07/16/08 Greenwich Time News Links

Police group strikes up Wiffle ball discussion
The head of a community policing group wants to create a pocket park on the municipal lot in Riverside where a group of teens - without the town's permission and with some neighborhood opposition - built a miniature Fenway Park for Wiffle ball....

Hot, humid weather settles over Greenwich
A four-day stretch of scorching 90 degree plus weather will settle over Greenwich and the local area starting today and lasting until at least Sunday....

Increase in rent forces Frame King to close
For Mary Kennedy, 60, the hardest part about going out of business is saying goodbye to the customers

Before heading down to the All-Star Game yesterday, Willie Upshaw, former Toronto Blue Jays first baseman, got in a round of golf for charity...

Historic Commission reviews Armory plans
The Historic District Commission is examining a developer's request to demolish part of the Mason Street armory to build townhouses, down to the type of bricks used in building's facade.

Hiring a transportation manager to tackle traffic congestion issues and develop more transit options is one way to staunch the impact of more building and development, the head of the town planning commission said yesterday.

Residents, Whitby fight over school expansion
Colin Gustafson Staff Writer A half-dozen residents clashed with Whitby School officials last night at Town Hall over the private school's plans to expand its gymnasium, classrooms and parking capacity.

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