Local Headlines

Brookfield voters to decide on Charter revisions in November

The Brookfield Board of Selectmen has approved some proposed charter revisions be sent to the voters.  Brookfield residents will have a chance to weigh in on the recommended changes on the November ballot. The Board rejected a proposed amendment to increase the their group from three members to five. Three charter revision recommendations were forwarded by the Board. They include requiring town boards to wait at least 10 days before appointing replacement members, increasing the amount of money the Boards of Selectmen and Finance can reallocation without going to a town meeting and clarifying the authority of the Board of Ethics.

Brookfield officials to look study senior tax credit program

Senior tax credits and deferrals will be examined in Brookfield.  The Brookfield Board of Selectmen has approved an Ad-Hoc Committee to study the current tax credits and deferrals available to senior citizens. The group was also tasked with recommending changes. The Commission on Aging requested the Ad-hoc committee. The Commission has received input that the tax credit program is not adequate and wants the policy compared to other towns in the area. They suggest that a small group of people, with some experience in finance review the tax credit programs.

Stakeholders to gather for informational session on OTB in Danbury

A meeting is being held tonight about the proposed off track betting facility in Danbury.  CityCenter property owners, stakeholders and others are being called on to attend the informational session about the proposed OTB parlor at Two Steps. 


The meeting is aimed at clearing up what advocates say are misconceptions about the project.  The plan was approved by the Zoning Commission in May, but there was a technicality and the group has to revisit the approval. 


Sportech Venues has exclusive licensing rights in Connecticut and proposed the facility. 


Tonight's informational gathering is at Two Steps at 6pm.

Danbury officials discuss establishing 'E-Commerce Exchange Areas'

Danbury officials are considering setting up an E-Commerce Exchange Areas.  The spaces are meant to provide a known, well-lit and secure location at which to conduct their private business.  This is not in response to any particular incident, but rather as a proactive measure to provide citizens with a location where they can feel safe to conduct their private and legal business, as e-bay and Craigslist style transactions become more common. 


The Brookfield and Ridgefield Police Stations are considered E-Commerce Safe Zones. 


When conducting sales or purchases on Craigslist and other similar online sites, people can can request the buyer or seller to meet at the designated areas.  If the other person declines, Police say it may be a sign the transaction is questionable. 


Tonight's City Council ad hoc meeting is at 8:30pm on the 3rd floor of Danbury City Hall.

Lease for the Danbury Library Cafe considered by City officials tonight

A meeting is being held about a proposal to locate a new business in the cafe at the Danbury Library.  A committee of the City Council is considering a lease with Kervin Francois, who worked for Sodexo for many years.  He is proposing $500 a month rent.  The cafe has been vacant for about a year and a half, when the previous operator left to pursue other opportunities.  The Council approved a lease for Bagelman, but the company opted not to go forward with the project.  The next proposal came from the owner's of Benny's, who also own Nardellis on Newtown Road, but that also fell through.  Tonight's ad hoc meeting is at 7pm on the 3rd floor of City Hall.

Danbury Council members to consider tax break for developer

An ad-hoc committee of the Danbury City Council is meeting tonight about Dan Bertram seeking a tax deferral for his $13 million, 150-unit apartment complex proposal.  The high-end studios and apartments would replace the News-Times building on Main Street.  Bertram previously received a seven-year tax deferral for a Crosby Street development called Brookview Commons.  That approval though was fraught with controversy as the intent of that project changed.  Tonight's ad hoc meeting is at 6pm on the 3rd floor of City Hall.

New Milford to dedicate new Vietnam War memorial

New Milford is holding a dedication ceremony this weekend for the new Vietnam War memorial.  The project was started after the positive impact of the "Wall that Heals" came to town in October 2016.  Mayor David Gronbach says it highlighted  that New Milford did not have its own Vietnam Memorial and that it was long overdue. Veteran Ray Crawford led the effort along with the New Milford Veterans Committee and other volunteers.  The dedication ceremony is Saturday at 10am.  Gronbach thanked Tony Haddad of Marble & Granite Creations for the donation of the Black Granite, the New Milford Garden Club for the flowers, and Jim Delancy and Jeff McBreairty of the New Milford Veterans Committee.

Putnam County police warn businesses about NYSEG phone scam

The Putnam County Sheriff is warning area businesses of a telephone scam making it's way around the County.  Some local businesses, many of them restaurants, have received calls from someone claiming to be a representative from New York State Electric and Gas who is calling about billing matters. 


Some have been warned that their service would be shut off unless payment is made immediately.  The caller asks for payment via “Green Dot Money Pak”.  


The Sheriff's Office says the phone calls may come in during the busy hours, making it more urgent to comply with the caller's demands. 


NYSEG officials are aware of this scam.  The utility will never ask a customer to purchase a debit card to make a payment. 


Anyone believing that they have been victimized by this scam is asked to report it immediately to the the Sheriff’s Office at (845) 225-4300.

New Milford launches kayak, canoe rental program

New Milford has launched a kayak and canoe rental program.  The vessels are now available to rent for recreational use on the Housatonic River, Fridays through Mondays, through Labor Day weekend.  Rentals will launch shore side from Young’s Field Road. The rental operation is run by Clarke Outdoors.  The Cornwall-based company also runs rentals at the state park on Lake Waramaug.

Hours of operation:
Fridays & Mondays 10-4pm (last boat in by 5:00)
Saturday & Sunday 10-5pm (last boat in by 6:00)

$10 per hour for single kayaks. $15 per hour for double kayaks and canoes.
SUP's are $10 1/2 hour or $15 per hour. Cash only (initially)

Esty touts decision to hold off on coastal rail route

A local lawmaker is touting the the Federal Railroad Administration's decision to no longer consider a new high-speed rail route along Connecticut's coastline.  5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, the Vice Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, wants the proposed route moved inland. 


She says a 21st-century economy can't be powered on 20th-century infrastructure.  Esty called for a bold, bipartisan infrastructure plan to create jobs and a world-class transportation system. 


During a committee hearing last month, Esty pressed the Associate Administrator of the FRA to listen to abandon the coastal proposal.  She says an inland route would not have the same level of opposition and could get much higher rates of speed than possible along the coast.

Bethel Social Services Dept. organizing help for fire victims

The Bethel Social Services Department will be supporting local church leaders as they gather and disseminate information as to how people can help Thursday's fire victims. Heather Knight McMillan at the 1st Congregational Church of Bethel is working with others to ensure people get what they need.  Social Services Director Jenn Lawlor says if anyone wants to make a monetary donation or supply a gift card for the families, that can be done do that by stopping by the Social Services Department or the Selectman’s office at the Municipal Center. 


Heather Knight McMillan can be reached at 203-743-1877 or by email at


Contributions can also be mailed to:
The Community Council of Bethel
PO BOX 667
Bethel CT 06801

Route 133 in Bridgewater reopened

The state Department of Transportation has cut the ribbon and reopened Route 133 in Bridgewater.  The safety improvement project was completed two weeks ahead of schedule.


5,200 feet of roadway was resurfaced. 3,300 feet of roadway was realigned. A new 750 foot retaining wall was built on the west side of Route 133.  The wall was tinted grey and brown to look like native rock in the area. Over the next few months the extensive open slopes will be planted with native trees and shrubs.


Bridgewater officials say even though the character of the town's southern approach has radically changed, the DOT project was considered a necessary improvement.


DOT Commissioner James Redecker says they had to excavate more than they thought.  20,000 cubic yards of rock and 10,000 cubic yards of earth were removed.  Drainage and culverts had to be put in.  3,000 feet of conduit and various utility vaults along with the installation of 25,000 feet of new fiber optic cable was also completed.


The start date for the overall project was September 23, 2016.  Advance utility relocations were completed within the five weeks preceding the beginning of construction.  Project staff worked through the winter shutdown period to clear trees and excavate rock.


The project's construction cost was approximately $6.7 million of which 80 percent was funded by the Federal Highway Administration as part of an 80/20 cost share with the state.


The average daily traffic on this section of Route 133 is about 3,000 vehicles per day. 


The project is subject to an “incentive contract”. If they finish all work before August 1st, the contractor get a hefty bonus of $20,000 a day. If they were late, they would lose that amount each day.

Danbury teen missing since June found safe

A Danbury teen reported missing at the end of June has been located.  The Silver Alert was cancelled yesterday for 17-year old Sidra Ramos.  She and a 15-year old girl had last been seen in Danbury June 27th.  Both girls were located safe, the other on July 3rd.

Southbury police investigating shoplifting incident

Southbury Police are investigating a shoplifting that occurred Tuesday night at the CVS on Depot Hill Road. The suspect was seen leaving the scene in a red SUV around 7:30pm, with merchandise that he did not pay for.  Anyone with information is asked to contact Southbury Police at 203-264-5912. All calls will be kept confidential.


This is Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Weekend

This is Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Weekend. 


The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is holding events to educate boaters about clean and safe boating practices and conducting vessel inspections.  Because of their ability to grow quickly and outcompete other species, many aquatic invasive plants form dense mats just under the water surface, which can be hazardous to recreational boaters and swimmers. 


Zebra mussels have also colonized in several lakes and ponds in Western Connecticut. 


DEEP staff will be at several boat launches Saturday and Sunday 7am to 3pm.  They include Lake Zoar at Scout Road in Southbury and Lake Lillinonah at Hanover Road in Bridgewater.  Staff will also be at Lattins Cove off Forty Acre Mountain Road in Danbury and Squantz Pond Cove off Old Bogus Road in New Fairfield on Candlewood Lake.

Danbury Music Centre Summer Bands concert tonight

The Summer Bands concert presented by the Danbury Music Centre is being held tonight. The concert will begin 7:30 pm, in the Ballroom at the Portuguese Cultural Center. The ensembles performing are under the direction of Albert Montecalvo and Anthony Nunes, with performances by student musicians of all ages and levels of experience.  The concert will feature performances by the Preparatory, Concert, Symphonic, and Jazz Bands.  Outside the ballroom there will be a display of handmade digeridoos, made by the students throughout the duration of the program as part of the STEAM-Class project.

Firefighters, police being hailed as heroes in Bethel

Many in Bethel are hoping an historic building partially destroyed by fire yesterday can be rebuilt.  The apartment building on Greenwood Avenue was built more than 170 years ago. 


Police and fire fighters are being hailed as heroes.


A triage center was set up by Danbury Hospital across the street at Bethel Library, for both residents and firefighters.  About 100 firefighters responded and took 20 minutes breaks because the fire was so intense and it was a humid morning. 


Dozens of fire trucks responded from the Greater Danbury area. 


Police were the first on the scene and ran into the building to alert residents.  Cpl. Lynn Morris and officers Matthew DiRago and William Holland entered the building to help get people out.  The officers encountered the man, who was reportedly disabled, and crawled on the floor in clear air to rescue him.


Ten adults and five children have been displaced.  Some businesses on the ground floor also sustained smoke and water damage.

Man sentenced for fraud scheme targeting people in foreclosure

A Maryland man has been sentenced for a long-running fraud scheme that targeted distressed homeowners throughout Connecticut.  51-year old Bradford Barneys was ordered to 30 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. 


He was accused of conspiring with a former Easton man who told people he would purchase homes in foreclosure and pay off the mortgages.  But authorities say Timothy Burke actually rented out the properties on Craigslist, and falsified records.  Burke pocketed the money and didn't pay off the homeowner's mortgages or property taxes. 


Barneys was a Bridgeport attorney who was paid more than $72,000 in fees and other monies for his participation in the fraud.

Barneys knew that Burke had no intention of buying the properties and paying the outstanding mortgages, and assured homeowners them that their sales to Burke or one of his companies were progressing as Burke promised. Barneys also represented Burke and his companies in eviction proceedings against tenants.

The investigation further revealed that he engaged in separate fraud scheme similar to the scheme that Burke engineered in Maryland.  Barneys' law license was temporarily suspended by Connecticut authorities after he pleaded guilty, with additional proceedings scheduled to determine whether further discipline is warranted. Judge Shea ordered Barneys not to apply for reinstatement of his law license, and not to engage in any business related to real estate, while he is on supervised release.


Burke was sentenced to 108 months of imprisonment in April.

Danbury could retain General Assembly lobbyist for 2nd year

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton says it’s possible some surplus money from this year could be used to pay for another year of lobbying services.  The City of Danbury and the Board of Ed spilt the approximate $50,000 for a full-time lobbyist.  Boughton called it a successful endeavor, including having the lobbyist arrange meetings with legislators that the City has had a hard time getting before.


But the lobbyist was not able to overcome the internet lobby.  Danbury officials sought to have state law changed to allow the City to offer $15 per month high-speed internet service. 


Boughton thinks this has been a worthwhile exercise and the Board has been happy with this process. 


Part of the reason for the decision was to try to boost education dollars coming back to the City through the Education Cost Sharing formula.  Danbury officials say the City has the 5th lowest per student spending in the state, with City taxpayers footing 70-cents on every dollar.  The City has claimed that Connecticut is underfunding education in Danbury by some $30 million.

DNA evidence links teen to car stolen in Newtown nearly two years ago

DNA evidence has led to an arrest in the case of a stolen vehicle.  Newtown Police charged 19-year old Samuel Lopez today on an outstanding warrant.  Lopez and an accomplice were tied to the theft of the vehicle from a Swamp Road residence.  Shortly after the car was stolen in January 2016, the 2013 Hyundai Elantra was found abandoned in Waterbury.  DNA evidence collected from inside the vehicle identified Lopez as the suspect.  He was held on a larceny charge for arraignment.  He is currently serving a five year sentence for an unrelated robbery.


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