A swastika was found carved into a tree in Redding. Police are investigating the incident, reported by a resident, on a tree at a local popular trail. First Selectman Julia Pemberton did not specify on which trail the symbol was found. She said there is no place for hate in Redding and that the vandalism is an act of hate. Anyone with information is asked to contact Redding police at 203-938-3400.
An Oxford man has been arrested on an animal cruelty charge. State Police say 48-year old Craig Middendorf was annoyed at what he believed was a stray cat, so he shot and killed it in the backyard of his duplex. The cat ended up being owned by a person who lives in the side-by-side residence. Middendorf's .22 caliber rifle was seized by State Police. He was also charged with unlawful discharge of a firearm and reckless endangerment. He was released on bond for a court appearance February 5th.
The Bethel Police department is asking for the public's help in identifying a man and woman wanted for allegedly shoplifting at a grocery store in town. The pair were caught on security cameras at the Big Y on Stony Hill Road January 10th. Anyone with information is asked to contact Officer McClintock at (203)743-5500.
Sherman residents have approved $147,000 in funding for emergency communications equipment, a Simulcast system. Fire Department officials say the current system only covers about 30-percent of the town, a two mile radius around the fire station. Originally, the proposal was much higher, but existing infrastructure will be used, dropping the costs. Public works will also use the new system.
A prayer vigil was held in Danbury yesterday in support of a New Fairfield father of two young children, who is facing deportation to his native Guatemala on January 31st. Joel Colindres is married to a U.S. citizen. His wife, Samantha, and a coalition of 10 human rights groups held the vigil for the 33-year old, who fled religious persecution and death threats in 2004. Colindres entered the country through Texas on a provisional waiver and has spent 14 years filing requests for ICE to hear his asylum case. He says three family members were murdered in the last year alone. He had 2 attorneys who missed deadlines or filed improperly.
5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty plans to donate her federal pay to local Connecticut charities for the duration of the government shutdown. She did the same thing during the 16-day shut down in 2013.
Esty is a cosponsor of the federal ‘No Budget, No Pay’ Act, which would prevent lawmakers from receiving pay for failing to pass a budget. According to an estimate of Standard & Poor’s, the 2013 shutdown cost the U.S. economy close to $24 billion and reduced fourth-quarter GDP growth from 3 percent to 2.4 percent.
Senator Richard Blumenthal says serious talks and compromise by the Republican leadership and the President could have avoided the federal shut down. He says governing month to month through short term extensions has the effect of a slow motion shutdown, short-changing and damaging the military, opioid addiction programs and disaster relief. Blumenthal says the President must lead, or get out of the way.
Governor Malloy says Connecticut has made preparations to mitigate the impacts of the federal government shutdown, as much as possible. But Malloy says unless Congress does their job, Connecticut residents who work for the federal government will not be paid, contractors will be laid off, and loans to Connecticut small businesses won’t be made.
Kent declared a local state of emergency more than a week ago when waters from the Housatonic River rose and then froze in place, flooding many roads. Officials are hoping the ice dams thaw this week with high temperatures expected to be above freezing.
A flyover by the Civil Air Patrol on Saturday showed the stretch ice had doubled in size, making it two miles long.
State Police are ticketing drivers who stop or park on Route 7 along the Housatonic River in Kent to view the ice jam. Officials say the ice is becoming increasingly unstable as it begins to thaw and melt. Officials say there have only been a few instances where people were told to leave flood prone areas.
Students are expected to return this week to a private boarding school evacuated because of flooding. Dorms at the Kent School are expected to open on Wednesday with classes resuming Thursday. The school originally was hoping to reopen sooner but pushed the date back amid efforts to clean and prepare the campus and a forecast calling for more rain early next week.
There was a fire at a Kent restaurant on Saturday afternoon, which sent one person to the hospital for evaluation. Firefighters responded to Wasabi Restaurant on South Main Street for a possible electrical fire in the kitchen. Firefighters could see smoke coming from the eves. The building was evacuated. The fire was put out using extinguishers. Firefighters vented the roof and no structural extension was found. The fire marshal's office is investigating. Gaylordsville and Warren Fire Departments were dispatched for mutual aid to the scene and Cornwall with a crew and engine were requested to standby at the Kent Volunteer firehouse.
Smoke in a Danbury home led firefighters to find a basement fire Sunday morning. Firefighters responded to 6 Padanaram Road around 7:30am and also found an odor of gas. The fire was quickly extinguished. The family was displaced from their home due to the damage. The American Red Cross was requested, to assist the family. The Danbury Fire Marshals Office and City Building Department are investigating.
A rollover car accident resulted in an explosion and two people being brought to a hospital with burn injuries. Authorities in Danbury are trying to determine the cause of the crash that happened shortly after 3:30am Saturday on Long Ridge Road. The car was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived. Authorities have not said how serious the injuries are to the two occupants.
Bethel officials are reminding residents about the town's mailbox replacement policy. If a mailbox or post is damaged during snow removal operations, it's not the responsibility of the Public Works Department ot make repairs. The responsibility falls to the property owner, unless the damage is from direct contact with snow removal equipment.
An inspector will determine if the plow operator is at fault.
But Bethel officials cautioned that the majority of mailbox and post damage is the result of improper installation or maintenance. They says the average number of mailboxes hit by equipment is less than one percent. Non-contact mailbox knockdowns may average more then one hundred or more per snow storm
New Fairfield Selectman Khris Hall will hold “listening hours” twice a week beginning on Thursday. She will be at the New Fairfield Library from 5:30 to 6:30pm. every Monday and 10 to 11 am every Thursday, except when the library is closed. Hall and First Selectman Pat Del Monaco promised to hold the listening hours during the campaign.
Water Witch Hose Company in New Milford has announced the passing of Past Chief Patrick Maguire Jr. Maguire served as a Driver/Pump Operator up until his sudden passing Monday at Yale New Haven Hospital. He held seats on the Fair Days Committee and the Engine 21 Design Committee. Calling Hours are on Sunday January from 1 to 4pm at the Lillis Funeral Home in New Milford. A Funeral Service will take place on Monday at 11am at Saint Francis Xavier Church in New Milford.
An architect presented plans to Brookfield Boards and Commission about what a new police station could entail. The current department is 12,950-square feet, but a 22,550-square foot police building is proposed. Brookfield officials haven't decided whether to renovate the existing structure or build a new one. Initial proposals call for a bigger dispatch center, a firing range and a training classroom. The current Brookfield Police station was built in 1986 and since then the staff, town population and calls for service have grown. A separate covered storage bay for cars was also proposed.
Kent First Selectman Bruce Adams says water level and ice level observers have reported that the Housatonic River has receded by about 50 inches since Saturday. Adams says the water is still estimated to be approximately 8 feet above seasonal levels.
He cautioned that no one can accurately predict when the ice will move. Kent is in the "wait and see" mode. The ice jam fell by about 3 feet. But Adams says the reduction in the overall height of the ice is the result of the ice caving in on itself, not shifting or jarring.
Classes at the Kent School will resume on Thursday. Boarding students will return Wednesday with dorms opening at 8am. Local shelters are available in Kent, but none are being used at this time. The Kent Nutritional Center is currently closed. There have been no requests for assistance and/or shelter at this time.
Schaghticoke Road in Kent is closed due to water. There's ice on Johnson Road, forcing it's closure and River Road is closed due to seasonal winter conditions. Local private schools have offered up to 400 persons to assist in labor activities if needed. These schools include: South Kent School, Marvelwood School, Highwatch. Adams says t this time, volunteer assets are not needed.
Bethel is seeking requests for proposals for construction management and risk services for the Rockwell and Johnson Elementary School projects. There is a mandatory site visit next Wednesday, with applications due February 5th.
Perkins Eastman is the architectural firm for the projects, which technically are separate works, but will be done concurrently. They are categorized that way because of the State Office of School Construction and Department of Administrative Services.
Both projects are dependent upon approved state funding and will not go forward to the Construction Phase without approved state funding.
The town will interview short list firms on February 20th and 21st. The Public Sites and Building Commission plans to make a final decision by February 27th and recommend a firm to the Town.
The Bethel Police Department is hosting a Car Seat Clinic tomorrow. The Clinic will be held, by appointment only, at the Stony Hill Fire Department, Stony Hill Rd., Bethel. For further information or an appointment time contact the Car Seat Unit at 203-744-7900 Ext. 121 or online, Bethel-ct.gov/police, and select the Services tab to book an appointment online.
The Newtown Police Department will be hosting its 24th Citizen Police Academy beginning March 25th. The free 10-week academy is open to adults 18 years of age or older and designed to teach people about the various aspects of law enforcement. Classes will be held on Sundays from 3pm to 6pm. To sign up for the Citizen Police Academy, by March 15th, visit the Newtown Police Department web page.
One Brookfield resident and two firefighters sustained minor injuries in a garage fire yesterday morning. Firefighters responded to Muirwood Court in Brookfield shortly before 10:30 yesterday morning. The garage was fully engulfed in flames when they arrived. Firefighters were able to stop the blaze from spreading into the house.
The Fire Marshals office is investigating the cause.
Officials say the home was the scene of another devastating fire in June of 2007.
The Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Company, Danbury Fire Department, Newtown Hook & Ladder, Hawleyville Volunteer Fire Company, Bridgewater Volunteer Fire Department and the Water Witch Hose Co. #2 provided mutual aid.
New Milford's Mayor has told the Kent First Selectman that the town is available to provide whatever assistance they may need as the ice jam on the Housatonic River persists. If the ice jams proceed down river and cause flooding in New Milford, Kent officials said they would provide assistance as well.
New Milford has a traffic plan in place for areas that may flood once the ice jam breaks up. The car dealers on Route 7 by Veterans Bridge were notified that their inventory should be moved in case of flooding. The Maxx on one side of the bridge and Sarah Noble School on the other side of the bridge will act as shelters if needed.
Mayor Pete Bass attended the emergency management meeting in Kent Wednesday night, along with State Representative Bill Buckbee, Police Chief Shawn Boyne, and the leaders of the volunteer fire departments. Bass also met with the New Milford Emergency Management Team yesterday.
The ice jam along the Housatonic River in Kent remains largely intact and firmly in place. But Route 7 was able to reopen yesterday afternoon. Schaghticoke, Johnson and River Roads remain closed due to water on the roadway.
Worse case scenario in Kent with the persistent ice jam on the Housatonic River is that it doesn't thaw until the end of March or early April. That from State Representative Brian Ohler who says cautioned that there are some ice blocks in very close proximity to the roadway along Route 7. An Eversource field crew has inspected in-place power poles and overhead lines and reported that there is no visible damage within passable areas of Route 7.
Emergency Management officials say Kent needs a minimum of three days with an average high of 42 degrees and a little precipitation to break the ice jam. Right now, there's still an air gap between the river and the ice jam. The water needs to rise to a level that the ice can break up in smaller pieces. The conditions could be right over the next few days.
Officials at the Kent School say they will take things day by day, but they've been able to do some education online while students are evacuated.
A Danbury woman is seeking the Democratic nomination for state Senate in the 24th District. Julie Kushner says the district, which also includes Bethel, New Fairfield and Sherman, deserves someone devoted to fighting for fairness and progress for hard working families.
The seat is currently held by Republican Mike McLachlan.
Kushner is co-chair of the Connecticut Working Families Party, a member of the Danbury Democratic Town Committee and director of the UAW union Region 9. She helped 2,200 UConn teachers and research assistants to organize for adequate and accessible healthcare in a program that's been so successful, it's now offered to all graduate students and post-doctoral researchers.
Comments on the Long Ridge Road Realignment Project can be submitted until February 16th. Redding officials say after the comment period has closed, the state Department of Transportation and engineers from consulting firm Milone and MacBroom will appear before Redding's boards and commissions for local permits and approvals.
The work will reconstruct and realign Side Cut Road, Long Ridge Road, and Simpaug Turnpike in the area of the grade crossing. It's meant to better accommodate low clearance vehicles, improve sight distances and address localized flooding.
Construction is slated to begin in the Spring of 2019, based on the availability of funding. The estimated construction cost for this project is $2 million, with 90-percent paid for with Federal Funds.
Eversource and Frontier are reviewing design plans for moving utility poles. The work will impact the railroad tracks so Metro North is being consulted.
Senator Richard Blumenthal plans to contact the Secretary of Homeland Security on behalf of a New Fairfield father of two facing deportation to his native Guatemala.
A rally was held yesterday in support of Joel Colindres, who is married to a U-S citizen. His wife Samantha received approval in 2015 to sponsor her husband, but additional steps must be taken before he is able to adjust his status.
Blumenthal says his heart breaks as Colindres fights another cold and callous attempt to break apart his family. He says deporting Colindres would violate the spirit of Secretary Nielsen’s assurances to him in this week’s hearing that the Department's focus would be on criminals, not people like Joel who have paid taxes, contributed to communities, and lived here for decades, without any criminal record.
Colindres got a last minute stay in August, but was told during a weekly meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement on December 27th, that he must leave the country by the end of the month. The 33-year old came to America in 2004, but a paperwork error prompted today's legal situation.
A seven-year local property tax abatement, a one-year sewer and water fee abatement and a land lease for an airport hangar were not enough to sway Amazon to locate its second headquarters in Danbury. Amazon is narrowing the list of cities under consideration to 20, with the largest concentration in the Northeast.
Amazon, based in Seattle, plans to invest $5 billion in the new headquarters and could employ as many as 50,000 people in and around the city it chooses.
Danbury paid a local printer $426 to print 13 copies of the application and for graphic design work. Another Danbury company was paid $750 for a video shoot and edit. A Vernon web development company was paid $1,500 for online advertising. The City's application included a map of the region highlighting the Matrix Center - and its proximity to sites such as Candlewood Lake, the Danbury Municipal Airport, Interstate 84, Western Connecticut State University campuses, the New York state line and the Brewster train station.
The list released on Thursday by Amazon of the finalists includes Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Montgomery County in Maryland, Nashville, Newark, New York City, Northern Virginia, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, Toronto and Washington D.C.
There are potential fundraising scams cropping up as a result of the ice jam on the Housatonic River in Kent, which has closed part of Route 7 for almost a week. State Representative Brian Ohler is reminding residents to be vigilant when asked to donate to recently created fundraisers on sites like GoFundMe. While many are legitimate, there are many instances where it's not the case. Ohler says unfortunately there are people out there who are eager to exploit these types of situations for their own financial gain. The Kent Chamber of Commerce noted yesterday that Kent is open for business. While it’s important to stay aware of your surroundings, they say the ice jam shouldn’t scare people away from the center of town.
DOT crews have been attempting to dislodged massive ice blocks that have been covering Route 7 in Kent for the past five days. State Representative Brian Ohler says the clean up process will continue for the coming days. Once the thawing process is complete and the clean up is over, DOT officials must then inspect the roadway for its strength and integrity.
5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty connected with Kent officials yesterday for an update on the damage from floods and ice jams on the Housatonic River. She put them in touch with a federal ice expert from the National Weather Service, who delivered a brief presentation to local officials at a meeting in Kent last night. Esty commended the elected officials and schools leaders for their efforts in the face of an unprecedented situation.
52 individuals, representing local and statewide emergency management personnel, law enforcement officers, fire/ems officers, state and federal elected officials, school administrators, and a National Weather Service analyst attended the briefing last night. Freezing temperatures over the past four days have held this ice jam in the same position that it has been since Saturday.
The Kent Volunteer Fire Department has been receiving numerous phone calls about volunteer opportunities. While they say the offers are appreciated, at this time they are not in need of volunteers.
Senator Richard Blumenthal says a report by the Violence Policy Center that ranked Connecticut as one of the lowest states in the nation for gun deaths in 2016 proves strong gun laws save lives. But he says guns continue to cross state lines seamlessly, and gun violence knows no state boundaries. Connecticut was among a handful of states that are seeing a decline in the rate of gun deaths. Legislation was adopted after the shootings at Sandy Hook School banning some types of guns and limiting magazine capacity.
Ice jam observers were deployed yesterday to Kent to evaluate depth markers that have been placed in various positions along the Housatonic River. It was been determined that since Saturday afternoon, peak-flooding time, the water has receded approximately 30 inches. DOT crews have been removing ice from Route 7.
Kent First Selectman Bruce Adams says there's been speculation and concern about the strength and integrity of the Route 341 Bridge. While there is a large amount of ice surrounding the pillars, he says a DOT Inspector concluded that it was not compromised. Kent received 7 inches of snow yesterday, but there is a warm up coming, with rain possible Monday, and Adams hopes this will increase the volume of water in the river to a level that is necessary to break up the ice jam.
Kent Center School reopened today. The Kent School remains evacuated. Their campus is still encompassed by a large amount of water and ice. The Incident Command team has been in constant contact with administrators from Kent Center, which sits at a much higher elevation than their Kent School neighbor. There are contingency plans in place if and when Kent Center School ever needs to evacuate.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Connecticut's Supreme Court has rejected a claim by a coalition of municipalities, parents and students that the state's educational funding formula is unconstitutional.
A divided court overturned a lower-court judge who had ordered state officials to develop plans for an overhaul of the state's public education system, citing a huge gap in test scores between students in rich and poor towns.
The high court, in a ruling released Wednesday, found that while there is an educational achievement gap between poorer students and "their more fortunate peers," that gap alone does not violate the equal protection provisions of the Connecticut Constitution.
"The plaintiffs have not shown that this gap is the result of the state's unlawful discrimination against poor and needy students in its provision of educational resources as opposed to the complex web of disadvantaging societal conditions over which the schools have no control," Chief Justice Chase Rogers wrote for the court.
The ruling came in a lawsuit filed in 2005 against the state by the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding, a nonprofit group that includes cities, towns, local boards of education, parent groups and public school students. More than 50 parents and students also were named as plaintiffs.
Danbury is a lead plaintiff in the case.
The coalition argued during a months-long trial that the state isn't providing adequate education funding to cities and towns and isn't meeting its constitutional obligation to provide all students with adequate educations. It cited the vast differences in test results, graduation rates and other factors between rich and poor towns as proof that the funding system isn't fair.
The ruling overturns Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher, who had ordered the state to submit proposed reforms to the court to revamp its formula for providing education aid to cities and towns, develop a statewide high school graduation standard such as a test, make eighth-graders show they have acquired the skills to move on to high school, and replace what he called a weak statewide system of teacher evaluation and compensation.
"Courts simply are not in a position to determine whether schools in poorer districts would be better off expending scarce additional resources on more teachers, more computers, more books, more technical staff, more meals, more guidance counselors, more health care, more English instruction, greater preschool availability, or some other resource," Rogers wrote.
In a statement Wednesday night, the coalition said it was disappointed with the ruling and that it would "pursue all legal remedies" to have the decision in the case "reconsidered and overturned."
Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the decision ends the landmark case regarding education funding, but not the need to distribute more educational dollars where there is the greatest need.
"We continue to believe that the state is obligated to ensure that funding is distributed in a rational manner based on student need, reflecting student poverty and demographic shifts in our communities," he said, adding how not enough progress has been made to improve the state's major education funding distribution formula.
Three of the seven justices involved issued a partial dissent, saying they would have ordered a new trial in the case, rather than simply ruling in the state's favor.
CCJEF is expressing "deep disappointment" with the decision. The Coalition says it will "pursue all legal remedies" to have the decision overturned.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Federal prison officials say former Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland has been transferred from a Pennsylvania prison to a halfway house to finish his sentence for campaign fraud, conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
The 60-year-old Republican was expected to be released May 27, nearly a year early from his 30-month sentence.
The Bureau of Prisons announced Wednesday that Rowland was released from the minimum-security federal prison camp in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Officials declined to release the location of the halfway house, citing privacy reasons.
Rowland was previously convicted in a public corruption scandal that forced him to resign from the governorship in 2004 and sent him to prison for 10 months.
Rowland was convicted in 2014 of plotting to hide political consulting roles through sham contracts in two failed 5th congressional district campaigns.
A Netflix email scam is circulating in Putnam County. Sheriff Robert Langley says several residents have reported receiving well-designed emails that attempt to fool Netflix customers into turning over their credit card details.
The message claims that there is a billing issue that needs to be resolved and contains an “Update Payment” button. It links to a malicious site that looks like a legitimate Netflix page.
If you receive such an email, Langley says not to click on the link and go to the source, straight from your browser. If there is a billing issue, it can be found there. If you think you have been a victim if this scam or any other internet phishing attempt, contact the Sheriff's Office at 845 225-4300.
Some people have ignored the No Trespassing signs and caution tape at the Redding Ice Rink. People went on the ice Sunday, causing surface damage. The rink remained closed during the Martin Luther King holiday Monday. A coat of water was put on the rink, which is now open under limited conditions. Parks and Rec officials are cautioning that there are some issues with the side boards inside plastic panels. Due to extreme warm conditions and then freezing, they popped out and are frozen in place and can't be returned to their proper position.
The situation in Kent overall is calm and coordinated, according to emergency response officials as the town center remains flooded due to an ice jam on the Housatonic River. There is no immediate threat to life or property.
Warmer temperatures are expected this weekend and Kent officials are hoping that the ice jam on the Housatonic River will thaw gradually, over many days. They say, ideally, a slow thaw combined with a small amount of precipitation should be enough to nudge the jam south. State Representative Brian Ohler says time and cold temperatures are helping them to gauge the overall severity and predictability of this ice jam.
The Connecticut Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security are providing assistance to the town. An incident command system is now in place for Planning and Logistics.
Bringing in a Coast Guard icebreaker is not an option on the Housatonic River in Kent as a massive ice jam persists. There had been speculation over mechanical intervention, but the river is narrow and there are other obstacles that don't make it likely.
Ohler says logistical support and equipment allocations are ongoing.
Registration for kindergarten in Danbury has started for the coming school year. Any Danbury child who will be five years old by January 1st 2019, is eligible to attend kindergarten. More information can be found no the school district's website.
The Western Connecticut Academy for International Studies, Danbury's magnet elementary school, is now accepting applications from students in Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, and Redding.
Applications will be accepted through Friday, with selection made through a lottery process. The lottery will be held January 25th and families must confirm acceptance by February 15th.
The kindergarten through fifth-grade school of global studies is located on Danbury's Westside. AIS engages students in a curriculum and a structure that encourage them to develop and use a global perspective early in their education.
The Ridgefield Planning and Zoning Commission will hold an extra meeting a month this year. The last Tuesday of every month will be used to discuss planning issues. Newly submitted zoning applications will not be discussed at these additional meetings and hearings will not be held.
Caraluzzi's has submitted an application to the Bethel Planning and Zoning Commission for an expansion, and to construct a mixed use building nearby. The Newstimes reports that the existing Food Mart would be expanded by 1,630 square feet. The 18,000-square-foot new building on the corner of Greenwood Avenue, Chestnut Street and Nashville Road would have retail on the first floor and office and apartment space on the second floor. The plans would require a special permit and zoning changes. A public hearing will be held February 27th. The plan would include parking, streetscape, and egress improvements. 3 homes on South Street would be demolished and rebuilt as part of the plan.
A Danbury man has been nominated to serve as Commissioner of the state Department of Veterans Affairs. Tom Saadi has been filling the role of Acting Commissioner since October. He says it's been an honor to fulfill the mission of "Serving Those Who Served" and looks forward to continuing that work.
Saadi says there is a great team at the department, and it's been an honor to work with statewide veteran organizations, the DVA Board of Trustees, state and federal partners, and volunteers. He wants to serve with compassion and professionalism.
Saadi is a Major in the U.S. Army Reserve serving with the 411th Civil Affairs Battalion. He joined the DVA in May 2015, first as its General Counsel and then as Chief of Staff. Immediately prior to that, he served as an Assistant Attorney General and Special Prosecutor, during which he was responsible for litigating numerous cases and supervising investigations to stop false and deceptive practices and recover funds for the State of Connecticut.
The 48-year old says he is humbled to serve, not because of the title, but because of the work he gets to do at the DVA.
The mission of DVA is to provide care for the approximately 200,000 veterans living in Connecticut and their dependents.
Prior to his current assignment as Chief Legal Officer of the 411th Civil Affairs Battalion, Saadi served in the 4th Legal Operations Detachment, providing legal support at active duty installations domestically and abroad.
Saadi's appointment still requires legislative confirmation. He took over for former Commissioner Sean Connolly, who is seeking the Democratic Party's endorsement for governor.
Governor Dannel Malloy says he is very familiar with the stretch of Route 7 in Kent currently shut down because of flooding and an ice jam on the Housatonic River. He says the flooding is not unusual, the duration and extent of the issue is what's unusual.
Malloy says this portion of the river is more difficult to handle because it's more narrow at that point. It's more adversely impacted because of the rapid drop in temperature. The flood water froze in place, which makes the situation unusual.
Malloy says the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is on the scene and standing by. He notes that they are keeping a closer eye on the issue today because of the snow storm.
A New Fairfield man who got a last minute stay of deportation to his native Guatemala in August, has been told that he must now leave the country by the end of the month. During a weekly meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement on December 27th, Joel Colindres was told of the deportation order. The 33-year old father of two is married to a U-S citizen. He came to America in 2004 and a paperwork error prompted today's legal situation. A rally is being held tomorrow for the Colindres family by CT Shoreline Indivisible and Action Together CT. The rally in Hartford at the Abraham A. Ribicoff Federal Building will begin at 11am.
Danbury Fire Department spokesman Jamie Gagliardo recently attended a ground and flight school drone operations course. It was hosted by Fisch Internet Solutions and SkyFire Consulting. This 16 hour course trained participants on best practices of Public Safety Aircraft Operators and the use of drones in Public Safety. There was classroom training followed by a hands on flight training, which included advanced maneuvers such as dropping a life jacket to a stranded victim.
The Bethel Metro North train station parking lot expansion project is nearly complete. The $2.3 million project added 130 parking spaces. Signs and a parking kiosk need to be installed. Daily parking is free in the numbered spaces until the kiosk is set up. Once the technology is installed, parking will be 25-cents an hour, the same as before the expansion project.
As the Ridgefield School District tackles a projected budget deficit, money they hoped to save on energy costs likely won't be realized. Superintendent Dr Karen Baldwin told the Board of Ed that the cold snap prevented them from turning down the thermostats at night. There were also water main breaks affecting Barlow Mountain Elementary and Ridgefield High school. One Barlow Mountain classroom, was damaged and the break at the High School happened on New Year’s Day. The deficit is projected at just over a million dollars, but Baldwin believes most will be offset by the freeze put in place in September.
Ridgefield Police are offering some internet safety advice for people on social media sites. Police say users should be aware of commenting on posts that ask questions such as "Who was your 1st grade teacher?", "What was your first car?" "Who was your childhood best friend?" and the like. Ridgefield Police say they may be fishing for password recovery answers because those questions are asked when setting up account security information. Hackers can use the information to get into current accounts or open up new ones in your name. Not all of these types of posts are scams, but Police say it's good practice to remain vigilant.
Kent has declared a state of emergency due to flooding caused by a mile-long ice jam. Waters from the Housatonic River rose and then froze, covering many of the town's roads.
Due to public safety concerns, state and local officials are restricting access to select roads and recreation areas. Enforcement action will be taken for illegal entry into restricted areas. While this is a rare phenomenon, officials say this is not a time for sight-seeing.
Four homes have been evacuated. The emergency shelter is open, but all evacuees have found other housing. The Kent Volunteer Fire Department is responding to numerous basement flooding calls.
The Kent School, a private boarding school with 580 students,will be closed through at least Sunday. Kent Center School is closed today, Tuesday. There will be no HVRHS/OWTS bus runs in or out of Kent today.
This declaration opens an uninterrupted line of communication with regional, state, and federal partners. This will also allow the Town of Kent to – if necessary - request public safety & public health resources, from a large selection pool.
There is no imminent threat to public safety. However, the movement of this ice jam and its lifespan is unknown.
Public roads/recreation areas that are closed or have limited access include:
- Route 7 between Route 341 and Bulls Bridge
- Schaghticoke Road
- River Road
- Bulls Bridge Recreation Area
- First Light Recreation Area
-The Housatonic River in these restricted areas
If you do reside near the river or in a low-lying area, you should always be monitoring water levels and ice buildup. If you do have an emergency, dial 911. If you have any non-emergency questions contact Susie Rundall, Kent Emergency Management Director, at (860) 706-3833.
A Public Informational Meeting is being held tonight in Redding about the proposed realignment of the Long Ridge Road railroad-highway grade crossing. The meeting at Redding Town Hall is at 7pm, with a snow date of the 23rd.
The work will reconstruct and realign Side Cut Road, Long Ridge Road, and Simpaug Turnpike in the area of the grade crossing to better accommodate low clearance vehicles. The project will also improve sight distances.
A utility coordinator meeting was held at Redding Town Hall December 7th about the traffic congestion easement project near the post office. Eversource and Frontier are reviewing design plans for moving utility poles. The work will impact the railroad tracks so Metro North is being consulted.
The design will address localized flooding as well. Construction is slated to begin in the spring of 2019, based on the availability of funding. The estimated construction cost for this project is $2 million, with 90-percent paid for with Federal Funds.
Brookfield state Representative Steve Harding will seek a 3rd term in office. He plans to officially announce his candidacy next week. Harding won a special election in February 2015 and was reelected in 2016. He represents the 107th District, which also includes parts of Bethel and Danbury. He is on the Environment Committee, Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committee, and Judiciary Committee. Harding runs a law practice in the Danbury area. He also served on the Brookfield Board of Education from 2013 to 2017.
Students from each of Connecticut's 5 congressional districts have been selected as the winners of an essay contest sponsored by Senator Chris Murphy, honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. In the 5th District, Kenneth Miller, a student at Sandy Hook School, Karl Miller, a student at Newtown High School, and Kyler Kumi, a student at Rochanmbeau Middle School in Southbury won. This was the 2nd annual essay challenge. Some 700 students submitted essays. The winning ones will be displayed in Murphy’s office.
The Danbury Police Department is looking to fill more vacancies and is specifically looking for applicants who are already police officers in Connecticut. Applications will be accepted from January 22nd through February 12th. People will have to take physical and written exams. The written test will be held February 17th. CT P.O.S.T. Certified Police Officers must have a high school diploma or its equivalent, have a valid driver’s license, and be a U.S. citizen.
A local state of emergency has been declared in Kent. Some roads that lead to the Housatonic River and recreational areas will be closing.
Flooding is reported on several swollen Connecticut rivers, causing problems around the state.
In Kent, officials said ice jams on the Housatonic River caused the waters to rise onto a private boarding school campus and froze in place. The school's ice rink was surrounded by frozen water. Kent School Safety Director says they are sending all boarding school students home because of uncertainty with the flooding and ice jams. They have approximately 520 boarding students and 60 other students. The school won't reopen until at least Sunday.
The Kent Senior Center is open as a shelter for residents who might be displaced by the flooding.
(Photos: KVFD Assistant Chief Gary Hock, Facebook)
The weather service says there's also flooding on the Shepaug River in Roxbury due to ice jams. The high waters are making some roads impassable, and officials are warning people not to drive on flooded roadways.
The weather service says the Connecticut River is also flooding, and communities including Hartford, Glastonbury and Portland are either experiencing flooding or being told to expect it.
New York State Police are investigating the suicide of a Connecticut man. Troopers located a deceased person inside a vehicle at the Stormville rest area, on Interstate 84 westbound yesterday afternoon. The name and age of the person is being withheld, pending notification to family members.
The first designs have been reviewed by the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission. Evaluation of the 188 submissions will continue this week. Of the first 30, only one was unanimously approved to move forward.
The Newtown Bee reports that the proposal includes a “Sacred Sycamore Tree,” with the sacred soil beneath it, and a manufactured pool with names of the victims carved in stone surrounding it. There are concerns with the cost of the project.
According to minutes of the review session, Commission members were looking for designs that were accessible for navigating the property; had some sort of kiosk or shelter and the inclusion of the sacred soil in a meaningful way, but not as the central focus of the memorial. They also agrees that there should be a distinct place for the victims’ names, instead of scattered around the property.
A Town Meeting will be held in Sherman on Saturday about funding for emergency communications equipment. Residents will be deciding on no more than $147,000 from the Capital Non-Recurring Fund to bring the Simulcast system to Sherman. Originally, the proposal was much higher, but existing infrastructure will be used, dropping the costs. The town meeting on the 20th is at 10am.
An Easton Veterinarian who previously owned a horse believed to be abandoned in Newtown in October has been caring for the animal. The Newtown Bee reports in the follow up that Dr Sherif Lawendy adopted the horse out, but the new owner did not sufficiently care for her. The horse was found wandering a farm on Poverty Hollow Road. Lawendy reclaimed the pet and intends to adopt the horse out again in the spring.
A Danbury man has been arrested for repeatedly punching a pregnant woman while she was driving. New York State Police say a victim drove into the parking lot of the Brewster barracks on Thursday evening to report the crime.
Troopers took the passenger, 35-year old Allen Bredbenner, into custody and launched an invesetigation. It was determined that Bredbenner repeatedly hit the woman in the face and stomach with a closed fist.
The victim was taken to Putnam Hospital for evaluation.
He was charged with assault and reckless endangerment. Bredbenner was arraigned and ordered held at Putnam County Jail on bond.
A New Milford man has been arrested for burglarizing a home in Dover, New York. State Police Troopers began investigating a burglary in August 2016 where two metal detectors, a chainsaw, and a Ruger .357 handgun were reported stolen.
A piece of torn latex glove recovered at the scene and a lab analysis revealed a DNA match to 36-year old Brent Latham.
He was incarcerated in Connecticut. Latham was arrested as a Fugitive of Justice Thursday and extradited to New York State. Latham was arraigned and ordered held at Dutchess County Jail.
Latham was arrested by Connecticut State Police in October 2016 on a burglary charge and sentenced in June 2017 to one year in prison.
A man has been sentenced for his role in a steroid manufacturing and distribution conspiracy case. Alex Kenyhercz was part of a ring headed by former Newtown Police Sgt. Steven Santucci. Kenyhercz was ordered Friday to two years probation.
Wiretap interceptions, along with physical surveillance of various steroid sales, revealed that Santucci was supplying steroids to Kenyhercz, which he would then distribute to others. He also illegally distributed prescription medication, including Roxicodone, Oxycodone, Suboxone and Opana.
Kenyhercz pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone.
During the course of the investigation, law enforcement officers seized hundreds of vials of steroids, approximately 600 grams of raw testosterone powder, approximately 350 grams of powder cocaine, and four long guns.
Santucci was sentenced in August 2016 to 16 months in prison. He was also ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and serve two years of supervised release. He must serve six months of home confinement and perform 120 hours of community service while on supervised release.
An unoccupied car stopped on Topstone Road in Redding shut down part of the Danbury branch of Metro North Friday night. Railroad officials say the accident happened just north of the Branchville station shortly before 11:30pm. No injuries were reported. Service was restored around 2am Saturday. A car was struck at the Topstone Road crossing in December, sending the driver to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Mark Twain Library in Redding will reopen today.
The library was forced to close on January 2nd when the boiler exploded. A new furnace has been installed and heat is returning to the building. Library board and staff say they escaped the further damage because no pipes froze and leaked.
They took precautions and rented large propane heat blowers, covered the collections and electronic equipment with 600 feet of plastic sheeting and added hundreds of gallons of glycol to domestic plumbing and HVAC pipes to keep them from freezing.
All fines for overdue items will be forgiven. Mark Twain Library will remain open until 8 pm Monday through Thursday for students who want to study there. Staff is celebrating the reopening with hot beverages and treats.
The Housatonic River has frozen over part of Route 7 in Kent. There is an ice jam, with the river frozen over for half a mile. Large pieces of the ice jam are now frozen together because of the overnight temperatures dipping down into the single digits.
Route 7 from Route 341 to Bulls Bridge will remain closed until further notice.
State Representative Brian Ohler says the floodwaters are starting to recede. Once the waters fully recede, the state Department of Transportation must inspect the entire roadway to determine its strength and integrity. Drivers are being directed to South Kent Road, to Bulls Bridge, and then back onto Route 7.
The Kent Resident State Trooper cautioned people from getting to close to the ice jam. The Housatonic River is flowing from Cornwall back northward and that large volume of water is creating some intense pressure on the jam point in Kent.
Several people have been displaced from their homes due to flooding. There was also significant flooding reported at Kent School.
Connecticut State Police say in a new report on the shooting at Sandy Hook School that unnecessary personnel potentially contaminated the crime scene by stepping on bullet casings and glass shards before they were collected for evidence.
State police released a report Friday that reviewed their response to the 2012 shooting.
The report concludes state police handled the response effectively, but it makes numerous recommendations about crime scene integrity, how to deal with victims' families and other issues.
For example, one of the challenges noted in the report was the inability to communicate with other first responders due to limited cell capability. DESPP is working on behalf of the state to implement a broadband network for first responders, which will give priority and preemption for communication for first responders and emergency management during catastrophic incidents.
One recommendation is limiting access to the crime scene to authorized personnel. The report says uninvolved police officials and "dignitaries" were allowed in and disrupted the crime scene.
The report does not specifically address why it took more than five years to complete. Feedback was solicited from dozens of individuals notably, responding troopers, agency support personnel, other state and local agencies, and family members of victims.
A bank employee who wrote the word 'HELP' on the fogged up glass door to Wells Fargo on Church Hill Road has been cited for creating a public disturbance. A person saw the word and thought that someone inside was in trouble. Responding officers saw people in the area conducting business as usual.
Police knocked on the locked main entrance, and the bank manager let them in. She said an employee, Alexis Barry, wrote it as a joke to other employees. The 31-year old Newtown resident was cited for creating a public disturbance for the potential panic caused to the general public.
Police spokesman Lt Aaron Bahamonde says "obviously this type of prank puts the general public, other bank employees, and responding officers at an unnecessary risk, especially in the times and community we live in."
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Communities across Connecticut are hoping drone footage, video greetings and promises of tax incentives and land can lure Amazon's planned second headquarters.
The state submitted an application in October that includes sites in the Hartford and Stamford areas. At the same time, several cities submitted separate applications.
The Associated Press sought details of those proposals from cities and states around the U.S., including the money spent to develop them, through public records requests. The state, along with Danbury and New Britain, are among only a small group of places around the country to release their proposals to the AP.
New Haven has not yet responded to AP's request for documents concerning their application and Bridgeport has asked for additional time to comply with the request.
A look at some details from the Connecticut submissions:
STATE OF CONNECTICUT
Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Catherine Smith said the state's submission, which includes a video greeting from Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, was a multi-faceted effort.
"Throughout this process, people came out of the woodwork to provide creative ideas, sign letters of support, and roll up their sleeves to help out," she said in October.
The department said it did not provide any details about the financial assistance offered in its proposal to "preserve the ability to enter into direct negotiations." But DECD said the package will include "direct incentives for Amazon" as well as "funding to support needed investments in communities benefiting from Amazon's growth."
The state was billed $35,000 by a Glastonbury company to provide renderings and drone imagery, and to coordinate and produce diagrams and supply video. The state was also billed $5,250 by a Connecticut-based web developer to design CTisPrime.com .
Danbury is offering a seven-year, 100 percent abatement of local property taxes on real estate and personal property. It's also providing a one-year, 100 percent sewer and water fee abatement, and a land lease for an airport hangar.
A local printer was paid $426 to print 13 copies of the application and for graphic design work. Another Danbury company was paid $750 for a video shoot and edit. A Vernon web development company was paid $1,500 for online advertising.
Emails show there was a lot enthusiasm among Danbury officials about the cover of the city's application to Amazon. It features the familiar Amazon cardboard box and company logo.
There's a map of the region highlighting the suggested location - a former conference and banquet center - and its proximity to sites such as Candlewood Lake, the Danbury Municipal Airport, Interstate 84, Western Connecticut State University campuses, the New York state line and the Brewster, New York, train station.
"The box was a phenomenal idea!" wrote one official.
Documents show New Britain is offering a 30-year tax deferral on parcels Amazon uses and the city also proposes giving Amazon 25 acres of land it owns.
The site is zoned for a "technology park" and is adjacent to I-84. The application also promises the city will be "completely transparent, aggressive with incentives and considerations to make your business our number one priority."
Records show New Britain paid a local printer, Sir Speedy, $389 to print five binders for the Amazon application. There were also expenses for drone footage of the community but the amount wasn't listed.
An email containing a draft letter from New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart to Amazon indicates the Republican hopes her relative youth sways the company.
"Dear Amazon, Erin Stewart here from the great city of New Britain, CT. I'm 30 years old and I'm the youngest female mayor in the United States of America," the letter read. "New Britain is a pretty cool community - 75,000 people sitting in only 13 square miles but chock-full of things to do."
A Newtown family was displaced by a fire last night. Sandy Hook Fire & Rescue responded to Charter Ridge, after the homeowner reported heavy smoke in the basement. The occupants self-evacuated, without injury.
The fire was knocked down within 30 minutes. Firefighters ventilated the single-family home. According to fire officials, damage was estimated at approximately $100,000. The fire caused some structural damage to the building; it was nonhabitable following the fire.
Approximately 50 firefighters responded to the scene. Firefighters used about 7,500 gallons of water to extinguish the blaze. Roadways near the scene were closed to through-traffic for part of the incident.
An 18-unit affordable housing complex proposed for a one-acre lot on Taylor Avenue in Bethel has been approved. Since it's an 8-30g application, it doesn't matter that the residential zone usually only permits single-family and two-family homes. Developer Tim Draper proposed a 3-story building, and addressed engineering concerns over emergency access, gaining approval this week.
Over the last few weeks, Aquarion Water Company employees have seen an increase in unlawful winter recreational activities on reservoir properties, including walking on reservoir ice. The company is reminding people that not only is trespassing illegal, but it is also extremely dangerous.
At this time of year, ice may appear thick enough to walk on, but Aquarion officials say this thickness is unreliable, and can be deceptive due to shifting water levels and thermal undercurrents.
In addition to the physical danger, trespassers also face the possibility of fines or arrest if caught on Aquarion reservoir property.
Aquarion does allow the public on Centennial Watershed State Forest's Saugatuck and Aspetuck Valley trails, which are open for hiking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing year-round, for those who hold a valid permit.
Five swastikas have been found painted on buildings in Ridgefield this week. Police confirmed to the Ridgefield Press that two were found on doorways, and three on entry and exit signs at the Aldrich Museum and at the Masonic Lodge, next to Town Hall. Police believe one person used a green marker to draw all of the anti-Semitic symbols, which were 4 to 8 inches in size.
Police removed the three found Sunday at the Aldrich while they don't know who removed the two at the Masonic Lodge found Tuesday.
There were two incidents this school year at Ridgefield High School, which at that time had been the 5th finding in one year.
A vacancy on the Danbury Board of Education has been filled by Republican Emanuela Palmeras, who was appointed by Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton Tuesday. The opening was caused after a Democrat elected on November 7th was deemed ineligible.
The nomination was made in July, before Jeanne Grandieri accepted a Certified Behavioral Therapist position in October with Danbury Public Schools. The candidate didn't know she couldn't hold both positions, and didn't tell the DTC about the hiring until after the election.
The Danbury Democratic Town Committee issued a statement saying the Mayor usurped the authority of the board, and undermined the will of Danbury electors. State statute allows the remaining Board members to appoint a new member. The Democratic Caucus of the Board of Education does not officially recognize the Mayor’s authority to take this action and is exploring legal options.
DTC Chairman Gene Eriquez said in a statement to the Board at their meeting Wednesday that the mantra of 'People over Politics' rings hollow on this matter.
Bethel is postponing tomorrow's weekend closure of the transfer station. Eversource needs the Bethel transfer station to close in order to finish the electrical connections to the nearby solar farm, but the forecast of rain and freezing rain is delaying the work . The transfer station will close on January 27th for the work. The 2,900-panel, 948-kilowatt array is expected to generate nearly 1 million kilowatts of energy a year for the town.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut State Police are planning to release a report assessing the agency's response to the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The after-action report is expected Friday. Police have not explained why it's taken five years since the shooting to complete the review.
Officers from the Newtown Police Department were the first to respond to the scene. A prosecutor's report in 2013 said that nearly six minutes passed between the arrival of the first Newtown police officer and the time officers entered the school. Officers were not able to intervene before the gunman turned the gun on himself.
A man suffered a head injury at a construction site in Danbury this morning.
Firefighters and Danbury EMS responded to Forty Acre Mountain Road and determined that the accident was due to the malfunction of a concrete pump truck's boom which struck the worker in the head. Emergency responders encountered difficult terrain at the construction site and called in additional units to help with the rescue.
Firefighters used a rope system and a stokes basket to bring the patient up the snow covered embankment to the awaiting ambulance. The DFD rope hoisting system was aided by Advanced Tree Removal Company.
OSHA is on scene investigating.
Brookfield Police K9 Argo will receive a bullet and stab protective vest through a charitable donation from Vested Interest in K9s, Incorporate. K9 Argo’s vest is sponsored by a fundraiser hosted by Protectors of Animals of East Hartford and will be embroidered with the sentiment “This gift of protection provided by Protectors of Animals”.
Delivery is expected within eight to ten weeks.
(Photo: Brookfield Police, Facebook)
The non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s has provided bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States since in 2009. Over 2,800 protective vests, in 50 states, have been donated through private and corporate donations. The donation to provide one protective vest for a law enforcement K9 is $950.
Brookfield Police Sgt. Jeff Osuch is Argo’s handler. Argo is a Belgian Malinois that was born in the USA. Argo joined the Brookfield Police Department in June of 2016.
Argo is trained and certified in the following areas: searching for illegal drugs, searching for evidence connected with a crime, tracking criminals and missing/lost persons, and handler protection alone with the ability to chase and apprehend criminals. Argo is also trained to act as a deterrent and back up police officers in dangerous situations. This is Sgt. Osuch’s second time as a K-9 handler for the Brookfield Police Department.
Easton Police are issuing another reminder to lock your vehicle doors. Three vehicles on Rock House Road and two on Weathervane Drive were entered Monday night into Tuesday morning. Trumbull also had break-ins during the same time.
A robotics team of Redding fourth and sixth graders has qualified for the FIRST Lego League Connecticut State Championship. 28 teams took part in a regional qualifying event in November. The team received the highest score in the robot game and earned first-place for Robot Design. Students from nearly 90 countries take part in FIRST Lego League.
Danbury Library is collaborating with the Regional YMCA of Western Connecticut on a ten-week health and wellness program for residents 55 and over. The Aging Mastery Program is a national program aimed at empowering participants to develop sustainable behaviors in areas like health, economic security and societal participation. 10 organizations in Connecticut were selected to offer the Aging Mastery Program. The weekly classes will be conducted on Thursdays from 11am - 12:30pm starting on February 15th. Registration is required.