New York State Police Putnam County Sheriff deputies and Carmel Police are participating in a special enforcement effort this weekend to crack down on impaired driving. The statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown efforts started yesterday and will end on Tuesday. The departments say highly visible, highly publicized efforts like the STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign aim to further reduce the incidence of drunk and impaired driving.
A Newtown Police officer's name was added to the Connecticut Police Memorial this week. Officer Steven Ketchum responded to the World Trade Center on 9/11 to assist in the recovery efforts. He developed a fatal lung cancer after inhaling toxic dust at Ground Zero. Ketchum died in March of 2016. His name is now listed on the memorial for officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
The Danbury High School expansion project, creating the Freshman Academy, is on schedule and on budget.
The DHS 2020 project includes construction of a theater, two music classrooms, a new entrance way and an expansion of the existing cafeteria. Most work is completed, except on the theater. The Newstimes reports that installation of seats, stage equipment and other furnishing will be done this summer.
All Danbury Public Schools will start after Labor Day for the upcoming school year. The High School will have 5 new teaching positions, two new special ed teachers, a nurse and three new custodians. If the $53.3 million project is done under budget, the balance will reportedly be put toward other campus improvements like resurfacing the outdoor track.
Bethel school Superintendent Christine Carver has detailed construction plans for the Rockwell and Johnson renovation projects. The school calendar calls for an August 29th start, with the last day scheduled for June 7th. The following year will start the Tuesday after Labor Day, in order to maximize the time students are not in the buildings during construction.
Carver told parents at the meeting Tuesday night that deliveries will be timed to avoid recess and drop-off times. The loudest work will also be done after school hours, on weekends and school vacations. When work is being done on the Johnson School gym, students will take phys ed in their classrooms, the cafeteria or outdoors. Some Rockwell elementary students will be moved into portable classroom.
The $65.8 million project is expected to take two years to complete.
The state Bond Commission is expected to approve money at their meeting next month for the Women's Center of Greater Danbury. A nearly $1 million grant will be put toward renovations for upgrades and improvements to the Women's Center building. The work includes a new roof and windows, masonry repairs and heating and cooling upgrades among other work. The $991,056 allocation was requested by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
A tree fell on power lines in Brookfield Wednesday night and the lines started sparking and burning. Brookfield Volunteer firefighters arrived at Merwin Brook Road and blocked the affected areas until Eversource arrived. The tree was cleared form the primary lines and then the fire was extinguished.
Members of the Danbury Fire Department received a request for assistance yesterday from the Emergency Operations Center in New Fairfield. The Fire Department drone was needed to conduct a damage assessment mission by the New Fairfield Fire Marshal's Office. The drone was used to take aerial imaging of neighborhoods sustaining damage in last week's storm.
A report of gas odor at a Brookfield condo complex Wednesday night prompted a response from Brookfield volunteer firefighters. Crews responded to an automatic alarm at Barnbeck condo complex on Candlewood Lake Road. The building was evacuated until the source could be located. Eversource, along with Brookfield police and firefighters searched floor by floor with gas meters. No gas readings or smell was detected and no source found.
Woodbury Police are seeking the public's help in identifying the suspect who stole a car and broke into another vehicle. State Police responded to a report of a purse found along a Woodbury roadway.
Troopers determined that it was stolen from a car registered a Scuppo Road woman, who said cash and credit cards were missing. One of the stolen cards was used at a store in Thomaston. While officers were speaking with the victim, another call came in from a resident on the same road, reporting their vehicle was stolen. A purse with a number of credit cards was in the vehicle at the time.
The car was later located in Bristol.
Anyone with information about the break-ins, stolen vehicle or suspect is asked to contact the Woodbury Resident State Trooper's Office at 203-263-3400 or Connecticut State Police Troop L-Litchfield at 860-626-7971. All calls will be kept confidential.
The Danbury Housing Authority has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The nearly $ 817,000 must be used for capital improvements to various properties. The work can including building, repair, renovations or modernization. Some examples of how the funding could be used are to complete large-scale improvements like replacing roofs or making energy-efficient upgrades to plumbing and electrical systems.
A regional response team moved street by street through Brookfield checking for injured people after last Tuesday's macroburst. They then spray painted the word "checked" or "searched" on the pavement at the end of each road. Brookfield Police Chief Jay Purcell says the destruction was extensive and many homes sustained damage.
Police released video of the storm hitting the department, knocking over trees.
Purcell says the community has been outstanding, coming together to help neighbors. He also thanked people for their generosity toward police and fire with food and monetary donations.
The New Fairfield Town Beach and Marina will be closed until further notice for repairs from storm damage. New Fairfield Public Works employees will be at the marina on Saturday from 9am to 2pm to help boat owners remove vessels from damaged slips. The town is looking for a contractor from outside the immediate area to repair damage to the marina. A New Fairfield official will hold special listening hours after Memorial Day for residents who have questions or comments about the storm and response. Selectman Khris Hall will hold the listening hours on Tuesday from 6pm to 7:30 in the Selectman conference room in Town Hall.
In an effort to streamline a process for Newtown residents whose property was devastated by the storm, municipal Departments created a one-sheet notice with answers to frequently asked questions. There is information about the permit application from the building department, notes from the Health District about septic systems and wells, along with contact information for the Newtown Fire Marshal’s Office for questions about in ground oil tanks.
Newtown officials asked for patience as each department will need time to review documents and sign off, but they say every effort will be made to review permits in a timely manner. They are anticipating an overwhelming amount of applications.
Newtown will soon be applying for FEMA financial aid for storm damage sustained last week. In order to substantiate the claims, town officials are asking residential and business property owners to submit pictures of damage to any structure, along with the address and a brief description of the extent of damage sustained. The information can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Transfer Station in Newtown will be open for extended hours Saturday from 7am to 6pm.
A driver found slumped over the wheel of a running car had a Blood Alcohol Content more than twice the legal limit. Putnam County Sheriff deputies were dispatched to the Brewster Mobile on Route 22 early last Saturday and saw a man passed out in the drivers seat of his car. 24-year old Dante Frazer had his foot on the brake. A deputy tried several times to wake the Mahopac man, and was eventually able to rouse Frazer. He failed field sobriety tests and was charged with Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated. Frazer was released without bail and is due in Southeast Justice Court on a future date.
A grant has been awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Danbury-based FuelCell Energy. The $1.5 million is for hydrogen production research and development, compatible with nuclear energy sources. Connecticut's Congressional delegation says the grant is meant to help keep FuelCell on the forefront of innovation, while advancing an effort that supports Connecticut jobs and promote a cleaner, more energy-efficient future. The research and development will be aimed at reducing the operating temperature of solid-oxide high-temperature electrolysis to levels more compatible with advanced nuclear energy heat sources.
More than 120,000 pounds of food was collected last weekend during the U.S. Postal Service annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive. That was about 17,000 pounds less than last year. All of the food collected in the Greater Danbury area is being distributed to local food banks.
The state General Assembly has approved a bill allowing the town of Wilton to delay for a year the revaluation, until October 1st. This allows the town to defer the cost of the revaluation, estimated to be $54,000. It also defers any changes in assessments in Wilton as a result of revaluation.
Wilton officials requested the bill to be introduced after the town's Assessor retired mid-revaluation. It was determined that there was insufficient time for a new Assessor to accurately complete the revaluation within the statutory time requirements. Wilton officials also expected a large number of appears, which also would not have likely been reviewed within the statutory time requirements.
The bill also validates certain votes taken at town meetings in the town of Monroe held last January and this February appropriating funds for various capital projects.
Ridgefield Police are seeking the public help in identifying a man who robbed a Subway restaurant at knifepoint earlier this month. The man was caught on surveillance video May 20th at the shop across from the Branchville train station. The suspect fled on foot with more than $ 300 cash. No one was injured during the incident. Anyone with information is asked to call Ridgefield Police at 203-431-2794 or the anonymous tip line at 203-431-2345.
New Fairfield town crews will be back canvasing neighborhoods today, documenting storm damage to homes and roads. The employees are wearing bright colored New Fairfield vests and are using mobile devices to collect data and images. This is being done to quality New Fairfield's public and private property for possible FEMA funding.
The Drop Off Center in New Fairfield will be open 4pm to 7 tonight and on Saturday from 8am to 3:45pm. New Fairfield residents can dispose of brush, under 8-inches in diameter, free of charge. The size of brush is limited by the size of the chipper. New Fairfield officials say they are working on getting a larger machine, and may be able to accept bigger brush in the future.
Contractors will be charged $10 for a pick-up truck of brush or $20 for a box truck. Wood chips are free.
Material should not be dumped on other town properties. New Fairfield will pick up brush from curbsides, but a date has not yet been determined.
New Fairfield town crews will be back canvasing neighborhoods today, documenting storm damage to homes and roads. The employees are wearing bright colored New Fairfield vests and are using mobile devices to collect data and images. This is being done to quality New Fairfield's public and private property for possible FEMA funding.
The Newtown School Superintendent will not be seeking a waiver from the state Board of Ed to reduce the number of days students are in class due to last week's closure. Ridgefield has applied for a waiver from the 180-day rule, but a decision has not yet been made. A spokesman for the state Department of Education says they have been in contact with Danbury, New Fairfield and Oxford as well, but those municipalities have not made a formal request.
Danbury fire officials attended the Connecticut Fire Academy Recruit graduation last night. 5 members of the class will be joining the Danbury Fire Department next week. They went through a 14 week course to prepare for the fire service. In addition to Chief TJ Wiedl, Assistant Chief Mark Omasta and Deputy Chief Bernie Meehan attending the ceremony, several mentor firefighters who will help the new recruits get oriented to the Danbury Fire Department were on hand.
Bethel Emergency Management officials have posted maps of damage from last week's severe weather. The map of the Stony Hill section of town has several scattered red dots representing downed trees and debris that was in the road, which has since been cleaned up or is awaiting pick up. There are 12 house icons representing structures that sustained damage from fallen trees.
(Photos: Bethel Office of Emergency Management)
In downtown Bethel, several red dots are also marked on the map.
The Town of Bethel has been working with regional agencies to use the new Damage Assessment mobile app to conduct damage assessment.
Kettletown State Park in Southbury will reopen at Noon tomorrow, but portions will remain closed due to storm damage. The campgrounds will be open for Memorial Day camping.
In consultation with New Fairfield First Selectwoman Pat Del Monaco, DEEP has decided that Squantz Pond State Park and Candlewood Lake State Boat Launches in New Fairfield will remain closed through Memorial Day. Del Monaco says the town cannot safety accommodate additional traffic on town roads due to catastrophic storm damage.
A Brewster man arrested on burglary charges previously gave New York State Police false information in an effort to avoid prosecution. Troopers received a report of a residential burglary earlier this month. An investigation determined that 21-year old Sergio Soto Miguel committed two burglaries in the Allview Avenue area, and stole over $8,000. Police also determined that he was previously issued two traffic tickets. Soto Miguel was arraigned and ordered held at Putnam County Jail for a future court appearance.
There's a quick turnaround in Brookfield on budget revisions and a second referendum. The next vote is scheduled for May 29th.
Absentee Ballots are now ready in the Town Clerk's office, which is open during usual hours the rest of the week. The Brookfield Town clerk's office will also be open from 10am to noon on Saturday for those residents who need an absentee ballot and cannot get to the office during normal business hours. Absentee ballots for this referendum should be done in person and not via the mail.
The Capital budget will require a separate referendum, though officials didn't release any further details.
WILTON, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut family has withdrawn their lawsuit alleging school officials were negligent in allowing their daughter to be molested by a former staff member following an undisclosed settlement.
The Norwalk Hour reports Paul Slager, the attorney representing the family, filed to withdraw the lawsuit against the Town of Wilton and its Board of Education May 21, two days before it was scheduled to go to trial.
Slager declined to share the settlement amount, but he says it reflects the seriousness of what happened.
The family had previously offered to settle the case for $4.2 million.
The lawsuit alleged the school did not properly prevent the staff member from assaulting the 4-year-old or report it afterward.
Several Danbury residents have called City Hall asking about possible reimbursement from FEMA for damage done to homes and property by the May 15th storm. There are now forms located on the City's website for individual homeowners, those in apartments and businesses to fill out with damage assessments. The forms must be submitted by May 29th for the to consider requests. Once deemed eligible, individuals will be able to apply directly to FEMA. There is no guarantee for Federal Funding at this time. This is a step the City of Danbury must take to apply for federal funding.
Bethel will accept residential storm damage brush at the transfer station at no charge through June 2nd. All drop offs must have ID to verify residency.
New Milford Mayor Pete Bass says they are waving the open burning permit fee for several months due to the storm, and debris left because of the storm. The fee will be waved until September 4th. Residents do still need to file an application for the permit. The application can be found on the New Milford town website. Any questions about open burning should be directed to the Fire Marshall's office.
Due to the uprooting or falling of many trees and tree limbs, combined with flooding from the storm, there is a concern about damage to septic systems. They are magnified with the potential for vehicular traffic over septic systems for clean up. The Brookfield Health Department says tree clean-up and removal workers should be well-informed of the locations of septic tanks, septic pump chambers and septic leaching fields before driving across properties. Residents should take some time to inspect the areas where their septic tanks, pump chambers and leaching fields are buried on their properties to look for signs of bleed-out such as soft wet patches and odor, especially following laundry and showering.
A man previously banned from all locations of a craft store chain has been arrested by New York State Police for allegedly stealing merchandise from their Southeast location. Police began an investigation into 55-year old Dennis Eisenberg in April for the alleged theft from Michaels.
Troopers determined that the Bronx man was the subject of a cease and desist order banning him from all Michaels stores because of previous larceny arrests. Eisenberg allegedly unlawfully entered the Southeast store and stole over $2,000 worth of merchandise.
He was charged with felony burglary and larceny on Monday. Eisenberg was arraigned and ordered held on bail for a court appearance on June 12th.
A former Redding man was sentenced yesterday on sex assault charges. Stephen Overby accepted a plea deal that calls for a 30-year prison sentence, suspended after 18 years. As part of the investigation, former Region 9 Board of Education member Sara Sobel was charged for risk of injury, promoting a minor in an obscene performance and conspiracy to commit sexual assault.
She and her husband were charged last spring for not complying with a state agency investigation into sexual assault allegations against Overby, a friend who lived in their home. Sobel declined a plea deal last month.
The Newstimes reports that Overby has granted her power of attorney over his affairs while he is in prison. Overby was arrested in 1995 for abusing his daughter, but served no prison time and failed to register as a sex offender.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is facing another defamation lawsuit by families of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre for claiming the shooting was a hoax.
Relatives of six of the 26 victims and an FBI agent who responded to the school sued Jones in Bridgeport Superior Court in Connecticut on Wednesday. The families of two other victims filed similar lawsuits last month in Travis County, Texas, where Jones' company, Infowars, is based. The families say Jones' comments have tormented them and subjected them to harassment and death threats.
The suit filed Wednesday also names the financial network that supports him, as well as Wolfgang Halbig. The Florida man has repeatedly promoted the false claim that David Wheeler and FBI agent William Aldenberg are the same person, and that that person is a so-called “crisis actor.”
The plaintiffs are the parents of four children killed at Sandy Hook — Jacqueline and Mark Barden, parents of Daniel; Nicole and Ian Hockley, parents of Dylan; Francine and David Wheeler, parents of Ben; and Jennifer Hensel and Jeremy Richman, parents of Avielle – as well as Donna Soto, Carlee Soto-Parisi, Carlos M. Soto and Jillian Soto, the mother and three siblings (respectively) of first-grade teacher Victoria Leigh Soto and Erica Lafferty-Garbatini, the daughter of Sandy Hook Elementary School Principal Dawn Hochsprung. William Aldenberg, an FBI agent and first responder to the scene, is also a plaintiff.
Jones has frequently promoted the theories of Halbig, who founded a now-defunct defamatory website. Through that site and his social media channels, he regularly questions whether the Sandy Hook massacre actually took place and, more recently, has also begun to question whether the Pulse nightclub and Parkland shootings took place. He frequently solicits donations to help fund his efforts.
About 70 Eversource customers in New Fairfield remain without power as of 6am Wednesday morning. 55 of those outages are on Candlewood Isle, one of the hardest hit neighborhoods.
The emergency shelter at New Fairfield High School will be open from 4:30pm until 7:45 for showers, but it will not serve meals. The Senior Center is open 9am to 4pm, and will also not be serving meals.
New Fairfield has started collecting damage assessment for submission to FEMA. To qualify for reimbursement, documentation of at least 3 million dollars in damage town wide must be submitted. New Fairfield employees will be assessing damage throughout town, but residents are also asked to send photos and copies of repair estimates, including for tree removal.
Information can be sent to email@example.com and include name, address, phone number, if the home is accessible, the cause of damage (tree,flooding, wind, etc), insurance and a detailed description of damage.
Newtown First Selectman Dan Rosenthal says a dozen homes have been condemned due to damage from last week’s storm. 10 homes in the Lakeview Terrace area were condemned, along with two in the Lake Zoar area. Rosenthal says some of them may be reconstructed.
In Newtown, a number of electric transformers were damaged. In the case of transformer fluid leaks, Eversource is using environmental crews to clean up appropriately. First Selectman Dan Rosenthal says some properties were spared, others were devastated and some are somewhere in between. There are just scattered outages remaining a full week after the macroburst and tornadoes tore through the Greater Danbury area.
As residents move forward to get their lives back on track, he is offering some useful municipal service reminders. The Building Department can address structural questions, Newtown Social Services can discuss food, utility, home supplies and connection to other support services.
The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection has received a few calls from residents about potential scams as they've looked to make repairs to their homes after storms. The agency is encouraging consumers to be on the lookout for so-called “storm chasers” who prey on families after weather emergencies because they know they need repairs done quickly.
Spokeswoman Lora Rae Anderson says some contractors take advantage of a situation that’s already stressful for families by offering to do home repairs at low cost, and not following through.
Consumers should always do their research before deciding who should do repairs on their home. All home improvement contractors are required to be registered with the Department of Consumer Protection. Their registration numbers can be verified online at elicense.ct.gov. Registration numbers need to be on all promotional material, including business cards. But Anderson caution that someone could put a number on anything, and if you don't verify that it's real you still don't know for sure if the contractor is legitimate.
When in doubt, Anderson says if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Consumers should not give in to pressure tactics, forego a contract, pay in cash, or pay in full up front.
Brookfield officials have received several reports of door-to-door solicitation offering tree services, often at extremely inflated prices. Residents are reminded to be wary of people trying to use the disaster as a means to profit. In order to offer services, a business is required to first visit Town Hall and submit their identification to apply for a solicitation permit. If someone comes to your door, and cannot or will not show that permit, report them to Brookfield Police using the non-emergency line at 203-775-2575.
The Brookfield Office of Emergency Management is cautioning people to be aware of a post-storm scam. Some people are claiming to be Eversource representatives, offering discounts. If you receive a call from someone purportedly from the utility, do not give out account information and do not provide any form of payment. Residents are also urged to be leery about people showing up, going door to door, offering tree services, pest control services or any other service.
Brookfield schools are open for the first time in a week. Some alternative bus stops and bus routes have been set up for the rest of the week. Friday will still be an early dismissal day in Brookfield for a professional development program.
The Superintendent's Office says students not attending school due to uninhabitable homes or major road accessibility issues will be excused from school.
Any parent concerned with the bus stop change and driving their child to school are asked to use caution and leave extra time for drop off. School officials are encouraging carpooling to cut down on expected increased traffic volume. There will be a police presence at each Brookfield school during drop off and pick up to help alleviate traffic issues.
A Waterbury man suspected of drug sales in Danbury tossed crack cocaine as police closed in on him. An investigation was started months ago into Aairon Thompson over activity consistent with drug trafficking. Search warrants were issued earlier this month. Police tried to carry out the warrant, but Thompson recklessly sped away.
Investigators saw the 34-year old make a drug sale to a known drug user, who was stopped minutes later. The other person then dropped three pieces of crack cocaine and $50 from the sale.
Thompson was taken into custody yesterday at Action Auto Rentals on Newtown Road, where he worked. He tossed drugs to the ground and was placed under arrest. Thompson was charged with Possession and sale of a controlled substance, possession and sale within 1,500 feet of a school and reckless driving.
A Danbury man has been arrested for possession of child pornography. Danbury Police received a complaint in August about 49-year old Steven Randi. The Special Victims Unit investigated and obtained an arrest warrant for Randi. He turned himself in to Danbury Police on Thursday. Randi was released on 100-thousand dollars bond for a court appearance, which is scheduled for tomorrow.
In order for Brookfield and its residents to be eligible for FEMA funding, the Town, the State and President all must all declare Connecticut a disaster zone. The Town and the State have already made those declarations.
In order to substantiate claims, Brookfield officials are asking residential and businesses property owners to submit pictures of damage to any structure, along with the address pictured, and a description of the extent of damage sustained. All submissions should be made via forms on the town's website.
Brookfield Building Department officials are currently going to the heavily affected areas assessing structural damages. Having entered recovery mode, many residents are hiring contractors. Eversource has engaged with some electrical contractors to assist with repairing the damage to electric service entrance cable and meter box on houses. Residents should ask for identification.
A 38-year old man has been arrested after he refused to leave a home for 14 hours. Troopers received a call shortly before 2 am Monday about a domestic violence incident in a Purchase Brook Road home from people who were in the house. Joseph Michael Stotz eventually came out of the house, ending the standoff. He hit a trooper while being arrested, but the officer was uninjured. Stotz was evaluated at Waterbury Hospital and released. He was charged with disorderly conduct, interfering with an officer and assault on an officer. Stotz was held on $100,000 bond for arraignment today.
Due to the uncertainty of road conditions, the need for more tree line work, and at the request of Brookfield's Emergency Management Team, the Memorial Day Parade has been cancelled. A Memorial event will be held at Williams Park as scheduled and the Library will be open and hosting family related events on its Lawn. The parade will be rescheduled at a time to be determined.
State Representative Will Duff has been endorsed by the Republican party to run for reelection in the 2nd state House District, of Bethel, Danbury, Redding and Newtown. The freshman lawmaker's first bill was to eliminate the state income tax on Social Security and pensions, which was included in the bipartisan budget.
A New Milford man is looking to challenge a freshman lawmaker for the 67th state House seat. Democrat Tom O'Brien is seeking fill the role currently held by Republican Bill Buckbee. O’Brien chaired the bike and trails committee and was influential in establishing the New Milford River Trail along the Housatonic River.
Brookfield, Danbury and New Fairfield continue to have several hundred residents without power from the severe weather that hit a week ago. Scattered outages remain in the rest of the Greater Danbury area. Eversource spokesman Mitch Gross says the rebuilding of the system continues. But he says one of the delays is the extensive damage to homes and businesses. Gross says it's unsafe for utility workers to make repairs until towns inspects those structures and gives the OK. Eversource spokesman Mitch Gross says they're resetting 300 miles of wire. It's the distance from Hartford to Washington D.C., if you unroll the wire and lay it out.
One of the areas of New Fairfield hit hardest by last week's severe storm is Candlewood Isle. Residents there are not expected to have power back until Thursday. The emergency shelter at New Fairfield High School will be open again today, 8:30am to 8pm, with three meals available. Showers and bathrooms are available all day.
Today is the last day dumpsters will be available in Newtown for residents to dispose of spoiled food. Due to schools being in session, the dumpster at Newtown High School will be moved to Sandy Hook Fire House for today.
Brookfield Police are reminding people that any down wires that were dead days following the storm, may become re-energized during repair efforts. Now, is the time to be extra safe and avoid downed wires. The Still River Greenway in Brookfield is closed and should not be used until crews can enter, clear the path and evaluate trees along the trail for safety. The last day of school in Brookfield is now scheduled for June 29th. The Superintendent is requesting a onetime waiver from the state Department of Education excluding Brookfield from the 180 day requirement.
Squantz Pond State Park has reopened. Sleeping Giant and Wharton Brook will remain closed indefinitely. A determination will be made today about whether Kettletown State Park can open for the Memorial Day weekend.
The Bethel Highway Department will be going around town over the next several weeks to clean up storm debris from the side of roads. First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says in the aftermath of the storm, crews just cut trees and pushed them to the side. They did this in an effort to get as many roads reopened as quickly as possible. The Highway Department and tree care contractor will pick up debris and branches that they cleared. But Knickerbocker asked for patience as there is more than 80 miles of road in Bethel to be cleared.
As for the overall cost of the storm, he estimates between $10,000 to $30,000 to cover overtime work and outside contractors. Bethel did not take the brunt of the storm and had to spend less than neighboring towns, like Brookfield and Newtown.
Newtown will pick up trees and brush that has fallen on the shoulder of the road, but First Selectman Dan Rosenthal asked residents not to drag brush from personal property to the roadside. He says restoration efforts are paramount and accumulating brush on the side of the road will effect workers and potentially impact school buses. Brush, up to 3-inches in diameter, may be disposed of for free at the Newtown Transfer Station. There is a $10 per cubic yard fee for anything in excess.
The Brookfield Board of Finance has revised the proposed budget down to $67 million. The plan calls for $42.9 million for the town and $24.1 million for the schools. It raises taxes by 4.65 percent, about one percent lower than the first proposal. The second budget referendum in Brookfield will be held on the 29th. Unexpected state aid and a stipend for the fire department make up for much of the cut. The Board of Finance decided to start with small cuts because of the limited ballots cast between 5pm and 8pm due to the storm a week ago.
The New Milford Town Council has revised the proposed budget down after it failed during a referendum, which continued despite the severe storm. The combined $101.5 million proposal would raise taxes 2.6 percent. The original proposal would have hiked taxes by 3.87-percent. Less money would be used from the undesignated fund in the new proposal. The state is also granting more aid to the town than anticipated. The second budget referendum in New Milford will be held on June 5th.
The planned renovations to Rockwell and Johnson schools in Bethel are moving forward. An information session is planned by Bethel Superintendent Christine Carver tonight about what teachers, students and parents can expect during construction, which could begin as soon as December. When all of the work is completed, Rockwell 3rd graders would be moved to Johnson, the current 4-5 school. In making the pitch for local approval of the spending, school officials noted that both buildings are too small, need new roofs, are not handicap accessible and have old heating and cooling systems. The Public Sites and Building Committee meeting is at 7pm.
No official federal disaster declaration has been made yet to help municipalities, residents and businesses with the cost of clean up and repairs from Tuesday's severe weather. But 5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty toured Brookfield and New Fairfield yesterday to take pictures, which should bolster the FEMA request. See notes that the federal government needs to be a partner in this moment. While Connecticut is not at the top of the list when thinking about tornadoes, Esty says that doesn't mean the district isn't dealing with their devastation right now.
Brookfield First Selectman Steve Dunn estimated that by the time things return to normal, the cost could be more than $2-million.
Senator Richard Blumenthal also toured New Fairfield and Brookfield yesterday to view storm damage in an effort to make the case for a federal disaster declaration to be made. He says FEMA assistance is given to the gulf coast and Oklahoma, now Connecticut needs the help. Blumenthal says it's unlike anything seen in the country in the last several decades because the tornadoes and macroburst hit a heavily forested area.
Eversource says the damage to their system was worse than during Superstorm Sandy.
The last day of school in Danbury is Friday, June 29th. Superintendent Sal Pascarella says Tuesday, May 22, is now a full school day. Friday, May 25, is now a full day, and the previously-scheduled teacher professional development program is cancelled. Alternate bus stops due to ongoing tree removal and pole repairs were set up for students who live on West King Street, Forty Acre Mountain Road, Palmer Road and Stadley Rough Road.
The New Milford Town Council will meet tonight about budget revisions. Residents rejected the tax and spending plan on Tuesday. There were some calls for another referendum on the same plan because of the severe weather. But the poll locations were all open and had power until 8pm so there is nothing in the town charter or state statute that would allow for a re-vote. The Town Council will look at where to make changes, with public input, starting at 7pm in Town Hall.
The Brookfield Board of Finance will meet tonight to discuss budget revisions. The first tax and spending plan was rejected during a referendum Tuesday. It included $43-million for the schools and $24.4 million for the municipality, along with $2.6 million in capital spending. Tonight's meeting is at Brookfield High School at 8pm.
Brookfield Police have increased patrols and encouraged residents to be aware of vacant homes in neighborhoods and to check on elderly neighbors. Police Chief Jay Purcell says the 911 system was overwhelmed on the day of the storm. People were calling on routine lines because they couldn't get through to 911. They had to rely on backup from Litchfield County dispatch and others where 911 calls roll over to. People were trapped in their cars between downed trees, others were concerned with trees through their homes.
State police are involved in a standoff with a person in Southbury. Troopers responded to a Purchase Brook Road home around 2am for the report of a disturbance. A person in the home refused to come out and may have a gun. Several roads in the area are closed while troopers try and resolve the situation. No injuries have been reported and Police say there is no threat to the public.
More than 1,800 broken poles had to be replaced and nearly 300 miles of downed electric lines reinstalled. That was more than had to replace after Superstorm Sandy.
As of 3:30pm Sunday, Eversource found 317 broken poles in Brookfield. There were 308 trees tangled with lines that had to be cleared, 50 miles of wire needing replacement and 162 transformers installed. There were 33 blocked roads.
Eversource found 172 broken poles in Danbury. There were 310 trees tangled with lines that had to be cleared, nearly 22 miles of wire needing replacement and 57 transformers installed. There were 46 blocked roads.
Eversource found 317 broken poles in New Fairfield. There were 427 trees tangled with lines that had to be cleared, 35 miles of wire needing replacement and 115 transformers installed. There were 35 blocked roads.
Eversource found 159 broken poles in Newtown. There were 336 trees tangled with lines that had to be cleared, 33 miles of wire needing replacement and 63 transformers installed. There were 52 blocked roads.
Eversource found 177 broken poles in Oxford. There were 370 trees tangled with lines that had to be cleared, 29 miles of wire needing replacement and 56 transformers installed. There were 25 blocked roads.
Eversource found 204 broken poles in Southbury. There were 487 trees tangled with lines that had to be cleared, 33 miles of wire needing replacement and 78 transformers installed. There were 32 blocked roads.
110 Eversource crews were in New Fairfield yesterday and National Guard troops have been working to clear roads and check on residents. In New Fairfield, there are 419 broken poles, 121 transformers and 44 miles of wire that must be replaced.
First Selectman Pat Del Monaco says all roads are passable, an improvement from Tuesday night when 95% of roads were blocked by trees, poles and wires. The areas that sustained the most significant damage were the Baldwin Hill Area where 25 poles had to be replaced.
About a dozen homes on Candlewood Isle sustained damage from fallen trees. The Candlewood Lake Road area had 167 separate damage locations.
Brookfield officials are reviewing ways to remove some of the tree damage as a town. The Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance will be meeting today to discuss the matter. The Town Brush Yard, located between town hall and the fire department, is open for Brookfield residents to drop off brush. The Still River Greenway and the Gurski Homestead Property have been closed due to concern of downed trees. Showers and charging stations are available at the Greenknoll YMCA during regular business hours. Water filling stations are available at the fire house, the Police Station and Brookfield High School.
Eversource has approximately 150 line and tree crews working in Newtown. The Municipal Center, located at Fairfield Hills will be open Monday from 8am to 8pm. Dumpsters for Spoiled Food Disposal are available at Newtown High School, Hawleyville and Dodgingtown Fire Departments.
Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell continues to coordinate restoration efforts in Kent, Patterson and Putnam Lake. As of yesterday, NYSEG was reporting about 6,000 outages in Putnam County.
The New Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department responded Saturday afternoon on a report of a generator close to home on fire at on Llyod Avenue. A firefighter that was at Ball Pond firehouse grabbed an extinguisher and saw that the fire was much worse. Most of the home was already fully involved. Fire crews met some difficult issues with propane tanks leaking, down power lines and getting around the neighborhood due to the recent storm.
All the occupants were out of the home before the fire department arrived. Neighbors helped to drag fire hose, move cars and bring equipment. Firefighters from New Fairfield, Putnam Lake, Sherman and Danbury provided mutual aid. An investigation by the state fire marshal is ongoing for exact cause.
On Saturday, Danbury fire companies were dispatched to North Nabby Road for a reported shed fire. Additional tankers were requested from the volunteer fire companies. Crews faced a lot of storm debris still remaining from Tuesday's severe weather. The fire was quickly extinguished and the Danbury Fire Marshals office is investigating the cause of the fire.
Areas in southern Bridgewater were particularly hard hit by last week's severe weather, with some evidence that the microburst or tornado touched down across Iron Ore Hill Road. BRidgewater officials are seeking recognition as a FEMA disaster area in order to secure federal funds to help pay for the cleanup. First Selectman Curtis Read says it could take months and a lot of resources to repair most of the damage. The town lost some iconic trees like the willows by the Rec Pond and the Christmas tree on the Green.
Redding will hold its second Budget Referendum on June 5th. Voting will be held at the Redding Community Center. Absentee Ballots will be available at the Town Clerk's Office starting tomorrow. The Town Clerk will also be available on Saturday, May 26th from 9am to 11am to issue absentee ballots.
DANBURY, Conn. (AP) - A community is fundraising to help a Connecticut boy injured when a piece of metal roof hit him during last week's storm.
Eighth-grade student Lloyd Thyne was attending freshman orientation at Henry Abbott Technical School in Danbury Tuesday when a gust of wind blew a piece of metal roofing that struck him.
Thyne sustained a broken femur, fractured skull, punctured lung and several other injuries. He was recently released from intensive care at Connecticut Children's Medical Center but remains hospitalized.
Family friend Veronica Gosling started a GoFundMe fundraiser to help the Thyne's, calling the student, "an amazing kid."
As of Sunday morning, the page shows Gosling has surpassed the $5,000 fundraising goal.
The northern end of Danbury in the Candlewood Lake area took the brunt of the storm. Fire, Police, and EMS crews continue to work through the damage while also responding to multiple emergency calls throughout the city. The Fire Department and Danbury Hospital EMS responded to multiple fires, medical emergencies and service calls throughout the last 72 hours.
The Fire Department drone team responded to the Forty Acre Mountain Road area to assist in surveying where the most damage was reported.
The Western Connecticut Dispatch Center received approximately 1000 emergency and non-emergency phone calls. Fire and police units responded to over 200 emergencies in the immediate aftermath of the storm.
(Photos: Danbury Fire Department)
Mutual aid resources from West Redding Fire Department and American Medical Response Ambulance Service responded to aid in the response efforts. Redding Fire Department supplied a crew with an all-terrain vehicle which was able to get manpower in to the areas were roads and neighborhoods were in-accessible.
As power restoration efforts continue, shelter operations are coming to a close. Area residents in need of NON- POTABLE water can stop into any career fire station and utilize our garden hose to fill up.
Eversource has discovered additional storm damage in Bridgewater and New Milford. As a result, restoration estimates have been taken down. The utility says restoration work is active and they will post updated information at a later time. In total, Eversource has come across 1,300 broken poles and more than 200 miles of electric line needing replacement.
Eversource did bump up the expected restoration time for New Fairfield from Sunday at noon to Monday at 11:59pm. As of 9am on Saturday, about 85-percent of the town is still in the dark.
Newtown remains as one of the more hard hit municipalities. Eversource is still estimating that substantial restoration won't be completed until noon on Sunday.
Some 200 utility workers from the eastern part of the country and Canada arrived in Danbury Friday night and are being put up at a WCSU dorm on the Midtown campus. 100 utility trucks are parked in and around WestConn. University spokesman Paul Steinmetz says each utility worker will get a keycard so they can come and go as needed. Commencement is tomorrow so the building is empty. Newbury Hall is normally a dorm for first-year students.
The Candlewood Lake Authority and FirstLight is reminding shorelines residents of some safety information.
Electricity can energize the lake water. Falling branches and uprooted trees can become tangled with electrical wires and become energized.
Damaged structures should be inspected for safety before entry. Docks, debris and vessels should be secured to the shoreline where possible. Trees and other debris have blown into the water and there could be new unknown submerged hazards.
Several hazard buoys have broken free or have moved, so boaters are asked to exercise extreme caution when navigating on the lake. The Candlewood Lake Authority is working to locate and replace the buoys and remove or secure the floating debris.
The Danbury War Memorial continues to be open as a shelter for residents who need a place to shower and charge electronics. There are also some cots available. Mayor Mark Boughton says there likely will be Eversource customers without power after their estimated restoration goal.
There are 18 crews working in Danbury. Boughton says there were some streets that look like they were destroyed by Tuesday's storm.
Danbury intends to reopen school on Monday. The last day of class would be June 29.
The Sherman School is available as a shelter throughout this weekend. Showers are available 6am to 10pm. Sherman Volunteer Fire Department is asking for volunteers to assist at the shelter.
The Brookfield town brush yard, located between town hall and the fire department, is open for resident to drop off brush, but not logs. Brush should not be placed on the roadside as Brookfield does not have the resources to do pick up.
State law requires students to be in school 180 days. To be in compliance with that law, Bethel would need to be in session on June 25th and 26th. District can appeal to the State Board of Education to go to less than 180 days, and Bethel is exploring that option. Superintendent Christine Carver says the most significant concern is the heat in the schools without air conditioning.
Despite storm recovery efforts continuing, the Household Hazardous Waste Day is scheduled for today is still on. The collection from 9am-2pm is at the Newtown Public Works Garage on Turkey Hill Road. The event is for residents of Bethel, Danbury, New Fairfield, Newtown, Redding and Ridgefield.
The Academy of International Studies in Danbury has been named as a 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School. The facility was recognized for its commitment to sustainable practices. AIS was one of two magnets schools chosen nationwide. The kindergarten through fifth-grade school is open to all Danbury students as well as students from area towns through a lottery system.
A Bethel man has been endorsed by the Democratic party to challenge a freshman state lawmaker. Raghib Allie-Brennan was tapped to run in the 2nd state House district. The seat is currently held by Republican Will Duff. The district includes parts of Bethel, Danbury, Newtown and Redding.
Damage to the Connecticut State Parks impacted by Tuesday’s storm continues. As of Friday four parks remain closed, Sleeping Giant, Kettletown, Wharton Brook, and Squantz Pond.
Sleeping Giant, Kettletown and Wharton Brook have suffered extensive damage and will remain closed for several days. Squantz Park is expected to reopen early next week. Chatfield Hollow, which had been closed following the storm, reopened this morning. EnCon officers have increased patrols of the closed parks, failure to obey the closures of these parks could result in an infraction or arrest for trespassing.
The Pond Brook State Boat Launch in Newtown, the Lake Zoar State Boat Launch in Southbury, and the Squantz Pond State Boat Launch in New Fairfield may not be accessible this weekend.
Nearby parks to Kettletown State Park include: Southford Falls in Oxford and Indian Well in Shelton.
Nearby parks to Squantz Pond State Park include: Putnam Memorial in Redding and Bennet’s Pond Ridgefield.
As of yesterday afternoon, there were still more than four dozen roads blocked or partially blocked by downed trees and wires in Newtown. There are 26 Eversource crews in Newtown.
Data is being collected by the town's emergency response team as Newtown and others seek federal aid through FEMA. State lawmakers are working to get waivers from the Department of Education for having fewer than 180 days of class.
Newtown Police say the lake side communities were completely destroyed by Tuesday's severe weather.
Police shared drone footage of the Lakeview Terrace neighborhood that is located off of Lake Zoar.
Emergency Management officials told the Newtown Bee that there were reports of small cottages in the area that were flattened or pancaked by the force of falling trees. A boat was being used today to survey the more remote areas where those seasonal homes are located.
Eversource is reporting that substantial restoration of service to much of Brookfield should be made by Sunday Afternoon, but town officials caution that some side roads and roads with significant damage may take longer to restore. Town officials thanked the Volunteer and Career Fire Department, Law Enforcement and EMS personnel involved with the Regional Strike Teams that deployed to town to help with the aftermath of the storm.
Brookfield High School shelter continues to be open and is accepting pets, for those needing it. Water containers can be filled at the Police Station on Silvermine Road, at the Pocono Road Firehouse and at the Candlewood Company Firehouse on Bayview Drive in the Candlewood Shores.
A senior representative from Eversource has been working with the Newtown Emergency Response Team. First Selectman Dan Rosenthal cautioned that 48 hours from the storm, this is the time when patience is low and accidents can happen. He urged caution when clearing properties and out driving.
Eversource appears to have made some significant progress in restoring electricity to some Greater Danbury area towns. Bethel and Ridgefield saw enough tree clearing and power coming back to reopen schools for the first time since Tuesday.
Eversource estimates restoration in Bethel will be "substantially complete" by midnight tonight. However, some Bethel homes are supplied via a circuit that runs through Newtown, which suffered worse damage. First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says they have been advised that some homes may not be restored until Sunday.
The theft of several vehicles in the Town of Washington is under investigation. State Police say three unknown people stole a car from a driveway on Sunday. The vehicle was unlocked and the key was left inside the vehicle. Yesterday, a Mercedes was stolen from a driveway, but found abandoned a short distance away. Two other vehicles , both unlocked with the keys accessible, were also taken from a driveway yesterday. The thefts happened on Calhoun Street, Hinkle Road and Turner Road. State Police are reminding residents not to leave valuables in the car, but if you must, lock them up and keep them out of sight. Anyone with information is asked to contact Troop L-Litchfield at 860-626-7900.
Ruby O'Neill has filed the required paperwork in order to run in the Republican primary for Congress in the 5th District. Despite launching her campaign two weeks before the nominating convention, O'Neill received 41-percent of delegate votes. The endorsed candidate, Manny Santos, also faces a primary challenge from Rich Dupont.
Jahana Hayes has officially decided to primary to be the Democratic candidate for Congress in the 5th District. She secured the party's nomination on the second ballot, but narrowly lost to Mary Glassman after what Hayes says was some questionable vote switches out of New Britain.