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Danbury launches emergency training exercise, drivers alerted to expect delays

A joint, full scale training session involving local emergency responders is under way in Danbury.  The emergency response training is from 1pm to 6pm Tuesday.  People in the area of Great Plain Elementary, Broadview Middle and St Gregory the Great schools are alerted that there will be a lot of emergency response vehicles around for the exercise.  Exercise activity is confined to areas marked and closed to the public.  None of the activity is taking place along City streets, though drivers are cautioned to expect some traffic in the area of the training.

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Easton Police K9 reports for duty

The Easton Police Department has restarted their K9 Unit.  The town's newest police dog, TJ, reported for duty yesterday.  The 16-month-old German shepherd will be partnered with Officer Tamra French.  The Easton Courier reports that T.J. was named for Staff Sgt. Todd “T.J.” Lobraico Jr.

 

(Frank Reda and Jimmy Loomer of Superior K-9 Services dropped off K9 T.J. to Officer French)

 

The New Fairfield man was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan in 2013.  The Courier reports that when a military dog signaled the approaching enemy, Lobraico pushed the dog and its handler out of harm's way. 

 

Lobraico’s father worked with Easton Police Chief Tim Shaw in the Stamford Police Department. 

 

K9 Chase, who served 10 years with Officer French, retired in 2013. 

 

A $40,000 grant from the estate of a Kenneth and Ann Gleszer, of Danbury, enabled the department to restart the K9 program.   Grants were made to 10 police departments and the Connecticut Police Work Dog Association.

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Ridgefield officials discuss proposed Little League ballfield

The Ridgefield Inland Wetland Commission and the Planning and Zoning Commission are holding a work session tonight about a proposed ballfield.  Ridgefield Little League is looking to create the field and related amenities on town-and-state-owned land at Route 7 and Simpaug Turnpike.  Three public hearings were held on the application.  Plans for the 2.5 acre lot include lighting, bleachers, a parking lot and concession stand.

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Brookfield Board of Ed looks into drafting Narcan policies

The Brookfield Board of Education is crafting policies on how naloxone could be administered in schools.  The Newstimes reports that Brookfield is reviewing guidelines adopted by the Fairfield school district last month.  The Connecticut Association of Boards of Education also has policies about use of the opioid overdose reversal treatment.  The plan would include who is allowed to administer Narcan, where it will be stored and who to contact about usage.  The published report says that district’s legal team compared the potential policy to guidelines on automated external defibrillators, which are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest.

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Police investigating hit & run accident on Candlewood Lake in Brookfield

EnCon Police are investigating a hit and run accident that also happened over the weekend on Candlewood Lake in Brookfield.  An unknown vessel struck a raft moored off the shoreline around 1am Sunday. The collision caused extensive damage to the wooden raft.  When the homeowner tried to check on the vessel and its occupant or occupants, it evaded the scene.  The incident was reported around 10am.  The Candlewood Lake Authority Marine Patrol is assisting with the investigation.

 

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No BUI arrests made on Candlewood after Danbury fireworks display

State EnCon Police patrolling Candlewood Lake in Danbury for the fireworks show Saturday night had contact with several hundred boaters entering the area of Danbury Bay, conducting safety checks and enforcing a safety transit lane.  There were no boating under the influence arrests.  Several warnings were issued for failure to display proper and/or necessary navigation lights.

 

There were several minor incidents. 

 

A boat was stopped for not having its navigation lights on.  EnCon officers found that it was occupied by a number of young adults who were in possession of alcohol.  EnCon Police escorted the vessel to the dock and several of the individuals were issued infractions for possession of alcohol by a minor.  The operator was cited for the navigation light violation.

 

A boat struck a rock while leaving Danbury Bay.  The vessel was escorted back to the boat launch.  The Candlewood Lake Authority Marine Patrol inspected it, finding only damage to a propeller.  The boat had been on its way to Squantz Cove.

 

EnCon Police helped a stranded boater after the vessel experienced disabling electrical issues.  Officers kept in contact with the anchored vessel and arranged for a good samaritan to tow it to the nearest safe mooring.

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Lawsuit: School didn't prevent assaults on 3-year-old girl

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A Muslim community is facing allegations it failed to prevent several sexual assaults of a 3-year-old girl by an older boy at a private school it runs on its property.

 

The parents of the girl filed a lawsuit in state court last month against the Muslim Society of Greater Danbury, which runs the Al Hedaya Islamic Center in Newtown. They are seeking unspecified damages.

 

The lawyer and the principal for the school deny the parents' allegations that school officials acted improperly. They also say the allegations against the boy have never been proven.

 

"The Muslim Society of Greater Danbury is a leader in the community with its outreach, community and charitable work," the society's lawyer, Refai Arefin, said in a statement. "The MSGD takes the safety and security of its congregation very seriously. When the facts are known, it will be shown that the allegations directed at MSGD and its volunteers are completely false."

 

Newtown police say they investigated the sexual assault allegations but there was no probable cause to arrest the boy. Court documents don't list the boy's age but say he was a minor.

 

The parents say their daughter, known as Jane Doe in the lawsuit, was a 3-year-old kindergarten student at the Islamic Center's school when she was sexually assaulted by the boy several times in a bathroom and other secluded areas of the school between Sept. 15 and Oct. 6, 2015. Their lawsuit alleges all the assaults involved the boy touching the girl's private parts.

 

The parents noticed a change in the girl's behavior and took her to a therapist, who concluded she had been sexually assaulted and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, the lawsuit says.

 

The girl's parents say school officials were well aware that the boy, named John Roe in the lawsuit, had a "propensity" for violence and bullying before their daughter began attending the school and didn't take action to protect other students from him. The lawsuit says school officials also knew of a report that the boy previously had bullied another male student and the bullying involved contact that "may have been sexual in nature."

 

Sexual assault of students by other students is a problem at schools across the country. A yearlong Associated Press investigation uncovered about 17,000 official reports of sexual assaults by students over a recent four-year period, a figure that doesn't fully capture the problem because such violence is greatly under-reported and some states don't track it.

 

The plaintiffs say school officials are required by Connecticut law to report physical abuse of students to the state Department of Children and Families but did not do so in the case of the bullying and possible sexual assault of the other boy. They also allege school officials did not promptly report the sexual assault of their daughter to the state, a claim also denied by school officials.

 

The lawsuit further alleges the school is not certified by the state to operate as a private school or accredited by any educational group and its teachers don't have the credentials needed for their jobs.

 

Although the Islamic Center's website says a "private school" called the Granada Academy operates at its Newtown property for students in pre-kindergarten through the fifth grade, Arefin and the school's principal, Kristin Fuller, said the school actually is a "homeschooling community" supervised by parents that is not subject to state laws on private schools.

 

Fuller is countersuing the girl's parents on defamation allegations, saying their false allegations are damaging to her reputation.

 

Fuller also alleges in court documents that the girl's mother was jealous of the boy's mother and was removed as a teacher at the school because she was ineffective, both factors Fuller suggests were motivation for the mother to file the lawsuit.

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Monroe man pleads guilty to secretly recording teens

A Monroe man has pleaded guilty to charge of voyeurism and possession of child pornography.  Police were contacted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in October 2015 about a child exploitation case.  Kenneth Raftery is accused of recording young boys around Monroe without their knowledge.

 

Transfers of child pornography to Raftery were traced.  Investigators then found videos of young teens recorded around Monroe, including one at a Masuk High School Football car wash and others near Wolfe Park pool.

 

Raftery is expected to be sentenced on September 8th.

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Former Easton man's case continued on charges he murdered his parents

The case of a former Easton man accused of killing his parents after they threatened to cut him out of their wills has been continued.  Kyle Navin made a brief court appearance for pretrial discussions yesterday, but his case was continued to August 8th.

The 28-year-old has pleaded not guilty to murder charges in the deaths of his parents, Jeffrey and Jeanette Navin. The couple's bodies were found in Weston in October 2015, two months after the couple disappeared.

Navin is being held on $2.5 million bail.

His girlfriend, Jennifer Valiante, also is detained on bail on charges including conspiracy to commit murder.

 

Jeffrey Navin was co-owner of J&J Refuse of Westport.  Jeanette Navin was a paraprofessional at Weston public schools. 

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Brookfield looks for property to add municipal parking in Four Corners area

The Brookfield Board of Selectmen recently forwarded a request to the Board of Finance for appraisals of potential properties at the Brookfield Town Center for municipal purposes.  The town is looking to spend no more than $12,000 for appraisals, in conjunction with the possibility of buying property, for parking and possible buildings. 

 

First Selectman Steve Dunn says as the streetscaping in the Four Corners area is getting done, it's become apparent that there will not be enough parking in the new town center. When the work is completed, there will be 27 parking spaces on Federal Road.  Dunn noted that if they want the new town center to thrive, it has to be easy for people to have accessible parking. 

 

The Still River Greenway has been very popular, but there is no permanent parking in the town center for people who want to use the Greenway.

 

Dunn says the land could also be used for a library or police station, though the studies on the needs of both buildings are still in the very early phases.

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State lawmaker reflects on tough term as special session nears

While state lawmakers had a big task ahead of them with a projected $5 billion deficit over the next two fiscal years, there were not a lot of bills that made it through both chambers.  Danbury state Representative David Arconti says that could have been because of the slim majority of Democrats in the House and the tie in the Senate.  Arconti says that took everyone a while to figure out the new lay of the land.

 

A Special Session is on the calendar for Thursday, but it's unclear if there will be a budget to be voted on at that time.

 

Some bills were called, so debate could be held even if there were no votes.  Some bills that might not ordinarily have been called because the votes weren't there for passage were also brought forward.  Arconti says he was pleased the toll bills ended up being defeated.

 

Those bills also included having Connecticut delegates cast ballots for the national popular vote and marijuana legalization.

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New Milford residents buy former New Milford Sports Club

Three New Milford couples have bought the former New Milford Sports Club, and the Grove Street property.  The renovated New Milford Fitness & Aquatics Club will open July 1st.  It had been operated by Dominick Donofrio III, but closed in May amid eviction proceedings and his arrest for not paying employees.  The new owners are Mike and Michelle Nahom, Lou and Sue Pereira, and Belinda and Ed Bourjeili.

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Realtor in court over alleged theft from home in foreclosure

A Ridgefield realtor was in court today on allegations she stole $405,000 worth of items from a client's Wilton home.  66-year old Barbara Morris was arrested June 15th.  Wilton Police allege Morris tried to sell items from an Olmstead Hill Road home for personal gain.  The house was in a drawn-out foreclosure proceeding.  The items were recovered from a Stamford auction house and returned to the owner.

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Fran Collins honored during CIFC annual gala

Former Governor Jodi Rell honored attorney Fran Collins during the 14th annual Connecticut Institute For Communities Gala.  The event was held Thursday night in Danbury.  Collins recently retired from his longtime law practice.  He was recently recognized for more than 50 years of legal service by the Greater Danbury Bar Association.  Collins also once served as Speaker of the state House of Representatives.

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Unlicensed driver gets DUI after allegedly kicking officer while fleeing crash scene

A Danbury man who crashed into a telephone pole Friday night has been charged with driving under the influence and for resisting arrest.  Danbury Police say 39-year old Feliciano Huisha-Charco fled after the accident and was found climbing a fence.  He allegedly kicked the officers while trying to get away.  Huisha-Charco was also charged for driving without registration, insurance or a license and failure to drive on the right.

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Two ordinances pass, one fails at New Fairfield Special Town Meeting

The New Fairfield tax collector will soon be able to waive any property tax bills less than $5.  That was one of two ordinances approved in a special town meeting Thursday.  Officials say collections sometimes cost more than the revenue being collected. 

 

An ordinance allowing the selectmen to set fees for building permits has been updated to clarify and streamline the process. 

 

The other item on the agenda, an ordinance about water discharged onto the road, was not approved.  It was aimed at preventing hazardous and icy road conditions, but it was rejected during the special town meeting.  Some said it was too vague and broadly written.  There were 20 people at the meeting, and by a hand vote, the resolution garnered 11 votes in opposition.

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New Fairfield man killed in highway crash

A New Fairfield man was killed in a highway crash early yesterday morning.  State Police say 27-year-old Kurtis Liska was travelling westbound on Interstate 84 near exit 8 in Bethel when his car drifted into the right shoulder.  The vehicle struck a trailer that was parked on the side of the highway.  Liska was transported to Danbury Hospital, but died of his injuries.  The occupants of the trailer were not injured.  State Police are continuing to investigate the accident.  Anyone with information is asked to call Troop A at 203-267-2200.

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State distributes $15.1 million in grants to help nonprofits

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The state of Connecticut is doling out $15.1 million in grants to help 50 nonprofit agencies across the state pay for one-time infrastructure improvements.

Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy created the Nonprofit Grant Program in 2013, which has helped hundreds of groups. This marks the fifth round of grants.

The capital purchases being funded by the grant program are varied. They range from vehicles for the ARC of Litchfield County Inc. in Torrington to a case management system at the Southwestern Connecticut Agency on Aging in Bridgeport.

Malloy says the capital purchases will help to improve the nonprofits' service delivery, efficiency and effectiveness, as well as address health, safety and accessibility issues. He says that allows the groups to focus on "getting services to those who need them the most."

 

Bethel-based Ability Beyond Disability, Inc. will receive $774,451 for Bethel renovation, Beckerle Street improvements, Tammany Trail improvements, and information technology.

 

Danbury-based CT Institute for Communities, Inc. has been awarded $130,681 for Information technology.

 

Parking lot improvements will be funded for Danbury-based MWCCA with a $78,671 grant.

 

Newtown Youth & Family Services, Inc. will receive $136,633 for energy efficiency projects.

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Pretrial discussions set for man accused of killing parents

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) The case of a Connecticut man accused of killing his parents after they threatened to cut him out of their wills is set to return before a judge for more pretrial discussions.

The private hearing in Kyle Navin's case is scheduled for Monday in Bridgeport Superior Court.

The 28-year-old Easton man has pleaded not guilty to murder charges in the deaths of his parents, Jeffrey and Jeanette Navin. The couple's bodies were found in Weston in October 2015, two months after they disappeared.

Court documents say the couple was upset about their son's behavior and drug use, and planned to cut him out of their wills.

Navin is being held on $2.5 million bail.

His girlfriend, Jennifer Valiante, also is detained on bail on charges including conspiracy to commit murder.

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Danbury officials send proposed land sale to public hearing

The Danbury City Council has voted to send a proposal to a public hearing that would transfer ownership of the Mallory Hat site to the Women's Center for a new transitional housing center.  The city owned property at 89 Rose Hill Avenue would be sold to the Women's Center for $1 if approved.

 

The public hearing date was not immediately scheduled.

 

The land does need an environmental remediation because of chemicals that seeped into the soil over the years.  The clean up is estimated at between $700,000 and $800,000. 

 

City Council Minority Leader Tom Saadi says this is a win for the City, a win for the environment, and addresses a critical need in the community in protecting women and children.  He called it a model, both physically in the structure and program support that's been developed over the years as a best practice.

 

Saadi noted that concerns with a short term flip of the property or conversion to another use are addressed in the ordinance.

 

Mayor Mark Boughton called it a big deal for every entity involved.  He noted that the Women's Center worked tirelessly on their capital plan.  Boughton told the Council they will be doing something for those people that are in a difficult position, and that's what government is supposed to do.

 

The plan would bring stability to the neighborhood while also cleaning up a blighted and contaminated property.

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FEMA grant awarded to Water Witch Hose Co. #2

FEMA funding from the Assistance to Firefighter Grant program is being allocated to to support a fire department in New Milford.  Water Witch Hose Company # 2 will received 45,455 for an Air Refill – Compressor System. 

 

5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty says day in and day out, firefighters put their lives on the line in order to save others--and noted that they must have access to the equipment and training necessary to do their jobs safely and effectively. 

 

Since 2001, FEMA's Assistance to Firefighter grant program has helped firefighters and other first responders to obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards.

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New Milford Town Council asked to allocate funds for work on proposed community center

On Monday night, the New Milford Town Council will consider an additional expenditure to turn the former Pettibone School into a Community Center.  The Zoning Commission has required the Town to install additional lighting in the parking lots, and the estimated cost is $155,000. 

 

Mayor David Gronbach has proposed tapping the Waste Management Fund for the allocation.  He says the fund has over 11 million dollars in it and cannot be used on roads or bridges and can only be used to buy land or construct municipal public recreation, educational or library facilities.  

 

The community center would house the Parks and Rec and the Youth Agency. 

 

Gronbach says the interior work is 95% done. High speed fiber has been installed and electrical upgrades were made.  Parks and Rec has painted their offices, which he says will save New Milford thousands of dollars in the process. The Youth Agency has also prepped their space, painted and cleaned. 

 

Consultants, at no cost to the Town, are studying a plan to replace the roof, install solar and other sources to generate its own electricity.

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Teen driver injured in car vs utility pole crash

A young driver was injured in a car versus utility pole accident in Newtown on Monday.  The crash happened at the intersection of High Rock and Grays Plain.  The driver had minor facial lacerations following the airbag deployment. He was checked for further injury, and released into the care of a parent.  Firefighters assisted with patient care, and disconnected the car's battery as a precaution. Speedi-Dri was applied to fluids in the roadway. 

 

(Photo: Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue)

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Route 7 road closure this weekend for bridge replacement project

Part of Route 7 in Ridgefield will be closed this weekend for a bridge replacement project.  The state Department of Transportation is replacing the bridge just north of Route 102.  This is the second of five scheduled weekend closures that will take place over the next several months. The next closure will take place in July.  Local traffic and those needing access to businesses on Route 7 between 35 and 102 will still be allowed access except to the area where the bridge construction is taking place. 

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Rollover accident prompts rear-end rubber necking accident

A rollover accident tied up the morning commute Monday on the highway in Newtown.  A driver headed eastbound took down several feet of guardrail before rolling multiple times and landing in the median.  The man sustained multiple injuries and was transported to the hospital.  Around the same time, a rear-end accident happened near the rollover, but was unrelated.  Part of the highway was closed while emergency responders worked.

 

(Photo: Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue)

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Newtown firefighters prevent garage blaze from spreading to home

It took Newtown fire companies about two hours to put out a blaze in an Abbotts Hill Road home last weekend.  The fire heavily damaged an apartment over the single-family dwelling's garage, but the house was spared significant damage.  No one was home when a neighbor discovered the fire Saturday afternoon.  There were no injuries to any firefighters, but Chief Murphy says a small dog died, probably due to smoke inhalation.  The apartment was uninhabitable following the blaze. Murphy estimates the fire caused $40,000 in damages to the apartment.  Southbury and Bethel provided mutual aid.

 

(Photo: Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue)

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UPS driver charged for identity theft scheme

A UPS employee has been arrested by Wilton Police on larceny and identity theft charges.  Wilton Police received two separate complaints from people living in Tolland and Southington who had their personal identifying information used to purchase cell phones online. 

 

The phones were scheduled for delivery to various Wilton addresses, unbeknownst to the homeowners. 

 

Surveillance at one of the homes showed 26-year old Jonathon McClain of Norwalk driving up for the scheduled delivery, but never dropping off a package. 

 

Wilton Police and UPS management determined that McClain was involved in a scheme to sell the fraudulently purchased phones on his truck for delivery to third parties.

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New Milford Police remind residents about panhandling ordinance

New Milford Police are reminding residents of the town's Panhandling Ordinance.  Police say if you're approached by somebody who is violating the ordinance, contact the department to report the incident.  In order to determine a violation, complainants need to speak with the responding officer.  The reminder comes following postings in a Facebook community group about people being approached at ATMs in New Milford by a man asking for money.

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Critic of New Milford Mayor could be removed from Sewer Commission

One critic of New Milford Mayor David Gronbach could be ousted from the Sewer Commission.  Gronbach maintains that commission members should serve four year terms, as outlined in town ordinances.  Mike Bensema was named to the commission in 2010, with a term to expire this November.  The Newstimes reports that the same reasoning was not applied to commission member Gary Pfaff.  The also has a long-standing vacancy.  Bensema told the publication that town officials have known about the term length mistake since February.

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Danbury detective, two good samaritans rescue teen from submerged jeep

An off duty Danbury Police Detective and two passing motorists rescued a 17-year old girl from a partially submerged vehicle in Ball Pond Tuesday morning.  Detective Sergeant Adam Marcus was driving on Ball Pond Road and saw that an accident happened. 

 

 

 

He and two Danbury residents, 32-year old Chris Dimauro and 28-year old Danielle Lo Medico, saw the Jeep Liberty on its side in the pond.  The vehicle was about 50 feet from the shoreline.

 

 

 

The three entered the pond to help the injured 17 year old.  They were able to free her from the vehicle and bring her to shore where medical emergency personnel later arrived. 

 

The investigation determined that the teen was headed south, lost control and struck a telephone pole and several guard posts. The teen was transported to Danbury Hospital and issued a verbal warning for traveling too fast for conditions. 

 

 

 

The state Department of Environmental Protection also responded to the scene.

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Danbury woman tried to hide narcotics in bra during drug bust

Three Danbury residents have been arrested on drug related charges.  Neighbor complaints about 24-year old Denzel Wilkins and 25-year old Tiffany Ortiz allegedly selling drugs from their Main Street apartmen prompted an investigationt. 

 

While conducing surveillance Thursday, Danbury Police say Wilkins make a suspected drug transaction to 25-year old Marissa Palumbo in a parking lot near 385 Main Street.  When Palumbo realized that police were approaching Wilkins' car, she hid the suspected drugs in her shirt/bra area, which was later confirmed. 

 

Wilkins was found in possession of heroin packaged for sale.

 

    

(Wilkinson, Ortiz, Palumbo)

 

Investigators went to the apartment where Wilkins and Ortiz live.  Ortiz was there with a young child.  Police found more heroin packaged for sale and suspected cash proceeds of drug sales.

 

Palumbo was charged with possession of narcotics and released on a written promise to appear in court at a later date.

 

Ortiz was charged with possession of narcotics, possession with intent to sell, possession within 1500' of a prohibited place, possession with intent to sell within 1500' of a prohibited place, possession of drug paraphernalia within 1500' of a prohibited place, possession of drug paraphernalia and risk of injury to a child.  She was held on $2,500 bond.

 

Wilkins was charged with possession and sale of narcotics, possession with intent to sell, possession and sale within 1500' of a prohibited place, possession with intent to sell within 1500' of a prohibited place, possession of drug paraphernalia and risk of injury to a child.  He was held on $25,000 bond.

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Bus driver accused of sexually assaulting intellectually disabled girl

A bus driver has been arrested on allegations he sexually assaulted an 11-year old intellectually disabled girl.  State Police launched the investigation into 39-year old Luis Cruz in February.  He was a bus driver for Connecticut Transportation Services, LLC and would drive the girl from New Fairfield to Bridgeport.  The alleged assault happened in the parking lot of the National Shooting Sports Foundation in Newtown.  Cruz was charged Wednesday with sexual assault, risk of injury to a minor and illegal sexual contact of a victim under age 16.  He was held on bond for an arraignment hearing yesterday.

 

The victim told her foster mother that Cruz touched her.  Since the girl couldn't say where the incident took place, the Department of Children and Families had trouble determining which police department to contact.  Emails between the bus company and DCF initially also misidentified the involved driver.

 

The alleged assault took place on January 25th.

 

The girl's regular driver says she is usually joyful and would sing along with the radio.  The day after the alleged assault, he reported that she was rigid and quite.  When he got near exit 11, the victim's usual driver reported that she started screaming "Don't get off! Stay on the highway!"  An investigation revealed no unauthorized stops that day.

 

DCF sent document to police in March that CTS provided a one-time transport of the victim from New Fairfield to her foster home in Bridgeport.  Police then spoke with a social worker at Family & Children's Aid in Danbury about their interview with the girl.

 

Cruz initially said he didn't know why police were questioning him.  He also told investigators that he took Route 34, and was told by police that the bus had GPS, showing he took Route 25.  When asked about the unscheduled stop, Cruz claimed he went to check if the victim was still wearing her seat belt. 

 

When Cruz dropped the girl off at her foster home, she told her foster mother that he touched her.  He claims that the woman told him not to worry about it because the victim "was not all there."  The foster mother denied his claim, saying she told the driver to wait there.

 

According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Cruz eventually told investigators that he pulled into the NSSF parking lot with the sole intent to sexually assault the victim.  He reportedly believed she was asleep and would be unaware of the contact.  Cruz said he touched the victim's inner thigh on top of her clothing.

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Congress members introduce legislation aimed at combating climate change, growing jobs

5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty and Senator Chris Murphy are each introducing legislation to combat climate change and create jobs in the clean-energy sector.  The measure calls for a $50 billion capitalization of the national Green Bank.  But they have left it open to discussion how to pay for that investment since there are different rules in the House and Senate.

 

They say this will help bolster the Connecticut Green Bank, which was the first of its kind in the country.  The entity just marked 5 years in existence. 

 

Esty says the climate change debate is not a choice between protecting the environment or protecting jobs, it can be both.  The legislation establishes a national green bank to fund clean energy and energy efficient projects. 

 

Esty says she wants to reclaim America's leadership in the clean energy market.  She says the wind industry employes 102,000 people, the natural gas industry employs 262,000 people and the solar industry employs 374,000 people.

 

The biggest obstacle Green Banks face is a lack of access to large scale financing.

 

Esty says climate change will be the defining economic and social challenge of the century.  She called this bill a pragmatic, market-driven plan to create jobs, help businesses reduce energy costs and ensure this country does its part to protect the environment.

 

Senator Chris Murphy says because of the withdrawl from the Paris Climate Agreement, some country will be the beneficiary of millions of new jobs in green energy, and right now it's not going to be America.  He says this country is ceding global leadership on renewable energy jobs.  If sensible, pro-growth, pro-environment policies soon, Murphy says America will be left out in the cold.

 

Murphy called the Connecticut Green Bank a huge success.  He says the entity has helped create 13,000 direct or indirect jobs.

 

Curtis Packaging has operated in Newtown since 1845 and is a small to mid-sized manufacturer.  Vice President of Operations Kerry Brown says the new owner bought the company in 2003 and has focused on environmental responsibility.  They use wind, solar and natural gas power, the company is 100 percent carbon neutral, recycles 98 percent and is 100 percent landfill-free.

 

Other businesses that have benefitted from Connecticut Green Bank investment include Tier ONE Machining and Assembly in Newtown and Defeo Manufacturing in Brookfield.

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NY man charged with stealing from cemetary

A Pawling man has been accused of stealing from a Carmel cemetary.  New York State Police charged 47-year old Robert Bauer Tuesday with Grand Larceny, Forgery and Falsifying Business Records.  All area felony counts. 

 

The Putnam County District Attorney's Office contacted police in January about a sizeable loss of money and supplies from the Raymond Hill Cemetery.  An investigation revealed that Bauer, a former employee, stole in excess of $250,000 in money and equipment from the cemetery. 

 

He is accused of submitting inflated invoices from actual companies to reflect a purchase made for the cemetery between 2007 and 2015.

 

Bauer was held on bond and is due in Carmel Town Court July 11th.  New York State Police say the investigation is ongoing and additional charges against Bauer are likely. 

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Brookfield to pay legal fees of former Registrar of Voters

Brookfield has decided to cover legal fees of former Republican Registrar of Voters Tom Dunkerton.  The Board of Selectmen voted this week, after losing several rounds in court.  The matter stemmed from when Dunkerton removed a Brookfield resident from the GOP voter rolls under a little used statute about lack of good faith party affiliation. 

 

First Selectman Steve Dunn previously said that Dunkerton was acting as a member of a local political party, not in his official town employee capacity.  Brookfield and Dunkerton's attorney are negotiating how much Brookfield owes. 

 

Dunn told the Newstimes that he is concerned the case sets a precedent that any board member could hire a lawyer without the town's permission and could prevent Brookfield from negotiating possible legal fees.

 

The former registrar sued the town for more than $15,000 after the town refused to pay his attorney's $26,000 legal bill.

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Boating restrictions will be in place on Candlewood Lake for Saturday's fireworks

Normal boating traffic on Candlewood Lake in the area of Danbury Bay will be disrupted Saturday due to the Annual Danbury Volunteer Fireman’s Fireworks Display.  Beginning at 4pm, all boats in the vicinity of City Island must maintain a “slow-no- wake” speed to allow for the fireworks company to safety set up the fireworks behind the Island.

 

The Marine Patrol will be setting up a safety zone just north of City Island in Danbury Bay.  No vessels will be allowed to anchor south of the safety zone starting around 5 hours prior to and during the event.

 

The Candlewood Lake Authority Marine Patrol is working with DEEP EnCON Police on a safety operation tomorrow.  They will be stopping all boats entering Danbury Bay for a safety inspection.  One Life Jacket for each person on board and lights in working order must be on board.  Any boat without the required safety equipment will be turned away and not be allowed to enter the area until the requirements are met.

 

Marine Patrol Chief Doug Vane says a safety lane will also be created along the eastern shore of Danbury Bay.

 

Boaters are also reminded that as they pass within 200 feet of a stationary law enforcement vessel using its lights and audible signal, they are required to slow to “slow-no- wake” speed until it is more than 200 feet away.

 

After the fireworks, boaters must proceed out of the viewing area at “slow-no- wake” speed.

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Immaculate High School names new principal

Immaculate High School in Danbury has named a new principal.  Dr Patrick Higgins of Bethel will take on the role as of July 1st at the private, non-profit Catholic college-preparatory school.  Joe Carmen resigned from the position last summer to become Director of Leadership Development at Quinnipiac University.  School President Mary Maloney has been serving as Interim Principal for the past year.  Higgins taught AP Social Studies at Ridgefield High School for two decades before serving as the Dean of Students and Director of Student Activities at Joel Barlow High School from 2011 to 2013.

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Investigation continues into June 5 shooting in Ridgefield

Ridgefield Police are continuing to investigate a June 5th shooting that happened on Hulda Lane, but the search warrant affidavit has been released.  The Ridgefield Press reports that a group of four people, including the 15-year old girl who was shot in the back, tried to steal a Land Rover from Mauro Tropeano's driveway. 

 

No charges have been filed as of yesterday. 

 

Tropeano is licensed to possess a firearm.  He turned over surveillance footage to police, who then filed for a search warrant of his home. 

 

The Press reports that Tropeano was in possession of seven pounds of marijuana, injectable steroids and 219 “unmarked yellow tablets” and other pills.  Police also found more than $26,000 in cash and three guns. 

 

The Waterbury girl survived, but the bullet is lodged close to her spine and doctors were unable to remove it.

 

Tropeano is the owner of Stanziato’s Wood Fired Pizza in Danbury.

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Wilton Police search for person who vandalised town property with graffiti

The Wilton Police Department is asking for the community's assistance in identifying the person or people responsible for the graffiti found at various locations in the Town Center.  Much of the spray painted images were found in the area of Schneck's Island.  Anyone that has information is asked to call the Wilton Police Tips Line at 203-563-0256.

 

 

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Wilton student named finalist in invention competition

A Wilton student has been named as a finalist for the 2017 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge.  Anika Bhagavatula, from Middlebrook Middle School is among the top 10. 

 

The competition is for students in grades 5-8, who use scientific thinking to create an innovation that will improve lives in their local communities or globally. 

 

Anika developed a solution to clean up oil spills using a combination of natural materials including orange peels and pomegranate husks. Her research proved this mixture can absorb solvents two-to-three times its weight.  She will partner with a 3M scientist through a summer mentorship program, where they will meet virtually to turn her concept into a reality. 

 

Anika and the other finalists will compete on October 16-17 during a live event at the 3M Innovation Center in Minnesota.

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Bethel man causes three car crash on I-684

Police say a Bethel man was speeding on Interstate 684 in the rain on Monday afternoon when his car crossed the median and caused a three-car collision on the opposite side of the highway. 

 

New York State Police say 64-year old James Desposito was headed southbound around 12:30pm and lost control of his car.  He struck a vehicle being driven by a 52-year old.  A 44-year old travelling behind the Glastonbury man was unable to take evasive action and struck Desposito's car. 

 

The Bethel man and Fishkill woman were transported to Danbury Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

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Brookfield Zoning hears application for apartments above Federal Rd retail location

The Brookfield Zoning Commission is holding a public hearing tonight about a proposal to allow apartments on the second floor of a commercial building on Federal Road.  The building near Candlewood Lake Road has a Sprint Store, salon and massage parlor on the first floor. 

 

The proposal calls for 9 one-bedroom units on the second floor, which has been vacant for more than a decade. 

 

Applicant Bob Hussain says three of the units would be considered affordable housing so he could apply to be part of the state's 8-30g program, which means the project could only be denied by the Zoning Commission for health or safety reasons. 

 

The Zoning Commission is meeting at 7 o'clock tonight in Room 133 of Brookfield Town Hall.

 

The Newstimes reports that Hussain and the town recently ended a legal fight over back taxes.  Brookfield acquired the land a parking lot sits on from the state.  Deed restrictions said the parcel could only be used for recreational purposes.  When the town and Hussain found that out, he reportedly stopped paying rent. 

 

The matter went to court and the published report says Hussain agreed to pay Brookfield $146,000 in back rent and legal fees.  The town will pay the state $244,500 to lift the deed restrictions.

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Bethel man sentenced in connection to two overdose deaths

A Bethel man has been sentenced for distributing drugs that led to two overdose deaths.  51-year old Paul Mignani was sentenced Tuesday to five years in jail, followed by three years of supervised release.  The sentence was above the guideline range, and the judge noted that one of the victims died in Mignani's bedroom. 

 

Bethel Police responded to a report of an unresponsive 54-year old woman on July 31st 2016.  An investigation revealed that Mignani distributed the heroin, fentanyl and cocaine consumed by the victim shortly before her death. 

 

On December 11th, Bethel police responded to a report of an unresponsive 25-year old at Mignani's home.  Nine empty heroin folds were found in the victim's purse and jacket.  A search of his home turned up three plastic bags of cocaine, each containing one gram of the drug.  $1,531 in cash and multiple cellphones were seized from his home. 

 

Mignani was arrested on state charges on December 12th.  He was arrested again on December 28th after a federal criminal complaint. 

 

According to statements made in court, Mignani regularly sold several hundred grams of heroin and cocaine in total to 10 customers.

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Ridgefield considers cameras for Ballard Park

The Ridgefield Board of Selectmen has started discussion about the possibility of adding security cameras to Ballard Park.  This follows two incidents in the last 8 months where racist and anti-semitic graffiti was discovered at the park.  The Ridgefield Parks and Rec Commission will be asked to take the idea of cameras under consideration.

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New Milford officials meet about Skate Park closure

New Milford officials have met with Skate Park users that altered the park with concrete ramps, as well as a designer/builder.  The users apologized before Parks and Rec Commission for the changes they made, saying they had good intentions.  A design plan and a budget to fix and improve the park will be presented.  Private donations over $5,000 have been been raised and are expected to supplement the Town funds previously budgeted for routine maintenance.  New Milford Mayor David Gronbach says depending on when the designs get submitted and approved, he expects an improved Skate Park to open soon.

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Putnam County officials meet about Shared Services Initiative

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell has held the second in a series of information sessions about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s County-wide Shared Services Initiative.  The proposal requires county officials to develop localized plans that find property tax savings by coordinating and eliminating duplicative services and propose coordinated services to enhance purchasing power. 

 

The first session was held last month.  There will be another session next month.  Odell is seeking feedback and suggestions from Putnam County residents on shared services.

 

Some of the suggestions include joint purchasing of energy and insurance, sharing highway and plowing services and reducing back office administrative overhead.  She notes that school districts account for 71-percent of tax dollars, towns are 18-percent and the county is 9-percent.  Odell says Putnam County still has the lowest county tax portion on bills in New York State

 

Odell says she has tried to manage county government through socially and fiscally responsible measures.

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Danbury Police identify bicyclist found dead in Farrington Woods

Danbury Police have identified the man who was found dead at Farrington Woods Tuesday.  Police say 56-year old Stephen Shafer of Bethel went missing Monday when he failed to return home from mountain biking in the park.  The Medical Examiner's Office continues to investigate. There were no apparent signs of trauma.

 

A call was made to the Danbury Police station expressing concern Monday around 10:45pm.

 

Chief TJ Wiedl says the man was found about three-quarters of a mile into the deeply wooded area.  He was located shortly before 11:30am Tuesday. 

 

Officials were told that the man uses the park on a regular basis for mountain biking.

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Bridgewater house destroyed by fire

A house in Bridgewater was destroyed by a fire overnight. 

 

Emergency responders initially reported a resident was trapped in the Christian Street home.  One person was rescued from the second story of the home.  The fire broke out shortly before 10:30pm. 

 

Three occupants and one firefighter were evaluated at the hospital.  The extent of their injuries was not immediately released.

 

(Photo: County Car 9)

 

Mutual aid was provided by Bethel, Brookfield, New Milford, Newtown, Northville and Roxbury fire companies.  The fire marshal's office is investigating the cause.

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Ridgefield resident wins $100,000 scholarship

A Ridgefield resident who is attending Ithaca College has been presented with a $100,000 scholarship.  Sammie Watts received the funding live on the Today Show, from actor Will Ferrell.  The tuition contest was created by the Today Show and Ferrell's new film, The House.  2,000 submissions were sent in, and Watts, who wants to become a speech pathologist, was selected yesterday.  Her father is recovering from esophageal cancer and most of the family's money has gone toward treatments.  The tuition contest was to write about why someone you love deserves money for a college education.

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Conn. woman arrested by Wilton Police for violating protective order

A Connecticut woman has been arrested in Wilton for violating a protective order.  Wilton Police say Tiffany Tecce of New Haven was charged for sending photos of the victim to other people in an attempt to harass the victim.  The 42-year old was held on bond Monday for arraignment.

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Fuel spilled, driver uninjured in rollover truck accident

A truck driver was uninjured yesterday morning when his tractor trailer overturned on I-84 in the town of Southeast.  The accident happened around 1:30 Tuesday morning.  The driver, 34-year-old Aabdirizak Muse of Ohio, told New York State Police that his front tire failed.  The truck went off the road and struck a guide rail before overturning by exit 20.  The Department of Environmental Conservation responded to clean up a fuel spill.  Part of the highway was closed through the morning commute and caused traffic to back up into Connecticut.

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WCSU finds 300-percent increase in ticks in 2017 compared to 2016

The Tick-Borne Disease Prevention Laboratory at West Conn has reported that its weekly sampling for deer ticks has reached the highest population level recorded since the lab initiated field monitoring in 2011.

 

The ticks are a common carrier of Lyme disease and other illnesses.  During the last week of May, field samples collected on average 303 percent more deer ticks than in the same week in 2016.  Over a longer timeframe, the record deer tick numbers in the final week of May showed a dramatic surge of 1,021 percent from the comparable week in 2014.

 

The West Conn lab has monitored deer tick populations on a weekly basis at sites in Danbury, Ridgefield and Newtown from May through August every year since 2011.

 

Lab Director Dr Neeta Connally says in this region, every year is a risky year for Lyme disease and other tick-associated infections.

 

The associate professor of biological and environmental studies at WCSU says residents should always be vigilant in protecting themselves from tick bites. Some ways for people to prevent encounters with ticks are to wear long pants and light-colored clothing, check all exposed skin thoroughly after spending time outdoors where ticks are present, bathe shortly after outdoor activity, and dry clothes on high heat after outdoor wear.

 

Connally last year received a $1.6 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control to conduct a four-year integrated tick management project that aims to combine findings from tick control research with study of human behaviors to produce more effective strategies to combat the spread of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.

 

The study is a collaborative effort between WCSU, the CDC and co-principal investigator Dr. Thomas Mather, professor and director of the Tick Encounter Resource Center at the University of Rhode Island. Field research has involved the collection of tick samples from the yards of homes in western Connecticut as well as in southern Rhode Island

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Danbury seeks to make downtown more pedestrian friendly

Danbury received a $225,000 grant for the Downtown Danbury Transit Oriented Development Study.

 

Consultants will draw up designs for new streetscape improvements to enhance pedestrian conditions between different modes of transit.  Input from a listening session last night will be taken into consideration.

 

Planning Director Sharon Calitro says the end goal is to have a more walkable, inviting area while also incentivizing private investment.  One area being studied is how to link bus riders to the train station.  Calitro says that could include co-location of the bus station, Pulse Point pickup, closer to the Metro North station.

 

Another area that officials will study is whether it makes sense to invest in additional public parking.  There is a possibility of making share-a-lanes to make downtown more bike-friendly.  Those are shared bike and vehicle lanes.  Calitro says they're looking at that option rather than a dedicated lane because of the physical layout of downtown streets.

 

Another follow up meeting will be held as they get closer to finalizing the plan.  The proposal will also have to go to the City Council.

 

Danbury is applying for another state grant related to streetscape improvements.  If awarded, the money would be used for construction to improve pedestrian access on Main Street to the Metro North station.  That would could include sidewalk improvements, planting trees and installing benches or other pedestrian amenities.

 

Danbury is seeking $2 million.  While it's not a matching grant, the City has decided to allocate $200,000 or 10-percent, if awarded.  City officials say this will give Danbury a better chance of being selected for grant funding.

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New Milford to start testing water quality at Addis Park

There is a sign at Addis Park in New Milford, north of Lovers Leap warning about the water quality.  The sign notes that bacteriological results in that area of Lake Lillinonah often exceed the results considered ok for bathing, therefore swimming is prohibited. 

 

The sign has been up for a while. 

 

Water skiers are also advised that there is an increased risk of acquiring illness as a result of accidental ingestion or prolonged contact with the water. 

 

New Milford Mayor David Gronbach says they will now be testing the water and working with the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to identify issues and create a plan to address them.

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UPDATED: Emergency responders find missing Bethel bicyclist dead in Danbury

Danbury and Putnam County emergency responders searching for a missing mountain biker found the man dead in Farrington Woods.  A call was made to the Danbury Police station expressing concern for the man Monday evening.  Danbury Police then called the Danbury Fire Department alerting them that an officer was at the open space site around 10:45pm.  The man’s vehicle, with a bike rack on it, was located in the parking area near Farrington Woods.

 

Danbury Assistant Fire Chief Mark Omasta says the 56-year old bicyclist is a Bethel resident.

 

Chief TJ Wiedl says the man was found about three-quarters of a mile into the deep wooded area.  He was located shortly before 11:30am Tuesday.  Officials were told that the man uses the park on a regular basis for mountain biking.

 

 

The Medical Examiner’s office is conducting an investigation.  There were no apparent signs of trauma.

 

It’s a thickly wooded area.   While the department has a lot of GPS tracking technology, an aggressive foot search was needed to locate the man.  Danbury Police bicycle team, the Brewster Fire Department, off-road vehicles from Bethel and Croton Falls fire departments came in.   

 

 

He says this is the first time in his memory that there’s been an injury reported at the park, and the first incident of this sort.

 

Wiedl suggested people bike in pairs in case there is an emergency.  He also noted that it’s important to carry a cell phone.  But he cautioned that cell phoe pings will only get responders close to your location.

 

The Danbury Fire Department led the search with the help of Danbury Police and K9s, Newtown Underwater Search And Rescue K9, Putnum County Sheriffs, and Danbury EMS. 

 

 

The search was called off around midnight, and resumed Tuesday at 8:30 am. 

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Public hearing tonight in Easton on proposed cell tower

A public hearing is being held in Easton tonight by the Connecticut Siting Council.  Homeland Towers LLC and Verizon Wireless are seeking to build a cell tower at 515 Morehouse Road.  The 157-foot faux branch top tower has a stealth monopine design. 

 

The public hearing is at 7pm at the Easton Library community room. 

 

Easton requested a telecommunications coverage assessment by the Siting Council in 2012, and it found that parts of Routes 58, 59 and 136 didn't have coverage.  Emergency officials identified that as a safety concern since the area included schools and the senior center. 

 

A tethered, helium balloon will be floated at 1 pm at the proposed height at the Morehouse Road site so the siting council can look at it during a field meeting review at 2 pm.  An evidentiary hearing at 3 pm in the library community room for the applicants to answer questions from the Siting council. 

 

The public hearing will close July 20th, with a decision deadline of October 9.

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Three men arrested for burglaries from cars in Wilton

Three men have been arrested in Wilton for burglaries from cars.  Wilton Police were investigating two car burglaries that happened in the Rivergate Drive and West Meadow Road areas in late December.  The victim's credit cards were then used in Waterbury and Southington.  Surveillance video showed Andrew Aultman, Jay Crump Jr and Michael Mallardi are the suspects.  Crump Jr. and Mallardi were previously arrested while Aultman was picked up last week.  All three have been charged with multiple counts of burglary, larceny and identity theft.

 

    

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Drainage project to close Sawmill Rd in New Fairfield next week

Sawmill Road in New Fairfield will be closed next week at Woodcreek Road.  The closure is expected to last about a week.  Traffic delays are expected as the Candlewood Corners project moves north on Route 39. The work is being done to address undersized drainage, which officials also say is poorly aligned.  Flooding occurs because of that, damaging properties and causing hazardous driving conditions.  Two culverts, large enough to handle rain events without flooding of properties or roadways, are being installed. The project will take three to four months to complete.

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Summer Youth Employment program funding cut by state

There's another casualty of the state's financial problems.  The Youth Employment Program, which Danbury was taking part in, will not be funded this summer.  More than 3 dozen youths in Danbury were enrolled in the program, which helps kids from needy families learn job skills and by working for minimum-wage for 20 hours a week.  The 6 week program was funded by 60-thousand dollars from the state, which has now been cut.

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Newtown man faces charges for illegally bringing dead buck into CT

A Newtown man is facing charges after he lied to state officials about where he got a dead deer from.  65-year old Wayne Simko said it came from nearby Bridgewater, but actually brought the buck to Connecticut from a deer farm in Pennsylvania.  That state has confirmed cases of Chronic Wasting Disease,  a contagious neurological disease affecting deer, elk and moose.  While there's no evidence that CWD poses a risk for humans, state EnCon Police caution that exposure should be avoided as they continue to evaluate the disease. 

 

  

 

An anonymous tip was reported to the Environmental Conservation Police in February about a 24 point buck that was reportedly taken in Bridgewater.  But officials determined from the hide that it was not from a wild deer herd in Connecticut.  It was determined that Simko hunted and harvested the buck from a captive deer farm in Pennsylvania.

 

EnCon police say Simko did not process the meat for consumption, did not clean the deer as required prior to preparing it for mounting and illegally brought the whole buck back to Connecticut. He then tagged the buck and falsely reported it as being harvested in Bridgewater.

 

Pope & Young, a bowhunting and conservation organization, scores wild deer harvested by bow for official records, but declined because the unusual antlers came from a captive and raised farm deer.

 

Simko appeared in Bantam Superior Court yesterday.

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Brookfield First Selectman dealing with foreclosure matter

Brookfield First Selectman Steve Dunn's home is possibly headed to foreclosure.  While taxes on the Lydenwood Drive home are up to date, Dunn owes nearly $480,000 in principal, interest and other payments to the U.S. National Bank Association. 

 

According to court mediation filings Dunn, his wife and her late uncle took out a $513,500 mortgage in 2005.  They became delinquent or in default last March. 

 

The bank filed to foreclose on the home late last year after the Dunns reportedly did not request a meeting about being eligible for help from the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority’s Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program. 

 

Dunn told the Newstimes that he expects to have paid everything he owes within the next two weeks.

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Danbury seeking input on transit-oriented development

The City of Danbury has started a transit-oriented development study in an effort to revitalize the Downtown area.  Residents are being asked for their input in creating recommendations on how to grow and strengthen Downtown Danbury.  City officials are looking to turn the area into a more welcoming, vibrant place to live, work, and learn. 

 

The study started in February.  It's estimated to take a year to complete.

 

Planning Director Sharon Calitro says they want to hear from people what they like about downtown, how they get downtown and what's missing downtown. 

 

The presentation and input session tonight is at the Palace Theater on Main Street from 5:30pm to 8pm.

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Sen. Murphy helps cut red tape for Danbury National Guard member

Senator Chris Murphy has helped a Danbury man, who is a member of the National Guard and a Syrian asylee, to receive his U.S. citizenship.  Mohammed Wardeh has lived in Danbury for the past three years and currently works as a web developer for the United Nations. 

 

He officially became a U.S. citizen on June 7th.  Murphy’s office worked with the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to cut through red tape for Wardeh. 

 

The Danbury resident grew up in Syria, but took a job with the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland in 2005.   He came to the U.S. in 2007 on a visa for employees of international organizations.  He was granted asylum in the United States in 2012. 

 

Wardeh and his wife have three children, all under the age 10, all of whom are U.S. citizens.

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Bethel surveys Stony Hill residents about continuing sewer system project

Some 85 Bethel residents in the Stony Hill section of town received a letter asking for participation in a survey about continuing the sewer system installation project.  Town officials say only about a third of the surveys have been returned.  The response period is being held open until the 30th. 

 

The original project was designed to bring sanitary sewage coverage to 1,132 homes and businesses in the Stony Hill area in four phases.  The project ended in 2013 without being fully implemented because of unanticipated cost increases. 

 

85 homes in the final phase design plans were left without sewers. 

 

A townwide referendum would have to be held in order to secure funding to continue the project.  Construction costs would be paid for by property owners in the project area through an annual assessment, based on home value.  The project would be bonded over 20 years.  Homeowners in the project area will be assessed whether or not they hook up to the sewer system.

 

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New Fairfield Board of Ed vote on Superintendent's annual evaluation

New Fairfield School Superintendent Alicia Roy's contract expires in June 2018.  The Newstimes reports that at least two Board of Ed members have said they won't support renewal.  A closed executive session was held Thursday and members voted 8 to 1 to accept part of Roy's annual evaluation.  An online petition was circulated last year calling on Roy to resign.  The teacher union, the New Fairfield Education Association, cast a vote of no confidence in Roy last year.  She has bee superintendent since 2010.

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DHS graduation ceremony postponed, Abbott Tech's on for tonight

Danbury High School has postponed graduation from tonight to tomorrow at 5pm.  It will take place tomorrow at the high school stadium.  Tomorrow is also the last day of school for the Danbury district, except for Mill Ridge Primary.  Their last day is Wednesday.

 

Henry Abbott Technical High School's graduation is taking place tonight at the O'Neill Center on West Conn's west side campus.  That ceremony is slated for 6pm to 7pm and drivers are cautioned to expect traffic in the Mill Plain Road/Lake Avenue area because of that.

 

30 graduates of the Alternative Center for Excellence in Danbury have received their diplomas.  A graduation ceremony was held Thursday.  This was one of the school's largest graduating class.  The school focuses on addressing individual needs where students can explore their options and develop the skills and interests that best suit them. The school has about 100 students in grades nine through 12, who fulfill  the same graduation requirements as Danbury High School students. 

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Young's Field Riverfront Trail opened in New Milford

A ribbon was cut this weekend in New Milford for the Young's Field Riverfront Trail. 

 

Work for the quarter mile walkway along the Housatonic included removing dead trees, stabilizing the riverbank, native plantings to replace invasive species, paving a 10-foot wide path and installing a fishing dock and kayak launch. 

 

The Young's Field Riverfront Trail will be part of the New Milford River Trail.  That 13 mile trail, 5 of which have already been completed, will link to the Still River Greenway in Brookfield. 

 

Grant funding and private donations paid for the Young's Field Riverfront Trail work.

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Gun charge against Newtown teacher expected to be dismissed

DANBURY, Conn. (AP) A criminal charge against a former Newtown, Connecticut, teacher who police say brought a loaded gun into school is set to be dismissed.

A lawyer for Jason Adams says Adams has successfully completed a nine-month probation program that allows charges to be erased.

Attorney John Maxwell says he expects a state judge in Danbury on Wednesday to dismiss a felony charge of possession of a gun on school grounds.

Police say Adams brought a loaded .45-caliber pistol into Newtown Middle School in April last year. Adams had a permit for the gun, but state law prohibits firearms on school grounds. He later resigned.

Maxwell says Adams brought the weapon after receiving threatening messages from conspiracy theorists who claimed the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown never happened.

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Putnam County Sheriff Sgt. graduates FBI Academy

Putnam County Sheriff Sergeant Timothy Keith has graduated from the FBI National Academy.  Keith, who is a supervisor in the Patrol Division and a K-9 handler, was among 228 law enforcement officials who attended the 268th Session of the Academy.  The ten-week program covers advanced communication, leadership and fitness training.  10 other active members of the Putnam County Sheriff's Office are alumni of the Academy.  Less than one percent of law enforcement officials are selected to attend the program.  Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe was the principal speaker at the graduation ceremony, held last weekend at the Quantico, Virginia campus.

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Danbury lawmaker touts passage of fuel cell bill

Danbury State Representative David Arconti is touting passage of a bill he co-sponsored this session to boost the fuel cell industry.  The measure allows electric distribution companies to add power from fuel cells to their sources of renewable energy.

 

Arconti says this will continue Connecticut's effort to achieve energy self-sufficiency, while reducing costs to the consumer.  He noted that a third benefit of the bill is for companies such as Danbury-based FuelCell Energy, which will be able to grow their business and add jobs to the local economy.  The bill was approved unanimously in the Senate, it passed with overwhelming support in the House.  Governor Malloy is expected to sign the measure into law.

 

The passed the House 130-14.  Among the no votes were Bethel Representative Will Duff and Bill Buckbee of New Milford.

 

At a public hearing before the Energy & Technology Committee in February, representatives from the state departments of Energy and Environmental Protection, Office of Consumer Council and Economic and Community Development all spoke in favor of the bill.  Other support came from the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, Renewable Energy and Efficiency Business Association, and the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology.

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Himes attends forum in Ridgefield on Russia, the U.S. and Trump

A public forum titled “Russia, the U.S., and Trump,” was held at Ridgefield Library last weekend by the Ridgefield Democratic Town Committee.  One of the keynote speakers was 4th District Congressman Jim Himes.  He was joined by Connecticut Deputy Secretary of the State Scott Bates in taking questions from the audience about Russia's political climate, possible interference in elections in the US and Europe, and the status of investigations in Congress.

 

Himes is the ranking member of the NSA and Cybersecurity Subcommittee of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

 

Bates was a policy advisor to the House Homeland Security Committee and principal author of “Winning the War on Terror” which informed the 911 Commission hearings.

 

When it comes to interference, Himes says Vladimir Putin was trying to keep the West unbalanced, keep NATO away from Russian borders, and keep other countries internally focused so he can operate outside of Russia.

 

Himes said Russia isn't as strong as Putin wants people to believe so he used tactics that don't cost much and are deniable.  He also noted that Russia has been doing this for a long time, citing the shut down of the Georgian internet, getting into networks in the Baltics and targeting the election in France.  Himes also predicted Russia will try to meddle in Germany's upcoming election.

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Pet rescue event to be held in New Fairfield today

Six animal rescue groups are coming together today at New Fairfield Dog Park for a Rescues for Life event.  The day includes dog training and canine CPR.  BeCause 4 Paws, Bully Breed Rescue, Pawsafe, NFSAW, Missy’s Mission, Wags n Wiggles and A Second Chance for Ziva will bring foster dogs available for adoption.  New Fairfield Dog Park rules require dogs to be licensed, and be spayed or neutered. Proceeds from the event will go toward the nonprofit community New Fairfield Dog Park Fund.  The event is between 9am and 1pm.

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Great Park Pursuit event to be held at Kettletown State Park

The final event of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's Great Park Pursuit takes place today in Southbury.  The finale of the 12th annual event is at Kettletown State Park between 9am and 3pm. 

 

It features family friendly activities and games, the awarding of certificates and prizes, and a bonfire. 

 

The Great Park Pursuit is a six week summer event where families follow clues and travel from one state park to another.  This year, families learned to fish, canoe and kayak, visited interpretive centers, hiked along trails and paths in the woods, and learned about forestry.

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United Way 'Day of Action' sees 60 projects completed for local non-profits

The United Way of Western Connecticut 's Annual Day of Action was postponed from earlier this month because of rainy weather.  420 volunteers from 20 local businesses instead completed 60 projects for 24 regional nonprofit agencies throughout greater Danbury and New Milford are over a 10 day span. 

 

The projects ranged from reading to children to beautification projects. 

 

For a second year, the United Way led a community-wide project in support of early grade literacy called Camp Wannaread at the Danbury Police Athletic League Center.  30 volunteers put together summer literacy kits filled with donated books and reading supplies. 

 

Enough books were collected to provide two books to 300 local second grade students at Morris Street and South Street Schools in Danbury and Northville Elementary School in New Milford.  Additional books were donated to the schools’ libraries and media centers.

 
Ridgefield Supply provided materials and supplies for many of the projects.  Chik-fil-A in Brookfield, Starbucks on North Street in Danbury, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Caraluzzi’s and Stew Leonard’s donated items to feed the volunteers.

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Connecticut NBC affiliate won't air Jones story

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut's NBC affiliate is not going to air Megyn Kelly's report on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, the radio host who has alleged the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre was a hoax, because "the wounds are understandably still so raw" in the state.

 

In an internal memo obtained Friday by The Association Press, NBC Connecticut staff members were told that station executives made the decision after listening to concerns from Sandy Hook families, viewers and the station's employees.

 

The memo says the executives "considered the deep emotions from the wounds of that day that have yet to heal."

 

NBC News vowed on Friday to go ahead with Sunday's program.

 

Kelly has called Jones' claims "personally revolting" but says she believes there's value in exposing what he says to the American people.

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