3LAU to Drop the Beat at Tuxedo Junction in February


Eric LaRocca

Staff Writer

Listen up, music lovers! Local fans of EDM can rejoice as one of the most invigorating artists currently operating on the electronic dance music landscape, 3LAU, is scheduled to perform at Tuxedo Junction on Sat, Feb. 27.

3LAU is bringing his “Charged Up” music spectacle to the local venue with supporting guests, Randy Boyer and Narga. According to the venue’s website, “Charged up combines some of the most advanced production and sound design with thrilling performance art and world renowned music artists. This event series aims to echo the importance of creativity, concept, and a great crowd. We believe the crowd is as important as the headlining act.” (http://www.thetuxedojunction.com/event/3lau_danbury/#sthash.CBZymSpa.dpuf)

3LAU is no stranger to the celebrated Danbury music venue. He performed there last in 2014 to a sold-out crowd.

For those unfamiliar with 3LAU, he’s a producer responsible for some of the most infectious beats on the progressive house and electronic dance music scene. His most recent collaboration with up-and-coming singer Bright Lights, “Runway,” is a dark and brooding electronic confection with a sumptuous hook that has “ear worm” written all over it.

A seasoned performer, 3LAU has appeared at some of the biggest electronic dance festivals across the world. Most notably, Electric Zoo and EDC Vegas.

Tickets are now on sale! Early bird tickets are $25. General admission is $30 – $35. Go to thetuxedojunction.com to get your tickets before they’re sold out.

Half-court shot nets WCSU student $5,000

By Shiny S. Patel

General Section Editor

DANBURY, CONN. — William Alfiere of Beacon Falls, senior at Western Connecticut State University, received the best gift any college student could ask for; $5000 towards his college tuition. Wednesday night, Alfiere had his ticket number called during a Colonials basketball game and had the chance to attempt a half-court shot in order to win the money and succeeded.

Alfiere is a Dean’s List student who studies justice and law administration. Though he was the senior captain of his high school basketball team, he does not play for WCSU.

“I was at the game and decided to enter the contest and take a shot at the $5,000,” he said. “It sounded fun. When my ticket number was called, I was very excited, thinking ‘wow.’”

Alfiere stood at half court and as he was handed the ball, the WCSU cheerleading squad lined both sides of the free throw area to foster excitement and anticipation.

The adrenaline must have coursed through his body when he had the eyes of everyone in the arena on him. “You feel people watching you,” he said. “I haven’t been in the spotlight on the court like that for a while.”

The Feldman Arena at the O’Neill Center burst into cheers when the ball went straight through the net. According to Alfiere, that feeling was slightly shocking but it must have felt incredible.

“I didn’t expect to make it,” he said. “You throw a shot up like that every now and then for fun, but you never expect it to go in. Even Steph Curry would probably only make it one out of every 10 times, and he’s the best shooter, you know? But as soon as I shot it, I knew it was going to go in. It’s one of those feelings you have as a basketball player.”

When Alfiere shared his good news with his family, they did not believe him at first due to the simple fact that a half-court shot is so unrealistic to go in.

“I sent a family group text to my parents and my brother and sister telling them what I had just done, and none of them believed me,” Alfiere said. “Nothing like that ever happens to our family. We don’t have luck like that.”

A few peers had recorded the shot and even that did not convince his unconvinced family until the reality of the momentous occasion eventually hit.

“I’m really thankful for the opportunity to take the shot,” Alfiere said. “It was a cool thing.”

The half-court contest was sponsored by the university’s Student Government Association, Center for Student Involvement and Office of Student Affairs.

Benefit Dinner to Help Incoming Refugee Family

Mary Sheppard

Managing Editor

The Danbury Area Refugee Assistance is hosting a benefit dinner for an incoming refugee family from 5-9 p.m. on Saturday, January 30th, at St. Ann Melkite Greek Catholic Church, 181 Clapboard Ridge Rd., Danbury.

James Naddeo, a Bethel resident who helped organize the refugee assistance group last fall, says the family is expected to arrive in the next few months. He says they will most likely be placed in Danbury or Bethel due to the lower costs for housing and easily-accessible public transportation, according to newstimes.com.

The group is working with the New-Haven based Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services to find the family an apartment to live in, find jobs for the parents, enroll the children in school, and put them in contact with local health and social services. Their plan is to co-sponsor the family for their first 4-6 months of integrating into the community.

On the group’s crowdrise.com fundraising page, $6,676 has already been donated.  “Our group will be a part of their lives well into the future, not just in helping them get settled,” Naddeo writes, “This is a long-term commitment, and our way to invest in the health, safety, and well-being of people who have endured stress, violence, intolerance and upheaval the likes of which most of us will never experience.”

The event will feature a jazz band, a silent auction, belly-dancing, an open bar, and more. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $45, and all proceeds will go directly to helping the family resettle. You can learn more about the Danbury Area Refugee Assistance’s mission at https://www.crowdrise.com/helpdanburybethelcon.

WCSU to hold forum for 2016 study-abroad program

Alana Branch | Arts & Entertainment Editor

Western Connecticut State University will hold a public forum at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 1 about a four-week study-abroad program from mid-May to mid-June.

The forum will be in Warner Hall on the first floor at Midtown campus, 181 White St. The public is invited and admission is free.

Participants will immerse themselves into the cultures of Spain and Moracco. Dr. Galina Bakhtiarova, department chair and professor of Spanish, will be joined by Professor of Art David Skora. The program is organized by WCSU’s Department of World Languages and Literature.

Be sure to attend the event to learn more.

You can also contact Dr. Bakhtiarova at bakhtiarg@wcsu.edu, or the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.


Worship leader and songwriter Jared Anderson to perform in Danbury

Jordan A. Sprogis

Worship leader and songwriter Jared Anderson will be in Danbury at the Community Coffeehouse to share stories and songs of worship on Feb. 4 at 7:30 p.m. The night will include performances of new and longtime favorites, including his number one hit “The Great I Am,” according to a press release.

j anderson.jpg

Those who attend will receive the chance to meet Jared while enjoying free coffee and other refreshments. Tickets are $20 in advance and can be purchased online at www.communitycoffeehouse.org or at the door.

Jared did not always see himself writing worship music. He grew up playing piano in church and singing in youth meetings, but when he was in college, he saw his music going in a different direction. However, he began feeling a pull back to church and worship music in its entirety.

“God revealed to me, and it was a slow process,” says Jared. “Worship songs are prayers. We’re reciting the word of God back to him, and pretty soon we’re not just reciting it or singing it, we’re living it.”

Wherever Jared is, whether it be a church, a coffeehouse, or an amphitheater, he believes that he can take a single song and turn it into a journey.

Currently, Jared is working on a series of inspiration albums that feature piano-driven, folk-rock songs centering on subjects such as love to literature to life’s biggest questions. He continues to serve as a worship team leader at his home church, New Life, in Colorado Springs, CO, while traveling the country to lead at various churches and conferences.

Jared and his wife, Megan, along with their four children, Everet, Becket, Francie, and Lyla, have decided to enlarge their family by adopting two orphans, John Diego and Christine, from Haiti.

“We can’t wait until they’re home with us in Colorado,” Jared says. God is doing something in our home and our family.”

To learn more about Jared’s ministry and music, visit his website at www.jaredanderson.com.

WCSU Graduate says Konnichiwa from Japanese Classroom

Jessica Pascale
Opinion-Editorial Editor


After earning a Master of Fine Arts in Creative and Professional Writing from Western Connecticut State University, Rebecca Simas traveled to an island off the coast of Japan to share her education and experiences.

Simas interviewed with the Consulate General of Japan in their Boston office, which led to her being hired as an assistant language teacher (ALT.) This position made it possible for her to earn a fellowship from the Japan Exchange and Teaching program (JET) through the Japanese Embassy.

Currently, Simas is an ALT at a high school located in Amami Oshima, which is a southern island 250 miles from Kagoshima Prefecture. She is not only confined to this island; she is qualified to teach in all of Japan. Simas is very involved at the high school, assisting eight Japanese teachers of English, helping to coach the high school’s award-winning English debate team and providing college-bound students one-on-one writing and English speech practice support. Even though the students are applying for college in Japan, they are required to apply and interview in English. It is Simas’ job to help those students, as she is the only native English teacher on staff.

“I plan all of my own lessons and try to get as involved as I can with helping to improve the English ability of my students, and to make them less afraid and more excited about learning a foreign language,” Simas said. “That’s something that Western taught me- you get out what you put into your experiences. I am making the most of my experience on my island and seizing every opportunity that I can.”

jetSimas earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Professional Writing from WCSU. She also taught as an adjunct professor for two years.

“All of my teaching experience happened within WCSU’s writing department,” said Simas, who taught as a Graduate Assistant while working on her MFA in writing. “I fell in love with teaching once I had my own classroom, but I never imagined that I would teach abroad.”

The first time Simas had the opportunity to teach was while on a spring break trip to Nicaragua with the WCSU World Languages Department’s Dr. Alba Skar-Hawkins and LETRA. She volunteered at an elementary school. The experience stayed with her and many years later, when she heard about a teaching opportunity in Japan, she jumped on it. To gain a competitive edge, she earned her Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification online. Her hard work paid off.

“I wouldn’t be teaching if it weren’t for Western and the incredible professors and friends I met there. It was my second home from 2006 to 2014,” said Simas. “I will be forever grateful for all the doors that opened for me because of the opportunities and experiences I had at Western.”

“During my intro lessons to my new classes in September, I had my Japanese students chant ‘WC-SU!’ with me.”

For more information, contact the University of Office Relations at (203) 837-8486.

Monsanto’s “Roundup” Considered Carcinogenic in California

Mary Sheppard

Managing Editor 

On Thursday, January 21st, the giant agrochemical company, Monsanto Corporation, filed for legal action against California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHNNA) over their decision to label Monsanto’s best-selling product as a known carcinogen.

The State of California’s decision would add glyphosate, Monsanto’s weed killer widely known for its commercial name “Roundup”, to the state’s list of known cancer-causing chemicals. This list was created as a result of Proposition 65, which is a law intended to protect California citizens and the State’s drinking water sources from chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. In addition to the state adding glyphosate on its list, Monsanto would be required to label their product with a warning stating that it is known to cause cancer. OEHNNA based its decision on the results of a research study conducted last March by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, in which it was determined that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans”.

Nathan Donley, PhD in cellular biology and staff scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity in San Francisco, says that, “California is taking an important step toward protecting people and wildlife from this toxic pesticide. It’s nearly impossible for people to limit exposure to this toxin because it is just so widespread. That’s why we need much tighter controls on its use.”

According to Monsanto’s lawsuit, the company sees the Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer as a “foreign body” that is “unelected”, “undemocratic”, and “unacceptable.” The company also says that requiring them to label their product as a known carcinogen is going to “damage their reputation”.

Critics say there has already been growing dissent among many other nations against Monsanto’s products, including Sri Lanka, Brazil, Bulgaria, Bermuda, Hungary, Russia, China, The Netherlands, El Salvador, Germany, Poland, Columbia, Peru, France, Mexico, and particularly Argentina, whose Chaco region has seen birth defect rates quadruple within the first decade of using Monsanto’s agrochemical products, according to the Huffington Post. Because of this, over 30,000 doctors and health professionals in Argentina are fighting to have glyphosate banned, blaming it for “spontaneous abortions, skin disease, respiratory illness, and neurological disease”, according to Argentina’s Union of medical professionals known as FESPROSA.

In Sri Lanka, President Maithripala Sirisena recently banned glyphosate due to “rising rates of chronic kidney disease throughout the Sri Lanka farming community”. Similarly in the Netherlands, the Dutch parliament banned the sales of Roundup and other glyphosate-based products in order to “protect citizens from carcinogenic glyphosate”, according to globalresearch.com.

In France, a 2012 lawsuit found Monsanto guilty of the chemical poisoning of 47-year old farmer Paul Francois. Francois blames Monsanto’s Lasso weed killer and the company’s failure to provide warning labels on their products for his neurological problems of memory loss, headaches, and stammering, which began upon his unintentional inhalation of the product while farming in 2004.

For the year of 2013, the glyphosate usage on farm crops in Connecticut was surveyed. It was found that New London County used 6,479 lbs. of the herbicide, Windham County used 6,064 lbs., Litchfield County used 5,808 lbs., Tolland County used 5,096 lbs., Hartford County used 3,566 lbs., New Haven County used 1,728 lbs., Middlesex County used 493 lbs., and Fairfield County used the least of all at 380 lbs., according to ctmirror.org.

According to Donley, “Monsanto’s decision to sue California and attack the most well-respected cancer research agency in the world, the IARC, is absurd…Why would California use anything other than the gold standard to inform its public health decisions?” The case is Monsanto Company v. Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, et al, case number 16-CECG-00183 in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Fresno. The state has not yet filed an answer.

Westconn to team up with Danbury schools STEM program in water resource education

Emilia Dabrowski

Secretary and Contributing Writer


Stevenson Dam – Courtesy of the Oxford Patch

STEM program funded by the NOAA to raise student and family conservation awareness

Western Connecticut State University is expected to join Danbury Public Schools along with area environmental and energy agencies in a collaborative instructional program that will educate middle school students and their families on preservation and protection of local watersheds and clean water sources.

Westconn has received a $194,323 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to begin a three-year project, “Finding Our Way”, which will focus on biodiversity of watershed ecosystems and preserving water resources.

Students from Danbury middle schools will come to Western for the summer STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs and will participate in the project.

There will also be a series of “Family Science Saturdays” held at WCSU during the academic year to educate families about water resource conservation.

Gabrielle Jazwiecki, director of the WCSU Office of Sponsored Research Administrative Services, said the grant would help continue Western’s strong partnership with the Danbury school system.

Jazwiecki said the NOAA grant would help enroll around 30 students in the summer program to learn about water resource protection in the Housatonic River watershed and Long Island at field sites, including the NOAA scientific station in New Milford, the FirstLight Power plant at Stevenson Dam, and the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation in Riverhead, NY.

“For many students, these will be their first field trips outside the Danbury area. They will have the chance to see scientists at work, learn about water resources, and find out about career opportunities in the sciences,” Said Jazwiecki.

Dr. Theodora Pinou, a professor of biology at WCSU, and Anne Mead, administrator of early childhood education and extended learning programs for the Danbury Public Schools, helped implement the NOAA program.

“As a university, our goal is to plant the seeds for students to explore the STEM disciplines at Western and for the families to become good stewards for their environment. Wouldn’t it be nice if we can create a whole community of stewards?” Pinou noted.

In the program, students will learn in the classroom and on field trips about water conservation and watershed ecosystems. Students will keep journals and complete assignments during their studies that will teach them and their families over time to become more involved in water conservation.

Mead said that students will be chosen to be in the program based on his or her disposition towards the sciences, and in particular in the area of water conservation. Plus, she mentioned that a yearlong program engaging both students and their parents would give more opportunities to grow their interests in the area and to create ways to exercise good water stewardship.

Pinou, a herpetology specialist and faculty curator of the H.G Dowling Herpetological Collection, will work with researchers at the Riverhead Foundation to offer students first-hand experience in studying migration patterns of sea turtles.

Other WCSU faculty members who will share their scientific experience with STEM students include Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Ruth Gyure, Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Michelle Monette, and Assistant Director of the WCSU Weather Center Gary Lessor.

“Teachers will come to Western and will learn about inquiry-based activities that lend themselves to multi-dimensional approaches to instruction. We do not believe it should be about our faculty experts telling their teachers what to develop, but rather about having their teachers come in and tell us what is possible and what can work in the classroom,” said Pinou.

The NOAA program will benefit Western by providing professional workshops for nine science teachers in the Danbury Public Schools, and work with Pinou and other Western faculty members in bringing science education outside the textbook and lecture approach.

For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

Crossing Insanity and Why Stairs Matter

Brendan Dyer
Contributing Writer



Courtesy of The News-Times


Between the White Street Garage and Westconn’s midtown campus, a stretch of road infamous for hospitalizations or the fatalities of pedestrians acts as a hub for student traffic to and from class. Known as White Street, the road has three crosswalks within shouting distance of one another, all three are equipped with large, yellow flashing lights which strobe the way for safe passage. In the whimsical innocence of study or the onset of Soho pizza-hunger, students cross White Street. Surely, after the activation of their safety beacons, time comes to a stop and they may cross with ease the three-lane stretch of road.

But it isn’t that simple. There were initially no lights installed on this main road and students crossed without traffic having any warning to the human obstruction ahead. When one student ended up dead, the lights were installed. However, since the installation, there have been more incidents on the street. Among drivers fighting for the lead to merge lanes, it makes room for pedestrians much tighter.

One structure in particular shines brighter than the lights in the eye of safety measures everywhere. This structure is captured so well in the atmosphere that it nearly blends right in and is missed completely by those who wish to cross and not meet the grill of a car. For those unaware, this structure is a pedestrian bridge. It hangs in the air above White Street where no car may harm you. Mutually beneficial to both parties, traffic and pedestrians, no exchange of profanity or gestures will be shared between the two, as traffic would not need to stop at all had the road been crossed above rather than across.

Yes, it’s all good and nice that you can press a button and magically cross your safety crosswalk in good comfort knowing cars just have to stop. In this real world of ours, sometimes they don’t stop, sometimes they don’t see they have to stop, or maybe you forgot to light the beacon in which case the would have the right-of-way.

Federal Road fuels the congestion of White Street, as that is a major business district of the area. There will always be traffic on White Street. More so, having that traffic stop at the leisure of pedestrians will clutter the three-lanes, fuming the frustrations of drivers.

Sure, you have to climb a flight of stairs or maybe walk an extra 50-feet to access this structure, but some kind of genius must have been at work when that pedestrian bridge was made. Although little did he or she know that the subjects to their stairs would be averse to a little extra cardio before or after class.

Crime Log: Jan. 8 – 26

Jan. 8, Friday – Suspicious person

Location: Residence Hall – Pinney Hall – Grasso Dr.
Dispatched: 12:58 p.m.
Arrived: 12:59 p.m.
Cleared: 12:59 p.m.cnpca1548-vi.jpg

Jan. 18, Monday – Drug/Narcotics investigation
Universal judicial referral
Location: Litchfield Hall – White Street
Dispatched: 9:21 p.m.
Arrived: 9:23 pm.
Cleared: 9:49 p.m.

Jan. 19, Tuesday – Drug/Narcotics investigation
University judicial referral
Location: Centennial Hall – University Blvd.
Dispatched: 12:10 a.m.
Arrived: 12:18 a.m.
Cleared: 12:45 a.m.

Jan. 20, Wednesday – Medical assistance
Taken to hospital by ambulance
Location: Litchfield Hall – White Street
Dispatched: 2:03 p.m.
Arrived: 2:05 p.m.
Cleared: 2:28 p.m.

Jan. 21, Thursday – Medical assistance
Taken to hospital by ambulance
Location: Berkshire Hall – Osborne Street
Dispatched: 10:12 a.m.
Arrived: 10:12 a.m.
Cleared: 10:23 a.m.

Jan. 22, Friday – 911 call

Location: Pinney Hall – Grasso Drive
Dispatched: 02:32 a.m.
Arrived: 2:33 a.m.
Cleared: 2:45 a.m.

Jan. 26, Tuesday – Medical assistance
Taken to hospital by ambulance

Location: Grasso Hall – Grasso Dr.
Dispatched: 2:39 p.m.
Arrived: 2:36 p.m.
Cleared: 2:39 p.m.

Jan. 26, Tuesday – Drug/Narcotics investigation

Location: Newbury Hall – Eighth Avenue
Dispatched: 3:25 p.m.
Arrived: 3:25 p.m.
Cleared: 3:36 p.m.

Jan. 26, Tuesday – Drug/Narcotics investigation

Location: Newbury Hall – Eighth Avenue
Dispatched: 6:54 p.m.
Arrived: 6:55 p.m.
Cleared: 7:06 p.m.