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Discussion tabled on proposed sewer rate increase in New Milford

The New Milford Sewer Commission has tabled a discussion on a proposed sewer rate increase. 

 

The Newstimes reports that the Water Pollution Control Authority Superintendent threatened to quit Monday night if the town doesn't cap the amount of waste taken into the treatment plant because it will violate state permits if the volume continues on the current pace. 

 

The cap was eventually approved Monday.  The published report says Superintendent Michael Finoia could lose his license and be criminally charged if he knowingly allows the facility to accept more septic waste than permitted. 

 

The Sewer Commission has a massive debt owed to the town from the 2012 plant upgrade.

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Public hearing in Newtown tonight on proposed animal sanctuary

The Newtown Inland Wetlands Commission is holding a public hearing tonight about the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation's proposal to build an animal sanctuary off Old Farm Road.  The foundation, named for a girl killed on 12-14, is looking to develop the 34 acre property at Fairfield Hills. 

 

Plans call for a water course crossing via a driveway, altering about 750-feet of wetlands.  Tonight's presentation and discussion is set for 7:30pm at the Newtown Municipal Center. 

 

An environmental review is being conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

 

The sanctuary would includes a community garden, with a farm-to-table cafe.  Hiking and dog walking trails would also be included at the site.  Two barns, paddocks, an amphitheater and educational facilities have also been proposed.  The project also includes a veterinary center.

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Easton Library to open 'Innovation Space' tonight

Easton Library is holding a Grand Opening event for their new Innovation Space.  The center is being called Easton Library's new do-it-yourself space.  Demonstrations will be held tonight during the event of the craft space, the technology can be explored by patrons and residents can learn about all things STEM--science, technology, math and science.  Easton Library officials say they are starting on a small scale and hope the space becomes a destination for people to create, collaborate and share. The Innovation Space grand opening is set for 6:30 tonight.

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Conn. Congress members react to budget proposal

Members of Connecticut's Congressional delegation are reacting to President Trump's budget proposal. 

 

5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty is calling on her colleagues to start from scratch on a budget plan.  Esty says the goal should be to expand economic opportunity in Connecticut and across the country, protect air and water, supports children and seniors, and makes the country safer.

 

4th District Congressman Jim Himes chairs the New Democrat Coalition. 

 

He says the budget proposal should be a visionary document or how to create good paying jobs, promote opportunity for all, and keep America safe. He says the proposal spends billions on defense while ransacking investments in jobs, education, clean energy and lifesaving medical research.  Himes says New Democrats believe any budget document should put the country's finances on a sustainable trajectory.  He says the budget proposal is full of reckless and radical cuts that damage this country's ability to advance and protect America's interests in the world. 

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Early voting proposal clears Connecticut House

State lawmakers are moving closer toward changing Connecticut's constitution to allow people to cast their ballots before Election Day.  The House voted 78-70 in favor of the proposed constitutional amendment. It now awaits action in the Senate.

The bill needed 114 votes Tuesday for the question to automatically appear on the 2019 ballot.  Voters will be asked in 2020 to approve such a change if both chambers pass the bill again next year by a simple majority

 

New Milford Representative Bill Buckbee voiced concern that it could be confusing and lead to voting mistakes.  Some lawmakers said that added voting days would put financial strain on towns. 

While the bill allows the General Assembly to determine the details of early voting, it provides an overall framework, such as limits on when the voting can occur.

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill says Connecticut will join the majority of other states if it ultimately allows early voting.

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Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission moves forward with design process

The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission is moving on to the next phases of planning now that a land deed has been signed and filed. 

 

According to minutes of their meeting earlier this month, the group is starting to talk about what needs to be included in a request for proposals.  First Selectman Pat Llodra brought three templates with her to the meeting for members to look at.  She suggested that outlining what the memorial is about is important because it will give designers background on what the Commission is looking for. 

 

Some money donated to Newtown after 12-14 was specifically earmarked for a memorial.  In order to pay for the balance of the project, there are some options.  The Commission discussed having it be either town funded or donor funded, with a third possibility of partnering with the town while also raising donations. 

 

The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission will next meet on June 8th.

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Connecticut senators pass measure approving casino proposal

The state Senate took a big step in expanding gambling approving a new satellite casino to be built by the two federally recognized Native American tribes.

The measure passed 24 to 12 after debate, and still requires approval by the House.  Governor Dannel Malloy says this bill is the only casino measure he would consider signing.

Supporters of the bill say it would create more than 1,200 permanent jobs, while opponents say the state is risking a legal problem by granting a monopoly on gambling to Native American tribes on nontribal land.

Senators crossed party lines to vote for the measure, with both Democrats and Republicans voting in support of the bill.

 

Danbury state Senator Mike McLachlan reluctantly voted in favor of the bill.  He said he would give it a chance' despite having reservations about the casino.  But he cautioned that his support was because of the location.  McLachlan noted that he does not want to be back in three or four years to find people saying a casino is needed in Danbury.  He also asked his colleagues when the state is going to stop chasing easy money like this. 

 

Among those voting against the bill were Wilton Senator Toni Boucher; Craig Miner, whose district includes New Milford; Tony Hwang, whose district includes Newtown; and Eric Berthel, whose district includes Southbury.

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Stronger protections for pregnant women clear House

A bill that would expand protections for pregnant women in the workplace was approved by the state House yesterday. 

 

Under the bill, employers would be required to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers, such as allowing them to sit while working or take more frequent breaks. The bill also prohibits employers from limiting or segregating a pregnant employee in a way that would deny her employment opportunities.

 

Wilton Representative Tom O'Dea opposed the bill.  He says the intent is laudable, but predicted it will lead to lawsuits.  O'Dea, a lawyer, says this will make it harder for small businesses to make money and survive.

 

New Fairfield Representative Richard Smith, also a lawyer, says this bill is good for the lawyers but it's not good for small businesses.

 

The bill passed on a 130 to 20 vote.  It now moves to the Senate for further action.

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Danbury effort to buy street lights stalls

Danbury has been trying to buy street lights from Eversource Energy so they can be converted to LEDs. 

 

Currently, if bulbs are broken, the city still pays energy costs for them.  With the LED bulbs, the city would only pay for the energy it used. 

 

Eversource hasn't yet told the City how many street lights there are.  The utility wants to go out at night to count the ones that are lit.  City Finance Director David St. Hilaire says it could be late summer by the time the street lights are counted.  The current street light replacement program is budgeted at $200,000.

 

During the replacement, technology could be installed to create free WiFi zones for access by students at Naugatuck Valley Community College and WestConn, library patrons and downtown businesses.  The WiFi initiative, dubbed ConnectHatCity, was proposed by Mayor Mark Boughton during his state of the city address in December 2014. 

 

Boughton previously estimated it would cost $3 million to buy the light poles from Eversource.

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Newborn baby found behind grocery store in Danbury

A baby was found behind a grocery store on Main Street in Danbury. 

 

Police and firefighters responded to 399 Main Street around 11:30pm Sunday after someone called 911 saying that they found a baby near the Polla Supermarket.  Officers were directed to the back of the Zaytuna Grocery Store next door.  The newborn baby was wrapped in several pieces of women’s clothing.  The infant boy was checked by medical personnel and admitted to the Neo Natal Care Unit at Danbury Hospital.

 

The Special Victims Unit is currently investigating the circumstances of this case.  SVU is attempting to locate the mother to determine if she is okay.  Danbury Police Spokesman Lt. Joseph LeRose says they are concerned that the baby’s mother may need medical treatment or may require some other services.

 

Anyone with information is asked to call 203-797-4662 or 203-790-TIPS.  All calls will be kept confidential.

 

Connecticut's Safe Haven Act for Newborns indicates that a parent of an infant that is 30 days or younger can bring their baby to the nursing staff of an emergency room.  The parent will not be subject to arrest for abandonment. This act does not protect the parent from being arrested and criminally prosecuted if abuse or neglect has occurred.

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One person killed in head-on collision in Brewster

A fatal car accident in Brewster is under investigation.  The two car crash happened on Route 22 around 1:15pm today.  A northbound vehicle and a southbound vehicle collided head-on just north of the Milltown Road intersection.  The male driver of the northbound vehicle was killed in the crash. The female driver and the male passenger of the southbound car were transported by ambulances to Danbury Hospital with injuries of unknown severity. 

 

The identities of the crash victims were not immediately available. 

 

The Putnam County Sheriff's Office, with assistance from New York State Police, continues to investigate.  Route 22 remains closed between Route 312 and Milltown Road until further notice.

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New Milford officials get update on Century Brass site clean up

The New Milford Public Works Director gave an update to the Town Council last night about the clean up of the former Century Brass mill site.  Lead paint, PCBs and asbestos have been found at the site, which New Milford started cleaning up nearly two decades ago.  The town acquired the land off Housatonic Avenue in 1999. 

 

Town officials say they're optimistic that remediation will be completed by the 2020 deadline. 

 

The Newstimes reports that demolition began in October, but the town is waiting for approval from the Environmental Protection Agency to remove steel from the site. 

 

Michael Zarba told the Council that their biggest obstacle will be determining if contaminants are in the nearby river and how to address them.

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Siting Council holds hearing about cell tower proposal for Easton

A pre-hearing conference was held this morning by the Connecticut Siting Council about an application for a telecommunications facility on Morehouse Road in Easton.  Homeland Towers LLC and Verizon Wireless have filed for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need.  The 157-foot tower would be a faux branch top tower.  A public hearing will be held in Easton next month on the proposal.

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Danbury launches well water testing program for private wells

A program has been launched in Danbury that will allow 150 residents served by a private well system to have their drinking water analyzed free of charge.  In Connecticut, private well owners are responsible for testing the quality of their own drinking water and maintaining their own wells, but the City's Department of Health & Human Services is looking to give residents the best access to resources for their wellbeing. 

 

The well water analysis will be performed at a licensed State Certified Laboratory and will test for: total coliform, nitrate, nitrite, pH level, odor, chloride, hardness, apparent color, sulfate, turbidity, iron, and manganese.  Residents also have the option to add a test for lead for a fee from the laboratory. 

 

Residents can request this service by contacting the Department of Health & Human services at 203-797- 4625. 

 

Following this program, the City will begin subsidizing the cost of private well water analyses.

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Congressional Art Competition winners announced

The winners of the 2017 Congressional Art Competition for Connecticut's Fifth District have been selected.  A sophomore at Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury took the top prize.  Shannon Rupar made a watercolor painting titled “Farmer’s Market.”

 

 

Rupar's piece will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. for the next year and she will have the opportunity to fly to Washington, D.C., for the national reception in June honoring winners from districts across the country. 

 

Molly Humphreys, a senior at Nonnewaug, received Honorable Mention for her piece, “Stage-Lights in a New Light,” a charcoal piece on paper.  Her piece will remain on display at the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury.  Humphreys was the 2016 Fifth Congressional District Art Competition winner. 

 

 

A total of 115 pieces of artwork were submitted this year in the 5th District, with students' submissions coming from 13 different schools. Winners were chosen by a panel of local judges.  Since its inception in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students nationwide have participated in the annual Congressional Art Competition.

 

This is the fifth consecutive year in which Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty has organized the local competition.

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137,000 pounds of food collected for local food banks

A record amount of donations came in during the Postal Service's annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive held last week.  Coordinator Dennis Sideropolous says   With 137,000 pounds of non-perishable items collected, Coordinator Dennis Sideropolous says local food banks will benefit greatly. 

 

The United Way and Salvation Army are processing the items for distribution.  Last year, approximately 121,000 pounds of food was collected in the Greater Danbury area. 

 

Sideropolous says the timing of the food drive is important because food banks are running low on items donated during Thanksgiving and Christmas, at the same time that schools are dismissing and children won't have access to free or reduced price meals.

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Esty calls for bipartisan support on infrastructure investments

In a speech on the House floor, 5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty called on her colleagues to come together and pass a bipartisan plan to rebuild America's crumbling infrastructure.  The Vice Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said at the end of the day, infrastructure is about jobs.  But more importantly, she said infrastructure improvement is about getting people to work safely and on time.

 

Esty spoke about specific areas of improvement that need to be made, including to roads, bridges, rail, airports, clean water, wastewater, and internet connectivity.

 

Esty said looking into public and private partnerships could be a viable way to make improvements, but added that the job can't be outsourced to financiers.  If that were the case. Esty said the private sector would have already made the improvements.

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Danbury officials consider $1 land sale to Women's Center

Danbury could donate the Mallory Hat site to the Women's Center for a new transitional housing center.  A City Council Committee met Monday night to review the donation of city owned property at 89 Rose Hill Avenue. 

 

Mayor Mark Boughton says the property does contain a level of environmental contamination, but wants the City to work with the Women's Center to seek grants and other funding opportunities to make the project happen. 

 

The Women's Center hired an environmental engineer to assess the property, and it was determined that the clean up will cost $700,00 to $800,000.  Boughton told them that the City doesn't have that kind of money on hand, and that it wouldn't be appropriate for the City to foot the bill for a non-profit.  He noted that if the City did that for one, they would have to do it for all.  But if the Women's Center can get the property cleaned up, Boughton says it would be appropriate for Danbury to sell the land to the Women's Center for $1.

 

The Women's Center hired a lobbyist who has spoken with Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, and others at the Office of Policy and Management, about a special grant fund they have to clean properties.  They don't have a final committment yet, but Boughton says if a grant can be secured Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola will oversee and manage the clean up.  Once it's certified for use, and the City Council gives the ok, they can transfer the property to the Women's Center.

 

Another challenge is that there is a viaduct under the property, which Boughton believes is near 100 years old.  He says no business is likely to be interested in the land because they wouldn't be able to build over that structure.  The viaduct limits the build-ability to about 2.5 acres.  Danbury issued several requests for proposals from businesses over the years, but there weren't any takers.  At one point, the owner of nearby Fairfield Processing asked the City to hold off on looking into bids because they were thinking about expanding.  Those plans have since changed because their business changed. 

 

The Women's Center raised $4 million in capital fund to build the transitional housing.

 

The Women's Center has provided a safe haven to victims of domestic and sexual violence since its founding in 1975.  The Center serves 20,000 people in northern Fairfield and southern Litchfield Counties each year.

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Trinity College taps Danbury-based FuelCell Energy to help with energy saving measures

Danbury-based FuelCell Energy is entering into a power purchase agreement with Trinity College in Hartford.  FuelCell will install a 1.4 megawatt fuel cell power plant, projected to save the college approximately 30 percent in annual energy costs.

 

The combined heat and power fuel cell plant will be located adjacent to the school’s athletic center, and will generate a continuous supply of on-site electricity and steam for the campus.  This installation could lead to future implementation of a micro-grid for the campus.

 

Trinity College will pay for power as it is produced, avoiding a capital investment in power generation.  Minimizing use of boilers for steam reduces operating costs for the College as well as reducing associated emissions from the combustion-based heating process.

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Family-owned Danbury business featured as Murphy's Monday Manufacturer

A Danbury company was featured yesterday by Senator Chris Murphy for his so-called Monday Manufacturer.  RK Manufacturing is a family-owned company that was founded in 1978.  They design and manufacture machine tools and medical devices. 

 

The Danbury manufacturer provides custom tooling and fixtures, and works with established medical companies and life science startups to provide sterile and nonsterile sutures, bone anchors, spinal implants, and other innovative medical devices.  All of RK Manufacturing’s medical devices are produced in a specialized cleanroom with a controlled environment.

RK Manufacturing employs 120 Connecticut workers out of their 57,000 square foot facility. Over the last six years, they have experienced an average continued growth of 30 percent, and increased the capacity of their cleanroom by 35 percent.

Connecticut's 4,600 manufacturers account for 10% of the state’s jobs and 87% of the state’s total exports. In order to protect and grow manufacturing jobs in Connecticut, Murphy has introduced two pieces of legislation that aim to strengthen existing standards and prioritize the purchase of American-made goods, the 21st Century Buy American Act and the American Jobs Matter Act.

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House approves bill setting standards for cell phone searches

A bill setting standards for school officials searching student cell phones and other electronic devices has been approved by the state House.  One opponent suggested that students not bring a phone to school or to leave it in a locker.  Danbury Representative Bob Godfrey told the Courant that the thinking is an outdated approach to technology.  He said smart phones, iPads and other devices are sometimes used for legitimate purposes during the day.  The bill prevents school officials from taking a personal electronic device unless they have reasonable suspicion the student violated school policy.  The bill also limits any subsequent search.  The measure now moves to the Senate.

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Lake Zoar Authority warns of blue-green algae blooms

Blue-green algae blooms are likely this summer.  That warning from the Lake Zoar Authority.  Exposure in high levels is a suspected cause of illness as severe as Lou Gehrig’s disease.  The authority says the neurodegenerative disease can be fatal to pets and livestock.  Runoff from fertilizer, chemicals and waste elevates the blooms.  They float on the surface of the water and look like green paint.  A dry season intensifies the toxicity whereas a rainy climate dilutes the presence of the bacteria-like growth.  

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New Milford Sports Club members get another chance to reclaim property from lockers

Members of the now-closed New Milford Sports Club who didn't get a chance to remove personal items from the lockers earlier this month will have another opportunity tomorrow.  New Milford officials have worked out an agreement with the landlord to allow more time to reclaim property.  People must bring their membership cards to enter the building Tuesday between 4pm and 7pm.  State Police arrested business owner Dominick Donofrio Jr earlier this month on behalf of the Department of Labor, which received more than 50 complaints from New Milford Sports Club employees about not being paid. 

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Rollover crash cleared from I-84 in Danbury

There was a rollover accident on I-84 Eastbound between Exits 4 and 5 in Danbury this morning. The right and center lanes were closed shortly before 11am.  Traffic was backed up beyond exit 2 because of the emergency response.  The accident was cleared around 11:45am.  

 

(I-84 E exit 4 on ramp)

 

Danbury Fire Department Deputy Chief Bernie Meehan found that a driver was trapped in his Oldsmobile. Danbury firefighters, utilizing the "Jaws of Life" tool, cut away the roof of the vehicle so the operator could be removed and taken care of by Danbury Paramedics. The sole occupant of the vehicle was transported by ambulance to the hospital.

 

(DFD)

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UPDATED: Motorcyclist killed after crash in the Town of Washington

One man injured in a motorcycle accident in the Town of Washington over the weekend has died.  State Police say 25-year old Thien Truong had been airlifted to the hospital, but he succumbed to his injuries. 

 

The East Hartford man lost control around a curve on Route 109 near Popple Swamp Road around 8pm Saturday.  He flipped his bike and hit a guardrail. 

 

A motorcyclist following him also lost control on the curve.   30-year old Michael Masser of Hartford was thrown from his bike and transported by ambulance to Danbury Hospital with minor injuries. 

 

The accident remains under investigation.

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Brewster man due in court on DWI charge following hit and run accident

A Brewster man is due in court today on DWI charges stemming from a hit and run accident.  The Putnam County Sheriff's Office received calls of an erratic driver in Brewster May 7th.  The driver nearly hit a car in the parking lot of Dunkin Donuts, almost hit the building and then almost caused an accident while pulling out onto Route 22. 

 

Deputies spotted the car hit another vehicle in traffic on Main Street and then drive off.  The driver, later determined to be 28-year old Obdulio Mendez-Perez, stopped for police. 

 

He was charged for driving while intoxicated, leaving the scene of an accident and half-a-dozen other infractions for the alleged erratic driving. 

 

No injuries were reported in the crash.

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Newtown Police seek public's help in motorcycle crash investigation

Newtown Police are asking for the public's help in solving a January motorcycle accident.  Police continue to investigate the crash that killed 42-year old Michael Defusco of Southbury on January 19th.  The accident happened on Mount Pleasant Road near Reservoir Road.  The motorcycle was found down an embankment on the southbound shoulder of the roadway around 3pm.  While some witnesses have been interviewed, Newtown Police say more information is needed.  Anyone who may have witnessed the crash or arrived shortly after the accident is asked to call Newtown Police.

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Firefighters contain massive blaze along Appalachian Trail

About 200 acres of Schaghticoke Mountain burned in a brush fire last week before firefighters were able to extinguish the flames.  17 departments helped keep the blaze contained in a remote area near the Appalachian Trail in Kent. 

 

The fire, which broke out Wednesday, disturbed the dens of the Timber rattlers, and well over a dozen snakes were spotted fleeing the heat, including one that slithered between the legs of a firefighter. 

 

 

Now that the fire is out, wildlife experts will go in looking to rescue any injured snakes.

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WCSU commencement ceremony held Sunday

Graduation ceremonies were this weekend for a number of higher education institutions in Connecticut, including for Western Connecticut State University students. 

 

The 119th Commencement was held at the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport on Sunday.  More than 1,200 undergraduates, 112 masters and 8 doctoral degrees were awarded.  This is the third consecutive year that the ceremony will take place at the Fairfield County venue.

Graduating senior Madiha Khan, of Danbury, delivered the Keynote Address.  During the ceremony, Khan received a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry, Biochemistry option. She is one of two WCSU students to receive this year’s Connecticut State Colleges and Universities Henry Barnard Distinguished Student Award.

 

Presidential Medals were awarded to WCSU alumnus Attorney Robert Yamin and Danbury Probate Judge Dianne Yamin.

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Danbury Police kick off 'Click It or Ticket' enforcement campaign

The Danbury Police Department will be conducting a Click It or Ticket Campaign heading into the summer driving season.  The increased enforcement will take place starting today and continuing through June 4th. 

 

The Danbury Police Department will ramp up patrolling and be on the lookout for seat belt violations.  With Memorial Day weekend approaching, the department intends to promote safe driving and increase protection for motorists. 

 

With more vehicles on the roadway, Spokesman Lt. Christian Carroccio says this means more potential for more crashes and more fatalities.  He says wearing a seat belt is the single most effective way to save your life while on the road.

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Local legislators participate in 'Manufacturing & Technology Day'

Manufacturing & Technology Day was held at the State Capitol this week. 

 

Bethel state Representative Will Duff met with pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim.  BI has three business areas; human pharmaceuticals, animal health and biopharmaceutical contract manufacturing.  Duff called Boehringer Ingelheim an essential economic engine in the Greater Danbury region, providing over 2000 jobs and indirect employment to thousands more. 

 

New Milford Representative Bill Buckbee met with several businesses and organizations related to state manufacturing.  He discussed the industry and its role in the state's economy.  Buckbee said manufacturers face a unique set of issues, stifling regulation and off-shore competition.  He wants to offer more incentives for locally manufactured products to be used in state projects relating to aerospace, defense, and infrastructure.

 

More than forty Connecticut manufacturers exhibited their products and services at the State Capitol as part of a Manufacturing & Technology Day celebration.  According to the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, more than one-half of the top 100 companies headquartered in Connecticut are manufacturing firms.  

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Newtown state lawmaker tours newly renovated NYFS facility

Newtown Youth and Family Services held an open house event this week showcasing recent renovations to the facility.  State Representative Mitch Bolinsky visited and noted that the community depends on the services and programs offered at NYFS. 

 

He touted the organization for coordinating with other community resources and outside-the-box therapy disciplines, in addition to their regularly-scheduled preventative interpersonal and safety programs. 

 

(Photo: Bolinsky speaks with Matt Ariniello, NYFS Operations and Development)

 

The recent renovations will provide more space for NYFS to administer the programs and services.  NYFS is a licensed, non-profit, mental health clinic and youth services bureau dedicated to helping children and families by providing programs, services, activities, counseling, support groups and education throughout the Greater Newtown area.

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Danbury Day held at State Capitol

Danbury Day was held at the state Capitol this week.  Legislators set up a reincarnation of the Danbury State Fair to celebrate the Hat City's history.  Freshman lawmaker Michael Ferguson volunteered to organize the annual event that in addition to featuring fair food, honored four community members and the principals of Danbury's schools of distinction. 

 

 

Representative Bob Godfrey presented General Assembly citations to Danbury NAACP President Glenda Armstrong and Danbury Nurses Union President Mary Consoli for their lifelong dedication to the improvement of Danbury.  Senator Mike McLachlan presented General Assembly citations to CityCenter Danbury founder Frank Capiello and Rizzo Companies founder and CEO Anthony Rizzo Sr. for their years of service to the city and its residents. 

 

Representative David Arconti said he hopes those who attended the event will be motivated to visit and learn more about Danbury.  Attending his first Danbury Day at the Capitol, Representative Will Duff said the event was an opportunity to showcase the positive aspects Connecticut’s seventh largest city and celebrate its diverse culture  Representative Stephen Harding touted Danbury for its rich history, culture, and economy. 

 

Representative Richard Smith said he hopes that having six city schools named as Schools of Distinction will show businesses that Danbury is committed to education and can provide the workforce they need.  The schools and principals honored are Ellsworth Avenue School with Dr. Anna Rocco, Hayestown Avenue School with Stephanie Furman, Mill Ridge Primary School with Dr. Mary Cronin, Morris Street School with Bill Santarsiero, and South Street School with Heather Pellicone. A sixth school, Park Avenue School with principal David Krafick was not present to accept a citation.

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Danbury student receives '8th Grade Excellence in Citizenship Award'

A Danbury student has been selected to receive the 8th Grade Excellence in Citizenship Award from Secretary of the State Denise Merrill.  Broadview Middle Schooler Charlie Wimer was chosen for his  volunteer service to the community, involvement in citizenship or character building organizations, good scholastic record, and leadership ability to motivate others to act to benefit the community. 

 

One eighth-grade student from each participating school is selected who demonstrates the qualities of active participation in civic or community activities, good scholarship and school involvement. 

 

School officials say Wimer has been a leader the Unified Sports program where he exemplifies the qualities of acceptance, kindness and inclusion. He has prepared and presented schoolwide events and grade-level assemblies for the programs of the Sandy Hook Promise.  He was a key organizer for the Danbury Middle School Leadership Conference. He is also a straight-A student.

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Minor Metro North derailment prompts renewed calls for Positive Train Control technology

Following a minor Metro North train derailment on the New Haven line yesterday, officials are renewing their calls for implementation of Positive Train Control. 

 

A dozen people were injured when 5 of the train cars left the tracks around 5:15pm in Rye, New York as the passengers traveled to Connecticut.  Four people were hospitalized for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.  Eight others refused medical attention. 

 

Senator Richard Blumenthal says it's been nearly a full decade since Congress first mandated the basic technology.  He called on Metro North to investigate if PTC could have prevented or mitigated this latest incident.  Blumenthal also wants Metro North to explain how a train in a low-speed area jumped the tracks, injured passengers, and triggered delays throughout the system.  The railroad is facing a December 2018 deadline to install the technology. 

 

PTC was first urged by the National Transportation Safety Board in 1970 after a train collision in Darien. It's a GPS-based system designed to prevent certain types of train accidents caused by human factors.  In 2008, Congress mandated railroads install PTC by the end of 2015; however, Congress extended the deadline to 2020 last year.

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Stranger Danger classes to be held in Monroe elementary schools next week

A Stranger Danger class is being held in Monroe elementary schools following an incident earlier this week in which a Stepney School student just getting off the bus was approached by a couple in a minivan.  Monroe Police say a Stranger Danger class was held this past fall.  The next round will begin next week.  The Detective Division continues to investigate leads in the case while the patrol division remains on the lookout for the couple.  Monroe Police are reminding residents to talk with their child about strangers.

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Police Officers recognized by MADD

The 2017 Mothers Against Drunk Driving awards have been presented.  This is the 2nd year in a row that Monroe Officer Michael Johnson has been a recipient for his efforts to keep drunk and drugged drivers off the roads.  Redding Officer Michael Livingston was honored for his DWI enforcement activities during the midnight shift.

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Drop in homelessness reported in Danbury

Homelessness in Danbury has dropped 12-percent over the past year.  The result was part of a report by the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness on their annual Point in Time Count.  110 people were determined to be homeless in January during the the count.  This is the third year in a row that homelessness has gone down in Danbury. 

 

Coalition Executive Director Lisa Tepper-Bates says a separate count of homeless youth in Connecticut was also conducted.  4,396 people under the age of 25 are homeless, or facing severe housing instability.  She noted that the practice of couch surfing is very dangerous, and this is an issue they hope to address soon.

 

Tepper-Bates says coordinating resources and ending duplicated efforts by municipalities and non-profits has led to the overall decline.

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New Fairfield to hold meeting about petition to stop herbicides being added to Candlewood

New Fairfield officials have scheduled a special town meeting to decided on a proposed ordinance aimed at stopping a plan to use herbicides in Candlewood Lake.  The meeting is set for 7pm on May 30th. 

 

The group Candlewood Voices filed two petitions calling for a townwide vote whenever chemicals were proposed to go into the lake.  The Board of Selectmen met yesterday on the revised petition, after calling the first one unlawful and not subject to an ordinance that would have triggered a special town meeting. 

 

New Fairfield scaled back its plans to only add a milfoil-killing herbicide to 10 acres at Shelter Harbor Cove, down from a proposed 60 acres. 

 

Candlewood Voices co-founder Carolyn Rowan says even that plan sets a bad precedent for use of chemicals in the lake.

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Brush fire continues to burn in Kent

A brush fire is still burning in Kent.  The blaze broke out Wednesday in a remote location near the Appalachian Trail on Schaghticoke Mountain.  The fire consumed more than 60 acres by yesterday afternoon. 

 

The fire had spread to some rattlesnake habitats and officials say the displaced snakes made for a challenge to an already difficult response.  Firefighters have to carry in water to try to contain the flames.  The timber rattlesnakes are venomous, but there have not been any reports of bites.  

 

Four firefighters have been injured while fighting the blaze. 

 

The cause of the fire remains unknown at this time.

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More victims come forward in alleged sex trafficking ring

New lawsuits have been filed by alleged victims of a Danbury-based human trafficking ring.  7 victims have come forward since the arrest of alleged ring leader Robert King.  Two men have also been arrested for patronizing a trafficked person.

 

The Newstimes reports that the latest filings including a man purportedly abused when he was around 15.  Another man, who authorities claim killed himself during a police pursuit nearly a decade ago, is the other victim.  The published reports say King had a shrine to the victim in his mobile home, which included a hand-written note from that victim.

 

The state legislature is considering a bill this session about human trafficking.  The House approved the bill unanimously Wednesday.

 

The bill would do three things, including to increase the penalty to a Class A felony.  It creates a new crime of commercial sex abuse of minors, which would be the equivalent of patronizing a prostitute under the age of 18.  The bill also adds members, including a victim of human trafficking, to the state's Trafficking in Persons Council.

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DEEP honors Environmental Conservation police at awards ceremony

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has recognized several Environmental Conservation Police Officers and others for their work in protecting residents and the environment. 

 

A Unit Citation was awarded in recognition of the collective effort by members of a district.  EnCon Officers Edward Yescott, Erin Flockhart, K9 Ellie, and Sergeant Tate Begley received the recognition for the response to an incident in Kent.  The Western District EnCon officers apprehended a convicted felon in possession of a firearm as part of a long term investigation into illegal poaching activity occurring on National Parks Service property.

 

A medal for outstanding service was presented to Sergeant Tate Begley for his response to a report of a possible missing female hiker on the Appalachian Trail in Kent.  The response turned into a drug bust of a disheveled male hiker.  

 

When Begley approached, the man dropped his gear and jumped off a cliff into the Housatonic River.  Begley apprehended him on the opposite side of the river.  During the foot pursuit the man dumped a container believed to contain heroin in the river.  The suspect, Justin Kyle Hoffman, was subsequently arrested for an incident involving unwanted sexual advances of teenage girls at a private school not far from his camp.

 

Among the awards was the Boating Officer of the Year. 

 

Officer Joseph Ruggiero, a 22-year veteran of the Environmental Conservation Police force, was this year's recipient.  Officer Ruggiero has conducted patrols on Connecticut’s busiest waters during that time, including the Housatonic Rivers, and many lakes, ponds and most of Long Island Sound. He was originally assigned in his earlier years to the Western Marine sector.  DEEP officials say his dedication to conservation law enforcement and the public’s boating safety continues to be outstanding.

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Connecticut Senate scuttles proposed bear-hunting season

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Legislation that could have led to bear hunting in one Connecticut county has been snuffed out.

Senate Democrats on Thursday successfully scuttled the bill by replacing it with other legislation that makes it illegal to bring certain big game specimens into Connecticut.

Democratic Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman broke a tie vote in the Senate. The bill was ultimately referred to the Judiciary Committee.

Litchfield Sen. Craig Miner, whose district includes New Milford, originally proposed requiring the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to come up with bear-hunting season regulations.

Recognizing he faced opposition, Miner amended the bill, allowing DEEP to decide whether to seek such regulations. Also, his revised bill limited potential bear hunting to Litchfield County.

However, all of that language was stripped and replaced with the ban on big-game trophies.

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Ridgefield man arrested after struggle with Fairfield Police

Loud music that led to a scuffle with police, ended with a Ridgefield man under arrest in Fairfield.  A complaint was called in about someone blasting music Monday night and officers could hear it as they approached.  The Fairfield Citizen reports that 53-year old Anthony Guillaro told police he was the property owner and cited town ordinance time frames. 

 

Despite it not yet being 10pm, police said the music was unreasonably loud and creating a disturbance.  Guillaro reportedly turned the music up and told the offier he was going to make a scene. 

 

The published report says Guillaro put his hand on the officer’s chest, the officer pushed it away and tried to handcuff the man.  Guillaro allegedly began flailing his arms, there was a brief struggle and the two fell.  The pair reportedly hit a table and broke some drinking glasses. 

 

Guillaro was charged with interfering with an officer and disorderly conduct. He was released on bond and is due in Court May 30th.  The home is owned by company of which Guillaro is the president.

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NY man arrested for fight at Southeast pub

A Carmel man is facing charges stemming from a bar fight.  New York State Police arrested 21-year old Justin Velez for assault, harassment and disorderly conduct over the weekend.  Troopers were dispatched to a fight at O’Connor’s Pub on Route 22 in the Town of Southeast.  An investigation revealed that Velez stuck a man in the face during the altercation.  Velez was arraigned and ordered held at Putnam County Jail on bond.

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Couple tried to lure Monroe child into their minivan

Monroe Police are alerting residents that a child was approached by a couple in an older red minivan who tried to lure her into their vehicle.  Police say a Stepney Elementary School child was dropped off at her normal bus stop Tuesday afternoon. 

 

The child ignored the woman with bright red hair and the man with bright green hair and ran to her home.  Police responded to the area and searched for the minivan, but were unable to locate it. 

 

The driver of the older red minivan was described as a 45-50 year old woman, slender built, short bright red hair, with hair ends dyed green. The male passenger was described 45-50 year old male, overweight, with bright green hair. 

 

All officers remain on the look out for the vehicle and the suspects.  The Monroe Police Department asks that parents remind their children to not get into any vehicles occupied by any people they do not know. 

 

Anyone with information about this vehicle or the couple is asked to contact the Monroe Police Department at (203) 261-3622.

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Congress members react to appointment of Special Counsel in Russian investigation

5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty has released a statement about the appointment of a Special Counsel in the investigation into possible Russian interference in the election. 

 

Esty says the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller is an immensely positive step toward determining the facts and preventing future attacks on our democratic institutions.  She added that the American people deserve to know the full scope of Russia’s activities, including who within the United States may have participated.

 

4th District Congressman Jim Himes has also released a statement. 

 

Himes said Mueller brings with him two vital factors: a reputation as a man of the highest integrity, honesty and fairness and the widespread respect of the entire FBI.  Himes said he's optimistic that under this new leadership the FBI will be able to carry on its vital work. 

 

Himes added that during the House Intelligence Committee's investigation into Russian interference in the election and possible links to the Trump campaign, the concurrent FBI investigation brought needed manpower and resources. 

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Danbury City Hall to host light bulb swap

A light bulb swap is being held at Danbury City Hall on Saturday.  Residents can bring incandescent light bulbs and exchange them for new, LED  bulbs, free of charge.  Proof of city residency will be required. 

 

Residents can bring up to five incandescent light bulbs in any condition and exchange them for the energy-efficient bulbs, while supplies last.  Energy experts from Eversource will be on-hand to answer questions and provide information on how to save energy at home. 

 

The light bulb swap Saturday is from 10am to 2pm. 

 

Danbury has been a Clean Energy Community through Energize Connecticut since 2014.  Eversource is working with Danbury to help the City reduce municipal building energy consumption by 20 percent by 2018.

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3 men busted for alleged drug sale in Danbury condo complex parking lot

Three men have been arrested on drug related charges after being caught making an illicit transaction in a Danbury condo complex parking lot this week.

 

On Monday, members of the Danbury Police Department's Special Investigations Division and a federal law enforcement official were conducting a surveillance of the Brookside Condominium complex into reported illicit drug sales happening in the complex parking lot.  Investigators learned that the operator of a gray Volvo was selling illicit drugs from his vehicle.

 

The car pulled into the lot and the two occupants sat in the vehicle for more than 20 minutes until a small white car park alongside it.  That driver approached the Volvo, where an exchange of drugs for money took place.

 

22-year old Aaron Batista of Waterbury, 23-year old Alec Buday of Bridgeport were in the Volvo.  The other driver was identified as 37-year old Marc Vachovetz of Danbury.  Batista and Buday were in possession of a substantial quantity of heroin packaged for sale and a substantial amount of marijuana. Vachovetz was found to be in possession of 20 packets of heroin.

 

  

(Batista, Buday)

 

Vachovetz was released for a promise to appear in court at a later date and time, while Batista and Buday were each held on $100,000 bonds pending release or arraignment.

 

Batista and Buday were each charged with Possession of Narcotics, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Narcotics with intent to sell more than 1oz , Possession of a Controlled Substance within 1500’ of a School, Sale of Narcotics, Possession of Narcotics with intent to sell more than 1/2 oz but less than 4 oz, Sale of Narcotics Within 1500’ of a School, Possession of a Controlled Substance  with intent to sell within 1500’ of a School, Possession of Narcotics within 1500’ of a School, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia with intent to sell within 1500’ School, Possession of Narcotics  with intent to sell within 1500’ School, and Operating an motor vehicle with a suspended license.

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Connecticut boarding school sued over alleged sex assaults

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut boarding school is being sued over allegations that a teacher repeatedly sexually assaulted a female student in the late 1980s.

The lawsuit against the Kent School was filed Wednesday in state Superior Court by the former student. It follows recent disclosures of sexual abuse allegations dating back years at other prestigious Northeast boarding schools.

The Kent School suit alleges former French teacher Clyde Douglas Fenner sexually assaulted the girl numerous times. It also alleges school officials failed to report the abuse and retaliated against the girl.

The school's business manager, Jeff Cataldo, says he can't comment because school officials are reviewing the allegations.

Fenner resigned from the school in 1988. Public records show he lives in Evansville, Indiana.

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CSCU president warns budget cuts could force school closures

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The Connecticut State Colleges and Universities leader is warning that campuses may close if the system's budget is cut to the degree suggested by the governor and state lawmakers.

CSCU President Mark Ojakian said Wednesday that recently revised budget proposals from Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Republican and Democratic lawmakers include cuts ranging from an additional $5.4 million to the state universities and $19 million to the community colleges to upward of $90 million to the overall system.

Malloy and legislative leaders, who began budget talks Wednesday, updated their respective budget proposals to accommodate a larger-than-expected deficit for next fiscal year. It has grown from $1.7 billion to $2.3 billion.

Besides closing campuses, Ojakian says CSCU may have to eliminate certain student services and make significant workforce reductions.

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Memorial service held for wife of ESPN broadcaster Berman

WALLINGFORD, Conn. (AP) - A memorial service honoring the wife of longtime ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman has been held in Connecticut.

The Hartford Courant reports friends, colleagues and relatives of Berman and his wife gathered Wednesday at Seymour St. John Chapel at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford.

Sixty-seven-year-old Cheshire resident Katherine Ann Berman was killed in a two-vehicle traffic crash May 9 in Woodbury.

Police say her car struck the rear of an SUV and both veered off the road. Her car went down an embankment and overturned in a body of water. The SUV driver also was killed.

The burial will be in Cheshire Hillside Cemetery.

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New Fairfield group launches petition to fight herbicides being added to Candlewood

It's now a waiting game for a group of lake advocates to see if a second petition will change New Fairfield official's minds about adding herbicides to Candlewood Lake.  A group calling itself “Candlewood Voices” wants a townwide vote whenever officials want to use chemicals in the lake.

 

According to New Fairfield's ordinances, a petition garnering more than 20 signatures from registered voters must be discussed in a special meeting of the Board of Selectmen. But that only happens if it's for a lawful purpose.  The Selectmen got a legal opinion stating that having votes on using chemicals in the lake could frustrate existing state regulations and infringe on the health director's authority.

 

Candlewood Voices Co-founder Carolyn Rowan says a revised petition was started to overcome the legal objection. 

 

New Fairfield scaled back its plans to only add a milfoil-killing herbicide to 10 acres at Shelter Harbor Cove.  The original proposal called for adding herbicides to 60 acres and to use copper sulfate in 160 acres.  That would have been an effort to treat blue-green algae.

 

Rowan says adding herbicides to a small portion of the lake is a dangerous precedent, noting that the company's goal is to show that the lake needs chemicals.

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WCSU theater program gains national accreditation

Western Connecticut State University has earned accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Theatre.  The NAST Commission on Accreditation notification of the university’s acceptance marks the completion of a process that began in the fall 2014. 

 

The peer review of the university and its theatre program represented the first time that Western has sought NAST accreditation.  WestConn is just the second Connecticut higher education institution to be granted accreditation by NAST. 

 

Officials say the opening of the Visual and Performing Arts Center in fall 2014 provided the necessary teaching and performance facilities to achieve NAST accreditation.

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Brush fire burning on Schaghticoke Mountain in Kent

There is a large brush fire on Schaghticoke Mountain in Kent.  10 fire departments have responded to the scene. 

 

Officials with the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection say the fire is in a remote location along the Appalachian Trail.  The statewide forest fire danger is moderate today, and there are some high wind gusts. 

 

(Photo: Litchfield County 911, Twitter)

 

Firefighters from Bantam, Kent, Goshen, Harwinton, Lakeville, Norfolk, Sherman, Sharon, and Warren, along with a crew from Dover Plains, New York, have all responded to the fire.

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Stamp Out Hunger food drive deemed a success

The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is being called a big success in the Greater Danbury area.  Postal Service food drive coordinator Dennis Sideropolous says food is still coming in.  The United Way and Salvation Army are processing the donations to distribute to local food banks.  Sideropolous says there was a great participation in Bethel and Ridgefield this year.  Last year, approximately 121-thousand pounds of food was collected locally.

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Esty weighs in on recent controversies surrounding President Trump

5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty has released a statement about recent reports about goings on in Washington .  Esty says if true, President Trump's conduct has raised very serious and concerning questions that demand full and independent investigation. 

 

Esty is referring to reports of classified national security information being shared with Russian officials and a possible effort to end an FBI investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.  She called for subpoenas of any recordings that exist of relevant conversations. 

 

Esty added that now is the moment for representatives to find the courage to put the good of the country before loyalty to party.

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Plumtrees bridge project ahead of schedule in Bethel

More progress was made yesterday on the Plumtrees Road bridge replacement and intersection realignment project in Bethel.  The new section of Whittlesey Drive, which will make a 4-way intersection with Plumtrees and Walnut Hill roads, was paved yesterday.  Plans call for activating the traffic light at the new intersection today and the new road opened tomorrow.  The project is about 4 months ahead of schedule and could be wrapped up by June.

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Wilton man, with loaded gun in pocket, gets DUI after car accident

A Wilton man is facing a number of charges after allegedly rear ending a car, failing field sobriety tests and having a loaded handgun in his pocket.  Wilton Police say 37-year old Michael Corsi sped in his Ferrari past an unmarked police cruiser and skidded into another car shortly before 2am yesterday.  His blood alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit.  Officers found a loaded 32-caliber gun in his back pocket.  In addition to the DUI and gun possession charge, Corsi was cited for failure to drive in the established lane and following too close.  He was released on bond for a court appearance May 25th.

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Danbury man arrested twice in one week on DUI charges

Westport Police have arrested a Danbury man twice in one week on drunk driving charges.  Police stopped a car last Tuesday evening after the driver was seen swerving.  50-year old Bradford Brown failed field sobriety tests.  Last Friday, Brown was stopped for driving a car he took from a Westport resident without permission.  He refused to take field sobriety tests.  Brown is due in court today on the first DUI and next week on the second DUI.

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Southbury police searching for Stop & Shop shoplifter

Southbury Police are looking for the public's help in solving a shop lifting incident that happened earlier this month at Stop & Shop.  Several cases of Red Bull were reported stolen by a woman May 11th from the Stop & Shop located on Main St. North in Southbury. 

 

The white female with blonde hair left the store without paying and entered a silver Jeep Cherokee that had a plaid blanket hanging in what appeared to be a broken rear window. The Jeep was driven by a white male.  

 

Anyone with any information is asked to call Southbury Police Department at 203-264-5912. All calls/texts will be kept confidential.

 

 

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Brookfield residents approve budget

The Brookfield budget passed on the first vote yesterday.  The town and school plans passed by about a 2 to 1 margin. 

 

A number of capital projects are planned at the schools.  At the High School, the old gym floor will be refinished, a wireless clock system will be maintained and two bathrooms will be renovated.  At the middle school, the stage floor will be refinished, cafeteria tables and chairs will be replaced and some flooring will also be replaced.  Corridor ceiling tiles will be replaced at Huckleberry, while Center School will see clapboard siding replaced. 

 

Unofficial numbers show the school budget passed on a vote of 1,221 to 645, with the town budget approved in a 1,263 to 589 vote.

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New Milford residents approve a budget for next fiscal year

By slim margins, New Milford residents approved a budget.  The $38.2 million municipal plan was approved on a vote of 1,469 to 1,279.  The $62.8 million school budget was approved 1,403 to 1,342, just 61 votes.

 

Voter turnout was nearly 17-percent.

 

The budget is about 1.2 percent more in spending over the current year.

 

The New Milford Superintendent of Schools has outlined where certain cuts would have to be made because the Board of Finance approved a budget smaller than they requested. There are also some unknowns when it comes to state education aid. The proposed school budget is still $1.1 million more than the current fiscal year.

 

The first place cuts will be made are to insurance and workmen's comp. The next year would be to put off new initiatives, including the purchase of a digital fingerprint scanner. Cuts will then be made to sports gear, field trips and personnel.

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Changes coming to Route 37 at Barnum and Stacey roads in Danbury

A public information meeting was held in Danbury last night by the state Department of Transportation.  It was about the upcoming construction of Route 37 intersection improvements at Stacey Road and Barnum Road.  The design of these projects is nearly complete and the public information meeting is being held to talk go over the construction and schedule.

 

The existing Stacey Road intersection is a “Y” type, controlled by two stop signs at both Stacey Road approaches to Route 37.  This project will realign Stacey Road to form a signalized “T” type intersection with Route 37.  Stacey Road will have a two-lane approach to Route 37.  Route 37 will be realigned to have a gentler curve through the intersection and an exclusive southbound left-turn lane.  Left-turn lanes will also be added. The estimated total cost of this project is approximately $5,100,000.

 

The existing Barnum Road intersection has a stop sign control at the approach to Route 37.  Route 37's northbound shoulder will be widened to allow vehicles to pass those waiting to make a left turn onto Barnum Road.  The Barnum Road southbound shoulder will be widened at its Route 37 intersection to allow right-turning traffic to pass vehicles waiting to make a left turn onto Route 37.  No additional signalization is proposed. The estimated total cost of this project is approximately $1,500,000.

 

The sidewalk fronting the Stetson Place property will be extended north to the intersection at Barnum Road.

 

Construction is anticipated to begin in April and last 20 months.  Route 37 will be temporarily widened to accommodate two lanes of through traffic during construction.  Access to all driveways will be maintained at all times.

 

There are right-of-way impacts associated with these improvements including partial acquisition, permanent easements, temporary construction easements, and rights.

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Redding officials lay out options for future of wire mill site

A presentation was made last night by Redding First Selectman Julia Pemberton about options to resolve financial problems with the former Gilbert and Bennett wire mill site.  The property is owned by Georgetown Land Development Company. 

 

Redding is owed $3.5 million in back taxes and $2.2 million sewer costs, with the fire district being owed $180,000. 

 

The Newstimes reports that two options start with having the town and fire district assume control of the 55-acres through foreclosure and then either sell it to a private developer or maintain the land for public use.  The last option discussed is reportedly to have the town assume ownership and all of the junior holders could write off their debts in exchange for part of the sale and future tax revenues.

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Alleged leader of human trafficking ring due in court tomorrow

One of two men accused of being part of a Danbury-based sex trafficking ring was in court Friday.  The Newstimes reports that William Trefzger's attorney was given nearly a dozen disks of evidence by prosecutors as part of the discovery process. 

 

Trefzger and Bruce Bemer were charged in March with patronizing a trafficked person.  Bemer is due in court May 30th.  The alleged mastermind of the ring is Robert King. 

 

Police say they exploited young men with mental health issues.  Authorities say the men were plied with drugs and money and delivered to wealthy clients to have sex for money after they had built up substantial drug debts. 

 

Police have identified at least 15 victims. 

 

King is due in court Wednesday.

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Two DHS seniors accepted into West Point

Two Danbury High School students have accepted official appointments to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point.  Joseph Waldron and Michael Halas were presented with their appointments at last week's Board of Education meeting by Major Nancy Bates. 

 

West Point has an eight percent acceptance rate.  Major Bates said it's extremely unusual for any school in the nation to have two students appointed in the same year.  She called it a testament to the quality of the education and leadership that Danbury High School provides its students. 

 

Waldron said he knew as a freshman that he wanted to go to West Point. Halas was scouted for attendance.  Both men had grandparents in the service. 

 

Each cadet receives a fully funded four-year scholarship that includes uniforms, health coverage, monthly salary, tuition, development opportunities, and room and board.  Each cadet commits to five years’ service as a second lieutenant upon graduation followed by three years in the reserves.

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Danbury middle schooler wins statewide MLK essay contest

A Danbury student has won first place in a statewide Martin Luther King, Jr. essay contest sponsored by Senator Chris Murphy.  Broadview Middle School sixth-grader Caroline D’Angelo wrote essay her as an assignment for her social studies class. 

 

D'Angelo wrote about the changes she believes would make a better world for everyone. 

 

Murphy launched the essay contest this year to encourage young people to commit to making Dr. King’s dream and the dreams of their own a reality.  Murphy’s office said it received thousands of entries for the statewide contest. 

 

D'Angelo says justice and equality come to my mind whenever she sees people not being treated respectfully.

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New Milford fire officials urge residents to check CO monitors

Over the last few weeks Water Witch Hose Company in New Milford says they have seen a spike in Carbon Monoxide Alarms. CO Detectors have a fuel cell or life span of five to seven years.  Fire officials are calling on residents to check batteries regularly and if the system is hard wired--give the company a call to see if it's time for a swap. If the CO defector goes off, evacuate the house, but keep all windows and doors closed so firefighters can monitor and see if there are carbon monoxide levels in the home.

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UPDATED: Newtown Police locate woman missing since Thursday

Newtown Police have heard from a missing female named Jessica Guay.  The 36 year old lives on Alpine Drive in Sandy Hook and had last been seen on Thursday.  Spokesman Lt Bahamonde said in a statement that they were very concerned for her well being and officers worked diligently attempting to locate Jessica before reaching out for the publics help.

 

Jessica made contact with her family and the case is no longer being investicated as a missing persons case.

 

  

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Malloy's revised budget cuts funding to cities and towns

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has released a revised two-year state budget that reduces aid by another $362 million in the first year to many Connecticut cities and towns while boosting funds for poorer communities, including Hartford.

The new proposal unveiled Monday also eliminates the state sales tax exemption on nonprescription drugs and increases the real estate conveyance tax rate on properties valued at more than $800,000.

Malloy revisited the two-year $40.6 billion budget he released in February after anticipated income tax revenues dropped sharply. It will be the basis for budget negotiations with legislators.

It comes after the projected deficit for the fiscal year starting July 1 jumped from $1.7 billion to $2.3 billion.

Malloy's plan still relies on $700 million in state employee concessions, which remain unsettled.

 

All funding is pulled for state-owned real property in Bethel, Bethlehem, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Easton, Kent, Monroe, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Redding, Ridgefield, Roxbury, Sherman, Southbury, Washington, Weston and Wilton. 

 

Danbury is unchanged, but for colleges and hospitals Danbury received 1.25 million this year.  Over the next two years, there is no funding allocated.  In this category, New Milford received $89,000 but would be zeroed out over the next two years.

 

 

Town aid road grants remain the same under the Governor's original proposed budget for the next two years and his revised plan.  Cities and towns will not be paid the state's share of slot machine revenues at the two tribal casinos under the revised plan.

 

Local Capital Improvement funding and adult education money proposals have not been changed in the latest budget revision.

 

Municipal Revenue Sharing Grants have been pulled.

 

The Education Cost Share program was overhauled.  Special education is a separate allocation.

 

Bethel received $8,087,732 this year.  The town was proposed to receive $4,209,487 in each of the next two fiscal years, but will now get $2,598,334.  Special education funding each year under the revised plan is $1,447,507.

 

Brookfield received $1,417,583 this year.  The town is proposed to receive no funding in each of the next two fiscal years.

 

Danbury received $31,290,480 this year.  The town was proposed to receive $33,594,209 in each of the next two fiscal years, but will now get $31,442,996.  Special education funding each year under the revised plan is $11,122,110.

 

New Fairfield received $4,338,569 this year.  The town was proposed to receive $543,196 in each of the next two fiscal years, but will now not receive funding.  Special education funding was also cancelled out.

 

New Milford received $11,832,806 this year.  The town was proposed to receive $4,557,577 in each of the next two fiscal years, but will now get $2,126,347.  Special education funding each year under the revised plan is $891,544.

 

Newtown received $4,893,944 this year.  The town was proposed to receive $969,688 in each of the next two fiscal years, but will now not receive funding.  Special education funding was also cancelled out.

 

Redding received $180,135 this year.  The town was proposed to receive $16,000 in each of the next two fiscal years, and that is still the proposal under the revised plan.  There is no special education funding being allocated.

 

Ridgefield received $571,648 this year.  The town is proposed to receive no funding in each of the next two fiscal years.

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Redding resident dies after being attacked by her own dog

Redding Police are investigating the death of a woman who was attacked by her own dog.  The woman was transported to Danbury Hospital late Friday night, where she later succumbed to her injuries. 

 

The Deacon Abbott Road woman's identity is being held pending family notification.  Redding Police Chief Douglas Fuchs says they are waiting for autopsy results to determine the official cause of death, but notes that the attack itself might not have been the exact cause. 

 

The mixed breed dog is in the custody of Animal Control during the investigation.

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Joel Barlow reopens following plumbing issue

Joel Barlow High School reopened today following a plumbing issue yesterday.  The regional high school in Redding was closed yesterday because of a lack of water pressure when a pipe broke.  That led to flooding in the water treatment system.  The water supply issue has since been resolved. 

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Budget referendum in Brookfield today

Brookfield residents are voting on a budget today.  The $40.8 million proposed school spending plan is coupled with an $18.6 million municipal budget proposal.  Taxes will increase 1.8 percent under the plan. 

 

The contingency fund includes about $700,000 for the schools, in case the legislature passes the governor's proposed cuts to aid.  If Brookfield gets more state aid than anticipated, the contingency fund money will be placed into the general fund. 

 

A number of capital projects are funded in the budget.  They include vehicle replacement for the police department, road paving and improvements to Candlewood Fire and Center Fire stations.

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New Milford budget referendum Tuesday

New Milford residents are voting on a budget today.  The municipal proposed budget is $38.2 million.  The schools are asking for $62.8 million. 

 

The New Milford Board of Finance rejected a plan approved by the Town Council which included $1.2 million in revenue from the sale of town properties and increasing the Sewer Commission's payments to the town.  The Board of Finance also cut $1.5 million from the municipal budget because of a miscalculation, which double counted some revenue. 

 

The New Milford Superintendent of Schools has outlined where certain cuts would have to be made because the Board of Finance approved a budget smaller than they requested.  There are also some unknowns when it comes to state education aid.  The proposed school budget is still $1.1 million more than the current fiscal year. 

 

The first place cuts will be made are to insurance and workmen's comp.  The next year would be to put off new initiatives , including the purchase of a digital fingerprint scanner.  Cuts will then be made to sports gear, field trips and personnel.

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