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Top Stories Of 2017: A Year Of Crime, Tragedy & Change In Fairfield County

Caitlin Nelson Photo Credit: Facebook
Tom Wade, left, a veteran teacher at Bridgeport's Central High School, wonders how he will pay for his personal care assistant if state changes to his benefits go through. Photo Credit: Contributed
Cricket Car Hop opened in Stratford Wednesday under sunny skies. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Christopher von Keyserling of Cos Cob Photo Credit: Facebook
Left to right: Katy Mixon, Carly Hughes and Ali Wong in ABC's new show, "American Housewife," set in Westport, Conn. Photo Credit: ABC/Adam Taylor
David Shavers Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police Department
Lonnie Mebane Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police Department
Actor Donnie Wahlburg at a Wahlburgers restaurant. He operates the chain with his brothers, singer Mark and chef Paul. The newest location is at the Trumbull Westfield Mall. Photo Credit: Contributed

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- A Greenwich sexual assault arrest made national headlines. Former FBI Director James Comey sold his Westport home at a loss. Residents flocked to new restaurants that opened and old favorites that returned. Fairfield County certainly saw its share of big news stories in 2017.

Here are some of the most-read stories of the year, as reported by the Daily Voice.

January: A well-known Greenwich Republican and a member of the town's Representative Town Meeting was arrested Jan. 11 and charged with fourth-degree sexual assault . A town employee said that Christopher von Keyserling said told her that he no longer had to be politically correct, then called her a "bloodsucking lazy union employee" and pinched her in the groin. The incident and subsequent arrest sparked protests and von Keyserling was voted off the RTM in the fall.

February: A former Norwalk firefighter was charged with dealing cocaine , including selling to undercover officers while he was on duty. When police searched Mark W. Monroe's house, they found several bags of cocaine, as well as prescription pills, steroid, hypodermic needles and a gun. Monroe was later sentenced to three years in prison .

March: Five people were arrested after police said they were running a drug trafficking ring out of a pair of grocery stores in Bridgeport. Police said the group would run drugs back and forth between the two stores while conducting sales. A search of one of the stores turned up more than 2,000 grams of cocaine, according to police.

April: A 20-year-old junior from Clark, N.J., died days after taking part in a pancake-eating contest at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield. Caitlin Nelson choked during the contest and was later taken to Columbia University Medical Center, where she died. Nelson was a member of Kappa Delta sorority and was taking part in a Greek Life event.

May: Former FBI Director and Westport resident James Comey made quite a few headlines around the world during the month of May. On May 9, Comey was fired by President Donald Trump , an action that later led to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller to oversee the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Shortly after his firing, it was revealed that Comey had sold his Westport home at a loss of about $575,000 . Trump also reportedly told Russian officials in May that firing Comey eased "great pressure" for him.

June: Cricket Car Hop, a beloved Stratford landmark for more than 50 years, reopened its doors in a new location in late June. The original Cricket opened in the 1950s and became one of the town’s most iconic spots, serving up hot dogs, fries and tasty fare for decades until it closed in 2004. One of the original cooks opened a near replica of the classic car hop down the street.

July: A total of seven people overdosed on fentanyl-laced crack cocaine over one weekend in Norwalk, and two of them died as a result. Police quickly launched an investigation to find the source of the drugs. Undercover officers arranged to purchase crack from Eric Frank of Norwalk, who was arrested when he showed up to meet with officers . Police said he was injured while struggling with officers and taken to the hospital, where he obtained a handcuff key and unsuccessfully tried to escape. Police also arrested Derrick Wiggins of Waterbury after determining that he was also selling fentanyl-laced crack.

August: A 34-year-old Bridgeport man was tragically shot to death while working on his car in front of his home in Bridgeport. Police said that Cadell Moore was not the intended target of the shooting, which took place Thursday, Aug. 24, on Sixth Street in Bridgeport. Police later charged 22-year-old David Shavers with Moore's murder.

September: A 19-year-old Bridgeport man was shot to death on Thursday, Sept. 14. Police said Eric Diaz had been shot in the abdomen at the corner of Beardsley Street and Newfield Avenue, and later died of his injuries. Police later charged 53-year-old Lonnie Mebane with Diaz's murder , saying that it was a drug-related robbery.

October: Wahlburgers proved to be popular as it opened its first Connecticut location at the Westfield Trumbull Mall in October. The popular burger chain is owned by chef Paul Wahlberg and his brothers, actors Mark and Donnie Wahlberg. It is also featured in an A&E reality show of the same name.

November: Norwalk residents were upset when they learned that the ABC sitcom "American Housewife" was using their city as the butt of several jokes . Residents launched a petition to get the show to stop making the Norwalk jokes, which they said were offensive and portrayed Norwalk in a negative light. School officials later got behind the movement, telling ABC that the jokes were no laughing matter. Eventually, ABC capitulated and issued a statement saying that they would not mention Norwalk on the show anymore.

December: Friends and community members were shocked to learn that a popular teacher at Central High School in Bridgeport could lose vital benefits . Tom Wade, who has quadriplegic since he was 17 and needs a personal care attendant to help with many daily routines, learned on Dec. 1 that his income was too high to qualify for the Medicaid for the Working Disabled benefits he receives to pay for the attendant. Friends began reaching out to state legislators to help Wade keep his benefits.

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