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Brookfield Senior Center officials urge residents to review Medicare changes

Annual Enrollment for Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage Plans got under way this week, and ends December 7th.  Brookfield Senior Center officials say letters have gone out and they should be studied carefully to learn about premium and co-pay changes, as well as any changes to the medications the plan may cover.  The center has volunteer experts on hand to help eligible residents find out if there is a better plan for 2018 that can save money.

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Danbury Marching Band Jamboree tonight at WCSU

The Danbury High School Marching Band will host the 2017 Danbury Marching Band Jamboree tonight.  The event is typically held at the High School, but was moved this year because of the ongoing construction project of the Freshman Academy. 

 

Tonight's jamboree is 6pm to 10pm at the Western Connecticut State University Westside Campus Western Athletic Complex. 

 

Bands from the region scheduled to compete include Bethel, Brookfield, Newtown, New Fairfield, New Milford, Norwalk, and Shelton, plus bands from Garden City and Port Chester, NY.  The Danbury Drum Corps will be giving a featured exhibition performance, and the Danbury High School Marching Band will perform their 2017 program, “A Heart’s Journey,” in exhibition.

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New Milford Hospital launches 'Eatingwell' program for cancer patients

New Milford Hospital has launch an Eatingwell program to provide Diebold Family Cancer Center patients with the nutritional benefits of Plow to Plate eating, free of charge. 

 

The healthy meals program for cancer patients is being paid for through support from the community.  $34,000 must be raised annually for the program to continue. 

 

The program promotes local foods and agriculture.  The Eatingwell program will serve 350 meals each month to patients receiving cancer care. 

 

New Milford Hospital doctors say nutrition is an important part of cancer treatment which can be associated with side effects that make eating well challenging.  They say maintaining good nutrition can help cancer patients feel better and stay stronger. 

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New Fairfield upgrades 911 call system

New Fairfield upgraded its 911 system this week. It was done as part of a statewide project that enhances the equipment of all public safety answering points across Connecticut.  The new system should provide better inter-operability between towns when transferring calls, a better mapping system, enhanced GPS tracking, and automatic reroute in the unlikely event that the Town system goes down.  New Fairfield officials say all of the dispatchers have received formal training on the new system.  The cost of the training is reimbursable by the state.  The cost of the upgrade to the Town was minimal with the State picking up the bulk of cost.

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Danbury man arrested for alleged drug sales

Federal law enforcement was in Danbury yesterday to assist Danbury Police in carrying out search and seizure warrants at an Ashwood Valley home.  The warrants were granted in response to neighbor complaints of illegal drug sales in the Danbury area. 

 

While conducting surveillance of 43-year old Keenan Moore, he was stopped on Nabby Road.  Moore was found to be in possession of a substantial quantity of narcotics packaged for sale and associated drug paraphernalia. 

 

Moore was charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, possession of a controlled substance within 1500’ Prohibited Place, possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell within 1500’ Prohibited Place, possession of drug paraphernalia and risk of injury to a child.

 
He was released on $50,000 bond.  

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Danbury Police Explorers take 1st place at SWAT challenge

For the second year in a row, the Danbury Police Explorer team won 1st Place overall at the annual Cadet SWAT Challenge.  The nine member Explorer SWAT team competed at the event held this past weekend in Fairfield. Explorer Cadets compete individually and in teams through SWAT challenge stations.  The team was trained by Sergeant John Krupinsky and Special Agent Brianna McNally of the US State Department's Diplomatic Security Service.  Three 1st Place finishes for Danbury came in Rapid Deployment, High Risk Stop, and Drug Warrant Execution.  Individual and team ranks of 2nd place in the Officer Down event and 3rd place in the Sniper Challenge were also awarded for Danbury.

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Bethel Police warn of 'Eversource' phone scam

Bethel Police are cautioning residents to a phone scam.  Some people have reported receiving calls from someone claiming to be from Eversource, saying payment is past due and electricity is about to be shut off.  The caller ID even displays the name Eversource.  Bethel Police advise residents receiving such a call to hang up and call the customer service phone number on your bill.  The scam was discussed at the Bethel Police Commission meeting this week.  The caller has said they have so-called supervisors standing by if needed.  They also tell their potential victims that it's too late to pay by credit card, asks them to purchase gift cards and read the number over the phone.  

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Himes, Esty lead Conn. congressional campaign fundraising

5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty has raised the most money last quarter, among Connecticut's incumbent Representatives.  According to filings with the Federal Election Commission, Esty raised $295,746 in total contributions last quarter. 

 

She has one challenger for the contest a little more than a year away, Craig Diangelo of New Britain.  He raised about $7,500 this year and has loaned his campaign another $5,000.  

 

According to filings with the Federal Election Commission, 4th District Congressman Jim Himes raised $157,395 last quarter.  Himes has no opponent for his 2018 reelection race.  Himes has the largest bank of Connecticut House members at nearly $2.3 million.

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State lawmakers briefed on tentative budget proposal

State lawmakers are being briefed over the next few days on details of a tentative bipartisan state budget plan, with a vote possible sometime next week.  Lawmakers have been at odds over how to balance a roughly two-year budget that's projected to be $3.5 billion in deficit. 

 

Brookfield Representative Steve Harding says municipalities haven't been able to plan for next year, because they've been focused on the current year.  He acknowledged that changes to the education cost sharing formula are needed, but opposed the deep cuts and funding eliminations in Governor Malloy's executive order.

 

Lawmakers and staff confirmed the following highlights of proposal, stressing they could still change.

- Property taxes on vehicles: The state would continue capping the tax rate that cities and towns can charge on vehicles in local property taxes in the first year of the two-year budget and then entirely scrap the tax in the second year. Lawmakers have not yet decided how to make up the lost revenue to cities and towns, but stressed they would be somehow compensated.

Betsy Gara, executive director of the Connecticut Council of Small Towns, said her organization worries the proposal "will simply shift more of the property tax burden to homeowners and businesses, discouraging investment in real estate and undermining our local economies."

- Taxes: Connecticut's cigarette tax would increase by 45 cents in the first year, to a total of $4.35 a pack. Currently, the budget package does not include higher income taxes or sales taxes. Earlier ideas, such as a proposed state property tax on seasonal homes, a 25-cent fee on ride-hailing services and a cellphone surcharge are not part of the tentative agreement.

As it stands, the plan would limit the state's $200 property tax credit against the personal income tax to only seniors and people with dependent children.

- Teacher pension: The blueprint does not shift the cost of funding the state teacher pension plan to cities and towns, as proposed by Malloy. However, it requires teachers to contribute 1 percent more of their income to the fund starting in January 2018. They currently pay 6 percent. The compromise maintains a 25 percent personal income tax exemption for teacher retirement pay. The state's largest teacher union, the Connecticut Education Association, opposes the proposal, calling it tax increase.

 

 

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WCSU to extend in-state tuition to NY, NJ residents

The state Board of Regents for Higher Education has approved a plan to allow West Conn students from New York and New Jersey to pay in-state tuition.  This applies to both current and new students and will be reviewed in two years. 

 

West Conn has seen a drop in enrollment over the last few years and previously extended in-state tuition rates to Putnam County residents.  That pilot program included six other nearby counties and increased the number of New York students at West Conn more than 200-percent. 

 

In-state students pay $10,418 in annual tuition at Western, while out-of state students pay $23,107. 

 

Connecticut State Colleges and Universities President Mark Ojakian also presented his plan at the meeting for consolidating the state’s 12 community colleges into one institution.  He plans to hold three briefings around the state on the proposal and wants feedback by November 20th.

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Conn. Supreme Court hears arguments in case of alleged shoplifting in Danbury

The state Supreme Court heard arguments this week in the case of the state versus Lorenzo Adams, which was tried in Danbury Superior Court.  The high court is deciding whether there was sufficient evidence to support conviction for a breach of peace charge stemming from an alleged shoplifting incident. 

 

Surveillance video from the Marshalls department store showed Adams take several items and carry them to a corner of the store obstructed from the camera's view.  The defendant was then spotted again on video taking a large, full bag to the store exit without paying.  After a physical struggle with two loss prevention officers, he dropped the bag and fled. Loss Prevention Officers claim $979 worth of merchandise was in the bag. 

 

The Appellate Court reversed the larceny conviction because the surveillance footage did not show Adams entering the store or placing the items into the bag.  The Appellate Court said it's possible Adams had entered the store with the bag and that the items were from somewhere else.  The Court upheld the breach of the peace conviction. 

 

In the state's appeal, the justices will consider whether the Appellate Court properly determined that the evidence was insufficient to support the attempted larceny conviction.  

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100 baggies of heroin found during routine traffic stop

100 baggies of heroin have been seized in New Milford and three men are now facing charges.  Police stopped a driver early yesterday morning for speeding on Bridgewater Road.  K9 Kira sniffed out drugs and a searched turned up the heroin and paraphernalia.  25-year old Jordan Leighton of Easton and his passengers, 26-year-old Kenneth Farber and 45-year-old Brian Lashomb, were charged with drug possession.  Leighton was also cited for speeding.

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Lawsuit against New Milford Mayor goes back to court Monday

After months of no court action, a lawsuit against New Milford Mayor David Gronbach will be coming before a judge.  Mike Barnes, who is chair of the Republican Town Committee, sued as a New Milford taxpayer saying that Gronbach bypassed the Board of Finance.  The Newstimes reports that Barnes is arguing that using money for the Community Center from the Waste Management Fund is illegal.  Gronbach previously said that if everyone can sue the mayor, it would grind government to a halt.  The case will be heard Monday.

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Danbury firefighters extinguish dryer fire

Danbury firefighters responded to Scuppo Road this morning on a report of a dryer fire.  When they arrived, firefighters found smoke coming from the home.  Flames were contained to the machine.  Firefighters determined that some clothing got into parts of the dryer causing a malfunction.  While this wasn't the case, Danbury fire officials say the leading cause of home clothes dryer fires is failure to clean them.  An estimated 2,900 home dryer fires happen every year, causing 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss.

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Bethel cautions of weekend roadwork project

Winterizing work is being done on Walnut Hill Road in Bethel on Saturday.  An anti-skid treatment is being applied to the road surface on the hill near the Hoyt Road intersection.  The road was recently repaved.  Drivers are asked to avoid Walnut Hill on Saturday from 8am to 4pm.

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FuelCell Energy gets contract for work at Navy sub base

Danbury-based FuelCell Energy has signed a power purchase agreement with the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative to supply power to the U.S. Navy Submarine Base in Groton. 

 

Cooperative CEO Drew Rankin says the project will ensure the U.S. Navy has long-term, cost effective power delivered on the Base for critical infrastructure. 

 

Captain Paul Whitescarver, the commanding officer of the submarine base, says energy expenses are the single largest cost for Navy installations.  It's about 28 percent of Navy's shore budget.  The fuel cell plant is part of a multifaceted plan to provide new power resources and support the Department of Defense's request to add resiliency and grid independence to key military installations.

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Women's Centers mark Domestic Violence Awareness month

The Women's Center of Greater Danbury will hold the 1st annual "Candlelight Vigil of Remembrance" tonight.  The vigil will feature the Silent Witness exhibit, a collection of statues that represent those who have lost their lives to domestic violence.  It's being held at the Danbury Library plaza from 6:30 to 7:30 pm. 

 

Local victims of domestic violence will be honored as their names are read aloud.  The Women's Center asked that people wear purple or purple ribbons to honor victims experiencing domestic violence, celebrate those who have survived and remember those who lost their lives to domestic violence. 

 

The Putnam/Northern Westchester Women's Resource Center is marking October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Purple t-shirts were sold to County employees through department representatives, with proceeds benefitting the Center.  A group photo was taken on the steps of the Historic County Courthouse this afternoon to draw attention to the subject of domestic violence in Putnam. 

 

The Putnam Northern Westchester Women's Resource Center provides advocacy, education and services to the community to create a safe, supportive environment that eliminates violence against women and children and promotes gender equality.

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Man facing recklessness charges after fatal boat collision

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) - A 55-year-old Connecticut man has been arrested following a fatal boating collision on a local lake.

Police say they have charged Mark Rudzinski, of Newtown, with failing to keep a proper lookout and reckless boating in the first degree.

Authorities say Rudzinski was operating a ski boat on Lake Zoar in July when he struck a pontoon boat. The operator of the pontoon, 52-year-old Randall Pineau, was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

His wife, Katherine, was treated for minor injuries at the hospital and later released.

A total of six people were on the two vessels.

Rudzinski is scheduled for a court appearance Oct. 31. It's unclear if he has any representation.

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Danbury to hosting input session on downtown revitalization plan

The City of Danbury has started a transit-oriented development study to 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.  She says the end goal is to have a more walkable, inviting area while also incentivizing private investment.

 

The presentation and input session tonight is from 6 to 8pm at Danbury City Hall.  The proposal will have to be approved by the City Council.

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'Rock of Angels' tribute being moved out of Newtown

A tribute to the 26 children and educators killed on 12-14 is being moved out of Newtown. 

 

Rock of Angels was donated in 2013 and has been located behind St John’s Episcopal Church, but the church has closed and the property is being sold.  The Newtown Bee reports that the the several-ton granite memorial is headed for Shepard Meadows Therapeutic Riding Center horse farm in Bristol, located on diocesan property. 

 

None of the 26 families were consulted on the design of the Rock of Angels, created by Florida resident Richard Gray with the help of craftsmen in Maine.  They are involved with the Permanent Memorial Commission. 

 

The Board of Selectmen affirmed at a meeting this year that they are committed to having one memorial, approved through the commission.

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Second public hearing scheduled in Ridgefield on proposed bed & breakfast

Another public hearing will be scheduled in Ridgefield on a proposed bed and breakfast on Circle Drive.  There was a hearing before the Planning and Zoning Commission this week on the couple's request.  They says there will be no adverse impact on safety, traffic, water, sewer or home values.  Neighbors oppose the plan and say it would put the area's safety at risk and lower property values.  The second hearing on the proposal was scheduled for November 8th.

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High court to hear appeal in Newtown gun maker lawsuit

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The appeal of a decision to dismiss a wrongful death lawsuit against the maker of the rifle used in the 2012 Newtown school shooting is headed to Connecticut's highest court next month.

The state Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments Nov. 14 in the civil case brought against North Carolina-based Remington Arms by some of the Newtown victims' families.

A Superior Court judge dismissed the case last year. At issue were exceptions to a federal ban on most lawsuits against gun makers. The judge rejected the families' argument that the suit is allowed under the exceptions.

Newtown shooter Adam Lanza used a Remington-made, AR-15-style rifle to kill 20 children and six educators.

Lawyers for Remington have said the rifle was made, distributed and sold legally.

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Fairfield teen charged for fiery April crash

A Fairfield teen has turned himself in to Redding Police after learning of a warrant for his arrest stemming from a fiery April crash.  18-year old Ryan Capozziello lost control of his SUV and it rolled into an embankment.  He was charged with DUI, reckless driving and 5 counts of assault among other offenses.  Capozziello and 5 passengers were seriously injured in the accident, with two occupants being ejected from the vehicle.  He was released bond.  The accident remains under investigation.

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Easton Police warning of phone scam

The Easton Police Department has received a few complaints about a phone scam.  A resident reported receiving a call from the “Fairfield County Sheriff's Office” stating they had a warrant for her arrest due to missing jury duty.  In another phone call, a resident reported receiving a phone call from the “Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office” stating there is an arrest warrant out for him and his wife.  Easton Police say if a call is received like these, or from someone claiming to be from a municipal or government agency, do not give any personal information on the phone.  There used to be an agency by this name, but not anymore.

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Danbury area lawmaker tout 'diaper drive' as a success

A ‘Town-Wide Diaper Drive’ hosted by some Greater Danbury area lawmakers is being touted as a success, collecting thousands of diapers for low income families.  State Representatives Will Duff, Michael Ferguson, Stephen Harding, Richard Smith and Adam Dunsby recently learned that diapers are not covered by Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, SNAP, benefits. 

 

The donations to Hopeline will be distributed in the region. 

 

The lawmakers say a majority of licensed day care centers do not accept cloth diapers, most coin-operated laundromats do not allow customers to wash cloth diapers for health and sanitary reasons, and families using SNAP benefits can't afford memberships at discount warehouse clubs. 

 

According to state statistics, a month’s supply of diapers can cost over $100. 

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Intersection of Routes 110, 111 in Monroe changing

The junction of Route 110 Route 111 in Monroe will be will be paved into a T-intersection before the end of the month.  Route 110 will be controlled by a stop sign and will remain a T-intersection through winter. Monroe Police say additional street lighting will be brought in to illuminate the changed intersection.  The temporary winter pavement on Route 111 will be east of the current location, closer to fireman's field.  The Route 110 intersection will be a little north of the old roadway.  Construction will continue as long as weather permits, with most winter work occurring in the area of the old roadway.

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Firefighters help rescue pets from Danbury house fire

A house fire in Danbury was quickly extinguished last night.  The fire was reported at a home on Stadley Rough Road shortly after 5:30pm.  Firefighters found smoke coming from the house when they arrived, and called in additional units.  All occupants made it out safely and firefighters helped them locate and remove all of their pets.  The home is uninhabitable, until repairs are made.  The Danbury Fire Marshals office is investigating.

 

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Bethel residents approve school renovation project referendum

With about 22-percent voter turnout, Bethel residents narrowly approved a $65 million school renovation project.  The vote was 1,477 to 1,265.

 

45-percent of eligible costs, about $23 million, could be reimbursed by the state.  The Rockwell and Johnson project could add $269 a year in taxes to the average home.

 

Bethel officials have estimated that the cost of not renovating the buildings is almost as high as the net cost of both projects, due to the age and condition of the two facilities.

 

Board of Ed chairman Larry Craybas says only making repairs would leave the town with two obsolete buildings, unable to meet the needs of 21st century education.  Craybas says the buildings lack adequate space, are far out of date with building and safety codes and the roofs are near the end of their life spans.

 

The way Bethel's charter is written, a referendum had to be held before November 15th, to show resident-backing of the project, in order to get on the state priority list.  

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NY man charged for allegedly stabbing coworker with wine bottle opener

A New York man has been arrested for assaulting a coworker.  New York State Troopers received a report of an assault victim at Danbury Hospital on Sunday.  Police determined that the victim was assaulted by 38-year old Ardijan Taraku at a restaurant in Somers. 

 

Taraku allegedly stabbed the victim multiple times with a wine bottle opener behind the building.  The Scarsdale man was charged with felony assault and criminal possession of a weapon. 

 

He was arraigned and released on his own recognizance.

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Putnam County Sheriff K9 to receive bullet-protective vest

One of the Putnam County Sheriff’s patrol canines, “Lex”, will receive a bullet and stab protective vest.  The equipment is being donated by Vested Interest in K9s.  The funds for this vest were raised and donated by Girl Scout Troop 12524 of North Hampton, New Hampshire. 

 

Delivery is expected within 8 to 10 weeks. 

 

 

The Massachusetts-based charity provides bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the country.  The non-profit has provided over 2,600 protective vests, valued at over $2.1 million, since it was founded in 2009. 

 

The organization estimates that there are 30,000 law enforcement K9s in service throughout the United States.  To be eligible, dogs must be certified as trained and be at least 20 months of age.

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Esty participates in LGBTQ+ roundtable at WCSU

A Western Connecticut State University LGBTQ+ roundtable discussion was held Monday.  October is LGBTQ+ History Month.  5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty joined students and faculty members to discuss the climate on campus.  She says faculty advisers do take these matters seriously and credited the Gay Straight Alliance with creating an inclusive atmosphere. 

 

She shared a story about when her brother first came out, and her mother asked him not to tell their father.  Esty noted that in the 1970s, AIDS was prevalent and families would disavow their kids.  She says this country should be about freedom and dignity, with people proving their worth based on what they do, not how they identify. 

 

One of the big issues that the students discusses was the amount of hate on social media.  Esty says people should have to identify themselves by name because words have meaning.  She believes everyone should be willing to stand behind their words.  

 

One student shared a story of her brother being in the Marines, and received support from his comrades .  Esty was encouraged by how many people in the administration urged the President to reconsider the ban on transgender people in the military.

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Waterbury man arrested in car reported stolen from Ridgefield

A car reported stolen in Ridgefield has been recovered by State Police after a highway pursuit in the Waterbury area.  Several people called police Monday about an erratic Audi driver, but Troopers determined that the license plate didn't match the vehicle description.  The driver sped away from the cruisers with lights and sirens activated.  The driver, later determined to be 29-year old Cornelius Coney of Waterbury, eventually stopped near exit 17 because of slow traffic.  Coney was charged for having a suspended license, reckless endangerment, motor vehicle theft, possession of a controlled substance, possession of narcotics, engaging police in a pursuit, reckless driving for speeding over 85mph, lack of insurance, improper plates and operating an unregistered motor vehicle.  Coney posted $50,000 bond and was ordered to appear in court on November 8th.

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VH1 Save The Music Foundation to present donation to Danbury schools

On Monday, the VH1 Save The Music Foundation and SpreadMusicNow will present donations at Park Avenue School to support music education in Danbury.  With the support of a $50,000 gift from SpreadMusicNow, VH1 Save The Music donated new instruments, equipment, professional development and program support all valued at $180,000 to this fall’s music programs at Morris Street, Park Avenue and South Street schools.  A performance will be held at 9:30am, followed by a presentation of the donation.  There are 115 Danbury elementary school students who will directly benefit from the program.

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Danbury, Brookfield teens caught with pound of pot during traffic stop

A Danbury teen and one from Brookfield have been arrested by Wilton Police on drug related charges after a routine traffic stop.  19-year old Mateus Nascimento-Dacosta and 18-year-old Jazmine Mccabe were stopped on Route 7 Sunday night for a broken headlight.  A search of the car found a little more than a pound of marijuana, hash oil, THC liquid refills for e-cigarettes and Xanax pills.  Both were charged with possession and possession with intent to sell.  They were arraigned and are due back in court next month.

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Rating agency: Budget impasse impacting towns

Moody's Investor Service announced it has placed 26 Connecticut municipalities and three regional school districts under review for a possible downgrade. 

 

Another 25 cities and towns and three regional school districts were assigned negative outlooks.  Among those listed is two bonds in New Fairfield , three held by New Milford and four in Oxford. Moody's notes how the state has historically provided cities and towns with significant amounts of funding, largely education grants.  The rating agency cited the state's budget impasse and the vulnerability of state aid to municipalities. 

 

Last week, Standard & Poor's Global Ratings downgraded its outlook for the state's general obligation bonds to "negative," while keeping the rating at A-plus. 

 

The Connecticut Conference of Small Towns is still unhappy with Governor Malloy's latest budget offering, calling it "a swing and a miss" for shifting teacher pension costs to municipalities "in a way that will overwhelm property taxpayers."

 

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities says Moody's action will have a devastating impact.

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Routine traffic stop leads to discovery of stolen license plate, cocaine

A routine traffic stop led to two Connecticut men being arrested in New York for having a stolen license plate and being in possession of drugs.  Troopers pulled a car over on Saturday in Brewster for several traffic infractions.  22-year old Tyler Potenziani of Danbury and 35-year Jovanny Gutierrez of Waterbury were found with cocaine and rolled dollar bills containing cocaine residue. 

 

The Connecticut license plate was stolen and the vehicle was unregistered. Potenziani had a blood alcohol content more than three times the legal limit and was also charged with driving while intoxicated. 

 

  

(Potenziani, Gutierrez)

 

Gutierrez was wanted by the New York City Police Department for an active Bench Warrant. 

 

Potenziani was charged for Criminal Possession of Stolen Property, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance, Obstructing Governmental Administration, Resisting Arrest, Disorderly Conduct, and multiple Vehicle and Traffic Violations. 

 

Gutierrez was cited for a Violation of Criminal Procedure Law, Failing to Surrender to a Bench Warrant, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance, and Disorderly Conduct.

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Referendum in Bethel on proposed school renovation projects

A referendum is being held in Bethel today on school renovations. 

 

School officials are applying to the state Department of Administrative Services for space standard waivers for Rockwell and Johnson schools.  The proposed renovation projects could be partially reimbursed by the state.  Superintendent Christine Carver says the waiver for Rockwell could mean another $2 million in savings down the road.  State officials asked the town to look at the proposed square footage of the Johnson project.  Some design modifications were made to reduce common area spaces. 

 

The state verbally agreed to a space standard waiver there as well. 

 

Carver says they are now formally requesting those waivers, while submitting paperwork to get on the school construction funding priority list.  In the past, the state reimbursed all eligible projects.  Due to the massive deficits in recent years, the criteria for funding has changed. 

 

The way Bethel's charter is written, a referendum has to be held before November 15th, to show resident-backing of the project, in order to get on the state priority list.

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Malloy's 4th budget plan receives tepid reviews

Governor Dannel Malloy has released a new budget proposal as the impasse with lawmakers continues.  His new fourth proposal works off the Democratic majority budget plan, which was not the one the General Assembly approved.  It gets rid of the Transportation Board, which would have had the authority to impose electronic tolls. 

 

Malloy updated his Education Cost Sharing formula, still focusing on the 30 Alliance Districts, but phasing in cuts more gradually elsewhere.   Redding and Ridgefield would be zeroed out in Fiscal Year 2018 and 2019. 

 

 It strips away taxes, substituting cuts in spending.  He is not recommending a cell phone surcharge, a property tax on seasonal homes, a fee for auto trade-ins or fee on ridesharing services.  He would not authorize daily fantasy sports contests.

 

The plan does include a "Municipal Accountability Review Board" to oversee city of Hartford.

 

Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano thanked the Democratic governor for releasing another retooled, two-year, $41.25 billion budget on Monday. But he says ``it's obvious'' the plan will not pass in its current form. Fasano says it includes ``devastating cuts to certain core services'' and shifts state expenses onto municipalities.

Fasano and his fellow top Republican and Democratic leaders are continuing nearly two weeks of closed-door budget talks in hopes of reaching a bipartisan agreement. The lawmakers say they'll review Malloy's revised budget, which he calls ``bare bones'' and includes ideas from both parties.

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Danbury Fire Department looking to hire more members

The Danbury Fire Department is hiring Entry Level Firefighters.  Fire Chief TJ Wiedl says they are looking for people who have a commitment to community and an interest in being part of that mission to apply.  He says firefighters are tasked with protecting the life, property, and environment of all residents in the most efficient and safe manner possible through emergency management, training, and education.  Department members not only provide fire suppression, but also public education, emergency medical response, rescue and more.  Applicants will be asked to take written, oral, psychological, and physical exams.  Applications are being accepted through November 6th.

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WCHN partners with Memorial Sloan Kettering

Western Connecticut Health Network and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center have announced a new cancer care collaboration that will integrate MSK medical and radiation oncologists and care practices with the existing cancer program at the Norwalk Hospital.

 

This is the first time Memorial Sloan Kettering doctors will be leading cancer services within another hospital's cancer program outside of New York State.  Hospital officials say residents of Fairfield County will have accelerated access to the newest cancer treatment options, including clinical trials.

 

All six of Norwalk Hospital's current medical and radiation oncologists have joined MSK’s medical staff.  Each year, 700 patients are newly diagnosed at Norwalk Hospital with cancer.

 

Current patient of Norwalk Hospital/Western Connecticut Medical Group will continue to receive two bills where applicable; one bill for the physician’s professional services (including MSK physicians) and one bill for clinical services (lab, radiology, chemotherapy).

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5 people injured in two vehicle crash in Southeast

Five people were injured in a two-vehicle, head-on collision in Southeast on Sunday.  The crash happened on Tonetta Lake Road around 1:30pm.  Preliminary reports indicate that a minivan travelling westbound crossed over the center line as it rounded a curve, running head-on into a pickup truck.  23-year old Karen Stein of Southeast was driving the minivan with two adult passengers.  37-year old Edwin Lopez-Ramirez of Danbury had one passenger in the pickup.  All five were transported to Danbury Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

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Bethel holds town meeting about school renovation project proposals

Bethel school officials are applying to the state Department of Administrative Services for space standard waivers for Rockwell and Johnson schools.  A Town Meeting was held last night about the cost of proposed renovation projects, which could be partially reimbursed by the state. 

 

Superintendent Christine Carver says the waiver for Rockwell could mean another $2 million in savings down the road.  State officials asked the town to look at the proposed square footage of the Johnson project.  Some design modifications were made to reduce common area spaces.  The state verbally agreed to a space standard waiver there as well. 

 

Carver says they are now formally requesting those waivers, while submitting paperwork to get on the school construction funding priority list. 

 

In the past, the state reimbursed all eligible projects.  Due to the massive deficits in recent years, the criteria for funding has changed.  The way Bethel's charter is written, a referendum has to be held before November 15th, to show resident-backing of the project, in order to get on the state priority list.

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New Fairfield dedicates 9/11 park

New Fairfield has dedicated a new 9/11 park with a ceremony Sunday.  A walkway, bench and flagpole sits next to the senior center on Route 37.   A plaque commemorating the three resident's lives lost on 9/11 was donated by anonymous New Fairfield residents and the New Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department.  The memorial also features a piece of steel on loan from the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.  It's from the south tower where Siller is believed to have perished.  He was the cousin of former First Selectman John Hodge.  The Lion's Club donated the bench at the site in honor of the organization's 100th anniversary.

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DEEP cautions boaters about broken launch on Candlewood

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is cautioning boaters still on the water who use the Lattins Cove launch on Candlewood Lake should take extra care. The launch ramp is damaged, with the bottom of the ramp broken up and a large drop off. Plans for repairs are in process and a sign is being posted to mark the end of the ramp surface. Backing down beyond that sign is not recommended. The lake level is also down close to the minimum “summer” level, at which launching of trailered boats, especially larger boats, becomes more difficult at Lattins Cove.  The Squantz Cove state launch is fully functional.

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Wilton launches domestic violence awareness initiative

The Wilton Domestic Violence Task Force has partnered with the Wilton Chamber of Commerce for an initiative during this Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Today has been dubbed Wilton Cares Day and coincides with Wilton's Fall Restaurant Week.  Participating restaurants and retailers will be donating a portion of their proceeds on Wilton Cares Day to The Domestic Violence Crisis Center.  The agency serves 7 communities in the Wilton and Weston areas.   According to the DVCC, per capita the number of clients who use their services from Wilton is proportionate to clients served from larger cities such as Norwalk and Stamford.  The agency helps people navigate the legal system, address financial concerns and with housing needs.  Over the last two years, the Center has provided service to 75 households in Wilton.

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Redding League of Women Voters candidate forum Tuesday

The Redding League of Women Voters will host a debate tomorrow.  Candidates from the Board of Finance, Redding Board of Education and Region 9 Board of Education will participate.  The debate is from 7 to 9 pm at the Redding Community Center.  Two candidates will be elected to serve a full term on the Board of Finance and there is one vacancy to be filled.  Four candidates will be elected for the Redding Board of Education.  Two candidates will be elected for the Region 9 Board of Education.

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Meeting tonight on Brookfield WPCA request to buy new building

The Brookfield Water Pollution Control Authority is looking to buy a $500,000 facility on Commerce Road.   A town meeting on the request is being held tonight.  The Planning and Zoning Commission and Board of Selectmen approved the purchase, but the Board of Finance had rejected it. 

 

Since the Authority is funded through user fees, the decision on the 3,000-square-foot space can be decided by Town Meeting. 

 

Six employees are now working out of a 285-square-foot office in Town Hall.  The bigger office space would include room for storage.  The Authority was previously asked by the Board of Finance about renting a place, but a 1,000-square foot facility in the Town Center District would have cost the same as the proposed mortgage. 

 

Tonight's town meeting is at 7pm in Brookfield Town Hall.

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Memorial Park dedicated in Danbury to fallen police, fire department members

Memorial Park in Danbury has been dedicated in memory of 7 members of the police department and 10 from the fire department killed in the line of duty.  The pocket park is next to the police station at 357 Main Street.

 

 

The park was built as a place of remembrance and reflection.  The landlocked property had an old home on it that the City demolished to make way for the park.  The land was bought for $120,000. 

 

 

The son of one of the fallen officers played TAPS during the ceremony.  Family members of the 17 memorialized were also recognized during the event.

 

Officer Florence Sullivan
Officer Robert Keating
Constable Frederick Ellis
Officer Steven Michalko
Captain Dennis Cooney
Officer Donald Hassiak
Detective William Hull


Assistant Chief Richard Fitzsimmons
Firefighter Walter Gebert
Firefighter Arthur McCormack
Captain Charles Rush
Firefighter Joseph Kuba
Lieutenant Paul Kraiger
Firefighter Joseph Halas
Lieutenant Martin "Butch" Melody
Assistant Chief Thomas Morris
Firefighter Thomas Burke

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Warrior Award honoree is Bronze Star recipient

The 2017 Walk of Honor Warrior Award recipient is U.S. Army Specialist Daniel Hayes Jr.  He was presented with the award Sunday at the 10th annual Walk of Honor.

 

 

Hayes served during Operation Desert Storm and was awarded the Bronze Star for Meritorious Achievement. While maneuvering behind enemy lines, Hayes’ unit faced friendly fire while enemy infantry as all around their position.  They were ordered to prepare foxholes, but as his team began to dig in they realized in 120-degree heat and full Army kit they may not make it in time.  Hayes, at his own peril, removed all of his own protective gear and began digging foxholes one at a time while his fellow soldiers covered him with protective fire.

 

Hayes continued his heroism after he returned to the states. He rescued a woman from a burning vehicle after coming upon a motor vehicle accident.  Hayes also serves as director of the Danbury War Memorial and Director of Veteran Affairs for Danbury.

 

A poetry contest was added this year.  4th and 5th graders from King Street Intermediate School wrote poems entitled “What is a Veteran”. Medals were awarded to the top poems in each grade.

 

A one-mile walk followed the ceremony.

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Danbury College and Vocational Fair tonight

The Danbury College and Vocational Fair, sponsored by the Danbury High School Guidance Department, is back again. 

 

Representatives from more than 220 two-year and four-year colleges, nursing schools, business schools, and trade schools will participate in the annual event which will be held on Monday at the Danbury Mall.  Officers and enlisted personnel from the various branches of the military services will also be on hand to discuss the military's enlistment and education programs such as R.O.T.C., the military academies and the GI Bill. 

 

The information is free and comprehensive and will save parents and students a great deal of time and effort.

 

The representatives will discuss school settings, majors, registration process, specific courses, entrance requirements, athletics, scholarships, and extracurricular activities among other topics. Adults who are considering further education or a change in their careers are also encouraged to attend.  Students and parents will be able to set up college interviews, pick up literature and learn about the various financial aid programs available.

 

The event Monday is from 5pm to 8:30.

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Wilton Police help NY investigation on sweepstakes fraud scheme

Wilton Police helped New York's Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force investigate a fraud scheme that victimized elderly people under the guise of the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes.  36-year old Ricardo Castang of Brooklyn was sentenced yesterday to 10-year in prison for the scheme. 

 

The fraud was uncovered as part of an investigation into the trafficking of cocaine from Costa Rica.  Castang was arrested last September when he went to retrieve packages, delivered by mail, containing two souvenir bags from Costa Rica with over two pounds of cocaine hidden in the linings. 

 

An investigation found additional cocaine trafficking and the $300,000 fraud scheme involving more than two dozen victims from 17 states.  Victims were told they won the sweepstakes, but before they could collect their prize they were required to submit payment to Castang for fees and taxes owed. 

 

The victims ranged in age from 51 to 91, with the average age being 78.

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Wilton, Ridgefield Police help investigate credit card fraud scheme

A Washington state man has been charged with fraud and identity theft charges in Connecticut stemming from a credit card fraud scheme.  27-year old Elijah Chin pleaded not guilty yesterday and was released on bond.  Wilton and Ridgefield Police helped the U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigate the case.  Between December and this February, Chin is accused of electronically opening credit card accounts using personal identifying information from Connecticut residents and taking the cards out of their mailboxes.  He allegedly used the credit cards to purchase gift cards, pre-paid cards and other items at various retail stores in Connecticut.

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Murphy makes stops in Greater Danbury area

Senator Chris Murphy is touring the 72-acre former Century Brass property in New Milford this afternoon.  State and federal Brownfields Program are working together to clean up and redevelop the abandoned property.  Murphy, who is author of the CLEAN UP Act to incentivize the redevelopment of old industrial sites, plans to highlight federal brownfields remediation resources and his efforts to secure more federal funds to help transform these under-used industrial sites and boost Connecticut’s local economies.

 

After working with Newtown-based engineering company Wind Hardware to combat trade fraud and grow business opportunities for Connecticut companies, Senator Chris Murphy visits this afternoon.  He will host an employee town hall to discuss his continued focus on strengthening business opportunities and protecting other Connecticut companies from fraudulent trade activity.

 

Senator Chris Murphy presented a Broadview Middle School student in Danbury yesterday with a proclamation for winning last year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. essay contest.  He read the last paragraph of Caroline D’Angelo's essay where she focused on King’s taking a stand for what was right and about speaking up even when it’s difficult.   Murphy’s office received thousands of entries for the first year of the statewide contest.

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Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut recognizes volunteerism

Each year, the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut recognizes outstanding philanthropic giving and volunteerism that support arts and culture.  The awards were presented during their 11th Annual "Business Supports the Arts" breakfast yesterday.  The Business Supports the Arts Award was presented to Branson Ultrasonics Corporation.  Branson has maintained a long-standing relationship with Western Connecticut State University and in 2003, made a substantial investment in the university's new Visual and Performing Arts Center. The building's central lobby is named for Branson. Celebrating over 70 years as a corporate citizen of Danbury, Branson also underwrites student scholarships and contributes to a program that permanently exhibits student artwork in the company's Danbury headquarters.

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Ridgefield residents approve acquisition of Ridgebury Cemetery

Ridgefield residents voted at a town meeting Wednesday that the town should take ownership of Ridgebury Cemetery.  Some of the graves are pre-American Revolution.  Robert Keeler Reynolds managed the cemetery for over 72 years, but has decided to step down.  The cemetery is the final resting place of many Keelers, who were among the early settlers of Ridgefield.  A more than $300,000 endowment for upkeep of the 3-acre site will be turned over to the town.   There are still open plots in the cemetery. 

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Routine traffic stop leads to discovery of drugs

A Putnam Valley man is facing drug charges following a traffic stop in the town.  33-year old Keith Matthews was pulled over on the Taconic State Parkway Tuesday afternoon for speeding.  Putnam County Sheriff deputies found Oxycodone pills, Tamazepam pills and Suboxone, all controlled substances for which he did not have a valid prescription.  A quantity of marijuana was also found.  Matthews was charged for the drug possession and cited for the speeding.  He was arraigned and ordered held on bond.

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Esty introduces bill to limit ammunition magazine size

Connecticut law allows ammunition magazines with only 10 round capacity, the national standard from 1994 to 2004.  5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty has introduced Americans Safe Act to bring national law in line with the state.  She says large-capacity magazines have played a significant role in mass shootings, from Las Vegas to Sandy Hook.

 

Esty's bill was endorsed by leading law enforcement organizations like the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the veterans’ organization VoteVets, the gun owners’ group American Coalition for Responsible Gun Ownership, as well as major gun violence prevention organizations throughout the country.

 

Esty says every second a shooter spends reloading, and not firing, is a second that a potential victim has to escape.  She added that there is no good reason why sportsmen and women need more than ten rounds in a magazine.  Esty called it shameful that deer are better protected than people.

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Danbury man falls asleep behind wheel, crashes into deli

A driver has been charged with evading responsibility for fleeing after crashing into a building in Danbury.  Police responded to Martino's Pizza and Deli on Great Plain Road around 8:45 Sunday morning.  The Patch reports that the building sustained significant damage.  A witness said the driver reversed out of the building drove away. 25-year old Sean Wiedl of Danbury was later located, uninjured.  He told police he fell asleep and wen through a stop sign.  Wiedl was released on bond for a court appearance on Wednesday.  He is the son of Danbury Fire Chief TJ Wiedl.

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Sanctuary policies in Connecticut questioned in report unfounded

Connecticut was identified in a May 2016 report by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General as having so-called sanctuary policies that may violate a federal law. The Justice department has since found no evidence that Connecticut is currently out of compliance with that federal law. 

 

Attorney General Jeff Sessions commended Connecticut for a commitment to comply.  He added that jurisdictions that adopt so-called ‘sanctuary policies’ also adopt the view that the protection of criminal aliens is more important than the protection of law-abiding citizens and of the rule of law. 

 

The Department threatened in July to withhold Byrne Justice Assistance Grants to places with sanctuary policies.  It's the main source of federal law enforcement funding.  Last year, Danbury received nearly $16,000 in Byrne JAG grant money.

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New Milford Substance Abuse Prevention Council releases student survey report

The New Milford Substance Abuse Prevention Council has presented findings of an Attitudes and Behaviours Survey.  It was conducted among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders.  The report can be found here.

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Handicap accessible van set to go into service for Bethel Senior Center

Bethel's new handicapped accessible van was delivered to the Senior Center yesterday.  It was paid for with a state Department of Transportation grant.  This is the first year that Bethel's senior center is offering van service to residents. The van will go into service next week.

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Household items dumped in Redding stream along scenic road

Redding officials say someone dumped a lot of household items into a stream off George Hull Hill Road this weekend.  Anyone with information about the owner of the the chairs, seat cushions and other items is asked to contact Redding Police.  First Selectman Julia Pemberton speculated that it may have been someone hired to make a dump run, but kept the cash and illegally disposed of the items along a scenic road.

 

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New Milford officials allocate money to Hate Has No Home Here Group

The New Milford Town Council has accepted a donation at their meeting this week for two benches to be installed  at the Young’s Field River Walk.  The Rotary Club donated $1,500, which was matched by the District Rotary.  The Council also authorized $250 in funding at the request of the "Hate Has No Home Here" Group for lawn signs.  The signs in English, Spanish, and Arabic say “No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor”.  They will be distributed through various religious and community groups. Donations to fund future events and materials are being accepted by the Town. 

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Attorney General files motion in case about Danbury-based sex trafficking ring

The state Attorney General's Office has filed a motion to suppress six subpoenas in a Danbury-based sex trafficking case.  The Newstimes reports that the motion was filed after an attorney for Bruce Bemer asked for access to the victims’ medical records. 

 

Bemer and two other men were arrested in March on human trafficking charges. 

 

Danbury police have identified about 15 victims.  Authorities say the men coerced into prostitution had severe psychological disorders and were addicted to drugs. 

 

Bemer was in court Tuesday where a judge denied his request to have an electronic ankle bracelet monitoring device removed. 

 

The motion says the subpoenas seek information that is confidential and may not be requested, disclosed or used for the purposes sought.  The published report says Bemer's attorney issued subpoenas to Connecticut Valley Hospital and the Western Connecticut Mental Health Network among others.  They operate in cooperation with the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

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Woman accused of abandoning baby offered plea deal

The Danbury woman accused of abandoning her newborn behind a Main Street grocery store in May has been offered a plea deal.  A brief court appearance was made yesterday by 22-year old Anny Castillo.  The terms of the deal were not disclosed and a decision about whether or not to accept it was not immediately made.  Her attorney is seeking a mental health evaluation.  The case was continued to November 8th.  Castillo has been free on bond since her July arrest.  The baby has been placed by the state Department of Children and Families in a foster family and was in good health when placed.

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Brookfield Library designs unveiled during public information session tonight

The Brookfield Library Board of Trustees will host a Public Information Session at 7 pm at the Brookfield High School auditorium, along with their consultants from Doyle Coffin Architecture, LLC of Ridgefield. The information session will provide a project overview and history along with a visual presentation about the proposed new library design and site.  The project is estimated to cost $14.7 million.

 

There will be opportunity for public comment and questions. 

 

Library officials say the existing facility is too small to accommodate new services, and no longer meets the needs of the community.  They want to provide dedicated space for children and teens, quiet study space, expanded meeting space, improved accessibility for handicapped patrons, enhanced technology access, and ample parking.

 

More than half of all Brookfield residents have a library card.  Approximately 100,000 people visit the library each year.

 

Brookfield received approval for a $1 million state grant to offset the costs of the new library, but the grant approval expires in March.  A Referendum could be held in early 2018 about the proposed 35,000-square foot project at Brookfield's Municipal Town Hall campus.

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Richter House renovation proposals on display this weekend

An artist rendering of proposed renovations to the Richter House in Danbury will be on display this weekend.  The 1920 Richter House  is listed on the Connecticut Register of Historic Places.  A $1 million state grant was awarded for the work in 2016, which will be combined with $500,000 in city funds to renovate the first floor.  The public is invited on Sunday to see the house as it stands now. 

 

The open house is from 2 to 5pm.  State Representative David Arconti and former Representative Jan Geigler will be in attendance.  Musicals at Richter will be performing throughout the afternoon.

 

A three phase plan for renovations and remodeling will make improvements to the heat, the plumbing and handicap accessibility.  The phases have been broken up in a way that they are self-contained, and they won't have to worry about having unfinished areas of the building.  The second floor will be turned into a meeting room, but a lot of utility work is needed there.  Plans also called for a ticket kiosk for people that are attending the outdoor musicals during the summer.

 

Betty Bontempi of the Richter Association for the Arts told the City Council when the grant was awarded last year that between the time they put up the thermostat and the first puff of heat is felt, it's two hours.  Bontempi also noted that they can't plug in two coffee urns in the same room, let alone the same outlet.

 

For most of one season, they didn't have any hot water because something was wrong with the pipes. They had to heat water on the stove in order to wash hands and dishes.

 

The front path has uneven stones, which makes it difficult for handicap people to get to the door.  There is also no railing for people to hold when trying to negotiate the two steps into the house. 

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Young's Field Riverwalk Park dedicated to New Milford Parks and Rec Commission

The New Milford Town Council has approved a request for Young's Field Riverwalk Park to be dedicated to the New Milford Parks and Recreation Commission.  Parks and Rec Director Daniel Calhoun took questions from members at their most recent meeting. 

 

He was asked about the porous asphalt and maintenance of plantings.  Calhoun responded that he will still need some training or information about how to take care of permeable surface. 

 

He was also asked about whether he had a machine that could trim the grass on the steep embankment, without going into the water.  Calhoun says they will probably need the assistance of the Public Works Department and their roadside mower. 

 

A row of trees and weeds were removed to make way for the trail, which can now be used for biking, walking and running.  Plans for the quarter-mile stretch of walkway started about a decade ago, and the park could eventually become part of the 13-mile New Milford River Trail.  Work included stabilizing the eroding riverbank and constructing a paved 10-foot trail, a kayak launch and a fishing dock.

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Three Danbury residents arrested in drug investigation

Three Danbury residents have been arrested on drug related charges after an investigation into neighbor complaints about illegal sales from a Belmont Circle apartment.  Search warrants were carried out last week as police conducted surveillance of the home.  Police say 37-year old Hennessy Taveras and 27-year old Sara Sasso met with 33-year old Jennifer Turlay, who was suspected of buying drugs from the pair. 

 

Taveras and Sasso were found in possession of cocaine. Turlay was found with illegal drugs. 

 

    

(Taveras, Sasso, Turlay)

 

Taveras and Sasso were each charged with possession of a controlled substance, sale of crack cocaine, possession of crack cocaine with intent to sell, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana.  Each was held on $50,000 bond. 

 

Turlay was charged with possession of a controlled substance and released on a written promise to appear in court at a later date. 

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No debate scheduled between Danbury incumbent Mayor, challenger

Beyond the Danbury Citywide PTO candidate forum, there will not be a debate between Republican incumbent Mayor Mark Boughton and Democratic challenger Al Almeida.  The Greater Danbury NAACP and the League of Women Voters have said that there is no available time in the Mayor's schedule.  Almeida questioned whether that's because of Boughton's effort to also seek the GOP nomination for governor in 2018 while campaigning for reelection.  Boughton is also recovering from surgery, where a lemon-sized cyst was removed from his brain.  He noted that the pair will be participating in a forum with the Volunteer Fireman’s Association.  During the PTO forum, both mayoral candidates along with those running for the Board of Education took questions from the audience about education in Danbury.

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Danbury to dedicate Heritage Plaza next week

Danbury is holding a ribbon cutting ceremony for City Hall's Heritage Plaza next week.  The plaza is meant to serve  as a center point in Danbury where various cultural communities can celebrate their heritage. Reinstalled Lebanese and Italian monuments stand in the plaza with 8 additional footings in place for future monuments celebrating different cultural communities.  3 more footings have been added in the additional plaza extension along Deer Hill Avenue.  The ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony is set for Tuesday at 5pm.

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Police seek education official for DUI probation violation

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut education official who served jail time for four drunken driving arrests is being sought by police on allegations he violated probation.

The Connecticut Post reports that state Board of Education member Stephen Wright did not report to his probation officer as required after finishing a 120-day jail sentence. Police say Wright also gave officials a Monroe address that turned out to be a vacant lot.

Wright's lawyer declined to comment.

The 62-year-old lawyer and longtime Trumbull resident pleaded guilty in June to four counts of driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license. The probation conditions included that he not drive and complete an alcohol education program.

Wright was arrested over a 12-week span that began in February by Norwalk, Shelton, Stratford and state police.

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Bethel sets referendum date on school renovation proposal

At a special town meeting in Bethel last night, it was decided to hold a referendum on the 17th about a proposed school renovation project.  Superintendent Christine Carver says this would make the district eligible to apply for state reimbursement on some parts of the Rockwell and Johnson project, because a vote has to be held in order to get on the funding priority list. 

 

Rockwell was built in 1971 and Johnson in 1980. 

 

With the state budget stalemate, there are some concerns about moving forward.  State school construction funding is different than the Education Cost Sharing Grant money.  Bethel and 84 other municipalities will have their ECS money eliminated under Governor Malloy's executive order, which is being used to run the state while there is no budget signed into law.  

 

Bethel's referendum resolution could be written so that the project is contingent on state funding approval.

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Danbury makes pitch to Amazon to be new HQ location, without CT backing

Danbury has decided to submit a response to Amazon’s Request for Proposal, despite the state backing other municipalities.  Danbury officials say the City is the strongest location to serve as Amazon’s second North American headquarters, noting that there is an available 100-acre site in direct proximity to rail, air, and vehicular modes of transportation.  Officials are eyeing the Matrix property.

 

If Danbury is selected, City officials said they would partner with the State and the Greater Danbury area to ensure the needs of the corporation are met in full.  

 

 

City officials also cite a recently formed cooperative partnership with Putnam County, which increases access to talented workers and resources that transcends state boundaries.

 

Connecticut's bid for Amazon's second headquarters will include sites in the Stamford and Hartford regions.  Catherine Smith, commissioner of the state Department of Economic and Community Development, said those locations meet Amazon's criteria.


The Seattle company says it will spend more than $5 billion to build a second headquarters in North America with as many as 50,000 jobs. It says it's looking at metropolitan areas with populations of more than a million that have the potential to attract top technical talent.

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Brookfield adapts operations amid state budget uncertainty

As Governor Malloy continues to run the state by executive order, that means Brookfield stands to lose $1.8 million in state funding.  First Selectman Steve Dunn says they are going to continue to operate as if that money won't come.  But he's confident that Brookfield can meet the cut without having to issue a supplemental tax bill. 

 

Dunn cautioned that it will require shared sacrifice .  He notes that the schools have put together a complete plan on what they could save, and what it would cost in terms of educating children.  As of right now, Dunn doesn't believe they'll ask the schools to make a big contribution to make up the difference. 

 

The decision however will be made once a state budget is finally signed into law. 

 

The town has implemented a capital spending freeze and a hiring freeze, leaving three positions open.  Dunn has asked department heads to stop whatever spending isn't absolutely necessary and to see what spending could be delayed.

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