A Special Town Meeting is being held tonight in Bridgewater. Residents are voting on whether to transfer $120,000 from the General Fund Reserve Account into the Capital Expenditures for future years equipment purchases. Residents will also see a presentation on options for the future of Bridgewater Grange Hall and have a chance to provide feedback and preferences on alternative designs and cost estimates. The meeting is at 7pm at the Burnham School.
Danbury Library has been selected as one of 20 public libraries nationwide to receive a $10,000 American Dream Literacy Initiative grant from the American Library Association. Danbury Library plans to offer free, beginner-level English courses for Speakers of Other Languages.
Library Director Katie Pearson says 45% of Danbury residents report speaking a language other than English at home and these classes are one of the most common requests the Information Desk gets. Each course, facilitated by WERACE adult ed, will run for ten weeks with five hours of instruction per week; totaling 50 hours of instruction per course.
85 libraries applied for the 20 available grants, also funded by Dollar General Literacy Foundation.
Construction is slated to start soon in Monroe to replace two bridges on Route 25 between Judd Road and Brook Road. The state Department of Transportation says work will begin Monday to replace two box culverts, install new drainage and a water main, and associated paving. Various lane closures can be expected Mondays through Fridays 8pm to 6am and on weekends 6pm to 10am. There will be 5 weekend closures, to be announced at a later date, for major operations to be determined as the project progress. The project is scheduled for completion in August of 2019.
The Wilton Police Department has released its 2017 Annual Report. It allows review of aggregate data to identify what the Department is doing well and where there is room for growth and improvement. Officials say releasing the Annual Report is an example of how the Wilton Police Department is committed to continuing a culture of transparency and accountability. The report also shows the myriad of services the Department engages in throughout the course of the year.
A Women's History Month film and discussion is being hosted at Danbury Library this weekend. The film, based on the book "Hidden Figures," tells the story of three, female, African-American mathematicians who were integral in the success of the USA space programs.
A discussion will follow the movie centered around the barriers confronted by women of color then and now, with a focus on encouraging young women of color to pursue careers in science and math. Registration is encouraged for the event on Sunday from 1:30 to 4:30pm at Danbury Library.
The event is also being hosted by the Danbury NAACP and American Association of University Women.
A committee has approved sending multiple bills to Connecticut's legislature that would install tolls on the state's highways.
The General Assembly Transportation Committee narrowly approved the plan Thursday in a 19 to 17 vote, with the majority of Democrats supporting and Republicans opposing the tolls.
One bill would require a study on the tolls by the state Department of Transportation. Another bill would allow the DOT to set rates.
When it comes to something that would have an impact on taxpayers, Co-chair, Wilton Senator Toni Boucher believes lawmakers should keep the decision making closest to those who are closest to, and answerable to the public.
Boucher said she could not vote for any measures that require Connecticut drivers to pay even more, without reducing or eliminating other costs. She is also concerned by one bill, which could see a toll plan enacted without a legislative vote. She says a Transportation Authority would be deemed approved if not acted upon by the legislature within a short period of time.
Sandy Hook Promise has launched a national, anonymous reporting system to root out school violence. It's the Say Something crisis hotline. Co-founder Mark Barden says 80 percent of school shooters told someone about their plan before they carried it out. The call center is staffed 24/7 with trained experts who can then vet and prioritize information and then report to authorities. This builds off the organization's Say Something initiative. The free school-based program teaches students the warning signs that a peer is about to commit violence. Barden says he'd rather have 100 false alarms if means 1 tip leads to an intervention. Students can submit an anonymous tip online or by phone.
Two of the five towns surrounding Candlewood Lake are opposed to a budget increase for the Candlewood Lake Authority. The Newstimes reports that Sherman and New Milford believe the budget might need to be reevaluated. If three of the five towns approve their contributions, all five are required to pay.
Brookfield and New Fairfield officials have each proposed the $79,900 in their local budgets. Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton is expected to present his budget to the City Council next month.
The contribution is $2,100 more than this year. The published report says the Authority is facing a $6,400 hike in rent for their New Milford office.
A Danbury teen has accepted a plea deal for the death of another Danbury teen last year. 16-year old Ronald Massagli was in court yesterday and pleaded guilty to manslaughter, dropping the original felony murder charge from his record. He could be imprisoned for 4 to 15 years.
Massagli was arrested for the August 5th death of 18-year old Gabe Bardo.
According to police, Bardo agreed to meet a friend to deliver marijuana, but was beaten by several teens. Bardo died several days later in the hospital from a brain bleed.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for June.
Another teen, Lorenzo Santanta, allegedly thew the fatal blow to Bardo's head. The teen getaway driver set up the meeting and has been charged as a juvenile. She faces a felony robbery charge. Another juvenile was also charged. Massagli and Santana, who reportedly have lengthy juvenile records, are both being tried as adults.
Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell announced during her recent State of the County address that an agreement has been reached with Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton to extend the city sewer line along the Route 6 corridor. But the Journal News reports that there is no formal agreement.
LoHud.com, citing a Tax Watch investigation, says Odell repeated the assertion to the Putnam County Legislature and the Carmel Town Board. The Journal News reports that the sewer line extension was proposed in New York to boost retail development and to get around restrictions protecting New York City's watershed.
As previously reported, Putnam County has been awarded a more than one million dollar grant from the Empire State Development agency for engineering studies, but the money has not yet been awarded. The Danbury City Council has also not yet voted on the proposal.
A proposal to raise the cap on how much consumers can buy directly from breweries for off-premises consumption will not be voted on by the legislature's General Law Committee. The group plans to include language in a larger alcohol regulation bill.
Many people in the state's craft beer industry testified during a public hearing that the 9-liter limit doesn't allow them to sell a case of 16-ounce bottles, which is more popular than the current 12-ounce bottles. Barry Labendz of Kent Falls Brewing Company, the state's first farm brewery testified in support.
The Connecticut Beer Wholesalers Association, which represents six major distributors around the state, opposes the proposal.
New York, Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont do not limit how much breweries can sell in their taprooms.
Danbury state Representative Michael Ferguson pushed for a bill about acceptance of AP course credits at public colleges, if the student scored a 4 or greater. But the bill did not get advanced by the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee this week.
Ferguson said the proposal would have addressed some of the challenges around Advanced Placement courses, but bringing consistency among public state schools.
At Danbury High School, 45% of juniors and seniors take at least one AP course, and 30% of those students qualify for free or reduced lunch. CollegeBoard currently has 38 AP courses, 24 of which are offered at Danbury High School. Students could complete nearly a full year of credits prior to entering college, which Ferguson says would make college more affordable for students.
The State Department of Transportation will be conducting a routine bridge inspection on Route 34 over the Stevenson Dam next week. The inspection activity will take place from Monday through Friday, 9am to 3pm and on Saturday the 31st from 6am to noon. During this time, there will be one-way, alternating traffic over the bridge. Monroe and Oxford Police Departments will be directing traffic.
Standard & Poor's has reaffirmed Newtown's AAA bond rating, with a stable outlook. The latest municipal audit also revealed positive results. The Newtown Bee reports that while any cuts in state aid will put increased pressure on local municipal budgets, auditors determined that property taxes have provided a reliable revenue source. Property taxes account for approximately 90 percent of the general fund revenue. The Government Finance Officers Association has awarded Newtown its Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the 17th consecutive year.
Danbury Head Start and School Readiness students are showing off their science, engineering and math skills in an early childhood development Science Fair. During the second annual event hosted by the Connecticut Institute For Communities Early Learning Programs, demonstrations and classroom projects will be shown to families. The event Friday is from 5:30 to 7pm at the Head Start Center on Foster Street.
A Career Fair has been held at Rogers Park Middle School in Danbury. Nearly 1,000 students in grades six through eight went to classes Wednesday given by area professionals on their careers. Superintendent Dr. Sal Pascarella spoke to the students about the importance of considering careers before the event began. The presenters’ occupations ranged from crime scene investigator to horse trainer to pilot. Prison guard Jimmy Durkin, RN Rachel Wright, Danbury police officer Manny Martinez, Army Colonel Michael Port, school counselors and staff, chef Morgan Vondle, podiatrist Dr. Richard Gosnay and others participated.
EASTON, Conn. (AP) Police say a Massachusetts man volunteering with Emergency Medical Services in Connecticut took inappropriate photos of patients riding in the ambulance.
Authorities say 21-year-old Christopher Barlow took photos of patients while volunteering with Easton EMS. He is also suspected of placing a hidden camera inside a bathroom at the EMS building.
Police arrested the man Wednesday and charged him with two counts of voyeurism.
Authorities say Barlow is facing additional charges in connection with the theft of two firearms from a co-worker, providing a false statement on a firearm application and forging documents to present himself as an Easton police officer.
Barlow was indicted on similar charges last year after police said he falsely claimed to be a Homeland Security agent and stockpiled guns, ammunition and explosives.
It's been six months since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico.
The Red Cross is reporting there are 89 families residing in Danbury who have evacuated from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. There are 15 new students in the Danbury School system. The Danbury Public Health Emergency Preparedness Division is working with FEMA, through their Transitional Shelter Assistance program, and the Danbury Housing Authority to obtain housing for some families.
Thousands of Puerto Rican families fled to Connecticut in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
Local Health Departments are providing updates on the numbers and status of evacuees to the state. Members of the Danbury Public Health Emergency Preparedness Division participated in the Puerto Rico Relief Center Leadership Conference in January, hosted by the Red Cross. Members of volunteer organizations, FEMA, and various city officials discussed the challenges and possible solutions for aiding with evacuees in Connecticut.
In his budget adjustments, Governor Malloy proposed $400,000 to continue providing temporary housing assistance to about 40 Puerto Rican families displaced by Hurricane Maria.
Senator Chris Murphy, a member of the Appropriations Committee, is urging Congress to appropriate additional funding to help the island rebuild and recover from the $100 billion in damage, and to help communities, like those in Connecticut, that have taken in families who fled from the island.
Hurricane Maria destroyed roughly 75,000 homes and caused damage to an additional 300,000 homes.
More than 275,000 Puerto Ricans live in Connecticut, making up about 8 percent of the state’s population. Murphy and Senator Richard Blumenthal traveled to Puerto Rico earlier this year to see firsthand the ongoing devastation on the island to secure comprehensive aid for Puerto Ricans.
The state Department of Education has approved the appointment of an acting superintendent of Schools in Ridgefield. Robert Miller was appointed by the local board of Ed last week. The Board and Superintendent Karen Baldwin entered an agreement earlier this month for her resignation. Baldwin was placed on administrative leave following claims she plagiarized documents and letters sent to parents. Miller, the director of operations development and technology, will serve through June 30th.
A public hearing on the proposed budget for the coming fiscal year was held in Bethel Tuesday night, and dozens of parents and students called for a turf field at the high school. Turning DeSantis Field into turf is estimated to cost is $964,000, and would cover the price of resurfacing the track. The project has been postponed amid state education funding cuts. Bethel is the only town in the South West Conference without a turf field. The proposed $75.2 million budget is a 3.2 percent increase over the current year, representing a 5-percent hike in taxes. A $1.4 million capital budget is also proposed.
An anti-bullying forum is being held in New Milford on Monday by state Representative Bill Buckbee. Superintendent Josh Smith will talk about social and emotional health and well being in the context of what the schools are doing to build strong youth. New Milford Youth Agency youth advocate Jason O'Connor says they want to bring together the whole community, to come up with systemwide solutions to deal with bullying. The event at the The Maxx from 6 to 7:30pm is free and open to the public. It will include an expert panel to discuss what parents can do if you suspect or know that your child is being bullied.
The community meeting at Burnham School on the Region 12 Superintendent search has been postponed to March 28th. The meeting has been rescheduled for 7pm next Wednesday at the Burnham School gym. Region 12 school board officials are seeking input and opinions on what residents believe are the needed characteristics and attributes of a successful district leader. Dr. Joseph Erardi is the Region’s superintendent search consultant, and will lead the community meeting for Bridgewater residents.
Due to the number of snow days, the Bethel Board of Education decided that if one more snow day cancellation is made, it will be made up on March 30th, Good Friday, with a half day. The calendar was also changed to 180 days for students. The last day for students will be a half day on Friday, June 22. Teachers will return on Monday, June 25th for a full day of Professional Learning. The Bethel Board of Ed decided to keep June 19th as the date for graduation for the Class of 2018.
Eight students from the Westside Middle School Academy STEM program took home prizes at the Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair held earlier this month at Quinnipiac University.
Principal Dr Frank LaBanca the students are being prepared well for the responsibilities of college, career and civic life, calling them true innovators. More than 600 students from 120 middle and high schools from Connecticut, Fishers Island and New York competed in the 70th annual fair for more than $200,000 in prizes.
For the past three years, WSMSA, led by science teacher and theme coach Jon Neuhausel, has been one of the top three middle school in the state in terms of winning entries.
Three Connecticut residents are due in court next week on drug related charges. Putnam County Sheriff deputies with the Narcotics Enforcement Unit stopped a car on Belden Road in Carmel for having a brake light out on February 29th. MDMA was found in the vehicle. The driver, 30-year old Alexander Schvets of Redding and passengers 27-year old Nicole Cannizzaro of Redding and 33-year old Jonathan Wilson of Danbury, were each charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance for being found with the ecstasy. They were released on bail.
Water Witch Hose Company has received a $5,000 training grant from the National Volunteer Fire Council. The company has 47 volunteers who serve 22,500 residents over 40 square miles. All members are required to certify at Firefighter I, and most advance their training to Firefighter II.
The New Milford company is one of 10 across the country to receive the funding from Josh Cellars Vineyards, which was created by Joseph Carr as a tribute to his father, a volunteer firefighter and U.S. Army veteran.
The grant money will be used in New Milford for training on modern day forcible entry and firefighter survival and rescue. The classroom and practical skills sessions will teach firefighter to enter a structure with the least amount of property damage and advanced techniques to protect their crews and mutual aid partners.
Eversource Energy says it's prepared for whatever this fourth nor'easter in three weeks brings to the region. The utility has line and tree crews in place as wind gusts of up to 45 miles an hour are expected in some areas.
A utility official says this storm has the potential to bring trees and tree limbs down onto power lines, causing damage to the energy system. Trees are already weakened from previous storms, leaving them susceptible to coming down in high winds and damaging equipment.
Metro-North is operating a reduced weekday schedule with some combined/cancelled trains during the peak periods. Conditions are expected to deteriorate rapidly during the day, making travel extremely difficult or even impossible. In the evening, Metro-North plans to further reduce its service to hourly to ensure customer safety during the storm. Passengers should anticipate delays due to the effects of the winter storm.
Should storm conditions worsen and impact the ability to safely operate trains, Metro-North cautioned they may be forced to suspend service with little advance notice.
A New York man fled police on I-84 when he was stopped yesterday and found in possession of fake drivers licenses. New York State Troopers stopped the Jeep in Southeast for traffic violations and could smell marijuana.
26-year old Earl Allen of the Bronx was found in possession of 4.2 grams of pot. He tossed credit cards and personal checks as he ran. Allen was caught a short distance from his vehicle and taken into custody.
Allen was determined to be operating while impaired by drugs. He was arraigned and ordered held at Putnam County Jail in lieu of bond. Allen was charged with tampering with evidence, resisting arrest, obstruction, operating while impaired by drugs, possession of marijuana and three felony counts of possession of a forged instrument.
A Connecticut high school principal has apologized for plagiarizing a letter sent to parents.
The Hartford Courant reports Somers High School Principal Gary Cotzin said Monday his letter describing plans to allow students to leave class for a national school walkout on gun violence was ``predominantly copied from another high school.''
A similar issue happened in Ridgefield, where a student realized parts of a letter sent to parents and staff by the Superintendent were the same as a letter sent by the West Hartford superintendent. Karen Baldwin was placed on administrative leave and the Board of Ed is evaluating whether she should resign.
A man has been extradited from Canada to face charges in Danbury. 39-year old Wesley Teixeira-DeSouza allegedly killed a dog and tried to strangle his wife during an argument last year at an Osborne Street home. He was arrested last May, but failed to show for a court appearance. Teixeira-DeSouza has been detained since November and appeared in Danbury Superior Court on Monday where he pleaded not guilty. He remains held on bond for an appearance on the 27th.
The Danbury Fire Department is touting a community outreach event held over the weekend with the American Red Cross. 198 smoke alarms were installed during the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign, aimed at reducing and eliminating fire-related deaths and injuries. Teams of volunteers made visits to homes, shared fire safety and preparedness information and installed smoke alarms. Volunteers also helped families develop personalized escape plans to use in the event of a fire. Fire Department officials say several more appointment requests being processed.
New Milford Police are investigating a fraud complaint. A Pleasant View Road resident reported that mail was removed from the mailbox on the 14th. Three male suspects were seen in what appeared to be a newer model white Honda Accord with a New York registration. Anyone with any information is asked to contact New Milford Police at 860-355-3133.
(Photo: New Milford Police)
An informational meeting is being held in Ridgefield Thursday night by the state Department of Transportation on proposals to ease traffic congestion on Main Street. The $3.15 million project would revamp Main Street between Governor and Prospect streets.
Pedestrian crossing improvements, dedicated left-turn lanes, realigning the CVS shopping plaza entrance and replacing some trees are all part of the proposal. 80-percent of the project would be funded with federal dollars, with the balance coming from the state. Construction could begin next year, if funding is available.
A design presentation will start at 7pm with a chance to meet with representatives at 6:30 Thursday in the school board room of the town hall annex. If postponement is required due to inclement weather, the public hearing will be held on April 12, at the original hour and location.
An informational meeting is being held in Redding tonight to give an overview of train operations and horn protocol. A summary of noise audits and noise complaint investigations will be discussed by representatives from Metro North and the state Department of Transportation. Safety improvements planned at railroad crossings in Redding will also be discussed. The informational event is from 7:30 to 10:30pm at the Redding Community Center. A forum called Train Horn Abuse Danbury Line was held in August.
A Danbury man has been arrested by Norwalk Police for assault on an officer. 32-year old Juan Ramirez told officers on Saturday night that his car was disabled, but he appeared to be under the influence. Ramirez failed field sobriety tests and resisted arrest, tripping and sustaining cuts to his face. When he was placed into the police cruiser, he allegedly kicked an officer in the chest. Ramirez allegedly refused to walk out of the hospital and was carried out while yelling that he was going to kill the officers. He was also charged with threatening and interfering with an officer. He is due in court on March 26th.
A former Danbury mayoral candidate has paid a fine to settle an ethics code violation. The Office of State Ethics says Al Almeida paid the $750 penalty.
The former Investigator for the Office of the Chief Public Defender in Danbury is accused of doing work in 2013 for a private company, unrelated to his state position, while on state time. He used his state-issued computer and other state-owned equipment to conduct business related to his outside job.
While running for Mayor last year, Almeida reportedly used the state email system in his unsuccessful election bid.
A public official or state employee is prohibited from using state resources to obtain personal financial gain. Almeida served in his state position for 24 years and had no prior history of ethics violations. He resigned his state position and is no longer a state employee.
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton is discussing his seizure brought on from dehydration last week during a GOP gubernatorial candidate event in Avon. He told reporters that he doesn't remember if he took his anti-seizure medication that day and hadn't eaten enough leading up to the forum. He also didn't drink enough, leading to severe dehydration.
Boughton says the episode wasn't related to last year's brain surgery to remove a noncancerous tumor. He was on the anti-seizure medication as a precaution. When he announced his gubernatorial bid, Boughton said he would make his medical records public and repeated that offer now.
Boughton plans to exercise more and has hired a nutritionist.
A public hearing is being held in Bethel tonight about the proposed budget for the coming fiscal year. The Board of Finance recommended a 2.3 percent increase over the current year to pay for more projects through the operating budget, not bonding them. The capital budget was also reduced from the $2.1 million selectmen request to $1.4 million. The municipal plan is proposed at $30.2 million, while the schools are asking for $45.1 million. The public hearing is at 7pm at the Bethel High School auditorium. The annual town meeting will be held April 4th.
An Easton man has been sentenced for possessing meth and nearly 600 Xanax pills. 26-year old Cavan Devine was sentenced to three years in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release. Easton Police seized a bag belonging to Devine in December 2016 and found 744 grams of meth and the Xanax. A search of the hotel room he rented turned up more meth, along with items used to process, package and mail drugs. Police determined that he got the drugs off the the dark net, which he also used to distribute them. A search of his seized laptop turned up more than 1,000 images of child pornography, which Devine also acquired over the dark net.
Two Southeast residents have been arrested as a result of an underage drinking enforcement operation. New York State Police carried out the campaign at 28 stores in Brewster, Patterson and Carmel on Friday. An underage volunteer was sent in to try to buy alcohol and 27 stores were found in compliance. Two clerks at Brewster Superette did not and were arrested. 65-year old Maria Lopes and 21-year old Igor Lacerda were charged with Prohibited Sale of an Alcoholic Beverage. They were issued tickets to appear in Court on the 27th. In addition, their employers face possible civil penalties imposed by the New York State Liquor Authority.
A Danbury woman has been arrested for giving a fake name to New York State Police during a routine traffic stop. Troopers pulled a car over on Route 6 in Southeast early Sunday morning and could smell alcohol and marijuana.
The driver, later identified as 34-year old Tiela Taft, gave several names and birth dates despite being warned of the consequences. Nearly 4 grams of pot was found in the vehicle. Taft's blood alcohol content was more thant twice the legal limit.
She was arraigned and ordered held at Putnam County Jail on bond. Taft is due in court April 10th.
The perennial problem of potholes has been made worse in the Danbury area by the rain and snow this winter, washing out temporary fill. Three crews are out daily, when weather permits, with the cold patch material. Danbury Superintendent of Public Services Tim Nolan says a company is being brought in this week to tackle some larger problem spots.
The truck has a mounted spray injection patcher. It uses a hydraulic boom to clear the pothole of debris, and then to apply liquid asphalt to fill and seal it. The company says the process is quick, doing the job within minutes.
(Photo: City of Danbury)
Most asphalt plants open in the beginning of April.
Danbury residents can report potholes to the city's information line 311, or 203-744-4311.
If you can't avoid a pothole, AAA recommends slowing down before you hit it, and not to brake directly over a pothole, which can cause more damage to your vehicle. Drivers are also cautioned to be on the lookout for puddles, because it might be a particularly deep pothole in hiding.
Wilton Police have received several reports of unlocked cars being entered during the overnight. Unlocked vehicles entered were in the area of Ambler Lane, Crosswicks Ridge, McFadden Drive, School Road and elsewhere. The Department is asking for the public's help in identifying the individuals seen in two videos posted to their Facebook page. Anyone with information can contact the TIPS Line at (203) 563-0256. Police are also reminding residents to lock vehicles, remove or hide valuables from plain view, and to not leave keys in the vehicle.
The state Department of Transportation is holding a public hearing next month on proposed intersection improvements in Newtown. The planned improvement project for the I-84 Exit 11 interchange at Wasserman Way also includes work on Route 34 at Toddy Hill Road.
The hearing is set for April 4th at 6:30pm at Newtown High School. The goal of the work is to reduce congestion in the area of Newtown High School.
Newtown started the improvements around Toddy Hill, but questions have come up over the highway access portions of the project after the Governor suspended transportation projects, due to the state's budget problems. The state's portion of the Exit 11 improvements has been engineered and the work is pending the allocation of funding, much of which is federal dollars.
A Danbury man has been arrested for allegedly breaking his girlfriend's car window, stealing her purse and threatening her. Danbury Police were called to a South Well Avenue home Friday night. A woman told responding officers that 26-year old Abraham Esau Ramirez came out of the house and demanded she and a juvenile get out of the car. He then allegedly used a snow shovel to break the side mirror off the car and smash the window. The victim and the youth ran down the street, but later returned to see that her purse was no longer in the car. Ramirez was charged with risk of injury to a child, criminal mischief, larceny, breach of peace, disorderly conduct and threatening.
Two local lawmakers took a tour of Henry Abbott Technical High School last week to learn more about the programing offered to the more than 600 students from 18 different towns. Danbury State Representatives Michael Ferguson and Will Duff saw the major renovations done recently to create new, state-of-the-art shop facilities, computer labs and classrooms. They also talked about proposed bills to promote manufacturing jobs, including establishing public-private partnerships for apprenticeship programs. School officials told the lawmakers that one of their big issues is how difficult it is to hire teachers and staff in a timely manner due to bureaucratic red tape.
Three Danbury High School peer leaders spent an hour a day recently teaching more than dozen middle schoolers about science, technology, engineering and math – but added the element of art to heighten creative interest. They turned STEM into STEAM. Before bringing their program to Broadview, the students did a pilot program with the English language learners at DHS.
Seniors Kevin Lapaix, Yacodou Johnson and Naomi Thomas devised a weeklong plan to engage students every day of the after-school program.
The science portion involved making “elephant” toothpaste that taught exothermic reaction through combining hydrogen peroxide, soap, yeast, water and food color. To learn technology, students created an animation program that involved coding and art elements. For engineering, the students built hurricane-safe buildings using pipe cleaners and straws that were to withstand the winds of a blow dryer.
The math portion taught students about fractions; by filling glasses with different levels of water, they were then able to use the cups to make music as each glass had a different tone.
A garage fire in the Candlewood Lake area of Danbury was extinguished early Saturday morning. Danbury Firefighters responded to Indian Spring Road shortly before 1am on a report of a chimney fire. Flames were coming through the roof of the garage when they arrived and additional units were called in because of a lack of hydrants in the area. Fire officials say it appeared to be a gas fed fire from a gas log stove. The future home owner and the moving crew were evaluated on the scene and had no injuries. Two cats in the house did make it out, but ran off and are now missing. The Danbury Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the cause of the fire.
One person was killed in a crash on Route 7 yesterday morning near Kent. State Police say the two-car accident happened in Warren near the Kent line, closing the road for several hours. Life Star was called to bring the injured victim to Hartford Hospital.
Two Massachusetts men have been arrested on drug related charges after a routine traffic stop in Danbury. State Police pulled over a car speeding over 80 miles an hour yesterday near exit 2. Troopers could smell marijuana in the vehicle.
A State Police K9 found pot in the center console and the trunk, along with three firearms, one of which had the serial number scratched off.
37-year old Robert Ruiz of Springfield was charged with illegal alteration of firearm identifications, illegal possession of a weapon in a motor vehicle and carrying a dangerous weapon. 24-year old Hector Martinez, also of Springfield, was charged with illegal possession of a weapon in a motor vehicle and carrying a dangerous weapon.
Each were released on bond for court appearances April 3.
A new executive director has been named for the Candlewood Lake Authority. Mark Howarth, longtime director of education and outreach, had been serving as interim executive director since Larry Marsicano stepped down June 30th. Marsicano became a partner with consulting firm Aquatic Ecosystem Research. The Newstimes reports that Howarth was selected from a pool of about 110 applicants from across the country, Brazil and the United Kingdom. 8 people, including Howarth were interviewed by the search committee. Howarth, who has a business management background, will be joined in the future by someone with a scientific background. The Authority wants someone separate from the Director to focus on water quality and invasive species research.
Plans are slowly coming together for what needs to be done to stabilize the remaining walls of Hearthstone Castle in Danbury. Residents approved $1.6 million in 2016 for design and construction plans for a walled garden. An environmental consultant has to be hired. A scope of work has been outlined for contractors to clear the structure of debris and contaminants. Engineers have said in the past that the basement would have to be filled, in order to stabilize the outer walls, which are all that remain of the castle after years of neglect. The roof and internal structure have collapse into the basement.
There are no utilities at the site, making new uses limited.
When plans were announced for a walled garden, there were questions remaining about how high the walls might be. Officials say they don't want to create a rock-climbing wall. Whether it's 15, 10, 5 or 3 foot walls has yet to be decided. Mayor Mark Boughton has called the site an attractive nuisance. Trespassers have spray painted the structure and cut through the fence many times over the years.
As often as the perimeter fence is repaired, Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola says it gets damaged again. He notes that vandals got into the structure this fall, and into the chimney some 30 feet up. He says the quicker the project is done, the better it's going to be, liability wise.
Hearthstone Castle was built in 1897 and occupied until 1983. The City purchased it as part of the acquisition of the Tarrywile property in 1985.
DANBURY, Conn. (AP) - A Republican candidate for Connecticut governor has made his first public appearance since collapsing at a meet-and-greet event.
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton attended an Irish flag raising at Danbury City Hall Saturday afternoon for St. Patrick's Day. Boughton gave a short speech, saying he planned to rest Sunday and return to his campaign Monday.
Boughton collapsed Thursday night at a GOP candidates' event in Avon. He was treated and given CPR by people at the scene, including state Rep. Prasad Srinivasan who is a doctor and rival gubernatorial candidate.
Boughton was hospitalized and released Friday after receiving treatment for dehydration.
The 54-year-old says his collapse was not connected to his brain surgery last year to remove a noncancerous tumor.
Hayestown Avenue School in Danbury celebrated Pi Day on March 14th. Students celebrated participated in a pie-eating contest and a poetry contest. Students also took part in a challenge to recite the most digits of Pi. Poetry contest winners were Abhijay Singh, Viviana Rodriguez and Alina Adorno.
The following students were winners in reciting the most digits of Pi:
1. Jeremy Palma 432 digits
2. Diana Saad 162 digits
3. Nathan Palma 81 digits
3. Addison Caba 81 digits
5. Hardav Pandya 57 digits
Danbury Library is seeking input from residents on their strategic planning process, creating a roadmap for the future of the library as an institution for the next five years. Library Director Katie Pearson says a core of their mission is to be responsive to the varied needs of the city's diverse community.
Several focus groups will be held, the first on Tuesday, April 10th at 3pm. The others will take place on Tuesday, April 17th at 5:30pm, and Thursday, April 26th at 11am in the Farioly Program Room of the Danbury Library.
A focus group at WCSU’s Westside Campus Center will also be held on Thursday, April 19th at 6pm.
Wilton State Senator Toni Boucher is critical of a toll proposal up for a public hearing this week. She notes that DOT Commissioner James Redeker is already on record saying that congestion tolling would make Connecticut the most heavily tolled state in the nation. She noted that the Yankee Institute estimated that the average cost of tolls to Connecticut drivers would be about $240 a month, on top of Connecticut having the sixth highest gas taxes in the country.
Veterans yoga sessions are being held at Western Connecticut State University. Adjunct Instructor of Health Promotion and Exercise Sciences and Lotus Gardens Yoga Director Lara Ward will host the classes, conducted by Tim Raftery, based on resilience and mindfulness. The classes are March 21, April 11 and May 2 at 6pm in Berkshire Hall, Studio A, on the university’s Midtown campus. Raftery is a certified yoga teacher, Veterans Yoga Project Mindful Resilience Yoga practitioner, WCSU alumnus and military veteran.
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton has been released from the hospital after suddenly collapsing, suffering an apparent seizure while attending a GOP candidates' event in Avon last night. City Council President Joe Cavo says the Mayor’s illness was due to dehydration. Cavo visited with Boughton in the hospital. Unlike when Boughton underwent life-saving brain surgery last year, he did not temporarily hand over duties to Cavo. Democrat Al Almeida says despite being Boughton's adversary in last year’s municipal election, he is offering prayers and hopes for a speedy recovery.
An 83-year old man has been arrested for cocaine possession and intent to sell. An investigation was launched months ago into Juan Castano of Danbury in response to neighbor complaints. Castano was seen on several occasions engaged in drug trafficking conduct. Yesterday, Danbury Police seized 4 ounces of cocaine, packaging material, processing equipment and several hundred dollars in cash. Castano was charged with possession of cocaine, possession with intent to sell and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was released on a written promise to appear in court on the 23rd.
After the most recent storm, Easton Fire Department Chief Steven Waugh received numerous reports of residents being unsafe around downed utility lines. The incidents ranged from people removing tree limbs from the lines to walking under downed trees and close to downed utility lines. In one instance, he says a United Illuminating employee had to warn a person who was about to move a downed live primary power line from the roadway. All these instances were incredibly dangerous and could result in serious injury or death to the people involved. Waugh asked that drivers heed barricades and road closure tape directing motorists away from hazards, including downed utility wires.
The New Milford Community Center Committee had their organizational meeting last night at the former Pettibone school. Mayor Pete Bass thanked the volunteers on the committee, which elected a board. An email address will be set up so residents can communicate directly with the committee and provide input. The group will also be holding public meetings. Michelle Ligouri is Chairman, Jeff Winter is Vice Chairman, and Leigh Gill is Secretary.
Kent State Representative Brian Ohler is touting a bill up for a public hearing today, that would allow municipalities to increase their tax relief program for first responders. The proposal is for people who volunteer in Connecticut as a firefighter, EMT and other similar services. Tax relief can be an abatement of up to $1,500 in property taxes a year.
Agreements can be made to provide property tax relief to volunteers who live in one municipality, but volunteer in another.
The proposal specifically covers firefighters, fire police officer, emergency medical technician, paramedic, civil preparedness staff, active member of a volunteer canine search and rescue team, active member of a volunteer underwater search and rescue team, or ambulance driver in the municipality, or any individual who is a retired volunteer firefighter, fire police officer or emergency medical technician and has completed at least twenty-five years of service as a volunteer.
State Senator Tony Hwang, whose district includes Newtown, will be shaving his head today in an effort to raise money for pediatric cancer research at the annual St. Baldrick’s “Team Teddy” event in Fairfield.
The event was started in honor of third grader Teddy Gerber, who was diagnosed with sarcoma in November 2009. He passed away in August 2010. Since then, the annual Team Teddy event has raised more than $940,000.
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is the world’s largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants, raising over $230 million since 2000. In Connecticut, St. Baldrick’s has funded research grants at both Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and Yale New Haven Hospital, as well as provided stipends for Fellows and funding for Infrastructure at both locations.
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton was rushed to the hospital after collapsing during a GOP gubernatorial candidates' meet-and-greet event in Avon last night. Boughton's campaign issued a statement saying the 54-year-old is ``resting comfortably'' at UConn Health Center in Farmington.
Rival gubernatorial candidate state Representative Prasad Srinivasan, who is an allergist, and other medical personnel rushed to his side and performed CPR until first responders arrived. Srinivasan says Boughton was having a seizure, and he had a ``very, very feeble pulse.'' Boughton was reportedly conscious and his color returned as he was transported by EMS personnel to an ambulance for UConn Health Center in Farmington.
Boughton underwent a 12-hour surgery last year to remove a non-cancerous, lemon-sized tumor from behind his left ear. He rejoined the political scene a month afterward.
About 200 people were attending the event to hear from nearly two dozen gubernatorial, attorney general and treasurer candidates.
A Danbury man has been arrested for trying to rob a downtown business. A woman at an Elm Street travel agency told police that a man came inside Monday night, jumped over the counter and demanded she open the register.
Police say as the employee ran outside while the suspect violently struggled to open the register, he threatened to kill her if she didn't give him the key. She was able to flag down a passerby, which caused the man to run away.
Police were able to positively identify the suspect as 39-year old Daniel Christopher, based on surveillance video. Officers waited at his home for the man to return. Christopher resisted arrest and had to be forcefully overpowered to be taken into custody several hours later.
He was charged with criminal attempt to commit robbery, threatening, disorderly conduct and interfering with the duties of a police officer. Christopher was released on $10,000 bond for a court appearance on the 22nd.
Grants have been awarded to local educators from the Danbury Education Foundation. Classroom Excellence Grants were presented to 5 Danbury teachers for interactive whiteboards, a listening center, interactive foreign language and other programs.
The grants were presented by Foundation member State Senator Mike McLachlan. He says each application showed a tremendous commitment that Danbury teachers have to their students. He added that the quality of proposals submitted made choosing the winners difficult.
Jessica Archambault - $1,487.22 for Interactive Whiteboards at Morris Street School
Ana Wight - $1,500 for Avoiding The Summer Slide at Hayestown Avenue School
Alexandra Hoyt, Michele Masi & Diana Gomez - $1,500 for Learning About Our Community at Ellsworth Avenue School
Amy Kotach & Jackie Ziegelmeier - $1,500 for A Listening Center at Park Avenue School
Wilson E. Cardenas - $4,695.99 for Interactive Foreign Language at Rogers Park Middle School
The Putnam County Sheriff and Carmel Police are participating in a special enforcement effort to crackdown on impaired driving this St. Patrick's Day weekend. Sheriff deputies and Carmel Police will be out in force through Sunday. This weekend's crackdown is one of many statewide enforcement initiatives promoted by the New York State STOP-DWI Association with additional funding from the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. The Campaign also targets Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day Weekend, Halloween, the Holiday Season throughout December and the Super Bowl weekend.
Kent State Representative Brian Ohler has been working over the last 5 years to help create and assess school safety and security policies and procedures. He and three other lawmakers have now formed a work group that will focus on school security and safety.
The group will evaluate the implementation of measures mandated by the state following the shooting at Sandy Hook School, and create new recommendations going forward. He is concerned that when money becomes tight, safety-related initiatives take a back seat.
Ohler, a school safety consultant, is a U.S. Army Military Police Veteran. The school district represented by Carol Hall, Education Committee member from Enfield, was a blue-ribbon recipient for its approach to school safety. The district represented by Wilton Rep. Gail Lavielle, Ranking Member of the Education Committee, includes Westport which was the site of a recent school security threat. Rep. JP Sredzinski of Monroe, is a ranking member of the Public Safety and Security Committee.
The work group will also measure school districts’ knowledge of legislation, the availability of school-based mental health professionals, parents’ knowledge and understanding of their district’s security measures, and local educators’ view of the effectiveness of legislation and related programs.
An initial meeting date will be announced in the coming days.
The legislature's General Law Committee has held a public hearing on a new bill legalizing the retail sale of recreational marijuana. The bill would allow people 21 and older to purchase marijuana from a retailer or for use at a marijuana lounge. It would also allow those 21 and older to grow up to six marijuana plants for personal use. The proposal would also create a marijuana control commission, similar to the liquor control commission. Towns and municipalities could bar marijuana establishments through an ordinance or with a town meeting.
Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle Seagull says the agency is not taking a position on whether the state should adopt the bill.
Seagull says they would be tasked with collecting licensing fees for and regulating lounges, manufacturers, retailers, cultivators, and laboratories.
Seagull is concerned about the cost and complexity of regulating the program. She says DCP would have to create a whole separate division because of the significant investigation, background check and enforcement components.
Seagull says the medical marijuana program is the best in the country, which produces highly regulated medicine. She says there's a cost to that because it's pharmaceutical grade product.
Since insurance doesn't cover medical marijuana, Seagull is concerned that a recreational program would cause some patients to leave the established program. That could have unintended consequences like patients having less precise medication, raising the cost for people who remain in the medical marijuana program and disincentivizing research. Seagull notes that there are over 24-thousand patients, with well over 100 physicians and APRNs, participating in the program.
Southbury Police are looking to identify two individuals in connection to a larceny investigation. Police say the two men were seen driving a silver vehicle away from CVS. Anyone with information on the identities of the men are asked to contact Southbury Police at (203)264-5912. All calls will be kept confidential.
(Photos: Southbury Police)
The New Milford Zoning Commission has approved two applications for food and beverage facilities. One application approved was for a Wendy's fast food restaurant on Danbury Road. The other is an application by Housatonic River Brewery for a Microbrewery on Kent Road.
Brookfield Police Officers are raising money for childhood cancer research. Several members are joining Peer Counselor students at Brookfield High School, with a goal of raising a thousand dollars. The fundraising event ends on March 27th, when the participating officers will be shaving their heads in an effort to continue raising awareness. All donations go directly to the St. Baldrick's Foundation for childhood cancer research.
Ten students from the Westside Middle School Academy STEM program will move on to the regional level of the Connecticut Invention Convention. 100 6th graders created inventions for the Danbury competition on Friday. The regional convention is on Sunday, and winners will then move on to the 35th annual Connecticut Invention Convention in April at UConn. More than 130 Connecticut schools participate every year. The ten students are: Jacob Lamp, Jeffrey Trigueros, Maria Eduara Sousa Lopez, Alliyah Frank, Christian Fournier, Emily Samaniego, Joshua Maruffi, Ella Brown, Chase Tomanio, and Haley Jones.
A public hearing is being held in Redding tonight on the budget. The municipal spending plan is less than a 1-percent increase over the current year, at $14.9 million. The Redding Board of Ed is seeking a more than 4-percent increase with a budget of $21.6 million. The proposed Region 9 budget is $24.5 million, a 3 percent increase. The Region 9 budget, which this year includes funding for a school resource officer, is split by Redding and Easton based on enrollment at Joel Barlow High School. Tonight's public hearing is at 7:30.
One Danbury Police officer was injured and three patrol cars were hit by a suspected drug dealer. Two officers patrolling the Steven Street area yesterday afternoon saw a known drug user engage in a suspected transaction with the driver of a gray Acura.
When the driver saw the officers approach, he fled recklessly. Two patrol cars responded to the scene to try to block the Acura, but the driver intentionally struck all three marked cars.
Officer Melissa Morrill was stepping out of her vehicle when her leg was struck by the door as it was hit by the suspect. Her injury is considered minor.
The driver fled the area, but the officers were able to identify the suspect as Abdulwali “Tamel” Peterson. He was last seen eastbound on I-84 in the Newtown area. Affidavits have been submitted to the court requesting a warrant for his arrest.