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One person killed in I-84 crash in Danbury

One person has been killed in a car accident in Danbury Friday night.   Danbury police said the accident happened around 10:45pm on Interstate-84 Westbound between exits 4 and 3. Police said the road is expected to be closed through early Saturday morning.  Police are still investigating and the identification of the victim has yet been released

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Danbury Police to launch summer leadership academy for students

The Danbury Police Department is having a week long leadership academy for local middle school and high school students this summer.  Academy participants will learn what it is like to be a Police Officer.  Applications for the program, which starts July 17th, can be picked up at the Danbury Police Department lobby or from School Resource Officers.

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Danbury Democrats to host outreach initiative this weekend

The Danbury Democratic Town Committee is hosting the first in a series of outreach initiatives this weekend.  The Community of Compassion forum tomorrow is being hosted by the group's Social Justice Task Force.  It's aimed at engaging with residents and discuss issues that impact Danbury neighborhoods. 

 

The forum tomorrow from 10am to noon is at Danbury Democratic Headquarters on Main Street. 

 

Rather than speculate on what the relevant issues are, DDTC officials say they are reaching out to local activists groups to expand the conversation.  They've been in touch with the Danbury Area Justice Network, CT Students for a Dream, and Act Together CT-Northern Fairfield County. 

 

A community survey will be launched at the "Community of Compassion Forum" Saturday. The Social Justice Task Force will use the results to compile a proactive, working list of issues that the Democratic Party will address this year.

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Danbury area legislators react to GOP alternative budget proposal

New Fairfield state Representative Richard Smith says the Republican alternative budget proposal checks all of the boxes for addressing the root cause of Connecticut's fiscal catastrophe.  He says the plan maintains the property tax credit and restores critical municipal aid for cities and towns.

 

Danbury Senator Mike McLachlan called it a blueprint for navigating Connecticut out of the cycle of deficits, job losses, and population decline.  He says the legislature must restore confidence in the state’s ability to govern responsibly and that means producing a budget where Connecticut lives within its means.

 

Newtown state Representative Mitch Bolinsky touted the plan as being transparent, without the trick of moving liabilities off the balance sheet.  He called for streamlining state government and making hard decisions about wasteful or wastefully run programs.  Bolinsky notes that the budget proposal preserves Newtown's 2018 educational cost grants and increases them by about $500,000 in 2019, before entering a ten-year transition into a functional ECS formula in 2020.  Sharing in the cost of state-negotiated teachers' pensions, is off the table under the plan as well.

 

Danbury Representative Michael Ferguson says the plan spares already financially strained and overtaxed groups by not relying on toll revenue or taxing hospitals.  He says the plan would restore confidence in Connecticut at a time when the state finds itself in a historically dismal fiscal crisis.

 

Brookfield Representative Stephen Harding called it a positive first step.  He says the state must mitigate the $1.7 billion deficit without raising taxes on an already overburdened population and provide the proper funding to local schools.

 

Monroe state Representative JP Sredzinski says the Republican alternative budget proposal maintains most, if not all, municipal funding and does not raise taxes.  He added that Connecticut's fiscal crisis requires immediate action and severe, long-term structural changes to the budget.  Sredzinski says for too long there has been too much spending, and has been coupled with the two largest tax increases in state history.

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March for Babies event in Danbury Sunday

The annual March for Babies March of Dimes event is being held this weekend in Danbury.  Sunday's event raises money to fight prematurity and birth defects.  NICU nursery graduates and their families will be celebrated with special moments during the event.  A new March for Babies Memory Garden will be open for the first time to participants.  Those who have experienced the loss of a baby can remember them by planting a memorial butterfly sign.  Registration for the March for Babies at Tarrywile Park Sunday starts at 9:30am.

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Two stolen cars, more thefts from unlocked vehicles reported in Monroe

Two more stolen cars and a rash of overnight thefts from unlocked motor vehicles have been reported in Monroe in the last five days. 

 

Police are reminding residents to make sure cars are locked at night, even when parked in driveways. 

 

The crimes are happening at random all over town and throughout Fairfield County.  Patrol officers are out on the streets as a deterrent while detectives are working with those in other towns experiencing the same problem. 

 

If anyone sees suspicious activity overnight or discovers a vehicle missing or entered, contact the Monroe Police Department immediately at 203-261-3622.

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Danbury schools to start after Labor Day due to DHS construction

Due to construction at Danbury High School, all Danbury Public Schools will start after Labor Day for the 2017-2018 school year. 

 

Tuesday September 5th will be a full school day.  The plan is to return to a start date in late August the following school year.  Superintendent Dr. Sal Pascarella says construction at DHS is on schedule, but they want the an extra week to assure that the building is ready to accommodate students. 

 

The entire school year calendar has been adjusted so that the school year is not unnecessarily extended to make up for the late start.  A half day of school is scheduled for Wednesday, November 22, the day before Thanksgiving break.  A full day has also been added on Tuesday, February 20th, following President’s Day.

 

The tentative last day of school for students will be June 15, 2018.  The new start date will not affect the Early Release days for Professional Development that were built into last year’s calendar.

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Monroe man pleads guilty to cocaine distribution charge

A Monroe man has pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of crack cocaine.  The U-S Attorney's office say 28-year old Dwight Jarvis waived his right to indictment yesterday.  Last October, the DEA's High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force searched his Monroe home.  29 grams of cocaine, 25 grams of crack cocaine, 70 dose bags of heroin and other items used to process and package narcotics for street sale were found.  Jarvis was arrested in December and released on bond.  Sentencing has not yet been scheduled.

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New Fairfield school nurse charged with DWI in NY

A New Fairfield school nurse has been arrested for allegedly driving under the influence with minors in the vehicle.  The Putnam County Sheriff's Office reports that 45-year old Sandra Diehl was charged with DWI and for violating Leandra's Law, which makes it a felony count because of the teen passengers.  Diehl was stopped last Friday afternoon after the Sheriff's Department received a call about a suspicious vehicle stopped along Route 22 in Patterson.  The three teens were turned over to other adults for a ride home.  Diehl is reportedly a nurse at Meeting House Hill School.

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Two people arrested for cocaine possession following traffic stop

A New Milford man and a New York woman have been arrested on drug related charges after a routine traffic stop.  New York State Police pulled over a vehicle Wednesday for not having tail lamps.  The driver, 28-year old Brigham Young, and his passenger, 30-year old Bobbi Peltier of Wingdale, were found in possession of cocaine.  They were arraigned and ordered held on bail.  The pair are due in court May 8th.

 

  

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Lawmaker concerned about possible abuse of DOT vehicle fueling procedures

Procedures were open to employee fraud and abuse when it comes to in-house fueling operations for Department of Transportation vehicles, according to a new report by state auditors.  Wilton Senator Toni Boucher, co-chair of the Transportation Committee, says the findings are cause for concern.

 

The report found that there were insufficient policies for lost fuel cards, missing items from inventories, federal funds not spent in a timely fashion, late billing and missed paperwork.

 

Boucher says the state credit card should be identified to the vehicle the employee is driving so it can be audited properly.

 

Given the state's fiscal condition, Boucher says it's critical that every dollar spent on fuel be accounted for.  She added that it's important procedures be followed.  Boucher says it's good that the auditors found this out, and now it's time for the DOT management to take corrective action.

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No criminal charges over Choate boarding school allegations

WALLINGFORD, Conn. (AP) - Police in Connecticut say former faculty and staff members accused of sexual misconduct at the prestigious Choate Rosemary Hall boarding school can't be charged criminally because of the statute of limitations.

Choate provided a report from outside investigators this month naming a dozen educators accused of sexual misconduct while at the Wallingford school.

 

One of the teachers identified in the report was Jamie Rivera-Murillo, who denies the allegations.  Even though Choate did not provide a reference or recommendation letter, he went on to teach at Henry Abbott Tech, Newtown High School and, until this month, a regional High School in Litchfield. 

The Meriden Record-Journal reports Wallingford Police Chief William Wright says the statute of limitations for each case expired.

The report includes allegations from 24 former students of misconduct from 1963 to 2010.

Wright says two more Choate graduates accused two faculty members not named in the report of sexual assault this week, but the statute of limitations has also expired.

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Local police departments host 'drug take back' collections Saturday

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is being held Saturday.  It aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating people about the potential for abuse of medications.

 

Potentially dangerous, unused and unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications will be collected at several police stations and other locations in the Greater Danbury area.  At the end of the event, the medication will be destroyed.

 

Danbury Police spokesman Lt Christian Carroccio says prescription drugs that languish in medicine cabinets create a public health and safety concern because they are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse.  He added that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including the family medicine cabinet.

 

The take back day collection is from 10am to 2pm tomorrow.

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Danbury School official warn parents about new Netflix series

The Danbury School District has sent a letter home to parents to recommend that they not let their kids watch a new Netflix series, or to discuss the themes if the kids watch the show.  The show, titled 13 Reasons Why, is based on a book about a teenager who commits suicide.  The book and series also depicts the difficult and sensitive topics of bullying, rape and drunk driving. 

 

Superintendent Dr Sal Pascarella says if students are watching the series, he asks that parents engage in thoughtful conversation with their kids about the show and the consequences of certain choices. 

 

He ended his letter saying that school social workers, psychologists and counselors are available to speak with parents and children about these issues.

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Police identify driver killed in weekend car crash in New Fairfield

State Police have identified the man who was killed in a single car crash in New Fairfield on Sunday.  Police say 42-year old Ulysses Nunez of Manhattan was pronounced dead at the scene.  Nunez was headed south on Route 39, lost control and crashed into a utility pole by Ball Pond.  His passenger, 45-year old Victor Declet of Rochester New York, was transported to the hospital with serious injury.  The crash happened shortly before 1am Sunday, and closed the road until 4pm.

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Ridgefield First Selectman hasn't ruled out gubernatorial run

Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi hasn't ruled out a run for governor next year.  The Democrat appeared on the  HAN Network’s CT Pulse politics show and was asked about running for the state's top spot.  Marconi filed an exploratory committee in 2010 for gubernatorial bid,  He says some people have asked him to run next year and he's thinking about it, but he's not sure.

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Brookfield Board of Ed meets to trim budget proposal

The Brookfield Board of Education is holding a special meeting tonight to talk about budget cuts.  The Board of Finance tasked the panel with trimming $271,000 from their proposal for the coming fiscal year.  Once that's done, the school budget will be $40.8 million.  Tonight's meeting is at 7pm in the Brookfield High School Media Center.

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Police: Danbury man brought child to drug deal

Spring Street residents concerns about illegal drug sales in their Danbury neighborhood have landed a 22-year old under arrest.  Based on surveillance of Xavier Bishop over the last several weeks, investigators determined that he was selling crack cocaine. 

 

Bishop was spotted by Danbury Police leaving his Spring Street home yesterday afternoon, and had a 1-year old with him.  He was followed to Pleasant Street and seen making a hand-to-hand drug transaction. 

 

A substantial amount of crack cocaine, marijuana, money and drug paraphernalia was seized. 

 

The state Department of Children and Families temporarily removed Bishop's daughter and another child from the care of their parents.  Bishop was held on bond for arraignment.

 

Bishop was charged with risk of injury to a child, operating without a license, possession of drug paraphernalia, sale of narcotics, sale within 1,500 feet of a school, possession of a controlled substance and of narcotics, possession of a controlled substance and of narcotics within 1,500 feet of a school  possession of a controlled substance and of narcotics with intent to sell and possession of a controlled substance and of narcotics with intent to sell within 1,500 feet of a school.

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New Milford investigating telephone fraud cases

New Milford Police have received a spike in cases of telephone fraud.  Police say residents in some of the cases lost thousands of dollars.  A caller has been contacting residents and identifying themselves as a public defender in an out-of-state venue. 

 

The caller advises the victim that their relative is in need of bail or money for legal services.  New Milford Police say the caller also tells their victim not to contact the relative because they would be embarrassed.  The scammer asks for a gift card or wire transfer. 

 

New Milford Police have several open investigations of these types of fraud.  They are working with out-of-state police departments and the U.S. Attorneys' Offices to seek prosecution where possible.  

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Man charged for selling heroin to Monroe overdose victim

A Connecticut man has been charged for distributing drugs that led to the overdose death of a Monroe man.  33-year old Careem Bentley, also known as C-Lows, was arrested yesterday as part of an ongoing statewide initiative targeting narcotics dealers who distribute heroin, fentanyl or opioids that cause death or serious injury to users. 

 

According to court documents, Monroe Police responded to a report of an unresponsive male last November.  The 37-year old was pronounced dead. 

 

An investigation determined that the victim bought heroin from Bentley.

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Man fleeing Danbury Police crashes in front of Bethel home

A Waterbury man is facing a number of charges after he crashed his car in Bethel while fleeing from Danbury Police.  Danbury officers responded to a Mountain Road home Monday night on a report of a domestic disturbance, but one party already left. 

 

Police saw the suspect, later identified as 36-year old Jemar King, drive past them.  Danbury Police stopped pursuit at the Bethel line.

 

King crashed along a sharp curve of Reservoir Street.  He ran from the crash, but turned himself in Tuesday.  King was charged by Danbury Police with burglary, disorderly conduct, stalking, disobeying the signal of an officer and improper passing. 

 

Bethel Police are investigating the crash. 

 

A resident of the property where the crash happened said in a Facebook video that there have been at least six crashes since Christmas.  In this incident, King hit a tree stump, mailbox and a tree.

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Brookfield applies for grant for boat decontamination program

The Brookfield Board of Selectmen has authorized town officials to apply for a 2017 Candlewood Lake Authority grant request through FirstLight Powers Resources.  Brookfield is seeking $2,40 for the continuation of the boat decontamination program.

 

The program is aimed at controlling invasive species in Candlewood Lake.

 

The boat inspection and decontamination program is a voluntary initiative.  It runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day.  The grant will pay to staff the trailer on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.  First Selectman Steve Dunn says Khols has already given permission to use their parking lot for the program.

 

To pass the inspection, boats need to be clean, drained and dry.  Boats can be decontaminated for free using a machine if they don't meet that standard.  It takes about 20 minutes to decontaminate a boat and several minutes to complete the inspection.

 

The state Department of Energy says this program was the first of its kind in Connecticut.  

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Zoning Commission closes hearing on possible OTB site in Danbury

Another contentious public hearing was held in Danbury about a zone change to allow for off track betting.  The Zoning Commission is considering whether an OTB facility can be an accessory use in a restaurant.  Sportech Venues has exclusive licensing rights in Connecticut and wants to move into the second floor of Two Steps on Ives Street. 

 

Attorney Bill Sweeny argued that this is a text amendment, not a spot zoning move.

 

Chairman Rob Melillo admonished the crowd for talking while a speaker was at the podium.  He reminded them that this was a public hearing and not an exhibition.  Melillo also cautioned that he would clear the room, have people line up outside, and call them in one by one to express comments.

 

Councilman Paul Rotello expressed concerns that there was no cut out for placing OTB in a restaurant near a school, day care or playground.

 

The public hearing was closed, but no vote was held Tuesday night.

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Internal review completed on Easton-Redding school finance controls

An internal review of the Easton-Redding school district's financial controls has been completed.  The Redding Pilot reports that no evidence was found of nefarious, incompetent, or conniving.  Region 9 Superintendent Tom McMorran found that process errors were made by former district finance director Peggy Sullivan pre-emptively transferring a budget surplus into a health insurance safety account and authorizing purchase of a boiler for Redding Elementary School without asking for the Board of Education's approval.  McMorran told The Pilot that a number of policy changes are being implemented.

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New Milford applying for state grants for Boardman Bridge, Pettibone

New Milford has applied for a state grant to rehabilitate the old Boardman Bridge.  Plans call for work to allow foot traffic to cross the bridge.  Mayor David Gronbach says this is an important investment in historic preservation of a bridge whose style and design could not be replicated today. 

 

He notes that it will also help quality of life with bike/walking trails. 

 

New Milford has also applied for a state grant to improve the parking lot at the new Pettibone Community Center.  Gronbach says this meets a lot of the State’s priority of rehabilitating old buildings with mixed use, providing an emergency shelter for the community, and servicing recreation, educational, and social service clients. 

 

The New Milford Town Council also authorized a Phase 1 study to upgrade heating, cooling, and electric generation at Pettibone.  A new roof with possible solar arrays, financed by the energy savings from new technology, was also authorized.  Gronbach hopes to work with UCONN on this project.

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GOP candidate wins special election in Woodbury, Watertown

A Republican will continue to serve residents the 68th House District of Woodbury and Watertown.  Joe Polletta handily won over Democrat Louis Esposito, gaining 78-percent of the vote. 

 

About 19-percent of registered voters in Watertown cast ballots while about 16-percent of Woodbury residents voted. 

 

The 28-year old Polletta switched to the Republican party two years ago.  He is a member of the Town Council and the Blight Task Force, and works for his family's real estate business.  Polletta opposes recreational marijuana and a state tax on social security.

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Region 9 Board of Ed member charged with risk of injury

A Region 9 Board of Education member has been charged with risk of injury to a minor.  Sara Sobel's husband Jon Sobel was also charged.  They turned themselves in to Redding Police last week and are due in court today. 

 

The Newstimes reports that the couple failed to cooperate with the state Department of Children and Families on a case involving their friend, Stephen Overby.  The man reportedly lived with the Sobels for several months and was recently charged with three counts of sexual assault on a minor.

 

The published reports says that one of the Sobels reported the possible sexual assault to police and the couple initially declined to have the victim examined by a doctor working with DCF.  They eventually agreed. 

 

According to court documents, the Sobels revoked consent for DCF to speak with a school guidance counselor and private therapist.

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Committee suddenly halts planned vote on state spending bill

The legislature's budget-writing committee has suddenly halted plans to vote on an alternative to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's budget proposal.

Democratic leaders of the Appropriations Committee made a surprise announcement Tuesday that they were adjourning without taking the scheduled vote, expressing disappointment there wasn't bipartisan support for the two-year, $40.3 billion proposal.

It's unclear whether a spending bill can be passed before the committee's Thursday deadline, or whether a separate tax bill will be voted on as well.

Democrats say they didn't know until recently that Republicans weren't supporting the spending bill and instead planned to release their own budget. But the GOP leaders say they've been upfront for weeks about their budget proposal, expressing concerns with proposed Democratic tax increases.

Democrats hold a slim majority on the committee.

 

A local lawmaker is critical of what he said was a tone-deaf budget proposal.  Monroe Representative JP Sredzinski says a 5.2 percent spending increase was proposed, and then a vote quickly cancelled. 

 

The Democratic spending plan did remove some of the governor’s more controversial proposals to substantially redistribute local education aid and to shift teacher pension costs onto municipalities.  But Sredzinski says the plan would have spent $403 million more than what the governor proposed.  He railed against the his Committee colleagues saying it's another example that the majority doesn't grasp how angry and frustrated taxpayers are.

 

He added that Connecticut will not tax its way out of this problem and the legislature needs to proceed with that mentality.

 

Earlier this week, the non-partisan Office of Legislative Research announced an update to revenue projections indicating a shortfall of more than $260 million based on tax collections. 

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Newtown residents approve budget, capital items

There was relatively low voter turn out in Newtown yesterday for the budget referendum, just 20-percent.  Residents did overwhelmingly pass the municipal and school spending plans, along with all six of the capital items on the ballot.  On the advisory questions, residents said that if the budgets hadn't been approved they should not be increased.

 

Charter revisions meant that this was the first time certain capital items weren't decided on at Town Meetings.  They were listed on the ballot at random.

 

According to unofficial tallies, the $40.39 million municipal budget was approved 2,227 to 1,130.  The $72.99 million education budget was approved 2,150 to 1,214.

 

$1.8 million for middle school improvements was approved 2,053 to 1,292. 

 

$3 million for a new senior center was narrowly approved 1,930 to 1,391.

 

$750,000 toward the final phase of high school auditorium improvements got a total 2,026 yes vote and 1,295 no vote.

 

$850,000 for a roof replacement at Hawley School was approved 2,158 to 1,196.

 

$1 million for paving was approved by the largest margin of 2,841 to 485.

 

$300,000  to begin the design phase for a new police station was approved 2,214 to 1,109.

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Sandy Hook teen charged for January gas station robbery

A Sandy Hook teenager has been charged for allegedly robbing a gas station in Newtown.  Police arrested 19-year old Stephen Violet Tuesday on a 1st degree robbery charge.  The incident happened at the Citgo Gas Station on South Main Street January 20th. 

 

Violet has been detained since January 23rd on charges filed by Norwalk Police. 

 

Bond in the Newtown case was set at $75,000.  The Newtown case is still active and Police say other suspects are being investigated as taking part in this robbery.

 

Violet was charged by Norwalk Police with stealing a firearm, carrying a pistol without a permit, possession of a weapon in a motor vehicle, drug paraphernalia, and possession of a controlled substance.  He is due in court on May 11th on those charges.  He is also facing charges of robbery, larceny, conspiracy to commit larceny and conspiracy to commit larceny for incidents in Norwalk on January 6th, 11th and 14th.  He is also facing one count of threatening.

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Women's Center urges participation in 'Denim Day'

The Women’s Center of Greater Danbury is participating in Denim Day today as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

 

Denim Day was originally started by a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court where a rape conviction was overturned because the justices felt that since the victim was wearing tight jeans she must have helped her rapist remove them, thereby implying consent. The following day, the women in the Italian Parliament wore jeans in solidarity with the victim.  Since then, wearing jeans on Denim Day has become a symbol of protest against the misconceptions that surround sexual assault.

 

The Women's Center asked people to participate today in making a social statement by wearing jeans.  Officials say the activism provides an opportunity to start discussions about consent and what consent really is.

 

Western Connecticut State University and the Women's Center will talk about consent from 11am to 2pm in the Student Center on the university’s Midtown campus on White Street.

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Couple arrested for alleged retail theft scheme

Two Brewster residents have been arrested by Connecticut State Police for an alleged scheme to steal from Home Depot stores in Fairfield and New Haven counties.  28-year old Marissa Ghiazza and 31-year old Kenneth Mathews were each charged Friday with organized retail theft, larceny and two counts of conspiracy. 

 

  

 

They were ordered to appear in court on May 5th. 

 

State Police launched a three month investigation into the scheme due to the number of jurisdictions involved in the case. 

 

An internal investigator for Home Depot identified the suspects, who lived in Bridgeport at the time.  Generally, one of the suspects would select an item from the store and bring it to the return counter, presenting an older receipt for the item.  They would then be issued a store credit gift card.  The pair allegedly purchased the same item at a different store and would pawn it for cash. 

 

Mathews was allegedly responsible for $27,837 in theft while Ghiazza was responsible for about $2,996.  Mathews had 87 refunds associated with him between January 2016 and January 2017.  Ghiazza was identified in 19 of the videos.  In all of her instances and 53 of his, an infant child was present. 

 

Stores in Danbury and New Milford were among the 12 affected. 

 

10 returns were made in Danbury between August and December of last year, for a total of $2,920.  Mathews completed 8 of the returns while Ghiazza completed two of them.  Video evidence for four of the returns showed an infant with the couple.  A single refund was issued to Mathews at the New Milford Home Depot for $105.  Ghiazza and the infant were present at the time.  

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Vietnam Veterans Memorial planned in New Milford

Plans for a Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the New Milford Town Green have been unveiled. Local veteran Ray Crawford worked on these plans for a number of months.  Mayor David Gronbach says the cost is estimated at $3,000 and the VFW will be accepting donations to offset that cost.  New Milford is providing financial backing.  The Memorial is proposed on what Gronbach says is a conspicuously empty space on the All Wars Memorial at the south end of the Green.

 

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Danbury company makes presentation at National Coal Council meeting

Officials from Danbury-based FuelCell Energy contributed to the clean coal discussion at the recent National Coal Council’s Annual Spring Meeting.  They highlighted the company's fuel cell carbon capture solution that captures carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants in an affordable way, while simultaneously producing power.  FuelCell Energy says about 70 percent of the smog producing nitrogen oxide in the coal flue gas is destroyed by the fuel cells.  Vice President of Advanced Applications & Technology Development Tony Leo told the gathering that the benefits are industry-changing from an environmental, economic and energy standpoint.

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Meeting in Newtown tonight about revaluation process

An informational meeting is being held in Newtown tonight about the 2017 Revaluation Project.  Newtown is currently in Phase 2: Market Analysis. 

 

Newtown Officials say a variety of resources are used to analyze the real estate market. While the physical data is being collected by Vision data collectors, appraisal personnel will be analyzing sales that have taken place over the last few years to determine which market factors influenced property values. 

 

Once all the data is collected and reviewed for accuracy, the appraisers will determine land value and set neighborhoods that rate the desirability of locations throughout Newtown.  Individual property values will not be discussed at this meeting.

 

New property values will be announced at a later date. 

 

Tonight's meeting is at 6:30pm at the Municipal Center.

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New Milford Town Council approves properties for sale

Two properties owned by New Milford will be put up for sale.  The Town Council voted Monday to list a vacant 1.64-acre lot on Perry Drive and the 19 acre Still Meadow property.  The Council also opted to send out a bid request for 25 Church Street, which once housed the New Milford Art Commission's gallery.  The recommendations came from the Surplus Properties Subcommittee. 

 

New Milford bought the Perry Drive property in 2001 through the foreclosure process, and will be listed at $50,000.  While that decision was unanimous, there was one dissenting vote on the Still Meadow decision.

 

The Newstimes reports that two parcels on Route 7 will be listed at $2.2 million, slightly more than the town purchased it for in 1998.  Republican Paul Szymanski said more big-box stores could come to New Milford if the property is listed.  Democrat Scott Chamberlain asked Szymanski to recuse himself because Szymanski had done work on the land for his engineering firm. 

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Metro North recognizes workers who saved colleague's life

The MTA recognized five employees at yesterday's Metro-North Railroad Committee meeting.  They were thanked for saving a colleague who suffered a heart attack at the Brewster Yard last month.  Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti says their swift thinking and compassion saved a man's life.

 

A colleague asked Jeff Ballard, a Brewster Yardmaster who lives in New Milford, what a heart attack feels like.  Ballard, who worked for 20 years as an Emergency Medical Technician, took his colleague’s pulse and recognized that he was having a heart attack.  Brewster Mechanical Office Foreman Jeff Boyle, who heads up the emergency response team, as well as EMT Brendan Szabo, were called in.

 

Harlem Line Superintendent Michele Salvatore called 911. Trainmaster Andrew McClellan, from Danbury, directed the EMS to their colleague.

 

When EMS arrived, they confirmed that the man was experiencing a true cardiac emergency, and he was transported to Danbury Hospital. Boyle and Szabo stayed with the man in the ambulance.

 

(Michele Salvatore, Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti, Jeff Ballard, Jeffrey Boyle, Andrew McClellan, Brendan Szabo, MTA Police Chief Owen Monaghan, MTA Board's Metro-North Railroad Committee Chair Susan Metzger)

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Gunnery School looks into allegation against former teacher

The Gunnery School in Washington Connecticut is looking into an allegation against a former teacher.  The private boarding school sent a letter to parents and alumni this weekend about Jaime Rivera-Murillo.  He worked at The Gunnery from 1996 to 1998 prior to teaching at Choate Rosemary Hall. 

 

Choate released a report earlier this month about allegations of sexual assault by 12 faculty members, including Rivera-Murillo. 

 

He was fired from Choate in response to the allegations, but the school did not alert authorities or tell the districts where he was subsequently hired.  Those schools included Henry Abbott Tech and Newtown High School. 

 

According to the Choate report, Rivera-Murillo admitted drinking with students, but denied engaging in sexual misconduct.

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Newtown residents to vote on budget today

Newtown residents are voting on a budget today.  The proposed municipal budget is $40.3 million.  The proposed education budget is $72.9 million.  Debt obligations are 7.9 percent of the total budget.  There is a .27 mill rate increase included in the plan being voted on today.  Spending is up about .82 percent.  Newtown officials cautioned that state revenue is expected to decline. 

 

Six capital items are also being decided today.

 

$850,000 for a new roof at Hawley School, $1.8 million for improvements to the Middle School and $750,000 for Phase 2 of the Newtown High School auditorium project are on the ballot. $1 million for paving, $300,000 for planning of a new Police Station and $3 million for a new senior center are also being voted on.

 

Residents can vote at Newtown Middle School until 8pm.  

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Danbury Zoning Commission to hear input on OTB proposal

One of the items on tonight's Zoning Commission meeting in Danbury is a continuation of a public hearing on a proposed zone change that would allow off track betting in the City.  It would make an OTB facility an accessory use to a restaurant.

 

Sportech Venues, which has exclusive licensing rights in Connecticut, wants to renovate the first floor of Two Steps Downtown Bar and Grille on Ives Street into a sports bar and restaurant.  OTB gaming would be added to the second floor. 

 

If the Zoning Commission gives their OK, the City Council must approve the application. 

 

During the meeting earlier this month, resident Ken Gucker voiced concern that this was "spot zoning" for the benefit of one person, which he believes is illegal. 

 

The Chairman of the Jericho Partnership also spoke out against an OTB site in Danbury.  He says to add more gambling to the City sends the wrong message as Danbury struggles to fight substance abuse, human trafficking and address fear in the immigrant community.

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Special election today in Watertown, Woodbury

There is a special election in the 68th Assembly District of Woodbury and Watertown.  The seat was vacated by Republican Eric Berthel--who was recently elected to the state Senate.  Democrat Louis Esposito and Republican Joe Polletta, both of Watertown, are running. 

 

There is no Election Day Registration for special elections.

 

The 70-year old Esposito is a retired postal worker, a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission and a former Town Councilman.  He wants to advocate for seniors and supports tolls.

 

The 28-year old Polletta switched to the Republican party two years ago.  He is a member of the Town Council and the Blight Task Force, and works for his family's real estate business.  Polletta opposes recreational marijuana and a state tax on social security .

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Esty opposes proposal to withhold vet pay to expand GI Bill

5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty opposes draft legislation that would institute a monthly reduction in pay for troops as a means of offsetting the cost of expanding G.I. Bill eligibility and longevity for future veterans.  She is concerned about asking the troops, who she says have already sacrifice more than enough, to bear any additional burden in exchange for the benefits they deserve.  Esty says asking the troops to pay for their own benefits while the country is still engaged in conflict sends the wrong signal.  Esty is a member of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.

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Dunsby announces bid for 3rd term as First Selectman

Easton First Selectman Adam Dunsby will seek a third term in that role.  Dunsby told the Easton Courier that he plans to run in November for the part time position.  The Easton First Selectman also serves as state Representative for the 135th District of Easton, Redding and Weston.  That is also a part time position.  Dunsby was unopposed when he ran for a second term.  In the House, he serves on the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee, the Education Committee, and the Environment Committee.

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Police Officer recognized for D.A.R.E. service

Easton Police Officer Mark Pastor has been selected to receive the Daryl F. Gates D.A.R.E. Lifetime Achievement Award.  Pastor is being recognized for over 27 years of teaching the D.A.R.E. curriculum to students.  He was selected from numerous entries from across the country.  He's been an instructor throughout the northeast and is the lead senior mentor for the Connecticut State Police.  Pastor will be honored during the 30th Annual D.A.R.E. International Training Conference in July.

 

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Easton Police investigating more cases of items stolen from unlocked cars

The Easton Police Department has had recent reports of vehicles entered at night and items taken.  All vehicles entered have been left unlocked and valuable items were left inside--especially keys and electronic devices.  Easton Police are reminding residents that these are crimes of opportunity.  They are calling for a a community-wide effort to remove the opportunity by remembering to remove all items from cars and to make sure your vehicles are locked at all times.

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Attorney in Danbury murder trial hospitalized

The defense attorney in a Danbury murder case has been hospitalized, raising concerns about the future of the trial.  The Newstimes reports that the Public Defender for Garfield Sanderson failed to show up in Danbury Superior Court for closing statements last week.  Officials did not disclose the nature of Michael Courtney's illness or how long he might be hospitalized.  Sanderson's next court appearance is scheduled for tomorrow.  He is accused of shooting alleged rival gang member Jeiel Kingston in 2014 outside a Danbury bar.  The published report says that the Judge is concerned jurors could be forced to drop out if there are further delays. 

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Newtown Police investigating fatal motorcycle accident

There was a fatal motorcycle accident in Newtown yesterday evening.  Newtown Police responded to Currituck Road around 7:45pm on a report of a single vehicle crash.  The driver was identified as 27-year old Jaclyn Ann Schultz.  Police says the Newtown resident was transported to the hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.  Witnesses have been interviewed, but anyone else who may have seen the accident is asked to call Newtown Police as it remains under investigation.  Police say additional details may be released at a later time.

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New Fairfield man charged for alleged sex acts with minor

A New Fairfield man has been arrested for allegedly engaging in sexual activity with a minor.  New York State Police say 50-year old Richard Spring was charged Thursday with 4 counts each of Criminal Sexual Act and endangering the welfare of a child. 

 

Troopers partnered with the Dutchess County Child Advocacy Center to investigate a sexual offense reported to an agency's Child Abuse Hotline.  State Police say Spring subjected a teenage boy under the age of 17 to sexual contact at a Pawling home. 

 

He is also accused of offering the victim alcohol and marijuana. 

 

Spring was stopped on Milltown Road for operating under the influence of drugs and charged for driving while ability was impaired by drugs.  He was arraigned and ordered held on $50,000 bond. 

 

This investigation is ongoing and the State Police believe that there may be additional victims.  Anyone with additional information regarding Spring is encouraged to contact the State Police at (845) 677-7300. All calls can remain confidential.

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One dead, one injured in fiery New Fairfield crash

One person was killed and one seriously injured in a single car crash in New Fairfield yesterday.  State Police say a driver headed south on Route 39 lost control and crashed into a utility pole by Ball Pond.  The vehicle then caught fire.  The driver, who has not yet been identified by police, was pronounced dead at the scene.  The passenger, 45-year old Victor Declet of Rochester New York, was transported to the hospital with serious injury.  The crash happened shortly before 1am, and closed the road until 4pm.  State Police say the accident remains under investigation.

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Brookfield to apply for STEAP grant for Four Corners Streetscape Phase II

The Brookfield Board of Selectmen has authorized the First Selectman to apply for STEAP grant funding for Phase II of the Four Corner Streetscape project.  Brookfield is applying for up to $500,000 in Small Town Economic Assistance Program funding. 

 

First Selectman Steve Dunn says he's not sure if funding will be awarded because of the state's continued financial problems.  But he says it's a good thing anytime 50-percent of a project can be paid for with a grant.

 

Selectman Sue Slater asked about a time frame.  Dunn said he expects to hear back in three to six months.  He noted that the state will likely wait to finish their budget process before sending out award notices because that's been the process in the past.

 

The state signed off on the first phase of the Four Corners streetscape project last week after some adjustments were made ot the plans.  Brookfield residents voted to borrow $1.7 million for the project, with the balance of the $3.5 million paid for with grants.  The project calls for sidewalks, planters and other beautification in the Four Corners area.  Construction on the first phase could begin as soon as next month.

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Crackdown on distracted drivers continues

An aggressive crackdown on distracted drivers is underway.  Several Police Departments in the Greater Danbury area are participating in a campaign to stop drivers talking or texting on their cell phones. 

 

Brookfield Police say officers are stationed around town and say there's been no shortage of motorists to stop.  They are reminding drivers that if they have a cell phone in one hand, they'll get a ticket for the other.  Brookfield Police are asking motorists to put the phone down and just drive, and drive safely.

 

Danbury Police spokesman Lt Christian Carroccio says texting while driving is more than just personally risky, it makes you a danger to everyone around you.  Carroccio urged passengers to speak up if they see the dangerous activity.  He says no one likes to criticize a friend, but notes that it's worse to get caught by law enforcement doing something wrong.

 

The fine is $150 for the first offense.  The fine is $300 for a second offense and $500 for third and subsequent offenses. 

 

The enforcement effort runs through the end of the month.

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Sunday is Volunteer Firefighter Day in Connecticut

Sunday is Volunteer Firefighter Day in Connecticut, and kicks off National Volunteer Week.  More than 60 fire departments will hold open houses Sunday from 10am-2pm.  Visitors to the fire houses will be able to talk with volunteer firefighters about the work they do, see demonstrations, explore fire apparatus and turnout gear, get a tour of the fire house, and fill out an application.

More than 80 percent of all fire personnel in Connecticut are volunteers.  Officials say the majority of fire departments throughout the state are experiencing a volunteer shortage.

Volunteer Firefighter Day is part of Everyday Hero CT, a program to increase the number of volunteer firefighters throughout the state.  It's a partnership of the Connecticut Fire Chiefs Association and the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

 

Below is a list of some volunteer departments in the area:

Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company
92 Pocono Road, Brookfield

Easton Volunteer Fire Company
1 Center Road, Easton

 

Kent Volunteer Fire Department
28 Maple Street, Kent

 

Northville Volunteer Fire Department
359 Litchfield Road, New Milford

Hawleyville Volunteer Fire Company, Inc.
34 Hawleyville Road, Newtown

Dodgingtown Volunteer Fire Department
55 Dodgingtown Road, Newtown

West Redding Volunteer Fire Department
306 Umpawaug Road, Redding

 

Weston Volunteer Fire Department
52 Norfield Road, Weston

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Earth Day to be celebrated in Bethel

Earth Day is being celebrated in Bethel today.  Bethel Community Earth Day is co-sponsored by the Town of Bethel, Bethel Parks & Recreation, and the First Congregational Church of Bethel.  They are calling on the town to come together to build and support a healthy environment.

 

The Bethel Community Earth Day event, which will be hosted on the lawn of the Bethel Municipal Center, will include local vendors, non-profit organizations, community groups, artists, craftspeople, farmers, animals and animal lovers, and others who are dedicated to environmental awareness and preserving the planet. Throughout the day there will be live music performed by local musicians, a kid’s activity station, and service projects including a town clean-up. 

 

The event is from 9am to 4pm.

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LGBTQ Pride Parade being held in Bethel Sunday

An LGBTQ Pride Parade is being held in Bethel Sunday.  Hailey Gesler and her friend Marcella Antunes are organizing this parade to show support for others in the community that need a place to feel like they can be themselves.

 

About a month ago the 12 year old was tasked by a school project to pick an issue that affects society and write about it. She chose LGBTQ rights. She also said that she wanted to organize a parade for people in the area to come and support people from all walks of life.

 

The parade will officially kick off on main st by the church and end at the municipal center in downtown Bethel.  Several speakers are slated to make remarks.

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Newtown lawmaker touts work of Alzheimer's Association Connecticut Chapter

Newtown State Representative Mitch Bolinsky participated in the Alzheimer's Association Connecticut Chapter Lobby Day at the State Capitol Wednesday.  Bolinsky, who personally serves as a caregiver, says this disease should not be viewed as a political matter.  He called it a public health priority to find ways to ensure adequate funding for accessible support systems. 

 

Bolinsky says the statewide Respite Care Program is resource for families to create contingent care plans and also offers services for those diagnosed with Alzheimer's and related dementias.  He is advocating for the full restoration of funding in the upcoming budget.  

 

More information on the Respite Care Program can be found by calling the State Department of Aging at 1-866-218-6631.

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New traffic pattern on Route 57 in Weston

Starting next week, there will be a traffic pattern change in Weston.  The state Department of Transportation is rehabilitating the Route 57 bridge over Kettle Creek.  Route 57 in Weston will be open with one lane in each direction on the east side of the road with temporary precast concrete barrier in place to protect the work zone. This is a change from the travel pattern during stage 1 which allowed one lane in each direction on the west side of the road.

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Squantz Engine to hold ceremony for new fire truck

Some firefighters in New Fairfield are taking part in a traditional ceremony today for their new fire engine. 

 

A Wet Down ceremony will be held by Squantz Engine where their new truck will be sprayed with water.  The two other fire companies from New Fairfield will be in attendance.  Assistant Chief Timothy Pfeiffer says firefighters from Sherman, Putnam Lake, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Vermont will also be on hand.

 

Connecticut is one of the last places to hold wet down ceremonies.

 

All of their rigs will be out and opened up for visitors to see.  If there's enough interest, Pfeiffer says they might take people for a ride around the block in the engine. 

 

The wet down ceremony and open house is from noon to 4pm at 255 Route 39.

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Drawing of proposed Monroe roundabout released

Renderings of a proposed roundabout in Monroe have been released.  The roundabout would replace the intersection of Routes 110 and 111.  The stone wall around firemen's field in the rendering will not be included after the state opted instead for natural vegetation. 

 

 

The project is aimed at addressing operation and safety concerns at the intersection of Routes 110 and 111.  The project consists of removing the existing flashing beacon and constructing a modern roundabout. The proposed work includes converting Hurd Avenue to a cul-de-sac, as well as installing sidewalks throughout the project area. Landscaping and other decorative features will also be included. 

 

The estimated construction cost for this project is approximately $4.1 million, anticipated to be undertaken with 80% Federal funds and 20% State funds.

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New Milford police search for tool thief

New Milford Police are asking for the public's help in identifying a suspect wanted for stealing tools. The incident occurred on Bridge Street overnight April 16th into 17th.  The window of a work van was broken in order to gain access.  New Milford Police say a roofing-nailer, a hand grinder and other items were stolen. Anyone with information is asked to contact New Milford Police at 860-355-3133 or the anonymous TIPS Line at 860-355-2000 or by sending an email to TIPS@newmilfordpolice.org.

 

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New Fairfield Finance Board advances budget proposal

The New Fairfield Board of Finance has signed off on a no-increase budget for the towns and schools.  But town officials caution that pending cuts in state aide could add 4-percent to tax bills.  The proposed school budget was reduced by $1.5 million.  The Newstimes reports that 6 new employees will not be hired by the Board of Education and two restoration projects will be put on hold.  Those two changes account for $670,000 of the needed reductions.  The municipal budget is pegged at $10.91 million.

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Wilton school artificial turf field lawsuit dismissed

A Wilton resident's appeal of a Planning and Zoning Commission decision has been dismissed by a superior court judge.  William and Eliot Patter filed a suit in 2015 about an artificial turf field being installed at Middlebrook School.  The Wilton Bulletin reports that the application by Wilton Youth Football's application for an amendment to a special permit and for their sight plan approval.  They claimed the commission arbitrarily and illegally decided because Wilton Youth Football lacked standing to submit the application.  The judge reportedly decided that because the has been actively running youth football programs there, it had sufficient interest in the property.

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Two more victims of alleged human trafficking ring sign on to lawsuit

Two more men who claimed to be victims of a Danbury-based human trafficking ring that preyed on men with mental illnesses are looking to join a lawsuit against two of the men arrested last month.  The Newstimes reports that a motion was filed Thursday to add the new plaintiffs to the suit against 72-year-old William Trefzger of Westport and 63-year old Bruce Bemer of Glastonbury, who were charged with patronized a trafficked person. 

 

The lawsuit seeks to freeze about $10 million in assets from the two defendants.

 

There were at least 15 victims.  Authorities say the men coerced into prostitution had severe psychological disorders and were addicted to drugs.  Danbury Police say the men were plied with drugs and money and delivered to wealthy clients to have sex for money after they had built up substantial drug debts.

 

A third man, Robert King of Danbury, is the accused ring leader.  More arrests are expected. 

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Gretchen Carlson headlines 'Conversations with Extraordinary Women' in Danbury

The 7th Annual Conversations with Extraordinary Women event was held in Danbury last night. The discussion hosted by the Women's Business Council of the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce featured Gretchen Carlson.  She became the face of sexual harassment in the workplace last year and is now promoting having a safe work environment for all women.

 

Motivational speaker Holly Dowling says there’s a good way for women to feel empowered in the work place, and noted that it’s something that is cross cultural. She believes women should give themselves permission to stand up for and fall in love with who they are. Dowling said it’s not about waiting for the world to hand you something, it’s about standing up for yourself.

Moderator Christine Palm is the head of the state Commission on Women, Children and seniors. She was asked if it’s been a challenge to oversee the merged Commission. Palm noted that the biggest legislative initiative this session is paid family leave, which affects all three groups. She notes that women are still the primary caregivers of children and elderly parents. She says this is a turbulent time right now and a lot of women’s issues have been brought to light. Palm noted that the two speakers have experienced the yin and yang of corporate life. Palm says it was a powerful message about how everyone can take ownership of their own destiny and affect policy.

 

(Gretchen Carlson, Holly Dowling, Christine Palm, Women's Business Council Director JoAnn Cueva)

 

 


Carlson, just named to TIME’s 100 most influential people of 2017, started the Gift of Courage Fund this year. It empowers young girls by helping them build self-esteem and instill them with confidence. When she sued Fox News leader Roger Ailes for sexual harassment last year, she heard from thousands of women who had similar experiences with sexual harassment. She felt like she had to do something. Besides advocacy, that was setting up a fund to financially support existing organizations that do the same work.

 

Carlson spoke with several members of Congress recently about the issue of arbitration clauses, which are prevalent in business contracts now. She says people are basically signing away the 7th amendment rights. In many cases that go to arbitration, the perpetrator would stay in their job and nobody would ever find out about it because it’s done in secret. Carlson added that 9 times out of 10 the woman has to leave her workplace. She says what’s happened in 2017 is that we’re fooling our culture into believing that we’ve made advances in combating sexual harassment because there’s less talk about the cases. But it’s because many are being forced into secrecy in arbitration.

 

 

Changing the workplace culture should not just be on the shoulders of women, according to Carlson.

 


If it’s just one or two women speaking up, it’s hard to make a change. She encouraged everyone who’s been a victim of sexual harassment in the work place to speak out. But she also encouraged men to be part of the equation. As long as men are still in power in 95-percent of Fortune 500 companies, they need to understand this issue. Carlson called on men not to label women who speak out as “trouble makers” and to celebrate women who come forward. Carlson suggested that the way in which sexual harassment cases are reported may need to be taken out of the hands of HR and instead placed in an outside, independent group that people can feel comfortable going to.

Carlson says he life has worked in mysterious ways. She never expected to be the face of this issue, but the one constant is that she never gives up. Carlson says that’s the one thing that everyone should wake up with, that whatever the challenge—find the strength to never give up.

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Praxair makes 2017 best Corporate Responsibility list

Danbury-based Praxair has been named to Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens List for 2017.  This is the fifth consecutive year Praxair has been recognized by this publication.

Praxair was acknowledged for its leadership and achievements based on the company’s performance in seven categories: environment, climate change, human rights, employee relations, governance, corporate philanthropy & community support, and financial. 

 

Praxair officials says their customers just in the last year were able to avoid more than twice the greenhouse gases than were emitted in all of the company's operations and to provide safe drinking water to more than 125 million people globally.

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Danbury seeks volunteers for initiative to combat homelessness

Danbury officials are looking for volunteers to help with the second year of the Clean Start program.  The initiative is a joint effort with Jericho Partnership to offer help to the city's homeless population. 

 

Each team of participants is led by volunteers/job coaches.  Jericho Partnership is actively searching for more volunteers to lead teams this summer.  Approximately 1,000 hours were spent on beautification projects by program participants in exchange for gift cards.  Four people found jobs during the program.

 

Last year, participants worked with CityCenter Danbury to clean streets downtown, with the Danbury Department of Public Utilities to paint fire hydrants, with the Danbury Housing Department to clean streets and yards, with Tarrywile Park to widen walking paths and landscape, and with the Danbury Parking Authority to clean and paint.

 

Mayor Mark Boughton says the initiative to combat the issue of homelessness helps get people involved in the community and begin a pathway to employment.

 

Each volunteer would lead either a two or a four hour shift twice a week, Monday & Wednesday or Tuesday & Thursday between 9am-1pm.

 

To volunteer or to find out more information, contact Harry Pugner at Jericho Partnership, 203-791- 1180 / harry@jerichopartnership.org.

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ICE agents pick up man at Danbury Superior Court

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have arrested a man who was making an appearance in Danbury Superior Court on a sexual assault charge.  ICE took 23-year old Jonathan Rubio into custody yesterday for an immigration violation.  The Newstimes reports that the Department of Homeland Security did not detail his country of origin. 

 

Rubio was out on bond for a January 2014 incident in which he allegedly drugged a 15-year old girl with a form of Ecstasy and had sex with her.  He was due in court for a pre-trial hearing. 

 

Last month ICE agents took a 22-year old Ecuadorian citizen into custody on the day he was scheduled to be in court on a sex assault charge.  Julio Virgilio Paida-Morquencho had already pleaded guilty. 

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Accessible Voting System rolling out statewide

When Bethel residents went to their voting place Tuesday, there was a new computer in place for people with sight impairment.  The state is rolling out the Accessible Voting System for people who have difficulty filling in the ovals on the ballot. 

 

The system involves headphones to hear the ballot questions, a keypad to select responses and a touch screen tablet to send the responses to a printer which marks the ballot.  The paper ballot is then placed by the voter into the tabulator, just like all other ballots.  

 

There are no electronic ballots, and there is no electronic record of who used the system and how they voted.  Registrar Tim Beeble explained in a written statement that the tablet system is not linked to the internet. 

 

The vote data is not recorded or stored on the tablet.

 

(Photo: Bethel Registrar's Office, Facebook)

 

 

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Teen charged with DWAI in Brewster

A teenager has been arrested for driving while their ability was impaired by drugs.  New York State Police say a Trooper stopped a car in Brewster for failing to signal and to stay in the lane of travel on Oak Street late Sunday night.  The 18-year old, whose name was not released because of age, was also cited for endangering the welfare of a child because there was a 17-year old passenger in the car.  The passenger was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. 

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Former Newtown Oil owner sentenced on state charges

A former Newtown man serving a federal prison sentence has been given jail time in a state case.  William Trudeau was in Danbury Superior Court yesterday on a charge of violating probation.  A court clerk says the 53-year old was sentenced to five years in prison, to run concurrently to the 16-year federal sentence. 

 

Trudeau, the former owner of Newtown Oil, was sentenced in 2008 to probation for taking $262,000 in payment from elderly customers, but never delivering their fuel.  The 25 year prison sentence was suspended so he could make restitution. 

 

In 2010, federal authorities charged Trudeau in a mortgage fraud scheme, violating his probation in that state case.

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Woman charged in Sandy Hook parent threat back in court

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) The woman charged with sending death threats to a man whose 6-year-old son was killed in the 2012 mass shooting at a school in Newtown, Connecticut, has returned to court in Florida.

Court records show 57-year-old Lucy Richards made a brief appearance Wednesday in federal court in Fort Lauderdale where she was ordered held without bail. Richards was arrested in the Tampa area after failing to show up at a March 29 hearing for a planned guilty plea and sentencing.

She was to plead guilty to a charge of interstate transmission of a threat to injure for threatening Lenny Pozner, the father of Noah Pozner who died in the Sandy Hook school shooting. Prosecutors said she told them she believed the shooting was a hoax.

No other court dates have been set.

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Passerby helps put out Danbury house fire

A former Brookfield volunteer firefighter driving through Danbury yesterday afternoon saw a fire and took action to extinguish it.  Danbury Assistant Fire Chief Mark Omasta says a 911 call was made about a porch fire on Cel Bret Drive and firefighters were dispatched. 

 

(Photo: Mark Omasta, DFD)

 

In the meantime, passersby Drew Osgood grabbed a neighbor's garden hose and held the fire in check until firefighters arrived.  The flames were starting to spread toward the attic area of the single family home.  The house suffered damage to the rear deck, along with the outer layers of the house and into the edge of the roof area. 

 

There were no injuries.  The Danbury Fire Marshals Office is investigating.  The Ridgefield Fire Department responded with mutual aide. 

 

Deputy Chief Bernie Meehan credits Osgood with quick thinking that prevented a certain disaster.

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Gretchen Carlson to headline 'Conversations with Extraordinary Women' in Danbury

The 7th Annual Conversations with Extraordinary Women event is being held in Danbury Thursday night.  The discussion is hosted by the Women's Business Council of the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce.  Gretchen Carlson is headlining the event at the Amber Room. 

 

Carlson became the face of sexual harassment in the workplace last year and is now promoting having a safe work environment for all women.  She plans to testify before Congress about workplace inequality and the prevalence of forced arbitration clauses in employment contracts that she says often keeps sexual harassment claims shrouded in secrecy.

 

Carlson created the Gift of Courage Fund this year.  The foundation empowers young girls by helping them build self-esteem and instilling within them the confidence of knowing that they can be anything they to be.  A portion of the proceeds from Thursday's event will be donated to the Fund.

 

Global keynote speaker Holly Dowling is also participating in the panel event.  She is an expert in strengths-based leadership, change management, and corporate women's empowerment.

 

The moderator will be Christine Palm, a Communications & Women's Policy Analyst at the CT Commission on Women, Children and Seniors.  She also gives the Commission's Sexual Harassment Awareness & Prevention trainings to state agencies and educational institutions. 

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Google brings online safety presentation to Monroe school

Google’s Online Safety Roadshow made a stop in Monroe Tuesday.  The program to educates students about how to stay safe and secure online was at Jockey Hollow Middle School.  The middle school students learned skills like how to create a smart password and how to identify phishing scams. 

 

The program was created in partnership with principals and child safety groups, National Association of Secondary School Principals and iKeepSafe, to develop a digital literacy assembly that could be shared across the country.

 

4th District Congressman Jim Himes participated in the 45 minute assembly about share tips, how-to’s and ways to be smart about the content they share online.  Himes says the students were also told about the immediate and future consequences of posting embarrassing things online.  Social media posts can impact college admission or future job offers.

 

(Photo: Jim Himes, Twitter)

 

There are people that deliberately target users to steal data, get to bank accounts or to meet children online.  Himes says the students were taught how to protect themselves from those elements.

 

Bullying can be as bad or worse online, with potentially the entire school seeing the bullying.  It can also be anonymous.  Google taught the students to be positive online and support people rather than tear them down.

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Lynn Deming Park to temporarily close for 1 week in May

Lynn Deming Park in New Milford will be temporarily closed to the public May 1st through May 5th.  The closure is for grading and paving work to create a safer and expanded parking lot. 

 

(Photo: Mayor Gronbach, Facebook)

 

The paving work is weather dependent.  It's part of a bigger project to revitalize the lakeside park. 

 

The work includes adding a fishing dock, playground, trails into the woods, kayak/canoe/paddle board racks, a building for Parks and Rec equipment, benches and grills, new swimming docks, and other improvements. 

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New Milford police station gets upgraded lighting

New Milford has been awarded a $10,000 grant to upgrade the lighting at the Police station.  The upgrade to LEDs is estimated to save 56,857 kWh per year and reduce yearly energy costs by approximately $9,300.  The grant came from Energize CT.

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