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Local Headlines Archives for 2014-03

Access Health CT enrollment deadline, help session in Danbury

One last enrollment help sessions are being held in Danbury by Access Health CT.  The state's online marketplace is hosting these to provide information about Healthcare Reform and explain what financial help is available for residents.  Volunteer Mary Levine of the United Church of Christ Health Care Ministry says counselors will be there to walk people through the enrollment process. 

 

Today's session in Danbury is from 1 to 6pm at Danbury Public Library. 

 

Consumers must sign up for coverage or receive an exemption from coverage by today to avoid a tax penalty.  For those not meeting today's enrollment deadline, the federal government will assess a penalty of 1 percent of gross household income over the federal income tax filing threshold or $95 per individual, whichever amount is greater.

 

After today, residents will only be able to obtain coverage under these plans under special circumstances, such as marriage, divorce, birth, adoption or loss of insurance coverage from an employer.

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Family, officials gather at Lou Rell's funeral

BROOKFIELD, Conn. (AP) Friends, family and state officials gathered at the funeral of Lou Rell, the husband of former Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell, to celebrate his life and service to the United States and his community.

Rell died March 22 in Florida. He was 73 and had battled cancer.

Mourners gathered at the Brookfield Congregational Church on Saturday to pay tribute to Rell's service as a Navy pilot and president of the Brookfield Volunteer Fire Department.

Rev. Bryn Smallwood-Garcia said he first knew Lou Rell not as the governor's husband, but as someone who told reporters to just call him Lou.

Friends and family were joined by officials such as Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

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Sandy Hook 5K held in Newtown to benefit Memorial Fund

The second annual Sandy Hook 5K to benefit the Newtown Memorial Fund is being held today.  Nearly 1,200 adults and 125 children participated in the race in Newtown; more than 100 others participated virtually in their own communities.  Governor Dannel Malloy was among those who ran the race.

 

Race Director Katie Blake says they were able to raise $438,000 last year.

 

This year's theme is Love Runs Through.

 

The Newtown Memorial Fund was created to provide for the immediate needs of the 26 victim's families, the wounded and the 12 children in the two classrooms as well as others closely affected.  A percent of the amount donated to the Newtown Memorial Fund will go directly to the chosen charities, scholarship funds, or foundations of the 26 families.

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Area lawmakers split over funding to record legislative meetings

A bill that would funnel millions of dollars more in revenue to Connecticut's government affairs television network has cleared a key committee this week.  The funding increase would allow CT-N, created in part by Danbury Representative Bob Godfrey, to provide gavel-to-gavel coverage of all official legislative meetings at the state Capitol.  He says the funding will cover equipment to record all activities as well as stream those videos online.

 

The Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee on Tuesday voted 33-17 to increase CT-N's funding from $2.5 million to $6 million. The money would come from a tax on cable television companies. 

 

Representatives John Shaban of Redding, John Frey of Ridgefield and David Scribner of Brookfield were among the no votes.  Senators Mike McLachlan of Danbury and Toni Boucher of Wilton also voted no.

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WCSU students discuss sexual assault prevention

The fifth in a series of roundtable discussions about sexual assault on college campuses has been held at West Conn.  The forum held this week by Senator Richard Blumenthal stemmed from a report by the  White House Council on Women and Girls’ that found that nearly one in five women and one in 71 men have been victims of sexual assault.

 

Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services Executive Director Laura Cordes says for too many young women and men on college campuses, this issue is one that has remained silent and out of the public view.  Cordes says she is proud of the survivors, students and others who have shared their stories, and recommendations for the Task Force.

 

University President Dr James Schmotter says Western is dedicated to providing the safest possible environment for students, and working to reduce and even eliminate instances of sexual assault on campuses is important work.

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Newtown VFW celebrated on U.S. House floor for 75th anniversary

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 308 in Newtown has marked its 75th anniversary.  Earlier this month a citation was presented to the local VFW group from the National Commander-in-Chief expressing appreciation for the Newtown chapter's service.  5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty also congratulated the group in a speech on the House floor recently.

 

She said that since 1939, VFW Post 308 has made a remarkable commitment to civic engagement and community service.  That community service ranged from college scholarships awarded to Newtown High School students to assisting Tornado victims in Oklahoma and supporting families effected by the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

 

The Newtown Post is the 8th oldest in Connecticut.  The group has nearly 200 members.  Worldwide, there are nearly 2 million VFW and auxiliary members in more than 7,000 posts.

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Danbury man among 18 arrested for child porn possession

18 people from across Connecticut, including one from Danbury, have been arrested by state police in a statewide sweep by the Computer Crimes Unit.  State Police say the lengthy and thorough investigation was done with the assistance of Connecticut's Internet Crimes Against Children's Task Force. 

 

State police arrested 22-year old Tyler Czardo of Danbury on charges of possession of child pornography and promoting a minor in an obscene performance.  37-year old David Dembosky of Fairfield was arrested on the same charges.

 

Bond for each was set at $50,000 and court appearances scheduled for April 14th.

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4th DWI conviction for NY man in little more than a decade

A Pawling man has been sentenced for the 4th time for driving while intoxicated in little more than a decade.  33-year old Rony Ramirez-Esquivel was convicted on the latest charge in January and sentenced this week to 1 year in jail, followed by five years probation and a mandatory ignition interlock device. 

 

Putnam County District Attorney Adam Levy says DWI is a big problem in the region and inexcusable. 

 

This latest conviction stems from an October incident on Route 22 in Patterson when a Putnam County Sheriff's Deputy found Ramirez-Equivel passed out behind the wheel in the travel lane with his hazard lights on.  The man failed a field sobriety test and refused a breathalyser test. 

 

His prior convictions were in 2002, 2003 and 2004 in Putnam, Westchester and Dutchess counties respectively.

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NY man arrested for selling heroin in Putnam County

A New York man has been arrested for selling heroin in Putnam County.  Undercover Sheriff's deputies were able to make two purchases last month from 32-year old Maurice Elliott of Yonkers. 

 

Narcotics officers conducted surveillance on the man Tuesday and pulled him over on Route 121 in Southeast.  Elliott had 59 packets of heroin in the car along with 13 cocaine rocks and a small quantity of marijuana, packaged for sale. 

 

He was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, two counts of criminal sale and four counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance.  He was arraigned and is being held without bail. 

 

A criminal history check revealed Elliott had prior narcotics-related convictions in New York and is wanted in Pennsylvania for outstanding narcotics offenses.

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Squantz Pond upgrades approved by Bond Commission

The state Bond Commission has approved nearly $6 million for improvements at some state parks.  Friday, it was announced that Squantz Pond in New Fairfield would receive some money to resurface the access road to the park, to incorporate a new drainage system during the resurfacing and to improve the parking area at the state boat launch on Candlewood Lake. 

 

The projects will start as soon as weather permits and be completed by early summer. 

 

Governor Malloy says the state parks are a destination for millions each year and the roads are showing signs of that use.  He says in this centennial celebration year it's important to make sure the investments are made so people can safely travel into and around the parks.

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Bethel principal warning of dangerous new game among teens

A new online game is being warned about in Bethel.  Middle School Principal Derek Muharem sent a letter to parents yesterday describing the so-called Eraser Challenge.  He says the dangerous activity among teens has them take an eraser and begin rubbing it on their skin while saying the alphabet and coming up with a word for each letter. 

 

Once they get to Z, the kids are comparing their erasing injury to their friends. 

 

Muharem says mist kids, about a dozen so far at BMS, have been using their arms from elbow to wrist, though it can be anywhere.  He is asking parents to talk to their kids about this unsafe activity saying it's especially troubling when kids share erasers if they break skin and draw blood.

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Danbury man arrested for shooting man in arm, chest

A shooting is being investigated by Danbury police.  Officers were called to Rose Street shortly before 6pm yesterday and found a 24-year old man had been shot in the arm and chest.  The victim is listed in critical condition at Danbury Hospital. 

 

Witnesses told Danbury Police that the suspect was 33-year old Eliseo Soto of Danbury.  He caused a disturbance at the housing complex earlier in the night and then returned to shoot the victim.  Soto was found at his home and arrested for criminal attempt to commit murder, assault and criminal use of a firearm. 

 

He's being held on $500,000 bond.

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Danbury among Labor Market Areas to add jobs in February

The state Labor Department report on job growth and unemployment for February is out.  There was only modest growth in jobs for February, but that trend shows a sharp decline in January was in fact due to winter weather.  Research Director Andy Condon says Danbury and two other Labor Market Areas showed small gains.

 

Labor officials reported Thursday that the unemployment rate fell to 7 percent in February from 7.2 percent in January. It's still higher than the U.S. rate of 6.7 percent in February.

 

The state has recovered 59,500 jobs, or nearly half of the jobs lost in the economic downturn from March 2008 to February 2010.

 

The numbers Thursday come a day after economist Don Klepper-Smith spoke to the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce.  He says while the state is struggling to rebound from the recession, the Danbury area labor market's business climate is outpacing the overall state economy.

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New Milford brownfield on Bond Commission agenda today

The state Bond Commission is meeting today and one of the items likely to be approved is funding to help clean up an industrial site in New Milford.  State Representative Cecilia Buck-Taylor says environmental clean up at the Century Brass mill site has been worked on for several years, going back to when she was on the local environment commission.

 

With the assistance of the state Department of Economic and Community Development, New Milford is marketing the property for possible future uses as a distribution center, a large retail complex or as a property for “green” industry.

 

Buck-Taylor says once completed, the 72 acre parcel of land will allow the town to increase its industrial tax base by more than $300,000 a year.  The site is about 15-percent of all industrial zoned land in New Milford.

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Not guilty plea from alleged getaway driver of Ridgefield bank robbery

A Connecticut man has appeared in court on charges stemming from a January bank robbery in Ridgefield.  According to court records, 45-year old David Stiber of Derby pleaded not guilty to accessory to robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery. 

 

Police say the man was the getaway driver for the heist at First Niagra Bank on Danbury Road January 24th. 

 

35-year old Andrew Rendflash was arrested February 3rd on charges of robbery, larceny and conspiracy to commit robbery.  He'll be in court Monday, where he is expected to enter a plea.

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Public hearing set for proposed Schlumberger sale

Ridgefield residents will have the chance next month to weigh in on a proposed land sale.  The Board of Selectmen will be presenting the proposal for 10 acres of land on the former Schlumberger site at an April 23rd public hearing.  Ultimately it would go to referendum May 13th when Ridgefield residents vote on a budget. 

 

The proposal is for Toll Brothers to purchase the land for $4-million.  The property has been zoned for multi-family housing and the company has proposed building 30 condos. 

 

This would be the second parcel of the Schlumberger site to be sold off by the town.

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Lawmaker volunteers for Meals on Wheels

The 12th Annual March for Meals campaign has been held by New Opportunities.  Newtown State Representative Mitch Bolinsky served as a volunteer driver for Meals on Wheels as part of the program that gives area residents an opportunity to support their senior neighbors. 

 

Bolinsky called it a heart-warming experience seeing how volunteers go beyond providing for clients nutritional well being.  He says these volunteers play a critical role in the lives of their clients. 

 

Legislation is pending at the state capital on rate reimbursement to help local Meals on Wheels programs.

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Severed sheep head found at Conn. beach

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) Fairfield officials are investigating a severed sheep head found in the water off a local beach.

Authorities say the animal head was found off Jennings Beach on Wednesday, a year after a headless goat carcass was found at the same beach. A veterinarian is examining the sheep head.

Police told the Connecticut Post that they don't suspect the head is linked to sinister activities.

Fairfield animal control officer Paul Miller says the head appears to have been severed with a butcher's knife and one of the sheep's ears was notched, indicating it was livestock. But there was no identifying tag.

In March of last year, a jogger discovered a goat carcass missing its head and lower legs inside a clear garbage bag that was dumped along the water's edge.

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State House observes moment of silence for Lou Rell

During the state House session Wednesday, Brookfield State Representative David Scribner called for a moment of silence in honor of Lou Rell, the husband of former Governor Jodi Rell, who died Saturday in Florida.

 

Scribner said Lou Rell was probably best known in the state as the proud partner of Governor Jodi Rell.  He said Lou's devotion, strength and unwavering support of her gave the former Governor the reassurance to capably lead the state.  He often avoided the limelight, but was often seen by his wife's side during her tenure

 

Lou Rell was 73 and had battled cancer.  The Rell family said funeral arrangements are being made final, with services to be in Connecticut.

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NY woman pulled over, wanted on larceny charge

A Patterson woman pulled over for traffic violations is then charged with larceny.  Putnam County Sheriff's deputies stopped a woman in Patterson for a routine violation and determined she had a suspended license. 

 

49-year old Carole Mill was charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. 

 

While being processed at Putnam County Correctional Facility, deputies determined that she was wanted for a February larceny at Kohls in Southeast.  She was then charged with petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property. 

 

She will be in court today.

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Ridgefield library banner rejected for town hall

A proposal to hang a temporary banner outside Ridgefield Town Hall to mark the grand reopening of the Library has been turned down by the Planning and Zoning Commission.  The Ridgefield Library is currently located in a temporary space as a massive renovation and construction project nears an end. 

 

First Selectman Rudy Marconi told the Ridgefield Press that the space is reserved for the American flag and nothing else. 

 

The Commission discusses the request because of the banner celebrating teen Olympian Tucker West in the same location.  That banner was approved by the Selectmen and did not come before the Commission, who said a banner about the Library could open a flood of possibilities.

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Texting ban enforcement kicks off today

Starting today, several Greater Danbury area police departments will be stepping up texting violation enforcement.  It's the 3rd time that police have participated in the "Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other" campaign.  More than 2-thousand tickets were issued in the first two enforcement efforts. 

 

Citations carry fines ranging from 150-dollars to 500-dollar for texting or talking while driving.  The offense is considered a moving violation and can be reported to insurance companies. 

 

The texting ban enforcement effort runs through April 3rd.

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Shed, brush fire reported in New Milford by Diner

New Milford fire dispatch says there's a shed fire and large brush fire in New Milford near the Windmill Diner at Old State Road.  5 fire companies have been called in to assist in fighting the large blaze.  The mutual assistance is coming from Washington, Bridgewater and Brookfield. 

 

There is some heavy traffic on Route 7 in the area.  The road could experience closures as firefighters battle the blaze.  The suggested detour route is Still River Drive.

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Newtown officials OK open space purchase

A nearly 37 acre parcel of land in Newtown has been purchased by the town to preserve as open space.  The Board of Selectmen held a special meeting Tuesday morning to give final authorization for the $255,000 purchase.  The land on Chestnut Hill Road shares a border with 34 acres of open space the town already owns. 

 

Newtown needed to finish local approvals by the end of the month in order to submit an application for state open space conservation funds.  If the $153,000 grant is not authorized, the Town will bond for additional funds.

 

The Legislative Council and others have also given their approvals.

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Victim privacy bill advanced following close vote

A close vote has been taken by a legislative committee on the public's right to know versus victim privacy.  The Government Administration and Elections Committee has voted 8 to 6 to forward a bill to allow limited review of certain crime scene photos and 911 calls. 

 

The bill would also require families of victims to be notified when people ask to view the photos.  This bill and other similar ones being considered were called for by families of those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. 

 

Danbury State Senator Mike McLachlan was among the no votes.  He previously said his opposition was to families being contacted each time there is a request from the public to see evidence.

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3 arrested for assaulting, robbing and threatening to kill a man at Danbury gas station

A man called 911 late Monday night from the 7-11 on Clapboard Ridge Road to report a hold up.  When officers arrived, they determined that the man was also assaulted.  The incident started shortly before 10pm at the Mobil station on North Main Street when the victim was with two friends.  He was counting his money inside the convenience store, exited the building and that's when two people approached him. 

 

The victim knew the pair, identified as 21-year old John Fernandez and 24-year old Christopher West, both of Danbury. 

 

They demanded money and assaulted him before forcing the man into their car.  They continued to assault the victim and threatened to take him somewhere to kill him if he didn't give them more money. 

 

The man jumped out of the moving vehicle and went for help. 

 

A third suspect was identified as 20-year old Ivan Guevara of Danbury.  The three were found in a hotel in Bethel and arrested. 

 

Ivan Guevara, Christopher West and John Fernandez are each charged with robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, kidnapping with a firearm, conspiracy to commit kidnapping with a firearm, assault, conspiracy to commit assault and threatening. Guevara and West are each being held on $100,000 bond.  Fernandez is being held on $250,000 bond.

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'Aid in dying' bill shelved by legislative committee

The so-called Aid in Dying Bill, perhaps the most controversial this legislative session, has been short circuited.  The would have allowed terminally ill patients to get a physician-authorized prescription to end their life.  Supporters say they've been told it won't be voted on by the Public Health Committee, meaning it won't be voted on this year. 

 

Tim Appleton of the group Compassion and Choices says advocates will try again.

 

Danbury State Senator Mike McLachlan was among those testifying against the bill.  He said there were no protections for the elderly against abuse.  He also claimed the bill would promote a culture of suicide in Connecticut, adding that suicide is not an acceptable solution to life's hardships.

 

But Appleton took great exception to people calling it suicide.  He explained that suicide is the desperate act of a mentally ill otherwise healthy person.  He says "aid in dying" is the measured act of a terminally ill person.

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Grant money for Pitney Bowes considered Fri. by Bond Commission

The state Bond Commission's agenda includes grant-in-aid funding under the First Five Program for Pitney Bowes to help the company with its expansion and efficiency improvement plan.  The 15 million dollar loan will be provided at an interest rate of 2% for ten years with principal deferred for six years.  The company will be eligible for loan forgiveness of $10 million if it meets the job retention and creation goal. 

 

Pitney Bowes is expected to retain 1,600 jobs and create 200 new full-time jobs by 2019. 

 

The investments will be made in the company’s technology center in Danbury, its business operations center in Shelton, and its new headquarters, which will remain in Stamford.

 

A $1 million dollar grant-in-aid for training is also being provided.  The company will also receive a sales and use tax exemption of up to $1 million for capital improvements.  Pitney Bowes is investing about $9 million for capital improvements. 

 

Governor Malloy says Pitney Bowes has been a fixture in Connecticut for over 90 years and has exciting growth plans for its future in areas such as digital commerce and location intelligence.

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Edmond Town Hall gets new projector, no movies for installation

There are no movies being shown at Edmond Town Hall in Newtown this week and into next week.  That's because a new digital projector is being installed.  The $2 movie theater is a favorite among area residents and the projector is one of many upgrades being made. 

 

An upgraded speaker system and lighting have also been installed.  The building now has wifi, which was used while a temporary information desk of CH Booth Library was set up there in recent weeks.

 

Movies will resume after April 4.

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Metro North completes speen enforcement upgrades, works on signal system

Metro North has completed upgrades to its signal system to enable automatic speed enforcement at five critical curves and movable bridges in New York and Connecticut.  That announcement came Monday from the state Department of Transportation.  Senator Richard Blumenthal called it a modest milestone, but a critical safety measure.

 

Blumenthal says commuters have good reason to ask about timelines and deadlines for achieving other safety measures like alterers and cameras.  He says had the technology been in place before last December's fatal derailment, the horrific crash could have been averted.  Blumenthal says Metro North needs to disclose any additional locations that raise similar risks.

 

Metro North has also released a plan to install monitoring equipment that will detect overheated wheels and loads of freight trains to identify faults before they cause problems.

 

This comes as work is being done to replace two grade crossings on the Danbury Branch.  There is now a detour in place at East Liberty Street.  Work is expected to last through Wednesday.  In Danbury, both sides of the street require excavation and the entire crossing will be replaced.

 

Work will start Friday at the South Street crossing in Bethel. 

 

Officials say the work may identify contributing factors to the new technology that's caused gates and lights to activate when no trains are in the area.  Trains are now operating with a so-called Stop And Warn procedure, where the train stops before each crossing to make sure the gates and working.

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NJ man in court for 2012 death of Ridgefield man

A New Jersey man will be in court Tuesday for the 2012 murder of a Villanova University student from Ridgefield.  Ernest Williams Junior will appear in a New Jersey court for the death of Brian Schiavetti and also unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes. 

 

Schiavetti's body was found in an apartment building in Montclair in July 2012.  He had been living in Ridgefield for the summer.

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Bond money coming to Century Brass site in New Milford

$2.5 million in state funding to help New Milford demolish the former Century Brass mill building will be considered by the Bond Commission when it meets Friday.  State Senator Clark Chapin says this additional investment will help the town transform the former Century Brass property from its idle state to a productive one.

 

The 72-acre Century Enterprise Center still includes a vacant 320,000 square foot brass mill.  Chapin says the building is contaminated with asbestos that must be disposed of properly before the town can move forward with redeveloping and marketing the property.

 

The project will create 50 construction-related jobs. 

 

The former Century Brass fabrication mill has been closed since 1986.  New Milford acquired the site in 1999.  Sewer, water and road infrastructure improvements have already been made near the property.

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All state police troops open 24/7

The new state Police Commissioner has announced that State Police barracks across the state will remain open 24-7, a reversal of some open only during business hours.  Dora Schriro is still evaluating whether to continue the controversial process of consolidated dispatch centers, but she's decided that the public wants the barracks open around the clock.

 

 In the western part of the state, dispatch functions for Troops A and B were moved to Troop L in Litchfield.  Troop A covers the Greater Danbury and New Milford areas while Troop B is from Torrington, north.

 

The union took a vote of no confidence in then-Commissioner Ruben Bradford and Col. Danny Stebbins for consolidating statewide dispatch centers from 12 to 5.  Bradford, who retired last month. Bradford said the consolidation was saving money and putting more troopers on patrol.  The union criticized the consolidation, saying it was resulting in longer response times and people seeking help at closed barracks. Emergency call boxes were installed outside those barracks.

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Two bicyclists injured in weekend accident in New Milford

Two bicyclists were injured in a Saturday morning accident in New Milford.  The accident happened on Cherinske Road.  One rider was transported to Hartford Hospital via Lifestar helicopter.  Police say one of the tires blew out and caused the bicyclist to lose control among a group of riders.  One rider sustained leg injuries while another had a concussion.  Police say no vehicles were involved in the accident.  No other information was immediately available.

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Redding seeks to preserve Hill Rd property as open space

A grant application is being made by Redding officials to preserve a parcel of land bordering the Centennial Watershed forest as open space.  The grant application to purchase the property on Hill Road is due next Monday.  Redding's First Selectman, the Land Trust and others say the property has long been identified as one the town would want to preserve.  The state could grant a lifetime conservation easement for the property, if it gets approval from the state.

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Architects to present plans for new Newtown school

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Architects designing the new Sandy Hook Elementary School will be presenting their plans to Newtown officials after getting input from more than 200 people.

Svigals + Partners is scheduled to show their concepts to Newtown's Public Building and Site Commission on Tuesday night.

The old Sandy Hook School was torn down because of the December 2012 shootings that killed 20 first-graders and six educators. A new school will be built on the same property.

New Haven-based Svigals + Partners is proposing a two-story building that will have wide, connecting ``Main Street'' boulevards inside, four ``tree houses,'' footbridges, courtyards and many large windows that will provide natural lighting.

Architects say they're designing a school that will be safe without feeling like a fortress.

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Conn. gun shop owner faces sentencing

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) The owner of a gun shop that legally sold a rifle to the Newtown school shooter's mother is facing sentencing for unrelated federal firearms violations.

David Laguercia is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday in Bridgeport. He pleaded guilty to transfer of a firearm before completing a background check and failure to maintain firearms records.

Prosecutors say an investigation found about 300 examples of false or misleading information in Riverview Gun Sales records.

Riverview legally sold a Bushmaster rifle to Nancy Lanza, whose son, Adam, used it to kill 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012.

His attorney is seeking a short period of probation, saying his transgressions stemmed from how he ran his business and that he never intentionally put someone at risk.

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MADD wants increased charges for DUI with minors in the vehicle

Mothers Against Drunk Driving Connecticut Chapter is pushing for passage of key legislative proposals this session.  Executive Director Janice Heggie-Margolis says MADD wants lawmakers to approve a proposal that would make Ignition Interlock Devices required for all DUI offenses in the state.

 

In 2012, Brookfield Representative David Scribner co-sponsored a bill signed by the Governor that would allow a drivers license to be reinstated for a third DUI conviction, but that there be lifetime installation of an ignition interlock device. 

 

MADD also wants laws amended so that adults who drive drunk with children under 16 in the vehicle face a class B felony.

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Blumenthal at WCSU to discuss sexual assault prevention

A forum on sexual assault is being held at Western Connecticut State University today.  It's being hosted by Senator Richard Blumenthal as part of a statewide series.  The first roundtable discussion was held in January at Fairfield University. 

 

The discussion with students in Danbury is the 4th. 

 

The roundtable discussion is entitled "Sexual violence is not a women's issue; it's a societal issue".  Blumenthal says while law enforcement must be improved, society as a whole can lead by example.  He is interested in hearing from victim advocates, students and administrators about their experience and views on how to eliminate this type of crime.

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Changes proposed to Danbury's Commission on Aging

The Commission on Aging was created in 1974.  Revisions are needed because of the changes in the way the City delivers services and support to seniors.

 

One of the proposed changes includes that if a regular member of the Commission is absent, an alternate will be designated to act in that person's place.  Another proposed change is that the Commission have the post to adopt bylaws and operating procedures and committees on special subjects, with the approval of the City Council.

 

The purpose of the Commission on Aging is being reworded so that the group can seek opportunities to improve and sustain the quality of life for seniors and then advise the Department of Elderly Services, the City Council and the Mayor on how to implement and coordinate programs.  The scope of the work was expanded to also include education, transportation and safety specifically, rather than leaving those areas as general "other related matters".

 

At their next regular meeting, the City Council will likely refer the proposals to a public hearing.

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Obit: Lou Rell, former Gov. Jodi Rell's husband, dies at age 73

Lou Rell, former Governor Jodi Rell's husband, died Saturday at the age of 73.

 
Lou Rell was a Navy pilot who moved to Brookfield in 1969. He served as a volunteer fireman and as a police commissioner there.  The couple had two children.  Jodi Rell, Connecticut's 87th governor, served from 2004, following former Gov. John G. Rowland's resignation, until 2011.
 
Their son Michael issued a statement today on his passing:
 
"Lou Rell passed away today in a Florida Hospital after a long courageous battle with cancer with his family by his side. Funeral arrangements are currently being finalized. Services will be held in Connecticut."

 

Governor Dannel Malloy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman have also released statements. 

 

 

Governor Malloy said, “Cathy and I send our deepest condolences to Governor Rell and her family on the passing of Lou Rell.  Lou was devoted to his family, and their loss is felt by countless people throughout our state.  Governor Rell, her family, and the Brookfield community will remain in our thoughts and prayers in the coming days.”
 
Lt. Governor Wyman said, “I was very fortunate to have known Lou Rell for many years. He was a man of integrity, humor, and commitment, and his passing is a tremendous loss.  Lou was devoted husband, father, and grandfather, and an important source of support to his family and friends.  My deepest sympathy goes out to Governor Rell and her family – we hold them in our thoughts during this difficult time.”
 

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) issued the following statement:

 

“A man of grace, charm and cheer, his common sense insight added immeasurably to our public life.  He was devoted passionately to his country and community, and to Governor Rell. My heart goes out to his wonderful family.”

 

Connecticut Republican Party Chairman Jerry Labriola, Jr. released the following statement:

 

“It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of Lou Rell.  As a pilot in the U.S. Navy and as Connecticut’s first spouse, Lou’s life was dedicated to the support of others. He served our state and our nation with a silent humility that commanded that admiration of all who met him. His humor and his charm will be greatly missed.  Lou Rell's service to our state, our nation, and our party will not soon be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers are with Governor Rell and her family during this difficult time.”

 

Connecticut Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo released the following statement:

 

“I want to extend my deepest condolences to Governor Rell for the loss of her husband. Connecticut Democrats join Governor Rell and her family in mourning a great man who served his state and his country.”

 

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Brookfield home destroyed by early morning fire

A Brookfield home has been completely engulfed in flames.  The fire on Meadowview Drive was reported around 3 o'clock this morning.  Fire officials say there were no injuries as the occupants were able to make it to safety.  Tankers from neighboring towns including Newtown and New Milford were called in for mutual assistance because there are no hydrants in the area.  The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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CH Booth Library reopens in Newtown after 8 weeks of closure

Newtown residents are being welcomed back to C.H. Booth Library today with a series of events.  The library was closed by burst sprinkler pipe in January.  Acting Library Director Beryl Harrison says reconstruction is finished and the newly improved facility is open for business.

 

Fine amnesty will continue through April 1st for residents to return overdue items.  Patrons were asked to hold onto books, DVDs and other material while the library was closed.  Any item returned after April 1st will be subject to late fees. 

 

For children, there will be music, a juggle, crafts and lego stations.  For adults there will be a book discussion featuring singer/songwriter, Lenny Levine who writes mystery novels and short stories which can be funny, sad, touching and suspenseful all at once. 

 

Today's events take place during normal Library hours of 9:30am to 5pm.

 

Events for children:

11 am. Music Together with Julie Capuano

1-3 pm. Juggler and yo-yo artist, Eric Girardi

1-3 pm.  Christina Dolzal as Tinkerbell

12:30- 3 pm Drop in Crafts and Lego Stations

 

For Adults:

2-3:30 pm Story and Song with Lenny Levine

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Danbury police warn of two phone scams

The so-called grandparent scam warned about this week by Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy has been reported as happening in Danbury.  Police have received three complaints in the last several days of two types of scams. 

 

Danbury Police say one type of call victims reported getting is of someone saying their family member is being held hostage and a ransom needs paying.  The other call claims a family member has been in a serious accident and in need of medical treatment, which will be denied unless payment is made up front. 

 

Police say every effort should be made to contact the family member in question and call the police department before any money is sent.

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Train track replacements at two Danbury branch Metro North crossings

Starting today, the state Department of Transportation and Metro North will replace two grade crossings on the Danbury Branch.  There is now a detour in place at East Liberty Street.  Work is expected to last through Wednesday.  In Danbury, both sides of the street require excavation and the entire crossing will be replaced.

 

Work will start next Friday at the South Street crossing in Bethel. 

 

Officials say the work may identify contributing factors to the new technology that's caused gates and lights to activate when no trains are in the area.  Trains are now operating with a so-called Stop And Warn procedure, where the train stops before each crossing to make sure the gates and working.

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Grief workshop for parents to be held at Ridgefield High School

Ridgefield school officials are offering a seminar for parents on Monday called "When someone you love is grieving: what to know and how to help".  The Ridgefield Press reports that the workshop will cover aspects of the grief and mourning process--including the sudden death of a peer. 

 

This follows the death of 15-year old Emma Sandhu, who was struck by a car while walking along Ridgebury Road a week ago. 

 

The workshop will feature psychiatrists, members of the religious community, the High School guidance counselor and a representative of Kids in Crisis.   It's from 7 to 9pm Monday at the High School auditorium.

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Bethel to host workshops to find new Superintendent of Schools

Two workshops are being set up by the Bethel Board of Education for the community to weigh in on characteristics of a new Superintendent of Schools.  The first one, being held Tuesday night, will be for town officials and interested community members.  The next one, set for April 1st, will be for students and teachers. 

 

An online survey asking a series of questions ranging from qualifications and background to specialized training and achievement record is open through April 2nd. 

 

Bethel is one of several school systems in the Greater Danbury area searching for a new leader.  Dr Kevin Smith has accepted the same post in Wilton.

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Whalers and Danbury remain at standstill over debt for services

Talks are still at a standstill over whether the Danbury Whalers will be paying debt owed to the City for fire and police protections at hockey games.  A City Council ad hoc committee found the Whalers in default of financial obligations to the City and recommended that Corporation Counsel, the Finance Director and others do whatever necessary to collect the debt.

 

The representatives of the Whalers proposed at that meeting paying $600 per game going forward and $13,000 toward the nearly $105,000 debt.  The $13,000 was calculated by taking the 90 games at the $600 reimbursement rate, less the $44,000 previously paid.  At the time of the meeting, the Whalers were presented with an invoice of $1,400 per game for two weekends worth of games. 

 

Danbury Whalers CEO Herm Sorcher said the team would not make any payments for current fire and police presence until the City agreed to accept $13,000 for the past debt, not including this year's games.  Committee chairwoman Colleen Stanley told the Whalers that the Committee was willing to negotiate on the past due obligation, though advance payments must be made as a sign of good faith.

 

Fire Marshal James Russell told the ad hoc committee that fire watch is needed at all games to look for locked or broken doors, which he says have been found routinely.  The watchmen are also trained to address other public safety issues such as a shooter and crowd control in an emergency situation.  If attendance is less than 500, the event only requires one Fire Marshal. 

 

Police Chief Al Baker told the ad hoc committee that events like hockey games require four police officers and one supervisor, due to the size of crowds, past activity and the potential for firearms.

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Lawmakers continue push for universal background checks on gun sales

State and federal officials are speaking out on the continuing nationwide campaign for better gun control laws following the shootings at Sandy Hook.

 

Connecticut's two U.S. Senators have held another roundtable discussion about background checks for gun sales.  Richard Blumenthal cited a report that found repeal of Missouri's background check law resulted in 55 to 63 additional gun homicides per year.  The report was by the John Hopkins Center for Gun Policy Research.  He said gun control advocates, groups and lawmakers must work hard to gather statistics on how well laws are helping reduce crime.

 

The Senators were joined Thursday by representatives of the Brady Campaign, the head of Connecticut police's special licensing bureau and others.  This 20th anniversary of the Brady law being in effect, the background checks have blocked an average of 343 gun purchases a day, 171 to felons, 48 to domestic abusers and 19 to fugitives, per day.

 

Senator Chris Murphy says it could be a year or more before Congress takes another major vote on gun control.

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Bail granted for men charged with manslaughter in the Bahamas

A New Milford man and one from Florida are being released on bail while facing charges in the death of a Pennsylvania man in the Bahamas.  A lawyer for the two men portrays the incident as an accident.  Attorney Wayne Munroe says 19-year old Tyler Valles of Florida and 62-year old Robert Schwartz of Gaylordsville were allowed to leave the country. 

 

Police say the men struggled when an allegedly drunk 45-year-old Carl Yerger tried to board their boat.  Witnesses say Valles went to move a knife away from the man and accidentally stabbed Yerger. 

 

Munroe says his clients were fending off an assault by the allegedly intoxicated man.

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Area lawmakers wants to make it easier for military to vote

Delays in absentee ballots being returned by certain voters is being addressed this legislative session.  State Senator Rob Kane, whose district includes Bethlehem and Roxbury, favors a measure to allow military personnel stationed elsewhere to access online voting over a secure website.

 

Kane says billions of dollars of commerce electronically, so why not give military personnel the same option.  He says they are the ones, after all, protecting the right to vote.

 

Kane says voting online or having the data transmitted via fax could violate privacy, so this proposal would give military voters the option to waive that constitutional right to ensure that their vote is counted.

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Bethel Ed Board seeks public help in Superintendent qualifications

The Bethel Board of Education is calling on parents and residents to weigh in on characteristics of a new Superintendent of Schools.  A survey has been posted online asking a series of questions ranging from qualifications and background to specialized training and achievement record. 

 

Bethel is one of several schools in the Greater Danbury area searching for a new leader of their school systems.  Dr Kevin Smith has accepted the same post in Wilton.

 

The survey can be accessed here.

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Two Marshall's employees arrested for alleged thefts

Two employees of Marshall's Department Store in the town of Southeast have been arrested for stealing from the store.  Loss Prevention Staff reported Monday morning that they caught two employees on surveillance video stealing merchandise. 

 

Putnam County Sheriff's Deputies arrested 19-year old Tonie Coston of Staatsburg New York and 25-year old Joshua Walker--who gave an address in Detroit, Michigan.  They were each charged with petit larceny.

 

The pair are being held at Putnam County Correctional Facility for arraignment.

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CH Booth Library to reopen, officially, Saturday

CH Booth Library in Newtown is getting ready for a grand reopening ceremony on Saturday.  Officially the library reopened on the 8th, having been closed by a burst sprinkler pipe in January. 

 

Library officials say in their latest update that flood recovery is still a work in progress, but patrons are welcome to the facility. 

 

Fine amnesty will continue through April 1st for residents to return overdue items.  Patrons were asked to hold onto books, DVDs and other material while the library was closed.  Any item returned after April 1st will be subject to late fees.

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Danbury among the housing authorities receiving federal funds

The Danbury Housing Authority is among those in Connecticut receiving federal funds.  Some 3,100 public housing authorities are sharing nearly $1.8 billion to make large-scale improvements to housing units. 

 

Danbury is receiving nearly $600,000 in funding through the Housing and Urban Development's Capital Fund Program. 

 

The projects can range from roof replacements to energy efficiency upgrades.  HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan says while this round of funding is not enough to met the tremendous backlog of capital needs, it will go a long way.

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Danbury teen arrested on drug charges

A Danbury man has been arrested for selling drugs from his Steven Street apartment.  A several week investigation led police to the apartment of 18-year old Aaron Harris on Friday with a search warrant.  Harris had security measures in place alerting him to people arriving, including an alarm and surveillance cameras, and his door was fortified to prevent entry. 

 

Police say the SWAT Team was called in and forced entry when Harris denied police access. 

 

Officers found Harris in the process of destroying evidence when they entered.  He was charged with possession of crack cocaine, possession with intent to sell, possession within 1,500 feet of a school, interfering with a search warrant and destruction of evidence. 

 

He is being held on $50,000 bond.

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Aquarion to provide refunds to ratepayers

Aquarion Water Company customers will be getting a break on bills.  Starting next year, Aquarion will reduce rates by 5.6 percent for the next three years.  The company says new regulations issued in September by the IRS allows them to adopt an alternative to how capital expenditures are treated for income tax purposes. 

 

The total amount being returned to Aquarion customers is $29 million.  The proposal needs approval from the sate Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. 

 

Aquarion will also be delaying its next general rate case and its planned Water Infrastructure and Conservation Adjustment .  The company says it will continue to investigate Adjustment eligible main replacements though during that time.

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Redding police investigating incident with white van, student

Redding police are investigating an incident that happened Tuesday morning where a white van slowed down near a female middle school student who was waiting for the bus.  Police say the white male in his 20s and wearing a red Chicago Bulls hat, made eye contact with the girl and rolled down his window. 

 

She reported feeling uncomfortable and running into her house.  Redding and Bethel Police are working together on the investigation because the van was seen heading toward Route 58. 

 

A similar incident was reported in Bethel earlier this month where a man, described as being in his 30s, got out of a white van and a middle school girl was able to run to her house.

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Local official weighs in on PILOT program expansion proposal

Democratic leaders of the state Senate are proposing an increase to the Payment In Lieu of Taxes program, which reimburses municipalities for tax exempt college, hospitals, and state-owned properties.  The proposal would be phased in, and would set up a three-tiered system. 

 

Danbury Republican Mayor Mark Boughton says municipalities are thankful for any funding they can get from the state.  Danbury Hospital has a significant amount of square footage in the City and is adding more.

 

But Boughton says he's disappointed the plan exempts state universities, noting that West Conn has a large footprint in Danbury.

 

Boughton says the state has lost it's priorities, but this is something that's a worthwhile investment.  He says he will watch this proposal carefully as it moves through the General Assembly.

 

Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney has proposed 50-percent payment for the 20 municipalities with the most PILOT properties, 45-percent for the next 20 and 40-percent for the rest.  Currently reimbursements are about 33-percent.

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Worker's comp law mental health expansion bill advanced

A bill has been advanced by the legislature's Public Health Committee that would have teachers, police, fire and other public employees who witness a traumatic incident have their mental health treatment covered by the state's worker's comp law.  The bill is in response to the aftermath of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary. 

 

Public Safety Committee co-chair Representative Stephen Dargan says it's getting hard for municipalities to find volunteer emergency responders.  He says people don't want to volunteer if they're not backed up by their employer if they are hurt.

 

Those critical of the bill call it an unfunded mandate on towns and cities.  The bill still needs approval from the full House and Senate.

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Ridgefield man arrested on health care fraud charges

A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging 45-year old David Lester Johnston of Ridgefield with 14 counts of health care fraud and 14 counts of making false statements relating to health care matters. 

 

Johnston owns Osteopathic Wellness Center LLC in Ridgefield.  U.S. Attorney spokesman Tom Carson says the indictment alleges that Johnston billed for osteopathic and physical therapy services that he did not perform and misrepresented the nature of the services that were performed.

 

Johnston was arrested Tuesday.  He pleaded not guilty and was released on $100,000 bond.

 

If convicted, Johnston faces a maximum of 10 years in jail and a fine of up to $250,000 on each of the health care fraud counts, and a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 on the false statements counts.

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US citizen slain in Bahamas; 2 US men charged

NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) Authorities in the Bahamas have charged two U.S. men in the stabbing death of a Pennsylvania man on Bimini.

Assistant Police Commissioner Emrick Seymour says the men are facing charges of manslaughter in the death of 45-year-old Carl Yerger.

Seymour identified the suspects as 19-year-old Tyler Valles of Key Largo, Florida and 62-year-old Robert Schwartz of Gaylordsville, Connecticut. The men made an initial appearance before a magistrate Monday. The judge did not issue an immediate ruling on their request for bail.

Yerger was found stabbed to death Friday on the grounds of the Big Game Club and Resort Marina. Seymour says the suspects say they fought with Yerger after he allegedly tried to get on their boat.

Yerger was a father of two from Ruscombmanor Township, Pennsylvania.

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$5M bail set for Easton man in attempted hanging

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut judge has set bail at $5 million for a landscaper charged with raping his wife and trying to hang her from a noose tied to their garage ceiling.

Forty-two-year-old Cory Dawid of Easton appeared Monday in Bridgeport Superior Court ready to post the $1 million bail set after his arrest last week. The Connecticut Post reports that Judge Robert Devlin increased the bail Monday over concerns about the safety of Dawid's wife.

Dawid remains detained. He has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, sexual assault and other charges.

The judge said Dawid's wife would have been killed had her teenage son not called 911. Police say they found the woman lying on the garage floor gasping for air and a noose suspended from the ceiling March 11.

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Son who admitted killing mom attempts suicide at Newtown prison

The father of a Deep River man who admitted to killing his mother at Christmastime is questioning how his son, who was on a suicide watch, could seriously harm himself while being held at Garner Correctional Institution in Newtown.

Robert Rankin said Tuesday he was told his 23-year-old son Robert O. Rankin, known as Bobby, jumped over a second floor railing last month.  The high security prison on the former Fairfield Hills campus provides care and treatment to adult male offenders with significant mental health issues.

Bobby Rankin, who is diagnosed with schizophrenia, appeared in Middletown Superior Court in a wheelchair, wearing a metal halo on his head and a cast on his right arm. Bobby Rankin's attorney, Dennis McMahon, said his client damaged three cervical discs in the fall, which he said could have killed his client.

A Department of Correction spokesman said he could not comment because he hadn't seen an incident report.

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Man on scooter accosting women, girls in Danbury

Danbury police are investigating complaints of a young man accosting women and girls in the downtown area.  Police the the white male in his late teens to early 20s has been operating a scooter driving past the women making inappropriate comments and solicitations. 

 

One victim reported to police that the man groped her.  The Special Victims Unit is investigating. 

 

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Bryan Bishop at 203-797-4682.

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Police log: Shoplifting, break-in, loud party

Danbury Police have made three arrests in connection with a burglary Sunday.

 

Around 11pm Sunday, Danbury Police were called to an Osborne Street home on a report of a burglary in progress.  Police spokesman Lt Christian Carroccio says the victim told officers that two men entered the apartment. Officers set up a perimeter and were able to locate the two suspects hiding in the neighborhood.  18-year old Kimberly Ramierez of New Milford, who drove the two there, was later located down the road. 

 

20-year old Kevin Pereira and 25-year old Javier Taveras, both of Danbury, have been charged with burglary, criminal mischief, interfering with police and conspiracy to commit burglary.  Ramirez, of New Milford, was charged for conspiracy to commit burglary, interfering with police, possession of marijuana and of drug paraphernalia and operating a vehicle with a suspended license.  

 

Each are being held on $25,000 bond.

 

Shoplifting at the mall was also among the incidents Danbury police responded to on Sunday.  Officers arrested 20-year old Kayla Crecco of New Fairfield on a robbery charge.  Crecco stole more than $400 in merchandise from Sears.  When stopped by security, Crecco assaulted one of them.  She was held on $2,500 bond.

 

Just after midnight on Sunday Danbury Police were called to a Hilltop Manor home on a report of a large and noisy house party.  18-year old Kevin Odonnell and 20-year old Ryan Odonnell was each charged with interfering with police and providing alcohol to a minor.

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ARC collection donations for funeral costs of Danbury homeless man

Donations are being collected by the Association of Religious Communities in Danbury for costs in connection with the death of Francisco Raymundo Perez, who died of hypothermia on a bitterly cold February night.  Reverend PJ Leopold says ARC hopes to raise the $4,500 needed to return the man's body to his family in Guatemala.

 

Perez was about 40 years old, had been sending money home to his family, including 5 children.  No one knows why he left the Dorothy Day shelter on Spring Street in the middle of the night and wound up dead of exposure. 

 

ARC is the regional point of entry for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.  A community member asked ARC to be the fiduciary and agreed because they have done so for others. 

 

Donations can be sent to ARC at 325 Main Street in Danbury, CT 06810 until April 22nd.  Checks can be made payable to ARC, with “funeral” indicated in the memo section.  Cash donations will also be accepted at the ARC office, with “funeral” indicated on the envelope.

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Newtown struggles to meet mental health demand

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Newtown officials are applying for a federal grant and charities are pooling their resources in an attempt to ensure that free mental health care remains available to those who need it following the December 2012 massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The moves come as some charities begin to run short of money. Officials say they have no real idea of how much they will ultimately need for mental health care in Newtown, and for how many years.

Newtown residents seeking financial help are being directed to the State Office of Victim Services, which is processing applications for a pool of funds created by the Lions Club, Rotary Club and Newtown Memorial Fund.

The town also has asked for a $7 million grant to help pay nonprofits providing mental-health services and link people with those services.

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NYS police: 4 injured in car accident in Southeast

SOUTHEAST, N.Y. (AP) New York State police say four people were injured in a one-car accident in Putnam County.

Police say it occurred on Milltown Road in Southeast around 3:30 a.m. Monday.

Four occupants of the vehicle were transported to Danbury Hospital in Connecticut. Their conditions weren't immediately known.

Milltown Road in the area of Mountain Brook Drive was closed to traffic while police investigated.

It wasn't immediately known what caused the accident.

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Conn. assisted suicide bill draws large crowd

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut lawmakers are hearing emotional testimony from those who oppose and support proposed legislation allowing physicians to prescribe medication to help terminally ill patients end their lives.

A large crowd was on hand for Monday's public hearing before the Public Health Committee.

Many who testified before lawmakers did so from motorized wheelchairs.

Sara Meyers of Kent, diagnosed with ALS three years ago, said she could ``rest a whole lot easier'' knowing she had the ability to end her life peacefully, with the help of a doctor's prescription, if she chose to end her life.

But many disabilities rights advocates found the legislation offensive. Cathy Ludlum of Manchester said the bill is more about ``disability phobia'' and not personal choice.

It's unclear whether the bill will be voted out of committee.

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Danbury teen missing

Danbury police  are asking for help from the public in locating a 16-year-old Danbury girl who was reported missing on Sunday.

Faith King was last seen Saturday leaving a residence on Spring Street in a white Cadillac..

She was described as a black female, 5-feet, 5-inches tall and weighing 135 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police.

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Sharon man had stockpile of weapons

In Sharon ...Authorities have removed a stockpile of military firearms, including grenades and a flamethrower, and thousands of rounds of ammunition from the house of a recently deceased resident.

State Police came to George Laning's house in Sharon after a friend found him dead March 8. The 59-year-old Laning died of unspecified natural causes. 

Members of the state police Emergency Services Unit, the FBI and a team of Air Force Explosive Disposal technicians from Westover Air Force Base in  Mass., cataloged items including a 20-mm anti-tank gun on skis to AR-15s, grenades, bombs and a flamethrower. The equipment was removed by truck.

Laning was described as a reclusive man who shared his home with his father, Harry, who died at age 94 in 2005.
 

 

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Grief Counselors at Ridgefield High School

Ridgefield mourns the loss of a teen. ..

The 15-year-old Ridgefield girl who died after being struck by a car on Ridgebury Road on Friday was a high school sophomore who lived a short distance from the scene of the accident. She was walking with a group of friends.

Emma Sandhu, of Benson Road, was walking with a group of friends Friday night when she was hit just before 9:30 p.m. She died at Danbury Hospital.

Police said Sunday the accident remains under investigation, and they have not yet identified the driver, who remained at the scene. The accident occurred in an unlighted section of Ridgebury Road, where a person familiar with the accident said Sandhu had been attending a gathering with other teens. The teen was reportedly wearing dark clothing. The accident is under investigation .

Emma Sandhu had attended the Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance.

Allison Stockel , Exec. Director of  the Ridgefield Playhouse says the teen played the Snow Queen in the Nutcracker at the Playhouse in Dec. She had done so for years.

Counseling services will be available at a variety of locations today , including Ridgefield High School and at the Ridgefield Youth Service Bureau .

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Maintenance scheduled on Danbury railroad crossing

Work being done at a Metro North crossing in Danbury this coming weekend is not related to ongoing signal system issues.

 

Metro-North has been providing off-peak and weekend busing for Danbury Branch customers since March 1st, when a temporary scheduled was put in place to figure out what is causing false activations of crossing gates on the Danbury branch. 

 

Separately, this coming weekend Metro-North track workers will be upgrading the grade crossing at East Liberty Street in Danbury.  They will be replacing wooden ties, running rail and the rubber crossing pads on the roadway to make it a smoother crossing.  The work also involves replacing the ballast--the loose rock between the ties that stabilize the whole track structure. 

 

A detour will be put in place during that work.

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New Fairfield man in court on grand larceny charge

A New Fairfield man has been arrested for allegedly embezzling from his employer. 

 

43-year old Andrew Guzi of New Fairfield has been charged by the Putnam County Sheriff's office on a 3rd degree grand larceny charge.  The Sheriff's office received a complaint earlier this month from a Brewster business owner, who said an audit revealed cash was stolen from his business from March 2011 through December of 2013.  The investigation led to Guzi. 

 

He was arrested on Thursday and arraigned.  He is being held in lieu of 20-thousand dollars bond for a court appearance today.

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Money moved to pay for plow, HVAC maintenance in Danbury

Almost half of the money left in Danbury's contingency fund has been moved to the Public Works Department to help cover the costs of this winter.  The many winter storms meant plowing equipment took a beating and are in need of more maintenance.  In addition the subzero temperatures means the HVAC systems in many schools are in need of more maintenance. 

 

City Councilman Tom Saadi questioned if there are things that can be anticipated that would need additional funds.  At their meeting earlier this month, the Council approved moving $200,000 to the Public Works Department budget, but the City's Finance Director says it could be a wash. 

 

After last year's City budget was put together, the state changed their structure a bit to include funding for road and bridge maintenance.  Allowed in that is snow removal, salt and sand.  The money is being held in a special fund, which would be moved to cover other operating expenses in the Public Work's budget.

 

St Hilaire says that took a lot of pressure off the Public Work's budget.

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UPDATED: Teen pedestrian struck and killed in Ridgefield

A pedestrian was struck by a car on Ridgebury Road in the area of Benson Road shortly before 9:30 Friday night.

 

The individual was transported to Danbury Hospital, where they later succumbed to injuries sustained in the crash.  Police say the 15 year old has been identified as Emma Sandhu.  A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 10:30 a.m. in St. Elizabeth Seton Church, 520 Ridgebury Rd.  Interment will be private.  The family will receive friends in the Kane Funeral Home, 25 Catoonah St., Ridgefield on Tuesday, March 16, from 4 to 8 p.m. 

 

The case remains under investigation.

 

The following is a notice posted on the Ridgefild High School website:

IMPORTANT NOTICE:  
Due to the tragic loss of a member of the RHS community, tonight's performance of Meet Me in St. Louis will be postponed until March 23rd at 2:00 P.M.  Tickets for tonight's show will be honored at that time. Tomorrow's performance will go on as scheduled.
The cast and crew of the musical offer our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends affected by this tragedy.

 

The Ridgefield Press reports that the crash came minutes after officers chased down the passenger who fled from a motor vehicle stop on Route 33, Wilton Road West.  The person reportedly ran on to Fieldcrest Drive before being caught. Police reported finding drugs in the car.

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Conn. agency offers advice to gun, magazine owners

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut officials are urging owners of now-illegal assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines to relinquish them to the police or make them permanently inoperable.

The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection announced Friday it had sent a letter to owners who had failed to register the items by a Jan. 1 deadline, part of last year's gun control law. Officials offered advice on what to do now with the weapons and magazines.

The letter says gun owners are in compliance with the new state law if their items are no longer in Connecticut or were sold to an authorized gun dealer.

Those who fail to comply face charges of possessing an unregistered assault weapon and/or high capacity magazine.

Commissioner Dora Schriro denied rumors DESPP is confiscating weapons.

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Prison employee charged with taking bribes

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) An employee of the federal prison in Danbury has been arrested on charges that she took part in a scheme to collect bribes from inmates in exchange for recommendations that they be released early to halfway houses.

Federal prosecutors say 42-year-old Kisha Perkins of Waterbury was arrested at her home Friday morning. She appeared in federal court in New Haven was released on $100,000 bond.

A woman who answered the phone at Perkins' residence said she was not available to comment.

The complaint alleges that Perkins approached a co-worker last June and offered to split a $20,000 bribe from an inmate if the co-worker would endorse early release. The co-worker refused and contacted authorities.

Perkins is charged with aiding and abetting in a bribery scheme of a public official.

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Conn. jobless rate dipped to 7.2 percent in Jan.

State labor officials say Connecticut's unemployment rate dropped slightly to 7.2 percent in January despite the state losing 10,400 jobs.  All six of the Labor Market Areas posted job losses with the Danbury area the biggest decliner at -1.4 percent.

The state Labor Department released a report Friday saying officials believe poor winter weather was largely responsible for the job losses and they expect job growth trends to return.

The unemployment rate was down from 7.4 percent in December and from 8 percent in January 2013. Labor Department officials say it was the sixth month in a row that the unemployment rate decreased.

The national unemployment rate in January was 6.6 percent, down from 6.7 percent in December.

The department says Connecticut has recovered nearly half the 119,100 jobs it lost in the recession from March 2008 to February 2010.

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New Fairfield man will not be charged in sons shooting

A popular fifth-grade teacher who fatally shot a knife-wielding prowler in a ski mask and then learned it was his 15-year-old son will not face prosecution, a person briefed on the decision told The Associated Press on Friday.

Prosecutors do not plan to file charges against New Fairfield resident Jeffrey Giuliano, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because investigators have not released their findings.

State Police have said Giuliano went outside with a gun around 1 a.m. on Sept. 27, 2012, when his sister called to say someone was trying to break into her house next door. Authorities say Giuliano saw a masked person holding a knife come toward him in a threatening manner and shot him.

He later was told the person was his son Tyler, who died of multiple gunshot wounds.

 

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Danbury man kidnaps for beer

DANBURY, Conn. (AP) A homeless man has pleaded guilty to kidnapping and slashing a Connecticut woman in an attack authorities say was arranged by her husband.

Forty-three-year-old Benjamin Serrano pleaded guilty to kidnapping, assault and conspiracy charges in Danbury Superior Court on Thursday, a day before his trial was to begin. The News-Times reports Serrano is expected to be sentenced to 14 years in prison April 24.

Prosecutors say the woman's husband offered Serrano some beer to assault his wife, because he was angry about her friendship with another man during a fourth-month separation. Serrano abducted the woman in Danbury in July 2012 and slashed her in the face, leaving her with permanent scars.

Police say the husband, Segundo Fajardo, fled to his home country of Ecuador before they could arrest him.

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Danbury Drug Areests

 

Danbury police received complaints that a Danbury man was selling drugs out of his car. Police kept an eye on the 22-year-old man and allegedly caught him in the act.

Anthony Dinho, of Danbury, was arrested Tuesday after officers conducting surveillance on him witnessed what they believed to be a drug transaction between Dinho and 56 year old Howard Dingee of Danbury,.

The surveillance team also stopped  Dinho’s passenger, 25 year old Adam Gebert of Danbury. 

Dinho and Gebert were found in possession of “substantial amounts” of cocaine in both powder and crack form, marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Dinho and Gebert were each charged with several drug offenses including possession of narcotics within 1,500 feet of a school. They were held pending arraignment.

Dingee was charged with possession of a narcotic substance and later released on a written promise to appear in court.

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Judge Judy sues Ct. lawyer

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Television's Judge Judy has filed a lawsuit accusing a Connecticut personal-injury lawyer of using her image in advertisements without her permission. The lawsuit filed yesterday in federal court seeks more than $75,000 in damages from Hartford attorney John Haymond and his firm.

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Danbury FCI worker sentenced after sex with inmate

A New York man who worked at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury was sentenced to five months in prison on Wednesday for sexually abusing an inmate at the prison. 

46 year old Steven Wolff was employed as a utilities  repair  foreman. On several occasions in 2011, Wolff had sex with a female inmate in the boiler area of the facility. 

Wolff also provided the woman, and another inmate who served as lookout, with items inmates were not allowed to have, including hair dye, candy, greeting cards and over-the-counter medication. 

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NY MAN ARRESTED FOR STEALING VAN FROM DANBURY FAIR MALL

In Danbury...a man who police said stole what he thought was an empty trailer from the Danbury Fair mall last July --  has been charged with first-degree larceny.

The van  was loaded with thousands of dollars worth of sports memorabilia .

41 year old Lorin Pickering,  of Clinton Corners, N.Y., surrendered to Danbury police Tuesday evening after learning they had obtained a warrant for his arrest.

Pickering allegedly told Detectives that he needed a trailer to start a welding business, but didn't have the money to purchase one, so he set his sights on one that had been in the parking lot of the mall for nearly three weeks.

But after towing it to his rented garage in Bethel, Pickering found it to be filled with hundreds of bobble-head dolls, helmets, sports photos and other merchandise emblazoned with team logos valued at $20,000 to $30,000,

 

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United Way touts 'Ready, Set, Let's Read!' program

The early childhood education initiative places volunteers in classrooms to read to children each week.  So far 20 volunteers are in two Danbury preschools, Head Start of Northern Fairfield County and The Salvation Army’s The Right Place School Readiness Center.  The program supports preschools serving disadvantaged children in preparing them for kindergarten.

 

A book presentation was made recently to Danbury children enrolled in the Head Start program and then volunteers read to the children.  Director Monica Bevilacqua says the staff is gratified to know that the community is invested in Head Start. 

 

United Way volunteer mobilization coordinator Deirdra Wallin says it was amazing to see the children immediately open the books and begin identifying pictures they remembered from the story.  Wallin says books are so important in the development of early literacy skills so they are grateful for the book donations.

 

Danbury children on the Free Lunch Program are performing more than 25 percentage points behind their peers on 3rd-Grade Reading CMTs.  English Language Learner students are performing 40 percentage points behind their peers.  Research shows that children who are not reading at grade level by the end of 3rd grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

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$20 million from Nonprofit Grant Program being distributed

Among the 146 projects that have been selected to receive state grant money is five safety projects by Bethel-based Ability Beyond Disability.

 

Governor Dannel Malloy says partnering with organizations like Ability is a smart fiscal investment to ensure the agencies can continue to provide services in an efficient and cost-effective way.  Malloy says this is the largest commitment the state has made to support and invest in community-based organizations that provide critical services to people across the state. 

 

Ability Beyond Disability is receiving a total of $975,000. 

 

Safety projects can include improving program accessibility including compliance with ADA requirements to purchasing generators to prevent service disruption to vulnerable clients with special needs.  The grant money can also be used to address maintainance that's been put off such as roof repairs and other renovations.

 

Another round of grants will be announced when new funding becomes available at the start of the next fiscal year July 1st.  Governor Malloy's budget also proposed adding another $30 million for nonprofit organizations in fiscal year 2015, bringing the total to $50 million.

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Update Danbury transformer blows

Danbury Police are closing off Hospital Avenue at Osborne Street due to the downed wire. The closure will include all of Hospital Avenue to Tamarack Avenue.

 Police and fire crews have responded to a downed wire in the area of Hospital Avenue and Locust Street.

The sparking wire is creating an exposure risk to cars and buildings in the area, which firefighters have ordered evacuated.

A crew from Connecticut Light and Power has been called to respond to the scene. There are over 650 power outages in Danbury .

Firefighters are extinguishing flames on the blacktop caused by the sparking wire and evacuating a building in the area due to smoke from the blacktop.

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Danbury transformer blows downed wire

In  Danbury..Police and fire crews have responded to a downed wire in the area of Hospital Avenue and Locust Street.

The sparking wire is creating an exposure risk to cars and buildings in the area, which firefighters have ordered evacuated.

A crew from Connecticut Light and Power has been called to respond to the scene.

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Danbury Democrats have new Chairman

Danbury has a new chairman of the Democratic Town Committee . He is former State Rep.Joe Walkovich. He replaces Joe DaSilva .

The new party chairman feels this fall will be a strong season for Democrats. Walkovich is also a consultant for Government Relations in Danbury.

Walkovich says there are a lot of new Democrats on the town committee so there is a good mix .

He says they hope to invigorate the Democratic Party in Danbury.

 

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Danbury teacher arrested on sex charges

A 44-year-old teacher from Danbury has been charged with sexually assaulting a student at a Greenwich parochial school. Police had issued an arrest warrant for Michael Maida on March 3rd. He turned himself in yesterday. Police say  Maida had sexual contact with a student at the Convent of the Sacred Heart.

Maida was able to post his $50,000 bond and will appear in state Superior Court in Stamford on March 18.

But despite the allegations, Maida’s lawyer denied the incident, pointing to his record at Sacred Heart.

Maida had taught middle school mathematics at the all-girls Catholic school for 17 years.

 

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Redding lawmakers participate in informational forum

The forum is being hosted by the Redding League of Women Voters.  State Representatives Dan Carter and John Shaban along with State Senator Toni Boucher will be on hand for the "Ask Your Legislators" event. 

 

They will start by giving a brief overview of what they've been working on during this short General Assembly Session and what they hope to accomplish.  They will also take questions from the audience, moderated by former First Selectman Natalie Ketcham. 

 

The event starts at 7pm with light refreshments followed by the Q&A session at 7:30.  The forum will be held at Redding Town Hall.

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Bethel fire displaces families

 

An investigation is underway in Bethel by the fire marshalls office into what caused a fire at a commercial and apartment complex at 132 Greenwood Ave. yesterday . The fire around 4PM forced the evacuation of a dozen residents and closed the road for nearly three hours yesterday afternoon.

Bethels First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says there were no injuries.

There was a "significant smoke condition" inside Marisol's Consignment Boutique, one of the businesses on the ground floor.

Firefighters evacuated residents of 12 apartments on the second and third floor while they fought the flames, which spread through the walls into the second floor.

Six of the apartments were deemed uninhabitable and their residents are being assisted by the Red Cross.
 

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Sandy Hook Action Planning Workshop being held on Wednesday

The Sandy Hook business district is working on an action plan to revitalize the village.  Newtown is partnering with the Connecticut Main Street Center to coordinate an economic recovery consultancy for Sandy Hook Village. 

 

The workshop Wednesday is being hosted by the Sandy Hook Organization for Prosperity.  SHOP is investigating how to bring more people to the village district for shopping, dining and gathering.  The area recently completed Phase Two of a streetscape project. 

 

SHOP President Michael Burton said in a statement that the effort is designed to provide a connection from the business district to existing and planned residential neighborhoods.  Two new gathering vistas have ben installed for residents and visitors to relax while strolling through the downtown.  The goal of the marketing effort is to help Sandy Hook Village business and property owners with economic recovery, while creating a vibrant social center. 

 

The meeting Wednesday is from 5:30pm to 8:30 at the Firehouse on Riverside Road.

 

More information on the Sandy Hook Market Study and Community Branding Program can be found here.

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Adam Lanza's father speaks out

The father of Adam Lanza , the gunmen in the Sandy Hook Tragedy , says he is sure his son would have shot him too after killing his mother if he had the chance to.

In his first interview , Peter Lanza tells The New Yorker magazine, “With hindsight, he knows Adam would have killed him in a heartbeat if he’d had the chance.

And Lanza knows why his 20-year-old son fired four bullets into his mother Nancy. He says each one represented a member of his immediate family.

The heartbroken father said he reached out to the families of his son’s victims. Two have taken him up on his offer to meet.

He said its  gut-wrenching,’’ A victim’s family member told him that they forgave Adam after they  spent three hours talking.
He  says he didnt even know how to respond to that .. he said he  would trade places with them in a heartbeat if that could help.’

Lanza says he’s dreamed about his homicidal son every night since the shooting. And he described the worst nightmare of his life. He was walking past a door and saw a figure in whom he could sense “the worst possible evilness.’’ and he realized it was Adam.

 

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'The President and the Madman' presented tonight in Newtown

Less than four months in the Oval Office is the shortest term served by any President.  Tonight, the Newtown Historical Society is looking into President James Garfield's career and the man who shot him.  Former teacher Gordon Williams will present "The President and the Madman". 

 

Garfield served in the military during the Civil War and was first elected to Congress while on active duty.  He served nine terms and was named the Presidential candidate when the Republican Convention came to a stalemate in 1880.

 

Garfield was an active minister of the Disciple of Christ church, and is reported to have said when he resigned his ministry after election as President, "I resign the highest office in the land to become President". 

 

Garfield was shot in the back twice by Charles Guiteau.  He believed he was directed by God to kill Garfield.  Guiteau was a disappointed office seeker who stalked Garfield after the Inauguration.

 

But the shots were not fatal.  Garfield lived for 80 days and many historians believe he died from his medical care.

 

Tonight's presentation at Newtown's Meeting House is at 7:30pm.

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Team 26 bikes from Newtown to Washington DC

Team 26 is riding from Newtown to Washington DC to call attention to the need for federal gun violence reform.  They left from Newtown, with stops in Ridgefield and elsewhere, on Saturday.  The event, now in it's 2nd year, is being organized by Newtown resident and avid bicyclist Monte Frank.  He says they will ride until Congress passes stronger gun safety legislation.

 

The group will be met on Tuesday by 4th District Congressman Jim Himes.  He rode with the group from Newtown down to a rally in Greenwich.  In Pennsylvania, the group will be met by Maura Sherlack Schwartz, the daughter of Sandy Hook School psychologist Mary Sherlach.

 

There are 10 rallies being held along the 400 mile route to the US Capital.  One was held in Harlem.  Franks says they want to to build bridges to the urban environment because gun violence is a problem in inner cities and the suburbs.

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Danbury Fire Department promotions approved

The Danbury City Council has approved four promotions in the Danbury Fire Department.

 

Firefighter Gary Bruce has been promoted to Deputy Fire Marshal.  He joined the Danbury Fire Department in 2006 from the Seymour Fire Department.  Bruce has many certifications and a BA in accounting.  He is a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity and is the running coach for the Greater YMCA of Waterbury.

 

Firefighter Robert Shea Hanson has been promoted to Fire Lieutenant .  He joined the Danbury Fire Department in 2006 with prior experience from volunteering in Bethel and Brookfield.  He served as a 911 dispatcher at Northwest Public Safety and the Southbury Police Department.  He is a Fire Service Instructor, Rescue Core Technician and EMT.

 

They were sworn in on Wednesday.

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Danbury Police Department swears in new Detectives

The Danbury City Council has approved four promotions in the Danbury Police Department.

 

Police Officer Justin Williams has been promoted to Detective.  He joined the Danbury Police Department in 2004 and has served as Field Training Officer and as a part time Evidence Technician.  He has received the Exceptional Police Service award and the Life Saving Medal.

 

Police Officer Kevin Zaloski has been promoted to Detective.  He joined the Danbury Police Department in 1997.  He has served in a number of positions including in the Community Conditions Unit, as a member of the SWAT Team and a part time Mobile Operations Center Operator.  He has received the Exceptional Police Service award and the Life Saving Medal.

 

They were sworn in on Thursday.

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PURA to meet with energy providers on hefty bills

A hearing with alternative energy providers will be held by the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority in the coming weeks.  PURA held hearings across the state, including in Brookfield, to learn from consumers about their experiences with alternate electric suppliers and skyrocketing bills. 

 

PURA Chairman Michael Caron previously said the number of complaints has more than doubled from a year ago.

 

Consumer Counsel Elin Katz said previously that complaints from frustrated customers have been pouring in--some saying the companies are using low introductory rates to attract customers and then switching to variable rates without telling them.

 

The State Attorney General is also looking into the issue.

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Bethel man turns himself in on Dec. DUI crash

A Bethel man has turned himself in to Newtown police on a DUI charge stemming from a December crash.  Newtown Police say 62-year old Bruce Clark went to the police station on Monday after learning of a warrant for his arrest.  He's also been charged with reckless driving, making a restricted turn and making a false statement. 

 

Police say Clark failed to negotiate a curve and crashed into a utility pole on Sugar Street December 22nd.  The truck rolled several times before coming to a rest and Clark had to be extricated from the vehicle. 

 

He was released on bail for a court appearance March 19th.

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Property damage at Eichler's Cove investigated

Newtown police are investigating a vandalism case at the town park on Lake Zoar.  Police say they were called on Monday with a report of nine inflatable buoys being cut at Eichler's Cove. 

 

The markers indicate where the swimming area is at the beach.  Police say the buoys are valued at $160 each meaning the person did more than $1,400 in property damage. 

 

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Newtown Police at 203-426-5841.

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Anti-blight law town meeting set in Ridgefield

A Town Meeting will be held in Ridgefield soon on the anti-blight law.  The Board of Selectmen has scheduled the town meeting for Wednesday the 19th. 

 

The ordinance was proposed to give Ridgefield residents a way to express concerns about the condition of rundown properties.  The ordinance provides definitions of what would be considered blight, which includes being dilapidated, having boarded up windows, is a fire hazard or the property is littered with excessive amounts of garbage or abandoned unregistered cars. 

 

It calls for a blight enforcement officer to be part of a Blight Prevention Board and the creation of a Citation Hearing Appeals Board.

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Conn. Senator holds hearing in DC on rail safety

A day after holding his first hearing as chair of a Senate panel on surface transportation, Senator Richard Blumenthal this morning will lay out his rail safety priorities. The Connecticut Democrat already says he plans to draw up legislation mandating that regulators better emphasize improved safety and reliability for commuter and freight rail. 

 

This comes as Metro North is under scrutiny for a series of mishaps, accidents and mechanical failures. 

 

Motorists, not just rail riders, are expressing safety concerns over signal issues at intersections along the Danbury Branch.

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Bethel Charter changes up for public hearing tonight

There is a public hearing tonight in Bethel on proposed changes to the town's Charter.  Among the Charter Revision Commission recommendations is that the Board of Selectmen increase from three members to five and their term of service double from two years to four. 

 

Currently $25,000 allocations or greater have to go to a Town Meeting, the Commission is recommending that the number be increased to $50,000.  The same changes are being recommended for special appropriations and transfers. 

 

Currently the Board of Finance doesn't have line-item authority for the Boards of Education and Library budgets.  The Commission is recommending that they no longer have that authority over other town department budgets and move to a bottom-line basis.  The Commission says the rationale behind the recommendation is that the individual departments are better suited to decide how much for what areas is needed. 

 

Another recommendation is that the Annual Town Meeting be moved from May to April. 

 

Tonight's public hearing is at 7pm at Bethel Municipal Center.

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New Fairfield officials support bill to lower cost of resident trooper program

A bill to reduce the amount of money that towns must reimburse the state for the cost of resident state troopers for overtime and fringe benefits is being co-sponsored by State Senator Mike McLachlan. 

 

New Fairfield First Selectman Susan Chapman submitted testimony to the legislature's Public Safety Committee in favor of the bill, which calls for the reimbursement for overtime and fringe benefits to be reduced from 100-percent to 70-percent.  McLachlan says the proposal aims to help towns, like New Fairfield, make sure that their costs are manageable. 

 

He said the bill will also enhance public safety by helping prevent towns from being forced to reduce their number of resident troopers.

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April vote set for Schlumberger land sale in Ridgefield

Ridgefield residents will be voting next month on whether to sell 10 acres of the Schlumberger site to a developer for condominium-like housing.  The Board of Selectmen last night set the date of the referendum as April 8th. 

 

The selling price of $4-million would be paid by Residential Investments LLC.  The proposal is for 24 free standing units of age-restricted housing.  The Selectmen held an executive session meeting Thursday afternoon on the contract. 

 

There was consideration given to a proposal from Toll Brothers for the same price, but that was pending approval from the Planning and Zoning Commission.

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Danbury man arrested for trying to have pot package delivered

During routine processing at the Post Office on Wednesday, inspectors notices that a package had a strong odor of marijuana coming from it.  The suspicious package contained six pounds of packaged marijuana worth an estimated street value of $20,000.

 

Postal Inspectors contacted the Danbury Police Department.  Officers obtained a search warrant for the address of the intended recipient.

 

On Wednesday evening, 23-year old Orlando Ellis was arrested.  During a search of his Stevens Street apartment, police found more marijuana as well as a scale and packaging material.  180 tablets of Oxycodone, worth an estimated street value of $3,600, were also seized.  Several thousand dollars was also recovered as suspected profits from drug sales.

 

Ellis has been charged with possession of a controlled substance and of a narcotic, possession of a controlled substance and of a narcotic with intent to sell, possession of a controlled substance and of a narcotic with intent to sell within 1,500 feet of public housing and possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

Ellis is being held on $100,000 bond.

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Lawyer apologizes, pays fine over school fight

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) A Southbury lawyer has apologized and agreed to pay $750 over her accusations that town officials in Woodbury and Bethlehem were engaged in fraud in a fight over a high school renovation referendum.

Deborah Stevenson faced a motion for sanctions. She read a statement in court on Wednesday withdrawing remarks accusing town officials and their attorneys of fraud and apologizing to a state marshal who had served the lawsuit on her clients' behalf.

The Republican-American reports lawyers for the towns of Woodbury and Bethlehem asked for sanctions against Stevenson for what they said was slanderous and inflammatory language.

She accused them of perpetrating a fraud on the court for violating an agreement after a Board of Education committee announced plans in December to proceed with the nearly $64 million renovation project.

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PA extradites man wanted for improper interactions with child

A former Danbury man has been arrested in Pennsylvania on two risk of injury charges.  Bethel Police say 46-year old Nelson Medina was extradited to Connecticut Wednesday.  They opened an investigation on allegations that Medina had improper interactions with a child in December. 

 

Police carried out a search warrant and found evidence to support the allegations.  Bethel police say the man fled the state when he learned of the investigation. 

 

Medina is also facing a child pornography possession charge.  He was due in Danbury Superior Court Thursday for arraignment.

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NY Judge sides with newspaper over pistol permit information

The Westchester Supreme Court has ruled that Putnam County cannot legally prevent the names and addresses of pistol permit holders from being made public in electronic form.  The Judge found in favor of Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc., the owner of The Journal News.

 

Putnam County Clerk Dennis Sant refused to disclose the information requested by Gannett through a Freedom of Information Law.  The Journal News published similar information from Rockland and Westchester Counties soon after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. 

 

Sant's denial cited exceptions to the law which protects from an unwarranted invasion of privacy and for withholdings in the case of protecting the life or safety of a person.  That decision was upheld by County Executive MaryEllen Odell.  She said publishing permit holder's addresses would create a dangerous roadmap for those with a criminal intent.

 

In his decision, Supreme Court Justice Robert Neary said the grounds for denial predated the 2013 amendment which would allow permit holders to file for an exemption to keep their information from becoming public record.  The applicants can include active duty or retired police, peace, probation, parole and corrections officers and their spouses, and witnesses or jurors in a criminal proceeding and their spouses.

 

Putnam County officials say they will likely appeal the decision.c

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2nd suspect facing arrest for threats against Danbury, Stratford schools

A second arrest warrant has been obtained by Torrington Police in their investigation of threats made against high schools in Danbury and Stratford.  Police say a 19-year old Torrington man is the subject. 

 

His name has not yet been released, but police say he is receiving medical attention at a secure facility. 

 

The man is facing the same charges as 18-year old Natalie Carpenter of Torrington who was arrested Tuesday--conspiracy and criminal attempt to commit assault.  Danbury and Stratford have increased security at the schools and notified parents. 

 

Torrington police say no additional arrests are expected.

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Torrington teen threatens violence at Danbury, Stratford schools

A Torrington teen has been arrested for making threats against Danbury and Stratford schools.

 

Police say someone overheard 18-year-old Natalie Carpenter making verbal threats of violence at the High Schools in Danbury and Stratford, and reported it.  She was arrested Tuesday at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital on charges of conspiracy to commit assault and criminal attempt to commit assault. 

 

According to court documents, Carpenter had applied to purchase a gun.  During her arraignment at Bantam Superior Court on Wednesday it was revealed that police found evidence of plans to shoot or use a weapon at schools.  The arrest warrant however was ordered sealed by the courts so no other details are available. 

 

School officials in Danbury and Stratford were notified of the threats Monday.  Danbury officials say police stepped up patrols in the area and notified parents.

 

Carpenter is being held on $300,000 bond.

 

Police say the investigation is ongoing.

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Temporary lockdown at Wooster School over gun sounds

There was a temporary lock down at Wooster School in Danbury Wednesday afternoon.

 

An art center teacher at Wooster School heard was sounded like shots being fired near Miry Brook Road prompting a temporary lock down around 1pm.  Officers did respond to the school but determined there was no issue there. 

 

Police say the sound was likely pyrotechnic shells fired at Danbury Municipal Airport to scare away the geese.  The sound likely echoed through the woods behind the school. 

 

Airport officials say for decades they've used this technique to scare birds from areas that could endanger air traffic because its non-lethal.

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Ridgefield Library to be completed, open in May

Ridgefield Library has announced their Grand Opening weekend.  May 9th through the 11th has been set as when the new library will be open to the public.  The Library will close for a brief period in April for the move from its temporary quarters on Governor Street back to Main Street. 

 

Board of Directors chairman Peter Coffin said in a blog post that it's been 10 years in the works and has involved 13,00 people--planners, designers, volunteers, staff, donors and others. 

 

The weekend will include a ribbon cutting, games, performances and other events to show off the new site.

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Ridgefield museum hopes to draw in Downton Abbey fans

Friday is Fairfield County Gives day.  It's a 24-hour online giving day sponsored by the Fairfield County Community Foundation for non-profits in the area. 

 

One of those participating in the fund drive is the Keeler Tavern Museum.  They're hoping to attract Downton Abbey fans.  The Ridgefield museum owns the court ensemble worn by architect, Cass Gilbert's wife when the couple was presented to England’s King George V in 1925. 

 

Museum Executive Director Hildi Grob says the gown is in dire need of restoration.

 

The mauve silk brocade dress--mostly sewn by hand--has lace inserts, clusters of beads and rhinestones and a 6 foot train.  The outfit also includes a headdress and fan made with ostrich feathers.  The project, along with a custom mannequin for the display, is going to cost $5,000. 

 

The Museum is also repurposing what is now the dining room into a Cass Gilbert Museum showcasing photos, documents and artifacts that tell the story of his life in Ridgefield.  He designed the Woolworth Building in New York City and the Supreme Court Building in Washington DC and others.

 

160 people giving $25 each means the Museum will meet its goal because the Board of Directors has pledged a matching $1,000.

 

Many non-profits in the Greater Danbury area are participating in this fund drive.  They have links on their websites as well as a place on the fcgives.org site to donate to the organization of choice.

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CH Booth Library to reopen, search for new director

CH Booth Library in Newtown has started looking for its new director.  The search committee has sent out an email to patrons asking for them to fill out an online survey.  The group says one of the first priorities is to have the community involved in the process.  CH Booth officials are looking for an enthusiastic and experienced director to lead the library.  The survey is confidential.

 

A date to reopen CH Booth Library in Newtown has been set.

 

The library is Newtown has been shuttered since a sprinkler pipe burst and caused extensive water damage to the facility.  CH Booth officials say the library is currently projected to re-open Saturday, the 8th.  In an updated posted on their website, officials said the shelving and furniture are mostly back in place. The computers and electronics are being installed. 

 

The Reference Staff is no longer operating a desk at Edmond Town Hall.  They thanked the Board of Managers and staff for their assistance during the library's time at Edmond Town Hall.

 

Librarians say the outside book drops have reopened, but all programs and activities at the Library remain canceled until the site itself reopens.  Late fees will not be charged until the library reopens, and even then there will be an amnesty period.

 

When requesting items online through the Newtown library catalogue, patrons are asked to continue selecting a pick up location other than CH Booth Library.

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Metro-North delivers improvement plan, lawmakers dissatisfied

Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti has given Connecticut's transportation commissioner a preliminary 100-day improvement plan.  Giulietti told Commissioner James Redeker on Monday the first priority is to rebuild a culture of safety.  He says Metro-North's priorities are to operate safely, communicate better and restore performance.

Giulietti said Metro-North will re-establish a department to enforce safety policies, a data analysis unit to identify positive and negative trends, and improve programs to train and test employees on their knowledge of safe operations.

He promised at least six meetings with commuters during the 100 days.

 

Danbury State Senator Mike McLachlan says the plan lacks substance and falls short.  He's concerned the Federal Railroad Administration is not doing their job when it comes to Metro North oversight.

 

McLachlan questioned the Commissioner yesterday on the Danbury branch problems.  He was told there's a task force working to fix the signal malfunctions at the grade crossings.  But he called that an answer for not giving an answer.  He says there is a lot of work that needs to be done.

Governor Malloy said he is disappointed that Metro-North did not provide more specifics. He said Giulietti's letter is a roadmap to better and safer service, riders need to know that there is a plan with benchmarks and deadlines.

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Snow causing more than pothole problems

The Danbury Public Works Department asked the City Council last night for $200,000 from the contingency fund.  Their equipment needed more repairs and upkeep than anticipated because of the amount of use they've gotten so far. 

 

Cars are required to be moved off the streets to help with plowing and the Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team reported last night that 9 have been towed since the start of the year.  There were six vehicles unregistered and seemingly abandoned. 

 

Sidewalks not being cleared was another issue.  In the Fairfield Ridge neighborhood, residents had to walk in the streets because sidewalks weren't cleared. 

 

That led to 11 properties receiving a notice that tenants are responsible for clearing snow.  No fines needed to be issued because all of the instances were taken care of.

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Conn. man wanted in FL arrested in New York

A Connecticut man wanted in Florida has been arrested in New York.  While on patrol in Southeast the night of February 23rd, a Putnam County Sheriff's Deputy saw a man acting suspiciously in the parking lot of Brewster Ford on Route 22.  The man was stopped and questioned about why he was walking around the lot at 10:30 in the evening . 

 

46-year old Moises Valentin of Waterbury said that he was a car salesman and was looking at the vehicle. 

 

An investigation revealed that Valentin was wanted in Florida on a warrant.  He was taken into custody and held for further legal action.  Police did not disclose what the out-of-state warrant was for.

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Ash Wednesday taken to the streets in Bethel

Three Bethel churches are teaming up to allow people to take part in Ash Wednesday in non-church locations.  First Congregational Church of Bethel interim Pastor Laura Westby says Ashes To Go was a success last year, that the Houses of Worship are expanding the traditional start of Lent.

 

Westby says in a world that is changing at lightning speed, this fills a need to offer the traditional gifts of faith in non-traditional ways  She hopes to reach those who have lost their connection to a church, have never participated before or are unable to attend a traditional church service.

 

Ashes to Go will be available from 7 to 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Molten Java, 213 Greenwood Avenue.

 

Ashes to Go will also be available from 8 to 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Jacqueline’s, 138 Greenwood Avenue.

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Tribal leader blasts Conn. gov. over US rules

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A review that is expected to produce new U.S. rules for recognizing American Indian tribes as early as this summer is stirring heat in Connecticut, where the governor is leading efforts to block changes that could open the door to more tribal casinos.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy argued in a letter he delivered last week to President Barack Obama that proposals under consideration could hurt the state by boosting tribal claims to vast areas of developed land.

Alan Russell, the leader of one faction of the Schaghticoke tribe in Kent, asked in a statement whether Malloy is a ``lapdog'' for wealthy land owners in Litchfield County.

The changes proposed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs are intended to streamline the process but are seen by some as watering down standards for recognition.

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Man chases Bethel Middle Schooler as she walked home

On Tuesday afternoon Bethel Middle School administrators received the following report from a student.  This is the following letter from Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kevin Smith:


"March 3, 2014, a 7th grade female student was dropped off from the late bus around 4:15pm at the intersection of 58 and 302.  The middle school student began walking to her home on Putnam Park Road.  While she was walking down route 58 on the left side of the road, a white industrial van with no markings stopped and made a semi U turn in the road.  The student reported that she heard a door open and when she turned around, a white male was coming out of the van and began to run after her.  The student then ran to her house which was just a few yards away. 

 

When she got into her house, she saw the man get back into his van and drive away down route 58 toward Redding.  The man was described as a white male in his 30's.  He was wearing a white t-shirt, black, pants, and black shoes.  The man was described as clean cut with no noticeable facial hair or tattoos, or other markings.
 
The Bethel Police Department has been notified and is investigating this incident. We have also spoken to our bus company and drivers are on alert. At this time we have no further information, but wanted you to be aware of this report.  We will also be sharing this information with neighboring school districts."

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Man found dead in Danbury Thursday

An unidentified man has been found dead on a Danbury street.  Police say it appears the Hispanic man in his 40s succumbed to the elements.  As of Monday afternoon, the state Medical Examiner's office has not determined the cause of death for the man, who police have not identified. 

 

The man was found dead under a railroad overpass behind Rose Street on Thursday. 

 

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Detective Bureau at 203-797-4662.

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Husband of Ridgefield Selectwoman pleads not guilty for DUI crash

The husband of a Ridgefield Selectwoman will be in court later this month on a DUI and other charges.  Danbury Superior Court records show that 60-year old Paul Masters pleaded not guilty on February 20th to assault with a motor vehicle, assault, failure to grant half the highway and DUI.  The charges stem from an accident in November in Redding that injured a woman and her teenage son. 

 

Police say the husband of Di Masters swerved into the opposite lane and crashed head on with another vehicle. 

 

The Newstimes reports that his blood alcohol level was more than 3 times the legal limit.  A police affidavit was cited that said Masters didn't know where he was or where he was coming from when police responded to the crash.

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Conn. men try to trade stolen gun for heroin

A Sherman man and a Ridgefield teen have been arrested for trying to trade a stolen gun for heroin.  The Westchester County Police Department said in a press release Monday that 26-year old John McCarthy and 19-year old Timothy McLean met an undercover officer on Wednesday morning in a parking lot off Interstate 84 in Bedford. 

 

Police say the pair tried to swap a loaded 32 caliber pistol for 50 packets of heroin worth $500. 

 

Each were charged with criminal possession of a weapon, a felony, and criminal possession of a controlled substance.  They were arraigned in Bedford Town Court.  Bail was set at $25,000 for McLean and $10,000 for McCarthy.

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Redding town meeting next week on elderly tax benefit

Redding is holding a special town meeting next Monday about proposed changes to the elderly tax benefit.  The Tax Collector and the Board of Selectmen are recommending that the re-application process be done in person or by mail. 

 

The eligibility age has been proposed to rise from 65 years old to 67 years old.  The application is proposed to be available from January 1st through April 15.  Lastly, the proposal calls for eligible residents living in Redding for at least 5 years. 

 

If the vote is NO, the changes will not go in to effect.

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Primary today in New Milford for Democrats

There is a primary today in New Milford.  Registered Democrats will be asked to go to the polls to vote on who will be on the Democratic Town Committee.  A petition was circulated around New Milford and saw more the 300 signatures added to force a primary. 

 

Democratic Town Committee chairman John Lillis and 23 others lost their seats to the New Milford Democrats for Change slate in January.  Only 12 current members of the Committee were re-elected. 

 

All polling places are open from 6am to 8pm tomorrow.

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Prison employee faces sentencing for sexual abuse

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) A prison employee is facing sentencing for sexually abusing an inmate in Danbury.

Steven Wolff of the Bronx, N.Y., is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday in federal court in Bridgeport. He pleaded guilty in August to sexual abuse of a ward.

Authorities say Wolff, while employed as a utilities systems repair operator foreman by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, engaged in sexual acts with a female inmate at the prison.

Prosecutors say on multiple occasions in 2011, Wolff and the victim met in the boiler area and engaged in sexual intercourse. They say Wolff provided hair dye, candy, greeting cards and over-the-counter medication to the inmate and contraband to another inmate who acted as a lookout.

Wolff, whose sentencing was postponed from Friday, faces up to 15 years in prison.

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Two charged for heroin possession, sales in Danbury

Several weeks of investigation by the Danbury Police Department has led to the arrest of a City man for selling heroin in Danbury.  Police stopped 57-year old Jose Garcia's car on Friday night on White Street.  He and his passenger, 53-year old Catherine Lodato has heroin in the car, packaged for sale. 

 

There was a hidden compartment in the car that contained more packets of heroin. 

 

A search of Garcia's Osborne Street home resulted in seizure of a substantial amount of unpackaged heroin, packaged heroin, drug paraphernalia and thousands of dollars in cash. 

 

Garcia was held on $250,000 bond.  He was charged with possession of narcotics and of drug paraphernalia, possession of narcotics of drug paraphernalia within 1,500 feet of a school, possession of narcotics with intent to sell and possession with intent to sell within 1,500 feet of a school.

 

Lodato was charged with possession of narcotics and of drug paraphernalia.  She was released on a written promise to appear in court.

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Another storm, more road salt distributions

Governor Dannel Malloy says 22 additional cities and towns have received road salt under a Connecticut Department of Transportation program that was recently set-up to replenish municipal salt supplies diminished over a harsh 2013-14 winter season.  New Milford was among the municipalities participating in this round of distributions.

 

More than half of Connecticut’s municipalities have now benefitted from ConnDOT’s salt distribution program.  More than 17,000 tons of salt has been delivered to nearly 100 towns and other entities across the state.

 

In addition to local public works garages, salt has also been delivered to several state colleges and universities, rail lines and the Mashantucket and Mohegan tribal nations.

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Putnam County District Attorney office adds new staff

Putnam County District Attorney Adam Levy says several new additions have been made to the office.

 

Andres Gil, Esq., is the office’s new Assistant District Attorney, having started in February 2014, filling a vacancy left by retirement.  Levy says there’s no impact to taxpayers. He spent the last seven years working as an ADA in the Bronx District Attorney’s office where he prosecuted a wide range of criminal cases, with a special emphasis on long-term racketeering, official government misconduct, bribery, firearms trafficking, and enterprise corruption.

 

Gil is also a Captain the United States Army Reserve who was deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also a Civil Affairs Officer, trained to support local civil authorities during national emergencies.

 

Lourdes “Lulu” Gonzalez is also joining the office.  She is a retired Detective from the Special Victims Bureau of the New York City Police Department who is fluent in Spanish.  Levy says not only has extensive training and experience in the investigation and prosecution of child sex crimes, but she also has extensive experience investigating claims of police misconduct, human trafficking, and narcotics trafficking.

 

The Legislature and County Executive approved this position during last years’ budget process.

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Former Marine faced foreclosure due to Social Security clerical error

A former Marine has been helped by 5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty.

 

Esty has shared a Constituent Corner story about Thomas Campbell of Danbury who is a Purple Heart recipient who went months without receiving his Social Security benefits.  He faced foreclosure because he was two months behind on his mortgage.  He reached out to Esty who contacted the Social Security Administration and helped correct a clerical error ensuring timely payments moving forward. 

 

“I never knew what a Member of Congress could do to help me. Others should give her a chance to help you out,” said Mr. Campbell. “Congresswoman Esty was a God-send. Without her, I’d probably be on the street today.”

 

Esty says she added these stories to her website came about because she wanted to let others know how she can help cut through red tape, secure benefits they've been waiting on or present them with medals that haven't received.  Esty says the constituents that she's helped have appreciated it and want others to know that there are people in Washington that can help with their problems. 

 

Esty says she's there to be a resource on issues like immigration, social security and veterans issues.

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New timetables, bussing starts on MNR Danbury Branch

New schedules are in effect on the Danbury Branch of Metro North to provide a more accurate time frame of when trains will be arriving and departing stations.  This is all because of the signal problems causing conductors to operate at slower speeds and a "stop and warn" procedure.  Wilton State Senator Toni Boucher says bussing during off peak hours is also being rolled out.

 

She says that's being done so engineers have large uninterrupted periods of time to check the system.  They have yet to find out what the problem is.  It's a brand new system so it's still under warranty. 

 

Boucher says there are  a lot of expectations and hope that the new president of Metro North will quickly rectify these problems.  She thinks the honeymoon will be very short lived because the problems are so numerous.

 

Metro North president Joseph Giulietti told the Transportation Committee on Thursday that he would come back to the Committee in 90 days to report on how his 100 day "turn around" plan went.

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Homecoming held in Ridgefield for teen Olympian

Today is Tucker West Day in Ridgefield.  That was part of a proclamation made at the Ridgefield Community Center last night in honor of the 18-year old Olympic athlete. 

 

The Luge competitor says his family has always supported him and knowing Ridgefield was behind him was a great feeling.  He said the reception was awesome, it felt like he won a medal.  The humble teen also said he felt unworthy of the town rallying together behind him.  He added that he was unbelievably thankful for that support.

 

West says it only sunk in really during the opening ceremonies that he was competing in the Olympics.  He described walking in with Team USA in their gear as honoring and overwhelming.  He said there was a really camaraderie felt in the stadium that night.

 

West says it was nerve-wracking competing in the Olympics for the first time with a lot of people watching, but that he trained his whole life for that moment and he was ready.

 

His dad Brett says his son trained very hard and he's very proud.  No American male singles luge athlete has medaled in the Olympics and says his son wants to be the first.  He's so young, his first Olympics was supposed to be in 2018, but Brett says the experience in Sochi has redoubled his son's mental committment to the sport.

 

Tucker has moved on from his backyard luge track and trains in Lake Placid.  Starting in November he will be in Europe competing in World Cups.

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Arrest made in Webster Bank robbery in Danbury

An arrest has been made in Thursday afternoon's bank robbery in Danbury.  One of the responding police officers recognized the suspect from the Webster Bank surveillance video.  32-year old Samuel Semidey had an active warrant for his arrest on a larceny charge. 

 

Shortly after the robbery at the Main Street branch, Semidey was seen by officers and taken into custody on that warrant. 

 

A new warrant was issued for the man yesterday on a charge of 1st degree robbery.  He was also charged with two warrants of probation violation which were issued earlier in the day. 

 

He is being held on bond.

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Official: charitable giving after Newtown chaotic

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut's Department of Consumer Protection commissioner says despite the chaotic and splintered nature of the charitable giving following the Newtown school shooting, there was minimal outright fraud.

Appearing before Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's Sandy Hook Advisory Commission on Friday, William Rubenstein said more than $20 million was raised by numerous groups following the December 2012 massacre, which donations from around the country and the world.

Rubenstein said the shooting was unlike other events that spark charitable giving, such as natural disasters. He said there were few known charities involved with raising money. Rather, new entities popped up to collect money for memorials, scholarships, the victims' families and other causes.

Rubenstein said that prompted his office and the state Attorney General to issue public advisories, warning people to give responsibly.

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Walnut Hill Bridge construction in holding pattern, again

This new cold snap is delaying work on the Walnut Hill Bridge in Bethel.  The next step is installing prefabricated beams, but the temperature needs to be above 40 degrees.  First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says that is the start of the final phase of construction. 

 

The abutments are in place and drainage has been installed.  After the beams are put in place the bridge deck plates can be installed and the road paved. 

 

Knickerbocker says the bridge could be reopened to traffic in May.

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Danbury area projects receive state bond money

Some of the $50 million package of state bond money being set aside for Newtown to build a new Sandy Hook Elementary School is being allocated Friday.  The State Bond Commission has approved a $3 million dollar allocation to finance the ongoing planning and design costs for the new school.  This grant-in-aid funding joins $3.7 million dollars already allocated to the town.

 

New Fairfield Library is getting some state funding now that the Bond Commission has met.  The allocation was covered in two items totalling $751,000.  The grant-in-aid funding will be used by the town for construction costs including energy conservation projects.  The improvements will include a new elevator, meeting space and other various repairs. 

 

State Senator Mike McLachlan says the substantial commitment from the state is great news for New Fairfield.  He added that the renovations will make the library more accessible and will benefit the community for years to come.

 

The state Bond Commission also approved funding for the Danbury Housing Authority.  The $5.17 million request would go toward the rehabilitation of the Glen Apartments, a senior and disabled apartment complex near Rogers Park.  The project includes converting the heating and cooling systems along with upgraded lighting and insulation. 

 

A "Call for Aid" system would be installed with some of the funding.  Handicap compliance, improvements to the community building and other site improvements would also be covered by the funding.  One of the more immediate needs, an emergency generator, will be paid for as well.

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Bomb scare in NY as police pull over erratic driver

An erratic driver on Route 52 in Carmel Thursday was pulled over just after 2pm as it passed the Putnam County Courthouse.  The Putnam County Deputy Sheriff saw that the driver, who was alone in the vehicle, had a red-colored liquid on his skin and clothes.  There were also a number of electrical wires sticking out from his clothing. 

 

The Putnam County Sheriff's office did not identify the driver.

 

The man was wearing metal knuckles on one hand.  Jugs of unidentified liquids were seen in the car.  There were also walkie-talkie radios and a battery pack.

 

The HazMat team arrived on the scene along with the Westchester County Bomb Squad.  Some area businesses were evacuated as a precaution while others nearby were instructed to remain inside.

 

The driver was described as acting emotionally disturbed.  He was taken into custody where he was decontaminated before being transported to the hospital for mental evaluation.

 

The investigation forced a temporary closure of Route 52 on Thursday afternoon.

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Area police chiefs testify before Sandy Hook Advisory Commission

The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, created to come up with policy recommendations in the wake of the shootings in Newtown, heard presentations Friday from state and local police and fire officials about incident management. 

 

Brookfield Police Chief Robin Montgomery was among the first on the scene December 14th and says a trauma manager would have been helpful to have there.  He says some entity needs to have oversight for the services needed by the community.

 

He says chaos is almost a given when something like this happens.  He says the first people on the scene need to be very well informed and communicate the situation back to others.  Montgomery says one of the biggest challenges was that they didn't know first hand the horrendous element the responders were about to face.  He says relaying that message back to the department is critical.

 

Newtown Police Chief Michael Kehoe says there could have been better response when it comes to trauma services.  He told the panel that the command post was also a safe zone for the kids so reunification was the priority.  He says logistically that didn't work out as well as he would have liked it to.

 

Kehoe says he couldn't start the command post until some structure was set up in the fire house to make sure children left with the right adult.   He says after neutralizing the threat, going to two crime scenes and making sure the area was safe were challenges coupled with all the kids leaving the building in the cold.

 

The 16-member panel is expected to submit its recommendations sometime early this year.

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