HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The sole survivor of a deadly 2007 home invasion says he will not run for a congressional seat held by a Democrat who came under fire for her handling of harassment complaints in her office.
Dr. William Petit Jr. announced Wednesday he plans to seek re-election to his state House of Representatives seat. The Republican will be seeking his second term.
Petit says he ``thought long and hard about running for Congress'' but ``family considerations'' and his commitment to his constituents in Plainville and New Britain ultimately persuaded him to forgo a congressional run.
There's been much speculation about potential candidates for the 5th District seat U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty announced she would not seek re-election.
Excavation work is progressing at the Bridgewater Mobil where there was a leak of 1,100 gallons of gasoline underground earlier this month. State contractors are removing pavement and fill across Route 67 below the station. After the contaminated fill is trucked away, that section of the road has to be entirely rebuilt. The original road closure estimate was for 10 to 15 work days, but it didn’t start until this past Monday. Bridgewater has increased police presence and put out a speed trailer along the curvy and bumpy back roads being used as a detour.
The Women's Center of Greater Danbury participated in Denim Day today. The social statement was originally triggered when the Italian Supreme Court overturned a rape conviction because the justices felt since the victim was wearing tight jeans, she must have helped her rapist remove them, implying consent. The following day, the women in the Italian Parliament arrived at work wearing 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.
A 40-year-old Danbury woman and a 33-year-old Shrub Oak man have been charged with driving under the influence in separate incidents in Putnam County. On Saturday, Karla Gomes was spotted by a Deputy driving erratically on Route 6 in Southeast. On Monday, a car with a loud exhaust and a headlight out was pulled over in Putnam Valley. Peter Cancro failed several sobriety tests. A pipe containing THC was found in the car.
Senator Richard Blumenthal and his colleagues in the tri-state area are calling on the Federal Trade Commission and the FCC to investigate an imposter scam targeting claimants of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. In Connecticut, 97 survivors and responders have received compensation through the fund. Blumenthal says the scam adds to the already significant emotional and financial toll on 9/11 survivors and responders. The scammer is demanding a range of personal information, including Social Security and bank account numbers, promising to use such information to file claims. It's not known whether the scam is aimed at bilking money from the compensation fund or to be used for identity theft.
Water pressure has been restored to all of Danbury. Residents are still asked to boil water before using if on City water. Showering is fine, but bottled water should be used for brushing teeth. The requirement on boiling water should be lifted by tomorrow.
About a third of the City lost water Tuesday.
A part had to be manufactured in upstate New York and flown to Danbury in order to fix the massive water main leak.
A valve broke off a main in the area of Tamarak and Hayestown late Monday. The work to fix the problem included digging up the area around the break, shut off water ahead of the broken valve, replace the valve and then replace any broken pipe.
Mayor Mark Boughton says the water couldn't initially be shut off and the city lost millions of gallons. The Danbury Health Department asked residents yesterday afternoon to voluntarily limit water usage over the next 48 hours.
Boughton acknowledged that the infrastructure on that side of the city is pretty old. There was no construction in the area at the time. He speculated that the warming temperatures moved the earth just a bit and cause the valve to snap. While he was surprised by the severity, Boughton says they do see a number of water main breaks in that general vicinity.
Tanker trucks were filled and on standby in case of emergency. The leak affected Danbury Hospital, which was operating yeterday with a limited water supply.
The Danbury War Memorial has been made available for residents to take a shower. Bottled water will be available for pickup at Danbury Fire headquarters on New Street for residents who have been impacted by this water main break.
West Conn was told by the city that tap water on the Midtown campus is unsafe for any use following a massive water main break. Students were advised not drink, wash hands or brush teeth with water from any faucet on the Midtown campus. While the water main break is unrelated to the recent Norovirus outbreak, students were encouraged to maintain healthy practices to prevent the spread of Norovirus. That means frequent handwashing with soap and water – bottled on Midtown and tap water on Westside. Classes and other operations will continue, with bottled water distributed. There are additional shuttles between Midtown and Westside campuses for dining services.
Newtown residents have approved a budget and two capital items. Turn out for yesterday's referendum was about 17-percent. The spending plan is a 1-percent tax rate increase. The budget for the coming fiscal year is $41-million for the town and $76-million for the schools. Residents also approved $1.685 million to replace the roof on Middle Gate School, and about $1.5 million in additional funding for road repairs and improvements. Newtown residents will likely be asked about funding for a new police station on the August 14th primary ballot or the November general election ballot.
A religious leader in Newtown is running for congress. Rabbi Shaul Praver has announced that he will be a Democratic candidate in the 5th District. He led Congregation Adath Israel was part of the Newtown Interfaith Council. Incumbent Elizabeth Esty opted not to seek reelection amid a controversy over her handling of a sexual harassment complaint involving her former Chief of Staff. Praver described himself to the Newtown Bee as, “a bold progressive candidate” who will advocate for comprehensive gun laws, medicare expansion and campaign finance reform. He is also interested in prison reform, immigration reform and expanding public education to include pre-K through college.
The Bethel Board of Finance will be meeting tonight about the cost overruns on the Police Station construction project. The Selectmen have asked the group to consider using $889,000 from the fund balance to pay for the overage. The additional money is needed because plumbing and HVAC work has been more expensive than estimates. Additional money is needed to finish the firing range and to buy new furniture. Tonight's meeting is at 7pm in the Bethel Municipal Center.
The Ridgefield Board of Education has made requested changes to their budget proposal for the coming fiscal year. The Board of Finance asked the school district to scale back the plan by about $1 million. Acting Superintendent Robert Miller says about half of the reduction was met through negotiations with their healthcare provider. The other $532,000 in cuts came from two psychologist positions, technology, and eliminating new expenses. Residents will be asked to approve a 95 million dollar budget, a 2.55 percent increase.
Wilton Police have arrested a former Danbury resident who was soliciting door-to-door with an illegal handgun. Neighbors in the Breeds Hill Place area called Police on Friday. Jared Dement, who recently moved to Texas, was in possession of a loaded handgun in his vehicle without a legal pistol permit. Dement was also in possession of high capacity magazines that were not registered. He was released on bond for an April 30th court appearance.
A 16-inch water main break at Tamarack and Hayestown Avenues has affected about one third of Danbury from the location of the break east to the Bethel border. Residents and businesses may experience little or no water pressure in the affected area. The hospital is functioning with limited water supply.
Crews are pumping the area to get the water level down so they can assess the damage, but the valve cracked and the water can't be shut off. Mayor Mark Boughton says a part is being machined in Buffalo, New York and he's looking into getting a plane to fly the part to Danbury. Boughton didn't give an estimate of what that would cost. He initially estimated that water would be restored by tonight, but has since pushed it back.
Danbury officials are coordinating with schools and businesses concerning this water supply emergency and will provide on-going updates. Danbury is issuing a “Boil Alert Advisory” and affected residents are advised not to drink the water without boiling first.
Danbury is working with the Hospital to support patient and community needs. Patients are asked to call ahead to verify appointments before leaving for the hospital.
With closures to Tamarack and Locust Avenues, access to the main hospital campus is disrupted. Employees and patients can access the campus via Osborne Street to the Medical Arts Center Gold/Red Garages and/or via Osborne Street to Hospital Avenue to the Rizzo Garage.
A Danbury woman has turned herself in to Danbury Police on an outstanding warrant for two counts of Animal Cruelty. Krystel Lopez was charged last Monday. State Animal Control officers investigated complaints of sick animals being housed at Tails of Courage animal rescue in Danbury. The employee was implicated in two separate incidents of animal cruelty in December and January. Lopez was released on a written promise to appear in court tomorrow.
Newtown residents will be voting on a budget today. The proposal calls for $41-million for the town and $76-million for the schools. It's a 2.35-percent increase. Two bond questions will also be on the ballot. Newtown residents will be asked to approve $1.685 million to replace the roof on Middle Gate School. The other question is about $1.5 million to supplement operating budget expenditures dedicated to road repairs and improvements. During the budget referendum this month, residents will not be asked about funding for a new police station. That vote will likely come as a separate question on the August 14th primary ballot or the November ballot.
The town of New Milford has received authorization to open bids for the Still River Drive and Pickett District Road Roundabout project. The state Department of Transportation authorized the award of the contract to replace an all-way, stop sign controlled intersection, with a roundabout. The project also involves repaving the Still River Drive approaches to the intersection. New Milford will receive a construction grant of $1.1 million under the state LOTCIP program. Construction is expected to begin this month and be completed this Fall.
The reconvened Annual Town Budget Meeting in Bethel will be held tonight. Residents will be asked to send a revised budget to a referendum. The Board of Finance scaled back the municipal portion of the proposed budget for the coming fiscal year to $29.53 million. The revised capital budget is proposed a $1.14 million. The capital items to be funded are a streetsweeper, a fire engine and an HVAC system for the High School. Tonight's meeting will be held at the Bethel High School Auditorium at 7pm.
Western Connecticut State University officials believe cases of illness are on the downturn. About 100 students reported the same symptoms between Thursday and Saturday. Test results from the state Department of Public Health revealed Monday that they were suffering from cases of norovirus. University Spokesman Paul Steinmetz says that helps staff figure out where to clean and what to clean.
Much of the outbreak was on the westside campus. Common areas on both campuses have been cleaned to standards set by the Centers for Disease Control. University staff will clean the rooms of any students who were ill.
Norovirus is not spread through the air.
The disease is transmitted by touching an infected surface, and then coming in contact via the mouth. The health department is conducting surveys among sick students to figure out where the illness started.
President John Clark says they are confident that students, faculty and staff can learn and work together and stay healthy, as long as everyone follows state-recommended appropriate treatment and precautions. Those precautions include frequent hand-washing with soap and water. Hand sanitizer does not kill the virus.
Students are encouraged to practice good hand hygiene, not to share food and drinks or cups and utensils, and to wash fruits and vegetables before eating.
According to the state department of Public Health, it is important that anyone who has been ill not return to class or work for 72 hours after the last symptoms have subsided.During those three days after symptoms have stopped, a sick person can still share the virus and potentially contaminate common surfaces.
Western Connecticut State University officials believe cases of illness are on the downturn. About 100 students reported the same symptoms between Thursday and Saturday. Test results from the state Department of Public Health revealed Monday that they were suffering from cases of norovirus. University Spokesman Paul Steinmetz says that helps staff figure out where to clean and what to clean. Much of the outbreak was on the westside campus. All of the common areas--cafeterias, classrooms and students centers--have been cleaned.
A road repair project in Danbury will affect traffic in Bethel, starting today. The City is replacing the Reservoir Street bridge that crosses over the creek near the town line. Reservoir Street will be closed completely in both directions for 13 days, now that the project is about midway completed. During construction, which is expected to last three months total, traffic will be limited to one lane. Detour signs are in place. Electronic traffic message boards have also been set up to notify drivers of the closure.
Danbury Library is making improvements to the parking lot. Construction began today, closing the parking lot. The Danbury Parking Authority has offered library users a reduced rate for parking at the Patriot Garage on Delay Street. Parking passes can be validated at the library’s information desk in order to receive the special rate.
Danbury has closed a deal to buy 65 acres of land off Long Ridge Road, near Tarrywile Park, with a conservation easement. The City Council signed off on starting negotiations earlier this year and an agreement was reached for the City to pay $700,000 from the conservation fund. The property is valued at $1.2 million. The land will be preserved for hiking and as natural open space, featuring an old orchard, meadows and woods. City officials hope to eventually connect the parcel to the Ives Trail, a 20-mile path spanning Ridgefield, Redding, Bethel and Danbury. The property was owned by 99-year old Monique Wiedel, who reaches the century milestone birthday in June.
An intersection reconfiguration project is starting today in Newtown. Church Hill Road, Edmond Road and Commerce Road will be turned into a four-way, traffic light controlled intersection, with turning lanes. The goal is to improve traffic flow and reduce accidents. The southern end of Edmond Road is being realigned to the west while Church Hill Road will be widened slightly. Sidewalks on both sides of Church Hill Road will also be installed. Some trees will be removed and utility poles repositioned, along with some business driveways relocated. During the project, which is expected to be completed by November 30th, there will be some alternating one way traffic on Church Hill Road. Cromwell-based Arborio Construction Company was awarded the $2.85 million bid.
Water mains in the Chimney Heights neighborhood of Bethel will be cleaned by Aquarion this week. The water quality improvement work is set for today through next Monday, 8am to 5pm. Anyone who experiences discolored water, should run the cold water tap until it clears. During periods of discoloration, postpone washing clothes and limit your use of hot water until the cold water clears.
A simulated hostage situation drill was conducted Friday by the Putnam County Sheriff Department Emergency Response Team. The scenario was tested on a school bus at the Carmel Volunteer Fire Department. Sheriff Robert Langley Jr says the Department is dedicated to keeping the community safe and protecting schools and children.
Bethel has sent out a request for proposals for a firm to provide professional services for two school renovation projects. A site walk will be held at Johnson School at 3pm for interested commissioning agents and other firms. Bids are due to Bethel by May 8th. Residents approved 65-point-8 million dollars to renovate Johnson and Rockwell Elementary Schools. A state grant is expected to pay for part of the project.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Two former Connecticut Supreme Court justices advised Republican state lawmakers in last month's successful effort to reject Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's nominee for chief justice, according to emails and a state lawmaker.
Hearst Connecticut Media reports that former Justices C. Ian McLachlan and Peter T. Zarella aided lawmakers in defeating the nomination of Andrew McDonald, who would have been the first openly gay state chief justice in the country.
The media group obtained emails showing Republican lawmakers asked the former justices about McDonald's legal decisions.
McLachlan did not respond to requests for comment. Zarella says he didn't have any contact with legislators regarding McDonald.
McLachlan's cousin, Republican state Sen. Michael McLachlan, said they and Zarella discussed McDonald's nomination.
Malloy called McLachlan and Zarella ``cowards'' whose action ``undermined'' the judiciary.
A group of Western Connecticut State University students are ill from an unknown virus. About 100 students have come down with similar symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea. Spokesman Paul Steinmetz says the university is working with the Department of Public Health to identify the source of the illness. Email messages have been sent to inform students of the outbreak, and the school closed one cafeteria and multiple common areas for cleaning over the weekend.
West Conn is closed today as a precaution to protect the university community from further infection and spread of the disease. Maintenance crews have been sanitizing and disinfecting both campuses.
West Conn officials do not yet know what caused the problem, though they are certain that it is not e-coli. Only two incidents of e-coli illness have been reported in Connecticut, and not in the Danbury region.
No new illnesses were reported in the residence halls overnight Saturday, and the University Police did not transport anyone to the emergency room.
For students who are experiencing vomiting, diarrhea or stomach pain, follow these guidelines:
1. If possible, go home to limit spread to others on campus.
2. Drink plenty of fluids.
3. Clean all surfaces contaminated with vomit or stool with a bleach solution. Launder soiled clothes right away. Students who live on campus should contact Housing and Residence Life staff to assist with room cleaning if necessary.
4. If you become dehydrated, go to the nearest emergency department. (Signs of dehydration include dizziness, dry mouth, decreased urination, headache, muscle cramps, thirst.)
5. You may return to campus 2-3 days after you have recovered.
These tips might help you stay well:
1. Use good hand hygiene and keep your fingers out of your mouth.
2. Don’t share food, drinks, cups, or utensils.
3. Wash fruits and vegetables before eating.
4. Clean surfaces in your living space frequently with bleach wipes.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's administration is nominating 72 low-income zones in 27 Connecticut municipalities for a federal community development program. One of the zones is in Danbury.
The Democrat had created an application process for municipalities interested in participating in the Opportunity Zone Program. Each governor must submit a plan to the federal government designating tracts as Opportunity Zones.
Qualified tracts must have a poverty rate of at least 20 percent of the median income that does not exceed 80 percent of the area median income.
The program provides a federal tax incentive for investors to re-invest unrealized capital gains into these special zones by pooling money with other investors through Opportunity Funds.
Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Catherine Smith says the 72 zones are "ripe for redevelopment." She hopes the designation spurs economic growth.
A Danbury official is being credited with helping to put out a fire Friday night. A Jefferson Avenue neighbor knocked on City Health Department Official Joe Mead's door across the street and said there was a fire on the porch. Mead grabbed a bucket of water, filled it from a nearby stream three times and doused the rear of the house where the fire was extending up the back corner. Firefighters then finished the job, keeping the fire contained to the outside porch. The Fire Marshals office is investigating the cause of the fire. No injuries were reported from the scene.
The annual Clean City Danbury Day is coming up and the Mayor's office is looking for volunteers to sign up to help with the beautification effort. Volunteers will be tasked with picking up litter in a neighborhood, park or waterway. Supplies of rash bags, safety vests, and gloves are provided. Volunteers are also needed at each dumpster location to assist residents in the drop-off process.
Free disposal of unwanted items is being provided to Danbury residents and property owners with the support of Winters Brothers. But there is one less drop off location this year, the West Conn westside drop off will not be in service this year.
No commercial vehicles or box trucks are allowed. Construction debris, grass clippings, yard debris, hazardous wastes, and electronics are not allowed. Scrap metal, tires and white appliances containing Freon must be kept separate from other garbage.
Dumpster locations are at Danbury City Hall, Rogers Park, the P.A.L. Building, & the Public Works Facility. Paper shredding will once again be offered during Clean City Danbury Day at the Winters Bros. Waste Systems Recycling Center at 307 White Street.
DOVER, N.Y. (AP) -- What started out as a joyful reunion of a young woman with her birth parents soon turned sour, then shocking, and finally deadly.
A young woman named Katie married her birth father, had a baby with him and, after she decided to leave him, lost her life to him along with that of their child and her adoptive father. All three were laid to rest this weekend in upstate New York.
"We're all still in shock," said Shirley Mann, a neighbor of Katie's adoptive parents in Dover. "It's crazy. I don't know what else to say. It's horrible."
Katie, whose last name was Fusco at the time, had no idea before she moved in with Steven Pladl and his wife in August 2016 that he had an explosive temper, a history of abusive behavior and owned at least four guns.
A VERY NORMAL LIFE
In 1995, Steven Pladl was 20 when he met a 15-year-old girl named Alyssa on the internet. She soon became pregnant and gave birth to a girl they named Denise.
Alyssa Pladl told The Associated Press in an interview last week that they put the girl up for adoption when she was 8 months old. They were young and poor, she said, but she also believed Steven Pladl physically abused the baby. In her interview, she did not elaborate.
"It was so hard to give her up," Alyssa said, "but I had to because I wanted her to live and be happy."
For most of what was to be her short life, she was. Tony Fusco and his wife, Kelly, adopted the girl they renamed Katie and raised her with their biological daughter in Dover, about 80 miles north of New York City.
"They had a very, very normal life," said Cary Gould, Kelly Fusco's brother. "My nickname for Katie was Pac-Man. She was always eating. She loved animals. She was a vegetarian."
Katie was an aspiring artist known at Dover High School for drawing comic strips. She planned to attend college and pursue a career in digital advertising.
"A pen and something to draw on became a safe place for me," she wrote in a blog post. "Ink became my weapon against rules and regulations. ... To be short; for me, a life without art is no life at all."
After turning 18 in January 2016, Katie, who Gould said had been told she was adopted, found her birth parents and messaged them. The Pladls were happy to reunite with her.
Instead of going to college in August 2016, Katie moved in with the Pladls in Henrico County, Virginia, that month. Tony and Kelly Fusco were apprehensive, Gould said, but they thought Katie was old enough to make her own decisions and supported her.
All was not well in the Pladl home. Steven and Alyssa had already decided to separate and were sleeping in separate rooms. Alyssa Pladl said she had suffered emotional and verbal abuse by her husband for years.
"I was always on eggshells, whatever his mood was, everybody knew, and that mood was often not happy, a lot of yelling, a lot of things smashed in the house, in front of our kids," she said.
Alyssa Pladl told Katie privately that Steven Pladl had abused her as a baby and that a major reason for the adoption was her own safety.
Katie, according to Alyssa, didn't appear to be concerned.
'WE'RE IN LOVE'
Steven Pladl's behavior changed after he met Katie, Alyssa Pladl said. He began wearing skinny jeans and form-fitting shirts. He shaved his beard and let his hair grow long. About six weeks after Katie moved in, Steven Pladl one night slept on the floor in her room.
It immediately concerned Alyssa. After he did it again the next night, she confronted him. He said it was none of her business and stormed out of the house with Katie.
Alyssa Pladl finally moved out in November 2016, and she shared custody of the two children with Steven Pladl.
In May 2017, she learned from her 11-year-old daughter's journal of the incestuous relationship and Katie's pregnancy. Her daughter wrote that she and her sister were told by Steven Pladl to refer to Katie as their stepmother.
"I started to become hysterical, and I called him," she said. "I said, 'Is Katie pregnant with your baby?' He just said, 'I thought you knew. We're in love.'
"I started screaming," she said. "I was just cursing him out: 'How could you? You're sick. She's a child.'"
Then she called the police.
On July 20, 2017, two months after his divorce from Alyssa was finalized and amid the police investigation, Steven Pladl married Katie in Parkton, Maryland. They lied on their application, saying they were unrelated, according to records.
Katie's adoptive parents posed for a photo on the wedding day along with Steven, Katie and Steven's mother. Katie wears a short black dress.
Tony and Kelly Fusco thought there was nothing they could do and had decided it was best to support Katie, Gould said.
Katie gave birth to Bennett on Sept. 1. She and Steven moved to a house on a cul-de-sac in Knightdale, North Carolina, just east of Raleigh, but wedded bliss did not last long. They were arrested on incest charges in January. A judge ordered them to not contact each other, and Steven Pladl's mother has custody.
Steven Pladl's lawyer, Rick Friedman II, said there was never an allegation that Steven Pladl pressured Katie into a relationship.
"This case is an 18-year-old girl who shows up at the doorstep of a 40-year-old man who's going through difficult times with his wife," Friedman said. "They have a bond because they're biologically related, but they never knew each other before they had a sexual relationship. He was head over heels in love with her, so much so that that outweighed the issue of them being biologically related."
After the arrests, Katie moved back with Tony and Kelly Fusco, who declined to comment for this article. Every Tuesday and Thursday, she would travel to her adoptive grandmother's home in Waterbury, Connecticut, Gould said.
On April 12, a Thursday, Katie and Tony Fusco left the Dover home for Waterbury. In a minivan nearby, Steven Pladl watched them leave, surveillance video shows.
Minutes later in nearby New Milford, witnesses reported someone opening fire. Katie and Tony Fusco, 56, were fatally shot. Steven Pladl was later found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot back in Dover.
Shortly after the New Milford shooting, Steven Pladl's mother called 911 to report her son had told her he killed the baby, Katie and her adoptive father.
"I can't even believe this is happening," Steven's mother told authorities, according to a 911 call transcript from which her name was redacted. Her son, she said, was upset because Katie, by then just 20, had broken up with him.
Police found the baby dead and alone in Katie and Steven's home.
Alyssa Pladl struggles to make sense of it all.
"I'm grieving. I'm sad. I'm upset," she said. "But I also want to have something good come out of this. If it's to get truth out there, to open people's eyes to incest."
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut lawmakers want to learn more about the future plans for the state's cable TV and online public affairs network.
Danbury Rep. Robert Godfrey and West Hartford Sen. Beth Bye, both Democrats, plan to hold an informational hearing Monday, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., on the status of the Connecticut Television Network. The meeting will be held in the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.
Godfrey has voiced concern about the editorial independence of the network, known as CT-n, following deep budget cuts made last year by lawmakers.
The network's future appeared in doubt last year after its independent, nonprofit operator announced it was terminating its contract, citing the budget cuts and "encroachments on our editorial independence." CT-n is now being operated by the General Assembly's Office of Legislative Management.
Ridgefield Representative John Frey says he's heard from a number of constituents who are concerned about the reduction of State and Local Tax exemption at $10,000. He co-sponsored a bill in response to that concern, which essentially allows taxpayers to reclassify their property tax payments as charitable donations. This would allow municipalities like Ridgefield to set up charitable organizations so taxpayers can continue to write off the full amount of their local property taxes.
The town of Redding has scheduled a number of events in celebration of Earth Day today. The town will once again by building Mt. Trashmore on the town green. It's a place where volunteers will display all of the roadside trash collected during the one-day event. A light bulb exchange will also be held. Vest, gloves, and garbage bags will be distributed from 9am to noon at the Redding Town Green. Garbage drop off will be open until 3pm. The light bulb exchange, with a 4 bulb limit, is from 9am to noon.
The Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority is hosting an electronic waste recycling event today in Brookfield from 9am-1pm. The collection will take place in the Center School parking Lot off Obtuse Hill Road. The collection is open to residents of the HRRA towns of Bethel, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Danbury, Kent, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Redding, Ridgefield, Sherman. Items accepted include televisions, monitors, computers/laptops, printers, copiers, scanners, power cords, rechargeable batteries, stereo equipment, DVR/VCR/Blue Ray and tape players, radios, telephones, video game equipment, remote controls and microwaves.
A local lawmaker has co-sponsored legislation that would require anyone convicted of aggravated sexual assault to wear a GPS device until sentencing. Brookfield Representative Stephen Harding says those convicted of aggravated sexual assault would be required to pay for their monitoring while they await sentencing. The bill passed out of the Judiciary Committee in a unanimous vote. A similar bill seeking the same protections was approved unanimously in the state Senate, but the House ran out of time for a vote on the measure.
The inaugural New Milford Day was held at the State Capitol yesterday. The event showed off New Milford's local businesses and services to the legislature. Representatives Bill Buckbee and Richard Smith were joined by Senator Craig Miner and Mayor Pete Bass. Buckbee says New Milford has a lot to offer locally, from major manufacturing to farming to youth services.
Goatboy Soaps brought in two baby goats that were born recently, and one named Billy Mo was introduced on the House Floor.
(Billy Mo, Rep. Buckbee, Rep. Smith)
The event was planned to fall on Roger Sherman's birthday. He was one of New Milford’s most influential residents on American Politics, and also former State Representative.
Participants of the event included:
Full Circle Promotions
New Milford Girl Scouts – Troop 40232
New Milford Hospital
Pratt Nature Conservancy
New Milford Youth Agency
Community Credit Union of New Milford
Ridgefield's annual Rid Litter Days take place this weekend in celebration of Earth Day. Trash bags and safety vests are available at the Parks and Rec building and at the Chamber of Commerce for volunteers. There are several drop off locations for litter picked up in neighborhoods and parks in Ridgefield. They are: Farmingville School, East Ridge Middle School, Ridgefield High School and Fox Hill Lake Beach area.
A prescription drug take back event is taking place next weekend. Residents can bring unwanted, unused prescription meds to local drop off points on the 28th, from 10am to 2pm.
One location is the Easton Library Lot, where pills will be collected by the Easton Police and destroyed by the DEA. Easton Police Cadets will be assisting citizens as they simply drive up and hand safely packaged medication to them for disposal.
Ridgefield Police 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. Potentially dangerous, unused and unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications will be collected at Bissell Pharmacy on Governor Street.
There is a prescription drug take-back box located in the front lobby of Ridgefield Police Headquarters available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year and is also completely anonymous.
The Newtown Town Clerk will hold special absentee voting hours Saturday from 9 am to noon on the budget. The proposal calls for $41-million for the town and $ 76-million for the schools. It's a 2.35-percent increase. Two bond questions will also be on the ballot. The referendum in Newtown will be held Tuesday.
Police have arrested the treasurer of the Wilton High School Parent Teacher Student Association for alleged embezzlement. Police received a complaint in January from the PTSA about unauthorized withdrawals from their checking account. 42-year old Crismari Feliz of Norwalk allegedly used 24-thousand dollars from the organization for personal credit card and car lease payments. She was charged Wednesday and released on bond for an April 30th court appearance.
Two Danbury residents have been arrested on drug related charges following neighbor complaints of illegal drug sales in the Osborne Street area. Danbury Police carried out a search warrant yesterday at the home of Oliver Joan Ubiera. He was spotted stuffing suspected drugs into his pants. Daritza Rivera-Nunez was found in a bedroom of the home she shared with Ubiera. A substantial amount of crack cocaine, powder cocaine and heroin was seized, along with drug paraphernalia and several hundred dollars in cash. Ubiera was a convicted felon previously deported to the Dominican Republic who illegally returned to the United States. The pair were charged with operating a drug factory and other offenses.
A construction company hit a gas line yesterday afternoon in Southbury, closing I-84 and Route 188 in the area of Judd Hill Road. The gas leak prompted an evacuation of the Wyndham Southbury hotel. Eversource Energy says a third party construction company was doing work around 1pm, but the utility did respond to the scene. The gas line to Pomperaug High School was hit, and the school was closed for spring break. A gas station and a deli off the highway were closed as a precaution. There were no injuries reported to the construction crew
The United Way of Western Connecticut is launching a $1 million program over the next several years to support new family childcare centers in Danbury. The Cora's Kids program was announced yesterday as one way for Danbury to address childcare challenges facing the city. Other solutions are being advanced as part of a larger grant initiative where Danbury was awarded $450,000 from the Boston Federal Reserve's Working Cities Challenge. Cora's Kids will offer incentives for up to 15 new licensees per year to keep childcare costs down and increase availability of home-based childcare centers. United Way officials say childcare accounts for more than 25-percent of a household budget on average.
Ridgefield High School students are participating in a protest today against gun violence. Today marks the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting. Sophomore Lane Murdock launched the National School Walkout after the February shooting at a Florida high school. Participating students will walk out of class at 10am to a rally on campus, opening with a moment of silence.
There will also be an open mic portion of the event, and Murdock says second amendment supporters will be able to voice their opinions.
Ridgefield High School Principal Stacey Gross told the Ridgefield Press that the police department agreed to cover the cost of providing security for the protest.
Plans for Friday's walkout began only hours after the Parkland shooting, when Murdock teen started an online petition calling for protests on the anniversary of Columbine. She then gathered a few other students at Ridgefield High School to orchestrate the national protest.
"We're walking out to remember every single young person who has been killed by American gun violence," Murdock said in a statement Thursday. "We're walking out to talk about the real problems our country is facing, and the solutions that our leaders are too scared to dream up."
There's one less person seeking their party's nomination to run for Congress in the 5th District. Republican Mark Greenberg, who won the GOP nomination in 2014, says he will continue to run for state Comptroller. Greenberg says that office is where he can most directly help the state and its families and businesses. Greenberg says his skill set can help him best contribute to the economic health of Connecticut by working in state government, rather than in Washington.
The Ridgefield Board of Education will not vote on a special appropriation because a projected deficit has been mitigated. During their meeting earlier this week, it was announced that the spending freeze enacted in September has resulted in savings. Health benefit claims have also come in lower than previous years. Ridgefield school officials had been looking at a deficit after 8 new students with special education plan had to be placed out of district, along with 3 other students already enrolled when the budget was crafted. About a dozen special education related settlements were also a factor.
A Connecticut man stopped by Ridgefield Police for texting while driving, has been arrested on drug related charges. 35-year old William Garcia-Perez of Stamford was pulled over Tuesday night. K9 Loki detected narcotics and a search found the 35-year old in possession of 2.5 grams of marijuana and 8.5 grams of crack cocaine. Garcia-Perez was also cited for driving with a suspended license. He was released on bond for a court appearance on the 24th.
Western Connecticut State University is participating in the Day of Silence today. It's a student-led national event where participants take a vow of silence to highlight the silencing of LGBTQ+ persons at school. West Conn's event is hosted by the Gender and Sexuality Alliance and supported by the Office of InterCultural Affairs. Day of Silence, last held at WestConn in 2015, is aimed at having participants think about issues still to be tackled and to make West Conn a more inclusive place.
A local lawmaker is speaking out about some attempts to undercut regionalization efforts that are working, while proposing ideas that won't. Redding Representative Adam Dunsby, who also serves as Easton First Selectman, was critical of plans to defund the regional fire school in Fairfield. He also says a failed bill proposed taking money from regional Councils of Government to create a new state department to study regional efficiency.
Autism Awareness and Acceptance Day was held at the state capitol yesterday. Newtown Representative Mitch Bolinsky says education is a primary factor in reversing the stigma associated with those who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Bolinsky says inclusiveness and understanding are key to building strength within communities, He says opportunities for employment, volunteering and socializing are great ways to build great lives.The event was sponsored by the Connecticut Autism Advocacy Coalition.
Immigrant students without legal status say they're optimistic legislation making them eligible for institutional financial aid will pass the Connecticut General Assembly. The bill passed the Senate on Wednesday by a 30-5 vote. It now moves to the House of Representatives, where it has not been called for a vote in previous years. This year's version includes some new requirements for applicants.
Some students from Danbury High School used part of their spring break this week to lobby state lawmakers for a bill which would equalize access to higher education institutional college aid for undocumented students in Connecticut. Institutional aid is funded by tuition revenue, and despite paying into the system, undocumented students are currently barred from accessing that aid.
More than 250 people submitted testimony in support of the bill during a public hearing last month.
Evelin Garcia tried to obtain legalization through her U-S citizen grandfather, but she encountered issues and became undocumented. Garcia graduated from WCSU in 2017, a recipient of the CSU Henry Barnard Distinguished Student Award. The recognition is presented to the top 12 students in the state. But she says it wasn't easy, because she didn't have access to institutional financial aid.
The Office of Fiscal Analysis concluded that the proposal would have no fiscal impact on the state or on the higher education system.
The bill is supported by WestConn President John Clark. Connecticut allows the students to pay in-state tuition as long as they have spent at least two years at a Connecticut high school. But they can’t apply for any government money, including the institutional aid.
Opponents have argued that allowing the students to access financial aid would mean less money for those in the country legally.
A meeting is being held in Ridgefield tonight about proposed rehabilitation of the Norwalk River Great Swamp Dam. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is looking to craft a plan to rehabilitate the dam so it meets current safety, performance, and design criteria. The dam provides flood protection to residents of the Towns of Redding and Ridgefield and enhances habitat for wetland wildlife.
Tonight's meeting is at 7pm in the Charter Oak Room in the Ridgefield Recreation Center on Danbury Road.
DEEP will evaluate several options for the dam including taking no action, removing it, rehabilitate the structure or taking non-structural measures. Federal funding is helping to pay for the planning phase, but none has been secured at this point for the design or construction. Public input and time to answer questions or concerns will be part of the meeting.
Staff from DEEP, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service and their consultants, along with the Connecticut Dam Safety Program, will provide an update on planning activities to date, the reasons dam rehabilitation is needed, and the alternatives being considered.
Funding for a turf field has been removed from the revised proposed Bethel capital budget. The Board of Finance made the change after residents rejected the municipal spending plan and the capital budget during a referendum last week. A truck was also removed from the capital plan. The new budget for the town is proposed at $29.5 million, down $325,000. That portion of the budget was rejected by just 66 votes. The tax rate would decrease .03 percent. The cuts came from funding for items the town might have otherwise borrowed for and some road construction money. A Town Meeting on the revisions will be held Tuesday at the Bethel High School auditorium.
A New York City man has been arrested for allegedly selling heroin in Putnam County. The Sheriff's Office launched an investigation into 24-year old Jassell Franco earlier this month. A deputy arranged to make a controlled purchase from Franco of 150 bags of heroin. The man was arrested in the Applebee's parking lot off Independence Way in Southeast. Franco was charged with two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance. He was arraigned and ordered held at Putnam County Correctional facility on bond.
Two Connecticut men have been arrested after being found with drugs and a weapon in a car during a routine traffic stop. New York State Troopers pulled a vehicle over on Interstate 684 in Southeast Saturday night for several violations. Part of a handgun receiver was spotted under the driver's seat. 36-year old Kurtis Leduc of Waterbury was in possession of a loaded Glock 23 semi-automatic pistol. His passenger, 37-year old Omar Wilson of Waterbury had 4-and-a-half grams of cocaine on him. The men were arraigned and ordered held on bond for court appearances today. Leduc faces charges of criminal possession of a weapon and of a firearm. Wilson was charged for felony possession of a controlled substance.
Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company does not solicit donations over the phone. There are scam calls circulating Fairfield County by people claiming to be from local volunteer fire companies. Anyone receiving such a call should not give out personal financial information. Sandy Hook Fire and Rescue will begin its annual fund drive soon. Those who live within the district will receive a letter in the next few weeks. In late July or early August, firefighters will be doing an annual door-to-door appeal. The firefighters will be wearing shirts with the company logo as well as photo ID tags at that time.
Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty took part in a forum this afternoon to discuss how to improve school safety. She and others focused on three major areas including gun violence prevention, intervention, and school security measures. Esty and Florida Senator Marco Rubio are cosponsors of the STOP School Violence Act, which was recently signed into law as part of the federal government’s omnibus funding bill. The law calls for investing in programs to train school personnel, students, and law enforcement to identify signs of potential violence and prevent it before it happens. It also makes key investments in reporting and threat assessment systems for schools, as well as security equipment. Nicole Hockley, whose son was killed on 12-14, and Lauren Alfred of Sandy Hook Promise attended the forum.
The Candlewood Watershed Initiative's Annual Soil Testing Day takes place on Saturday. Lawn and garden soils are being accepted for lab analysis of nutrient content to determine if fertilization is necessary and, if so, in what quantities and with which nutrient supplements. Residents from throughout the Candlewood Lake Watershed can drop by one of two sites to receive a free Soil Testing Kit and directions on its use.
The distribution will take place in New Fairfield at Stop & Shop and at the Sherman IGA, 9am to 3pm.
The Candlewood Lake Authority says two-thirds of those participating in the past found that no additional phosphorus was needed. The CLA says it's a significant finding in light of the potential harm that can result if storm water transports excess nutrients and pollutes lakes and streams. The nutrients can contribute to the growth of algae, milfoil and other invasive aquatic plants and do similar damage to the ecosystem.
The City of Danbury has started work to expand the Library parking lot. Preliminary work began this week, closing the drive-up drop box area. Library patrons are asked to park in the upper lot. Normal parking is expected to resume tomorrow.
Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company is alerting residents to a phone scam circulating Fairfield County. People claiming to represent local volunteer fire companies are solicitating donations over the phone. Brookfield fire officials say it's a phishing scheme for personal financial information, and not to give out those details. Make note of the phone number the person is calling from, and any other Caller ID informaiton, and then hang up. Any Brookfield resident receiving such a call should Contact Brookfield Police or Connecticut Better Business Bureau and report what happened. Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company and Candlewood Company begin annual fund drive June 10th and 11th door to door, mailings have already gone out.
The chairman of the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission has stepped down. Kyle Lyddy joined the newly formed group in 2013. He told the Newtown Bee that he is unable to commit fully to the project at this time, which would not be in the best interest of representing this Commission. Lyddy continued by saying that the group is at a critical juncture, but he is confident in the groundwork that has been set. Newtown First Selectman Dan Rosenthal led Commission's meeting on Thursday to review public input on designs. The Commission has selected a property for the memorial and narrowed down design submissions from 188 to 13.
A New Milford man has withdrawn a lawsuit against former Mayor David Gronbach over his use of funds from the Landfill Settlement Fund to turn the former John Pettibone School into a community center. Michael Barnes told the Newstimes that the current administration would have had to pay legal costs to continue the court fight, but the new members of the Town Council basically upheld his arguments. The Council recently declared two documents null and void, which Gronbach had used to prove he could spend money from the Fund without Board of Finance approval.
A resignation agreement between the Ridgefield Board of Education and Superintendent Dr. Karen Baldwin did not find evidence of wrongdoing or misconduct in her performance. The report was signed last week and obtained by The Ridgefield Press through a Freedom of Information Act request. The Board did not request her resignation, according to the agreement. Portions of a letter Baldwin sent to parents following the Florida school shooting contained passages from a communication sent by West Hartford's superintendent. Baldwin's resignation takes effect June 30th. Director of Technology and Operations Robert Miller is acting superintendent. A search committee is looking for a new superintendent.
Danbury has begun annual hydrant flushing. Work is being done this week in the North Street, Hayestown, Ives Street areas and Great Plain/Stadley Rough/Nabby roads region. Anyone who experiences discolored water, should run the cold water tap until it clears. During periods of discoloration, postpone washing clothes and limit your use of hot water until the cold water clears.
The families of two children slain in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre have filed lawsuits against conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for claiming the shooting did not happen.
The defamation lawsuits were filed in Texas. That's the home state of Jones' media company, Infowars.
Neil Heslin, the father of Jesse Lewis, and Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa, the parents of Noah Pozner, filed separate lawsuits seeking more than $1 million in damages.
Jesse and Noah were among the 20 first-grade students gunned down inside the school in Connecticut on Dec. 14, 2012. Six educators were also killed.
The lawsuits allege that Jones' insistence that the shooting was staged led others to make death threats against the victims' families.
Jones said Tuesday in a YouTube video that the families are being used by the Democratic Party and the news media, and that he believes Sandy Hook ``really happened.'' In the video, Jones invited parents who lost their children to his show to have a ``real discussion'' about guns. He also says he believes the lawsuits will be thrown out.
The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has opened up a request for proposal process for renewable energy projects. Danbury-based FuelCell Energy has submitted plans for seven generation units that would produce a combined 85.1 megawatts. The generation facilities are proposed for Ansonia, Bristol, Derby, Hartford, New Milford, Willimantic and Torrington. DEEP officials received a total of 27 bids, a majority of which are fuel cells. Jennifer Arasimowicz of Fuel Cell Energy says previous submissions on similar RFPs were not selected, with the state giving preference to wind and solar power instead. She says the RFP process has since been modified. Arasimowicz says their 7 proposals would mean over $70 million in new state revenue and over 700 new direct and indirect jobs for Connecticut.
It appears thieves in Wilton grabbed the wrong package from a resident, whose identity they are also accused of stealing. Wilton Police responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle on Wolfpit Road Friday afternoon.
Outside the vehicle, was an opened package addressed to a resident who lived half a mile away. The package contained a legitimate purchase by the victim, valued at $434, and had been reported stolen earlier in the day. Wilton Police determined that the victim's identity was stolen and used by the three suspects to order a more than $3,000 article of clothing. It was delivered 2 hours later.
Police say the Bronx residents stole the wrong package.
20-year olds Mamadu Barry and Mohamed Fofana, along with a juvenile, were all charged with larceny, conspiracy to commit larceny, identity theft, conspiracy to commit identity theft, criminal trespass, conspiracy to commit criminal trespass, and interfering with an officer.
The 20-year olds were released on bond for court appearances on the 23rd.
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill led a first of its kind meeting of state, local, and federal officials in an effort to protect Connecticut's 2018 elections from cyber attack.
Danbury state Senator Mike McLachlan is a member of the panel, representing Senate Republicans.
Merrill says the state's cybersecurity defenses held, and the Russians were turned away in 2016. But she says threat of foreign interference is real and the Task Force is key to coordinating a response.
The Task Force will advise Secretary Merrill on how to invest the more than $5 million of federal funds recently appropriated for election security in Connecticut to best strengthen cyberdefenses on the state and local level, and plan ongoing coordination and training. As immediate past president of the National Association of Secretaries of State, and co-chair of the organization's Cybersecurity Task Force, Merrill led efforts to successfully secure funding for all 50 states to strengthen their cyberdefenses under the Help America Vote Act.
Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company responded to a Maple Tree Road home late last night on a report of smoke conditions. Firefighters found smoke, which was traced to a malfunctioning wood stove. The stove was emptied and the house ventilated. Units were on scene for about an hour.
The state Department Of Transportation has started replacing the guard rail system and cutting trees on Route 59 in Easton. The work will continue for about a month and a half, and take place between 9am and 3pm, Monday through Friday. Easton Police caution drivers to expect delays during these times along Route 59. Work is starting in the Church Road area. Drivers were urged to find an alternate route around Route 59 during the next 6 weeks.
Hawley Elementary School roof will be restored with some portions being replaced. The Newtown Board of Education has voted to award the work to Elite Roofing and Restoration. The winning bid was little more than 703-thousand dollars. The funding was included in the Capital Improvement Plan for the current fiscal year. The section the roof that's 14 years old will be restored, with school officials hoping the work will be done this summer.
Redding officials have rescheduled a forum for tonight with Metro North and the state Department of Transportation about train noise. An overview of Train Operations and Horn Protocol will be discussed. Information about audits and noise complaint investigations will be detailed. Safety improvements at railroad crossings are also slated to be summarized. The DOT will take questions from the pubic at the forum being held at Redding Town Hall at 7pm.
Funeral services have been announced for the man and his adopted daughter who were shot to death in New Milford last week. Calling hours for 56-year old Anthony Fusco of Dover, 20-year old Katie Pladl and her 7 month old son will be held Friday at the Hufcut Funeral Home in Dover Plains from 4 to 8pm. A funeral Mass will be held at 10am Saturday at the St. Charles Borromeo Church in Dover Plains. The Connecticut Medical Examiner's Office determined that Fusco and Pladl died of multiple gunshot wounds to the head, neck and torso. They were killed by Pladl's biological father, 45-year old Steven Pladl, who also fathered the infant found dead in North Carolina. Steven Pladl also killed himself.