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Local Headlines Archives for 2013-08

Bogus bills used to pay for pizza lands NY man under arrest

A New York man has been arrested in Danbury for trying to pay for pizza with a counterfeit bill.  Danbury Police were called to Nico's Pizza around 8 o'clock Thursday night and found that 22-year old Miguel Audelo of Queens tried to buy two slices of pizza with a fake $50 bill. 

 

Officers were told by the man that he does this for a job.  Several other bogus bills were found in the man's possession, seized and turned over to the Secret Service. 

 

He was charged with two counts of forgery and criminal attempt to commit larceny.  He was held on $100,000 bond and an ICE detainer. 

 

It was then determined that Audelo was wanted in Queens for felony forgery, so he was charged with being a fugitive from justice and $25,000 was added to his bond.

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Two men held on ICE detainers for drug sales, assault

Two men are being held in Danbury on Immigration and Customs Enforfcement detainers after being stopped by Danbury police on an outstanding warrant Thursday. 

 

Police had warrants to search 34-year old Julio Reyes-Rosario and his apartment stemming from an investigation into drug sales at his apartment, where he worked and other Danbury area locations.  His car was stopped near Deer Hill Avenue Thursday afternoon and searched. 

 

Officers found a substantial amount of cocaine, packaging material, drug paraphernalia and U.S. currency.  The Dominican Republic national was charged and is being held on bond and an ICE detainer. 

 

His passenger, Benancio Marte-Peralta, had been deported in 2007 and reentered the U.S. without inspection.  He had an outstanding warrant for assault stemming from a domestic violence incident.  He is being held on bond and an ICE detainer.

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Pair arrested after child shows up to school with injuries

A New Haven man and a Danbury woman have been arrested on risk of injury charges after an 8-year old child showed up to school with suspicious injuries.  Danbury Police were called by the state Department of Children and Families on Wednesday about the child who had severe blisters an injuries on their left foot. 

 

The child told a school nurse and hospital staff that a man staying at their house put something on their toes and in their shoes.  When a female relative turned up at the hospital the child's story changed. 

 

44-year old Nelson Samaniego was arrested by New Haven Police at his work and charged with assault and cruelty to a person.  30-year old Vilma Samaniego was also charged with interfering with the duties of an officer and hindering prosecution. 

 

  

 

Each were arraigned in Danbury Superior Court yesterday and held on bond.

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Conn. delegation faults US tribal recognition plan

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut's congressional delegation is urging the U.S. Interior Department to scrap proposed rules changes that could make it easier for American Indian tribes to win federal recognition.

A letter sent this week by all seven members of the delegation in Washington says the proposal waters down the criteria and would have a significant impact on Connecticut residents.

Under the changes proposed in June by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, tribes that have had a state reservation since at least 1934 could be eligible for recognition. That could benefit the various factions of the Schaghticokes of Kent, the Golden Hill Paugussetts of Trumbull and Colchester and the Eastern Pequots of North Stonington.

Recognition could bolster the tribes' land claims and potentially help them bring new gambling halls to the state.

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Low blood supply of universal donor, local drives to be held

The New York Blood Center, which provides blood, transfusion products and services to hospitals in parts of Connecticut, says it has less than a two-day supply of O-negative "universal donor'' blood heading into the Labor Day weekend. 

 

The center said Thursday it tries to maintain a seven to nine-day supply of all blood types.  O-negative can be transfused into anyone during a trauma situation when there's no time for blood typing. 

 

There are blood drives Thursday at Danbury Hospital and Friday at Walnut Hill Community Church in Bethel.

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Mark Twain Library book sale this weekend in Redding

One of the largest book fairs in New England is being held this weekend in Redding. There are 60,000 books available for sale that cover 65 categories.  The sale takes place at the Redding Community Center on Lonetown Road behind the elementary school.

The Mark Twain Library was founded by Samuel Clemens, whose pen name was Mark Twain, in 1908.  He lived in Redding the last years of his life. Upon his death in 1910, his daughter Clara donated books for sale and 103 years later, the Book Fair is still one of the library's principal fundraisers.

 

This year's highlights include a large children's book section and a large collection of Art & Photography books including Franklin Library leather–bound sets.  The library received some donations from Lucie Arnaz and her husband Larry Luckinbill.

 

The book fair runs from Friday through Monday afternoon.

  • Friday: 9-4  prices as marked
  • Saturday: 9-4  prices as marked
  • Sunday: 9-4  half price day
  • Monday: 9-4  $5 for a bag full of books

 

More information about the book sale can be found on the library's website.

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Brookfield man arrested for crashing stolen car

A Brookfield man has been arraigned on charges that he crashed a stolen car Tuesday night.  Brookfield Police responded to a motor vehicle accident on Ironworks Hill Road tuesday, but found that the driver left the scene.  25-year old Joseph Aragi was found a short time later. 

 

He was charged with felony larceny, evading responsibility , operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license and failure to drive in the proper lane.  He was ordered held on $5,000 bond

 

Aragi will be back in Danbury Superior Court on September 12th.

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Fewer trains for evening commute ahead of holiday weekend

Commuter rail lines in New York and Connecticut will provide extra service on Friday to help customers get a head start on the Labor Day weekend. Metro-North will provide additional early afternoon service from Manhattan tomorrow for customers planning to leave early for the holiday weekend. 

 

On Friday the 5:25 train to Brewster will not run. 

 

Several trains on the New Haven line will either be combined or not operated to accommodate the shift in ridership.

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NYC street to be renamed for Newtown, Conn., boy

NEW YORK (AP) A New York City street will be renamed in honor of a 6-year-old boy who died in the elementary school massacre in Connecticut in December.

The Daily News reports that the family of the boy, Benjamin Wheeler, moved from Queens to Newtown, Conn., when he was a baby.

But his parents, Francine and David Wheeler, frequently brought their son back to a Queens park to play with neighborhood children. Ben's mother had started a networking group for families.

The renaming ceremony is planned for Sept. 7 at the intersection of 41st Street and Queens Boulevard.

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer says the community feels ``a lot of love for the Wheelers.''

He and U.S. Rep Joseph Crowley are joining local residents in planning the event.

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4 Putnam County businesses fail alcohol sales compliance check

Compliance checks have been made at Putnam County package stores and markets. 

 

Undercover members of the Sheriff’s Narcotics Enforcement Unit worked with the Putnam County Communities That Care Coalition and youths to see if businesses were checking IDs before selling alcohol.  During these checks an underage individual, under the direct supervision of a law enforcement officer, attempted to purchase alcoholic beverages from a store clerk without showing proof of age as required by law. 

 

Four were found to be in violation and the clerks at markets in Carmel, Kent and Southeast were charged with Unlawfully Dealing With a Child.  The businesses were referred to the New York State Liquor Authority Division of Alcohol Beverage Control for possible administrative action. 

 

Those charged and the businesses are:

 

-Alomri Farhan Asem - 23 years old, employed by SVK - Master Mart Route 22, Southeast

-Rengina George - 34 years-old, employed by TNT Mini Mart Route 6, Carmel

-Kamaljeet Singh - 26 years-old, employed by Messina Auto Service Route 6, Carmel

-Sureshkumar Sunny Patel - 31 years old, employed by Gino’s Deli Towners Road, Kent

 

Last year three violations were detected leading to arrests. In 2011 a total of fifteen individuals were charged stemming from the sales of alcoholic beverages to minors. 

 

Sheriff Donald Smith says there has been a significant decline in the unlawful sales, but he would like to see a 100-percent compliance rate.

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NY sex offender fails to notify officials of change of address

A Putnam County man who failed to report his change of address to authorities has been arrested.  The Sheriff's Office says 39-year old Jamon Johnson, who previously lived in Putnam Valley, is a level 2 sex offender. 

 

Police obtained information in June that Johnson was living at several other locations in the County during a four month period after leaving his home. 

 

Johnson was charged this month with failing to register a change of address withing 10 days of moving, which is a felony in New York.  He was arrested on an outstanding warrant and turned himself in.  Johnson was released without bail for a September 9th court appearance.

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Flooding, power outages accompany Wednesday storm

The thunderstorm that hit Fairfield County Wednesday afternoon caused some road flooding in Ridgefield.  School officials say a few buses reported delays in getting kids home because of flooding and the heavy rain.  Some residents called town officials to report that their basements flooded with the quick, heavy rain.

 

The storm also knocked down some trees.  One fell onto a power line pole on Old Branchville Road causing the pole to snap.

 

Fire officials say power lines connected to a High Ridge house were struck by lightning, but there was no serious damage.  A lightning strike on Olmstead Lane was also investigated.

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Feds provide financial relief to Conn. police

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) The U.S. Justice Department has announced it will provide $2.5 million to cover some costs Connecticut law enforcement agencies incurred related to the Newtown school shooting.

Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday the money from the department's Bureau of Justice Assistance is intended to cover the costs of overtime, forensics and security following the shooting in December at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Twenty children and six educators were killed.

Police in the neighboring town of Monroe are getting the most, nearly $883,000. Connecticut State Police are getting more than $663,000 while Newton police are getting more than $602,000.

Almost $300,000 is split between more than 30 other departments.

Holder said providing financial support is ``one small action we can take to bring healing to a community that's been devastated.''

 

Acting US Attorney Deirdre Daly says the funding will compensate police for their tireless investigation of the crime as well as the officers that responded to the horrific scene and for months helped to provide security and comfort to the community

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Danbury teen charged for a fatal mall crash

19-year old Robert Stevenson was arrested Wednesday afternoon on a number of charges related to the crash that happened on Ring Road.  Police spokesman Lt Christian Carroccio says Stevenson lost control of his car and crashed on May 18th.

 

He's been charged with Misconduct with a Motor Vehicle, Operation of a Motor-vehicle having an Elevated Blood Alcohol, Reckless Driving, Reckless Endangerment, Failure to insure Private Motor-vehicle, Operating Without a License Subsequent Offense, and Misuse of Marker Plate.

 

Stevenson's passenger, 21-year old Davon Lasane of Danbury, died of injuries he sustained in the collision.

 

Stevenson has three other cases pending in Danbury Superior Court for incidents that happened December 26, 2012; May 3rd and August 9th.  He is set to appear in court today on criminal mischief and breach of peace charges that happened last year. 

 

For the May 3rd arrest, Stevenson is facing charges of reckless driving, operating without a license, operating an unregistered motor vehicle, possession of a car with a changed ID number, improper use of a license plate, having an obstructed windshield view, improper muffler, disobeying the signal of an officer and use of drug paraphernalia.  He will be in Court September 3rd to answer those charges.

 

He will also appear in court that day on charges from earlier this month.  The charges involve reckless driving, operating without a license, operating an unregistered motor vehicle, improper use of a license plate, possession of narcotics and operating without insurance.

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Financier's son pleads guilty in NY tax case

NEW YORK (AP) The son of a pioneering investor in Asian companies has pleaded guilty in New York to tax fraud charges, joining three siblings who earlier admitted hiding money from their father's estate in secret Swiss bank accounts.

Prosecutors say Henry Seggerman entered the plea to conspiracy and other charges in federal court in Manhattan. They say the Seggermans hid more than $12 million left to them after their father died in May 2001.

Harry Seggerman died in Fairfield, Conn., at age 73. He was one of the first mutual fund managers to invest in companies in Asia after World War II. He was a vice chairman of Fidelity Investments before retiring in 1992.

Suzanne, Yvonne and Edmund Seggerman had each previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy.

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Danbury 5-year old found safe after getting on school bus

On the first day of school in Danbury a 5 year old special needs kindergarten student from the Hayestown School was missing for a while.  Danbury police were searching for the child Tuesday afternoon.  Danbury Deputy Superintendent Dr. Bill Glass says he was found safe shortly after being reported missing.

 

Apparently he followed a friend onto the wrong school  bus when his aide had her back turned.  The bus company was called and a robocall was sent out to parents.  There was a delay in hearing back from the bus company because the radios weren't working.

 

The 5 year old is home safe with his parents.

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Ridgefield considers anti-blight ordinance

Multiple old cars parked on the lawn, garbage and general junk littering a property could soon be subject to a blight ordinance in Ridgefield.  The Board of Selectmen is once again considering how to draft an ordinance to address neighbor concerns about the condition of rundown properties.  Though First Selectman Rudy Marconi says this would not be for tall grass or houses that need painting.

 

He says it's unfair to people in this economy who work hard to protect the investment of their home to have someone allowing their home to fall into a state of disrepair lower the property value of the neighborhood.

 

Marconi says the Ridgefield ordinance could mirror one enacted recently in Newtown which created an anti-blight enforcement officer, daily fines and hearings to contest blight charges.  

 

The Newtown language will be a guide for a similar statute.

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Conn. lawmakers approve medical marijuana regs

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut is the latest state to enact a medical marijuana program.

By a voice vote, the General Assembly's Regulation Review Committee on Tuesday approved wide-ranging regulations that spell out the details of the new system. While there were some nay votes, no tally was taken.

Some cheers erupted in the audience after the regulations were declared approved.

The panel reclassified marijuana by a voice vote, moving it from a drug with no medical purpose to one that has a medical purpose but has potential for abuse and needs to be controlled.

Some committee members who originally opposed the underlying medical marijuana legislation expressed concerns about enacting regulations for a program that would be at odds with federal drug laws.

At the same time, they praised the regulations for their completeness.

 

Members of the committee include New Milford state Senator Clark Chapin and Representative Arthur O'Neill, whose district includes Bridgewater, and Southbury.  Chapin voted for the bill when he was in the state House and O'Neill voted against it.

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Wilton state senator exploring run for governor

NAUGATUCK, Conn. (AP) Wilton state Sen. Toni Boucher is the latest Republican considering a possible run for governor in 2014.

The lawmaker announced Tuesday she filed paperwork to form an exploratory committee. She made the announcement in Naugatuck, where she grew up after emigrating from Italy.

Earlier this month, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton announced he was also exploring a possible gubernatorial campaign. Senate Minority Leader John McKinney of Fairfield has already said he plans to seek the Republican nomination and ultimately challenge Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who has not yet said whether he plans to seek a second term.

Greenwich businessman Tom Foley has said he hasn't decided whether to run again.

Boucher has served in the Senate since 2009. She previously served 12 years in the House of Representatives.

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Ex-Donovan aide receives 3-year sentence

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) A former aide to ex-Connecticut House Speaker Christopher Donovan has been sentenced to more than three years in prison in connection with illegal contributions to Donovan's failed congressional campaign last year.

Robert Braddock Jr. was sentenced Tuesday to three years and two months in prison. He was convicted in May.

Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven said Braddock's campaign finance violations were particularly crass. Braddock did not speak at the hearing.

Braddock was the finance manager for Donovan's campaign for the 5th Congressional District seat.

Prosecutors say Braddock and seven other co-defendants who pleaded guilty were involved in a scheme that funneled nearly $28,000 to Donovan's campaign through straw donors in an effort to get Donovan to kill proposed state legislation to raise taxes on roll-your-own cigarette shops.

Donovan wasn't charged.

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Sandy Hook students return to school for new year

MONROE, Conn. (AP) Students at the Connecticut school where 20 first-graders and six educators were killed in December have returned to classes in a neighboring town.

Newtown's first day of school was Tuesday. The Sandy Hook Elementary School students are being bused to Monroe, where a former middle school was renovated for them shortly after the shootings.

The 400 or so Sandy Hook students are starting their first full school year since the Dec. 14 shootings. Twenty-year-old Adam Lanza shot the 26 victims and killed himself, after fatally shooting his mother at their Newtown home. The motive remains unclear.

Town voters will be asked in October to approve plans to demolish the school where the massacre occurred and build a new one on the same property.

 

The mother of a 9-year-old girl from Newtown says her daughter was "very happy to be back at school.'' 

 

Brenda Lebinski says her daughter's transition into the fourth grade was made easier because she was able to have the same teacher as last year. Lebinski says everything ``went well'' this morning -- there was a lot of police presence when we pulled in. There were lots of teachers and therapy dogs greeting the kids when they walked in".

 

"She was very happy to be back at school," Lebinski said. "Most of the kids were fine."

 

On one of the school buses carrying the Sandy Hook children on Tuesday morning, a window was decorated with a quotation from the school's slain principal, Dawn Hochsprung: "Be nice to each other. It's really all that matters."

 

The district has announced a partnership with the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of The City University of New York to review school security measures and make recommendations.

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No charges to be filed in New Milford house explosion

The criminal investigation has ended into last year's house explosion in New Milford.  State police say no charges will be filed.  The gas explosion leveled a Sunny Valley Road home on August 29, 2012.  The accident killed 47-year old Anthony Fratino III and critically injured his then-9 year old son.  Fratino was working on his friend's home trying to fix a propane leak.

 

Nicholas Fratino was treated at the Bridgeport Hospital burn unit.  The home owner, John Wilkinson, was transported to a Boston hospital for treatment.

 

State Police and the New Milford Fire Marshal's office concluded their investigation this week.  Investigators determined that an abandoned Liquid Propane Gas dryer had been removed 9 years before the accident, but the gas line was not properly capped.

 

The line was accidentally opened by contractors who were installing a hot water heater and upgrading the piping system.  The report from local and state police say an unidentified ignition source initiated the catastrophic explosion.

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Man who stole scooter charged with reckless driving

If you're going to drive a stolen vehicle, you should probably obey all traffic laws.  Danbury Police stopped a 20-year old Danbury man just before 7pm last night for weaving in and out of traffic on a motorized scooter and almost causing an accident. 

 

Officers determined that the scooter was stolen. 

 

William Tavera was charged with larceny and reckless driving.  He was released on bond for a September 6th court appearance.

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Bethel man charged for growing pot at children's home

A Bethel man has been charged for growing a marijuana plant at his children's Danbury apartment.  Danbury officers were alerted to the large plant growing in front of an Eden Drive Housing Complex apartment. 

 

Police interviewed 47-year old Steven Gibson and determined that the apartment belonged to his children and he was maintaining the pot plant. 

 

Gibson was charged with cultivating marijuana, possession within 1,500 feet of a housing complex and risk of injury to a minor.  He is being held on bond.

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Grant becomes official to train new docs in Danbury

A $450,000 federal grant is being used by the Greater Danbury Community Health Center to train three people to become primary care physicians.  Executive Director former Congressman James Maloney and Senator Chris Murphy announced the grant becoming official Monday. 

 

Murphy says the timing is appropriate because this particular program will make a difference as Obamacare rolls out.  He hopes the new doctors will stay in Danbury after they finish their residency.

 

Each student in the residency program will train for three years.  Three more doctors will start the program next year and three in the year after that.  The Health Center will receive a total of $2.7 million in funding for the program.

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Danbury students back to class, construction still underway

Danbury students are back in class and some will notice changes to their schools.  The gym floors at Morris Street and King Street Intermediate were replaced.  A new roof is being put on Morris Street School and work is scheduled to start on that in September.  All three elementary schools are being renovated and expanded. 

 

Superintendent of Schools Dr Sal Pascarella says nearly two dozen classrooms are being added to help alleviate overcrowding issues the district could face with an estimated additional 100 students each year for the next 5 years.

 

Pascarella says all security measures were reassessed over the summer.  In a back-to-school message, he said they have also increased the number of social workers in the district to provide counselling to identify and work with students who need extra assistance.

 

Exterior door locks were upgraded on all buildings.  Panic buttons were also installed in various locations.  A new district-wide card access system was installed that allows access to be programmed individually for card holders. 

 

In one Danbury neighborhood, there was some school bus rerouting done.  Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola says that's because of construction on the right side of Park Avenue School and an access road to the street adjacent to the school.  Three buses for half an hour in the afternoons will have to use the access onto Crescent Drive.  

 

A custodian will be there to monitor the activities.  There is also a chain that gets locked and signage to safeguard traffic around the construction site when workers are at the school.

 

Iadarola says they did meet with the residents who had some concerns, but most of them have been addressed.

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Police investigating robbery of food delivery man

Danbury police say there was a robbery in the city Sunday night.

 

Around 9:30 pm officers responded to the area of Foster Street on a report of a hold up.  Danbury Police say the victim was delivering Chinese food and stopped at a home, but the residents said they did not order food.

 

Police said as he attempted to return to his car two males approached him and pulled out a gun demanding money.  The two men then took an undisclosed amount of money and the victim's cell phone.

One male is described as in his late teens with dark skin and approximately 5 feet 6 inches. The other is described as being in his late teens with lighter skin and 5 feet 5 inches.  The suspects took off in an unknown direction.

 

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Detective Bureau at 203-797-4622.

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14 new firefighters for Danbury head off to training

14 new fire fighters in Danbury have gone through some initial training and orientation this weekend.  They reported Monday to the Connecticut State Fire Academy.  Fire Chief Geoff Herald says they have not been assigned yet.

 

Herald says this is not an expansion of the Department, the 14 new members will fill in some vacancies created over the years through retirements.  They will be placed in four various platoons.

 

All of the new fire fighters came on board having a Connecticut or national registration as an EMT or paramedic.  Herald says that's especially important in this community because a lot of the calls the fire department gets need EMT skills.

 

The new firefighters will be done with training by December.

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Newtown shooter's school records being sought

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) A portrait of a highly isolated young man is emerging as a state office investigating the Newtown school shooter seeks the release of his educational records.

Connecticut's child advocate office is seeking Adam Lanza's records as part of an investigation with its Child Fatality Review Panel into last year's massacre of 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The 20-year-old Lanza committed suicide after the shootings.

The panel reviews unexpected child fatalities. It has obtained some of Lanza's school and hospital records, but the attorney general asked on the panel's behalf for the release of his educational records.

Faith Vos Winkel, assistant child advocate, says a theme is emerging of a very isolated child. She says the case is like a puzzle for which they have only a few pieces.

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Officials look for Sandy Hook school time capsule

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Officials in Newtown, Conn., say they're trying to find a 1980 time capsule buried somewhere at Sandy Hook Elementary School before crews demolish the building where 20 first-graders and six educators were killed in December.

First Selectman E. Patricia Llodra tells The News-Times of Danbury that she recently learned about the time capsule. It contains artwork, pictures and other school items.

Llodra and school officials are seeking people who were fifth-graders at the school in 1980 and who remember where the capsule is buried.

The school is set to be demolished at the end of the year. Officials are proposing to build a new school on the same property. Llodra says if the time capsule is found, it can either be opened or reburied outside the new school.

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State Police investigating a fatal accident in Roxbury

State Police say two New Milford women were killed in the one car crash late Friday night and a Danbury man was injured.  Police say 23-year old Barbara Langford was driving near Old Lane when she crossed the double yellow line and hit a light post.  Police say the car hit a tree stump and then flipped over.

 

Police say Langford and 26-year old Beverly Crawford were transported to Danbury Hospital where they were pronounced dead.

 

State Police say 27-year old Vernon Yeomans was also transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.  He was seated in the back of the car. 

 

The investigation is continuing.

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Match likely started New Milford condo fire

New Milford fire officials are investigating a two-alarm blaze at a condo complex.  Officials say the fire at Aspetuck Village happened around 10 o'clock Friday morning. 

 

The Fire Marshal's office says the fire was likely started by a match that was thrown out in a trash can, but the investigation is still ongoing. 

 

One person was injured and transported to the hospital with leg wounds.  The fire caused significant damage to at least four units.  Several families were displaced by the fire and are receiving assistance from the American Red Cross.

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Car into house, tree in separate Monroe accidents

Monroe Police are investigating two accidents that happened Friday, one involving a tree the other involving a house. 

 

Police say Honda Odyssey crashed into a tree just before 1am on Israel Hill Road.  The driver, a man in his 30's was extricated from the vehicle and transported to the hospital for treatment of serious injuries.  Police say they don't know at this time why the car left the road. 

 

Around 10:45 Friday morning a Kia Sportage, for an unknown reason, went across Moose Hill Road, and struck a house.  Police say the 70-year old Monroe woman had to be extricated from the car and was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. 

 

The cause of each accident has not been determined.

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Sept. 24 referendum in Redding, Easton on Barlow field improvements

The Region 9 school board has set a date for a referendum on the $3.27 million bond request for the design and construction of various athletic stadium improvements at Joel Barlow High School.  Redding's share of the allocation is about 55-percent based on population in the school.  Easton will pick up the rest. 

 

The referendum will be September 24. 

 

There were less than a dozen people at the public hearing earlier this week about the project which includes money for soil testing, landscaping and improvements to the nearby parking lot.

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Newtown projects are on time, under budget

The Newtown Board of Selectmen has gotten an update on a couple of ongoing projects.  At their meeting earlier this week the Newtown Board of Selectmen heard that both the Sandy Hook streetscape and Hawley School boiler project are on time and under budget. 

 

For the street scaping, lights are being wired.  A sidewalk is planned to Crestwood Drive by the former Sandy Hook Elementary School. 

 

The boiler project should be completed by October 1st.  The gas company has installed the line and the equipment.  The new parent orientation and student walk through at the school has been rescheduled to Monday morning.

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Hurricane season not over, NU looks for staging site

Northeast Utilities is thanking Newtown for use of the Fairfield Hills campus as a full scale staging area during the unprecedented storms that hit the state in recent years.  Senior vice president of Emergency Preparedness William Quinlan wrote a letter to the First Selectman thanking her for the town's offer.

 

He wrote that that thousands of employees from as far away as Canada were able to quickly assemble at the space provided. 

 

He wrapped up by saying that even though the region has endured more than its fair share of inclement weather for a while, he hopes Connecticut Light & Power can use the Fairfield Hills campus again if the partnership is needed in the future.

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Conn. legislative lawyers now back pot regulations

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Legislative attorneys are now recommending that state lawmakers approve a revised set of proposed regulations for Connecticut's new medical marijuana program.

In a report provided to The Associated Press, the Legislative Commissioners Office recommended that the General Assembly's Regulation Review Committee approve the regulations in whole, along with 118 technical corrections, various deletions and substitute pages. The bipartisan panel is scheduled to meet on Tuesday.

The attorneys had previously recommended the committee reject the proposed regulations, citing more than dozen concerns, such as the broadness of the language. But the Department of Consumer Protection submitted revisions, expressing confidence that all the major concerns had been addressed.

 

Members of the committee include New Milford state Senator Clark Chapin and Representative Arthur O'Neill, whose district includes Roxbury and Washington.  O'Neill voted against the 2012 bill and Chapin voted for it when he was in the state House.

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Owner of gun shop pleads guilty to violations

The man who owned the store where the assault rifle used in the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School has pleaded guilty to violating federal firearms laws.

 

56-year old David LaGuercia, who owned and operated Riverview Gun Sales in East Windsor pleaded guilty Thursday.  U.S. Attorney spokesman Tom Carson says LaGuercia was a federal firearms licensed dealer in Connecticut from 2005 to December 2012.  ATF revoked Riverview's license on December 20th and LaGuercia has not appealed the administrative decision. 

 

As part of his guilty plea, LaGuercia has agreed that he will not hold a license for five years and agreed to sell or transfer any firearms remaining in Riverview’s inventory to another licensed dealer. 

 

ATF investigation uncovered 300 false or missing records.  The investigation also revealed at least two instances where people received firearms prior to receiving approval from the national instant criminal background check system. 

 

Acting U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly says the investigation revealed shoddy inventory procedures and seemingly non-existent store security.  Daly says licensed dealers are the first line of defense in making sure that firearms don’t wind up in the wrong hands. 

 

Sentencing has been scheduled for November 14th.

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Public hearings will be held on privacy vs right to know law

A local lawmaker has filled in for a colleague at a Task Force meeting this week.  Representative Dan Carter subbed for DebraLee Hovey at the meeting of the group that's been charged with recommending how to balance victim privacy with the public's right to know.  The pair each represent a section of Newtown.  Carter says the group will hold two public hearings.

 

Carter says at Hovey's urging the group decided that the hearings should not be held in the state capital, but rather places that have higher rates of crime.  One will be in Hartford, but not at a state government building.

 

The task force was formed in legislation blocking the release of crime scene photos from Sandy Hook Elementary and certain other crimes going forward. 

 

The date and locations of the public hearings have not yet been scheduled.  The task force is looking to send recommendations to the General Assembly by January 1st.

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Motorcyclist killed on Route 7 in New Milford ID'd

The identity of the motorcyclist who was killed on Route 7 in New Milford Tuesday has been released.   Police say 67-year old Joseph Swiatek of Ridgefield was pronounced dead at the scene. 

 

The accident happened around 2:30pm on the stretch of northbound roadway by the Windmill Diner.  New Milford Police say the motorcyclist lost control, was ejected from the bike and struck by two vehicles.

 

Police say a garbage truck registered to Kenworth Construction struck the motorcyclist.  The truck was driven by a Danbury man.  A Danbury woman driving a car then also struck the motorcyclist.

 

Route 7 was closed for more than five hours. 

 

The crash remains under investigation.  No charges have been filed.

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Pedestrian killed on I-84 in Danbury Wednesday identified

State Police say a pedestrian was struck by a tractor-trailer and killed.  Interstate 84 westbound has reopened at exit 6.

 

State police say 52-year-old Jonathan Rich of Ridgefield got out of a friend's car parked near the highway and made a comment that appeared to show he was thinking about suicide. Troopers say he tried to run in front of a tractor-trailer, which was able to switch lanes and avoid him.  But Police say the man then ran further along the road and got back in front of the truck.  He suffered massive, fatal injuries.

Authorities say the collision was unavoidable and no charges will be filed.

 

Traffic was stalled back to Southbury just after 1 o'clock this afternoon and drivers were being diverted off the highway at exit 6.  Danbury Police were warning drivers to expect heavy traffic in the North Street/Padanaram Road, Main Street, Newtown Road/Federal Road areas in Danbury.  Danbury police say there were several fender benders on the city streets as a result of the heavier than normal traffic.

 

The highway was reopened shortly before 4pm.

 

 

That was the fourth accident Westbound on the highway Wednesday.  A three-vehicle accident was reported around 4:30pm between exits 9 and 8.  Earier in the afternoon, around 10am there was a two car crash between exits 10 and 9.  At the tail end of rush hour, around 8:30am there was a three-vechile accident reported between exits 8 and 7.

 

The pedestrian accident was the fourth fatal crash in the Greater Danbury area in six days.

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Newtown Selectmen propose larger memorial board

The Newtown Board of Selectman has voted to increase the number of people who will sit on a 12/14 memorial commission.  At their meeting on Monday, the Board decided to have a commission of 9 members rather than 7 that would come up with recommendations for a permanent memorial to those who were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary. 

 

According to minutes of the Monday meeting, the Board of Selectmen has received 33 applications.  The Board will interview candidates and will likely appoint members at their next meeting. 

 

The Commission would have to recommend the scope, scale and funding of a project after presentations from interested parties.

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Brookfield man caught driving with suspended license

Speeding has landed a Brookfield man under arrest in New York because his driving privileges had been suspended in that state.  The Putnam County Sheriff's Office reports that a deputy pulled a car over Tuesday night for speeding on Route 311. 

 

36-year old Thomas Pasko was charged with unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. 

 

He was released on a written promise to appear in Patterson Justice Court on September 9th to answer the charge.

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Three people arrested for a robbery and assault in Danbury

A man walking home in the area of Great Plain Road has told police that a car pulled along side him Tuesday night and his ex-girlfriend got out of the car and punched him.  21-year old Amanda Fitzgerald of Danbury then allegedly told two other men to "get him". 

 

21-year olds Charles Osdranus and Anthony Priar, both of Danbury, assaulted the victim and took an undisclosed amount of cash from him.  The three were located shortly after the man called police.  All three have been charged with conspiracy to commit assault and to commit robery. 

 

Fitzgerald was also charged with assault and criminal mischief. 

 

Osdranus was also charged with larceny and criminal impersonation for giving a false name during processing.

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Danbury Library has new, expanded computer lab

Danbury Library now has an expanded and relocated computer resource area.  Technology Center IT Manager Sonrda Grossi says the project was made possible because of a significant grant from the Praxair Foundation and funding from the Friends of the Danbury Library.

 

Grossi says it is a more efficient set up.  The old floor plan had one computer hidden where a quiet reading area is now set up and a majority of the other computers were in the lobby area.  The rest were spread out around the first floor.

 

The library was closed for three days during the work because electricians had to rewire the area for computers, new shelves were built and the main floor was rearranged.  The funding was used in part to purchase new computer carrels, a new microfilm machine and new shelving.

 

Grossi says even though the computers are right by the main entrance, it's not as noisy.  They took some of the bullet proof glass from the old Union Savings Bank branch next door and made a partition.  The bank branch next to the library was closed when construction started on a new location down the road.  The Library has acquired some of that old space and officials hope to eventually have a drive-thru book drop off. 

 

The rest of the building is becoming the Danbury Innovation Center.

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Woman who took kids on drug run pleads guilty

LITCHFIELD, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut woman is facing up to three years in prison for taking her two young nieces on a trip to buy crack cocaine, which triggered a statewide alert about their disappearance.

Twenty-seven-year-old Jennifer Wheeler of Torrington pleaded guilty to felony risk of injury to a minor Wednesday in Litchfield Superior Court. The Republican-American reports the plea deal calls for a prison sentence of up to three years. Sentencing is set for Nov. 22.

Police say Wheeler took her 3- and 5-year-old nieces on a drug run from Torrington to a Waterbury apartment in February, and all three of them stayed overnight. Authorities say Wheeler used crack cocaine while the girls were in another room.

Police issued a Silver Alert for Wheeler and the girls.

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Concerns raised about membership of Conn. panel

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The president of a Connecticut open government advocacy group is questioning the makeup of a task force charged with recommending how to balance victim privacy with the public's right to know, in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

James Smith, president of the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information, said Wednesday he's concerned the 17-member panel appears weighted in favor of keeping certain information from public release.

Don DeCesare, a representative of the Connecticut Broadcasters Association and the panel's co-chairman, said ``it's a little early to count noses'' and he's still hopeful the panel can unanimously approve a set of recommendations for the General Assembly to consider by Jan. 1.

The task force agreed Wednesday it will hold two public hearings, one likely in a city.

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Victims of police chase, crash in Brookfield identified

State Police have now identified the man and woman who were in a Jeep struck by a fleeing car on Sunday in Brookfield.  The driver of the Jeep, who suffered fatal injuries has been identified as 44 year old Angel Eguardo Crillo.  His passenger, who suffered head and chest injuries, has been identified as 42 year old  Rosa Ayabaca.  They both are from Washingon.

 

As State Police conducted a seat belt compliance check in Danbury Sunday afternoon, a driver sped away from the check point at the Exit 5 eastbound on ramp.  State Police say the trooper followed the car onto the highway and then off onto Route 7. 

 

Troopers found that the car had crashed into a Jeep at the bottom of the exit 11 ramp.  State police say Crillo was transported to Danbury Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.  A passenger in the car was also taken to the hospital.

 

State police arrested 25-year old Eric Sciarretta of Waterbury on Monday for manslaughter. He was also charged with reckless driving, engaging police in pursuit, driving an unregistered motor vehicle and operating without insurance.

 

Sciarretta is being held on $300,000 bail.  He has 2006 conviction on a larceny charge in Watertown and was ordered to 3 years probation.  He was then arrested in 2008 for violating probation because of a sale of a controlled substance charge filed in Waterbury.

 

The Brookfield accident remains under investigation.

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Two men arrested in Danbury on outstanding warrants

A Danbury man who police had an arrest warrant for was seen in Rogers Park Monday afternoon and arrested.  Police say 28-year old Freddy Tenecela was wanted for an incident that happened last year.  He was charged with threatening, strangulation, unlawful restraint , kidnapping and assault. 

 

Police did not disclose any other details about the incident that led to the charges other than to say that it occurred in 2012.  Tenecela was held on $200,000 bond.

 

A Carmel man has turned himself in to Danbury Police Tuesday morning on an active arrest warrant.  Danbury Police say 27-year old Robert Langley was wanted on breach of peace and public indecency charges.  Langley is being held on $500 bond. 

 

Police did not disclose what led to the charges or when they were filed.

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New Fairfield man charged with DUI, drug possession

A New Fairfield man has been arrested on drug charges after a traffic violation.  Putnam County Sheriff's Deputies were on patrol on Route 22 in the town of Southeast early Saturday morning when they saw a car cross the double yellow line into oncoming traffic. 

 

35-year old Salvatore Gambitta was charged with driving while ability was impaired by drugs.  He was also in possession of a variety of controlled substances and charged with both a misdemeanor count and a felony count of criminal possession.  He is being held for arraignment at Putnam County Correctional Facility. 

 

If found guilty, Gambitta faces up to 7 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

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Carmel residents arrested in separate incidents for suspended licenses

Two Carmel residents have been arrested in separate stops for driving with a suspended license. 

 

A Putnam County Sheriff's Deputy patrolling Route 311 in Kent pulled over a speeding motorist on Thursday morning.  46-year old Beverly Via-Scott was charged and released on bail for an August 29th court appearance. 

 

Just after midnight on Saturday, a Deputy stopped 28-year old Bryan Bennett on Route 6 in Carmel for a traffic violation.  He was also charged and posted bail.  Bennett will be back in court on September 9th. 

 

If found guilty of the misdemeanor unlicensed operation charge each face up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

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Danbury school parking, drop off zones reworked for next week's opening

Part of the infrastructure improvement work being done this summer at Park Avenue School in Danbury is wrapping up.  The parking lot is being reconfigured and the drop-off turn around are being reworked.  That portion of the project will be done when classes start next week.  Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola says most of the addition work is taking place in the back of the school so the look of the building won't be changing too much.

 

One Council member was concerned that there would be a wall of classrooms blocking the view of the two-schoolhouse and prairie center design.  The two-story addition at Park Avenue will have 12 new classrooms, a storage room and a media center.

 

Iadarola says at each school they try to separate bus traffic from parents dropping off or picking up children.  He says the contractor has kept a very an aggressive schedule--working 10 to 12 hour days, 7 days a week.

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Operation Dry Water yields no arrests

This latest enforcement effort to find those who are boating under the influence had better results than the first according to state officials.  A state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection spokeswoman says there were no boaters found to be under the influence of alcohol who were stopped during patrols this past weekend. 

 

Operation Dry Water included state wide increased patrols and checkpoints, as well as boater education efforts. 

 

An enforcement effort at the end of June resulted in four BUI arrests including two on Candlewood Lake. 

 

EnCon police captain Ryan Healy says when alcohol is combined with stressors such as sun, wind, waves and engine noise, a fun day on the water can turn tragic.  Healy says a boat operator or even passengers with a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit runs a significantly increased risk of being involved in a fatal boating accident. 

 

In Connecticut last year, 29-percent of all accidents with injuries involved alcohol.  Four of six reportable accidents that resulted in fatalities were alcohol related.

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Putnam County jail inmate assaults another with pool cue

An inmate at the Putnam County Correctional Facility has been charged for assaulting another inmate.  The Sheriff's office reports that 19-year old Antoine Batts of Queens New York used a pool cue to hit another inmate last Sunday afternoon. 

 

The victim was treated at Putnam Hospital Center, but transferred to Westchester Medical Center for surgery. 

 

Batts was charged with felony assault.  He was arraigned a re-committed to Putnam County jail on bond for a court appearance today. 

 

If found guilty, he faces up to 7 years in a New York state correctional facility and a fine of 5-thousand dollars.

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NY man charged for assaulting hospital staff

A New York man has been arrested for assaulting three hospital staff members.  The Putnam County Sheriff's Office reports that Deputies responded to Putnam Hospital Center in Carmel last Tuesday evening to find that 34-year old Nafis Saafir of Poughkeepsie had assaulted three members of the medical staff. 

 

All three required medical treatment in the emergency room.  Saafir was charged with three felony counts of assault. 

 

He was arraigned and held on bond for a court appearance today.  If found guilty Saafir faces up to 7 years in prison and a fine of up to 5-thousand dollars for each charge.

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Fence to be installed at Sandy Hook School

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Officials in Newtown, Conn., say crews will soon install a black iron fence to block the driveway of the school where a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six educators in December.

The News-Times reports the fence will replace concrete barriers and orange traffic cones that currently block the entrance to Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Town officials have approved a plan to tear down the school and build a new one on the same property. A new driveway would be built a short distance from the current one.

Officials are planning use a $50 million state grant for construction. Town residents must approve the rebuilding plan.

Twenty-year-old Adam Lanza gunned down 26 people and killed himself at the school, after fatally shooting his mother at their Newtown home.

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FBI works to train police on mass killing response

SALISBURY, Md. (AP) Two men stand anxiously at the classroom entrance and another lies seriously wounded beside a wall outside. "Don't come down here, I'm telling you - I'll kill `em," a man inside the classroom shouts to officers snaking down the corridor with guns drawn. The officers call out to the gunman, who demands money, and order the potential victims to get down as they approach the classroom they take out the shooter in a rapid firefight.

 

The drill is part of a training program the FBI is helping run for local law enforcement agents nationwide. Acting on a White House directive after last December's Connecticut school massacre, and partnering with a Texas-based training center, the FBI this year has been teaching best practices for responding to mass shootings.

 

"You don't need negotiators, you don't have time for SWAT teams, you need to get in there as fast as possible and stop the killing," said Chris Combs, who runs the FBI's Strategic Information and Operations Center, the headquarters command post for major emergencies, and is involved in running the program.

 

The goal is to promote a standardized strategy as local police departments - invariably the first officers to arrive - respond to such shootings. Besides the tactical drills, conferences run by FBI field offices are intended to prepare local agencies for the challenges of an active shooter emergency and to let them know that federal help, including extra manpower to interview witnesses, collect evidence and manage a sprawling crime scene, is available to them.

 

"It's not capability - it's capacity," said Katherine Schweit, another FBI official involved in organizing the program. "Every police department, sheriff's department has the ability to do interviews and to do evidence collection ... But we can bring capacity. We can bring 100 agents to a scene in a day and do hundreds of interviews, and have done that time and time again."

 

Localized training programs have proliferated in recent years amid high-profile mass shootings in places such as Tucson, Ariz., where then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was wounded by a lone gunman in 2011 while meeting with constituents, and in Aurora, Colo., where a man killed 12 in a movie theater. After the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, President Barack Obama directed the FBI to train local law enforcement to develop a more consistent response and signed legislation formalizing the agency's authority to assist in mass killing investigations.

 

The FBI then partnered with an active-shooter training center - ALERRT, or Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training - which was created in Texas after the 1999 Columbine High School shootings and receives Justice Department funding. The bureau sent about 100 tactical instructors to Texas for training and returned them into the field to run exercises, alongside ALERRT trainers, for local officers.

 

Officials say the partnership helps spread ALERRT's teachings farther and faster than the program could cover on its own while lending the program what Schweit calls "the imprimatur of national support and standards." Officials hope the partnership lasts for as long as funding remains available.

 

The two-day, 16-hour tactical session - like the one held on a college campus in Maryland last week - opens with classroom instruction and ends with role-playing drills.

 

Officers and instructors were divided into gunmen, responders, hostages and victims and are given real-life scenarios that test their ability to enter a building and confront a shooter. The officers, in blue protective helmets, fired non-lethal projectiles from lookalike handguns - enough to make a loud "pop" and sting on impact. An instructor filmed the drill so participants could study their mistakes later; another periodically shouted out pointers.

 

"In that kind of event, you can never get to the point where it's real life. Always in back of the officer's head, they know, `I'm not actually going to die. No one's being killed,'" said J. Pete Blair, the ALERRT program's research director and an associate professor at Texas State University-San Marcos.

 

But, he added, "It's as close as we can get to the real thing without people getting hurt."

 

The drills coach officers to directly engage the shooter instead of waiting for specialized SWAT teams to arrive, even if the officer's weapon is less powerful than the gunman's and even if research shows an officer who arrives alone and confronts the shooter will himself be shot one-third of the time, Combs said. The average shooting is over within minutes, sometimes ending before police arrive or once the gunman hears an officer approaching.

 

That's a reversal from past training that focused on containing the scene, controlling the perimeter and calling for SWAT help. That strategy, though widely accepted at the time, was criticized as too slow and painstaking after the Columbine shootings.

 

"Now because of those lessons learned, because of the willingness to be introspective of what took place, tactics have evolved, and they're continuing to evolve," said Arvada, Colo., police Sgt. A.J. DeAndrea, who was among the first responders at Columbine.

 

Under the new initiative, the FBI is making available its behavioral analysts to consult with local police agencies concerned that someone in their community might be planning a shooting, and the bureau's 56 field offices are running table-top exercises and conferences to augment the tactical drills.

 

The willingness to go in alone is a "horrible personal decision," but must be weighed against the potential carnage inside a building, he added.

 

The conferences cover the added challenges posed by mass killings, such as collecting enormous amounts of evidence, interviewing hundreds of witnesses and sifting for explosive devices, said Stephen Vogt, who runs the FBI's Baltimore office. Interacting with the national news media also is discussed.

 

"We had hundreds of satellite trucks in a small, rural community that clogged our streets. People came from far and wide to see our memorials; traffic was a nightmare," Newtown Police Chief Michael Kehoe recalled in an interview.

 

Brian Waller, the operations commander for the Salisbury University police department, said he was re-evaluating his department's plans after sitting in on some of the training.

 

"There's kind of an explanation or some support, evidence, statistics, behind what they teach when we discuss the different tactics," Waller said. "It's not just, `Hey, this is what Joe came up with.' There's research behind it, there's experience."

 

Mike Sotka, the FBI SWAT team leader in Baltimore and one of the tactical instructors at last week's training, acknowledged that the training could be "very overwhelming" for patrol officers. But he said those are the officers who most need to be taught the proper response in the same, standardized way.

 

"We are asking patrolmen to go in and do a hostage rescue of hundreds of people, in some situations, with minimal amount of training when we ask SWAT teams to train their whole career for that."

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Call for nominations for Warrior Award

The annual Walk of Honor is being planned for October in Danbury.  It will be the second year that a local veteran will be honored with the Warrior Award.  Organizer Mary Teicholz says the nominees should be a veteran who has served in a combat zone and exemplifies the values of duty, respect, honor, loyalty, selfless service, integrity and personal courage.

 

Teicholz says it was an honor last year to have so many people share their veterans' stories with the committee and people can resubmit their nominations. 

 

Last year's winner was Navy Corpsman Todd Angell.

 

Teicholz says Danbury is blessed to have so many incredibly brave veterans in the community and she looks forward to this year's stories.  She encouraged people to resubmit nominations from last year.  A committee of 5 people, including veterans, will look at the nominations. 

 

The deadline for submission is September 30th.  The nomination should be approximately five hundred words and should include the nominee’s name, military rank, medals awarded and as many details as possible about their service.  Contact information of the person submitting the nomination should be included as well.

 

Nominations can be emailed to mteicholz@yahoo.com

submitted through www.walkofhonor.us

or mailed to:

Mary Teicholz

6 Shannon Ridge Rd

Danbury, CT 06810

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Local businessmen named to Conn. Red Cross board

The American Red Cross Connecticut Chapter has held it's annual meeting where the group elected its board of directors and slate of officers.  Two area business men have been elected to the 26-member Board.  Red Cross Spokesman Paul Shipman says the organization is involved in so many ways in helping people prevent prepare and respond to emergencies.

 

Shipman says the organization is involved in disaster preparedness and response and so they look for board members who can bring skills, experience and interest to their work.

 

Recently elected members include: Kris Yeager of Monroe--the Manager of Financial Planning and Analysis at Philip Morris Capital Corporation.  He was also elected as Secretary of the Board.  Patrick O’Donnell, of Ridgefield will serve as Board chairman.  He is Vice President of Global Marketing, Strategy and Online Commerce at IBM Corporation.

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Danbury has 1,300 smoke detectors to install for residents for free

Danbury firefighters will be dropping in on residents on Saturdays from now through October.  They along with members of the Fire Marhsall's office will install 1,300 smoke detectors and perform inspections on existing smoke detectors. 

 

Fire Chief Geoff Herald says part of the campaign is to reach out to seniors, young people and residents who are especially vulnerable to fire injury deaths.  Herald says just having a smoke detector in the home cuts the chance of dying in a fire nearly in half. 

 

Because smoke detectors alone won’t prevent every fire death, Herald says the project includes educating residents to have a home fire escape plan so they know what to do if the smoke detector sounds.  Herald says with working smoke detectors, more people can safely self-evacuate and reduce the need for interior search and rescue operations--a primary source for firefighter injuries.

 

Residents who want to schedule a home visit should call the Community Risk Reduction Office of the Fire Marshal at 203-796-1541.  The effort is being paid for by a FEMA grant.

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Region 9 school district holds Tues. on bond money

The public hearing is being held to discuss the proposed $3.27 million appropriation for the design and construction of various athletic stadium improvements at Joel Barlow High School.  Redding's share of the allocation is about 55-percent based on population in the school.  Easton will pick up the other 45-percent of the tab. 

 

After the district meeting, the Board of Education will meet to set the dates for the referendums to be held in Easton and Redding, whose town charter calls for at least 30 days notice of a referendum. 

 

There is some money included in that total for soil testing, landscaping and improvements to the nearby parking lot.  Six bids came in for the project which includes a new turf field, a fence, field lighting and bleachers. 

 

Tuesday's meeting in the library of Joel Barlow will be held at 7pm.

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Pair flees police who stopped stolen car they were driving

A car than had been reported stolen on Friday was seen by officers being driven on Newtown Road in Danbury late Saturday night.  Police stopped the purple Dodge Charger near the Public Works Facility but the driver and passenger fled after being ordered to stop. 

 

There was a small foot chase, but both were caught. 

 

43-year old Shawn Gartland of Danbury, the driver, and 30-year old Leslie O'Neill of Bethel, were each charged with 3rd degree larceny and interfering with the duties of an officer.  Both were held on bond for a future court appearance.

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3 charged for drug sale near Dabnury housing complex

Three people have been arrested in Danbury after being seen conducting a drug sale in the area of Beaver and Spring Streets on Saturday night.  Police were conducting surveillance in the area and found that 38-year old Vandy Heard of Waterbury and 43-year old Tammy Turner of Danbury were selling narcotics from a parked car to 49-year old Michael Portella of New Milford. 

 

Heard was charged for possession of and intent to sell cocaine and possession of narcotics within 1,500 feet of a housing complex. 

 

Turner was charged with possession of crack with intent to sell and two counts of possession with intent to sell within 1,500 feet of a school/housing complex. 

 

Portella was charged for having narcotics and of drug paraphernalia in his possession because police found heroin and syringes.  He was released on bond for an August 28th court appearance.

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Teen charged for drunk driving in Danbury

A routine traffic stop early this morning in Danbury leads to a drunk driving charge for an underage Norwalk teen.  Danbury Police saw a car fail to stop at the stop sign at Beaver and Spring Streets just before 3 am. 

 

19-year old Jaymee Lynn King of Norwalk failed field sobriety tests. 

 

She was charged with driving under the influence under the age of 21, failure to stop at a stop sign and possession of half an ounce of marijuana.  She was released on bond for a court appearance next Wednesday.

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Highway Motorcyclist ejected from bike comes to rest on Lake Avenue in Danbury

Danbury and State Police are investigating a motorcycle accident that happened around 4:30 Friday afternoon.  Police say a motorcyclist was ejected from his bike off Interstate 84 and came to rest on to Lake Avenue by the overpass. 

 

The highway was closed for more than 4 hours.  Lake Avenue was closed until at least 9pm. 

 

State Police have identified the motorcyclist as 33-year old Jenny Caballero of Brookfield.  Caballero was transported to Danbury Hospital where he was pronounced dead

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Former New Fairfield man sentenced for role in drug trafficking ring

A former New Fairfield man has been sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for his role in a Greater Danbury area marijuana trafficking ring.  Prosecutors say 31-year old Raymond Massagli was part of a drug ring that manufactured and sold more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana in Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and Vermont during 2011 and 2012. 

 

Investigators determined that Massagli sold large quantities of pot to Nicolas Calamaras of New Fairfield and partnered to sell marijuana to Vermont resident Weston Robinson.  That co-defendant bought plants from the pair and began his own growing operation. 

 

13 people have been charged as a result of the investigation.  Authorities seized pot, more than half a million dollars in cash, 10 firearms and vehicles. 

 

Massagli was ordered to forfeit his pickup truck.  Calamaras awaits sentencing.  Robinson was sentenced to a year and a day in jail.

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Newtown man dies in Brushy Hill Rd accident

A Newtown man died early Thursday morning from injuries sustain in a one-car crash the night before.  Newtown Police responded to the accident on Brushy Hill Road just after 10pm Wednesday. 

 

Police determined that 45-year old Gregory Layda was travelling around a right-hand curve when the car left the road and struck a stone wall. 

 

Layda had to be extricated from the vehicle.  He was transported by ambulance to Danbury Hostpial for treatment of multiple injuries, but he was later pronounced dead. 

 

An accident reconstruction team is investigating.

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Inedpendent Party of Newtown not running candidates

The Independent Party of Newtown has held it's caucus and decided not to have any candidates run for office in November.  In a statement to the press following last night's meeting, the chairman of the party wrote that members would like to continue to focus on their community works rather than run for office. 

 

He said they have been directing their energies into the healing process working with the Newtown Volunteer Task Force, the Newtown Action Alliance and others. 

 

Incumbent Republican First Selectman Pat Llodra is running unopposed for another term leading the town.

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Danbury man arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs

A Danbury man faces a number of charges following a routine traffic stop.  The Putnam County Sheriff's Office reports that a deputy stoped a driver early Saturday morning on Route 312 in the town of Southeast.  23-year old Terrell Parraway failed field sobriety tests. 

 

He was charged with driving while intoxicated, driving while ability impaired by drugs and possession of a controlled substance. 

 

Parraway was held for arraignment.  He faces up to a year in jail and fine of up to a thousand dollars for each charge.

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Quarantine on Ash wood expanded because of bettle

New York has expanded a quarantine on ash wood products to 42 counties, including Putnam, to combat the spread of the invasive emerald ash borer.  The beetle's larvae have destroyed tens of millions of trees as it's moved steadily east from Michigan, where it was discovered in 2002. 

 

There is also a quarantine in Fairfield County because the beetle was found in Sherman. 

 

The bans mean that untreated firewood can't be moved more than 50 miles from its source.  In Connecticut, state environmental officials have asked people not to move ash firewood out of the county.

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WWII ceremony honors Danbury man

A World War II Memorial Ceremony has been held in Danbury.  The Danbury Council of Veterans and the Catholic War Veterans held the ceremony at the Rose Gardens on Memorial Drive Thursday morning.  The featured speaker and honoree at the event was former City Councilman John Esposito. 

 

He is a Marine who took part in four amphibious landings in the Pacific during the war and was seriously wounded on Iwo Jima.  He still carries bullet fragments in his elbow from the intense hours of combat.  Esposito earned the Purple Heart among other medals and commendations. 

 

When he returned home, Espisito served 30 years with the Postal Service and as a volunteer fireman.  He is the longest serving councilman in Danbury's history. 

 

The Marine Corps honored him in 2009 as being the "founding father" of the 25th Regiment, which has a Reserve battalion in Plainville.

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Ridgefield school security money approved by residents for bonding

The Special Town Meeting followed a public hearing Wednesday night in Ridgefield Town Hall.  Residents approved a $731,000 special appropriation for enhanced school security. 

 

The request from the Board of Education, which will be financed through bonding, has also been approved by the Boards of Finance and Selectmen. 

 

The request is broken down into three parts. 

 

$162,000 for locks to interior doors in all of the buildings.  $231,000 for a swipe card system for the 9 schools' entrances and exterior doors.  About $338,000 is being requested for 105 security cameras.  That amount includes all of the wiring and software needed to run the cameras that can be viewed from various locations inside the schools, at the central office and at the police station.

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Money Magazine 'Top Earning Towns' includes two in Conn.

The country's top earning town is nearby Scarsdale, New York.  Weston came in a close second on Money Magazine's list.  The population of 10,300 residents had a median family income of $275,000.  The median home price in West on is $755,000. 

 

Money Magazine called the town picturesque saying you can see your neighbors if you want, but don't necessarily have to with a zoning regulated minimum lot size of two acres.  Residents were quoted as saying Weston is like nearby Westport though you can get more house for the money in Weston. 

 

Weston was credited with having an outstanding small school system that gives students the feel of private education at a public school price. 

 

Ranking 5th on the list of top earning towns: New Canaan.  The district's SAT scores were the second-highest in the state last year.  The magazine's description of New Canaan was of manicured lawns for substantial homes, a bustling downtown and green space in parks.

 

The 5 top earning towns in the country are: Scarsdale, New York; Weston, Connecticut; Hillsborough, California; Potomac, Maryland and New Canaan, Connecticut.

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Conn. megachurch ex-pastor sentenced for stealing

NEW MILFORD, Conn. (AP) A former executive pastor of a New Milford megachurch has been given a 5-year suspended sentence for embezzling more than $220,000 from a car wash owned by a fellow pastor at Faith Church.

The News-Times reports that David Valentine was sentenced Thursday by Judge Susan Reynolds in Superior Court in Danbury. She agreed to the terms of a plea deal.

Valetine was convicted on three charges of first-degree larceny and must pay back the money he stole from Squeaky's Car Wash in Danbury.

The business was owned by Faith Church Pastor Frank Santora Jr., among others.

Valentine helped run the business. He'd either write checks to fake businesses for work that never happened, or write checks for more than the work that was done. Contractors would pay him the difference.

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Israeli security expert to brief Conn. commission

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The panel reviewing the Newtown school shooting is expected to hear from an Israeli homeland security official, who will discuss methods used in the Middle Eastern nation to safeguard schools.

The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission is also scheduled to be briefed Friday by Department of Administrative Services Commissioner Donald DeFronzo, chairman of the state's new School Security Infrastructure Council. That panel has until Jan. 1 to recommend new standards to improve or enhance security and safety in new and existing Connecticut schools.

The 16-member commission was created by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in January following the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The panel is reviewing current public safety policy, including school safety, mental health and gun violence prevention. Their recommendations are expected later this year or next.

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Jasper Johns' former assistant charged with fraud

NEW YORK (AP) A former assistant to Jasper Johns has been charged with selling 22 works he allegedly stole from the pop artist's Connecticut studio.

The Manhattan U.S. attorney's office announced the indictment against James Meyer on Thursday. He's charged with interstate transportation of stolen property and wire fraud.

Meyer, of Salisbury, Conn., was Johns' studio assistant for more than 25 years. A phone number for his attorney couldn't immediately be located.

Prosecutors say Meyer removed the artworks from Johns' studio in Sharon, Conn., without his knowledge between 2006 and 2012. Meyer then allegedly took them to a Manhattan art gallery where he provided the owner with fictitious authentication papers.

Prosecutors say the gallery sold 22 of the works for $6.5 million; half the proceeds went to Meyer.

Johns' artworks appear in museums around the world.

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State Police cancel speaking engagements about Newtown

State Police have backed out of speaking engagements in Texas and California this week.  The conference speeches were about response to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  A Newtown Police officer will still speak at the Texas conference about their response. 

 

Governor Dannel Malloy's spokesman Andrew Doba said Wednesday that Chief of Staff Mark Ojakian recently asked state police to "take a deliberative approach'' when deciding whether to attend law enforcement conferences and discuss the December tragedy.

 

State officials had been critical of the speaking engagements when people of Connecticut were not getting the same information because the investigation report has not been completed or released.  The Hartford Courant reports that State Police officials have told the Western District Crime Squad to work only on the report and that other officers would take on any new cases in the district.

 

A full report on the investigation is expected in the fall.

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Plan to turn Danbury FCI into prison for men temporarily suspended

Senator Chris Murphy says the Federal Bureau of Prisons has agreed to temporarily suspend the transfer of more than a thousand inmates from Danbury to Alabama.  Murphy and other Senators from the region asked that questions be answered before the transfers happened.  He says the transfer out of Danbury would nearly eliminate beds for women in the Northeast. 

 

A federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman would only confirm that they have not transferred any inmates to Alabama and are not transferring any inmates. 

 

The moves were scheduled to start this month because there was a need for more minimum-security beds for male prisoners.

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Danbury FCI inmate pleads guilty to assaulting another inmate

62-year old Yvonne Davis pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of assault with a dangerous weapon.  U.S. Attorney spokesman Tom Carson says Davis used a ballpoint pen that had been broken to assault another inmate in November 2012.

 

The victim sustained a cut on the back of her arm that was 5 to 6 inches long and half an inch deep.  The cut required 24 stitches to close.

 

Davis will be sentenced November 6th and faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.  She is currently serving a 37 month sentence on a Texas conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

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Downtown fixture leaving Danbury after three decades

A downtown establishment is getting ready to close its doors after nearly 3 decades in Danbury.  Tuxedo Junction is closing August 31st.  Danbury Economic Development Director Bruce Tuomala says he remembers the business well.  But he says Tuxedo Junction has gone in a different direction in recent years so it's no surprise they wound up where they are at this point.

 

City officials and Ives Street establishments have been at odds in the recent past over things like "18 to party, 21 to drink parties" and fights among people when closing time rolls around.

 

But the current operator, Al Caccamo, told the Danbury Patch that the problem is downtown saying parking is too inconvenient for patrons, the problem of people begging for money and too much competition.

 

Tuomala says Caccamo's comments are unfortunate given the progress that's being made downtown.  He says the operator has chosen not to participate in the revitalization, which will have a tremendous impact on the long term picture.

 

CityCenter says they are trying to attract a regional business operator to Ives Street, which was named the Dining and Entertainment District in the 90s.

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3 escape fire at Monroe home uninjured

Three people in Monroe are being helped by the Red Cross after an overnight fire at the home they were renting on Downs Road.  The occupants were able to get out of the house uninjured.

 

Monroe fire officials say the back of the house was fully engulfed in flames just after midnight when they were called.  The town's fire marshall called the home a total loss. 

 

Tanker trucks from Sandy Hook and Oxford were called in to provide mutual assistance because there were no nearby fire hydrants.

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Boughton forms exploratory committee for 2014 Gov. run

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton has formed an exploratory committee to look into the possibility of running for Governor next year.  The 2010 Republican Lt. Governor candidate has so far been non-committal on saying if he plans to jump into the race.

 

Boughton has said up until now that he is focused on the Mayoral contest that's coming up in a few of months.

 

Danbury Democrat Paul McAllister has petitioned his way onto the November ballot to challenge Boughton.  McAllister, a former Common Councilman is a retired Ridgefield police lieutenant.

 

Last month, Senate Minority Leader John McKinney of Fairfield announced he planned to seek the Republican nomination and ultimately challenge Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy, who has not yet said publicly whether he'll seek a second term.

 

Boughton says he will make a "go" or "no go" decision by January 1st.  If he decides to get into the race, Boughton says he will not become a candidate for Lieutenant Governor.

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Danbury man, teen charged for drug sale

A Danbury man and a teenager have been arrested for a drug sale that happened in front of officers.  Police say the pair ran when members of the Community Conditions Unit approached them Monday. 

 

Danbury Police charged 21-year old Eric Espinal and the 17 year old after a brief chase with interfering with an officer, possession of narcotics and with intent to sell.  The incident happened on Spring Street so Espinal was also charged with possession within 1,500 feet of a housing project. 

 

The juvenile, who was not named because of age, was given a summons to appear in court.  Espinal was held on $10,000 bond.

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Accident leads to DUI, other charges for Danbury man

An accident on Main Street in Danbury has led to a number of charges against a city resident.  Police were called to an accident near Walgreens early yesterday morning. 

 

29-year old Silvio Cabrera with driving under the influence for the crash that happened just before 1:30am. 

 

He was also charged with failing to have headlights on, evading responsibility, driving without a license and operating on a suspended license.  Cabrera was held on $2,500 bond.

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Savings Bank of Danbury breaks ground on 2nd New Milford branch

The Savings Bank of Danbury is set to break ground today on their second branch location in New Milford.  President and CEO Kathleen Romanjano says the bank is starting construction near the intersection of Route 7 and Sullivan Court.

 

The branch will be on the property of the former McNally's Pub and will have a drive-thru teller.  Romanjano says it will also feature a technology wall to show off some of the advanced technology customers can use like depositing a check by using an iPad, iPhone or Android phone.

 

It's expected to open in early spring and will be 4,500 square feet.  The branch itself will occupy 2,500 square feet with the other half used as office space.

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Possible home invasion investigated in Newtown

Newtown Police are at a home on Route 34 responding to a possible home invasion.  State police also responded to 31 Berkshire Road in Sandy Hook where they have cordoned off the property with yellow caution tape. 

 

According to a statement from police, a possible home invasion was reported just before 9am. 

 

The property is just off exit 11 of Interstate 84.  A 4-door dark colored sedan may have been speeding through the area at the time.  Newtown Police are asking that anyone who may have been in that area between 8:45am and 8:53am to call them at 203-426-5841.

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3 Danbury residents arrested for drug sale, purchase

Three Danbury residents have been arrested on drug charges for an early Saturday morning incident.  Danbury Police say members of the Community Conditions Unit saw a suspected cocaine sale happen in the Mill Ridge area Saturday. 

 

53-year old Ronald Grant was charged with 8 counts including possession of narcotics with intent to sell and possession within 1,500 feet of a school. 

 

28-year old Jodi Davenport, who has a previous arrest for prostitution, was charged with possession of and conspiracy to sell narcotics. 

 

46-year old Randy Rogers was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.  He had been granted accelerated rehabilitation, a program for first time offenders, for charges against him in April of this year that included having a weapon in a motor vehicle.

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NY man sentenced for being part of Danbury area drug ring

A New York man has been sentenced for his role in a Greater Danbury area drug ring.  34-year old Alexander Lappin of Brooklyn was sentenced Monday to 37 months in jail and ordered to pay a $3,600 fine.  U.S. Attorney spokesman Tom Carson says Lappin must also forfeit more than $105,000, which was seized from Lappin's home when he was arrested.

 

Lappin was arrested last June.  Prosecutors say he was selling multi-kilogram quantities of marijuana to Nicolas Calamaras of New Fairfield who distributed it to others in the Greater Danbury area.  Calamaras pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing. 

 

13 people in total were charged as a result of the investigation. 

 

32-year old Sean Salasevicius was sentenced to five years in jail for growing marijuana in his New Fairfield home and selling it.  30-year old Jason Wittlin and his 24-year old brother Michael were also sentenced for their roles in the narcotics selling operation.

 

In 2011, the Drug Enforcement Administration investigated the Wittlin bothers and found that they were purchasing large quantities of Oxycodone from several people and then redistributing the narcotics to other street-level dealers.  The investigation found that Jason Wittlin had been part of this marijuana selling ring, making purchases from Calamaras.  13 firearms and assorted ammunition were seized from the brother's Milltown Road home.

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Lake Lillinonah boat launch in Bridgewater to be closed for renovations

The boat launch closure at Lake Lillinonah in Bridgewater will be in effect for most of the fall and winter, September 1st through December 31st.  State officials say the boat launch is being reconstructed and the facilities are being enhanced to improve accessibility making for a safer and more efficient launching and retrieval of boats. 

 

While this launch is closed, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is directing people to other nearby launches.  Boaters and anglers can use the one at Pond Brook on Lillinonah in Newtown, on Lake Zoar in Southbury and Squantz Cove on Candlewood Lake in New Fairfield.

 

The improvements include a new pre-cast concrete boat ramp installed with a grooved surface, ADA handicap accessible parking area created with a travel way to the dock system and the installation of solar powered street lights to improve night boating. 

 

A gangway free floating dock system will also be installed.  There will be handicap accessibility improvements and grading and paving done for the access road and turning area.

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Woman rescued from New Milford cave

NEW MILFORD, Conn. (AP) A female spelunker had to be rescued by firefighters after getting stuck in a crevice at a cave in New Milford.

Firefighters tell The News-Times the woman and a male companion were inside Tory's Cave off Route 7 Monday afternoon when she went into an 8-foot crevice and could not get out.

Her partner spent several hours trying to extricate her before calling for help.

A firefighter was able to climb into the crevice and used materials handed to him by other rescue workers to build up its floor until the woman was able to climb to safety.

The spelunkers declined to give their names, but told the newspaper they were ``adventurers'' from Connecticut who had explored caves around the nation.

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Conn.'s Malloy honored for gun control efforts

WESTPORT, Conn. (AP) Governor Dannel P. Malloy is being honored for his efforts to pass gun control measures in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

The nonprofit group, Connecticut Against Gun Violence, is holding an event Tuesday evening at Christ and Holy Trinity Church in Westport to pay tribute to Malloy for addressing gun violence.

Fellow Democrats Senator Richard Blumenthal and Congressman Jim Himes are expected to be on hand.

Malloy recently signed into law a package of gun control measures that are considered among the strictest in the nation. They include an expanded assault weapons ban, additional background checks gun purchases and now ammunition purchases, and a ban on large-capacity ammunition magazines.

Twenty first graders and six educators were killed in the Dec. 14 shooting in Newtown.

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Gun rights group weighs in on 'Starbucks Appreciation Day'

A gun rights group in the state is speaking out about the planned Starbucks Appreciation Day which never came to fruition on Friday at the Newtown location, because the coffeehouse closed early. 

 

Connecticut Carry said in an emailed statement that the company should not be put in the middle of the divisive issue and that they've called for no rallies at Starbucks locations.  The company has asked that their stores not be used as a political rallying point. 

 

Connecticut Carry President Rich Burgess said respecting the property rights of Starbucks is the best way to show appreciation for a business that allows firearms on the property.  The organization didn't plan Friday's event and says people must conduct themselves in a responsible and respectful manner.

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Bethel man arrested for assaulting ex-wife

Danbury Police say a Bethel man was arrested Saturday on Route 6 driving his ex-wife's car.  Police say 44-year old Ernesto Rodriguez allegedly went to his ex-wife's home and demanded keys to her car.  Police say when she tried to called 911 from a neighbor's house, he forced her into the vehicle.

 

Danbury Officers stopped Rodriguez on Route 6.  He was charged with assault, taking a vehicle without the owner's permission and unlawful restraint among other counts.

 

According to court records, a 44-year old Ernesto Rodriguez was charged in 2008 by Bethel Police for resisting arrest/interfering with an officer.  There is also a court record showing a disorderly conduct charge out of Bethel in 2011.  Later that year, charges were filed by Bethel officers for interfering with an officer and assault.

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Danbury considering tax break for Kennedy Place developer

The Danbury City Council is considering tax breaks to develop a long-abandoned parcel of land downtown.  A committee was named Tuesday to review the tax deferral program that has expired for the Kennedy Place site and consider offering it to the new buyer.  A national company has been in negotiations with current owner, BRT. 

 

In 2007 a tax deferral was being offered for 589 units on the lot. 

 

The new developer would like to modify the current proposal by reducing the number of housing units and develop luxury apartments at the site.  The Mayor says as a priority in the Main Street Revitalization Plan, market rate housing downtown will be a high driver in spinning off economic development along Main Street.

 

Resident Ken Gucker expressed some concerns.  He says tax breaks for a company filling the space would be more palatable.  But for a residential developer with families coming in using City services, Gucker says it's a slippery slope.  He says another concern is that no plans have been submitted yet, so there's no way of knowing how many units will be built.

 

Some Council members tried to reverse the tax deferral offer to BRT for a Crosby Street development, but were unsuccessful because it was written so loosely.  The building was originally proposed for middle and low income housing, but is now mostly filled with WCSU students.

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Lay offs at New Milford Hospital take effect this week

Layoffs at New Milford Hospital due to cuts in state funding are taking effect this week.  Last week the Nurses Union rejected a concessions package requested by Western Connecticut Health Network.  President of the New Milford Hospital RNs Joanne Chapin says four nurses will be let go and two will have their hours cut.  She says no matter how they voted, at least two employees would be laid off.

 

New Milford Hospital's diabetic care coordinator and patient referral case manager are among those losing their jobs.

 

Chapin says their goal is to maintain safe staffing levels so they can provide quality patient care.

 

AFT Connecticut spokesman Matt O'Connor says one of the main reasons was it did not guarantee that more cuts wouldn't continue in the future.  O'Connor says it's not too late for WCHN to come up with alternatives or invite the front line workforce to talk about more constructive ways to address the change in state funding.

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'Pay to Participate' fee unchanged in Brookfield

Summer is coming to an end later this month for students heading back to school, and back to school sports.  Brookfield Schools say the Pay to Participate fees for the coming school year will remain unchanged. 

 

The fees will allow students to participate in an unlimited number of interscholastic athletic or after school activities.  The school district said in an email to Brookfield parents that the fees can now be paid by cash, check or credit card. 

 

Parents have two options of when to make the payments.  Starting on the 19th, parents can go to the Board of Education Business Office in town hall.  Or fees will be collected at the high school athletic sign up on Friday the 23rd and Saturday the 24th.

 

The co-curricular activity fee for Huckleberry Hill Elementary will be $25.  It's $35 for Whisconier Middle School students and $50 for those at Brookfield High School. 

 

There is also an athletic fee of $100 for Whisconier students.  It's $125 for students at the high school.

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US senator in Ohio urged to support gun checks

CINCINNATI (AP) Some Ohioans and the sister of a Newtown massacre victim are calling on U.S. Sen. Rob Portman to support background checks for gun purchases.

Carlee Soto, who on Saturday joined faith leaders and others at a rally in Cincinnati, says tragic mass shootings such as the one in which her sister was killed have put America's ``serious problem with gun violence'' in the spotlight.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports Soto and others called on Portman to support universal background changes, which those organizing the rally say would close ``dangerous loopholes'' that allow some people to purchase firearms.

Victoria Soto was one of 20 first-graders fatally shot at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., in December.

The rally is part of a national bus tour calling for tougher gun laws.

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Newtown Starbucks location closes early Friday

After 4:30 yesterday afternoon, people in Newtown needed to find another place for their caffeine fix.  Starbucks closed early because of a "Starbucks Appreciation Day'', organized by people who say they wanted to thank the coffee chain for standing up for their right to bear arms.  A Facebook page advertising the 6pm event asked participants to follow all laws if they decide to carry a gun during the event and to wear pro-gun rights apparel.

 

Newtown Action Alliance, an advocacy group formed after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary, said the community was still healing and encouraged Starbucks to evaluate its policy allowing guns in their stores.

 

On Starbucks' website yesterday Executive Vice President of U-S Retail Chris Carr posted a message about the early closing.  He said the company appreciates the diverse viewpoints of customers, but they also believe in being sensitive to each community.  He said while they recognize the passion surrounding the topic, out of respect for everything Newtown has been through, they decided to close before the event started.

 

Carr encourage customers and advocacy groups from all sides of the debate to contact elected officials, who make the open carry laws that the company follows.

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Carmel man charged with raping teenage employee

A Mahopac man has been arrested on a rape charge.  Carmel Police say 43-year old Lani Zaimi allegedly raped an 18-year old girl at a restaurant he owns, Ariano's II. 

 

Police say he served the girl liquor to the employee and took her to another of his restaurants. 

 

Zaimi was also charged yesterday with 3rd degree criminal sexual assault and unlawfully dealing with a child.  He was held on bond.

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New Milford Hospital nurses union reject concessions

Registered nurses at New Milford Hospital have voted down concessions sought by Western Connecticut Health Network as an alternative to previously announced nursing position cuts.  The Union says the concessions failed to address safe staffing ratios or assure quality patient care.  Union officials say the group that oversees New Milford Hospital refused to include protections from future layoffs. 

 

Among the staffing cuts made necessary by a cut in state funding, is the facility's diabetic care coordinator and patient referral case manager.

 

WCHN says the layoffs are necessary because of cuts in state funding.  Union officials say they want to be part of the solution, but not at the expense of quality patient care. 

 

AFT Connecticut President Melodie Peters, a licensed practical nurse, says if this was about more than protecting a profit margin, WCHN management should have engaged the bedside workforce in a real discussion.

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Danbury man lying in road in critical condition after being struck

A Danbury man is in critical condition after being hit by a truck on White Street early Thursday morning.  Police say Gregorio Garcia of New Milford was driving a flatbed wrecker near Bates Place just before 5am when he saw a man lying on the road on his back. 

 

Police say the driver told them he saw the man at the last moment and tried to avoid hitting him, but couldn't.  David Norocinsji was transported to Danbury Hospital. 

 

Any witness to the accident is asked to call Danbury Police Sgt Rory DeRocco at 203-797-2157.

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Newtown Legislative Council takes on sports shooting, blight

The Newtown Legislative Council had a lot on their agenda Wednesday night.  The Council has moved a proposed ordinance forward that deals with firearms in Newtown. 

 

The proposal, which still needs to be finalized, would limit the hours when sports shooting can happen and the number of people that can be shooting at a time. 

 

The Legislative Council also took up a blight ordinance.  Members voted to approve the measure that calls for an anti-blight enforcement officer to be designated.

 

That person would meet with people who's property could be considered blight.

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School security panel meets with educators to gather input

A Connecticut panel reviewing school security standards following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary has been urged to keep their solutions simple and focus on adding classroom door locks and communication devices.  The School Safety Infrastructure Council held its fourth meeting Thursday night. 

 

State Department of Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor says there has to be a balance, making sure that security is in place while keeping the schools a learning environment.  He says these are schools, not a fortress.

 

Newtown Middle School teacher and union leader Ron Chivinski suggested that classroom doors be retrofitted with locks that can be used from the inside and outside, allowing teachers to lock down classroom. 

 

Connecticut Education Association Vice President Jeff Leake says his members think there should be a way to inform teachers of intruders without alarming students. 

 

It was the first session to gather input from people who spend much of their time inside schools.  Connecticut Association of Boards of Education Executive Director Bob Rader says the group has gone out to various organizations to talk about policies that may effect faculty and students.  Rader says school size, location and design are all variables in setting policy.  One size will not fit all because of demographics and location.

 

Rader says many Boards of Education have worked with consultants or worked with police to come up with what will work best for their district.

 

Members are examining a variety of measures, including the feasibility of reinforcing entryways, and using ballistic glass, solid core doors, computer-controlled electronic locks and buzzer systems.  The group is also looking into using cameras on school grounds to enhance security. 

 

Council members must submit recommendations by January 1st to state agencies and legislative committees.

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New Milford youths in MD hoping for baseball greatness

The New Milford Thunder 12 year olds are representing the New England Region in the 2013 Cal Ripken World Series.  They won the 12-year-old New England tournament championship game July 25th, the fourth consecutive year clenching that title. 

 

The Cal Ripken World Series is the culminating tournament that unites the 10 best teams from across the United States, with six international teams from Australia, Canada, Dominican Republic, Japan, Mexico, and the Republic of Korea. 

 

Baseball Hall of Famer and Ripken Baseball president, Cal Ripken, Jr congratulated the New Milford Thunder 12 year olds on representing the region and said in an emailed statement that he hopes it will be an experience they will remember for a lifetime. 

 

Opening ceremonies are tonight.  The New Milford Thunder will play their first game tomorrow afternoon. 

 

On August 17th and 18th, the International Championship, U.S. Championship and World Championship games for the 2013 tournament will be played.

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Danbury Housing Authority receives federal grant

The Danbury Housing Authority is among those sharing in more than 20-million dollars from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  The funding must be used for large scale improvements to public housing units. 

 

Danbury will receive $567,000. 

 

The grants are part of the Capital Fund Program which can be used to build, repair, renovate or modernize public housing structures.  The funding can also be used for new roofs or to make energy efficient upgrades.

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Deed restriction question near Danbury Airport in holding pattern

An issue related to Danbury Airport that's been before the Danbury City Council for several months will be going back a committee for further study.  DXR Holdings wants a 1948 deed restriction removed so they can put a restaurant on private property adjacent to the airport. 

 

Among the concerns is the City's ability to secure future federal funding if the land use is changed. 

 

Council President Joe Cavo says some new information has come to light about the issue.  Though he did not disclose what that information was, he says that should be discussed. 

 

The Federal Aviation Administration has said restaurants and catering are not aviation-related uses, but that should not change the city's ability to secure future grants.  The FAA would not put that opinion in writing though. 

 

The agency said it would not weigh in until after the deed is changed.

 

Zoning Enforcement Officer Sean Hearty said a Fixed Based Operator that is an Airport Terminal could sell food as an accessory if it's not more than 25-percent of the total space.  The applicant said the restaurant would create 50 jobs and called the deed restriction antiquated.  The applicant said the 25-percent rule would work for his business.

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Conn. panel urged to add classroom locks

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut panel reviewing school security standards following the Newtown massacre has been urged to keep their solutions simple and focus on adding classroom door locks and communication devices.

The School Safety Infrastructure Council held its fourth meeting Thursday in New Britain. It was the first session to gather input from people who spend much of their time inside schools.

Newtown Middle School teacher and union leader Ron Chivinski suggested that classroom doors be retrofitted with locks that can be used from the inside and outside, allowing teachers to lock down classroom.

Connecticut Education Association Vice President Jeff Leake says his members think there should be a way to inform teachers of intruders without alarming students.

Council members must submit recommendations by Jan. 1 to state agencies and legislative committees.

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Newtown group objects to rally at Starbucks

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) A gun control group in Newtown is discouraging gun rights advocates from holding a rally at Starbucks.

Newtown Action Alliance, an advocacy group formed after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, objected to a ``Starbucks Appreciation Day'' Friday, saying the community was still healing. The group encouraged Starbucks to evaluate its policy allowing guns in their stores.

A Facebook page advertising the event says Starbucks has been the target of unjust attacks from groups that do not support their right to bear arms. Organizers say they want to thank Starbucks for standing up for their rights and asked participants to follow all laws if they decide to carry a gun during the event and to wear pro-gun rights apparel.

Starbucks says it complies with laws in the communities it serves.

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Candidates petition way on to ballot for November

Candidates in two municipalities have turned in petitions to try to get their names on the November ballots.  Danbury Democrat Paul McAllister has collected enough signatures to challenge Republican incumbent Mark Boughton.  

 

The former City Councilman and retired Ridgefield police Lieutenant needed 539 signatures to enter the mayoral race. He collected 552. 

 

In Bethel there will be a primary. 

 

Former First Selectman Bob Burke collected enough signatures to challenge Republican endorsed candidate William Duff for the town's top spot.  The primary will be be held September 10th.  Al Vargas also petitioned his way on to the ballot. 

 

They are looking to unseat Democratic incumbent Matt Knickerbocker.

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Danbury to look into revaluation abnormalities

The Danbury City Council is being asked by the Mayor to approve a special tax relief ordinance to fix about 100 inequities.  At their meeting on Tuesday, Candlewood Lake shoreline resident Henry Stenick says his taxes went up 33-percent.

 

Maryanne Hau says taxes on her 1,200 square foot home with 60-feet of waterfront went up by about the same amount, $3,000.

 

Stenick says the City is driving older families out and would bring in young families with school aged children, which will cost the City. 

 

Mayor Boughton wrote in a letter to the Council that the state-mandated revaluation was the first since 2007 and the economic downtown which has resulted in some pockets of difficulty from some residents.

 

An ad hoc committee was formed to look into the issue.

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Attorney General: Newtown donation plan meets donor intent

The State Attorney General has issued a report about donor intent and how money is being distributed from the Sandy Hook Community Fund. 

 

Attorney General George Jepson has found that the Foundation did not act contrary to donor intent in allocating a majority of the money to the families most closely affected by the tragedy while leaving some to be used for broader community needs.  Jepson said in his report that the United Way and Newtown Sayings Bank have consistently represented that the Fund is a multipurpose fund intended “to provide support” to “the families” and “the community”.

 

While broad Jepson said the intent gives the Foundation significant discretion to determine appropriate uses for the Fund for both purposes. 

 

United Way of Western Connecticut Executive Director Kim Morgan says they now consider this issue to be resolved.  Morgan says they hope the Attorney General's findings will also satisfy the interests of Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and others who may have had questions regarding this issue. 

 

Jepson's report said that money from special events, general purpose correspondence, corporate matching and Crowdwise plus credit card payments represent 84-percent of the nearly $12 million fund.  He says the Foundation’s decision to retain 34-percent, or $4-million, of the Fund for the community falls within the stated intent of the fund.

 

Morgan says without further delay, it is time for the Foundation to determine how best to allocate the remainder of the donated funds.

 

The Foundation reported that gifts over $25 each were acknowledged in accordance with the internal Revenue Service requirement that gifts of $250 or more be acknowledged in writing by the recipient charity, and that volunteer groups sent postcard acknowledgments to many donors who gave less than $250.

 

A spreadsheet from Newtown Savings Bank contains 18,141 entries.  The United Way maintained every envelope, note, or letter that accompanied any donation, regardless of the amount, and each piece of correspondence was reviewed individually, approximately 20,000 notes, letters, emails and envelopes.  As part of this review, it was determined that thousands of letters had no dollar amount referenced, and it was often impossible to determine Whether these letters had in fact contained a gift.

 

Of the approximately 20,000 pieces of paper, approximately 1,373 cards, notes, or emails were identified as containing these expressions which could be interpreted as intent to benefit only the victim's families or the families of the 26 Victims. Of the 1,373 cards and notes that contained such an expression, 404 included a reference to the dollar amount of the enclosed donation. The cumulative total for those 404 gifts was $361,153.79.

 

Larger organizations contacted United Way prior to fundraising. These organizations and United Way entered into agreements which detailed the terms and conditions under which the fundraising would be conducted and directed that any promotional materials would state that the Fund Was created to provide support services to the families and community affected by this devastating event. This special event money represents 10% of the $11.7 million.

 

A total of $4,832,461.99 of the $8 million, or 41% of the $11.7 million, specifically referenced the
community or the Fund.

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Conn. dairy agrees to school milk reimbursements

DANBURY, Conn. (AP) A Danbury dairy has agreed to pay tens of thousands of dollars to reimburse Connecticut school districts for milk-delivery contracts that a competitor said were unfairly inflated.

The Hearst Connecticut Media Group reports the state Department of Consumer Protection reached a deal with Marcus Dairy that includes no admission or allegation of overcharges. The company is giving $10,000 to the state and making payments to eight school systems.

Neil R. Marcus, president of the dairy based in Danbury, said Wednesday the payments represent the difference schools would have been charged under a different formula that is now prevalent in the industry.

The probe was prompted by a Hearst Connecticut Newspapers report last September on complaints by a Bridgeport dairy owner who accused Marcus of undercutting competitors in the bidding process, then charging districts more.

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Democrat petitions way into Danbury mayor's race

DANBURY, Conn. (AP) Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton has a challenger in his re-election bid this November.

Danbury resident Paul McAllister, a Democrat, has collected enough signatures to challenge the mayor.

The town clerk says McAllister needed 539 signatures to enter the mayoral race. He collected 552.

McAllister said he decided to enter the race after the Democratic Party failed to nominate a candidate at the party caucus last month. McAllister, who served on the council from 1995 to 2003, is a retired Ridgefield police lieutenant.

Boughton, a six-term incumbent, was the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor in 2010. The ticket, headed by Tom Foley, lost narrowly to Democrat Dannel P. Malloy.

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Conn. teachers, officials to discuss school safety

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) A panel created after the Newtown school massacre is meeting with teachers, principals, administrators and teachers unions to discuss improving school security.

The School Safety Infrastructure Council was scheduled to hear Thursday evening from education professionals from around Connecticut during a special meeting, to be held at New Britain High School.

The General Assembly charged the council with developing new standards to improve or enhance school safety and security in schools constructed in Connecticut.

Members are examining a variety of measures, including the feasibility of reinforcing entryways, and using ballistic glass, solid core doors, computer-controlled electronic locks and buzzer systems. The group is also looking into using cameras on school grounds to enhance security.

The council must submit its new recommended safety infrastructure standards by Jan. 1.

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Newtown pastor receives award for healing working

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) The Knights of Columbus has created a new award to recognize extraordinary works of charity and service, conferring it on a pastor who helped Newtown after December's school shooting.

Supreme Knight Carl Anderson conferred the awards Tuesday night on Monsignor Robert Weiss of St. Rose of Lima in Newtown and to St. Virgilius Knights of Columbus Council 185 at St. Rose.

Anderson, who called Weiss heroic, said the organization will provide $100,000 to the parish for programs to help those suffering from the tragedy.

Caroline Previdi, one of the children killed, had been saving money to help in the council's annual Christmas toy drive for children in need. Council members raised more than $70,000 for toys in her memory.

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4 NY men with criminal histories arrested on drug charges

Three Brewster men and one from Patterson have been arrested for selling drugs in town last Thursday. The Putnam County Sheriff's office reports than an undercover deputy saw a person get out of a car, exchange a packet for cash, and leave.  The vehicle involved was then pulled over.  Hypodermic needles, heroin, suboxone and cash were found.

 

Those arrested were:

 

24 year old Devin Meschino, of Brewster. He was the driver of the vehicle involved. He was charged with Criminal Possession of a Hypodermic Instrument and Criminal Facilitation in the Fourth Degree – both misdemeanor crimes.

 

Meschino was released without bail pending a future court appearance.  He is on probation after having been convicted of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a felony.

 

28 year old Adam Feroce of Patterson.  He was the pedestrian. He was charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree, Criminal Possession of a Hypodermic Instrument and Loitering in the First Degree – all misdemeanor crimes.

 

Feroce was released without bail pending a future court appearance.  He is on probation after having been convicted of Driving While Ability Impaired on Drugs.

 

33-year old Thomas Simmons of Brewster was charged with Criminal Possession and Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, both felony crimes.

 

Simmons was arraigned in Putnam County Court and ordered held at the Putnam County Correctional Facility in lieu of $300,000 bail.  He has 14 convictions dating back to 1999. He currently has 25 charges listed as “open” and has previously served terms of imprisonment in the Westchester County Jail, Putnam County Correctional Facility and New York State prison system.

 

37 year old Frank Rondinone 3rd of Brewster, was the fourth individual charged. He was charged with Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree and Criminal Possession of a Hypodermic Instrument.

 

Rondinone was arraigned in Putnam County Court and ordered held at the correctional facility in lieu of $50,000 bail.  He has 6 prior convictions dating back to 2001 and currently has 5 charges listed as “open.” He has also served prison sentences in both the Putnam County and New York State correctional facilities.

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Newtown puts on show with help from Broadway

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) More than 100 children from Newtown and the surrounding area are putting on a musical with the help of some Broadway professionals.

The students have spent the last five weeks working with Broadway actor John Tartaglia, director Michael Unger, producer Van Dean and others on ``Seussical the Musical.''

It's being put on by the 12.14 Foundation, which was set up after the Dec. 14 massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. It's intended to help town residents heal through the arts.

The show will be staged at Newtown High school Friday through Sunday. There are two separate casts for the show, and each is putting on two performances.

Proceeds go to the foundation, which hopes to build a performing arts center in Newtown in memory of the Sandy Hook victims.

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Danbury Hospital doc makes accidental amputation while vacationing in Italy

A Danbury Hospital surgeon is causing an international stir with an accidential amputation.  The UK Daily Mail Online has reported that while vacationing in Italy, Dr. Patrick Broderick tried comparing his hand to that of a 600-year old marble sculpture at the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo. 

 

One of the fingers of the sculpture broke off.

 

A museum guard tried to stop the 55-year old New Fairfield resident, but was too late.  Broderick was taken into custody for questioning then released.  The UK Daily Mail Online says Broderick was mortified and apologized profusely.

 

Museum officials told the online publication that it's not a tragedy because all of the fingers have been restored before and are plaster held in place by metal rods.  There is a technician on the museum's staff who has fixed a statue's finger before.

 

No charges have been filed and the Broderick is not being asked to pay for the repair.

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Newtown youth charged for waiving knife during argument

A Newtown youth will be in Danbury Juvenile Court next week on charges of carrying a dangerous weapon, disorderly conduct and threatening. 

 

Newtown Police were called to Newtown High School on July 24th for an argument that ended when one boy pulled out a knife.  Police say a group of students were working at their summer jobs at the school that afternoon.  There were no reported injuries. 

 

The youth who was arrested and charged was not named because of age.

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Trash authority, contract tabled for more discussions

The Danbury City Council has decided to wait until next month to take action on the contract with Winters Brothers to see if some concerns can be resolved. Two of the items they want to see if there can be compromise on is the length of the initial contract and if there could be a mutual renewal provision.

 

When Winters Brothers bought the White Street Transfer Station following the arrest of trash czar James Galante, the company entered into an agreement with Danbury.  The Solid Waste and Recycling Authority was also created at that time.  Mayor Mark Boughton says Winters Brothers does not have to legally enter into any agreements.

 

Mayor Mark Boughton says there were some complaints about the operators of the White Street Transfer Station during the public hearing last week, but nothing new.  Boughton says for many years the transfer station had no oversight, but would with this contract and the Authority.  If there was no public-private partnership, residents would have to bring their complaints about noise and the like to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. 

 

Among the issues that some of the City Council members had with the contract is that there is no provision for inflation on the $1 per ton paid to the City by Winters Brothers on garbage that comes through the Transfer Station. 

 

Boughton says the company is providing the fee and also $100,000.

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Sandy Hook shooting report pushed back to the fall

Soon after the December tragedy, State Police said the report about the investigation was likely going to be completed in the summer.  Then Governor Malloy raised questions about the length of time it was taking to issue a report given that troopers and others were discussing the case at police workshops and conferences. 

 

On Tuesday Danbury State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky, Chief State's Attorney Kevin Kane and the Governor's Chief of Staff met about the investigation.  Sedensky is expecting to release the report in the fall. 

 

He said the timing of the report is well within what would be expected from the scale of the investigation.

 

In an emailed statement, the officials said the victims' families have been a priority throughout the investigation and are spoken with regularly by the State Police and the State’s Attorney and will continue to be.

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Prison employee pleads guilty to sex with inmate

An employee of the Danbury Federal Correctional Institution has pleaded guilty to a sexual abuse charge.  45-year old Steven Wolff of the Bronx entered the plea Tuesday.  U.S. Attorney spokesman Tom Carson says the inmate and Wolff met in the boiler room on a number of occassions between July and November of 2011. 

 

Wolff allegedly provided the inmate with contraband including hair dye, candy, greeting cards and over-the-counter medication.  Authorities say contraband was given to another inmate who served as look out. 

 

Prosecutors say they matched DNA from the blanket to both Wolff and the inmate, whose name has not been released.

 

Sentencing is set for October 29th and calls for up to 15 years in jail and a fine of up to $250,000.

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Rob Zombie complains of skate park noise in Conn.

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The racket from a new skate park in Connecticut is too much for rocker Rob Zombie.

The town of Woodbury has taken steps to reduce the noise following complaints from Zombie and his wife about the park near their home in the small Litchfield County community.

First Selectman Gerald Stomski says the town has taken several measures to muffle the noise and is also looking into the possibility of moving the park to another location. The $53,000 park opened in early April.

Zombie has written on Facebook that they are trying to find a solution that will make everyone happy.

Zombie began his career with the `80s shock-rock band White Zombie has reinvented himself as a contemporary horror film master with new classics like ``House of 1000 Corpses.''

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Police investigating vandalism at Newtown High School

Newtown police are investigating vandalism at Newtown High School.  The Newtown Bee reports that police were called to the rear athletic field on the morning of July 25th to investigate. 

 

Police found that some type of vehicle damaged the irrigation system and ripped up some of the turf.  The repair is going to cost about a $1,000. 

 

Newtown police are asking that anyone with information about the incident at the High School contact them at 203-426-5841.

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State sponsored summer reading program awards college savings funds

For the 4th year, the Connecticut Higher Education Trust is holding a summer literacy program.  The Reading Makes Cent$ Summer Library Promotion is a contest to help families save for their child's future education. 

 

CHET Program Marketing Manager Elizabeth McLaughlin says one student from each county will be chosen at random to win $250 for their CHET 529 college savings account.  The library where the child registered will also receive a cash prize that can be used for future children's programs.

 

She says they hold the event when students are not in school to coincide with their summer reading programs.  It also gives families a leg up in saving for their child's future.  McLaughlin cited studies that have linked developed reading skills to college readiness as added incentive for families to participate.

 

All of the libraries in the Greater Danbury area are participating in the program, which runs through August 16th.  To sign up, kindergarteners through 8th graders and their parents can fill out a form at their local library.  They can also sign up online.

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Sherman to use state grant money for Playhouse repairs

Another round of Small Town Economic Assistance Program funding has been awarded.  Among the towns receiving the STEAP grants is Sherman.  The town will use $69,000 in funding for repairs and upgrades to the Sherman Playhouse.

 

The Playhouse has hosted productions for over 100 years. 

 

First Selectman Clay Cope says with this grant, the historic Sherman Playhouse will have much needed updated facilities for both patrons and staff.  Cope says the improvements means the entertainment attraction will continue to serve  future generations of residents and tourists.

 

State Senator Mike McLachlan says for generations, the Sherman Playhouse has served the community and entertained visitors from around the region.  He says the grant will help with upgrades to the cultural landmark so it can continue to serve the community for generations to come.

 

Representative Richard Smith says the Sherman Playhouse is an historic town landmark that has driven local tourism and entertained area residents for years.  He adds that it's one of the premier performing arts venues in the region.  Smith says he is pleased the state is directing this competitive grant funding to Sherman in an effort to maintain a beloved town structure.

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Danbury officials updated on loitering, damage to historic 'Octagon House'

Danbury officials are getting an update tonight on what's being done to secure an abandoned historical property in the city.  The Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team is working with lenders to make sure vacant properties in Danbury are maintained and secured, but there's one on Spring Street that's been keeping them and the Police Department busy. 

 

In a report to the City Council, UNIT officials said several tickets have been issued to those loitering, drinking in public and trespassing at The Octagon House.  UNIT says it's a top priority to eliminate these behaviors downtown to ensure the quality of life for residents, businesses and customers. 

 

If people are unable to pay the fines, UNIT has been working with the State's Attorney Office to have them complete community service.  Last month a person assigned to complete 25 hours helped clean Main Street and repair railings along the sidewalk.

 

The report said the neighboring lot on Spring Street has also been attracting people as a place to sleep, engage in criminal activity or litter.  The report from UNIT Director Shawn Stillman says the properties have been repeatedly broken into and damaged. 

 

UNIT recommended that the owner of 16 Spring Street enclose the property with a fence. 

 

The Octagon House is bank-owned.  UNIT says securing the property is a priority so that the house does not continue to deteriorate and so no one trespassing on the lot gets injured.

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Danbury man charged with sexually assauting a minor

A 23-year old Danbury man has been charged with sexual assault for an incident involving a minor.  Danbury Police arrested Matthew Leonard on Friday after the Special Victims Unit received a report two weeks ago from the Department of Children and Families. 

 

DCF had a complaint about the sexual assault of a child that occurred several years ago.  Police did not disclose any other information about what led to the charge to protect the identity of the victim. 

 

Leonard was also charged with two counts of risk of injury to a minor and two counts for sexual contact risk of injury to a minor.

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Conn. recalls shellfish with bacteria from Sound

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Warm water in Long Island Sound is being blamed for a naturally occurring bacteria that sickened at least five people who ate oysters, clams and other shellfish from shallow areas near Norwalk and Westport.

The state has recalled shellfish before due to pollution from storm water runoff or similar reasons. But the Department of Agriculture says a recall announced Monday due to naturally occurring bacteria is a first.

David Carey, director of the agency's Bureau of Aquaculture, says the extreme heat in mid-July is partly to blame for the warm water in shallow areas of the Sound. The state has shut shellfish harvesting areas until September when the water is expected to cool down.

If ingested, the bacteria that's known as Vibrio parahaemolyticus can cause acute stomach illness.

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Newtown school shooter's father selling Conn. home

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) The father of Newtown elementary school shooter Adam Lanza is selling his home in Stamford.

The Stamford Advocate reports that Peter Lanza's house in the city's well-to-do Westover section has an asking price of $710,000.

Listing agency Halstead Properties describes the home as a 2,375-square-foot ranch cape on 1.04 acres of land, with three bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms and a pool in the backyard.

The 54-year-old Lanza and his second wife have lived in the house for about five years.

In December, Adam Lanza shot to death 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School before killing himself as police arrived. He also shot and killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, at their Newtown home before going to the school.

Peter and Nancy Lanza's divorce was finalized in 2009.

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Cell phone photo leads state police to bank robbery suspect

A New Fairfield man has been arrested for robbing a bank in that town.  State Police were called to Webster Bank on Brush Hill Road just before 5pm on Friday.  A teller had been handed a note demanding cash.  State Police say no weapon was displayed or implied.  The white man got away in a vehicle with an undisclosed amount of cash. 

 

State Police say a witness saw a suspicious vehicle and took a photo of it with a cell phone.

 

The cellphone photo led troopers to 53-year old Robert Rustigan's house.  He was just arriving when troopers pulled up.  State Police say the money was found in Rustigan's car along with other evidence. 

 

Rustigan was charged with larceny, robbery and threatening.  He was held on $50,000 bond for arraignment Monday.

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New Milford on board as 'Clean Energy Community'

Some New Milford officials are leading by example when it comes to being green.  Mayor Pat Murphy and members of the Town Council are paying for Home Energy Solutions Program audits to find out how they can be more energy efficient.  CL&P Senior Program Administrator Rebecca Meyer says in late spring, New Milford signed the Clean Energy Communities Pledge.

 

HES audits cost $75 to $99, depending on heating source.  The home visit includes on the spot services from sealing critical air leaks and drafts to installing energy efficient lighting and low-flow shower heads.

 

By being a Clean Energy Community, New Milford can earn points toward the purchase of clean energy systems.  Each resident or business that participate in one of more than 30 Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund Programs will help the town earn points. 

 

Once the town reaches 100 points, a Bright Ideas Grant will be awarded to New Milford.  Town officials can use the funding for a number of energy efficiency projects.

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STEAP grant helps Bethel fix ailing sidwalks

Another round of Small Town Economic Assistance Program funding has been awarded.  Among the towns receiving the STEAP grants is Bethel.  The town is set to receive $250,000 for a sidewalk project that includes the replacement of stairs at several entrances to the Municipal Center. 

 

Representative Dan Carter says the funding will also be used for sidewalk replacements and construction at the Municipal Center, at the Bethel Police Department and at the intersection of Main Street, Chestnut Street and Maple Avenue.  Carter says the condition of Bethel's downtown structures is vital to town services and economic development.  He says the improvements will increase the quality of life and safety of residents.

 

17 jobs will be created or sustained through these projects. 

 

State Senator Toni Boucher says many communities are trying to create safer and more walkable environments and this grant will help increase pedestrian access in downtown.  She called the intersection a busy and often unsafe one.

 

Senator Mike McLachlan says safe pedestrian access downtown is important and he is encouraged that this funding will provide that access.

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New administrative judge appointed to Danbury Judicial District

The appointment was one of five made by Chief Court Administrator Barbara Quinn this week.  Two new chief administrative judges for the family and juvenile courts and new administrative judges for the Danbury, Tolland and Ansonia-Milford districts have been appointed to terms that start September 2nd. 

 

Judge Dan Shaban will serve a five year term and follows Judge Susan Reynolds who is completing hers. 

 

Shaban is currently assigned to the Complex Litigation Docket in the Waterbury Judicial District, where he's served since 2010.  Before that, he was assigned to the Danbury, Litchfield and New Britain judicial districts, and he has served as assistant administrative judge in the Litchfield Judicial District.  He became a judge in 2004.  Prior to that he was in private practice and worked for the City of Waterbury Corporation Counsel’s Office.

 

He said he was honored to have been selected and is looking forward to the opportunity to continue to serve the Judicial Branch and the citizens of this state.

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Kid says he was cheated over 'Jeopardy!' spelling

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) A Newtown eighth-grader who correctly answered a ``Jeopardy!'' question, but was counted out for misspelling his response says he was cheated.

Thomas Hurley III correctly answered the Final Jeopardy question about the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln. But Hurley spelled it ``emanciptation'' and was ruled out by host Alex Trebec.

He bet $3,000 of his $9,600 in winnings and lost to a rival who amassed $66,000.

The 12-year-old boy tells The News-Times of Danbury that he was cheated and was pretty upset.

Producers of Jeopardy! said in an email that the show would penalize other players if it gives credit to a contestant's incorrect response.

Hundreds of protesters vented their anger at the game show on its Facebook page.

The Kids Jeopardy! program was filmed in February and was broadcast last week.

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Conn. officer still on leave after fatal shooting

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. (AP) Ridgefield officials say the officer involved in a fatal shooting in May continues to be on paid leave while state police continue to investigate.

First Selectman Rudy Marconit said in published reports that the town has not been notified of any potential lawsuits stemming from the shooting of 75-year-old John Valluzzo.

Officer Jorge Romero was placed on leave shortly after May 24 when he fired two rounds from his 40-caliber Glock handgun, striking Valluzzo in the torso.

Police reports say Valluzzo was approaching officers with a stainless steel revolver in his hand and refused to drop it before Romero fired on the philanthropist millionaire who founded the Military Museum of Southern New England in Danbury.

Police believe that Valluzzo, a U.S. Army veteran, did not fire his gun.

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Police continue search for missing Newtown man

Newtown police continue to search for a missing man.  50-year old Robert Hoagland's whereabouts are unknown.  Police are still investigating and following up on leads.  He was last seen on Sunday morning at the Mobil Gas Station on Church Hill Road around 5:30am.  

 

The white male is described as being 6-feet tall, 175 pounds, bald with blue eyes.  He was last seen wearing a white t-shirt and khaki shorts. 

 

 

 

Anyone with information is asked to call Newtown Police at 203-426-5841.

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Ridgefield Police to hold gun buyback program

Ridgefield Police are hosting a gun buy-back program next weekend.  In an effort to reduce the number of guns on the streets, Ridgefield Police will be at the Town Highway Department building on South Street next Saturday August 10th from 9am to 4pm. 

 

Police said in a press release that there will be no questions asked so people with unregistered and unlicensed firearms can bring them in in exchange for cash.  State Police will destroy all weapons and ammunition turned in.  Police will be accepting everything from large magazine clips to bb guns. 

 

The funding for the buy back program is coming through private donations.

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Work begins on new STEM school in Danbury

Ground has been broken for an addition to the former Mill Ridge Intermediate School in Danbury, which will become the STEM Middle School.  Construction started this week on the more than $18-million project.  Mayor Mark Boughton says he hopes the completed facility will open in time for the 2014 school year. 

 

It's one of many school renovation projects happening in the city.

 

Mill Ridge was closed as part of a school consolidation effort as age populations shifted.  A cafeteria and science lab are being added to the existing facility.  Renovations will take place to the main entrance.  The roof will also be repaired. 

 

Currently the some 300 students in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Academy are located in Rogers Park Middle School.  When construction is done the program is expected to be able to house 600 students.

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Nurses union rejects concessions, more layoffs loom

The nurses union has rejected concession with Western Connecticut Health Network.  Danbury and New Milford Hospital officials were seeking the concessions as part of an overall reduction in staff and spending because of a $30-million cut in state funding. 

 

The concessions included overtime payment adjustments and getting rid of differentials of evening and weekend shifts.  Hospital officials previously said if the concessions didn't come through, 25 people would have to be laid off. 

 

In all, 116 positions were being eliminated at the two hospitals.

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Open race in Warren for First Selectman

There is an open race in Warren for the position of First Selectman.  Incumbent Jack Travers has announced that he would not seek another term in November. 

 

Republican Town Committee chairman Craig Nelson will be running for the position.  Democrat Stephen Warshaw will also seek the town's top spot. 

 

Nelson is on the Inland Wetlands Commission , the tax appeals commission and works for the zoning enforcement office.  Warshaw is a former congressional aide who worked for a few U.S. Senators who is a volunteer fireman and an EMT. 

 

Both have a business background.

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Conn. man gets 15-18 years for deadly Mass. Crash

PITTSFIELD, Mass. (AP) A Connecticut man with a history of drunken driving infractions will serve up to 18 years in prison for causing a crash that killed one person and seriously injured another in Massachusetts last year.

Frederick Weller of Newtown, Conn., pleaded guilty in Berskhire Superior Court Thursday to vehicular homicide, drunken driving and other charges.

Prosecutors said Weller's truck slammed head-on into a car on Route 7 in Sheffield, seriously injuring the car's driver. The truck then landed on top of a car driven by Moira Banks-Dobson, killing the 24-year-old Sheffield woman.

The Berkshire Eagle reports that in sentencing Weller to 15-18 years in prison, Judge John Agostini cited his previous crimes and said Weller showed clear disrespect for the law.

Weller's lawyer said his client was remorseful and grew up in an alcoholic household.

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Man suspected in Mall robbery, gives fake name because of outstanding charges

A Bridgeport man in police custody for stealing from a store at the Danbury mall had additional charges filed against him for giving officers a fake name.  Police were called to the mall around noonWednesday by Banana Republic for two shoplifters. 

 

The woman, who pulled a can of mace on mall security, got away. 

 

The man, later determined to be 28-year old Ezzial Williams, was charged with robbery, larceny and conspiracy to commit robbery.  He was then charged with forgery and interfering with the duties of an officer. 

 

Also while in custody, the Orange County Sheriff's Office confirmed Williams was wanted on a felony warrant in New York.  He was then charged with being a fugitive from justice.

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Passenger in loitering car charged for cocaine possession

A Danbury Police officer on patrol early this morning saw a suspicious vehicle in the Main Street Walgreens parking lot and investigated.  There are "no loitering" signs in the lot and the car was seen in the far back corner. 

 

Police say the passenger, 49-year old Michael Breece of Danbury was charged with possession of crack cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia for having a pipe in the car and possession within 1,500 feet of a school. 

 

While in custody, police determined that there was an active warrant for Breece on three counts of issuing a bad check.  He was held on bond for arraignment.

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Ridgefield man arrested in Danbury, wanted on Wilton warrant

A Ridgefield man, with an outstanding warrant has been arrested in Danbury after a routine traffic stop.  A car failed to stop at a stop sign early Thursday morning and police pulled the vehicle over.  22-year old Myles Rendan-Calle was found to have a suspended license. 

 

In the car Police found marijuana, a glass pipe, a scale and baggies. 

 

He was charged for the motor vehicle infractions, possession of marijuana within 1,500 feet of a housing complex and with intent to sell and possession of drug paraphernalia.  Wilton Police had a warrant out for his arrest on motor vehicle infractions. 

 

Rendan-Calle is being held on bond.

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Brookfield man has been sentenced for selling Oxycodone

28-year old Kyle Lutrus was sentenced Thursday to 27 months in jail followed by three years of supervised release.  He pleaded guilty in May to conspiring to distribute and to possess Oxycodone.  U.S. Attorney spokesman Tom Carson says Brookfield Police received information in late 2011 that Lutrus was involved in drug activity. 

 

An undercover DEA Task Force officer was able to buy nearly 350 pills from Lutrus during multiple purchases over three months last year.

 

Lutrus was also ordered by the judge yesterday to pay a $2,000 fine, forfeit $60,000 and a 2005 Honda Accord, which he used during his drug trafficking activity.

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Advocates for deaf sue movie theater chain

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A group of advocates for the hearing impaired has filed a lawsuit in Connecticut alleging a movie theater chain is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court on Tuesday, alleges Bow Tie Cinemas, which has a location in Wilton, has failed to provide an adequate number of captioning devices for the deaf and hard of hearing.

The lawsuit was filed by Connecticut Association for the Deaf and its president, Harvey Corson of Hartford.

According to its website, the company owns theaters in seven states, 11 in Connecticut.

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Conn. crime victim privacy panel meets

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Members of a new task force charged with recommending to state lawmakers how to balance victim privacy under Connecticut's Freedom of Information Commission with the public's right to know met for the first time on Thursday, acknowledging they face a challenging job.

 

Don DeCesare, a representative of the Connecticut Broadcasters Association and co-chairman of the 17-member panel, said the charge may sound simple but it's extremely complicated.

 

"I know for sure it is not going to be an easy line to draw," he said, adding how "there is a lot at stake."

 

State lawmakers created the task force as part of a new law that blocked release of crime scene photos and video evidence from the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown and other homicides. It was originally in response to requests from family members of the Sandy Hook victims, who feared their loved ones photos would be spread on the Internet.

 

The task force includes representatives of a range of professions and perspectives on open government laws, including the media, police, a legislator representing Newtown, a Quinnipiac Law School professor, the executive director of the Freedom of Information Commission and Chief State's Attorney Kevin Kane.

 

While the group still needs to determine its priorities, Kane said he expects the group will have to come up with recommendations on whether certain police audio tapes should be released to the public. The new law barred the release of such tapes, including recorded descriptions of homicide victims, until May 2014.

 

"It's obvious the legislature would like a recommendation from this task force because they're going to have to decide next session what to do," said Kane, who has supported blocking the release of certain audio recordings to protect the privacy of victims and their families.

 

"I think this panel needs to address it," he said. "I mean, these are dying words of people, whether they're victims of a crime, or whether they're people firefighting in a building where the roof collapses on them or something like that."

 

But Jodie Mozdzer-Gil, president of the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists, said her group is sensitive to such concerns but wants to make sure the public's right to know is protected and that information that was previously public remains public.

 

"If we're allowing the government to decide that something should not be public, how do we know that they're doing the right thing," she asked. "We're letting professional journalists be the ones to decide whether or not this is something we should publish. So, they're the ones that should be the gatekeeper."

 

The group is expected to meet again later this month.

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Gas leak prompting evacuations in Ridgefield all fixed

A gas leak on Main Street just after 9:30 this morning closed down Main Street by Market Street.  It also prompted some evacuations.

 

All of Main Street has reopened in Ridgefield.  Those who were evacuated due to a gas leak have returned to their homes, stores and the community center. 

 

First Selectman Rudy Marconi says the Highway Department was prepping the road for paving, doing drainage work and saw the 8 inch gas main but did not see another one coming off it that's used to help purge and clean the line.

 

Yankee Gas was called to the scene after workers accidentally pulled that second line away from the main, rupturing it.

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Meat recall at Big Y stores

Big Y Foods is recalling some fresh ground sirloin.  The supermarket chain, with locations in Bethel and Newtown, was notified that its supplier issued a voluntary recall for a different product that came from the same factory. 

 

The other product tested positive for E Coli.  None of the local recall products have tested positive.  A store spokeswoman said the recall is a precaution.

 

The supermarkets are recalling fresh ground sirloin and sirloin steak patties both labelled as 87% lean.  The were sold between July 18th and August 1st. 

 

Customers who purchased these products can return the items to Big Y for a refund.

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Ridgefield man charged for 4 gas station robberies, theft from diner

A Ridgefield man has waived extradition from New york to face a number of charges in Danbury. 

 

29-year old Maxwell Mulligan was arrested as a fugitive from justice in New York for a crime committed in Danbury.  Police say the man entered the Windmill Diner on Mill Plain Road on Friday afternoon asking for change of a $5 bill, grabbed cash when the register was opened and fled on foot.

 

On Wednesday, Mulligan was charged with five counts of 3rd degree robbery.  One count was from a robbery at Getty-Mart on Main Street on July 3rd, another was from the Gulf Station on White Street July 17th.  The third count was for a robbery at the Backus Avenue Exxon Station the following day.  He was also charged for a robbery at the Mobile Station on Newtown Road on July 25th.

 

Danbury Police spokesman Lt Tom Michael says a diner customer chased the man to a nearby parking lot and took down the plate number.  About two hours later a Clarkstown New York officer saw the car exit the New York state Thruway. 

 

Mulligan and his passenger, 23-year old Martin Murray of Congers New York were each charged with possession of a controlled substance after heroin was found in the car. 

 

According to court records, Mulligan was arrested in 2003 in Ridgefield for 4th degree larceny and once each in 2004, 2006 and 2008 for possession of marijuana.  He pleaded guilty to all of those charges.

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Newtown officials working on school security plans

In her latest blog posting Tuesday, First Selectman Pat Llodra says she along with the superintendent of schools and the police chief have met several times this summer to discuss security plans.  They are moving forward on three fronts--short term, mid-term and long term plans. 

 

The discussions were for all schools except Sandy Hook Elementary.  A separate plan has been made for the school currently located in Monroe.

 

In the short term, Newtown Police will be assigned to the elementary schools using overtime funding.  Each school will be served by armed security guards in addition to an armed officer. 

 

The mid-range plan calls for school resource officers to be hired for the elementary schools and a back-up fired for the juvenile officer at Reed.  If the grant is awarded, two officer's salaries would be covered, the third would come from the municipal budget. 

 

For the long term, the town could create a position called School Safety Officer.  The certification process is currently being developed by State Police.  The role is being implemented in two Connecticut communities so far. 

 

When the job description is completed, site visits will be made to see if this alternative would be better, and a recommendation made to the Board of Ed.  The position would not mean full additions to the police force, but rather would be school-year based.

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Gov. tours shops affected by Newtown shooting

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Governor Dannel Malloy is getting a firsthand look at some businesses in Newtown that suffered economically after December's massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Many shops and restaurants near the school could not stay open in the days after the shooting that left 26 students and educators dead. Police activity and a media crush led to road closures and clogged streets, and kept many regular customers away.

The state approved a $500,000 grant to help offset the losses and about half of that money has been distributed. The other half is slated to be used to promote economic development.

Malloy toured the businesses Wednesday, along with Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra and other local officials. He says it's been ``pretty tough'' on those businesses.

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Young local artist featured in industry magazine

An industry magazine has chosen a young local musician as New Music Seminar Artist of the Week.  24-year old Miles Arnell of New Milford was selected by Aquarian Weekly for the recognition after drop box submissions for 2013 were been reviewed.  Arnell says it was his first time attending the annual major music expo and found the independent music magazine was having an artist of the week contest.

 

The review called Love Nest a pleasant tune with a great hook.  The column said Arnell is an "easy listen" for fans of bands like The Script, who enjoy a fun mix of pop and alternative.

 

Arnell says one day he skipped a class in college and was sitting in his car when inspiration hit.  The song is about being snowed in with a significant other.  He says music has always been a central theme in his life.  His mother and grandfather were singers.

 

Arnell will be performing tonight at 59 Bank in New Milford from 9pm to 1am.  He says his next adventure will be moving to Nashville in mid-September.

 

Arnell is showcasing his photos, videos and songs on Facebook and also on Reverbnation.

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