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Local Headlines Archives for 2013-07

Weston boy dies from injuries sustained in a bicycle crash

A 12-year old Weston boy who was riding his bicycle on Cedar Road in Wilton Monday afternoon has died of his injuries sustained in a crash.  Wilton Police say Joseph "A.J." Cina and two friends were riding when the victim lost control and veered off the road. 

 

An accident reconstruction team is investigating what happened, but police say initial findings are that the boy was thrown from his bike and went over a stone wall.  Police say the Cina, who was not wearing a helmet, sustained severe head injuries and was transported to Norwalk Hospital where he later died. 

 

Wilton Police are asking that anyone who witnessed the accident to contact them at 203-834-6260.

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Conn. man busted for 5 year old car theft

A Connecticut man has been arrested for a crime committed 5 years ago. 

 

32-year old Edwin Berrios of Norwich Connecticut has been arrested on a superior court warrant.  The warrant was carried out by Danbury Police on Tuesday.  Berrios is charged with 3rd degree burglary and 2nd degree larceny. 

 

The charges stem from a burglary in 2008 from a home on Prospect Street.  A 1991 Acura Integra was stolen. 

 

Police say Berrios is being held on $25,000 bond.

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Heroin, marijuana busts in separate Danbury cases

A suspicious vehicle leads to drug charges against a Danbury man.  Police say an officer on routine patrol around 1am Tuesday on Spring Street saw a parked car near the Beaver Street Housing facility with four people sitting in it. 

 

The driver, 33 year old Derrick Burden, was found to have a clear plastic baggie in his possession.  The white substance in it tested positive for heroin. 

 

Burden was charged with possession of narcotics, possession with intent to sell and possession with intent to sell within 1,500 feet of a housing development. 

 

He was released on bond for an August 12th court appearance.

 

A New Milford man has been charged for drug possession following a weekend chase downtown. 

 

State Police say 23-year old Nicholas Figueroa was seen speeding along Interstate 84 westbound near exit 6.  A Trooper tried to pull him over, but he fled running several red lights.  Police say the man tried to get through traffic on North Street and was stopped after turning down Hayestown Road.

 

State Police say Figueroa had 99 grams of marijuana in the car, plastic baggies, a scale and more than $3,000 cash.  He was charged with possesion of marijuana, possession with intent to sell and reckless driving. 

 

He was released on $5,000 bond.

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Malloy to receive timeline for Newtown report

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Governor Dannel Malloy is expected to be briefed on when an investigative report into the deadly Newtown school shooting will be released publicly.

Andrew Doba, Malloy's spokesman, said Tuesday the governor is supposed to be briefed on a timeline sometime next week.

In May, Connecticut State Police Lt. J. Paul Vance said ``it could be as long as September'' before a report on the investigation into the Dec. 14 massacre is finished. Vance said authorities were working to complete the probe as quickly as possible but wanted to make sure they did a thorough and accurate job.

Twenty-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 first graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School before killing himself as police arrived. He also killed his mother at their Newtown home.

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WestPrep held once again by WCSU

A different type of summer school is being held at Western Connecticut State University.

 

WestPrep, a summer transition program for students with disabilities, is being held once again by Western Connecticut State University's AccessAbility Services Office.  The WestPrep program is offered to high school graduates with disabilities to help them learn to better navigate the often challenging transition from high school to university life. 

 

The college readiness program, which was created in 2011, is a four week program that started on Monday. 

 

It's geared to help students with their time management, organization and test prep strategies among other topics.

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Danbury resident arrested for stabbing man

Danbury Police say a City resident has been charged for stabbing a man on Osborne Street early yesterday morning.  20-year old Jorge Bonilla was arrested for assault and threatening the man.

 

Police say the victim told officers that Bonilla and he were drinking with a woman when Bonilla became angry because the victim yelled at the woman.  During the argument, Bonilla allegedly pulled out a knife and stabbed the man in the cheek.

 

He was pleaded not guilty at arraigned at Danbury Superior Court and is being held on $50,000 bond.  Bonilla will be back in court on August 15th.

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Danbury man charged for church thefts

33 year old Andy Duran of Danbury was arraigned in Danbury Superior Court yesterday for stealing from at St. Mary's Church in Bethel on Saturday. 

Police say Duran broke into offering boxes sometime before 2 pm, took $50 and then boarded a bus to Danbury.

When approached by police he tried to flee on foot, but was captured after a short chase.

 

At his court appearance, Police say Duran was charged with stealing $740 from an unlocked safe at  St. Peter's Church in Danbury after Mass on June 16th.  He then admitted to burglarizing the donation boxes at St. Joseph's Church in Danbury on two prior occasions. 

Duran told police he used the money from the St. Peter's break-in to pay his rent and cable bill.

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5 charged with assault in Danbury after house party

Five Danbury residents have been charged for allegedly tying two men to chairs, assaulting them and accusing them of stealing cash.  Danbury Police say all of the parties involved were at a house party Saturday. 

 

Then a woman called the victims to come back to the house.   Police say the victims were able to free themselves and called 911. 

 

25-year olds Julian Olavarria and Antoine Spencer were each charged Sunday with assault, threatening, unlawful restraint, conspiracy to committ assault, conspiracy to committ threatening and conspiracy to committ unlawful restraint.

 

25-year old Jonathan Villa and Eric Walsh and 21-year old Gabriella Olavarria were charged with conspiracy to committ assault, conspiracy to committ threatening and conspiracy to committ unlawful restraint.

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Cell tower in Brookfield discussed by officials

The Brookfield Board of Selectman at their July meeting discussed the cell tower proposals.  The Selectmen have looked at the Homeland Towers lease proposal a number of times and decided in favor of construction of a cell tower behind the brush dump on Pocono Road. 

 

The lease is 55 years long.  Officials have been told that the projected revenue for Brookfield could be in the range of $2.9 million to $3.5 million over that period of time. 

 

First Selectman Bill Davidson said the other benefit to Brookfield is that emergency services and communication will be on that tower.  The lease agreement was approved unanimously.

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Candlewood Lake study on hold until budget is announced

New Fairfield officials say the study of a natural resource is on hold because of the Candlewood Lake Authority. 

 

At the New Fairfield Board of Selectmen's most recent meeting, member John Hodge said that more than two weeks into the fiscal year, the Candlewood Lake Authority had not created or approved a budget for the year.  He reminded others on the Board that the five towns surrounding the lake decided to hire a scientist to study the status of the body of water.  

 

While a request for proposals has been put out, a scientist has not been hired yet. 

 

First Selectman Susan Chapman sent a letter to the Lake Authority saying they have an invoice, but haven't acted on it yet and want to once a budget is created.  She says they need to know how much money will be budgeted for the lake scientist.

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Low flying helicopter in New Milford area does utility work

If you saw a low flying helicopter in the New Milford area over the weekend, you saw utility work being done. 

 

Connecticut Light and Power was using a helicopter to work on some transmission structures on Friday in New Milford, Washington , Roxbury, Woodbury and Watertown.  Some of the work continued into the weekend. 

 

The helicopter was used to attach equipment to the structures in areas where accessing the infrastructure was challenging from the ground.  CL&P had given town officials the helicopter's tail number in case they received any phone calls about the low-flying aircraft. 

 

The work on the structures took about 5 minutes a piece.

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Construction progresses at Danbury schools

While schools are not in session in Danbury, the buildings certainly aren't empty.  Instead of students, there are construction crews.  Mayor Mark Boughton says that's because the City has rolled out an expansion at the elementary schools to offer all day kindergarten.  He says the program will benefit all residents because home values will increase.

 

Boughton says that requires some renovation and addition work at Park Avenue, Shelter Rock and Stadley Rough elementary schools. 

 

At Park Avenue, a two-story addition will have 12 new classrooms, a storage room and a media center.  Stadley Rough is gaining 4 new classrooms, new bathrooms and other infrastructure work.  Shelter Rock is adding 5 new classrooms.

 

Work is also being done at Mill Ridge Intermediate School, which is being turned into a middle school.  That building will house the city's STEM program and a School of International Studies and is expected to open for the 2014-2015 school year.

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Internet phishing scam being investigated by Putnam County Sheriff

A Carmel resident contacted the Sheriff's Office on Friday saying they received emails supposedly from “Microsoft Corporation Sweepstakes Promotion Customer Service" which said the recipient had won an online contest. 

 

The email instructed the so-called winner to contact the Foreign Transfer Manager because they won prizes ranging from cash to laptops.  The other was allegedly sent from Microsoft and a consortium of software promotion companies claiming that periodic email lotteries were held to promote internet use and computer literacy.

 

The Criminal Investigations Bureau contacted Microsoft's corporate headquarters, and they confirmed that the emails were bogus and part of a scam. 

 

Sheriff Donald Smith is reminding residents that email scams are frequent and recipients should be weary when receiving them because they often lead to unsuspecting recipients having their identities stolen or losing money.  Smith says if you are sent emails with information or offers that sound too good to be true, they usually are. 

 

He is reminding residents to never give out personal information via email or telephone without confirming the identity of the person or corporation involved and why they need the information.

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NY man arrested for writing bad check

A New York man has been arrested for writing a bad check that should have been worth more than $2,000.

 

A 37-year old Dutchess County man has been charged with issuing a bad check.  The Putnam County Sheriff's office received a complaint last November from a Brewster resident who said Sergio Ramirez of Wingdale wrote him a check for $2,380. 

 

When the man went to the bank, the check was returned due to insufficient funds in the account. 

 

Ramirez was arrested Tuesday night.  He was arraigned and released from Putnam County Correctional Facility after posting $5,000 bond.  He will be back in court August 12th.

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Maine museums to help museum efforts in Newtown

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) Six museums in Maine are raising funds for a museum being planned for the Connecticut town where a gunman fatally shot 20 first-graders and six educators at an elementary school.

The museums will be offering free admission and accepting donations Thursday to support construction of the EverWonder Children's Museum in Newtown, Conn. Plans to build the museum predate last December's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, but the effort has gained momentum since the shooting.

Maine's museum community says it's banding together in support of that effort.

Participating museums are the Maine State Museum in Augusta, the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, Maine Discovery Museum in Bangor, Maine Historical Society in Portland, Maine Maritime Museum in Bath and Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport.

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Two arrested for home invasion, assault in Danbury

A Danbury man and a Sherman woman have been arrested for a home invasion and assault.  The pair allegedly went into a Fairfield Avenue home and assaulted a person. 

 

Danbury Police spokesman Lt Tom Michael says Detectives and members of the U-S Marshal Service arrested 23-year old James Hamed and 21-year old Felicia Hallock yesterday for the crime that happened early last Wednesday morning. 

 

Police say the victim sustained a life threatening wound, but is expected to recover.  Lt Michael did not disclose how the wound was sustained. 

 

Hamed was charged with criminal attempted murder, home invasion and assault.  He is being held on $500,000 bond.  Hallock was charged with assault by criminal liability.  She is being held on $100,000 bond.

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State stepping up liquor law compliance checks this summer

The state Department of Consumer Protection's Liquor Control Division earlier this month held a compliance check in Danbury and found nearly a dozen stores in violation.  The Department is being extra vigilant this summer to prevent alcohol from being sold to minors.  Commissioner William Rubenstein says on average 22-percent of stores that are part of compliance checks fail the test.

 

He says the program is designed to make people understand that you can't tell someone's age just by looking at them.  The underage agents used for the job were trained by the Governor's Prevention Partnership.  The underage volunteers must give their real ID to the clerk if asked. 

 

The 11 Danbury businesses that allegedly sold to a minor will have administrative hearings to address the charges. 

 

Violations could result in a temporary suspension of the liquor permit and a possible monetary fine.

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Area lawmaker appointed to group studying custody disputes

A local lawmaker has been appointed to a Task Force to Study Child Custody Legal Disputes.  Newtown Representative DebraLee Hovey says the group will be studying the role of a guardian and the attorney for a minor child involved in parenting responsibilities.  The group has also be tasked with researching whether the state should dictate that shared custody is in the best interest of a child in cases involving custody.

 

Hovey says she was appointed because of her professional background  She does some custody mediation having both parents in the room and talking.

 

The group will study state statues about custody, costs associated with contested divorces and the fees associated with expert witnesses, attorneys for minor children and others.

 

Hovey says she is in favor of a collaborative relationship between adults.  She says the group will look into custody, visitation, co-parenting, the responsibilities of both parents.

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Grant money coming to Newtown preschool for security upgrades

$100,000 in state grant money is coming to Newtown for school security.  The Newtown delegation announced today that the Office of Early Childhood grant in aid money was approved for the Newtown Children's Adventure Center. 

 

Representative Mitch Bolinsky says children are the state's most valuable resource and the grant shows Connecticut's committment to early childhood education.  During the Sandy Hook Task Force process, Bolinsky spoke in favor of including more than just K-12 public schools in new school safety initiatives and about the need to invest in preschools and private schools.

 

Representative DebraLee Hovey says making sure children can continue to learn in a safe school environment is of paramount importance and this money will go a long way to ensuring that.

 

Representative Dan Carter says helping youngsters learn and grow in a secure environment is vitally important to the community.

 

The funding will be used to install a comprehensive school alarm, silent alarm buttons and to secure doors and windows.  The Newtown Children's Adventure Center is a state-funded early childhood facility created in 1969.

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Newtown teen arrested for taking iPhone

A Newtown teenage has been arrested on a larceny charge for an incident at a town park last week.  Police say there was an incident at Dickinson Park on Elm Drive last Wednesday night. 

 

After an investigation it was determined that a 17-year old boy took an iPhone from there just after 7pm. 

 

The teen, who was not identified because of age, was released on a written promise to appear in Danbury Juvenile Court at a future date.

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Newtown dad to mark year since Wis. temple rampage

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A man whose 6-year-old daughter was killed in the Connecticut school shooting is helping a Wisconsin community mark the anniversary of a shooting at a Sikh temple that left six people dead.

Robbie Parker has been encouraging people to try to find peace in tragedy since the day after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, when he told reporters that he was not mad and that he felt sympathy for the gunman.

He was invited to speak at the Aug. 3 event in Wisconsin by Pardeep Kaleka, whose father was among the worshippers killed by a white supremacist at the Oak Creek temple.

Parker's daughter Emilie was among 26 people killed in the school shooting Dec. 14. He says he wants the mass shooting to make people more compassionate.

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Conn. man leads police on highway and foot chase

A Connecticut man has been arrested for a police chase stretching from Danbury to Waterbury.

 

State Police say Andrew Haskell of Plainville was driving a car that was reported stolen from Long Island.  A Trooper tried to pull the man over near exit 3 in Danbury around 7am  Thursday.  Instead of stopping, Haskell sped up and led the Trooper on a chase that ended only when he crashed on Sunnyside Avenue in Waterbury.

 

State Police say Haskell then tried to run away.

 

He was stopped after a short foot chase by police.  Haskell is now being held on $10,000 bond for arraignment today.

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Brewster man charged for 7-11 robbery, suspect in other crimes

A Brewster man has been arrested by Danbury police on several charges including robbery, larceny and two counts of assault.  Police arrested 35-year old Nicholas Negro yesterday for trying to rob 7-11 on Mill Plain Road.  Police say the man had a hammer with him so he was also charged with carry a dangerous weapon and breach of peace. 

 

A customer came into the 7-11 just before 1am when the attempted robbery was taking place and police say subdued the man. 

 

Police say Negro is also a person of interest in several robberies this summer, including a June robbery of the same location.  In yesterday's case, he was arraigned at Danbury Superior Court and released on 100-thousand dollars bond. 

 

He will be back in court August 1st.

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New Milford man charged with unemployment fraud

The owner of a New Milford business has been charged with Unemployment Compensation Fraud.  63-year old Riccardo Azzoni allegedly laid off two employees, who then collected jobless benefits, when in fact they actually continued to work for him.

 

Azzoni was arrested on July 8th by New Milford Police and was charged with Unemployment Compensation Fraud.

 

According to the arrest warrant, Azzoni allowed the two workers hired from Atlantic Machinery Corporation to continue to work for him and pay their medical benefits.  He also made up the difference between what they received in unemployment benefits and what their salaries had been.

 

Between April 2009 and February 2011 the unemployment compensation benefits collected by the two employees totaled more than $62,000.

 

Azzoni will be back in Bantam Superior Court on August 28th.

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Invasives training session being held to ID species

Volunteers are being trained to monitor local boat launches for invasive plants and animals.  A session is being held in Norwalk this weekend by the state Department of energy and Environmental Protection. 

 

Zebra mussels were discovered in Lake Zoar and Lake Lillinonah in 2010 and in Lake Housatonic in 2011. 

 

The training will be how to identify invasive species and instruct boaters to do the same, in hopes of preventing them from spreading.  Boaters are urged to clean all plant, fish, animals and mud from their vessel before leaving a launch, dry anything that comes in contact with the water, and drain all water from every space on the boat before the next launch.

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Bethel man caught trying to scale wall of Greenwich house

A Bethel man has been arrested in Greenwich for trying to scale a house in broad daylight.  Greenwich police were called to a home around 4:30 Monday afternoon by the owner who said a man was trying to get to the second floor of the home by climbing outside walls. 

 

Police say when officers arrived 31-year old Evan McManus had already jumped from a balcony into the backyard and was sitting on lawn furniture. 

 

The Bethel man was charged with attempt to commit burglary, disorderly conduct and simple trespass.  He was arraigned and is being held on court set bond of 50-thousand dollars. 

 

McManus will be back in Stamford Superior court on August 5th.

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Danbury Hospital offers new round of EMT training courses

Danbury Hospital is holding another Basic Emergency Medical Technician course this fall.  The 3 month course will meet beginning September 10th.  When the course is completed, participants will be qualified to take the National Registry Exam, allowing them to receive Connecticut and National EMT B certification. 

 

The course gives participants hands-on experience and real world practice in the Emergency Department and on an ambulance.

 

The three-month course meets every Tuesday and Thursday evening from 7 to 11 p.m.; some Wednesday evenings also from 7 to 11 p.m. and occasional Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The Basic Emergency Medical Technician Course will meet in John C. Creasy Center for Health Education Auditorium located on the 5th floor of the Tower Lobby.

 

Fee for the three month course is $795.00 and includes both course materials.

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First Light submits draw down and inspection notifications to FERC

First Light Power has reported it's planned reservoir draw downs and water conveyance structure dewaterings to the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission.  The required report was submitted to FERC on Monday. 

 

First Light, the owner of Candlewood Lake and other bodies of water, says the activities planned for this year are being done to conduct planned maintenance and inspections. 

 

The Falls Village development will be done at the end of August.  The power canal and penspocks will be nispected over the course of two weeks.  That work will be followed by Bulls Bridge inspections over the course of a month starting at the end of September. 

 

Activities at Shepaug Dam will be done in two parts in September and November.  Work will be on going for one and two week spans at the Stevenson development in August, September and October. 

 

Only two days of work is planned at the Rocky River infrastructure.  Scotland infrastructure will be inspected twice in November.

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Local lawmaker opposes medical marijuana growing facility in Conn.

A Fairfield-based company's application to put a medical marijuana growing facility in West Haven has been approved by that town's Planning and Zoning Commission.  The commission last night unanimously approved Advanced Grow Labs application, though the facility still needs to get state permits.

 

A year ago Connecticut adopted legislation to allow medical marijuana, and regulations are still being drafted.  Wilton State Senator Toni Boucher has been a fierce opponent of the measure. 

 

She spoke for nearly 5 hours before introducing 48 amendments to change the bill.

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Conn. DEEP offering boat launch monitor training

NORWALK, Conn. (AP) Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is offering to train volunteers to monitor local boat launches for invasive plants and animals.

A training session is planned for Saturday, from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., at the Dominic Lametta Training Center in Norwalk.

Volunteers will be taught how to identify invasive species and instruct boaters to do the same, in hopes of preventing the invasive species from spreading.

Zebra mussels were discovered in Lake Zoar and Lake Lillinonah in 2010 and in Lake Housatonic in 2011.

Boaters are urged to clean all plant, fish, animals and mud from their vessel before leaving a launch, dry anything that comes in contact with the water, and drain all water from every space on the boat before the next launch.

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Newtown OKs use of grant money for new school

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Newtown residents have approved spending $750,000 in grant money from the state of Connecticut to begin work on replacing the school where 26 people were shot to death in December.

An overflow crowd of about 200 people attended Wednesday night's town meeting, which is required when local officials consider spending more than $500,000 on any project.

The crowd approved the spending for the new Sandy Hook Elementary School by a unanimous voice vote after a 7-minute meeting.

The money will be used for preparation, design and site work for the school, which will be built once the existing one is demolished.

The town plans an October referendum to approve spending the remainder of the $50 million in state funds set aside for the school.

 

The adgenda also had residents acting on $500,000 for a turf field at Treadwell Park, with the funding coming from user surcharges collected by the Parks Department.

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Police Log: Pedestrian hit by car, home burglarized

A Danbury man has been charged with evading responsibility for failing to stop at a stop sign and striking a pedestrian.  Police say 82-year old David Demilio was travelling on Ninth Avenue yesterday afternoon in the rain when he hit a 63-year old Massachusetts man who was crossing the street from Roberts Avenue.

 

Police say Demilio told officers that he stopped at the stop sign and the man ran into the side of his car.  Demilio was charged with failure to obey a stop sign.

 

The pedestrian, who police did not identify by name was taken to Danbury Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. 

 

Also Tuesday afternoon, Police were called to a home on Main Street by a woman who said her apartment had been burglarized.  Police say 24-year old Wilson Morales was arrested on nearby West Street.

 

Police say he fled from the apartment around 12:30pm, but was identified by the woman.

 

All of the items taken from the apartment were recovered.

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Center for Compassion approved for WCSU

The Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education has approved Western Connecticut State university to house a Center for Compassion, Creativity and Innovation. 

 

Western became a University of Compassion in 2012, around the same time that the Dalai Lama visited.  Western is one of only two universities in the county recognized by the Compassion Action Network as such.  Danbury has followed suit with the City Council recently approving Danbury to become a City of Compassion. 

 

University officials say the Center will serve as a research hub for the community to link people and organizations together.

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Former New Milford man accepts plea deal in false shooting report case

A former New Milford man has accepted a plea deal for an incident last fall that had police searching for a gunman.  According to court documents, after pleading guilty earlier this month, Joshua Cable agreed to a 5 year prison term followed by parole. 

 

Cable was charged with criminal possession of a firearm, filing a false report, tampering with evidence, interfering with officers and other counts after telling police that he was shot while walking along Route 7 on September 26th.  Police say they believe Cable shot himself. 

 

He will be back in Litchfield Superior Court on September 24th.

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Danbury Health Center receives federal grant

A $112,000 Affordable Care Act grant is coming to Danbury.  The funding is for the primary care residency program at the ct. institutes  Greater Danbury Community Health Center.  Senator Richard Blumenthal called the Center a national model.

 

He says this is one of the benefits of so-called Obama-care.  Blumenthal says having more primary care doctors means more patients can receive the care they need.

 

The funding will be used for training more primary care residents and dentists in community-based patient care settings.

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Conn. crime victim privacy panel taking shape

The task force charged with recommending how to balance victim privacy under the Freedom of Information Act with the public's right to know is beginning to take shape.

 

Newtown Representative DebraLee Hovey was appointed to the panel on Tuesday by House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero.  Hovey says the bill that created the group took a tremendous amount of negotiation, but she believes it's a converstation that needs to be had and an issue that should be studied at length.

 

Hovey says she is honor to be part of the panel because it's important work that will be done.  She notes that she has strong opions on the issue being one of the representative for the town of Newtown.

 

She hopes to represent her constituency's feelings on the privacy issue.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy named two appointees on Friday. They include New Haven Police Officer Jillian Knox, who is assigned to her department's Victim Services Unit, and Andrew Woods, executive director of Hartford Communities that Care. His organization is a nonprofit group that promotes a nonviolent, drug-free environment.

House Speaker Brendan Sharkey has appointed Hartford Rep. Angel Arce to the panel. Arce's 78-year-old father was struck by a hit-and-run driver in 2008. He was paralyzed and later died due to the crash.

The 17-member task force was created in legislation blocking release of crime scene photos from the Newtown school shooting.

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Danbury Police renew Silver Alert for missing teen

A Silver Alert has been issued for 16-year old Ciera Authelet.  The white teen with brown hair and black eyes has been missing since July 6.  She is 5-foot-1 with a medium build. 

 

Danbury Police say she is a missing runaway.  Anyone with information on Authelet's whereabouts is asked to call Danbury Police at 203-797-4611.

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Police log: purse snatching, two DWIs, criminal mischief

Danbury police were called to a verbal altercation Sunday between two men on Elm Street at Main Street.  Police  intervened and separated the two. The first male stated that his wife was just coming home to her  residence on Main Street when the second male, 32 year old Matthew Brundage of Redding, came up from behind her.

 

Brundage allegedly grabbed and ripped the purse off of her shoulder and proceeded to run down Main Street.

 

Danbury police say the husband gave chase and caught the suspect.  As the officer went to arrest Brundage he took off again on foot and was taken into custody after a brief  chase.

 

Brundage was charged with Robbery Larceny and interfering with the Duties of a Police Officer and  Breach of Peace. He is currently being held on a $5,000.00 bond.

 

Two weekend drunk driving arrests have been made in Danbury.  Police late Saturday night were called to an accident on Garamella Boulevard.  Police say 53-year old Neangrith Chan of Danbury had rear-ended the car in front of him.  Police say the man had bloodshot eyes and smelled of alcohol.  He was charged with DWI and failure to drive a reasonable distance apart. 

 

Late Sunday night officers were travelling on Federal Road when they saw a car being driven erratically.  25-year old James Kirkwood of Redding was charged with DWI, failure to obey a control signal and failure to drive in a proper lane.

 

A Danbury man who flagged down police to report his car window had been smashed, has been arrested.  Police say 45-year old Luis Lopez told officers who hit his car early Saturday morning, but an investigation revealed more to the man's story. 

 

Police say Lopez was playing cards into the early morning hours when he took cash and an iPhone from a friend.  Police say an argument broke out and Lopez threw the phone to the ground and that's when someone smashed the car window. 

 

Lopez was charged with robbery and criminal mischief.

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Next steps outlined for Bethel Water Department

Now that Bethel residents have rejected a plan to sell the Bethel Water Department to Aquarion Water Company, town officials are outlining what happens next. 

 

First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says that includes replacing water mains and a station on Hoyts Hill as well as constructing the South Street Pump Station, all totalling about $4.5 million.  He called the South Street facility a key piece of equipment needed to comply with new regulations taking effect in the fall.

 

Knickerbocker says the financing is yet to be determined, but will likely be bonded.  

 

The Public Utilities Commission held a meeting Monday to begin the "request for qualifications" process to get bids from engineering companies.  He expects that process to take two to three months.

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UK Gourmet in Newtown celebrates news of Royal birth

The world awaits a name for the baby boy of  Prince William and his wife, Kate.  At U.K. Gourmet in Newtown, there's been an increase in people coming in over the past few months.  Nina Caraluzzi, a worker at the store, says they have been very excited since the news of Catherine's pregnancy.

 

Caraluzzi says they are getting a new shipment of "heir to the throne" scones this morning.  The pastry comes from The Dauily Fare in Bethel.  The shop is owned by Lisa Whitmore of Bethel and her husband Nigel, who is from England.

 

Lisa Whitmore says they did a survey among customers and 99-percent thought it would be a girl, especially after it sounded like Kate was expecting a daughter. 

 

Nigel says they decided top open the shop in 2003 because he missed goodies from home.

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McKinney announces candidacy for Conn. governor

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) John McKinney, the Republican leader of the Connecticut Senate, says he is running for governor in 2014.

The eight-term Fairfield lawmaker announced his candidacy on Tuesday in a news release emailed to reporters. The statement said McKinney has filed the necessary paperwork to open a candidate committee and begin collecting contributions to qualify for the state's public campaign financing program.

 

His Senate district includes Newtown, Easton, Weston and Fairfield among other towns.

McKinney said he believes there is a better way to manage state government, restore economic prosperity and reduce unemployment. He said Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has been taking Connecticut's economy ``in the wrong direction.''

Malloy has not yet announced whether he will seek a second term.

The 49-year-old McKinney is the son of the late 4th District Rep. Stewart B. McKinney. He has been Senate Minority leader since 2007.

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Danbury Democrats, Republicans nominate candidates for November

The Danbury Republican and Democratic Town Committees have each held a caucus to nominate a slate of candidates for the municipal elections being held in November. 

 

Incumbent Mayor Mark Boughton will be runninng unopposed for a seventh term.  It makes him the longest serving Mayor in the city's history.  These are the tickets for November. 

 

On the Democratic side:

Mayor: n/a

Treasurer: n/a

Town Clerk: Lori Kaback

1st ward: Dennis Perkins and Richard Kovacs

2nd ward: Helena Abrantes and Bill Taylor

3rd ward: n/a

4th ward: Peter Nero and Tom Saadi

5th ward: Fred Visconti and Duane Perkins

6th ward: Ben Chianese and Paul Rotello

7th ward: n/a

Council At Large: Frank Anders, Andrea Gartner, Al Almeida, Robert Taborsak, Dev Patel, Paul McAllister and Henry Hall

Board of Education: Rich Janelli and Kathleen Molinaro

 

On the Republican side:

Mayor: Mark Boughton

Treasurer: Daniel Jowdy

Town Clerk: John Whitcomb

1st ward: Irving Fox, and John Priola

2nd ward: Vinny DiGilio and Elmer Palma

3rd ward: Joe Cavo and Christopher Arconti

4th ward: Andrew DaCunha and Matthew Kennedy

5th ward: Daniel Kolwicz and William Nicol

6th ward: Steven Froehlich and Daniel Metrena

7th ward: Marina Loyola and Joseph Scozzafava

Council At Large: Andrew Wetmore, Jack Knapp, Phil Curren, Mike Haddad, Gregg Seabury, Coleen Stanley and Warren Levy

Board of Education: Eileen Alberts, Charles Alpuche, Gary Falkenthal, Michael Ferguson and Ralph Pietrafesa

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Nearly a dozen Danbury liquor shops fail weekend compliance check

44 package and grocery stores in Danbury were part of the Police Department’s Special Investigations Division and Community Conditions Unit compliance check.  They and the Liquor Control Division worked with youths from the Governor’s Prevention Partnership in the operation. 

 

The checks are meant to keep liquor permit holders in compliance and to prevent underage liquor sales.  The 11 businesses that allegedly sold to a minor will have administrative hearings to address the charges.

 

1. “The Cave,” 42 Lake Ave Ext.

 

2. “Square Mall Wine and Liquor,” 15 Backus Ave.

 

3. “Papi’s Liquors,” 71 Lake Ave.

 

4. “Espinal Grocery,” 28 North St.

 

5. “MCJ Liquors,” 85 Liberty St.

 

6. “Railroad Spirit Shoppe,” 14 Wildman St.

 

7. “S&D Liquors,” 129 Padanaram Rd.

 

8. “Stew Leonards Discount Liquors,” 2 Nabby Rd.

 

9. “Gulliver’s Wine,” 423 Main St.

 

10. “Tony Gallo’s Hi-Way Package Store,” 88 North St.

 

11. “Torres Grocery,” 28 Wildman St.

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Two injured in lake accident involving jet skis

An accident involving two jet skis on Lake Lillinonah in Bridgewater Saturday morning has left a man and a woman injured.  Police say 51-year old Mark Wurtmann and 46-year old Abby Wurtmann, both of New Milford, was together on one jetski when it collided with another jet ski.

 

The couple were transported to the hospital around 11am and are in stable condition.  The operator of the other watercraft, 53-year old James Ginetti also of New Milford, was uninjured.

 

Brookfield and Bridgewater Fire Departments responded to the Lake.  The accident remains under investigation.

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New Fairfield man killed while showing gun to friend

State Police say a 21-year old New Fairfield man was showing a handgun to a friend early Sunday morning when it accidentally discharged.  Spokesman Lt Paul Vance says the pair was at the Mobil gas station on Route 37 around 1:30 in the morning.

 

Police have identified the man as Kevin Pannel.

 

Vance says the weapon was examined and it was determined that the discharge was accidental.  The handgun was registered to Pannel.

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NYC school dean in Conn. court for drug case

NORWALK, Conn. (AP) A New York City high school official is facing his first court appearance in a Connecticut drug case.

Thirty-five-year-old Nicholas deSpoelberch of Darien, Conn., is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Norwalk Superior Court. He's charged with three drug crimes including possession of narcotics.

deSpoelberch is dean of students at Regis High School, a private all-boys Jesuit school on Manhattan's Upper East Side. School officials have suspended him pending further investigation.

Police in Wilton say they arrested deSpoelberch on July 11 after finding him asleep in his car. Police say they searched his car and found suspected heroin, syringes, spoons and prescription pills not in their original containers as required.

deSpoelberch posted $2,500 bail. There's no phone listing for him, and it's not clear if he has a lawyer.

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Newtown 1st selectwoman seen as strong candidate

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Democratic and Republican leaders say bipartisan praise for Republican First Selectwoman Pat Llodra's leadership following the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre have boosted her chances to win a third term in November.

Democratic Party Chairman Jim Juliano said in published reports that it would be hard to find a candidate who would do well opposing Llodra. He will not rule out anything until the party caucus, which is set for Tuesday.

The Republican caucus is scheduled for Monday.

The major parties also may schedule primaries after the caucuses if more than one candidate seeks office.

Juliano says some Democrats inquired about running for first selectman before the Sandy Hook killings last Dec. 14. But he says he hasn't heard from anyone lately.

Llodra has represented Newtown in Hartford and before Congress.

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UPDATED: Fatal accident closed Route 7 in Ridgefield Friday

The accident that shut down Route 7 in Ridgefield Friday afternoon was a fatal one.  Police say a motorcyclist was killed near the intersection with Route 35.  On Saturday morning police had not confirmed the death, but later said the man was 56-year old Frank Pasquariello of New Fairfield.

 

The accident happed just after 2:30 Friday afternoon and closed the road in both direction for at least two hours. 

 

The driver of the car was identified as 80-year old Marlene Evans of Ridgefield.  She was transported to Danbury Hospital, treated and released.

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Putnam County Deputy makes two arrests while patrolling in early morning

A Vermont woman has been arrested in New York after Putnam County Sheriff's Deputies saw her commit multiple traffic violations.  Early Sunday morning a Deputy was patrolling Route 22 in Southeast when he saw a car driving too slowly, impeding traffic. 

 

54-year old Susan Harris was also moving in and out of the lane unsafely.  When she pulled over, the deputy found marijuana in the car.  Harris was charged with traffic infractions and unlawful possession of marijuana. 

 

Harris was released without bail for a court appearance on Thursday.

 

The driver of a car who was moving erratically has been arrested for driving under the influence and drug possession.  The same Deputy was on patrol in Brewster that morning when he observed the vehicle making unsafe movements. 

 

29-year old Carlos Adan Vincente-Mendez had a bag of suspected cocaine in his possession. 

 

Vincente-Mendez was also charged for operating without a license.  While being held on bail, an ICE detainer was issued ordering the Guatemalan native held for immigration proceedings.

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Sherman, Bethel candidates announce intentions for November

Sherman's First Selectman is seeking reelection to a second term.  Clay Cope, who was elected in 2011 in a win over 4-term incumbent Andrea O'Connor, says he is proud of his accomplishments.  The 51-year old Republican pointed to working on the town's emergency services facility project and working with the Board of Education on a budget to include school security.  Cope previously served on the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Sherman Library Board of Trustees.

 

A familiar name wants to make a political comeback in Bethel.  Former First Selectmen Bob Burke has announced his intention to seek the office he held between 2005 and 2009.  The Republican says he doesn't like what the current administration has done in Bethel.

 

Incumbent Democratic First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker is planning to run for another term.  Both parties are holding their nominating Caucus Monday evening.  The DTC will meet at the Municipal Center while the RTC will meet at Bethel Middle School.

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State AG urging PURA to reject Aquarion request

State Attorney General George Jepsen has asked Connecticut utility regulators to reject Aquarion Water Company's application to raise rates by $33 million over three years, arguing that the increase is neither necessary nor appropriate.

 

Jepson says running a water company is relatively low risk, not like an electrical utility that can be hampered by severe weather.

The attorney general says he has asked that PURA reject this rate application and spare ratepayers an unnecessary and excessive increase to their water bills.

 

Jepson's opinion comes as Bethel residents vote to keep the Bethel Water Department as a town asset rather than selling to Aquarion

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Rep. Esty's school amendment blocked

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty says she's disappointed the House Rules Committee blocked her amendment that would make construction of a new Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown eligible for federal funds.

The Democrat said in a statement Friday that she's ``going to keep fighting to try and bring relief to Newtown and every community that has experienced unimaginable tragedy'' and allow them to apply for federal funds to help cover construction costs.

Esty had asked the committee Wednesday to allow an up or down vote on her amendment to the Student Success Act. However, the request was denied.

The amendment was co-sponsored by Connecticut's four other U.S. representatives.

The 5th District congresswoman has also proposed federal incentives for defense contractors that make donations to help build a new Sandy Hook.

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Senators want Newtown donations audit

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) Connecticut's U.S. senators are calling for an independent audit of more than $11 million in donations received in response to the Newtown school shooting to determine what donors wanted done with the money.

The Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation released a plan this week to give $7.7 million to the families and survivors and to have committees decide on uses for the rest of the money.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy wrote a letter Friday calling for an audit to determine how to divide the money based on donor intent. The letter, obtained by The Associated Press, cites concerns that the determination that 70 percent of the money was meant to benefit victims' families was not reached through a verifiable, comprehensive analysis of contributions.

A foundation spokesman says decisions were based on donor intent.

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Aurora, Newtown survivors honor theater victims

AURORA, Colo. (AP) Survivors of mass shootings in Colorado and Connecticut were among those gathered Friday in a suburban Denver park to honor those killed in the massacre at an Aurora movie theater a year after the attack.

Vigil participants read a list of names of those killed in recent gun violence around the nation and talked about the pain of losing loved ones.  The names were read until 12:38 a-m, the moment that the shootings began in the theater last year.

The scene was somber, even as gun rights activists stood silently nearby, holding signs to rebut messages about stricter gun control. 

The Rocky Mountain Gun Owners Association was holding a counterrally nearby. They have assailed Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a sponsor of Friday's remembrance, saying the group was politicizing tragedies and has attacked Second Amendment rights.

 

Southbury resident Steven Barton, who was injured in the theater shooting, is working for Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

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Bethel residents reject Water Department sale

Bethel residents have voted to keep the Bethel Water Department as a town asset rather than selling to Aquarion Water Company.  The unofficial vote tally was 1774 to 693.

 

First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says there is work to be done on the infrastructure.  He adds that the town still wants to build a new water storage tank.  Danbury's planning and zoning commission has been holding up development on town owned land within city limits because it's in the scenic Long Ridge Road area.

 

A complaint has been filed with the State Elections Commission against the Treasurer of  “Vote Yes for Clean Drinking Water,” alleging that the PAC accepted a donation from Aquarion in excess of what is allowed.  The revelation came out during Tuesday's public hearing about the potential sale of the Bethel Water Department to Aquarion. 

 

Bethel State Representative Dan Carter says while it is technically legal for the company to contribute to a PAC on an issue that could benefit them, it's not legal to donate that much.  He says even though it's only about $150 more than the legal limit, it's still questionable.

 

3,408 residential and commercial customers, about 10,000 people, are served by the Bethel Water Department.

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Redding DTC, RTC hold caucuses for municipal elections

The Redding Democratic Town Committee met Thursday night in a caucus to propose candidates for November's municipal elections.  The Republican Town Committee will be meeting Tuesday night to do the same. 

 

The town's top position will be an open race after incumbent Republican Natalie Ketcham decided not to seek another term as First Selectman. 

 

The Democrats are endorsing current Selectman Julia Pemberton for the position with Leon Karvelis to be a Selectman.  The Republicans are endorsing Chris Hocker for First Selectman and Michael Thompson for Selectman.

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MA woman arrested in NY for aggravated unlicensed operation

A Massachusetts woman has been charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in New York after a routine traffic stop.  The Putnam County Sheriff's office reports that 21-year old Sherice Victor had been pulled over on Route 22 in Patterson after she was seen by a Deputy turning without signalling early last Wednesday morning. 

 

In a report released yesterday, the Sheriff's office said the woman's driving privileges in New York had previously been suspended.  Victor was arrested for the traffic infraction and the license misdemeanor. 

 

She was arraigned and released for a future court appearance.

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Brookfield, Ridgefield receiving HomeCT grants

Ten Connecticut towns have been awarded grants to help build more housing.

 

The towns including Ridgefield and Brookfield, can use the grant funding for predevelopment costs that come with establishing incentive housing zones.  Nearly $200,000 in funding is being made available through the Housing for Economic Growth Program, also known as HomeCT.  This program provides financial incentives to municipalities that create affordable housing by designating areas as Incentive Housing Zones. 

 

Brookfield is receiving $20,000 to prepare design guidelines for planning and zoning commissioners who are amending regulations. 

 

$20,000 is also going to Ridgefield to help determine feasibility of a proposed Incentive Housing Zone and draft regulations.

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Kent receiving STEAP grant for Bulls Bridge

Among the 14 towns benefitting from the first round of Small Town Economic Assistance Program funding this fiscal year is Kent.  The capital improvement money will be used to replace the roof of Bulls Bridge.  $100,000 will help repair leaks and tears in the roof that was installed in 1994. 

 

Bulls bridge is one of three covered bridges still in use in Connecticut.  Kent State Representative Roberta Willis says it's important that the state helps maintain historic bridges by providing towns with this type of funding.

 

New Milford State Senator Clark Chapin says STEAP grants have become increasingly important to smaller municipalities.  He said he is grateful that Kent will be able to take advantage of these funds this year. 

 

The current roof, which is made of wooden shingles, will be replaced with a product called Enviroshakes, which look like wood but is made from recycled materials and lasts years longer.

 

Governor Malloy's office says announcements for additional towns receiving grants under the program will be coming soon.

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Danbury, New Haven labor markets post slight job losses

The job market in Connecticut is in the summer doldrums according to the latest report from the state Labor Department.  Research Director Andy Condon says June was a quiet month with just 500 new jobs added while the unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 8.1 percent.  Though he says the trend is a bit brighter.

 

Four of the six major Connecticut Labor Market Areas recorded job gains in June.  One of the two with losses was the Danbury area.  At -.2 the numbers were just slightly down.  The other was the New Haven area at -.9 which state labor officials called statistically significant.

 

Condon says a longer school year due to two storms earlier this year disrupted hiring and may influence summer hiring patterns.  He says the storms likely inflated local government jobs data.  He says the rainy June put construction work on hold hurting employment.

 

Connecticut has recovered fewer than half of the jobs lost in the recession from March 2008 to February 2010.

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Bethel residents deciding fate of Water Department

Bethel residents are at the polls today to decide if the Bethel Water Department is sold to Aquarion Water Company for $7.2 million. 

 

First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says there is work to be done on the infrastructure, if the vote is no.  If the voters decide to sell he says that would give Aquarion state backing in a stalemate with Danbury over the town's plan to build a new water storage tank.  Danbury's planning and zoning commission has been holding up development on town owned land within city limits because it's in the scenic Long Ridge Road area.

 

A complaint has been filed with the State Elections Commission against the Treasurer of  “Vote Yes for Clean Drinking Water,” alleging that the PAC accepted a donation from Aquarion in excess of what is allowed.  The revelation came out during Tuesday's public hearing about the potential sale of the Bethel Water Department to Aquarion. 

 

Bethel State Representative Dan Carter says while it is technically legal for the company to contribute to a PAC on an issue that could benefit them, it's not legal to donate that much.  He says even though it's only about $150 more than the legal limit, it's still questionable.

 

3,408 residential and commercial customers, about 10,000 people, are served by the Bethel Water Department.

 

Knickerbocker says the sale would also clear up a $2 million debt that the Water Department built up starting in 2002 while also putting money aside for future capital projects.

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Final distribution protocol for Newtown donations released by Foundation

The protocol included a timeline of meetings held by the distribution committee and when donations will be allocated.  It also included the breakdown of how the $7.7 million would be allocated to the families most directly impacted by the shootings. 

 

Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation Board Member Ann Ragusa says one claim form and a copy of the protocols were sent out to families whose loved ones were killed, injured or witnessed first hand the shootings.  Those 40 families are being asked to mail the claim form back by August 5th. 

 

Any of those 40 families can request a personal meeting with a member of the distribution committee or special advisor, though the protocol says the meetings will not alter the guidelines or the allocation amounts.  The meetings will be held August 5th through the 19th.  All claims will be reviewed during that time as well.

 

Payments will be issued around August 19th. 

 

Families of the 26 children and educators will each receive $281,000.  The families of 12 surviving children from the two classrooms will each get $20,000. Two staff members who were injured will get $75,000 each.

 

More than $11 million was raised with the help of the United Way in the wake of the shootings.  A second distribution committee will consider long term needs of the community an how to allocate the balance of the fund.

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UPDATED: NY teacher, husband drowned in Costa Rica

A newly married New York couple has died while vacationing in Costa Rica.

In a letter posted Friday on the website of the Pawling Central School District, Superintendent William Ward says middle school teacher Ruth Rowe and her husband, Bruce Loev, died Wednesday.

 

He said they were swimming in the waters off the coast of Quepos, Costa Rica, when they drowned. The coast guard reported the powerful ocean currents swept them far from shore. 

 

They were married over the July Fourth weekend.

In his letter, Ward said Rowe started as a sixth grade teacher in 1988 but switched to teaching fifth graders in 1996. Most recently she taught math and science. She leaves behind a son and a daughter.

 

Loev was an aviation civil engineer who also had two children.

 

The coupled lived in Danbury.

 

Loev's funeral was Monday, July 15, at Bethel Cemetery in Bethel.  Shiva for Bruce will be on Wednesday, July 17, as well as Thursday evening July 18 at his brother Glen's home in Bryn Mawr, PA.
 

There will be a Mass of Christian Burial for Ruth at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 18, at St. Rose of Lima Church in Newtown, followed by a private burial next to Bruce.

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Cops: NYC school dean caught with drugs in Conn.

WILTON, Conn. (AP) A dean of students at a New York City high school has been charged with drug possession in Connecticut and suspended from his job.

Wilton police say an officer arrested 35-year-old Nicholas deSpoelberch of Darien on July 11 after finding him asleep in his car. Officers say they found suspected heroin, syringes and spoons in the vehicle.

DeSpoelberch is dean of students at Regis High School, a private all-boys Jesuit school in Manhattan's Upper East Side. The school announced this week that deSpoelberch has been suspended pending further investigation.

DeSpoelberch posted $2,500 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned in Norwalk Superior Court on July 22.

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Unhealthy air quality predicted in Conn., cooling centers remain open

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is predicting there will be unhealthy air quality for sensitive groups over the coming days due to expected elevated concentrations of ozone pollution.

Today through Saturday, DEEP says there will be unhealthy air quality for the elderly, as well as adults and children with respiratory disease such as asthma. They can experience breathing difficulty, coughing, throat irritation and worsened asthma episodes.

DEEP said the highest levels of ground-level ozone will likely occur across south central and southeastern Connecticut on Thursday. High levels of ozone are expected to expand further inland tomorrow and Saturday.

People sensitive to ozone should avoid strenuous outdoor activities and remain indoors in air conditioned environments.

DEEP predicts the heat wave will end late Saturday.

 

Cooling centers across the Greater Danbury area are open for another day.

 

Bethel: Senior Center, 1 School Street (lower level) open daily 8:30am-4:30pm (July 15-19)
Bethel Public Library, 189 Greenwood Ave., open M,W,Th: 10am-8pm; T,F,Sat: 10am-5pm (July 15-20)

 

Brookfield: Senior Center, 100 Pocono Road, Brookfield, M-F: 8am-4pm
Brookfield Library, 183 Whisconier Road
M,W: 10am-6pm; T,Th: 10am-8pm; F,Sat: 10am-5pm; Sun: 12noon-4pm
Also the Greenknoll YMCA has offered to open its doors to residents seeking relief from the heat.

 

Danbury: The Cooling Site will be an air conditioned Hart Bus located in front of 198 Main Street.
The Cooling site is expected to be open at the same location and during the same hours on Wednesday, July 17th and Thursday, July 18th.  12noon to 4pm.

 

Monroe: Senior Center, 235 Cutlers Farm Road, M-F: 8:30am-4:30pm (no weekend hours)
Edith Wheeler Memorial Library, 733 Monroe Turnpike, M-W: 10am-8pm; Th: 10am-5pm; F: 1-5pm; Sat: 10am-4pm

 

Newtown: The Municipal Center, located at Fairfield Hills, from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Cyrenius Booth Library Hours: M-Th: 9:30am-8pm, F: 11am-5pm; Sat 9:30am-5pm
Newtown Senior Center, Hours: M-F 8am-4:30pm. Tel (203) 270-4310

Redding: Town Hall, 100 Hill Road 8am-5:30pm Monday - Thursday

Community Center, 8:30am-9pm Monday - Thursday
Mark Twain Library 439 Redding Road  M-W 10am-5pm, Th 10am-8pm, Fri,Sat 10am-5pm

 

Ridgefield: Parks & Recreation, 195 Danbury Road, will be open during regular business hours; M-F 6am to 10pm, Saturday 6am to 6pm, and Sunday 7am to 6pm.

 

Sherman: Senior Center open daily, M-F, from 9am-4pm

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Former Newtown First Selectman being remembered

A former Newtown First Selectman is being remembered.  Zita McMahon was buried today in Newtown Village Ceremony after a mass at St Rose of Lima Church.  The 75-year old died Friday.  

 

She became First Selectman in 1989 after working as grants administrator for the town.  McMahon served as First Selectman until 1993. 

 

She is survived by four daughters, two sons, 13 grandchildren and a sister. 

 

The flag on Main Street in Newtown was lowered to half staff on Friday in her honor.  In lieu of flowers donations may be made in Zita's name to The Newtown Scholarship Association

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Danbury man arrested for two robberies in the city

A City man has been charged by Danbury Police for two robberies that happened in May.  47-year old Alvin Williams was arrested Tuesday on a court warrant charging him with two counts of first degree robbery. 

 

Police say the charges stem from a May 18th robbery at Subway Sandwich shop on Main Street and the robbery of the nearby Citgo Gas Station on White Street the next day.  Police say a knife was used in both robberies. 

 

Williams was held on $100,000 bond.

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Fatal accident in Southeast under investigation

The crash happened around noon on Monday at the intersection of Route 312 and Independent Way.  A Putnam County Sheriff's deputy was flagged down by a motorist and told about the two car crash. 

 

A preliminary investigation found that 79-year old Patrick Gavaghan of Brewster was travelling on Route 312 when 18-year old Ann Chandini Garg, also of Brewster, came off Independent Way and collided with the driver's side of his car. 

 

Davaghan had to be extricated from his car and was transported by ambulance to Danbury Hospital, where he later died of his injuries.  Neither the teen nor Davaghan's passengers were injured. 

 

Chandini Garg has been charged with failing to yield the right of way and will be in court on August 29th.

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Region's power grid asks for voluntary conservation

With electricity use approaching record levels, New England's power grid operator is asking customers to conserve electricity as a weeklong heat wave continues to bear down on much of the region. ISO New England Spokeswoman Marsha Blomberg says power is adequate, but supplies are likely to become tight.

 

If more action is required, ISO could call on business customers who have agreed to cut electricity use to conserve power to do so.  Among those customers are large electricity users like Western Connecticut State University.

 

Demand for electricity is expected to peak, near record numbers, on Thursday.

 

Cooling centers across the state have been opened by cities and towns:

 

In Ridgefield, the Parks and Rec facility is open for the week, until 10pm. 

 

In Newtown, the Municipal Center is open from 7am to 8pm.  The Library and the Senior Center in Newtown are also open during normal hours. 

 

A HART bus is out front of 198 Main Street in Danbury as a cooling center between noon and 4pm today through Thursday.

 

The Redding Community Center is open from 8:30am to 9pm today through Thursday.  Town Hall and the Library are open during normal hours as well for people without air conditioning.

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Newtown police looking for different kind of tips tonight

Newtown Police officers are taking up a side job tonight in order to raise funds for Special Olympics.  Uniformed members of the Newtown Police Department will be waiting on tables at Pizza Palace Restaurant on Church Hill Road. 

 

The restaurant is donating 15-percent of its proceeds from 4pm to 10pm to Special Olympics of Connecticut.  All tips that police receive during those hours will be donated to the organization by officers as well.

 

Special Olympics of Connecticut provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

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Jury selection begins in 1984 Conn. murder case

DANBURY, Conn. (AP) Jury selection has begun in the murder trial of a former Newtown man accused of killing his wife in 1984 and burying her body under the floor of their barn.

The trial of 70-year-old John Heath of Bridgewater is set to begin Sept. 25 in Danbury Superior Court. The News-Times reports jury selection began yesterday after Heath rejected a plea deal and told a judge he is innocent. Two jurors were chosen.

Elizabeth Heath's skeletal remains were found in 2010 by a contractor working on the barn on the Heaths' former property in Newtown. The medical examiner ruled she died of blows to her head, and police charged John Heath with murder last year.

Heath has said his wife disappeared in 1984 and he didn't know where she went.

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Wyman to discuss Newtown response at conference

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman is discussing the state's response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting with her fellow lieutenant governors.

Wyman is also expected to discuss how the state responded to last October's Superstorm Sandy, which severely damaged an estimated 3,000 homes in the state, including 1,000 left uninhabitable.

Wyman's remarks on both the storm and the December 14 school massacre will be part of a session on emergency preparedness and response at the National Lieutenant Governor's Association. The group is holding its annual meeting in Oklahoma City. The conference runs through Friday.

The Democrat is also expected to participate in presentations and discussions on a range of topics including implementation of the new federal health care law, energy, education, school nutrition and immigration.

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Feds called on to reopen green card cases of bi-national same sex couples

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is being called on to re-open and expedite cases of bi-national same-sex couples now that the Supreme Court has struck down a key piece of the Defense of Marriage Act. 

 

Senator Richard Blumenthal says prior to DOMA’s repeal couples had been living in legal limbo, with non-citizen spouses unable to receive green cards despite being legally married to U-S citizens.  He says prior to the repeal, couples were faced with moving out of the country or living apart

 

Gary Wanderlingh of New Fairfield is married to Sam Conlon, a British national.  They asked federal immigration authorities to put a temporary suspension on Sam's petition until the Supreme Court could decide on DOMA’s constitutionality. 

 

The request was denied, and now the couple have submitted a third spousal petition for Sam’s green card.

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Cooling Centers open across Greater Danbury to deal with heat

Cooling centers have been set up across the state by cities and towns as a way to help residents deal with this latest heat wave. 

 

In Ridgefield, the Parks and Rec facility is open for the week, until 10pm. 

 

In Newtown, the Municipal Center is open from 7am to 8pm.  The Library and the Senior Center in Newtown are also open during normal hours. 

 

A HART bus is out front of 198 Main Street in Danbury as a cooling center between noon and 4pm today through Thursday. 

 

The Redding Community Center is open from 8:30am to 9pm today through Thursday.  Town Hall and the Library are open during normal hours as well for people without air conditioning.

 

Greater Danbury area health officials are reminding people to check on elderly or frail neighbors and to monitor pets.  Police from the region have been called to a few parking lots over the past few days on reports of pets locked in cars.

 

Avoid strenuous activities, drink plenty of water and wear light, loose fitting clothing.  People should also take frequent breaks by a fan or in doors, avoid alcohol and caffeine and avoid exposure to direct sunlight for long periods of time.

 

The symptoms of heat-related illness include nausea, fatigue, dizziness and mental confusion.  Headaches, cramps, dry spotted skin and weakness are all warning signs.

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State's prison population rising

As the Danbury Federal Correctional Institution gets ready to transition back to a prison for male inmates, a report is out that says the state's prison population is rising because there are fewer paroles.  State officials say that by early fall, the number could be around 17,500.

 

The state said it might be necessary to open a prison but the Malloy administration later said inmate counts are not likely to require that.

 

State officials say paroles were down 54 percent between June 2012 and last month.

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Walkway of Honor dedicated in Danbury

A Walkway of Honor has been unveiled in Danbury.  Over the weekend veterans from World War II, Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea and others gathered at the War Memorial for a dedication.  Mary Teicholz, whose husband spearheaded the project, says there was a great turnout.

 

Celtic Cross Pipe and Drums played, the Danbury Police Honor Guard did a 3-volley salute and the national anthem was sung before the 254 bricks were unveiled.  The bricks are engraved with the names of honored men and women who have served in the military.  In addition to the pomp and circumstance of the day there were some speeches.

 

 

 

Donations were made to the Wounded Warrior Foundation, Operation Vet Fit and Help Our Military Heroes.

 

Orders are being taken for Phase Two.  Bricks can be ordered at the Danbury War Memorial or via an online form.

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People hitting the lake to keep cool

During this hot summer, people are trying to keep cool by being near water.

 

As another day with high heat and humidity sets in, some people who have the day off may be headed out to Candlewood Lake to try to keep cool.  Whether it's people who are using town and city beaches at the Lake's shore or those who are out boating, Candlewood Lake Authority executive Director Larry Marsicano says they've seen plenty of use so far.

 

Marsicano is reminding boaters that there are marine patrols out on the lake looking for any safety violations including boaters not wearing life jackets and disobeying speed or wake limits.

 

The lake was especially busy over the long 4th of July holiday weekend.  There were two boating under the influence arrests made the night of the fireworks.

 

One person sustained injuries on a rope swing, but Marsicano says that's about it for incidents so far this summer.

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Governor frustrated by Newtown donation process

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) As a local group prepares to distribute $7.7 million in donations to families of Newtown school shooting victims, Connecticut's governor is expressing frustration with the process and wants an independent party to handle the remaining nearly $4 million in donations.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy wrote a letter to the Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation saying he hopes families are not precluded from receiving additional money.

The foundation says the fund is best managed locally and the remaining money will help all affected.

A draft of a proposal released last week calls for their families to receive $281,000 each. Families of 12 surviving children who witnessed the shootings would each get $20,000; two teachers who were wounded would get $150,000 between them.

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Danbury man refuses to leave restaurant, becomes combative

A Danbury man has been arrested for refusing to leave a downtown restaurant.  Police say 33-year old Richard Daigle was asked to leave Two Steps Downtown Grille Friday night, but refused.  The Ives Street restaurant owner then called police to escort the man out. 

 

Officers say the man tried to fight with them and became combative while being processed.  Police charged Daigle with breach of peace and interfering with an officer. 

 

While being processed at the station, it was determined that there was an outstanding warrant for Daigle's arrest from June.  He was then charged with two counts of assault and conspiracy to commit assault.

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Two Danbury men charged in separate weekend assault incidents

Danbury officers were told by a man early Sunday morning on Rose Hill Avenue that he had just been assaulted.  But police say the man had a difficult time giving exact details, though he thought the incident happened on Franklin Street. 

 

The man had cuts and bruises on his face and appeared to be intoxicated. 

 

An officer scouted the area and saw some blood.  After watching video from a nearby house surveillance tape, police were able to identify the suspect.  David Chacon-Pinto of Danbury was charged with assault and breach of peace. 

 

He was held on $10,000 bond for arraignment today.

 

In a separate incident, Danbury police charged a 23-year old city man with assault and interfering with police.  Officers were called to Wicks Manor about a domestic disturbance.  Police say Sam Jones slammed the door in their faces.  According to officers, the man's father then opened the door and let officers in.  Police say that was the man Jones assaulted. 

 

While being processed, it was discovered that there were two outstanding warrants for his arrest.  Those charges were for driving under the influence and assault on a medical personnel.

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Sandy Hook School building project questions answered by town officials

Now that the Building Task Force has decided the best option for the site of a new school is to demolish the old building and construct a new school on the same property, there are some other decisions to be made. 

 

Some land will need to be purchased near the site because the project is calling for a new access road to be developed.  Town officials say if that cost is less than $500,000, no town meeting is needed.  If the appropriation request is more than $10-million, the Charter calls for a referendum.

 

There will have to be some hazmat tests run on the old building and depending on the results and if abatement is needed, that will determine when the demolition can begin.  Town officials say that work is slated for mid-November.

 

A town meeting is being held next Tuesday, the 23rd, to act on a special appropriation from the state to help with the design and engineer phase of the building project.  A $750,000 grant is part of $50-million approved by the state for the overall project, but would be available immediately.

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Sandy Hook Advisory Commission wants more general final report

Governor Malloy's Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, which includes experts from varied fields, is expected to present a final package of recommendations near the end of this year or early next year.  When they met Friday, Norwalk Fire Chief Denis McCarthy said he wanted the dialogue to continue after their final report is issued, with issues revisited annually.

 

McCarthy says follow up should be done of the legislation that came from their interim report  to see if it's meeting intended goals and make any necessary adjustments.

 

Recommendations made by a similar group following the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado led to changes in how police handle active shooter incidents.  DVS Security Consulting and Engineering founder Robert Ducibella says the group has a responsibility to broaden its recommendations beyond the December 14th shooting, especially having read the Columbine report.

 

Ducibella says they responsibility to address school security, mental health and gun violence because what happened in Newtown needs a broader range of considerations to various threats.  He says a layered approach is needed.

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Conn. man faces sentencing for threatening letters

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut man is facing sentencing for mailing threatening letters.

Roland Prejean, formerly of Thomaston and Morris, is scheduled to be sentenced Friday in federal court in Bridgeport.

Authorities say in 2010, Prejean mailed a letter claiming he had planted a hidden bomb on a remote timer in the Thomaston Post Office. The letter resulted in evacuations, but no explosive devices were found.

Prosecutors say Prejean mailed a letter to a judge in New London that included a substance that was falsely represented to be ``liquid anthrax,'' and he sent threatening letters to a private individual and a probation officer.

Prejean pleaded guilty to using the mail to communicate a bomb threat and mailing threatening communications.

Prejean's attorney says he has a history of severe mental illness.

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Carmel man cited for three-car crash that sent two to the hosptial

A Carmel man has been charged for causing an early morning 3-car crash yesterday that sent himself and another to the hospital.  The Putnam County Sheriff's office says 64-year old Charles Hoffman was driving east on Route 6 when he tried to pass a pick up truck by going into the westbound lanes. 

 

But 34-year old Reyna Palma of Brewster was travelling in that direction and veered into oncoming traffic to avoid that collision. 

 

Hoffman's car rolled over a guard rail and overturned.  He was extricated from his vehicle and flow by LifeStat helicopter to Westchester Medical Center.  Palma was transported to Danbury Hospital.  The driver of the pick up truck, 43-year old Delfino Lopez of Patterson, was uninjured. 

 

Route 6 was closed for four hours yesterday morning starting around 7am.  A Hazmat and environmental team responded to the site because of nearby reservoir lands. 

 

Hoffman was cited for failing to yield the right of way and is due in court August 20th.

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Inmate makes false report on sexual assault

A woman who falsely reported being sexually assaulted while imprisoned at the Albany County Correctional Facility has been charged with making a false statement. 

 

The Putnam County Sheriff's Office reported yesterday that 26-year old Christine Alexander of Wappingers Falls was being transported to the Putnam County Correctional Facility from Albany when she told officers of the alleged assault.  During a second interview, Alexander recanted her statement and admitted fabricating the attack. 

 

She was arrested last Friday on the misdemeanor charge.

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Zone change in Ridgefield for part of Schlumberger land

The Ridgefield Planning and Zoning Commission this week voted to change the zone use of some of the Schlumberger property.  10 acres of the land will be changed from non-retail business use to Multifamily dwelling Development District zoning. 

 

The town recently purchased the 45 acre property with the intent of selling some of the land to a developer. 

 

The new zoning regulations allow for 6 units per acre.  A developer could build up to 8 units per acre if some of them are designated as affordable housing.

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Missing Danbury teen, Monroe man subjects of Silver Alerts

State Police have re-issued a Silver Alert for a missing Danbury teen.  Police say 16-year old Naomi McGarley is an endangered runaway who has been missing since June 21st.  The white teen with brown hair and green eyes is about 5-foot-6 with an average build. 

 

She has a half-moon shaped scar on the back of her right calf.  If located, Danbury Police are asking to be called at 203-797-4611.

 

A Silver Alert has been issued for a missing Monroe Man.  State police say 64-year old Gregory Lentz was last seen near Main Street in Bridgeport yesterday afternoon.  The White man with brown hair and brown eyes was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, khaki cargo shorts, blue socks and white sneakers. 

 

The 5-foot-9 man has a goatee.  Anyone with information on Lentz's whereabouts is asked to contact Monroe Police at 203-261-3622.

 

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Area municipal leaders start deciding if they'll seek reelection

Brookfield First Selectman Bill Davidson will not be seeking a third term in office as First Selectman.  During the municipal elections in November he plans to run for a Selectman position. 

 

Selectman Howard Lasser plans to run for the town's top spot on the Democratic ticket.

 

The Republican Town Committee on July 16th expects to announce a choice among four town leaders as first selectman candidates: Bill Tinsley, Joan Locke, Nelson Malwitz and Greg Dembowski.

 

In Bethel, Democratic First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker plans to seek another term.  His formal announced is expected later this month.

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Referendum in Bethel next week on water company sale

Bethel officials have set a date for a referendum into the possible sale of Bethel Water Company to Aquarion.  At a town meeting last night it was decided that the more than $7-million proposal would go to a machine vote on Thursday the 18th. 

 

Polls will be open from 6am to 8pm. 

 

A public hearing was held earlier in the week with town, state and company officials on hand to answer questions about the proposal for the infrastructure which is in need of significant improvements.  A second public hearing is set for next Tuesday, just days before the referendum.

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NY couple arrested for selling crack cocaine in the area

An undercover Putnam County Sheriff's deputy determined in March that a parolee from Peekskill was selling crack cocaine in Mahopac and was able to make a couple of purchases from the man.  Last Friday 34-year old Omar Miles was arrested after the car he was in was stopped. 

 

He was charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance and three counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance for being found with baggies of cocaine. 

 

The driver, 27-year old Ana Lopes of New Rochelle was arrested for giving a false names because of an outstanding arrest warrant for a drug court violation.  In addition to the counts on the warrant, she was charged with possession of a controlled substance and criminal impersonation. 

 

Each are being held without bail for future court appearances.

 

Miles has six prior felony convictions for narcotics-related offenses.  New York State correctional facilities records show that he was released from jail just prior to the start of an undercover deputy's investigation in March.  The New York State Division of Parole was notified of Miles’ arrest.  Administrative action is expected for him violating the terms and provisions of his release.

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Layoffs announced at Danbury's largest employer

Western Connecticut Health Network officials say at least 116 positions will be eliminated as a result of state budget cuts that took effect this month.  The positions would be at Danbury and New Milford Hospitals as well as affiliate medical offices in the region.  Among those are 51 vacant positions that would remain unfilled.  Another 25 positions may be cut if Nursing union officials fail to agree to concessions.

 

The state budget included $550 million in cuts to hospitals across the state, including more than $30 million from Danbury Hospital over two years.

 

Western Connecticut Health Network President Dr John Murphy had  said they would have to reexamine their ability to offer community programs that affect people who need care the most and reduce staff.  Murphy had said they would have to continue to scrutinize operations to find any opportunity to stretch their dollars and preserve services. 

 

He added that they would be forced to cut services and reduce staff and that quality and availability of health care for the community would suffer.

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Panel suggests $7.7M breakdown of Newtown payments

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Preliminary recommendations on $7.7 million in donations collected after the Connecticut school shooting calls for giving $281,000 to each of the families of the 26 children and school educators killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School last year.

The families of 12 surviving children who witnessed the shootings would each get $20,000; two teachers who were injured would get $150,000 between them.

A community foundation has been tasked with dividing up $11.4 million that was raised with the help of the United Way.

The recommendations were made before a Thursday night public forum at Newtown's Edmond Town Hall to discuss how to divide the $7.7 million.

Some victims' families have complained the process has caused them anguish by putting them in the difficult place of deciding how to divide the money.

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Malloy's Newtown review panel continues to meet

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Governor Dannel Malloy's panel that is reviewing school safety, mental health and public safety following the Newtown school massacre is continuing its work.

The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission is scheduled Friday to hear from a national school safety expert and review legislation passed by the General Assembly.

Lawmakers approved a wide-ranging bill that includes numerous gun control measures including a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines, an expanded ban of assault weapons and additional background check requirements. School safety and mental health provisions were also part of that legislation.

Malloy's panel previously released a list of preliminary gun law changes for lawmakers to consider. Members are expected to present a final package of recommendations on mental health and school safety near the end of this year or early next year.

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Man shot at Danbury Billiards, wounds non-life threatening

Danbury Police are investigating an overnight shooting at Danbury Billiards on Federal Road.  Officers were called to the establishment just after 1 o'clock in the morning on a report of shots fire.  Officers found a 25-year old man who had been shot multiple times in the legs. 

 

The victim was uncooperative.  He was transported to Danbury Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. 

 

Anyone who witnessed the shooting is asked to contact Detective Mable at 203-797-2170.

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Danbury official concerned with trash agreement

A public hearing will be held soon in Danbury about the Solid Waste Authority and the proposed contract between the City and Winters Brothers.  When Winters Brothers bought the White Street Transfer Station following the arrest of trash magnate James Galante, the company entered into an agreement with Danbury.  At this month's City Council meeting, member Paul Rotello raised some questions about the proposal.

 

He says the company can renew the contract, at it's sole discretion, for eight sequential renewal terms of 10 years each, making it an 80 year contract.

 

Rotello says another issue is that there is no provision for inflation on the current $1 per ton paid to the City by Winters Brothers on garbage that comes through the Transfer Station. 

 

He adds the agreement doesn't allow for eminent domain.  The contract also means Danbury will not operate a competing transfer station.  Rotello says that's tying the city's hands too much.

 

Mayor Mark Boughton says the company doesn't have to enter into any agreements with the city but is providing the fee and also $100,000.

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New Milford Mayor to seek reelection in November

New Milford Mayor Patricia Murphy is seeking reelection to another term in November.  She said that it's been a privilege to serve for the past 10 years and that there will always be projects to be completed and issues to resolve that she wants to continue to meet. 

 

Among the challenges she wants to continue working on is safety in the community.  Murphy says she wants to continue working with the Police Chief on securing schools and on public outreach programs. 

 

She also says she would like to help develop a new strategic plan for New Milford that focuses on maintaining the vitality of the downtown area.

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Bridgewater first selectman leaving after 30 years

BRIDGEWATER, Conn. (AP) Bridgewater's first selectman is stepping down after 30 years amid an FBI investigation of town finances.

First Selectman William Stuart said Wednesday that he won't seek another four-year term in November as chief executive of the western Connecticut town with a population of about 1,700. He says he's tired of political battles with former finance board Chairman George Allingham.

Allingham is a former friend of Stuart who began raising questions in 2008 about Stuart's handling of town finances. The FBI seized boxes of records from Town Hall a year ago. Officials won't discuss the investigation, which remains pending.

State officials also are looking into Stuart's management of the Burnham Fund, a charity for the needy.

Stuart denies any wrongdoing with town finances and the charity.

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Feds nix Conn. on rail line paperwork

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The U.S. Department of Transportation has rejected a request by Connecticut to streamline the paperwork for a multimillion-dollar high-speed rail project.

John Porcari, Deputy Secretary of Transportation, told 5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty at a congressional hearing on Tuesday that state transportation officials must keep three grants separate for the $365 million rail line from New Haven to Springfield, Mass. The federal portion is about $191 million and the state has committed about $175 million.

John Bernick, manager of the 62-mile rail project, said in an interview Wednesday that tapping three accounts is a ``bit of an administrative nightmare.'' Connecticut hoped to establish one fund.

Final designs are being drafted and fiber optic cables have been installed.

Construction is expected to begin next summer and the project should be completed by late 2016.

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Public forum set on distributing Newtown donations

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) The public is invited to provide input on the distribution of some of the millions of dollars in donations collected in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The public forum is set for Thursday evening at Newtown's Edmond Town Hall.

A community foundation has been tasked with dividing up $11.4 million that was raised with the help of the United Way. At Thursday's meeting, people can comment on the disbursement of $7.7 million that has been set aside for the families of the 26 people who were killed, two wounded teachers and the families of 12 children who escaped.

Some victims' families have complained the process has lacked transparency and caused them anguish by giving them a difficult place in deciding how to allocate the money.

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Danbury Police seek public's help in identifying suspect

The Danbury Police Department is looking for assistance in identifying this individual. If you know this individual, please contact Detective Paul Carroccio at 203-797-2169.  No details about the incident are being released at this time.

 

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Newtown raising funds to acquire, train new K9 officer

Newtown is continuing to raise funds for a new K-9 officer.  Baro, a 10-year old dog who retired from service in early June, died later in the month from complications of a heart condition.  He was acquired by the Newtown Police Department in 2004 from the Czech Republic, trained and sworn in the following year. 

 

An announcement by town officials said Baro was a dedicated member of the Department and enjoyed being in the station with the officers.  The statement went on to say that Baro was tough on the job but gentle when off duty. 

 

"He knew where his treats were kept.  He would push the Chief's door open and poke his head in.  Everyone loved to take a Baro break...His loud bark that would echo through the building will be very much missed.  Our condolences go to Baro’s K9 Handler, Officer Figol and the whole Department."

 

Training and purchase of a new K-9 is estimated to cost between $10,000 and $20,000.

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Mobile field hospital taken down at Danbury Hospital

Things are back to normal in the emergency room.  A tented mobile field hospital was set up in the Danbury Hospital parking lot Sunday after a plumbing problem caused water damage to parts of the hospital.  Director of Public and Government Relations Andrea Rynn says they are thankful to public health officials and the fire department for getting that set up.

 

The tent, with 25 beds, was only used to handle check-ins and evaluations.

 

Officials decided to use the mobile hospital because Monday is typically the busiest day of the week for the ER.

 

Rynn says the clean up was done ahead of when officials thought it would be so the tent came down Tuesday afternoon.  She says people have worked tirelessly to get things evaluated, restored and sanitized.

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Newtown man who ran multi-million dollar fraud scheme sentenced

A former Sandy Hook resident has been sentenced to more than 8 years in prison for running a multi-million dollar investment fraud scheme.  Garrett Denniston was sentenced Tuesday. 

 

U.S. Attorney spokesman Tom Carson says the 63-year old convinced people to make investments in phony stock options or other similarly non-existent investments with his company called ConsensusOne LLC.  He indicated that an investment was refundable if the deal did not close, and that he and his company would guarantee the investments, so that the investments were risk-free. 

 

Denniston also told people that the investment was being offered to them as part of a “friends and family” deal where he had access to a limited pool of stock options that would yield a guaranteed return on investment.  In reality, he did not invest his victims’ funds in stock options or in any other legitimate investments.

 

Denniston used some money for gifts to family members, and spent additional amounts on airfare, hotels, restaurants, mortgage and rent payments, cable and telephone bills, home renovation costs, and other personal living expenses.

 

Through this investment scheme, Denniston defrauded at least 54 victims out of a total of more than $3 million.  He's been in jail since his arrest last September.

 

Acting U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly says many investors were financially ruined and urged others to steer clear of similar ‘preferred’ investment deals, promises of risk-free investments and guarantees of a high rate of return.

 

FBI Special Agent in Charge Kimberly Mertz says Denniston's many victims suffered losses perhaps even more profound than those measured in dollars and cents.

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RI man charged in fatal Conn. crash

LITCHFIELD, Conn. (AP) A Rhode Island man is charged with manslaughter and evading responsibility in connection with a car crash in western Connecticut that killed a retired teacher.

Twenty-seven-year-old Ryan Cable of West Warwick, R.I., was arraigned Tuesday in Bantam Superior Court after being extradited from Rhode Island. He's charged in an April 27 head-on crash on Route 7 in New Milford that killed 65-year-old Jane Ryan of New Preston.

Cable, a former New Milford resident, posted $75,000 bail.

His lawyer, Kevin Smith, says his client wasn't trying to avoid arrest and has been in communication with New Milford police. Smith says Cable was injured and disoriented when he walked away from the crash.

Ryan taught English at Our Lady of Fatima School in Wilton. She was married with four adult daughters.

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Gun industry group pulls support for Conn. Park

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A national gun industry association is withdrawing its support for federal legislation that would establish the Coltsville National Historical Park in Hartford, citing recent passage of Connecticut's gun control legislation.

In letters to the state's congressional delegation and governor, the senior vice president and general counsel of the Newtown-based National Shooting Sports Foundation said the industry is ``offended by the hypocrisy of our elected officials in Congress and the state government'' to advocate for legislation paying homage to the firearms industry while pursuing gun control legislation.

Current and past delegation members have pushed for years for the National Historical Park designation at Coltsville, an area named after Samuel Colt, who designed a revolver that revolutionized personal firearms.

Rep. John Larson said ``historic designation has nothing to do with universal background checks.''

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New Fairfield brothers sentenced for Oxycodone distribution

Two New Fairfield men have been sentenced in federal court for trafficking oxycodone and other controlled substances.  30-year old Jason Wittlin and 24-year old Michael Wittlin were sentenced to 48 months and 38 months in prison, respectively.

 

In early 2011, the Drug Enforcement Administration, State Police and Danbury Police investigated a narcotics-trafficking organization led by the pair.  The investigation included court-authorized wiretaps, physical surveillance and controlled drug purchases.  Police determined that the brothers were purchasing large quantities of oxycodone from several individuals, and then redistributing the narcotics to other street-level dealers and also to their own drug customers. 

 

The older brother, Jason Wittlin, was also found to be purchasing and redistributing marijuana.  His criminal history includes a federal marijuana trafficking conviction in 2006, which resulted in a 21-month sentence.

 

The pair were arrested last August during a search of their home, which revealed 13 firearms and assorted ammunition.

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Two underage men charged with DUI

Two underage men have been charged with driving under the influence in separate incidents this weekend.

 

Around 2 o'clock Sunday morning, officers stopped a car that failed to stop at a red light at Main Street and Kennedy Avenue.  Officers could smell alcohol on the breath of 20-year old Kyle Avery of Danbury. 

 

He failed field sobriety tests and was charged with DUI under the age of 21, drinking while operating a motor vehicle and failure to obey a traffic control signal. 

 

Sunday night officers were called to Oil Mill Road for a suspicious vehicle, which tried to leave when police arrived.  Officers could smell marijuana coming from the car and noticed several green plant-like substances on the lap and shirt of the driver. 

 

18-year old Steven Teklits failed field sobriety tests and answered questions very slowly.  He was charged with possession of marijuana and of drug paraphernalia and also DUI under the age of 21. 

 

Each were released on bond for court appearances on the 17th.

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Danbury man arrested for weekend accident involving motorcycle

Danbury Police responded to a motor vehicle accident at the intersection of Division and West Streets just before 7 o'clock Sunday night.  When Police were talking with 54-year old Jesus Guzman about hitting the motorcycle in front of him, officers smelled alcohol on his breath. 

 

He also had bloodshot eyes. 

 

Guzman failed field sobriety tests and was charged with DWI and following to closely.  He was also arrested for possession of a weapon in a motor vehicle after officers found an expandable baton in the car.  He was held on bond. 

 

There were no injuries reported in the accident.

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Gun accidentally fired at Danbury restaurant, leaves mess of one table

Witnesses told Danbury Police that they were eating at The Market Place Restaurant just before 8pm Sunday when they heard a loud popping noise and debris flew onto their table.  Officers found a bullet on the floor and the bullet hole in the rear booth. 

 

Officers say the trajectory came from an office. 

 

Owner 29-year old Elias Hawli was questioned and initially denied discharging the gun.  Hawli put a plaque on the wall to hide the bullet hole and admitted to officers that the gun accidentally went off. 

 

Hawli was charged with interfering with police and was released on a written promise to appear in court on the 18th.

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HealingNewtown receives funding to keep doors open

The Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut is transferring funds to the Newtown Cultural Arts Commission so that Healing Newtown can continue providing arts programming and services to the community.  The Cultural Alliance made a check presentation to representatives of the organization Monday afternoon. 

 

The Healing Newtown through the Arts effort was created with the state Department of Economic and Community Development to bring healing to the town after the December 14th shootings.

 

The Cultural Alliance received $137,133.49 in financial contributions to the HealingNewtown Arts Support Fund and reports more than $90,000 in-kind contributions were donated to the HealingNewtown project.  Material donations consist of variety of music and electronic equipment, art supplies, and furniture for the HealingNewtown Art Space.

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Gun industry group sues Conn. over gun law

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut's new gun law is being challenged again in court, with a national industry group claiming the legislation was passed illegally without proper public input or adequate review by state legislators.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation Inc. filed the lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court against Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and other top state officials. The organization wants a judge to strike down the law as invalid.

The General Assembly passed emergency legislation in April expanding Connecticut's assault weapons ban and background check requirements in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

But foundation senior vice president and general counsel Lawrence Keane says there was no emergency or statement of facts given that would allow the bill to bypass the traditional public hearing process.

The Attorney General's Office has not been served and declined to comment.

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Lauryn Hill starts prison sentence for taxes

DANBURY, Conn. (AP) -- Grammy-winning singer Lauryn Hill began serving a three-month prison sentence in Connecticut on Monday for failing to pay about $1 million in taxes over the past decade.

 

Hill reported to federal prison in Danbury, said Ed Ross, a spokesman for the federal Bureau of Prisons. Inmates at the minimum security prison live in open dormitory-style living quarters and are expected to work jobs such as maintenance, food service or landscaping.

 

Hill, who started singing with the Fugees as a teenager in the 1990s before releasing her multiplatinum 1998 album "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill," pleaded guilty last year in New Jersey to failing to pay taxes on more than $1.8 million earned from 2005 to 2007. Her sentencing also took into account unpaid state and federal taxes in 2008 and 2009 that brought the total earnings to about $2.3 million.

 

Her attorney had sought probation, arguing that Hill's charitable works, her family circumstances and the fact she paid back the taxes she owed should merit consideration.

 

During her sentencing in May in Newark, N.J., Hill described how she failed to pay taxes during a period when she'd dropped out of the music business to protect herself and her children, who now number six. She said the treatment she received while she was in the entertainment business led to her decision to leave it.

 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra Moser acknowledged Hill's creative talent and work on behalf of impoverished children but called Hill's explanation for her actions "a parade of excuses centering around her feeling put upon" that don't exempt her from her responsibilities.

 

After she is released from prison, she will be under parole supervision for a year, the first three months of which will be spent under home confinement.

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Danbury subcontracts out school based health centers

Danbury is subcontracting out it's school based health care centers to the Connecticut Institute for Communities.  The non-profit currently operates the Center at Henry Abbott Tech.  Danbury has three centers at Danbury High School and at Rogers Park and Broadview Middle Schools. 

 

Connecticut Institute Executive Director Jim Maloney says grant funding from the state that Danbury applies for would be passed down to his organization for the nine positions currently on the rolls.  The seven current employees and 2 vacancies would be moved off of the city's roll, moving that expense to the non-profit.  He adds that they have a health plan and defined contribution pension plan, at a cost less than the city's pension fund.

 

Maloney says his group can deliver more services at a lower cost because a federally qualified health center provides care to whole families, not just students. 

 

Each center has a licensed clinical social worker, a nurse and an office manager that provides free health services to students.  Students can also receive immunizations, nutrition education and mental health services at these centers.

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Two retired Danbury officers mourned by Department

Danbury Police Chief Al Baker says the Police Department is saddened over the deaths of two longtime police officers who each died on July 5th. 

 

Former Deputy Chief Leo Gantert and former Public Information Officer Captain Thomas Wendel died Friday.

Gantert, the former deputy chief for 24 years, worked 49 years in the Danbury Police Department.  Gantert's son Brian and his nephew Pete are both Danbury Police officers.

 

Wendel, the former public information officer, retired in 2012 after more than 30 years on the department. He worked for the Special Investigations Division, for Community Services and as a spokesman among other areas.

 

Thomas is survived by his children one son Ian Wendel one daughter Devon Wendel one brother Ted Wendel and his wife Joanne one sister Barbara McIlrath and her husband Joe also several nieces and nephews.

 

Funeral arrangements for the men have not been made public. 

 

A gathering for family and friends will be held on Wednesday, July 10 between the hours of 5-8 pm at the Cornell Memorial Home for Wendel.  The family is asking that in lieu of flowers donations may be made in Thomas' name to:Special Olympics Connecticut2666 State Street, Suite 1Hamden, CT 06517

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Plumbing problem causes damage at Danbury Hospital

DANBURY, Conn. (AP) Officials at Danbury Hospital have set up a temporary emergency room in a parking lot after a plumbing problem caused water damage to parts of the hospital.

Hospital officials say the plumbing issue sent water into parts of the emergency department and some administrative offices Sunday. They say it could be a few days until everything returns to normal.

The hospital's emergency room remains off limits while the problem is fixed. A mobile field hospital with a tent and 25 beds has been set up in a parking lot to handle check-ins and evaluations. Hospital officials say they don't expect to provide medical care in the tent.

Officials decided to use the mobile hospital because Monday is typically the busiest day of the week for the ER.

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Conn. making progress with background checks

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut officials say they're making progress addressing backlogs in criminal background checks for pistol permit applicants.

The numbers had soared into the thousands after the December shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown and passage of expanded state gun control laws.

Lt. Paul Vance says state police have caught up on processing fingerprint cards needed for pistol permit applicants. He says criminal histories for about 2,900 applicants are still under review.

In early May, about 9,300 people were waiting for background checks to be completed. That figure included pistol permit applicants and people who needed checks for employment.

At least one gun store worker says he sometimes still gets busy signals when he calls the state police for instant background checks.

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Yankees host Newtown residents, Oudin to hold tennis lesson for children

NEW YORK (AP) The New York Yankees are hosting about 4,000 residents of Newtown, Conn., during their game against the Baltimore Orioles.

Hoping to help the community heal from last year's shooting massacre, the team invited Newtown residents to Sunday's game, giving them free tickets and vouchers for food and drinks on ``Newtown Day at Yankee Stadium.''

During a pregame ceremony, the crowd went silent as victims from the December shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School were listed on the giant video board in center field. The Newtown Police Department and Sandy Hook Fire Department provided a joint color guard, and the national anthem was sung by the Newtown Youth Voices, a group of kids aged 7-17 that formed after the tragedy.

Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra says fun events like this are a very important part of the town's recovery.

American tennis star Melanie Oudin will be in Newtown this week giving a tennis lesson to children in the town's recreation program.

It's the latest in a series of appearances by famous athletes after the December tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school.

It was set up before the town's first selectwoman recently announced Newtown would be turning down future invitations for special events there.

Pat Llodra says the community wants to enter a ``period of quiet'' and return to some kind of normalcy.

Oudin will be joined Wednesday by teaching professionals from USTA New England at Dickinson Park in Newtown.

She also will help announce the field for the upcoming New Haven Open tennis tournament, which takes place in August at Yale's Connecticut Tennis Center.

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Emergency road work causes tie ups at CT/NY border

New York officials are performing emergency road work on Interstate 84 westbound just before exit 21. The construction started yesterday afternoon before 3pm.  That caused back ups on the highway during the evening rush hour that stretched back to exit 4 in Connecticut.  The right lane is closed for an undetermined amount of time.  This is the same area where crews are constructing a new overpass.  Drivers are being encouraged to use Mill Plain Road/Route 6 as alternate to the highway.  Motorists are being warned however that many drivers are using side roads to get around the highway jam.  The delays started to build again back to the same area by early this morning. 

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Large pallet fire on Triangle Street in Danbury

There was a fire last night in downtown Danbury.  Firefighters were called to a blaze behind Republic Foil on Triangle Street.  The pallet fire, which started just after 8pm, was doused by members of the career and volunteer fire departments. 

 

(Photo courtesy: @Germantownfd10)

 

Republic Foil was founded in 1945.  According to the company's website it produces high quality aluminum foil and light gauge sheet products.

 

The Fire Marshall was on the scene.

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NY man arrested for unprovoked assault on couple leaving pub

A New York man has been arrested for allegedly attacking a couple for no reason in a Southeast Parking Lot early Friday morning.  The Putnam County Sheriff's office was called around 2:15am by a couple who just left a pub at Towne Center Shopping Center on Route 22. 

 

They told deputies that a man accosted them in an unprovoked altercation.  The woman suffered head and wrist injuries while the man sustained back and face injuries.  They were transported to Putnam Hospital Center where they were treated and released. 

 

The suspect had fled by the time deputies arrived, but was stopped a short time later at the intersection of Routes 22 and 311 in Patterson.  24-year old Daniel Arena of Wingdale was charged with two counts of 3rd degree assault. 

 

He was released without bail for an August 20th court appearance.

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Public forum Thursday on Sandy Hook Community Foundation money

A public forum is being held next week in Newtown on the distribution of nearly $8-million from the Newtown Sandy Hook Community Foundation.  The money is slated to be distributed to 40 families; those whose family members were killed on December 14th, two injured faculty members and 12 children in the two classrooms where the shootings took place. 

 

The balance of the money for short and long term needs will be allocated in the coming weeks by a second distribution committee. 

 

The forum will be open to public comment.  A draft distribution protocol will be discussed.  The forum on Thursday at 8pm in Edmond Town Hall will be held by the distribution committee and special advisor Ken Feinberg.

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'Big Time Rush' one of last events in Newtown to help heal community

A couple of more big events to benefit the Newtown Community are being announced, though at the start of the month First Selectman Pat Llodra asked organizations and individuals to refrain from holding any more special events in the town as it attempts to heal from December's shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary school. 

 

Llodra at the same time announced the Big Time Rush would be coming to Newtown for a free concert on July 22nd.  Tickets are available through HealingNewtown.org. 

 

The other event she announced is that at some point in August, the Mets would be holding a clinic at Citi Field for Newtown residents.

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Summer movies back at Candlewood Town Park

Summer movies on the beach are back at Candlewood Town Park in Danbury this weekend.  Every Saturday in July at dusk the Parks and Rec Department will be featuring a different family film on a big screen at the park across the the PAL building. 

 

The first showing is The Amazing Spiderman.  The other films that will be screened this month are The Bucket List, Wreck It Ralph and 42. 

 

The events are free and open to the public.

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NY therapist charged with sexually abusing boy, 12

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) A suburban New York therapist has been charged with sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy.

Prosecutors in Westchester County say Mark Bernardini engaged in sexual contact with the boy during a counseling session in Bernardini's Bronxville office on Tuesday.

The boy's family contacted the police, and the 57-year-old Bernardini was arrested Wednesday morning.

Bernardini, of North Salem, was arraigned on a charge of criminal sexual act. Bail was set at $75,000 cash or $150,000 bond. He is due back in court on July 17.

Bernardini has another case pending. In that case it is alleged that he touched a 16-year-old girl inappropriately while he was counseling her on May 16.

The Legal Aid Society of Westchester County is representing Bernardini. Legal Aid did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

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BBQ safety reminders this summer season

It won't be all fun and games this holiday weekend if proper grilling safety isn't followed.  According to the National Fire Protection Association, gas grills have been involved in an annual average of 7,100 house fire from 2006 through 2010.  Charcoal grills were involved in an annual average of 1,200 house fires during that same time.  The group says 28-percent of home fires involving grills started on a courtyard, terrace or patio. 

 

Danbury Fire Chief Geoff Herald is urging common sense this holiday weekend.

 

Grill hoses should be checked for cracks and leaks as well as blockages from insects or food grease.  Gas hoses should be kept away from hot surfaces and dripping grease by having a heat shield installed to protect them.

 

Herald says grills should be never used indoors and at least 10 feet from a house or building.

 

Charcoal produces carbon monoxide when it's burned so Herald is reminding people to make sure the coals are completely extinguished and to not store grills indoors with freshly used coals. The coals should also be completely cooled before being discarded in a trash can.

 

The National Fire Protection Association says each year more than dozen people die as a result of carbon monoxide fumes from charcoal grills used inside.  The group says about 100 people each year are also injured because of that. 

 

Herald notes that fires and carbon monoxide are not the only dangers at barbeques.  People also have to be on the lookout for properly stored food.  When in doubt, toss it out rather than getting food poisoning.

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State Parks open this holiday weekend, gearing up for centennial

Connecticut State Parks are open this holiday weekend.  There have been some improvements made to many as Connecticut gets set to kick off the centennial celebration next month. 

 

Nearly all of the parks with swimming areas were closed before 9am Thursday, including Kent Falls, Squantz Pond, Rocky Neck, Indian Wells, Wadsworth Falls, Burr Pond, Gardner Lake, Lake Waramaug and Mount Tom.  There are restrictions on the number of cars allowed at each state park to prevent overcrowding and to allow lifeguards a smaller group of visitors to watch.

 

100 years ago this September the state Park Commission was formed, the kickoff celebration will be this August.  In December 1914, the Commission purchased its' first state land--the original 5 acres of what became Sherwood Island State Park in Westport.

 

State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Deputy Commissioner Susan Whalin says the entrance and parking areas at Kent Falls State Park have been redesigned and repaved.  The realignment of the Kent Falls parking area was done to bring additional safety to car coming off Route 7 entering the park.  She says the redesign makes it so cars can get into the park quicker.

 

Governor Malloy says state parks are an important economic engine for the state while adding to quality of life here.

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Danbury ranked 2nd in state for new housing units in 2012

The state Department of Labor's July issue of The Connecticut Economic Digest detailed the 2012 Housing Market Review. 

 

According to the recent release from the U.S. Census, Connecticut cities and towns authorized 4,669 new housing units, including single and multi-unit dwellings for all towns in 2012.  Stamford came in first followed by Danbury, Shelton, Norwalk and Bridgeport. 

 

The combined permits in the five cities made up more than a third of total housing production last year. 

 

The 2012 production of 4,669 housing units statewide was a 47-percent increase from the previous year, which was a six-decade low of 3,173 units.  In 2012, Fairfield County had the most permit activity with 2,138 new housing units authorized, which accounted for nearly half of the statewide total. Windham County had the fewest with 94.

 

Last year marked the best year since 2008.

 

The report says Connecticut's housing permit activity mirrored the nation as 48 states experienced permit growth over the past year.  Only Wyoming and New Hampshire had negative growth in housing permits.  Connecticut ranked 10th in the nation according to the Bureau of the Census for permit growth.

 

131 cities and towns responded to the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development's annual demolition survey.  It found that 955 units were demolished.

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NJ man wanted for murder detained in Danbury

A New Jersey man wanted for murder in that state has been arrested in Danbury.  Police were called to Liberty Street just before 7 o'clock Tuesday morning to locate 38-year old Samuel Mata of Plainfield New Jersey. 

 

He was wanted on a murder charge in Union County and was taken into custody here without incident. 

 

Mata was charged with extradition and held on $1 million bond.  Danbury Police did not provide further information about the New Jersey charge.

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Regional Hospice breaks ground on new inpatient facility

A ground breaking ceremony has been held for the new Regional Hospice of Western Connecticut facility in Danbury.  At the event last week, officials said the state of the art building would be the first of it's kind in the state with private patient suites for inpatient care.  Board member David Scribner says the 36,000 square foot building will be licensed as a specialty hospital and will include 12 private patient suites.

 

(L-R: Paul Sirois, Kevin Kelleher, Cynthia E. Roy, DPH Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen, Attorney General George Jepsen, Former Governor M. Jodi Rell, Francis  J. Collins and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton.)

 

He says the General Assembly re-wrote hospice regulations for the state so care in Connecticut could evolve.

 

$1.2 million in bond funding was recently approved for completion of 10-percent of the facility , which will house the Healing Hearts portion.  Scribner says Healing Hearts is the only program of its kind that provides free bereavement services to families that have lost loved ones.  He adds that the program's annual budget is funded entirely through private donations. 

 

The facility is slated to open next November.

 

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Danbury firefighter with more than 4 decades on the job retires

Danbury Fire Lt. Skip Omasta is retiring from the Department after 39 years in the career service and three years in the volunteer Department.  Fire Chief Geoff Herald says Omasta is the longest serving Lieutenant in the City of Danbury.

 

Herald called Omasta an inspiration, a leader and fantastic firefighter who will be sorely missed.  He says Omasta has certainly earned his retirement, but it's a sad loss for the Department.  He notes that the City residents and the Department are better for having him as a member.

 

State Representative Jan Giegler presented Omasta with a citation, signed by leaders of the Connecticut General Assembly as a token of gratitude for years of public service.  She says Omasta has been a role model for current Danbury firefighters and for those who will follow who can learn a lot from his service.

 

Giegler says Omasta's years of exemplary service should be considered a foundation to public safety and joined others in saluting his efforts to protect people and property in Danbury.

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Deal may be close in Berkshire traffic crash death

PITTSFIELD, Mass. (AP) A Connecticut man charged with being drunk and causing a five-vehicle crash in Sheffield which left one woman dead may be close to a plea deal in the case.

The Berkshire Eagle reports that prosecutors and the defense attorney for 36-year-old Frederick Weller of Newtown, Conn., told a judge Tuesday in Berkshire Superior Court they have been in discussions on a possible resolution before the trial scheduled to start in September.

Weller has pleaded not guilty to charges including motor vehicle homicide while driving drunk and fifth-offense drunken driving in connection with the February 2012 crash on Route 7 that took the life of 24-year-old Moira Banks-Dobson of Sheffield. Another man was seriously injured. He remains jailed on $1 million bail.

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Feds: Tiffany exec stole jewelry worth $1.3M

NEW YORK (AP) Federal authorities in New York City have accused a former executive with Tiffany Co. of stealing more than $1.3 million in jewelry.

Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun was arrested Tuesday at her home in Darien, Conn.

Prosecutors allege that the 46-year-old Lederhaas-Okun used her position at Tiffany to borrow about 165 pieces of jewelry, claiming she needed them for work reasons. They say she then sold the items to an international dealer.

Authorities say Lederhaas-Okun left the company in February. The name of her attorney wasn't immediately available.

Tiffany representatives declined to comment Tuesday.

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Esty to hear about issues facing Conn. Veterans

SIMSBURY, Conn. (AP) Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty is holding a roundtable discussion this afternoon to hear from Connecticut veterans about issues they are facing.

The 5th congressional district Democrat plans to discuss issues ranging from health care and backlogs in the Veterans Administration to employment and education.

Esty is meeting today with veterans, local elected officials and representatives from state and local veterans organizations, social service groups, workforce development programs and colleges.

Esty said a bill she recently introduced ensure the timely replacement of military decorations for service members, veterans and their families was inspired by local veterans who contacted her office seeking help with requests for replacement medals.

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Car into tree and driver slumped over wheel arrested in separate DUI cases

A man slumped over the wheel of his car has been charged wth driving under the influence.  Danbury Police were called to Linden Tree Lane late Friday night on a report of a car partly in the brush on the wrong side of the road.  43-year old William Ruscoe was asleep behind the wheel, but officers could smell alcohol coming from the man.  Police awoke Ruscoe, who had bloodshot tests and was slurring his words. 

 

He failed field sobriety tests and is being held on 25-hundred dollars bond.

 

A one-car crash in Danbury has led to a drunk driving charge against a Ridgefield teen.  Police responded to West Starrs Plain Road early yesterday morning to a report of a car hitting a tree.  19-year old Colby Collier failed field sobriety tests and was charged with DUI under the age of 21, failure to drive in proper lane and failure to have proof of insurance. 

 

Officers found a small bag of marijuana on Collier and added a possession charge.  The teen was released on bond for a court appearance on the 12th.

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NYer arrested for stealing from Carmel supermarket

A New York man arrested for stealing from a Carmel Supermarket will be in court next week on the charges.  The Putnam County Sheriff's Office reports that a call was placed to Deputies Tuesday afternoon of a suspicious person at Hanaford Supermarket on Route 6. 

 

Surveillance video showed 39-year old Richard Miller of Kent New York had stolen items from the store.  He was charged with petit larceny and released for a court appearance.

 

The court appearance has been scheduled for July 8th.

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Four arrested for boating under the influence, two on Candlewood

Two people have been arrested for boating under the influence on Candlewood Lake over the weekend while the state had a stepped up safety enforcement effort running.  Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Spokesman Dwayne Gardner says the arrests Saturday were made after the fireworks display. 

 

The men arrested were 25-year old John Klingner Jr. of Carmel and 50-year old David Mullane of West Simsbury.  Klinger, Jr. was observed operating his vessel in Echo Bay.  Mullane was observed operating too close to shore at a speed faster than the posted “slow – no wake zone,” in the area of Candlewood Isle, New Fairfield. 

 

Both were taken to the Brookfield Police Department and released on bond for July 12th court appearances. 

 

Statewide, EnCon Police made a total of four BUI arrests during Operation Dry Water.  One on the Connecticut River in Haddam, one on the Connecticut River in Old Saybrook.  13 infractions and 18 warnings were also issued for various infractions that did not involve alcohol.

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Conn. mural honoring Newtown victims vandalized

SOUTHINGTON, Conn. (AP) Vandals have damaged a mural in Southington memorializing the 20 children and six educators who were fatally shot in Newtown last year.

The Record-Journal of Meriden reports that a black and orange monarch butterfly made of wood was reported stolen from the mural.

Twenty-six wooden butterflies were painted and designed by 26 artists in Southington and were installed onto the mural last week.

Mary DeCroce, chairwoman of the Southington Community Cultural Arts, said the one foot-by-one foot butterfly had been pulled from the screws.

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Newtown leader says town will decline new gifts

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Newtown's first selectman is asking organizations and individuals to refrain from holding any more special events in the town as it attempts to heal from December's shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary school.

Numerous concerts, sports clinics and celebrity visits have been held for the children and families of Newtown in the months following the shooting that took the lives of 20 children and six educators.

First Selectman Pat Llodra, in blog post on the website onenewtown.org, says Newtown will decline any further special events not already on the schedule or being planned for July and August.

She says the community is thankful for the outpouring of support, but she believes the time is coming for the town to ``move into a quiet period of rest, recuperation, and healing.''

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Missing Children alerts issued for two Danbury teens

Two missing children alerts have been issued by State Police for girls in Danbury.  14-year old Destiny Langley was reported missing Wednesday.  The black teen is about 4-foot-8 with a thin build.  She was last seen wearing print pajama pants, black tank top and flip flops on Davis Street.  Police say she could be hanging around the Greens, a housing project in Bridgeport. 

 

(Photo Courtesy: State Police)

 

Police are also searching for 16-year old Tiffany Daeira.  The 5-foot tall white teen with blonde hair was last seen yesterday afternoon on Backus Avenue.  She was wearing a black Panera Bread shirt, beige pants and sneakers .  The back of her head is shaved.

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Byzantine church in Danbury gutted by fire

DANBURY, Conn. (AP) Fire officials have condemned the building housing the St. Nicholas Byzantine Church in Danbury following a weekend blaze that gutted the structure.

Investigators have not determined the cause of the fire, which broke out on Saturday afternoon.

The fire destroyed much of the contents of the building and collapsed part of the roof.

Church officials were able to save some chalices and vestments from the flames.

They say they also will be able to salvage the church's tabernacle, which contains the sacraments used during worship services, and a single stained-glass window.

The congregation held services Sunday across the street at the Amber Room Colonnade.

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Settlement reached in sex abuse of Haitian boys

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) Fairfield University and others who supported a charity designed to help feed and educate boys in Haiti have reached a settlement with children who were sexually abused by a founder of that group.

Douglas Perlitz was sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison in 2011 for the assaults after acknowledging he engaged in illicit sexual conduct with boys who attended the Project Pierre Toussaint School in Cap-Haitien.

Twenty-four boys sued, seeking damages. The Connecticut Post reports they will receive a total of $12 million.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who led the plaintiffs' legal team, planned to hold a news conference Monday to discuss the terms of the settlement.

Stanley Twardy Jr., an attorney for the university, says none of the defendants admitted any liability.

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Benefit for Sandy Hook to air on public TV

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) A benefit concert by Broadway stars that was put on for the Newtown community following the mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary school will be televised next month.

``From Broadway With Love: A Benefit Concert For Sandy Hook'', took place on January 28 at the Palace Theater in Waterbury, Connecticut.

It featured artists such as Tony Award winners Michael Cerveris, and Brian Stokes Mitchell along with children from Sandy Hook and other schools in town.

A recording of the concert will air on WLIW21 at 10 p.m. July 18 and later in the month on CPTV and NJTV.

The website for donations will be flashed on the screen and proceeds from DVD and CD sales of the recorded concert also will go to the Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation.

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Another ordeal for Newtown: Divvying up donations

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- More than six months after losing their loved ones in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, families say dealing with questions over how to distribute the millions of dollars sent to help Newtown heal is instead causing them more pain.

 

How much should go to the families of the slain children? To the families of the children who witnessed the massacre but survived and will need to pay for years of therapy? To the slain staff members' families, who may have lost a breadwinner? Or to the Newtown community at large? And who gets to make those decisions?

 

The largest Newtown charity had planned an initial distribution of less than half of its money to victims' families, who raised questions about how the fund arrived at the number. The place they were then given in the process has been difficult, unpleasant and something they shouldn't have had to worry about on top of their grief, families say.

 

So some families are joining in the idea for a national victims' "compassion fund" along with relatives left behind after other shootings such as those at Virginia Tech, a Sikh temple in Wisconsin and a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. Under the proposal, money donated after future tragedies would be sent directly to those most affected, cutting out major nonprofits that are set up to be more focused on the community.

 

"Nobody who has been through this wants to have to go and deal with boards and committees and talk about money, and justify why you need it," said Cristina Hassinger, the daughter of slain Sandy Hook Elementary School principal Dawn Hochsprung. "Money is the last thing you want to have to deal with, especially when you are grieving."

 

The gunman at Sandy Hook killed 20 first-graders and six educators, all women, on Dec. 14. Two wounded staff members survived, as did 12 children who saw the shootings. Donations after the shocking massacre of such young children poured in from all over the world.

 

Distributions from the biggest charitable fund, the Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation, have been delayed twice as administrators try to balance the needs of the recipients. The fund, formed to take control of $11.4 million that was raised with the help of the United Way, has said it plans to divvy up $7.7 million among the families of the children killed, to the surviving children and the two staffers.

 

Committees will be formed and meetings held to decide how to spend the rest of the money, and whether to keep some of it as an investment tool for future mental health care and other needs.

 

Reaching a consensus over the split has not been easy, especially when trying to bring together families that have been through so much but may have competing interests, said Dr. Charles Herrick, the foundation's president.

 

"Whenever you see a child who survived that situation, it is going to be all the more painful, magnifying your own sense of loss," he said. "Alternatively, if your child was exposed to that horror, your concern is how do I protect my child? How do I help my child overcome these terrible memories and get on with their lives without this forever damaging them? So, the needs are very different."

 

The families are not seeking more money and the issue is much bigger than just deciding how much each deserves, said Ian Hockley, whose 6-year-old son, Dylan, was killed at Sandy Hook. The state attorney general has identified more than 70 funds in Newtown that have raised more than $21 million for everything from a memorial to scholarships for Sandy Hook students.

 

The hodgepodge of charities has created a cumbersome process for everyone involved, and a concern that some people may be using the images of slaughtered children inappropriately.

 

"What's the objective here?" Hockley said. "The objective is to heal Newtown and to take care of its most affected people. And if all of that money is there for that purpose, then this has to be looked at as a whole."

 

He is among the Newtown relatives endorsing the different approach for collecting donations after such tragedies - one that they say could have made it easier on them by clarifying from the outset that certain funds are reserved for victims and others for the broader community. They and families affected by other shootings have taken the idea for a compassion fund to the National Center for Victims of Crime.

 

"Public intent is to help the victims directly," said Anita Busch, whose cousin, Micayla Medek, 23, died in the Aurora movie theater. "The right thing to do is to give the victims what was collected in the names and stories and faces of their murdered and injured loved ones."

 

The national compassion fund could be ready within a few months, the crime victims center said. The group is now setting up protocols for disbursement.

 

"They came for us looking for much more transparency and a clearer solution, not only for the victims, but for the donors," spokeswoman Kath Cummins said. "It should be clear when you donate where your money is going. We want a website that can be up and running and people will know this is a fund that is going directly to the victims."

 

The group is following the example of The One Fund, set up in Massachusetts after the Boston Marathon bombing to help the injured and the families of the three people killed.

 

"Boston showed it can really work and money can go directly to victims," she said. "But this is new for everyone, so we're proceeding cautiously."

 

Only one fund in Connecticut, the My Sandy Hook Family Fund, was set up to give money directly to victims' families. It has distributed all of the $1.5 million it has received equally among the 26 families who lost loved ones, said Rob Accomando, a Sandy Hook resident administering the fund.

 

Last month, Connecticut's General Assembly created CT CARE, a quasi-public foundation designed to streamline the handing of donations. The foundation would create a central place for donors to send money in response to a tragedy, and a distribution committee, with representatives from the affected community, would dole out the money to victims and other charities.

 

"CT CARE will serve as a trusted repository for private donations - an entity that will disseminate those funds to the victims in accordance with the intent of the donors," Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in a statement.

 

The problems of distribution, even from one fund, are seen most acutely in the troubles of the Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation.

 

The victims' share of the main fund was increased from $4.4 million after a number of the families raised concerns over how the figure was reached, and the distribution was delayed a second time when victims' relatives went to state Attorney General George Jepsen, seeking his help in finding out how the distribution decisions were being made and by whom.

 

At Jepsen's urging, the foundation's three-member distribution committee, led by retired U.S. District Court Judge Alan Nevas, agreed to meet July 11 and 12 with each family individually to assess their needs. It will also hold a public hearing on July 11 on the disbursement plan, Nevas said.

 

"Everybody will not be equal," Nevas said. "The 26 people who lost their lives will not be treated the same as the 14 people who survived."

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Two women arrested for prostitution at health spas

Two women have been arrested for allegedly operating brothels disguised as health spas in Putnam County.  Undercover deputies of the Sheriff's office contacted two spas to make massage appointments last Wednesday and were escorted to back rooms where a price was negotiated for a massage and a sexual act. 

 

After cash was handed over, Narcotics Enforcement Unit members came in and arrested the employees. 

 

53-year old Hui Ren of Queens New York who worked at Amy Spa on Route 6 in Southeast was charged with prostitution and unauthorized practice of a profession without a license.  48-year old You Hua, also of Queens, who worked at Healthy Spa on Bryant Pond Road in Putnam Valley was arrested on the same charges. 

 

They were released without bail for future court appearances. 

 

Earlier this year a Bei Jing Spa employe had been arrested in a similar incident and code enforcement officers were notified.

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Badaracco found guilty on bribery charges

A jury has found a Sherman man guilty of trying to bribe a state judge to influence a grand jury investigation into his wife's death in 1984.

Jurors reached the verdict in the case of 77-year-old Dominic Badaracco Friday in Bridgeport Superior Court. He denied allegations that he offered Judge Robert Brunetti 100-thousand dollars in 2010 to help shield him from the investigation.

Brunetti testified he was stunned by the offer and reported it to court officials the next day.

Mary Badaracco was 38 when she disappeared 29 years ago. Her body has never been found. The one-judge grand jury investigation ended last year without anyone being charged in her death.

Dominic Badaracco denies any involvement in his wife's death.

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