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NY man arrested for alleged Oxford arson

A New York man has been arrested on arson charges in Oxford.  42-year old Leon Carson of Yonkers was charged by State Police yesterday with burglary, arson, criminal mischief, tampering with evidence, interfering with an officer, reckless endangerment and insurance fraud. 

 

According to the arrest affidavit, he house was being rented to a woman and her five children, though rent hadn't been paid for 8 months and the tenants were being evicted.  Also in the documents, a Trooper reported that the home's owner reportedly joked with the marshal that she should just set the house on fire because it was insured for $300,000. 

 

An accelerant was found under a couch and on the curtains.  A partially opened gas container was found in a cabinet under the kitchen sink.  Gloves allegedly used by Carson were tossed out of the car afterward.  There was reportedly a fire at the same home in 2005, when it was insured for $50,000.

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Sandy Hook firefighters respond to crash, RV fire

Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue had a busy afternoon yesterday.  They closed Jordan Hill Road for a short period of time just after 2pm after a two car accident where a distracted driver crossed over and hit another vehicle. One driver was transported to Danbury Hospital with minor injuries.  Around 5:45pm, they responded to an RV fire on the highway.  The incident was reported between exits 10 and 11 eastbound.  There were no injuries.

 

(Photo: Sandy Hook Fire)

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Brookfield Board of Ed committee discusses school building, renovation

The Brookfield Board of Education Strategic Facilities Committee is suggesting a way forward to addressing issues with the buildings.  The Newstimes reports that the Committee wants to further explore building a new Huckleberry Hill Elementary School and renovations to Whisconier Middle School, turning Center School over to the town.  This would be done by having 5th graders move into the elementary school and pre-k and first grade in Huckleberry.  The current building would be demolished and a new school built on the same site.  The proposal would be a 62-million dollar project.  Whisconier renovations are estimated at 38-point-3 million.  A final recommendation could be made at the Board of Ed's August meeting.

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New Milford to install benches, tabletop games leading to riverwalk

New Milford is one of the 129 grantees nationwide receiving funds through an AARP Livable Communities’ grant program.  AARP Community Challenge ‘quick action’ grant awardees will use the money to fund innovative projects to inspire change and improvements.  New Milford Mayor Pete Bass says the town's project will provide park benches and game top tables along a walking route from the downtown to the riverwalk.  Bass hopes this will encourage walking and multigenerational social engagement. 

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Brookfield Craft Center receives $143,000 in grant funding

The Brookfield Craft Center has received $100,000 in grant money. Executive Director Howard Lasser says a foundation, which wanted to remain anonymous, committed to the same donation in each of the next two years.  The Craft Center also received $43,000 in other donations for several initiatives.  Some of the overall funding will be used to fund a position that is part "Artist in Residence" and part Education Director. 
 
The "Center for Modern Craft" will also be outfitted to provide classes in 3D printing, digital photography and other digital skills.  Other grant funding will pay for a patio in front of the Mill building.  Money will also go toward scholarships and youth programs. 
 
The $43,000 in donations comes from Iroquois Gas Transmission Systems, Maximillian E. & Marian O. Hoffman Foundation Inc., Give Back Brands Foundation, The Womens Club of Danbury / New Fairfield, Savings Bank of Danbury, and Lions Club of Brookfield.  The State of Connecticut Supporting Arts Grant program also contributed to the funding pool.

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Brush removal in New Fairfield ahead of schedule

Storm debris pick up in New Fairfield is again ahead of schedule.  Crews will begin working through the Ball Pond area today.  It's designated as the brown zone on a map released by the town.  New Fairfield officials asked that residents have brush within the right-of-way for pick up.  A copy of the map with colored zones for pick up can be found on the New Fairfield town website or by clicking this link.

 

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Aquatic Invasive Species inspections on Candlewood Lake this weekend

Connecticut will mark its third Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Weekend by partnering with the Candlwood Lake Authority on education and inspection sessions.  DEEP is encouraging boaters this weekend to take steps to prevent the spread of invasive plants and animals.  DEEP staff will be at the Lattins Cove and Squantz Cove boat launches on Candlewood Lake, educating boaters about clean and safe boating practices and conducting Aquatic Invasive Species inspections.

 

DEEP staff will be at the launches from about 7am to 3pm Saturday and Sunday. 

 

Many aquatic invasive plants form dense mats just under the water surface, which can be hazardous to recreational boaters and swimmers.  Zebra mussels, a problematic invader, have colonized several lakes and ponds in Western Connecticut. 

 

DEEP encourages boaters to use the Clean, Drain, Dry method to help prevent the spread of invasive species among water bodies.  The method involves a boat inspection to remove aquatic plants and animals as well as mud or other debris from the vessel.  Boaters should then drain any water collected from that water body.  The boat should then dry for a minimum of 1 week in hot/dry weather or 4 weeks in cool/wet weather. 

 

Fishing gear and shoes should also be put through these steps.

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CityCenter Danbury names new executive director

CityCenter Danbury has named Betsy Paynter as the new executive director of the downtown development district. She has been economic and community development manager for the town of Brookfield for the past year. Before that, the Danbury native held the economic development job in Newtown. Paynter starts on August 1st and will report to the CityCenter Board of Commissioners. She was touted for her experience in relationship building, event planning, grant writing, small business development, creative management and marketing outreach.  Paynter is credited with being a central player in Brookfield’s development of the new Town Center retail and residential development to revitalize the area known as the Four Corners. She takes over for PJ Prunty, who now leads the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce.

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Redding residents weigh in on poll about plastic bag ban idea

Redding residents voting in a poll on the town's Facebook page overwhelmingly said they would support a ban on plastic shopping bags.  The week-long poll garnered more than 700 votes, with 76-percent in favor and 24-percent opposed. 

 

First Selectman Julia Pemberton said in the posting that it was being conducted as a way to gather feedback from a large number of people. 

 

Westport was the first to ban plastic bags in Connecticut, followed by Greenwich--though there is an exception for grocery stores.  Pemberton noted that paper may have more of a carbon footprint, but plastic has long lasting impacts and there is no one right answer. 

 

She says Redding has been at the forefront of the environmental movement with open space preservation and a commitment to clean water.  Permberton noted that most businesses in town use paper.  She added that businesses would have to be part of the future discussion because town officials don't want to make it more costly to do business in Redding.

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Lakes Awareness Week marked in Connecticut

This was Lakes Awareness Week in Connecticut.  Danbury State Representative David Arconti requested the proclamation from the State. 

 

He says in western Connecticut and across the State, lakes, ponds, and reservoirs are some of the most important natural resources.  Arconti says it's important to find more ways to support them and groups like the Connecticut Federation of Lakes, who advocate on behalf of inland water resources. 

 

The Candlewood Lake Authority hosted an on-the-water meeting yesterday.  Representatives from several lakes briefed Arconti and New Milford State Senator Craig Minor on the current status of these issues and on the efforts locally to address them.

 

Candlewood Lake turns 90 this year.  The man-made lake was created in 1928. 

 

The Connecticut Federation of Lakes says often AIS are introduced into Connecticut lakes by boaters that unknowingly transport invasive aquatic plant fragments on boat propellers, in bilges, or on trailers. 

 

CLA Chairman Phyllis Schaer says shoreline development and recreational uses contribute to added stress that can affect water quality and the health of lakes.  But she noted that this can be counteracted by good lake stewardship practices to minimize erosion and restore shoreline vegetation where ever possible.  

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Danbury Fire Department receives donation of ATV

The Danbury Fire Department has received a donation of an all-terrain vehicle for search and rescue operations.  The ATV was donated by Enbridge, which owns  the Algonquin natural gas pipeline that runs through Danbury.  Fire officials say they realized the need for this type of equipment after an avid mountain biker went missing in Farrington Woods and was founded dead after a day of searching.  Another fire department loaned their ATV to Danbury for the search.  The ATV can hold four passengers and performs better than the department's John Deere Gator, which works best on flat surfaces.  It also can hold several gallons of water for response to brush fires, and is equipped with GPS tracking and a communications system.

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Partial bridge replacement project underway in Danbury

The Danbury Public Works Department is doing a partial bridge replacement along Jefferson Avenue.  The bridge was inspected and it was determined that the decking was in poor condition.  A contractor is removing the poured slab deck and a new one will be poured. 

 

Director Antonio Iadarola says there are no hydraulic opening issues and the current size will be maintained.  The project has to be done within 120 days and the department is confident that it will be done in a third of that time. 

 

Councilman Duane Perkins asked if there's been any major flooding in that area and if the Department plans to do any other engineering work around the bridge as part of the project. Iadarola says the rubble retaining walls on either side of the bridge are in good shape so the restoration work there will be minimal.  He didn't address whether or not there has been a flooding issue.

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Report: Independent Party court battle could determine gubernatorial endorsement

Two factions of Connecticut’s Independent Party have been fighting in court for the last two years over a number of issues, including cross-endorsements.  The Courant reports that a state Superior Court Judge is expected to rule soon on a 2016 lawsuit about leadership, rules and candidate nominations.  The leader of the Waterbury wing led by Michael Telesca, call the Danbury faction a  kangaroo caucus, run only by Mayor Mark Boughton.  The GOP endorsed gubernatorial candidate denied the claim.  The Independent Party has been a way for Republicans to counter the second ballot line of Democrats cross-endorsed by the Working Families Party.  Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, who didn't get enough petition signatures to be on the primary ballot, told the Courant he could seek the Independent Party's endorsement.  The party has about 25-thousand registered members.

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Substance in Pootatuck River deemed nontoxic

Some Newtown residents alerted officials about a milky substance in the Pootatuck River last week.  The Newtown Bee reports the small bloom was determined to be nontoxic and not harmful to the trout stream.  The milky substance was spotted near Commerce Road last Tuesday.  Deputy Director of Planning Rob Sibley told the Bee that the small plume came up after nontoxic substances were forced out of a blocked curtain drain at St Rose of Lima Church during a storm water system replacement project.  The pumped out and discolored water ran into the river.

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Newtown Planning Commission considers Curtis Corporate Park proposal

The Newtown Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a meeting about a proposal for Curtis Corporate Park at their July 19th meeting.  A Bethel firm has proposed an industrial building for four tenants on a one acre lot at 3 Turnberry Lane.  The lot is within the town’s Aquifer Protection District so the application will be examined to see whether an aquifer protection review is required.  The single-story 8,300-square-foot structure would be served by two driveways off Turnberry Lane and include about two dozen parking spaces.  The meeting is set for 7:30pm at Newtown Municipal Center.

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Family sues companies over worker's electrocution

WILTON, Conn. (AP) The family of a utility contractor who was electrocuted on the job has filed a lawsuit claiming his employers failed to follow safety guidelines.

The Hour reports that Marco Silva's family sued in Superior Court in Danbury last week. The family alleges his employer, KTI Utility Construction & Maintenance LLC, and the energy company Eversource didn't follow regulations. Nara Rodrigues-Feitosa is seeking more than $15,000.

Silva was killed in June 2016 when his equipment contacted a transmission line during a project in Wilton. KTI later met with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and agreed to pay a $2,000 fine.

Silva's family claims Eversource should have de-energized the lines.

KTI didn't return a request for comment.

An Eversource spokesman said the company doesn't comment on pending litigation. 

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Boughton gubernatorial ad features officers named in civil lawsuit

Republican gubernatorial candidate Mayor Mark Boughton has released a new campaign ad, as he faces a primary challenge from four other GOP hopefuls.  The ad is being questioned for featuring two City Police Department members, who were named last week in a federal civil rights lawsuit.  Moore Bail Bonds owner Yvonne Perkins claims five department members conspired to put the company out of business and steer clients to the company’s competitors.  The city intends to ask that the case be dismissed.  Perkins told The Newstimes that when she brought up the alleged harassment, she was told by the Mayor and Chief to sue.  Boughton denied that.  The paper asked Boughton about the ad, and he said it was a complete coincidence that it was those officers who were featured.  

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DHS grad serving in Navy takes part in maritime warfare exercise

A 2016 Danbury High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise, Rim of the Pacific.  Fireman Jerjes L. Almanzar is a gas turbine systems technician aboard USS Lake Champlain, currently operating out of San Diego.  He is responsible for the repair and maintenance om the ship’s engines and generators. 

 

The Danbury native says he learned that if you start something you have to finish it, and to take one step at a time. 

 

RIMPAC 2018 is the 26th exercise in the series that began in 1971.  26 nations, 46 surface ships, five submarines, and more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific Exercise.  Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Electa Berassa, Navy Office of Community Outreach provided information on the warfare exercise.

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Report of baby tossed into Danbury river deemed unfounded

There were reports yesterday of a woman throwing a baby into the Still River in Danbury, which turned out to be unfounded.  A woman called 911 yesterday morning to report seeing someone throw a blanket off the White Street bridge the day before, prior to the heavy rain storms.  Police and firefighters searched the Still River area downtown, but didn't find any evidence an infant.  They did however find a blanket that matched the  witness description.  A thermal sensing camera mounted to a drone was also used in the search.  Searchers looked between the reported site and the rail yard. 

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285 arrests made in statewide warrant sweep, 17 in Danbury

Over 90 municipal, state, and federal law enforcement agencies in Connecticut executed a “Statewide Warrant Sweep Operation.”  Danbury Police helped in the operation.  State Police developed intelligence packages were distributed and the operation started pre-dawn yesterday.  The targets were all wanted on outstanding felony and misdemeanor arrest warrants. 

 

The Danbury Police Department served 17 warrants, one of which resulted in the arrest of a suspect involved in a very large illegal marijuana operation.  29-year old Thomas Pryce was held on $150,000 bond.  Pryce was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance, two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, possession of drug paraphernalia and operating a drug factory.

 

About 9 pounds of raw marijuana, more than two pounds of marijuana oil, tens of manufactured marijuana cigarettes, tens of disposable vape type pens containing marijuana, hundreds of empty disposable vape type pens and more than $17,000 was seized. 

 

About 285 arrest warrants were served statewide.  

 

      

Ali Wakeman,24, of Danbury, Keith Brandon,37, of Danbury, Daniel Pannell,32, of New Fairfield, Donna Walker,53, of Danbury

      

Freddi Almonte,46, of Danbury, Ian Picerno,36, of New Haven, Juan Duque-Pauta, 65, of Danbury, Patrick Brusca, 49, of Danbury

      

Julio Bispo, 24, of Danbury, Peter Ward, 52, of Danbury, Ricardo Castenda, 18, of Danbury, Robert Morehouse, 63, of Danbury

      

Roman Cruz, 30, of Danbury, Tanya Chambers, 35 of Danbury, Tracey Bricker, 45, of Bethel, Thomas Pryce, 29, Danbury

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Danbury officials consider lease for expanded Music Centre lease

A committee of the Danbury City Council is recommending Danbury modify a lease with The Danbury Music Centre.  The organization wants to take over the rest of the old Danbury Library building on Main Street.  The organization is looking to expand its office and rehearsal space, beyond the Marian Anderson Recital Hall. 

 

The Danbury Social Services Department used to occupy part of the first floor of the building, and a portion of that space will house the Cultural Commission.  The Commission would be able to hold their monthly meetings in the building, in a space to be designated by the Music Centre. 

 

The Danbury Music Centre's long-term, $1 per year lease, runs through 2024.  The part of the lease dealing with the second floor of the building was signed in 2014.  If the Council approves the committee's recommendation, the end date of the lease would not change.

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Brookfield to replace damaged high school field light poles

Brookfield's insurance company will pay for lights at the high school football field damaged by the May 15th macroburst.  One pole was broken and another is failing.  But since they are currently wooden poles, that is what the company will pay for when it comes to replacements.  The old poles are about 40 feet high. 

 

Brookfield officials have been talking about putting in modern metal poles.  They would be 80 feet high, will last longer and have better light disbursement because the lights can be aimed at different points.  One of the current wooden poles is located right by the press box, preventing ADA compliance upgrades. 

 

Brookfield officials have decided to allocate $75,000 to replace all four poles.  The insurance company will pay $361,000, so First Selectman Steve Dunn says the town will basically be getting a $435,000 light system at a fraction of the cost because of the insurance reimbursement. 

 

Dunn says it will take 10 to 12 weeks to install the poles, noting that right now there are lacrosse, soccer and football games that can't be played at night.

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Ridgefield High School student named a 'Courage Fellow'

A Ridgefield High School student has been selected by a foundation created by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords for its inaugural Courage Fellowship. Lane Murdock helped organized the National School Walkout. 

 

The 28 student leaders will travel to Washington DC next week, for a three-day team building and organizing workshop meeting. The program, launched this year, gives students the resources and opportunities to continue their efforts to improve gun safety laws where they live. 

 

Currently, Murdock works on amplifying young voices who advocate for gun violence prevention. 

 

Courage Fellows will take part in a number of activities where they’ll be provided the opportunity to network, learn from one another and expand their knowledge of gun policy.  They’ll also be challenged to create an end of the year “Take-Action project.”  

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New Fairfield considers selling town-owned water system to Aquarion

The New Fairfield Board of Selectmen has discussed the potential sale of the small town-owned municipal water system to Aquarion.  First Selectman Pat Del Monaco says the system provides water to six commercial customers in addition to Town buildings.  The sale has been discussed for the past several years.  Del Monaco says the town doesn't have the infrastructure or staffing to continue to operate the system. She says the equipment is aging and presents a liability for New Fairfield, as the municipality is responsible for providing potable water to all customers in the event of a system failure. Such failure could include an extended power outage or water main break.  Two water systems in New Fairfield are currently owned by Aquarion. Prior to any sale, there will be opportunity for public comment at a Public Hearing.  A date will then be set for a Town meeting to vote on approval of the sale. 

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Driver who crashed into utility pole reportedly blacked out

A car crashed into a utility pole in Newtown yesterday morning.  Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire Company Chief Halstead says the driver blacked out while driving in the area of Wasserman Way at the Exit 11 ramps.  The driver hit a pole in front of the commuter lot shortly after 8am, hard enough that it was severely damaged near its base.   The male driver was able to self-extricate from his vehicle, and declined transport to the hospital.  Three transformers were mounted to the pole so an Eversource crew was called to the scene.  The vehicle sustained significant front end damage as a result of the crash. 

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Esty returns donations earmarked for November campaign

According to the latest filing with the Federal Election Commission, Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty has returned about $350,000 in donations to individuals and PACs, but still has more than a million dollars in the account.  Esty opted not to run for reelection amid a controversy over her handling of a sexual assault complaint involving her former Chief of Staff.  Contributions earmarked for the November election must be returned while money left from previous campaigns or undesignated doesn't have to be.  The money can be used to wind down campaign operations or donated to other candidates, but can't be spent on personal use. 

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Easton Police offer homeowners summer safety reminders

The Easton Police Department is putting out some safety information for residents as more people are home during summer months. 
 
Police say so-called distraction burglary occurs when a bogus visitor tells lies to con their way into a home, or creates a diversion so an accomplice can sneak in a back door or window.  Police recommend never opening the door to strangers, and not to hesitate checking with police if it's someone you don't recognize.  Demand and verify identification of utility company associates, poll takers and sales people.
 
Police suggest having window casement locks or a locking pin to keep windows “cracked” only a bit.  Air conditioners should be secured to the window sill and ladders should not be left outside. 
 
If you're going to be away for a few days, police suggest arranging mail pick up.

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FuelCell Energy to add workers at Torrington plant

Danbury-based FuelCell Energy plans to increase annual production to 55 megawatts from the current 25 megawatts run-rate.  The company will also add over 100 manufacturing jobs at its Torrington facility to support the 120-percent increase in production rate.  CEO Chip Bottone says they have seen a steadily building momentum commercially, and DEEP awarded FuelCell two projects for 22.2 megawatts.  The company has approximately 85 megawatts of new projects slated for production over the next 18 months. The products being manufactured and delivered today have electrical efficiencies of up to 60-percent and a cell life of seven years. Deployments range in size from 1.4 megawatt university and hospital campus installations to a 60 megawatt utility scale fuel cell park. 

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Storms knocks out power to traffic lights, cause WCSU to cancel some Tuesday classes

Yesterday's storms knocked out power to some in the Greater Danbury area. 
 
Traffic lights in certain areas were not functioning after the storm, including the intersection at the exit 5 ramps in Danbury.  Stop signs have been placed at North Main Street and Golden Hill.  In Brookfield the state Department of Transportation made quick work of an outage to traffic lights at the intersection of Candlewood Lake Road, Federal Road and White Turkey Extension.  
 
West Conn summer classes on the Westside campus had to be canceled after 5pm because of a power outage.  

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NY man charged with having dangerous weapons

A motorcycle that blew past a stop sign, and a stopped car, at the Danbury rest area was stopped and found with dangerous weapons.  A State Police Trooper saw 48-year old Anthony Memoli make the traffic violation Saturday as the motorcyclist was headed onto I-84 eastbound. 

 

The Kingston, New York man cut across all lanes of travel and allegedly started speeding in the left lane.  He was stopped just before exit 3.  Troopers located two sets of brass knuckles and a blackjack club-like weapon. 

 

Memoli was charged with three counts of carrying a dangerous weapon and issued an infraction for a motor vehicle violation.  He is due in court on August 3rd.

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Kent group warns about energy plant under construction in NY

The Kent Conservation Commission is working to raise awareness about a natural gas-fired electric generation facility just over the state line in Dover Plains, New York, which is slated to come online in 2020.  The Commission called the 1,100 megawatt facility a toxic neighbor that will negatively impact air quality.  Cricket Valley Energy Center will have three 282-foot high smoke stacks, which will emit spent gases.  While an improvement over older coal-fired electricity, the Commission says it is still fossil-fuel based. 

 

The Kent Conservation Commission is working with officials from Sherman, Gaylordsville, Sharon, Washington, Cornwall and Warren to call on the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and Department of Public Health to provide oversight. Neither agency filed briefs with New York State during the application process, which started in 2009. 

 

The group says the 8 current air quality monitors in Connecticut aren't close enough and the monitors at the base of the smokestacks won't account for wind drift to accurately show ground level measurements in Kent. 

 

The Commission is looking into a legal basis to require changes in Cricket Valley's operation, including more advanced scrubbing technologies, temporary shutdowns during smog alerts, and other protective measures. 

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Two men arraigned for allegedly breaking into cars in Southbury, Roxbury

Two Waterbury men have been arrested following Southbury and Roxbury burglary and larceny investigations.  20-year olds Malachi Johnson and Kayson Langhorn were charged and arraigned yesterday.  Troopers responded to a Roxbury home on Sunday on a report of two men rummaging through a parked car.  The suspects fled, but were later located and detained. 

 

  

(Langhorn, Johnson)

 

Troopers found burglary tools, numerous credit cards, small electronics, fishing gear, driver’s licenses and women’s pocketbooks in the possession of the suspects.

 

Johnson was charged with six counts of Burglary, four counts of Larceny and five counts of Illegal Possession of a Credit Card. Langhorn was charged with six counts of Burglary, five counts of Larceny and two counts of Illegal Possession of a Credit Card.

 

Each man was arraigned on Monday and ordered to appear back in court on Friday.  Both remain held on bond.

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Local law firm buys Narcan kits for area medical providers

Ventura Law is representing a number of cities against the manufacturers of opioids, but is expanding it's support in the fight against the epidemic.  The law firm is donating $20,000 to the Western Connecticut Health Network for the purchase of Naloxone.  The funding will be able to buy 270 Narcan kits. 

 

The opioid overdose reversal drug Narcan is a life-saving drug which can combat the effects of opioids on the brain and revive a person.

 

Ventura Law CEO Augi Ribeiro says the firm is dedicated to helping fight this crisis, and aiding the medical facilities in the local communities.  

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Authorities arrest 10 in federal drug ring bust

10 people have been arrested in Connecticut as part of a federal drug investigation.  Waterbury Police officials say the men arrested Tuesday morning range in age from 20 to 45, and all except two are from Waterbury.  Among those arrested was Thomas Moruzin of New Fairfield and Alexander Calderon of Oakville.  The 10 men were each charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine base.  The U.S. Attorney's office says Waterbury police, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives all participated in the seven-month investigation into the alleged drug ring.  The men each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and $1 million in fines.  

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New Fairfield Selectman questions no-bid contract for private road debris collection

The New Fairfield Board of Selectmen recently voted to extend the town debris collection to private roads.  Selectman Kim Hanson said in a comment on the town's Facebook page that he voted in favor of the public road collection after being promised the private road debris collection would be put out to bid. He says by not getting competing prices, town is paying $18.50 per cubic chipped yard. He notes that in the last storm where New Fairfield picked up debris and received FEMA reimbursement, the town paid $10.37 per cubic chipped yard.  Debris from private roads will be collected separately from debris on Town roads to ensure that if FEMA funds become available, work on Town roads remains eligible for reimbursement. 

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Two men arrested for Southbury, Roxbury car break-ins

Two Waterbury men have been arrested following Southbury and Roxbury burglary and larceny investigations.  20-year olds Malachi Johnson and Kayson Langhorn were charged yesterday and arraigned.  Troopers responded to a Roxbury home on Sunday on a report of two men rummaging through a parked car.  The suspects fled, but were later located and detained.

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23 drivers arrested for DWI in NY over the weekend

Nearly two dozen drunk drivers were removed from the roadways in the Putnam County area this past weekend, including one who hit a police cruiser.  60-year old John Woytowicz of Greenwich was on I-84 in Southeast when he hit the cruiser, which had its emergency lights active conducting an unrelated traffic stop on the shoulder of the road. 
 
Also among the 23 people arrested was 42-year old Jason Hahnen of New Jersey.  He was pulled over for questioning about a domestic dispute at a residence on Harmon Road in Patterson on Friday.  Troopers determined that he was intoxicated.  Hahnen was charged for DWI with a previous conviction, Resisting Arrest, and Obstruction of Governmental Administration. 
 
39-year old Nugra Guzman of Danbury was charged under Leandra's Law for being intoxicated and behind the wheel while children were in the vehicle.  He was pulled over on 684 in North Salem on Sunday.  On Friday, 42-year old Wilson Supliguicha of Danbury was pulled over on 684 in Bedford.  He was also charged with Aggravated unlicensed operation.

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New Milford Police investigate car break-ins

There have been a number of vehicle break-ins in New Milford.  Police responded to the areas  of Jotham Road, Crest Lane, Ridge Crest Drive and  Meadowood Drive on Sunday to investigate the reports.  Police are asking that anyone who sees something suspicious to report it.  Residents are also reminded to lock vehicles and take out valuable items.

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Enforcement of rules stepped up at Lynn Deming Park

Some enforcement changes are being rolled out at Lynn Deming Park in New Milford.  The town park on Candlewood Lake has been very popular so far this summer and that's caused safety concerns. 

 

There are now park managers, and security guards have been retrained. 

 

Non-residents are allowed in the park, only if they've purchased a $25 per person, per day, pass at the Parks and Rec office.  As of last week, only four non-resident passes had been purchased.  Non-residents are not allowed to walk into the park. 

 

Mayor Pete Bass says some people have also been sneaking into the park through the woods.  The two park managers or rangers will rotate shifts with a patrol along the edge of the woods.  Eversource is being contacted about fencing the area bordering New Milford's property. 

 

No car is allowed to enter numerous times, shuttling people in.  Additional signage and cones have been placed along Candlewood Lake Road North in an effort to stop illegal parking.  Cars will be towed. 

 

Bass noted that there have been several boaters dropping off people or illegally docking for the day.  Violators will be subject to trespass laws and have their boat towed. 

 

On the 4th of July, Bass says there was unacceptable noise levels, a generator and loudspeakers brought in.  Extra staff and/or modification of staff hours have been made.  During peak demand, New Milford Police will be making several passes through the Park as well as Addis Park.  

 

A “cheat sheet” was made for security staff of the most broken rules to focus on weaknesses. 

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Redding officials gather feedback on potential plastic bag ban

Redding officials are looking into whether there should be a ban on plastic shopping bags, and eventually straws.  First Selectman Julia Pemberton has put a poll up on the town's Facebook page to garner feedback on if residents would support such a ban.  The poll ends in two days and by this morning had more than 500 votes. 

 

Westport was the first to ban plastic bags in Connecticut. Greenwich has joined them.  Beyond bags, Starbucks was the first major food seller to announce an end of plastic straws by 2020. 

 

Pemberton says most of Redding’s recyclable trash, via the regional trash authority Housatonic Resources Recovery Association, and HRRA’s contracted hauler, is either incinerated or sent overseas to China.  China is the largest purchaser of recyclable waste, and waste in general, from the US.  Pemberton says China recently enacted stricter regulations, rejecting more shipments of recycled materials for contamination.

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Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission to interview design finalists

The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission will be hosting the three Phase II designers today.  The designers have 30 minutes to present to the commission followed by a 30 minute question and answer session.  The designer sessions start at noon and go through 4pm.  Public participation will follow the final presentation, starting around 4 o'clock.

 

One design features winding pathways with a Sycamore tree planted inside a fountain at the center.  The names of the 26 educators and children killed on 12-14 would be engraved around the stone edge. 

 

 

Another design includes 26 gardens and miniature fountains. A stone wall will include four separate dedications to the town, the first responders, the surviving school members as well as the country as a whole for support after the shooting. 

 

 

The last design includes an open green space dubbed the Breathing Field, a Memorial Grove, a Reflection Pool as well as a Belonging Bench.

 

 

The designers are visiting the site this morning.  Although none are local. the Commission says they all have local roots.  Families were invited to the presentations, as well as the Boards of Selectmen and Finance, Legislative Council, Planning & Zoning, Parks & Recreation, Inland Wetlands, Conservation and the Police Commission.  Newtown's Land Use director and deputy director, along with a representative of the Public Building & Site group, were also invited. 

 

A special meeting, which will be held in executive session because of financial discussions, was scheduled for July 30th.  A finalist will be selected at the August 9th meeting.  The finalist will be asked to provide information about costs for construction drawings, total project cost estimates, and readiness or time constraints.

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Income tax a target by Connecticut GOP governor candidates

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Republican governor candidates are pushing proposals to eliminate or scale back Connecticut's income tax.

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton on Monday released a 31-page plan that includes phasing out the personal income tax over 10 years. He says there will be $381 million in reductions in the first year.

Boughton, the Republican Party's endorsed candidate, faces four challengers in the Aug. 14 primary.

Former Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst wants to eliminate the income tax for anyone making up to $75,000. Greenwich hedge fund manager David Stemerman wants to reduce the number of brackets from seven to three, while lowering rates.

Westport tech entrepreneur Steve Obsitnik wants a tax cut for those earning less than $100,000. Meanwhile, Madison businessman Bob Stefanowksi proposes phasing out the income tax over eight years.  

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Ventura Law to donate $20k to WCHN for Naloxone doses

Ventura Law is representing a number of cities against the manufacturers of opioids, but is expanding it's support in the fight against the epidemic.  The law firm is donating $20,000 to the Western Connecticut Health Network for the purchase of Naloxone. The opioid overdose reversal drug Narcan is a life-saving drug which can combat the effects of opioids on the brain and revive a person. Ventura Law CEO Augi Ribeiro says the firm is dedicated to helping fight this crisis, and aiding the medical facilities in the local communities.  A check presentation ceremony will be held at the firm's Danbury office on Main Street at 9am.

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Former Danbury Officer involved in fatal crash sues City

A former Danbury Police Officer has filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against the City, claiming he was forced to resign after a fatal pursuit.  Former Officer Jamie Hodge was working a road construction job when he got in his private car and started chasing a vehicle he knew to be stolen.  A passenger in that vehicle was killed in a crash. 

 

The Newstimes reports that Hodge and his union-hired attorney met with Police Chief Patrick Ridenhour in March 2017 and was told that if he did not resign, he would be terminated.  The suit alleges that Hodge was coerced into resigning.  Hodge, who is black, said he was discriminated against because “Caucasian” officers with similar conduct didn’t receive such treatment.  Chief Ridenhour, who is also black, declined to comment in the published report, citing the ongoing litigation.

 

The driver of the other vehicle involved, 33-year-old Ricardo Andre, had several outstanding warrants for his arrest and was not seriously injured.  26-year-old Tiffany Fitzgerald died of injuries sustained in the December 2016 crash.  Andre pleaded no contest to a manslaughter charge and is expected to be sentenced August 3rd in Waterbury Superior Court. 

 

Hodge was charged with reckless driving and received a special form of probation available to first time offenders which will result in the charge being erased from his record.

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Newtown grants easement to future animal sanctuary named for child killed on 12-14

An easement has been approved by Newtown officials for the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary.  The facility is named for one of the children killed at Sandy Hook School.  The Hubbard family was previously deeded a parcel of state-owned land adjacent to the Second Company Governor’s Horse Guard for the sanctuary, but an access road is needed.   

 

Planning Director George Benson says an easement from Newtown is needed to develop a driveway because there is no legal access to a road.  An existing partial road is already owned by the family.  The driveway would also give access to a proposed commercial development site between Commerce Road and the animal sanctuary.   

 

The Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection must sign off on the driveway plans. Benson will work with the Hubbard family and a developer to complete the driveway.

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Brush fire burns hillside along Candlewood Lake in New Milford

There was a brush fire in New Milford on Friday evening.  The fire was reported in the area of Dike's Point around 5:30pm.  The New Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department's marine boat has water pumps and supplied water from Candlewood Lake.  Brookfield Volunteer Fire Department provided mutual aid with boats on the scene until about 8pm, after which State resources helped fight the fire into the night.

 
FirstLight Power Resources has filed an incident report with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission about a wildfire on their property Friday. 
 
The Dike was undamaged and there were no reported injuries.  Around 9 o'clock that evening, fire officials told FirstLight employees that firefighters would be onsite for a couple of more hours, and then two members of DEEP would monitor the site overnight for flare ups.  Firefighters returned at 5am Saturday to wet down the area and pick up the hoses. 
 
The fire was contained to the hillside but burned about 1.5 acres.

 

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New Milford officials give update on road projects

New Milford Mayor Pete Bass is giving an update on some road projects in town.  Long Mountain Rd and Squire Hill Road reconstruction bids will be awarded this week.  Construction signs will be posted in the next few weeks and the project should begin sometime next month.  Meanwhile trees have been removed from along Town Farm Road for drainage work.  Town Farm is closed  to thru traffic between 7am and 3pm for the approximately 3 week long project. On the Still River roundabout, half of the truck apron is complete and the Lanesville splitter island is complete.  The truck apron is a red herringbone pattern and the splitter island is grey straight brick pattern.

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Carmel Police warn of spoofing phone scam

The Carmel Police Department has received a complaint of a scam in which phone numbers for the police and town government are being spoofed.  A victim reported that a male caller with a Middle Eastern accent was trying to gather information about cell phone software from the victim and appeared to be calling from a Town of Carmel Official Phone Line.  If information was given, Carmel Police believe the scammer would have attempted to gain remote access into the victims phone or computer and extort money.  The victim recognized the scam right away and did not lose any money or give any personal information. 

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Police deploy Taser on man who led Troopers on multi-town chase

A New Fairfield man who led police in pursuit, was tased by Troopers when they were finally able to stop his car several towns from where the chase began.  Connecticut State Police tried to stop 32-year old Edward Lasch on Newtown Road in Danbury on Friday, but the driver fled.  Stop sticks were deployed in Sherman, bringing the chase to an end. 
 
The driver resisted arrest and Troopers used a Taser to gain compliance.  Multiple firearms, numerous narcotics and paraphernalia was found in the car.  
 
 
Lasch was the subject of an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court on charges of larceny, criminal mischief and criminal trover.  For Friday's incident, he was charged with criminal possession of a weapon by a felon, possession of a loaded rifle in a vehicle, four counts of a having a weapon in a car, carrying a firearm under the influence, assault on a public safety officer, reckless endangerment, engaging police in pursuit, operating with a suspended license, reckless driving, misuse of plates, criminal mischief, speeding, possession of drugs, marijuana, and paraphernalia, possession of narcotics with intent to sell. 
 
He was arraigned on Friday.

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Wreath presentation at Danbury Korean War Memorial today

A commemorative wreath will be presented at the Korean War Memorial in Danbury this morning.  The memorial at Rogers Park is the only Korea War Memorial in the state of Connecticut.  The ceremony is at 10am.

 

The Danbury War Memorial says the visit by Korean War Veterans’ Ambassadress Hannah Kim is part of an ambitious three-month journey visiting memorials in all 50 states, to honor and remember those who served, and to help promote peace on the Korean Peninsula. 

 

The Wall of Remembrance, an addition to the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, was approved by Congress in 2016, but a lack of funding has delayed its construction for two years. As a result, the names of the nearly 37,000 Americans who died in Korea are still waiting to be inscribed for posterity.  77 Korean War soldiers from Connecticut are still unaccounted for.

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Kitchen fire extinguished in Danbury restaurant

There was a fire Saturday night in a Danbury restaurant.  Firefighters responded to El Bacano Restaurant on Railroad Place after Police reported a kitchen fire.  Smoke was seen coming from the building when firefighters arrived.  The Danbury Fire Marshals office was requested to the scene and is investigating the cause.

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State Police investigate car break ins in Southbury, Roxbury

There have been a number of car break ins in the Roxbury and Southbury area.  On Sunday morning, State Police Troopers responded to Southbury Road in Roxbury on a report of two black men rummaging through a vehicle in a resident's driveway. 

 

The suspects fled in a silver sedan.  As Southbury police officers responded to the area, the car was located and the suspects were stopped.  Troopers found burglary tools, numerous credit cards, small electronics, fishing gear, driver’s licenses and women’s pocketbooks, none of which belonged to either suspect. 

 

The investigation is ongoing. 

 

Anyone in the area who noticed items missing from their vehicle is asked to contact Troop A at 203-267-2200.  The car break-ins occurred in the area of River Road, Falls Road and Southbury Road in Roxbury and Perkins Road and Brown Brook Road in Southbury. 

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Police investigating 'untimely deaths' connected to opioids

LITCHFIELD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut State police say they're investigating four untimely deaths in relation to heroin overdoses.

In a statement sent out Saturday evening, officials said the overdoses have been reported in Litchfield County over the past nine days, with heroin paraphernalia found at each scene.

State Police Trooper Kelly Grant says it is unknown if any of the consumed narcotics were contaminated "by any substances unknown" to the deceased.

Grant recommends knowing the symptoms of an opioid overdose, including slow or stopped breathing; blue skin or fingernails; reduced heartbeat; a limp body, or a person unable to be awakened or roused.  

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Bethel Police station firing range won't have sprinkler system

An update has been given to Bethel officials about construction progress on the new police station.  Public Site and Building Committee member Jon Menti told the Board of Selectmen recently that sprinklers will not be installed in the firing range after the Fire Marshal issued a letter saying it was not required by code.  The Town Comptroller also said the decision would not affect Bethel's insurance.  This will be a cost savings of $17,800.  The committee got an update that the communication system may delay the opening of the building. The dish is on order but may not arrive until second week of August.  The elevator contractor has pushed back work again as well. 

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Local lawmakers achieve perfect voting records

Brookfield Representative Stephen Harding and New Milford Representative Bill Buckbee have earned one hundred percent voting records for all roll call votes taken on the floor in 2018.  Harding says he takes this commitment seriously and showed that by weighing in on every issue.  Buckbee says he is committed to bringing the voice of New Milford residents to Hartford.  Bethel Representative Will Duff and Danbury Representative Michael Ferguson also made all 317 votes on the floor of the state’s House in 2018.  Each year, the House Clerk’s Office releases the data on members’ votes during the Regular Session.  Only 20-percent of legislators achieve perfect attendance in any given year.

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WCSU grads participate in Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program

Two West Conn undergrads are participating in a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program in the university's Biological and Environmental Sciences Department.  One is working on a research project seeking new methods to detect the fungus that causes White-nose Syndrome in bats.  The other is studying conservation efforts to help injured sea turtles in Long Island Sound.

 

Jasmine Grey of Naugatuck being mentored by Dr. Hannah Reynolds about the disease that has decimated bat populations across the northeastern United States and disrupted a natural control on insects that damage U.S. agricultural production. 

 

Kayla Deguzman of Norwalk is collaborating with Dr. Theodora Pinou to determine whether intervention to rescue, treat and restore injured sea turtles to their natural habitat affects their navigational mechanisms and behavior after release.

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New Fairfield woman meets with Congresswoman over deportation of her husband

A New Fairfield woman whose husband was deported in January met with Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty this week.  In a Facebook post, it was noted that Samantha Colindres relayed information about the struggles she and her two children have been facing without Joel and his primary income.  The family is looking to sell their home and relocate.  Despite having an approved I-130 and Visa sponsorship through a valid marriage to his American-born wife, no criminal history and proof of payment of taxes Joel was deported to his native Guatemala earlier this year.

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Danbury Fire officials recommend new Headquarters, west side station in annual report

The Danbury Fire Department has provided a Statement of Conditions to City officials.  Chief TJ Wiedl says the conventional operations of the Department are sound.
 
Fire Headquarters is nearly half a century old and is too small.  Some equipment continues to be stored at Danbury Airport, which is subject to FAA restrictions.  Wiedl cautioned that the space may be lost.  An engineering study of 19 New Street was completed in 2012. 
 
The site and structure can be modified, according to the report, but Wiedl says they still believe the best option is to build a new structure at a new location.  The current site straddles a flood plain and is subject to FEMA and EPA approvals.
 
A 2010 Task Force Report from the Mayor recommended construction of a new engine house in the south end of the city, now served by Engine 22 from Fire Headquarters.  While the station would be ideally situated in the area of Main and South streets to Shelter Rock, Wiedl says the station may be best considered as desired rather than necessary. 
 
He says the rapid expansion of residential and commercial properties on the westside places more demand there.  Wield says the need for a station hosting an engine company and an ambulance is more obvious than even a couple of years ago.  Wiedl called on City officials to consider a plan for this now, as the growth will continue and eventually overextend current staffing and response capabilities.
 
Wiedl continues to recommend that Padanram Hose Company, Wooster Hose Company and Citizens Hose Company be moved to a new, modern station housing all three.  The North Street structure was built in 1950, is in a poor location and has inadequate parking.  It's in need of roof repairs, new windows and the fire escape needs replacing.  The roof of Citizen Hose on Jefferson Avenue was replaced a few years ago, but is now leaking.  A new HVAC, boiler and insulation are needed.  The structure is over 120 years old.  Wooster Hose on Coal Pit Hill was built in 1883.  Though quaint in appearance, he says they are not suited for use by modern fire departments.  Wiedl suggests selling two of the properties.

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Revenue fund set up for GE donation for Newtown Community Center

A special revenue fund has been created in Newtown to account for the donation from GE and other community center revenues.  The account is needed to track money from the donation since the community center and the senior center are being built at the same time.  The first allocation will be made for the director, who started last month.  Newtown Board of Finance members say the account will create transparency around expenditures and revenue.  First Selectman Dan Rosenthal will oversee coordination with Parks and Rec in the director’s job description.    

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UPDATED: Motorcyclist killed in accident on I-84 in Newtown

A motorcyclist was killed in a highway crash in Newtown this morning.  State Police say 48-year old William Jasmin of Danbury struck a concrete bridge rail between exits 11 and 13, around 7am.  State Police say the man was ejected from the bike and struck the guardrail on top of the concrete bridge rail.  Jasmin was pronounced dead at the scene.  He came to rest in the right lane while the motorcycle landed in the left lane.  The highway was closed for a time while police responded.  The bike was towed from the scene.  State Police say the cause of the crash is unknown at this time.  Anyone who witnessed the accident is asked to contact Trooper Matthew Bell at Troop A in Southbury at (203) 267-2200.

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Bethel Fire Department releases June call logs

Bethel Fire Department has released statistics for June calls.  There were a total of 33, the most for response to car accidents and automatic alarms.  During the month of June, Bethel Fire responded to 3 structure and 3 brush fires.  There was also a stove fire, a grill issue and a tree on a house.  Bethel Fire also responded to 4 EMS assists, 5 unauthorized burns and investigated a lightning strike.  Bethel Fire was also requested 4 times out of town for Mutual Aid.  Bethel EMS had a total of 121 calls for service during the month.  10 were for mutual aid out of district.

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Woman arrested for armed robbery at Danbury gas station

A woman has been arrested for an armed robbery of a Danbury gas station. Danbury Police were called to the Exxon station on North Main Street early Wednesday morning about a woman with a knife who stole an undisclosed sum of cash and then fled. 

 

Video surveillance helped police determine that the suspect was 30-year old Elizabeth Saparato of Danbury.  She was arrested at home home on Tuesday without incident.  Saparato was charged with robbery, unlawful restraint and larceny. 

 

She was held on $50,000 bond.

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WCSU expands blue-green algae sampling on Candlewood Lake

West Conn is expanding its blue-green algae sampling of Candlewood Lake.  For several years students have taken weekly sampling at public beaches and reported to local health directors.  With sites being added this year, West Conn is looking for the public's help.  The university is working with Aquatic Ecosystem Research and the Candlewood Lake Authority. 

 

The goal is to see whether other areas along the shoreline exhibit similar conditions as the town beaches. 

 

A New Fairfield High School graduate who attends UConn will collect water samples at additional sites around Candlewood and other nearby lakes, based on reports of blue-green algae “blooms” to local health departments, the Candlewood Lake Authority or directly to him by the public. 

 

To report a bloom, send an email to Josh  Sproule at sproule003@connect.wcsu.edu. Information in the email should include the name and phone number of the person reporting the bloom, an address, location along the shoreline or GPS coordinates where the bloom can be found, and permission to access private property to sample, should it be required.

 

If a picture of the bloom is available, that should be attached to the email, as well.  

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Danbury prison inmate pleads guilty to possessing contraband

An inmate at Danbury Federal Correctional Institution has pleaded guilty to possession of contraband.  According to court documents, 41-year old John Faucher possessed an object designed or intended to be used as a weapon.  He is scheduled to be sentenced in October and faces up to 5 years in prison.  Faucher is currently serving a 46-month sentence at Danbury FCI for robbing a bank in New Hampshire, in October 2016, and attempting to rob a convenience store in Manchester in September 2016.   He was scheduled for release in February 2020.

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Homeless encampment along Still River cleaned up

A clean up effort has been completed along the Still River in Danbury where two homeless people had been living.  The Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team, with the help of a Clean Start program crew and community service workers, the clean up was done under the Casper Street bridge.  There was an accumulation of bulky garbage and tarps.  UNIT Director Shawn Stillman says the two people, who were living there for a period of time, had no interest in going to the City Shelter.  UNIT contacted Jericho Partnership and coordinated for the two parties discuss their housing and shelter options.  One person took advantage of the housing benefits that Jericho offered.

 

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Newtown Police apply for state grant for body cameras

Newtown Police are applying for reimbursement from the state for body-worn cameras.  The grant is 100 percent reimburse to the town for the $69,400 cost.  Chief James Viadero says up until several months ago, the state wasn't allowing for infrastructure, but now they are.  That infrastructure includes software and storage in the form of servers to store video data. 

 

Viadero says the grant requires a guarantee to the state that the department will follow POST guidelines and monitor implementation of the cameras.  Those guidelines include reviewing policies, FIOA requests, and how long data will be kept for among others.  He says this type of technology is nothing out of the ordinary for Newtown Police because they already have in-car cameras. 

 

Viadero added that this is a good opportunity to stay with the national curve, and to get technology which at some point will likely become mandatory in the state. 

 

He says the benefit of applying now that servers can be paid for by the state is that it eliminates a recurring cost for a contract for cloud-based storage.  Right now the department has some storage capability, but the server will allow for more. 

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Brookfield Library participates in One Book, One Read program

Brookfield Library has organized a One Town, One Read program.  The reading selection is My Dear Hamilton.  The town-wide program has a goal of building community spirit through a shared reading experience. This will be the first year for Brookfield to do this program.  A series of events and discussions inspired by the themes of the book will be held this month and next, including an author talk.  There will be prizes for the program, including the chance to win a pair of tickets to see the Broadway musical Hamilton.

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Danbury board postpones hearing on Dorothy Day House variances

Tonight's Danbury Zoning Board of Appeals meeting has been cancelled.  The group was going to continue discussing a request for variances by representatives for the Dorothy Day Hospitality House.  They are waiting for more documents about the request.  Attorney Neil Marcus previously told the group that his client is seeking to file a site plan, with special exceptions, before the Planning Commission.  Variances are being sought for driveway requirements, setbacks and parking lot size.  The next meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals is scheduled for August 9th.

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Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission to interview design finalists

The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission is meeting tonight.  They recently sent letters to the more than 150 designers who submitted proposals, but were not selected for further consideration.  A list of questions for each of the three finalist designers about their specific proposal will be discussed.  Those designers are based in California, Arizona and Minnesota.  An interview meeting has been set up for next Tuesday.  The Public Building and Site Commission will help to write the request for proposals.

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Bethel signs on to new agreement with HRRA

The Bethel Board of Selectmen has approved a Municipal Regional Solid Waste and Recycling System Agreement.  Jen Heaton-Jones with Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority discussed the agreement between HRRA and the Town at a recent meeting.  HRRA was formed for volume discounting for solid waste disposal.  The contract with municipalities was created in 1986.  It's set to expire June 30th 2019.  HRRA has 11 member municipalities.  
 
The state has put into action many laws about solid waste and recycling.  The state has set a goal of   60-percent diversion of solid waste by 2024, but most towns are currently at 20 to 30 percent.
 
Heaton-Jones says it's nearly impossible to enforce unit-based pricing on private haulers, but it would be easier if there was municipal collection through tax base.  She says Torrington is looking into a pay-as-you-throw program.  Residents would get free recycling services, but have to purchase trash bags for $3.75 each.  The idea is that people will recycle more if they think about what it costs to throw out garbage.
 
According to the state Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, similar waste reduction programs have been successfully implemented in about 7,000 communities nationwide. DEEP noted that the charge is like how residents pay for use for electricity, gas and other other utilities.

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Dirt piles to be removed from former Danbury Topsoil site

If you've seen workers at the former home of Danubry Topsoil on Miry Brook Road recently, it's crews removing the piles of dirt for the property's new owner.  The operators of Westconn Aviation purchased the more than 2 acre site abutting the airport earlier this year at a bankruptcy auction.  Danbury started legal action against the previous owner over back taxes about five years ago and the City will receive that money through the bankruptcy proceeding.  The Newstimes reports that Westconn Aviation intends to put the industrial zoned parcel on the market.

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Danbury firefighters help overheated dog at Tarrywile Park

Danbury firefighters helped a dog yesterday who was overcome by the heat.  Members of the Danbury Fire Department have been training with a new Polaris Utility Terrain Vehicle.  Yesterday they were on some trails at Tarrywile Park, where there have been numerous calls for assistance.  While training, a crew came across a hiker whose dog had become overheated and needed assistance.  The firefighters got some of their drinking water and assisted the dog until he was healthy enough to make it back to the car.

 

(Photo: DFD)

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Machete slaying suspect agrees to return to New York

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) One of a dozen suspects in the death of a 15-year-old boy attacked with a machete outside a New York City bodega has waived extradition from Connecticut.

The Republican-American reports that 25-year-old Luis Cabrarasantos told a judge Tuesday that he was innocent before agreeing not to fight a return to New York, where he faces murder and other charges in the June 20 death of Lesandro Guzman-Feliz in the Bronx. The boy was slashed in the neck with a machete in what authorities think was a case of mistaken identity.

Cabrarasantos was arrested Monday during a traffic stop on Interstate 84 in Southbury, Connecticut. A state trooper pulled over the car when his license plate reader detected it was possibly stolen and wanted in connection to a homicide in New York City. 

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Monroe, Wilton investigating car break ins, thefts

Lock it or lose it. That's the new phrase being used by Wilton Police as the Department investigates multiple motor vehicle burglaries along with a stolen motor vehicle in the Northern part of town Monday night into Tuesday morning.
 
The Monroe Police Department is investigating multiple motor vehicle burglaries on the Southeast side of town that happened yesterday. 
 
Suspects are targeting unlocked vehicles and stealing vehicles with the keys left in them in residential neighborhoods. Residents are asked to please take all valuables out of vehicles and lock them, even when parked at home.
 
Wilton Police are asking anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity or may have caught any suspicious activity on their security systems during the overnight hours to please contact the Department at 203-834-6260.
 
Monroe Police are asking the same, and the Department can be reached at 203-261-3622.

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Danbury UNIT makes progress in getting blighted properties cleaned

Over the last few weeks, the Danbury Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team has been able to close out a dozen blight cases on properties where written orders had been issued.  Many were issued for exterior garbage.  UNIT Director Shawn Stillman says the most significant was an Oakland Avenue Ext. property.  He says tenants continued to disregard warnings, creating an eyesore with inoperable and unregistered vehicles kept on the property.  There were also car parts, scrap metal and excessive wood along the dead end street.  The property owner ended up evicting a tenant, delaying the clean up process.  Nearly four months later, the property is now as clean, and the neighbors have taken notice.

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