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Local Headlines Archives for 2014-09

Racoon trapped in parking garage, escorted out

Danbury firefighters were called to solve an unusual problem early Tuesday morning at the Patriots Garage in Downtown Danbury.  Deputy Fire Chief Bernie Meehan says it seems a raccoon was trapped on the upper deck of the garage and couldn't find its way out.

 

Meehan says the raccoon looked very healthy, probably about 30 pounds.

 

Firefighters used an animal snare, a leash-like item with a hook, to coax the raccoon down the stairs.  The animal then ran off.

 

(Photo courtesy: Danbury Fire Department)

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Enterovirus confirmed at Danbury Hospital

There are two confirmed cases of enterovirus from Danbury Hospital.  Samples were sent to the CDC earlier this month for confirmation.  Danbury Hospital Chief of Pediatric Pulmonology Dr Greg Dworkin says this is the time of year that you see respiratory viruses.  Dworkin says both patients treated at Danbury Hospital have been released and recovered. 

 

The CDC has confirmed three cases of enterovirus-68 from the Connecticut Children's Medical Center and seven at Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital. 

 

Dworkin says there's 100 types of enterovirus, but they're not sure exactly which one was confirmed here.  He notes that's because when people are admitted to the hospital, they don't need to know which strain specifically it is.

 

Dworkin says the virus typically runs its course in a few days, and doctors treat the wheezing as they would any asthma attack.

 

He says the testing was done to help track the spread.

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Bethel Action Committee to host forum on Charter changes

Bethel residents will be voting on revisions to the town's Charter when they go to the polls on November 4th.  There will be six questions on the ballot about the changes.  The Bethel Action Committee is hosting a public forum tonight about the Charter revisions and what they see as a shift in the balance of power at the Bethel Municipal Center. 

 

BAC Founder Billy Michael says there are a few proposals that give them concern.

 

One proposal would reduce the Board of Finance's ability to make line item cuts in the budget from the Board of Selectmen.  Other proposed changes include increasing the Board of Selectmen from three to five members and also increasing the term of office for the Board from two years to four years. 

 

During public hearings held by the Charter Revision Commission, a few people spoke against moving the Annual Town Budget Meeting to April from May.  Some people also opposed increasing the threshhold for bonds and other appropriations requiring a town meeting.  But the Commission says the dollar amounts are outdated.

 

Current and former local officials will offer their insight and respond to questions at this informal meeting.  Tonight's public forum at the Senior Center cafeteria is at 7pm.

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Texting crackdown completed, police issue thousands of tickets

Police departments in several municipalities across the Greater Danbury area participated in the recently ended statewide anti-texting enforcement program.  The  “U Drive, U Text, U Pay” campaign was a three week crackdown.  Aaron Swanson of the Traffic Safety Office at the Department of Transportation says more than 3,500 tickets were issued by state and local police.

 

The figure could be closer to 5,000 violations, once the final numbers are counted.

 

Swanson says drivers who use hand-held devices are four times more likely to get in a serious crash.  The state received federal funding, which it passed down to local departments, to carry out the enforcement effort.  Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. Swanson says driving at 55-mph, that is the equivalent of traveling the length of an entire football field--blind.

 

The state received funding from the National Highway Safety Administration for the enforcement effort, which it granted to cities and towns.

 

Under Connecticut’s cell phone and texting law, violations involve heavy fines, ranging from $150 for a first offense, $300 for a second violation, and $500 for each subsequent violation.

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Intersection improvement project planned in Bethel

Bethel will be holding a town meeting next month about a project to make improvements to the intersection of Walnut Hill Road and Hoyt Road.  Preliminary design work has been completed. 

 

Construction will be completed through the state Department of Transportation's Local road Accident Reduction Program.  The reconstruction plans include drainage improvements, slope construction and stabilization , paving, curbing, new signage and restriping the road. 

 

90-percent of the project cost will be covered by the Federal Highway Administration with the town picking up the 10-percent balance. 

 

The information meeting will be held October 7th from 6 to 9pm in the Municipal Center.

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Danbury Hall at Fairfield Hills campus demolished

Demolition has started on Danbury Hall at the Fairfield Hills campus in Newtown.  The Newtown Bee reports that the workers started tearing down the building Monday morning.  The project is intended to open the sightlines of the complex from Wasserman Way. 

 

The project cost of $511,000 also covered hazardous materials abatement, but was originally supposed to also include demolition of 8 single-family former staff homes. 

 

Additional funding was needed for asbestos removal, which changed the scope of the project.

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Wilton residents approve Miller-Driscoll renovation project

A narrow margin of victory for the proposed Miller-Driscoll School renovation project in Wilton.  Voting was done during a Special Town Meeting last week and also on Saturday.  Registrars say the vote was 979 in favor and 952 opposed. 

 

The $50 million price tag would cover the planning, design, construction, renovation, and furnishing of the Miller-Driscoll School.  The project has the unanimous support of the Boards of Education, Finance and Selectmen. 

 

There is some state reimbursement of about $6 million.

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HVCEO holds final meeting

The Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials has held its final meeting.  The organization was in existance for the past 37 years, but because of regionalization efforts in the state HVCEO is merging with the Southwestern Regional Planning Agency. 

 

Mayor Mark Boughton says a committee of the Danbury City Council will be meeting about the merger on Monday night.

 

Boughton says it's sad to see HVCEO finished because it did a lot of good for the region through planning, emergency management and sharing of equipment.

 

The new group will meet once a month.  New bylaws have been created.  Boughton says there's been a lot compromises about where the headquarters will be, how many employees it will have and how to manage the organization.  The headquarters, HVCEO is currently in Brookfield, will likely be further south.  The most northern towns in the group are Sherman and New Milford, and they could have to travel as far as Darien or Stamford.

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Ridgefield Open Space Association regognized by CT Fund for the Environment

Three groups have been recognized for their environmental protection efforts.  Connecticut Fund for the Environment and Save the Sound held their annual meeting at Ridgefield Library on Sunday.  They presented awards to groups who have made extraordinary contributions to protecting the environment. 

 

The Ridgefield Open Space Association was recognized for their support in protecting the Eureka lands.  A decade-old lawsuit with developer Eureka V LLC is not being appealed to the United States Supreme Court.  The town tried to take Eureka’s 153-acre Bennett’s Pond south parcel by eminent domain.  A case is pending in the state Supreme Court about the density of plans for more than 300 units of affordable housing project on the south parcel, which includes 67 acres of reservoir watershed. 

 

Westchester Community Foundation and Trust for Public Land were also recognized.

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Avon Foundation grant awarded to Women's Center

A grant has been awarded to the Women's Center of Greater Danbury for domestic violence programs and victim services.  The Avon Foundation for Women has awarded a $20,000 one-year grant to the Women’s Center. The grant is part of the Avon Foundation for Women Speaks Out Against Domestic Violence program.

 

It is the first time that the Women’s Center has received this grant. 

 

The Avon Foundation for Women launched Speak Out Against Domestic Violence in 2004 to support domestic violence awareness, education and prevention programs aimed at reducing domestic and gender violence, as well as direct services for victims and their families. 

 

Women's Center CEO Pat Zachman says these funds will help them to continue providing a 24-7 emergency shelter and crisis services, counseling and community education programs free of charge throughout the greater Danbury area.

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Good Samaritan Mission gets new leader

There's a new leader of the Good Samaritan Mission in Danbury.

 

Mark Grasso of Newtown has been appointed the executive director of the Good Samaritan Mission.  Grasso has been with Catholic Charities in Bridgeport and Danbury for the past 12 years, most recently as vice president. He has extensive experience in mental health and homeless services, and has directed various programs for at-risk communities. 

 

The Good Samaritan Mission was created by Jericho Partnership to provide in-depth, long-term transitional programs to homeless and other at-risk men.  They run an overnight shelter and and long-term residence and counseling facilities on Maple Avenue.

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Lake scheduled for deep drawdown this winter

This summer brought good water quality to Candlewood Lake in terms of transparency and low algae counts.  But the pesky Eurasian Milfoil was found once again in large quantities.  Candlewood Lake will be lower once again this winter and is tentatively scheduled for a deep drawdown.  The lowering is done in part to control the non-native invasive plant. 

 

A thick mat of milfoil can clog boat propellers and tangle with swimmer's limbs. 

 

Candlewood Lake Authority Executive Director Larry Marsicano says the water is dropped substantially, by as much as nine or ten feet, in hopes of a cooperative winter to kill the root crowns of the milfoil.  He says snow pack, temperature, wind and length of exposure all have an impact on how much of the milfoil survives into the next summer.

 

Marsicano says the reason the alternate year is a shallow drawdown of about four feet, is to limit the damage to native plants near the shoreline.  If native, non-invasive plants are near the shoreline, they could also be killed off by the freeze, which Marsicano calls an unintended consequence.  The trade off is to have the shallow drawdown every other year.

 

The lake must be back at normal operating levels by mid-April in time for the fishing season.

 

The drawdown allows lake residents to repair their docks and the seawalls.

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Another swastika found at Wilton High School

Another swastika has been found at Wilton High School.  In a letter to parents Friday, Principal Robert O'Donnell said it was found Tuesday etched into the paint of a boys bathroom stall on the third floor.  Since the first swastika was found etched into a locker on September 4th, the common areas have been checked regularly. 

 

Both the one found on the locker and the one in the bathroom were removed immediately.

 

O'Donnell says he is working with the student government to address the issue and the social studies department is developing curriculum to address the meaning and impact of the symbol.  He is also reconnecting with the Anti Defamation League to discuss strategies to address the matter systematically.

 

When the letter circulated, students showed the Principal a third symbol carved into a first floor door, though officials say that one likely went unnoticed for years. 

 

A 15-year old student, who was not named because of age, turned himself in for etching the first swastika into a locker.

 

O'Donnell said in his first letter to the community that symbols of hatred, racism and anti-semitism have no place in an environment of free of prejudice, cruelty and intolerance.  In his latest communication, O'Donnell said when students make very poor choices that impact the school community, it's incumbent on educators and parents to teach students that this is unacceptable behavior that is hurtful to us all.

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Buses added in Danbury to address long rides to school

The Danbury School District has made some adjustments to bus routes, and added more buses and drivers.  In a memo released Friday, school officials said the changes were made so that the rides are as short as possible. 

 

There was an increased enrollment after routes were set, meaning two more buses were needed.  Finance Director Joe Martino says in some cases a route with 35 stops jumped to 55 stops.

 

Martino says redistricting for the new Westside Middle School was a challenge.  Originally there were 8 buses in place for those routes.  11 buses were needed though to make sure the rides weren't too long, delaying the elementary school runs which followed.  Martino says the Academy of International Studies magnet elementary school also experienced some of those redistricting issues. 

 

Seven additional buses are now on the roads, at a cost of $60,000 each.

 

The memo says there are more than 9,000 students enrolled in Danbury schools with a fleet of about 100 buses with 300 runs at three different start times.

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Voting in Wilton on school renovation project

Voting is continuing Saturday in Wilton on whether the town should bond $50 million to renovate Miller-Driscoll School.  The discussion and start of the vote was held during a Special Town Meeting Tuesday night at the David F Clune Center for the Arts. 

 

Residents were able to ask questions at that time about the proposals.  The project has the unanimous support of the Boards of Education, Finance and Selectmen. 

 

The $50 million price tag would cover the planning, design, construction, renovation, and furnishing of the Miller-Driscoll School.  Wilton officials say voting will be held from 9am to 6pm Saturday at the arts center at Wilton High School's campus.

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Open house gala at WCSU's Visual and Performing Arts Center

An opening gala is being held Sunday at Western Connecticut State University's new Visual and Performing Arts Center.  The behind the scenes open house will allow the community to see and hear West Conn students, faculty and staff actively using the new building.  University spokesman Paul Steinmetz says there are three distinctive wings of the facility designed specifically for art, music and theater arts.

 

(Contributed photo)

 

The event will open with remarks from University President Dr James Schmotter.  Among the spaces that will be used and on view are the Concert Hall, Main Stage Theater, Studio Theater, a recording studio, the art gallery and sculpture studio. 

 

Steinmetz says the behind the scenes event will offer the community a glimpse of how the space comes to life when students and staff are there.

 

Opening events will be held in each of the three main performance and exhibition spaces over the next several weeks.  Sunday's open house at the center starts at 1:30pm on West Conn's westside campus.

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Local, state police taking expired medications for disposal

Another prescription drug takeback day is being held today by the Drug Enforcement Administration.  Local and state police will be collecting expired, unneeded, or unwanted prescription medication. 

 

nationally the number of people who abuse prescription drugs is dropping, but it's still more than double the number of those using heroin, cocaine and hallucinogens combined, according to the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

 

Last April Americans turned in over 780,000 pounds (390 tons) of prescription drugs.  Since its first National Take Back Day in September of 2010, DEA has collected more than 4.1 million pounds (over 2,100 tons) of prescription drugs throughout all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories.

 

The local collections are taking place at the Danbury, Bethel, Newtown, Weston Police Departments along with the Bridgewater, Sherman and Roxbury Resident State Trooper offices and the Monroe Senior Center.  It's from 10am to 2pm.

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Abandoned backpacks prompt Wilton Library evacuation

Wilton Library was briefly evacuated Thursday because of suspicious backpacks. 

 

Three backpacks left by the front entrance of Wilton Library prompted concern from a patron around 11:15 yesterday morning.  Officers responded, tried to identify the owner, but no one claimed the black backpacks.  As a precaution, the library was evacuated and the Stamford Bomb Squad was called in. 

 

Surveillance video was reviewed by officers and it was determined that a Library employee accidentally left the bags outside the door.  The staff member confirmed that they left the bags there. 

 

The library reopened around noon and the bags were removed.

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Connecticut Fund for the Environment to host meeting in Ridgefield

Ridgefield Library is hosting an event with Fabien Cousteau, grandson of famed ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau.  Connecticut Fund for the Environment and its bi-state program Save the Sound will hold its annual meeting at the newly-remodeled Ridgefield Library on Sunday. 

 

Fabien Cousteau most recently completed "Mission 31", a month long event spent underwater in a submersible.  He documented the changing oceans from within and will be giving the keynote address.  His non-profit organization empowers communities and children to help restore local aquatic ecosystems through healthy “replanting” of important marine species. 

 

Prior to his speech, CFE/Save the Sound will present awards to individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to protecting our environment.   The group will also conduct organizational business at the meeting, including goals for the coming year, a review of the past year’s accomplishments, and election of Board officers. 

 

The gathering is open to the public on Sunday from 4 to 7pm.  Attendees can RSVP via email mlemere@ctenvironment.org to Michelle LaMere.

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Southbury man charged for 13 mile car chase

A Southbury man has been arrested for a 13 mile car chase on Labor Day.  State Police on Thursday arrested 31-year old Tyler Santoro on a number of charges for the chase through Woodbury, which ended when Santoro crashed. 

 

Officers responded to his Southbury home on a report of a domestic dispute, but Santoro fled in his neighbor's car before officers arrived.

 

As officers approached, he pointed a gun at them.  He crashed his car into a police cruiser while trying to flee and then put a knife to his own throat.  Santoro was apprehended without injuring any of the responding police. 

 

Troopers took him into custody without being injured.   Santoro was transported to a hospital and treated for his injury and has been detained since then on unrelated charges.  Santoro was held on $350,000 bond.

 

He was charged with:

 

Brandishing a Facsimile Firearm

Engaging an Officer in a Pursuit

Interfering with an Officer

Criminal Mischief

Larceny

Weapons in a Motor Vehicle

Reckless Endangerment

Possession of Narcotics

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Reckless Driving

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Connecticut ex-governor sentencing postponed

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- A federal judge has agreed to postpone the sentencing of former Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland until January.

 

Rowland was convicted last week of seven counts related to his attempts to hide work on two Republican congressional campaigns through phony business deals.

 

The defense asked to move the sentencing from Dec. 12 after prosecutors indicated they would not object if Rowland wanted to wait until after the holidays. U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton set a new date of Jan. 7.

 

Rowland, once a rising star in the Republican Party, served 10 months in prison a decade ago for taking illegal gifts while in office and now as a repeat offender faces the possibility of a much stiffer sentence. The convictions carry a total possible sentence of 56 years in prison, though Rowland likely would not face that much time under federal guidelines.

 

The government's case centered around a contract between Rowland and a nursing home chain owned by the husband of 2012 5th District congressional candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley. Rowland's attorneys argued he volunteered for the campaign while receiving $35,000 to consult for her husband's company, but prosecutors said the money was an illegal payment for campaign services.

 

Prosecutors showed Rowland had tried to strike a similar deal with another candidate, Mark Greenberg, during the 2010 election cycle.

 

Defense attorney Reid Weingarten filed a standard motion Wednesday asking the judge to overturn the jury's verdict. Arterton did not immediately rule on that motion.

 

Rowland was convicted of conspiracy and two counts each of falsifying records in a federal investigation, causing false statements to be made to the Federal Election Commission and causing illegal campaign contributions.

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State land conveyed to animal sanctuary honoring girl killed on 12-14

A ceremonial bill signing has been held by state officials to turn over more than 30 acres of land in Newtown.

 

The 34.44 acres of land will be used by the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation for an animal sanctuary named in honor of the 6 year old girl who was among the children killed at Sandy Hook School.  The land is located on the Fairfield Hills property.   

 

The legislation was officially signed in June by the Governor to transfer the state owned parcel.  The Special Act requires the Foundation to cover administrative costs of the transfer.

 

The Foundation has partnered with The Animal Center in Newtown to create the sanctuary and wildlife reserve.  Catherine's parents say the Sanctuary will reflect their daughter's compassion for animals by providing adoptive services for companion animals, refuge for farm animals and a native wildlife rescue and release service.  The plans also call for a learning center, educational programing, walking paths and butterfly gardens.

 

“This legislation honors Catherine’s deepest passion to love and protect animals of all kinds,” said Governor Malloy. “I am proud that the State of Connecticut is able to convey this parcel for the creation of an animal sanctuary in her honor. Catherine so strongly wanted animals to know her kindness.  It is beyond inspiring that her love and compassion for animals will live on through this sanctuary for generations to come. I would like to thank First Selectman Llodra and all of the lawmakers for their leadership and support of this bill. I would also like to thank Catherine’s parents, Jenny and Matt Hubbard, for allowing their daughter to continue enriching the lives of so many through this project.”

 

 

“The conveyance of this land to the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation is a significant step toward the creation of a sanctuary for animals, in honor of a 6 year old with a passion for all creatures, large and small, fuzzy and slimy,” said Newtown First Selectman E. Patricia Llodra. “The vision of the sanctuary expressed so eloquently by parents Matt and Jenny Hubbard in honor of their beloved daughter is closer to reality because of the kindness and compassion of many, including legislators, local land use officials, the Department of Agriculture and Governor Malloy.”

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Disoriented man loitering by Bethel School taken by police to hospital

The Bethel Public School system sent out a robo call to parents Tuesday alerting them to some strange activity outside one of the schools.  The Bethel Bulletin reports that a man was seen wandering around the school campus and loitering in front of Johnson School.  Personnel at the grade 4-5 school were not familiar with the person and notified police. 

 

Bethel officers removed the man from school grounds, he was disoriented.  The man was taken to Danbury Hospital for evaluation. 

 

School officials say at no time were students or staff in danger.  They continued to say that the communication was sent to keep parents apprised of what happened.

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Water main cleaning in Chimney Heights

Aquarion Water Company says it will be doing water main cleaning in the Chimney Heights section of Bethel next week.  The work will last less than one week, Monday through Thursday. 

 

Aquarion said in a notice to customers that there may be some discoloration during that time from the temporary disturbance in the water flow that stirs up naturally occurring minerals in the water mains.  Aquarion suggested keeping some tap water refrigerated ahead of time for drinking and cooking.  The utility also advised customers not to wash clothes if there is water discoloration. 

 

The work next week is scheduled for 8am to 6pm.

 

The streets affected are:

Adams Dr.

Apple Tree Rd.

Benedict Rd.

Brookview Ct.

Budd Dr.

Buff Ln.

Cedar Dr.

Chimney Dr.

Colonial Dr.

Far Horizons Dr.

Fox Den Rd.

Green Pasture Rd.

Hearthstone Dr.

Hillcrest Rd.

Hilldale Ln.

Hollyberry Dr.

North Hearthstone Dr.

Oak Ridge Rd.

Old Field Dr.

Old Hawleyville Rd.

Patridge Dr.

Payne Rd.

Pondview Dr.

Pound Sweet Hl.

Quaker Ridge Rd.

Ridgedale Rd.

Sand Hill Rd.

Sky Edge Dr.

Sky Edge Ln.

Stony Hill Rd./Rt 6

Terrace Dr.

Walnut Hill Rd.

Westview Dr.

Wine Sap Run

Woodlawn Dr.

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Man sentenced for stealing $1 million in watches from warehouse

A Connecticut man has been sentenced for stealing more than a million dollars worth of watches from Victorinox Swiss Army, whose headquarters are in Monroe.  40-year old Gilberto Nieves was sentenced Friday to 12 years in prison, suspended after 6 years on charges of larceny and conspiracy to commit larceny. 

 

The Stratford resident was a repair manager for the company and was charged along with three other people for the theft in 2010. 

 

Monroe police started an investigation in 2011 after being notified by Swiss Army of the large-scale theft.  The company determined that employees were sending some 600 watches to an out of state location from the Monroe warehouse over a period of time.

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Pistol magazine found outside Bethlehem school

A .45 caliber loaded pistol magazine has been found at Bethlehem Elementary School.  State Police say the magazine was found around 11:30 Tuesday morning on the driveway to the loading dock of the school.  It was taken as evidence and transported to the state Forensic Lab for examination. 

 

Troopers took a walk-through of the school as a safety precaution.  Troopers continue to conduct extra patrols of Bethlehem Elementary School as a precaution.

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'Great Danbury Fair Revue' looking for participants

People today associate Danbury Fair with the mall, but for 113 years there was a more illustrious history.  The Great Danbury Fair Revue is once again being held to bring the fair back to life.  Creator Bill Michael says there will be baton twirlers, belly dancers and others performing.

 

They are looking for former Queens of the Fair and also drivers from the Racearena to contact them to participate in the show.  There will be a tribute to Paul Baker during this year's event. 

 

The Fair ran for the first week of October from 1869 until 1981. 

 

The October 5th show is at the Palace Danbury.  The show’s creators, Jack Stetson and Billy Michael, will weave fair history and music into the show.  The Palace will display fair memorabilia and fair photos spanning over 50 years of owner John W Leahy’s stewardship.

 

To participate in the show, contact The Palace Danbury via email carol@thepalacedanbury.com or by phone at 203-794-9944.

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Medical marijuana dispensaries start sales in Conn.

The six medical marijuana dispensaries in the state have started selling items to patients who hold medical marijuana licenses from the state.  There are more than 2,300 patients registered with the state as having one of 11 debilitating conditions. 

 

Among the patients is Dan Gaita of Bethel.  He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and says this is helping him treat his symptoms without feeling like a criminal.  Gaita was in the Marines and served in Somalia, Bosnia and Haiti.  He says the VA for over a decade has had him on a cocktail of pain and nerve medications, but medical marijuana has helped him cut down some doses and get completely off others.

 

Gaita says through a dispensary, the strains are more pure and consistent because the sales are overseen by a pharmacist and doctor.

 

Other debilitating medical conditions that can be treated with medical marijuana in Connecticut are Parkinson's Disease, MS, epilepsy, glaucoma, nerve damage, cancer, AIDS and Crohn's disease.

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Public hearing on Industrial Park rules in Bethel

A public hearing is being held tonight by the Bethel Economic Development Commission.  The group is asking for public comment on revised rules and regulations for Clarke Business Park.  Among the changes is acknowledging the change in name from "Francis J Clarke Industrial Park".  Another change is to accommodate the disbanding of the Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials and Bethel being part of the new, larger Western Connecticut Council of Governments. 

 

The regulations are spelled out in a 17 page document.  First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says the changes have already gone through the zoning process.

 

The rules and regulations cover everything from parking to outdoor storage as well as overall design of buildings within the complex.  Rules for landscaping, lighting and signs are also described.  The rules will be in effect for 30 years with the town having the option to approve 10 year extensions.  The draft rules and regulations say that property buyers must start construction within three years of the purchase and complete building within five years.

 

The public hearing is at 7pm in the Municipal Center.

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Horse Guard open house in Newtown

An annual open house is being held by the Second Company Governor's Horse Guard in Newtown this weekend.  Families will be able to meet the horses and troopers, see a Mounted Calvary Demonstration and take a pony ride.  2nd Lt Ken Fay says they have 10 horses, are are one of last active mounted calvary units in the United States.  There are over 20 active Troopers.

 

A historical exhibit will be on display covering the unit's more than 200 years of service to the state.  Fay notes that their role has changed over time.  After protecting the Governor from the year 1808, the group was federalized to serve in World Wars I and II. 

 

Fay says they were formed in 1808, when Hartford and New Haven were both Capitals of Connecticut.  The unit was in charge of the Governor's protection in the New Haven area and would escort the Governor at that time to Middletown, where the 1st Company Governor's Horse Guard would take over up to Hartford.  This is also the reason Middletown is named what it is named.

 

Sunday's activities will also include games, crafts and music.  The open house at 4 Wildlife Drive, just off exit 11, will be Sunday from 11am to 3pm.

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DOT delays reopening of Bethel bridge

There's a delay in a bridge replacement project in Bethel.  Route 58 will be closed between Hoyts Hill Road and Sara's Way through 6am Wednesday.  The state Department of Transportation says the work was supposed to be finished by Tuesday morning, but they encountered some unexpected work. 

 

The bridge over Putnam Brook was removed, including the stone masonry culvert.  A precast concrete box culvert is being installed.  New drainage and pavement will also be put in place. 

 

Traffic through Bethel has been detoured from Milwaukee Avenue onto Grassy Plain Street/Redding Road to Hill Road/Lonetown Road and back onto Putnam Park Road.  Detour signs are in place.

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Housatonic Railroad permanently closes crossing in New Milford

Housatonic Railroad has closed a crossing over Waller Road in New Milford, and the town is taking steps to get it reopened.  A truck that got caught on the tracks in August allegedly damaged them.  The Newstimes reports that Housatonic Railroad sought an emergency closure for repairs, but then asked the state Department of Transportation for a permanent closing. 

 

New Milford's Public Works Director is quoted as saying that the company has not met the requirements set by the town for a permanent closing. 

 

The town's state representative and Senator have been contacted to put pressure on the DOT to reverse the decision.

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Area lawmaker critical of Public Safety Commissioner

Senate Minority Leader John McKinney is demanding that Governor Malloy take action in a controversy involving his Public Safety Commissioner Dora Schriro.  The New York Times claims she altered material in an investigation report about a juvenile jail at Riker's Island when she was New York City's Correction Commissioner--something that wasn't made available to lawmakers at her Connecticut confirmation hearings.

 

McKinney, whose district includes Newtown, says at the time of the confirmation hearings, the Governor's office said the GOP was just making cheap political points and that she didn't need to disclose the report because it wouldn't be problematic.  But he says the reason it wouldn't be problematic is that Schriro scrubbed all of the negative references.

 

McKinney says all candidates are asked if there is anything in their background that would embarrass the state, and she didn't disclose the Justice Department investigation into her New York tenure.

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New Milford housing complex receives state funding for project

A supportive housing loan from the state is coming to New Milford.  The loan is for $1.9 million.  Department of Housing Commissioner Yvonne Kline says Brookside Commons has proposed construction of a 12-unit supportive housing development on Thomas Lane.  The site currently contains an abandoned commercial laundry building which will be torn down.

 

The three story structure would be built on 1.47 acres of land.

 

The state is awarding $10,649,077 in grants and loans for eight projects and programs that will create 131 units of affordable housing throughout the state. 

 

The Connecticut Housing Coalition is receiving grant funding to deliver this second Affordable Housing Academy in order to provide housing development teams with the knowledge, tools and detailed project assistance needed to produce high quality housing that incorporates the shared interests of owners, managers, developers, funders, community stakeholders and residents.

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Dave Brubeck inducted into Conn. Hall of Fame

Six new members have been inducted into the Connecticut Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the state Legislative Office Building Monday. 

 

Among the inductees, Jazz great and Wilton resident Dave Brubeck.  His daughter Catherine Brubeck Yaghsizian says her father took a liking to the state after moving the family from California in the 1960s.  She says he loved to play at the Litchfield Jazz Festival.  She noted that her dad was able to get off the road and use Connecticut as a place to compose more serious pieces and found the countryside very inspiring.

 

The other inductees are lyricist and composer Stephen Sondheim of Roxbury, Pratt & Whitney founder Frederick Rentschler, landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead, and Judges John T Downing and Constance Baker Motley.

 

The Connecticut Hall of Fame is designed to recognize current or former residents of Connecticut who have distinguished themselves in their profession and performed outstanding service to our state or nation.  It also serves as an educational tool for the students who visit the Capitol.  

 

Past inductees include Opera singer Marion Anderson of Danbury,  author Mark Twain of Redding and Paul Newman of Westport.

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Ridgefield man allegedly steals $2 million from law clients

A Ridgefield man has been arrested for allegedly stealing more than a million dollars from clients at his Bronxville, New York law office.  The attorney was previously accused of embezzling almost $2 million from a New York cemetery.  54-year old Timothy Griffin was arraigned on Thursday on 7 counts of felony grand larceny. 

 

According to the New York State Attorney General's office, Griffin made the thefts between 2009 and this February.  He will be back in court on the new charges on October 7th.

 

The earlier alleged thefts occurred while Griffin was president of the non-profit United Hebrew Cemetery.

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Ridgefield Board to decide controlled deer hunt parcels

The Ridgefield Board of Selectmen is holding a special meeting tonight.  Among the agenda items is voting on which properties the annual controlled deer hunt should take place. 

 

The Deer Management Committee submits their recommendations each year.  About a dozen sites, most of which have been hunted on before, are again on the list. 

 

The Conservation Commission had asked that Hemlock hills be removed from the proposed list and that Keeler Court be reserved for archery hunting only.  Both were agreed to.

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Rowland looms in Connecticut 5th District race

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The trial that led to the conviction of former Gov. John G. Rowland is having repercussions on this year's 5th Congressional District race, the same seat at the center of Rowland's case.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, who currently holds the seat, is planning to use her opponent's testimony as a point of criticism in this year's race, one of the most hotly contested Connecticut congressional elections.

Rowland approached Republican businessman Mark Greenberg about consulting for his 2010 campaign, but making it appear he was paid by Greenberg's animal rescue organization. It was similar to a 2012 scheme Rowland was convicted on.

At trial, Greenberg called himself ``gutless'' for not informing federal authorities about the proposed arrangement.

An Esty spokeswoman said the campaign will hold Greenberg ``accountable'' for his actions.

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National gun association buys ads against Malloy

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The gun industry's national trade association is purchasing advertising in the Connecticut governor's race aimed at defeating the incumbent who signed wide-ranging gun control legislation last year in the wake of the Newtown school shootings.

Records released Saturday by the Connecticut Elections Enforcement Commission show the Newtown-based National Shooting Sports Foundation is spending $56,400 on political mailings.

NSSF Senior Vice President Lawrence Keane said Saturday that the mailings going out to voters will focus on statements and actions by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy that the organization sees as reflecting hostility toward the state's gun manufacturers and gun owners. It is the first investment in the race by the powerful lobbying organization.

Malloy, a Democrat, is in a close race for re-election against Republican businessman Tom Foley.

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Candlewood Lake water quality studied

Danbury is looking to take steps to manage runoff from properties around Candlewood Lake.  Mayor Mark Boughton says he will be working with the Zoning Department this fall and spring about what can be done to protect the watershed.

 

But he says the challenge over the next few years will be to develop a long term strategic plan for all five towns to follow.

 

There have been at least three studies done about water quality.  Lake owner First Light Power completed one earlier this month, the five towns that surround the lake also commissioned a study and the Candlewood Lake Authority did as well.

 

Boughton says one of the things identified in all of them, was a general decline in water quality over the last 30 to 40 years.  The other issue identified was an increase in Eurasian Milfoil.  The Lake Authority has applied to the state for a grant to stock grass carp in the lake to decrease the invasive plant.

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Bethel to create 'community green' through grant money

The state has released more detailed plans about how two area towns plan to use grant funding from the Department of Housing to improve their downtown areas. 

 

Applications from Bethel and Wilton were among the 13 accepted.  Commissioner Yvonne Kline says Bethel will use it's grant for phase one of two in a Commercial Center Improvement Plan.  It includes creation of a community gathering green space area to help the commercial center thrive.

 

Kline says Wilton will use grant funding to make the downtown area more pedestrian friendly, and to reduce traffic speed along the main roads.

 

There were 33 applications submitted for grants and only 13 awarded.  Kline says the program has a 15 million dollar fund to grant to municipalities to attract small businesses, grow jobs and improve accessibility.

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Ridgefield Selectmen to meet Tuesday night

The Ridgefield Board of Selectmen is holding a special meeting tomorrow. 

 

The regularly scheduled Board meeting last Wednesday was cancelled.  To avoid conflict with the start of Rosh Hashanah on Wednesday night, the meeting will be held on a Tuesday. 

 

Among the items the Selectmen will be discussing is the bid results for 10 acres of the Schlumberger site.  Another request for proposals went out to buyers for the parcel that voters previously rejected a $4 million sale for.  Toll Brothers proposed building 30 luxury condos on the site, but there was a strong coalition of support for affordable housing. 

 

Some residents also spoke out in favor of a more comprehensive plan for the entire 45 acre property.

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21-year old in court over several outstanding warrants

A 21-year old who turned her self in to police on 7 outstanding warrants will be in court today.

 

Tori Alvarez of Danbury was wanted by police in Wilton, Danbury and Weston on various charges, most of the warrants were about failure to appear in court.  She was arrested August 27th when she went to the police station.  Alvarez will be in Danbury Superior Court on Monday to answer some charges.  One of the warrants stemmed from a November 2012 accident involving damage and injury, but Alvarez had fled the scene. 

 

She was also in Norwalk Superior Court last week on charges that she robbed a Wilton home in 2013.  That case was continued to October 29th.

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'SafeWalk' to promote domestic violence awareness

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and The Women’s Center will hold its 8th annual 4k “SafeWalk”.  The SafeWalk event is aimed at raising funds to support the Women's Center and to also raise awareness in the community about their services. 

 

The Ridgefield High School Tigers football players have joined Fairfield County Bank's 2014 “Strength in Numbers” team for the walk.  The Women's Center says RHS Coach Kevin Callahan declared it mandatory that all freshman, junior varsity and varsity team members participate in this year’s event.  The players are planning to wear their orange jerseys at the Walk, while several of their mothers, who have also committed to attend, will wear their sons’ black jerseys for the morning. 

 

In addition to the Walk, the event will feature a memorial tribute to honor victims of domestic violence in the community.  The event is Sunday October 5th inside the Danbury Fair mall.

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Colorado candidate apologizes for Newtown remarks

DENVER (AP) — A Pueblo County commission candidate said an article posted on Facebook saying the Newtown shootings were a hoax said his remarks were misunderstood.

 

The Denver Post reported Saturday that Tom Ready apologized for hurting those affected by the December 2012 shootings in Connecticut.

 

The article posted by Ready claimed the shootings were a hoax intended to drum up support for tougher gun control laws. Ready told the Post he simply "pushed a button" to link the article to his page to encourage discussion.

 

Ready said he didn't do a good job Wednesday during a debate where he defended posting the article.

 

Ready's remarks went viral on the Internet.

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Connecticut ex-governor convicted of new crimes

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) Former Governro John Rowland, who resigned from office a decade ago in a corruption scandal, was convicted Friday of federal charges that he conspired to hide payment for work on two congressional campaigns.

 

Rowland, once a rising star for the Republican Party, served 10 months in prison for taking illegal gifts while in office and now as a repeat offender faces the possibility of a much stiffer sentence.

 

The government's case centered around a contract between Rowland and a nursing home chain owned by the husband of 2012 congressional candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley. Rowland's attorneys argued he volunteered for the campaign while receiving $35,000 to consult for her husband's company, but prosecutors said the money was an illegal payment for campaign services.

 

Rowland was convicted in New Haven federal court of all seven counts, including conspiracy, falsifying records in a federal investigation, causing false statements to be made to the Federal Election Commission and causing illegal campaign contributions.

 

Rowland was elected to the U.S. House three times, governor three times and served as chairman of the national Republican Governors Association. He had been mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate or cabinet member before he was impeached and resigned.

 

He was released from prison in 2006 and began rebuilding his life, landing a job as an economic development coordinator before becoming host of a popular radio show. In his first interview after leaving prison, the man known for his charm and quick wit said he had faith God would steer him down a different path.

 

"When you lose your freedom, it's a very humbling experience," he said.

 

But he found himself in the crosshairs of federal investigators once again as he pursued a return to politics.

 

Much of the evidence against Rowland came from email correspondence, such as one in which he wrote to Wilson-Foley's husband, Brian Foley, shortly after proposing he become a paid political consultant for his wife. Foley testified during the trial that Wilson-Foley wanted Rowland's help but for her primary campaign believed his involvement, if made public, would attract negative publicity.

 

"Had a brief chat with Lisa. I get it. Let's you and I meet," Rowland wrote to Foley.

 

In March, the Foleys each pleaded guilty to conspiring to make illegal campaign contributions, a misdemeanor. Brian Foley became the government's star witness, testifying that he paid Rowland for campaign work and the work he did for Foley's company, Apple Health Care Inc., was only cursory.

 

Rowland's lawyers attacked Foley's credibility, showing he illegally funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to his wife's campaign and could have faced significant prison time if he had not cut a deal. They argue the former governor was unaware of any conspiracy to keep Rowland happy in his campaign work by paying him through Apple.

 

Rowland did not testify in his own defense and his lawyers presented one witness, Apple executive Brian Bedard, who testified that Rowland did real work for him and he did not believe the contract was a sham.

 

Rowland was also accused of trying to cut a similar business deal with another politician.

 

Mark Greenberg, a Republican who is again running for Congress this year, testified that Rowland proposed becoming a consultant to his 2010 campaign while being paid as though he was working for the candidate's animal rescue organization. Greenberg said he turned down the proposal from Rowland. Rowland's lawyers argued that he never ended up working for Greenberg and no crime was committed.

 

Convictions on all the charges carried a possible maximum prison sentence of 57 years.

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Bomb hoax prompts evacuation at WCSU's midtown campus

Western Connecticut State University has reopened four buildings on the midtown campus.  They were evacuated Friday afternoon when University spokesman Paul Steinmetz says an email was sent to their webmaster that said there were bombs in four buildings. 

 

University Hall, the student center, Newbury residence Hall and Haas Library were evacuated and locked down.  State Police were called in and sent police dogs to search the buildings. 

 

Steinmetz says the email had all of the earmarks of a hoax.  He says that's because it came from a suspect email address, TOR.com was the tag.  He was told that it's something criminal elements use.  It's based out of a foreign country and criminals use it to disguise themselves because it's hard to track down the origins.  The FBI, Homeland Security and State Police were all in contact with the University Police Department.

 

Students evacuated from the dorm were sent to Litchfield residence Hall, which is part of the University's emergency plans.  Steinmetz says if had to, they could move everyone over to the west side campus.

 

WCSU sent out a notification through their internal system to all students and staff.

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Annual New Fairfield Day tomorrow

New Fairfield Day is Saturday.  It's a day long celebration that includes everything from Amber Alert registration to firefighter demonstrations and a parade. 

 

First Selectman Susan Chapman says the day is going to start with the naming of a street to honor two local heroes who died in the War on Terror.  The Lion's Club will then hold their make up of the 4th of July Parade, which was cancelled on Independence Day this year.

 

The Boy Scouts will hold a demonstration, the New Fairfield Land Trust will show off their new walking trail and police will have a car seat safety discussion.  There will be a search & rescue dog demonstration, vehicle extrication demonstrations and a fire extinguishing display.

 

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Candlewood Lake Authority looks to launch grass carp program

Danbury has signed on to an effort by the Candlewood Lake Authority to run a grass carp program design to control and manage Eurasian Milfoil.  The CLA is applying to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection for a grant to pay for half of the program.  Mayor Mark Boughton says the group plans to raise funds from community organizations for the balance.

 

The grass carp program has worked in other water bodies including nearby Ball Pond, Lake George and other water bodies.

 

The CLA hopes to stock grass carp in the lake this spring.  It could also help with a new, similar invasive species that's shown up in the lake, but grows on the top of the lake. 

 

CLA has permission from First Light, the owners of the lake, but they still need a permit from DEEP.

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Nestle Purina expands suit against Blue Buffalo

ST. LOUIS (AP) St. Louis-based Nestle Purina PetCare Co. is expanding its lawsuit against Blue Buffalo Co. to include additional allegations of false advertising.

The two companies sued each other in May. Purina accused its Wilton, Connecticut-based competitor of lying about its use of natural ingredients in dog food. The counterclaim accused Purina of some of the same deceits, as well as defamation.

Late Thursday, Purina expanded its lawsuit. Among other things, it claims that Blue Buffalo lies about the nutritional value of a pet treat product, and about the absorption abilities of one of its cat litters.

Blue Buffalo responded Friday with a written statement that questions the qualifications of a Purina scientific expert and further denies any wrongdoing.

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First Lady introduces new class of student poets

WASHINGTON (AP) Michelle Obama has introduced the newest class of National Student Poets.

The five 15- to 18-year-olds will promote the reading, writing and appreciation of poetry during a year of service as literary ambassadors, particularly among young people.

Each student read original poems for the first lady and guests Thursday at the White House.

Mrs. Obama says the program was created to nurture the passion and creativity of young people while sharing the ``gifts and wonders'' of poetry.

She says Thursday's event celebrates the students' journey through endless drafts and writer's block.

The students are 15-year-old Ashley Gong of Sandy Hook, Connecticut; 16-year-old Weston Clark of Zionsville, Indiana; 18-year-old Madeleine Lecesne of New Orleans; 17-year-old Cameron Messinides (meh-SIN'-neh-dees) of Camden, South Carolina; and 17-year-old Julia Falkner of Louisville, Colorado.

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Woman wanted by Danbury, Weston, Wilton police turns herself in

A 21-year old who turned her self in to police on 7 outstanding warrants has had her court case continued.  Tori Alvarez of Danbury was wanted by police in Wilton, Danbury and Weston on various charges, most of the warrants were about failure to appear in court.  She was arrested August 27th an returned to court Wednesday. 

 

Some of the charges stem from a January 2013 theft from a home.  The woman reportedly had a relationship with someone who lived in the Olmstead Hill Road home and knew it would be empty.  Her case has been continued in Norwalk Superior Court to October 29th. 

 

Alvarez will be in Danbury Superior Court on Monday to answer other charges.

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Funeral service held for Paul Baker

A funeral mass has been held for longtime WLAD broadcaster, Danbury Racearena announcer and author, Paul Baker.  Baker was the morning announcer and sportscaster on WLAD from the station's sign on in 1947 through 1977.  He passed away Saturday at the age of 94. 

 

Baker's two children, Joe and Paula, longtime friend Andy Montanari of Ridgefield and former Danbury High School football coach Gus Edwards delivered eulogies to the standing-room only assembly at St Terea's in Woodbury yesterday.   An avid golfer, Baker was a regular emcee at community events throughout his life.

 

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton said everyone who grew up attending sports events, listening to the radio or going to the Racearena knew who Paul was.  He said today was like a little bit of Danbury passing, a day of sorrow for his loved ones.  Boughton called him someone who knew how to live life the way we all want to live life, routinely golfing his age through his 80s.

 

WLAD's current General Manager Irv Goldstein, who grew up in Danbury, said school was never really officially canceled on snowy mornings until Paul and Abe announced it on WLAD. 

 

Baker remained active until his last few months through writing, charitable work and his church.

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UPDATED: Danbury police search for bank robber

A bank robbery in Danbury is being investigated.  The Union Savings Bank branch at 226 Main Street was held up shortly before 10:30 this morning.  The suspect was described as a dark skinned male, approximately 5 foot 10 with a husky build.  The suspect was wearing a light hooded sweatshirt and dark colored pants. 

 

 

The man handed the teller a note and left in an unknown direction. No weapon was displayed and the suspect left with an undetermined amount of money.  There were no reported injuries. 

 

Any witness's are asked to contact the Detective Bureau at 203-797-4662.

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Danbury UNIT addresses blighted properties, high grass

The Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team spent time last month dealing with issues of blighted properties that had garbage or debris in the yards, or high grass.  UNIT officials say in most of the cases the homes are vacant and many times, foreclosed.  The UNIT issued several Exterior Blight Orders to property owners for issues ranging from unregistered vehicles to front lawn parking and other violations. 

 

The Department says by addressing these issues, the properties become less of a target for break-ins and criminal mischief. 

 

There were 34 blighted properties addressed, 14 with notices of violation and six cited for illegal apartments/overcrowding and unpermitted construction. 

 

Year to date, UNIT has address more than 600 quality of life issues.

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Bridge replacement project to start in Bethel

A bridge replacement project starts Friday in Bethel.

 

Route 58 will be closed between Hoyts Hill Road and Sara's Way starting on Friday the 19th and continuing through the following Tuesday.  State Department of Transportation officials say the bridge over Putnam Brook will be removed, including the stone masonry culvert.  A precast concrete box culvert will be installed.  New drainage and pavement will also be put in place during the project. 

 

Traffic through Bethel will be detoured from Milwaukee Avenue onto Grassy Plain Street/Redding Road to Hill Road/Lonetown Road and back onto Putnam Park Road.  Detour signs will be put in place.

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Confirmed case of enterovirus D68 in Conn.

Connecticut has one confirmed case, so far, of the enterovirus D68 infection.  The child was recently hospitalized , has since improved and been discharged.  The child was reportedly at at Yale-New Haven Hospital, though health officials haven't officially released that information.  Five hospitals in total, including Danbury Hospital, have sent specimens to the CDC for testing. 

 

Dr Matthew Carter of the Connecticut Department of Public Health says they could hear back as soon as this week, but more likely next week.

 

The virus can cause mild to severe illness, with the worst cases needing life support for breathing difficulties.

 

New York and New Jersey are among the other 16 states with confirmed cases.  Kids with asthma have been especially vulnerable. No deaths have been reported.

 

The strain is not new but only a small number of labs can test for it. Since mid-August, there's been an unusual spike in identified cases.  Investigators say it's not yet clear what triggered the outbreak or whether it's worsening.

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Redding: Town meeting set, fine forgiveness

The Redding Board of Selectmen has set a date for a special town meeting about the ordinance to merge the Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials and the South Western Regional Planning Agency into the Western Connecticut Council of Governments.  The Special Town Meeting will be held on October 10th at 7pm in Redding Town Hall. 

 

The state passed an initiative calling for the 13 planning agencies in the state to merge into no more than eight.  Connecticut officials are hoping for more regionalization efforts when it comes to a sharing of equipment and bulk purchasing power to bring the cost of government down.

 

A Fine Forgiveness program is being held by the Mark Twain Library starting today.  In exchange for a non-perishable item, the library will waive 1 dollar of overdue fines, up to a total of 10-dollars.  All of the food that's collected between now and Sunday will go to the Redding Food Bank.  The Food for Fines Program is only for overdue fines and does not apply to lost or damaged items. 

 

The collection basket by will be located by the front desk. 

 

The Redding Pilot reports that the Food Bank is also looking to collect items like paper towels, toilet paper, soap and cleaning supplies.  While boxed items like hot chocolate and cereal are appreciated, the food bank doesn't need pasta or canned soup at this time.

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Police, school administrators attend safety seminar

Redding's police chief is weighing in on a summer program about school safety.

 

Two school principals joined Redding Police Chief Douglas Fuchs at a seminar over the summer in Ridgefield that featured Lt Col Dave Grossman, a former West Point psychology professor and Army Ranger.  Grossman has helped train educators and law enforcement professionals around the country.  A certification session last summer simulated a response to an armed intruder. 

 

Fuchs told Connecticut Town & City this latest seminar along with the district-wide training last summer, confirmed his belief that the only true deterrent at the moment is a police officer in the school building. 

 

Grossman this summer told participants about strategies, mitigating risk, understanding dynamics of juvenile violence, and school violence.

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9/11 NEVER FORGET traveling exhibit in Brewster

The 9/11 NEVER FORGET traveling exhibit is in Brewster this week.  It was created as a learning tool by the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, a group started by New Fairfield Selectman John Hodge's family to honor his firefighter cousin who died on 9/11 at the World Trade Center. 

 

The stop was funded by the Brewster Education Foundation.  Brewster High School Principal Dr Joseph Castagnola says they had an interested in bringing this to Brewster since its creation in 2013.  He is the former New Fairfield Superintendent of Schools, and worked with Hodge.

 

Castagnola says his students are visiting during social studies classes while the lower grades are attending with their families.  He says so far, it's been really well received.  Parents of high schoolers who did not want their child touring the exhibit had the option to send back the explanation letter declining the opportunity.  He says the juniors and seriors today were toddlers when 9/11 happened while middle schoolers hadn't been born yet, so it's an important part of history for them to learn.

 

(Photo Courtsey: Tunnel 2 Towers Facebook)

 

Castagnola says meaningful discussions have been started in the classroom through this exhibit.

 

The 53-foot tractor trailer unfolds into an 1,100 square foot space.  The memorial includes live tours from FDNY members.  Artifacts, including steel beams from the towers, documentary videos and audio recordings of first responder radio transmissions are part of the exhibit.  The exhibit is presented with age-appropriate explanations of what happened on 9/11.  

 

The exhibit arrived on Monday and will depart on Thursday.

 

CV Starr Intermediate/JFK Elementary students with parents, district employees and the community can attend at three different times today and tomorrow.  They are today from 2pm to 7pm; tomorrow from 8am to 10am or 2:30pm to 4pm.

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Bethel, Wilton to receive state grants for downtown improvements

Two area towns are receiving grant funding for projects to develop their commercial districts.  In total, 13 municipalities are sharing in the $5 million from the state's Main Street Investment Fund.  The program, run through the Department of Housing provides financial incentives for projects that directly support and enhance a qualified project.  State officials say the funding is an effort to attract small businesses, grow jobs and improve pedestrian access and livability in town centers. 

 

Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says the town will be granted more than $290,000.  The project — to include new sidewalks, accessibility ramps, signage, streetscape, and safety improvements — will create a walkable and ADA compliant downtown by improving public safety and pedestrian access, creating a community gathering place, and increasing recreational opportunities.  He says a building facade in one part of town will be fixed.  A new sidewalk will be installed across from the municipal center, where one currently doesn't exist.

 

Knickerbocker credited the town's Economic Development Director, Janice Chrzescijanek, for working with the Land Use and Planning Departments to put together an outstanding application.  Knickerbocker also thanked the Governor's office for supporting Bethel.  He says the economic assistance will put people to work in Bethel and improve the business climate.

 

Wilton plan to use its $425,000 grant toward the Wilton Center Sidewalk Restoration Project.  The upgrades are meant to address various safety concerns related to ADA compliance.  It will help provide public sidewalks within the vehicle travel way.  This project goes hand-in-hand with other completed downtown improvements such as the installation of benches, curbing, decorative street lamps and seasonal flower pots.

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Memorial Sidewalk project launched in Newtown

Memorial Sidewalk has been dedicated in Newtown.  Construction on the sidewalk project connecting Main Street to Church Hill Road in Sandy Hook Village was started on Wednesday.  The Newtown Bee reports that the first phase of construction should be completed within six months.  That part of the project is privately funded with some public funds. 

 

Dr Thomas Draper and his son Joseph were thanked during the dedication ceremony for their work on the project.  They said that after 12-14, the family wanted to create a physical connection between the center of town and Sandy Hook.

 

A retaining wall is planned to run the length of Church Hill Road, with a small green area required by the state to accommodate state snow plows. Most of the section along Church Hill Road is state right of way, so the town will seek easements for construction.

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Brookfield Board of Ethics gets another complaint about First Selectman

Another complaint against the Brookfield First Selectmen will be investigated by the Board of Ethics.  The group will meet on October 7th about a complaint field by Democratic Town Committee chairman Ray DiStephan about expense reimbursements by Bill Tinsley between December 2013 and this March.  The complaint concerned reimbursement for mileage for travel from work to meetings that are part of Tinsley's duties as First Selectmen. 

 

DiStephan's complain says that violates the IRS's rules about work-travel reimbursement. 

 

Tinsley issued a statement saying his predecessors are trying to draw attention away from their roles in financial irregularities and overspending by the schools.  DiStephan is the former chair of the Board of Education.

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Two men arrested for fight at gas station

Two men have been arrested for a fight at a Danbury gas station.  Police were called to the Shell station on Newtown Road Friday night because of the altercation over money.  Police were told by 25-year old Mario Cardenas-Bautista that he an a co-worker agreed to split a bill, but he left before collecting on it. 

 

When the man saw his co-worker at the gas station, he allegedly yelled at the man.  Police say 33-year old Hector Burgos intervened and punched Cardenas-Bautista. 

 

Burgos was charged with assault and breach of peace.  He's being held on $1,500 bond for a September 30th court appearance.  Cardenas-Bautista was charged with breach of peace, disorderly conduct and threatening.  He was released on a written promise to appear in court at a later date.

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DMV evacuated because of smoke from burning t-shirt

The Department of Motor Vehicles building on Lee Mac Avenue in Danbury was briefly evacuated Tuesday afternoon.  The Danbury Fire Department responded to a small fire in an adjoining building.  At the DMV though, someone smelled smoke.  It was likely coming through the ventilation system.  The DMV was evacuated for about 10 minutes shortly after 1pm.  The fire was caused by a t-shirt burning in a dryer.

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New Fairfield road to get new name to honor local heroes

A road in New Fairfield is getting a new name.  Farmer's Lane will be getting the secondary name of to honor two men who have ties to the same home on the street.  Chris Blackwell died on 9/11, TJ Lobraico died in Afghanistan last year.  First Selectman Susan Chapman says residents of that street asked for the change, which will be done on New Fairfield Day on Saturday.

 

The dedication will be filmed.  After the Lion's Club Parade, a make up of the cancelled 4th of July Parade, there will be another ceremony on the field, which will feature a replaying of the dedication.  The Connecticut Patriot Guard will present honorary member flags to the two families.

 

Blackwell, a member of the FDNY, grew up in New Fairfield.  He was a 25 year member of the New Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department.  One of his daughter is a police officer, the other is studying healthcare, and his son is a member of the FDNY.  He worked with Danbury Ambulance and was specialized in building collapses and trench rescues.

 

Lobraico attended Western before being deployed.  He was in the Justice and Law Administration program, pursuing a degree in law enforcement.  His mother graduated from the university and his father took classes there as well.  Lobraico was a member of the 105th Security Forces Squadron.  He died when his unit was attacked near Bagram Airfield.  He joined the Air National Guard in 2008 and was on his second overseas deployment.  His parents also serve in the 105th Airlift Wing.

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Donations, grants accepted by Danbury Board of Ed

The Danbury Board of Education has accepted a number of grants and donations. 

 

At their meeting Wednesday, the Board of Education was presented with a $10,000 donation from an anonymous giver.  It's for the Mill Ridge Primary School to support early childhood development and enrichment activities for students in kindergarten through 3rd grade.  That includes an after school arts and health program. 

 

It was noted at their meeting that this past spring, Danbury schools was the recipient of donated literacy and numeracy resources from Robert Cox of Focus Mailing.  The donation, valued at $129,000, included time and efforts of his staff to sort and deliver materials from their warehouse to the district. 

 

The Pitney Bowes Foundation and the Danbury Community Leadership Team also presented the Board with a $6,000 donation for the Family Literacy Center of Danbury and the School Readiness/Parent Involvement program.

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Newest police officers set to graduate Academy

Those looking to be police officers in the state must attend The Police Officer Standards and Training Council Academy.  The class of 43 Recruits, representing 25 Municipal Police Departments, Southern Connecticut State University Police, and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Conservation Police will complete their training program tomorrow. 

 

The class roster consists of police officers representing the police departments in New Milford, Fairfield, Torrington, Seymour and elsewhere.

 

The Recruits have completed an extensive 880-hour Basic Training Curriculum at the Connecticut Police Academy in Meriden, encompassing Academic and Practical Skills, Firearms, Defensive Tactics, Patrol Driving, Penal Code, Motor Vehicle Law, Laws of Arrest, Search and Seizure, and a host of other topics.

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Weston's revised gun law doesn't include police, fix requested

Weston officials have discovered a glaring omission in the town's new gun ordinance.  Police Officers were not included in those exempt from section 79.  State and federal officers, members of the military, authorized messengers, and bank guards when performing their duties were among those listed. 

 

The Weston Forum reports that the ordinance was revised after the shootings at Sandy Hook School.  It bans residential target practice and prohibits the discharge of machine guns or assault weapons within town borders. 

 

During the Board of Selectmen meeting on Thursday, First Selectman Gayle Weinstein said a public hearing will need to be held to make the change.  That's according to the Town's charter.  The hearing has been set for the next regular meeting of the Board.

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Emergency communications tower public hearing in Redding

A public hearing is being held in Redding about a communications tower at the Police Department.  Voters decided in favor of a replacement during a July referendum.  The Zoning Board of Appeals is holding the hearing at their meeting. 

 

The current tower is 118 feet tall and more than three decades old.  The new proposed tower would have antennas and would be about 120 feet tall.  The existing tower pre-existing and non-conforming, but the Police Department is requesting a variance to regulations for the taller tower. 

 

Since this isn't for cell phone use, the Connecticut Siting Council does not have jurisdiction.  The tower is for police, fire, EMS and the highway department. 

 

The meeting is at 7:30 tonight.

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Danbury Hospital contacting CDC about possible Enterovirus-68

Danbury Hospital has seen an increase in the number of children with respiratory complaints. 

 

Dr. Greg Dworkin, head of pulmonary pediatrics at Danbury Hospital, says they are sending out lab tests to the CDC to see if its the Enterovirus-68 that has been diagnosed in at least 15 other states. 

 

The best prevention he says is having children wash their hands often, and as long as it takes to sing "Happy birthday". 

 

Dr. Dworkin says the public will be informed if the tests are positive and there are any other changes.

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Sendak collection leaving library in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (AP) A small Philadelphia museum that houses more than 10,000 pieces by illustrator Maurice Sendak will be returning most of the collection to the author's estate.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports trustees for Sendak's foundation are reclaiming the artwork based on instructions in his will. He died in 2012.

Sendak is best known for his classic book ``Where the Wild Things Are.'' He had a decades-long relationship with the Rosenbach museum and library in Philadelphia.

But Sendak wanted his home in Ridgefield, Connecticut, to be operated as a museum. Rosenbach officials say his artwork, manuscripts and other ephemera will be sent back starting next month.

The Rosenbach will retain about 600 Sendak pieces. The author also left the institution rare editions of books by Herman Melville and Henry James.

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Teen, store clerk in court on alcohol sale charges

A teenager and store clerk will each be in court today for alcohol related charges.  Newtown Police conducting an investigation into illegal sales of alcohol to minors on August 29th resulted in two arrests. 

 

19-year old Tyler Hall was charged with illegal purchase while 59-year old Stephen Small was charged with illegal sale of alcohol to a minor.  They are each scheduled to be arraigned in Danbury Superior Court today. 

 

Newtown Police were watching activities at Yankee Discount Wine and Spirits on Queen Street when they saw an underage male buy alcohol without presenting an ID.  The incident will be reviewed by state liquor regulators for possible actions against the package store and permit holder.

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Danbury students to serve on Internation Youth Advisory Board

Three area teenagers have been selected to serve on the International Youth Advisory Board.  The three will serve on the Board of the Youth Volunteer Corps, representing the local Youth Volunteer Corps of Western Connecticut.  The group has teens helping the community through team-based service-learning projects. 

 

17-year old Alyssa Barrett and 16-year old Olivia Harris of Danbury High School and 15-year old Mackenzie Mitchell of Immaculate High School in Danbury will serve a one year term on the board.  They will provide input on programing during monthly meetings and bring new ideas back to the Western Connecticut chapter. 

 

The local group last year had 200 teenagers put in more than 3,600 service hours.  About 10,000 youth volunteer with the Corp each year across the United States and Canada.

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Congressional candidates spar over ISIS, campaign fundraising

The two candidates in the 5th Congressional race are once again involved in a heated exchange, this time over foreign affairs. 

 

Democratic incumbent Elizabeth Esty held a telephone conference call Friday with Brookfield combat veteran Mike Zacchea to discuss ISIS and the beheading of journalist Steven Sotloff, who graduated from Rumsey Hall in Washington, Connecticut.  The town is part of the 5th District. 

 

Republican Mark Greenberg's campaign said in a press release last week that tougher action needed to be taken against Islamic militants, and that Esty has remained quite on the issue.  The email included a campaign donation button.  Esty's campaign responded calling for Greenberg to apologize for the email.  Greenberg's campaign responded right back saying Esty had yet to release comments condemning the beheading of two American journalists on her website, but that she has two "contribute" buttons seen right above her criticism of his initial email. 

 

The Greenberg campaign said "Elizabeth Esty's hypocrisy knows no bounds and she will stop at nothing to pursue partisan, political advantage.”

 

During the press call Friday, Esty condemned the terrorist acts.  Zacchea, a combat veteran who medically retired from the Marines with the rank of Lt Col., also demanded an apology from Greenberg.  He said he felt scandalized that Greenberg would use the murder of Steven Sotloff for political purposes.

 

Zacchea received a Purple Heart for his service after being wounded by a rocket-propelled grenade.  He served directly with eighteen Iraqi solders, two Americans, and a British citizen who were abducted and beheaded by terrorists in Iraq.

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Progress on forming Western CT Council of Governments

The leaders of 10 Greater Danbury area towns are taking steps to merge their regional planning group with one representing lower Fairfield County towns. 

 

The Redding Board of Selectmen is meeting tonight to set a date for a special town meeting about the ordinance to merge the Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials and the South Western Regional Planning Agency into the Western Connecticut Council of Governments. 

 

The state passed an initiative calling for the 13 planning agencies in the state to merge into no more than eight.  Connecticut officials are hoping for more regionalization efforts when it comes to a sharing of equipment and bulk purchasing power to bring the cost of government down. 

 

The New Milford Town Council earlier this month approved their membership ordinance. 

 

The Redding Board of Selectmen meeting tonight is is at 7:30

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Working Families Party makes legislative endorsements

The Connecticut Working Families Party has made a number of endorsements in the Greater Danbury area for state legislative races.  Among them is the 67th District race in New Milford where Democrat Gale Alexander will be challenging incumbent Republican Cecelia Buck-Taylor.  Alexander has received the endorsement.  Buck_Taylor has been cross-endorsed by the Independent Party. 

 

The Working Families Party is also endorsing Brookfield Democrat Dan Smolnik who is looking to unseat long-time incumbent Republican David Scribner for the 107th District, which also includes part of Bethel. 

 

The Working Families Party is also endorsing incumbent Democrats David Arconti and Bob Godfrey in Danbury.   In the 24th District Senate race in the Danbury area, Ted Feng received the endorsement.  Republican Mike McLachlan is the incumbent.  In the 26th District in the wilton area, Philip Sharlach was endorsed.  He is challenging Republican Toni Boucher.  The 28th District in the Newtown rea is an open race and the Working Families Party has endorsed Kim Fawcett.

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Sandy Hook Advisory Commission hears from Llodra, Erardi

The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission has held another meeting in their effort to come up with recommendations to improve public safety following the shootings on December 14th 2012.  They heard testimony from Superintendent Dr Joseph Erardi.  He asked Sandy Hook School staff, who were present on 12-14 and worked all of last year to give him their opinions and insight on the events that followed.

 

Staff told Erardi about the importance of having an effective communication protocol in place during and after the event.  Erardi also said that it's not just a case of making money available to harden the school buildings, but also the time needed to make sure emergency protocols are understood by all.

 

Staff would like to see a strong partnership with local police who know every room, every number, every door all of the time.

 

Another recommendation is the importance of knowing who is the buildings at all times.  There are subcontracted staff not listed on rosters, such as food service staff.  When Central Office and Town Emergency Planners, immediately after 12-14, no one had Chartwell Food Service on their lists.

 

Newtown's first selectman is recommending the state conduct a full after-action study to find out what worked and what didn't in her town's response to the December 2012 school shooting.  Pat Llodra said local officials were overwhelmed with the logistics of handling donations, volunteers, correspondence, and media requests.

 

She says the town, for example, had no way to vet the qualifications of the mental health experts who came to help.

 

Llodra says the local government would have collapsed without help from companies such as General Electric, which provided four full-time executives to work with the town.

 

Llodra also revealed that school officials would not give her contact information for the victims' families until two weeks after the shooting.

 

Llodra told the Commission that at one point, the town logged 65,000 stuffed teddy bears. That didn't include other types of stuffed animals, hundreds of backpacks, bicycles, skateboards, school supplies, candles, gift wrap, crayons, sneakers, and more.  Thousands of books were also donated to Newtown.

 

Llodra said the volume of mail sent to Newtown prompted U.S. Postal Service employees to set up shop in the town hall’s basement.  Volunteers helped sort more than 200,000 pieces of mail.

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Newtown considers funding to demolish burnt out home

The Newtown Legislative Council next week will consider a nearly $30,000 allocation to demolish a home in the Hawleyville section of town that was destroyed by a suspicious fire in June 2011.  The Board of Selectmen addressed the issue at their meeting last week and were told that the insurance company hasn't paid the homeowner, who can't afford to take down the house. 

 

Officials say the remains of the Great Hill Road home is a public safety issue for the neighborhood.  A court order allows the town to demolish it, and the town will then put a lien on the property, though First Selectman Pat Llodra told the Board of Finance this week that it's unlikely the town will get any of its money back. 

 

The Legislative Council will mee on Wednesday.

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Two boat launches to close for paving

Two area boat launches will be closed soon for repaving.  The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection says the Squantz Cove state Boat Launch on Candlewood Lake and the Squantz Pond state Park boat launch on the pond will be closed on Monday and Tuesday for repaving.  DEEP notified the Candlewood Lake Authority about the closings yesterday.

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Health execs say they had no contact with Rowland

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) Two top executives at a nursing home company say they never met former Gov. John Rowland, despite assertions that he was hired as a consultant there.

Rowland is on trial facing seven federal charges. They include allegations he hid payments for work he did on the 2012 congressional campaign of Lisa Wilson-Foley through the consulting deal with Apple Health Care, which is owned by her husband, Brian Foley.

Jack Boynton, Apple's vice president for human services, and Ann Collette, the company's vice president for business development and marking communication, both testified Friday they never worked with Rowland, despite being in charge of the areas where Rowland's lawyers assert he provided consulting.

Rowland's contract called for him to provide strategic advice in such areas as marketing, business development and labor relations.

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GOP lawmakers question early release program, Malloy weighs in

A group of Republican lawmakers are highlighting the murder of an infant in Connecticut in their effort to have the state's Risk Reduction Earned Credit Program for prison inmates repealed.  Danbury State Senator Mike McLachlan says an unspeakable tragedy occurred in Bristol last month when a child was murdered by a person who should not have been released from prison.  The lawmakers questioned how an inmate can fail multiple drug tests, and still manage to successfully pass an addiction rehabilitation program.  They also pointed to Hapgood helping two inmates escape from custody from a halfway house four months earlier.

 

In total, Arthur Hapgood lost 45 credits as a result of cumulative offenses, keeping 233 credits.  Senate Minority Leader John McKinney says the system has a formula to calculate earned credits, but lacks a formula for reducing credits.

 

McKinney says the whole situation makes a mockery of the criminal justice system.

 

Governor Dannel Malloy says the system overall is reducing repeat offenses.  He notes that violent offenders are serving more time now than under prior governors.  Malloy accused the Republican lawmakers of trying to win an election by scaring people.

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Bethel medical marijuana dispensary to open next week

Monroe-based D&B Wellness Compassion and Care Center gained approval in May as one of only six medical marijuana dispensaries licensed in the state.  Only patients certified by physicians to the state Department of Consumer Protection as having one of 11 debilitating conditions, and would benefit from use of medical marijuana, can register for use in Connecticut. 

 

In order to enter the Garella Road center, patients must have a medical marijuana card.  To make a purchase, the patient's name has to be registered with the state, and the Bethel facility as their designated dispensary.

 

The "appointment only" facility will have a high level of security including a full time security guard, video surveillance and other security features.  The center will employ a pharmacist, receptionist and a counselor to educate patients about dosage and alternative therapies.  The strict security requirements are detailed among 76 pages of state regulations.

 

The kinds of products that can be sold at dispensaries are very specific and limited to those prepackaged from licensed manufacturers.  Everything comes in a sealed pouch, with the strain and number tracked back to the state.  It's meant to treat tremors, Parkinsons, MS and epilepsy.  

 

An open house is being held tonight from 6pm to 9 pm for patients registered to the facility.  Department of Consumer Protection officials and others instrumental with helping the application go forward, will also be in attendance.

 

Two residents, Philip Lombino and Michael Moore, filed an appeal of the Zoning Enforcement Officer approval of a zoning permit application.  The Bethel Zoning Board of Appeals ruled on the appeal of the dispensary last month.  The Board decided that the filers were not aggrieved, and that the use of the site meets regulations. 

 

The location is zoned for retail use and town officials say the dispensary is considered a pharmacy and therefore a permitted use.  The appeal said the state imposes specific location and operation criteria on dispensaries that are different from retail mandates, because the general public will not be patronizing the facility. 

 

A letter has been drafted to the Planning and Zoning Commission requesting that they review the appeal and make changes to regulations.  In the future something like this could trigger the use of a special permit.  That will insure an opportunity for public discussion on the matter.

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Connecticut police stop minorities at high rates

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) New data released by the state of Connecticut show police statewide are stopping black and Hispanic drivers at disproportionately high rates compared with population statistics.

The figures released Thursday show that about 14 percent of all police traffic stops from last October through May involved black drivers, when blacks comprise about 8 percent of the state's population. About 12 percent of stops involved Hispanics, who comprise about 10 percent of the population.

The data also show that blacks and Hispanics were more than twice as likely to have their vehicles searched by police during stops than whites.

Several police officials say they're reviewing the data and cautioned against drawing conclusions until those reviews are complete.

The ACLU of Connecticut says the figures show a systemic bias by police.

 

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Kitchen fire reported in Candlewood Lake area home

Danbury firefighters have responded to a kitchen fire on TaAgan Point, just off Moody Lane.  Danbury Fire Department Communications Coordinator Steven Rogers says the 2 alarm structure fire in the home off Candlewood Lake was reported around 3pm Thursday. 

 

Rogers says the kitchen fire burned itself out.  The heavy smoke in the attic and roof areas was ventilated.  There were no injuries. 

 

The cause of the fire is being investigated.

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Sandy Hook Advisory Commission set to meet today

The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission will be holding its next meeting this morning at the state capital.  The group will receive a presentation from Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra and Superintendent of Schools Dr Joseph Erardi. 

 

The panel's Mental Health Working Group, the Safe School Design and Operations Work Group along with the Law Enforcement Working Group will all give presentations as well. 

 

The 16 member Commission has been tasked with reviewing current policies and making recommendations about public safety when it comes to school safety, mental health and gun violence prevention.

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Brookfield Ethics Board inquiry on hold

The Brookfield Board of Ethics will hire an attorney before moving forward on a complaint involving the First Selectmen.  The Board met yesterday on the issue of Bill Tinsley using a town-owned car for a trip to Tennessee , which he says was an economic development fact finding mission. 

 

Selectman Howard Lasser, Tinsley's opponent in the election, brought the issue to the Board of Ethics saying it was more like a vacation.  Lasser didn't file a complaint, the Board decided to take up the matter. 

 

The Newstimes reports that the Town Attorney has argued the Board didn't follow proper procedure, Tinsley's trip didn't require permission and that the Board's deliberations had to be conducted in the public.  They are hiring the attorney to advise them how to move forward.

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New Milford sewer plant workers now considered town employees

The New Milford Town Council has voted to change the jurisdiction over Waste Water Treatment Facility employees.  The 5 to 3 vote on Monday night put the sewer plant employees under the purview of Mayor Pat Murphy as town employees, a change from Sewer Commission oversight. 

 

The longtime plant supervisor had died in January and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection gave the Sewer Commission a year to fill the position.  Last month a new supervisor was hired. 

 

Town oversight would be added to DEEP assistance.

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Area towns mark 9/11 anniversary with ceremonies at memorials

There will be a 9/11/01 Memorial ceremony at the site of the American Flags painted on the six maple trees at 68 Dodgingtown Road off Route #302 in Newtown.  The ceremony is at 8:15am.

 

 

New Milford's 13th Annual Memorial Ceremony of 9-11-01 is at the Memorial site located in the Patriot’s Way Plaza, overlooking the Young’s Field ball fields. The service will commence with Water Witch Hose Co. #2 tolling the apparatus bell at 8:46am.

 

First responders, including the New Milford Community Ambulance Corps., New Milford Police and Volunteer Fire Departments will present and raise the flag with assistance from Military Personnel.  The ceremony will include the singing of our National Anthem and an Invocation before guest speakers offer a few words.  The ceremony will conclude with the singing of “God Bless America” and close to “Amazing Grace” offered by Patrick Maguire on bagpipes.  Ceremony guests are invited to place a flower on the memorial in remembrance and reflection.

 

 

A ceremony is scheduled for 10 am at Kent Town Hall to dedicate a 9/11 memorial, a stone with a plaque on it dedicated to James Gadiel.  The 23-year-old Cantor Fitzgerald trader died in the World Trade Center.  James' father Peter Gadiel, asked that the memorial say victims were "murdered by Muslim terrorists."  Town officials said years earlier that the wording was not supported by residents, whose taxes paid for the plaque.  The memorial instead refers to "Islamist extremists.''  During today's ceremony, a short piece will be read, which James wrote as a 7th grader.

 

 

The City of Danbury's September 11th Memorial Remembrance Gathering will be held at 6pm at the 9-11 monument in Elmwood Park on Main Street.  The twelve-foot tower of glass is mounted on a pentagon of Connecticut granite.  The glass tower lines up with the lighted flagpole flying the U.S. flag previously flown over the U.S. Capitol and the 9-11 Memorial Flag.  The glass tower is lighted from dusk to dawn.

 

 

Bethel will remember the victims of the September 11th attacks with a ceremony at 6pm.  The rememberance will be held at the Municipal Center.  In a change from previous years, there will not be a procession from the fire house.

 

 

Ridgefield's annual 9-11 observances will be held outdoors at the memorial off Route 35 that has a beam of World Trade Center steel as its centerpiece.  The ceremony will start at 6:30 on Danbury Road at the Parks and Recreation facility.  Members of the Ridgefield Clergy Association will share thoughts, and offer prayers.  The Ridgefield Police Department will provide an honor guard.  The Ridgefield Volunteer Fire Department will provide a color guard for the ceremonies.

 

 

To honor and remember those lost, and to recognize those who continue to serve and protect, Brookfield will hold a 9-11 Candlelight Vigil on Thursday at 7pm, at Brookfield Town Hall.  The service will be held in the Rotary Memorial Garden. In the event of bad weather, the service will be held in Town Hall Foyer. Those in attendance are being asked to bring a candle.

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Beyond words: Kent agrees on honor for 9/11 victim

KENT, Conn. (AP) The words will be set in stone, so Kent took some time to agree on how best to honor a town resident killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

A ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday at Town Hall to dedicate a memorial, a stone with a plaque on it dedicated to James Gadiel. The 23-year-old Gadiel died in the World Trade Center.

The marker honors the nearly 3,000 victims, singling out Gadiel, a lifelong Kent resident. The memorial honors him as a ``gentleman and a gentle man.''

Establishing a memorial was snagged on a disagreement over how to word it.

Gadiel's father, Peter Gadiel, asked that the memorial say victims were ``murdered by Muslim terrorists.'' Selectmen did not agree.

The memorial instead refers to ``Islamist extremists.''

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Swastika found etched in locker at Wilton High School

A swastika has been found etched into a locker at Wilton High School.  In a letter posted on the school's website Monday from the Principal, Robert O'Donnell said he is concerned with the incident and wanted to inform the community of the action that would be taken. 

 

The locker was immediately replaced and the responsible party was identified.  The Wilton Police Department was contacted through the school resource officer.   The principal says the consequences for the person responsible will align with the school's discipline code. 

 

O'Donnell said in the letter that symbols of hatred, racism and anti-semitism have no place in an environment free of prejudice, cruelty and intolerance.  In the days and weeks to come, conversations will be held about the impact on students, seeking proactive solutions to prevent this from recurring.

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Campaign official says he opposed Rowland role

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) A former political director for the 5th congressional district campaign of Lisa Wilson-Foley has testified that he advised against the campaign hiring former Gov. John Rowland.

Chris Syrek was testifying Wednesday at the federal trial for Rowland, who is facing federal charges including allegations that he conspired with Wilson-Foley and her husband to violate federal election laws.

Syrek said that when he expressed his opposition to a campaign role for Rowland, Wilson-Foley suggested the campaign might not have to pay him. Syrek said he worried she was alluding to an off-the-books arrangement.

The Foleys have pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges they conspired to allow Brian Foley to make an illegal contribution to his wife's campaign by paying Rowland for campaign work.

Rowland's trial in New Haven began last week and is expected to take about three weeks.

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Teens charged in crash that killed 15-year old in Ridgefield

Charges have been filed in connection with the crash that killed a Ridgefield teen in March.  Six 17 year old boys and a 16 year old girl have been charged with possession of alcohol by a minor, having attended an underage drinking party at a Ridgebury Road home just before the crash. 

 

A 17-year old who hosted the party was charged with the delivery of alcohol to minors.  21-year old Michael Peckham of Ridgefield, who did not attend the party, was charged with delivery of alcohol to minors. 

 

The Danbury State's Attorney has declined to press charges against the driver of the car that struck and killed 15-year old Emma Sandhu.  The sophomore was walking along Ridgebury Road when she was struck by a 24-year old Ridgefield resident.

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Danbury Hospital opens new Emergency Department

The new Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Emergency Department at Danbury Hospital, at 40,000 square feet, is double the size of the former Emergency Department.  Department of Emergency Medicine chairman Dr Patrick Broderick says the increased capacity will handle up to 90,000 patient visits annually.

 

The new ER can be accessed from Hospital Avenue.

 

Broderick says the facility will better serve the growing needs of the community while fulfilling its mission to improve the health and well-being of residents.

 

The ER includes a streamlined triage area and an express care area for less acute patients.  All private patient rooms equipped with state-of-the-art technology.  There is also a dedicated imaging center so patients can be diagnosed and treated more rapidly.  There is a separate area for Pediatric services to serve the needs of children and young adults and direct-access heliport to expand the Hospital’s capacities as a Level II Trauma Center.

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FERC hearing in Danbury about natural gas pipeline expansion

A natural gas pipeline expansion in the region is the subject of a public comment meeting tonight in Danbury.  The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is holding the hearing about a draft Environmental Impact Statement of the project by Algonquin natural gas. 

 

The project would involve the construction and operation of about 37.6 miles of natural gas pipeline and associated equipment and facilities in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. The majority of the pipeline facilities, about 26.3 miles or 70 percent of the total 37.6 miles, would replace existing infrastructure.  Algonquin would also modify 6 existing compressor stations and 24 existing metering and regulating stations. 

 

 

Algonquin would replace a 26-inch-diameter mainline pipeline segment with 42-inch-diameter pipeline located in Putnam and Fairfield Counties. This 4.5 mile-long replacement segment would begin at the Southeast Compressor Station and extend into Danbury.  Algonquin would install the new 42-inch-diameter pipeline beneath Interstate 84, the Still River, a railroad line, and Mill Plain Road.  The replacement segment would end at Algonquin’s existing MLV- 19 site located east of Clapboard Ridge Road.

 

The Project would cross the Hudson River in New York and the Still River in Connecticut using the horizontal directional drill method.

 

 

Algonquin’s proposed construction work areas would be located within 50 feet of 337 residential structures and 95 non-residential structure. To address impacts on residences, Algonquin developed Residential Construction Plans to inform affected landowners of proposed measures to minimize disruption and to maintain access to the residences during construction.

 

Modifications to the six existing compressor stations include the installation of 81,620 total horsepower (hp) in New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Algonquin also proposes to abandon four existing compressor units for a total of 10,800 hp at one compressor station in New York. Algonquin would also modify three existing mainline valve (MLV) sites and five existing pig 1 launcher/receiver sites, construct five new launcher/receiver sites, construct new MLV cross over piping at two locations, and construct a new MLV. Mainline regulation facilities would also be added at the terminus of one of the pipeline segments in New York.

 

Tonight's meeting is at 6:30 at Danbury City Hall.

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Injured veterans take 355 mile bike 'Ride 2 Recovery'

A group of bicyclists had a police escort through Western Connecticut yesterday.

 

More than 150 injured veterans and their supporters set off Sunday on the UnitedHealthcare Ride 2 Recovery Minuteman Challenge, a six-day,  355-mile bicycle ride from Massachusetts to New York City.  There was a rest stop yesterday afternoon at the Sandy Hook Fire House.  Riders travelled through Bethel to City Center Danbury for their overnight stop at the Crowne Plaza hotel.  Riders will be taking off at 9am from the hotel headed into New York.  Riders will be taking Route 22 to 312 and eventually to Route 52 and then crossing the Newburgh Beacon Bridge.  The USO Canteen is travelling with the cyclists to provide lunch stops each day.

 

 

Highlights of the ride included a visit to Gillette Stadium on Sunday; a ceremony at the Rhode Island State House in Providence and an afternoon celebration in downtown Hartford on Monday; a stop at West Point on September 11th; and a visit to the 9-11 Memorial Museum on September 12th.

 

Ride 2 Recovery supports physical and psychological rehabilitation programs for injured veterans, featuring cycling as the core activity. From indoor spinning training at military installations to multiday, long-distance rides, Ride 2 Recovery helps injured veterans heal through the challenge of cycling long distances using hand cycles, recumbents, tandems and traditional road bikes.

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9/11 ceremonies mark 13th anniversary

A number of ceremonies are being held to mark the 13th anniversary of the September 11th attacks.  Among them is a program in Newtown on the Dodgingtown Road property of Howard Lasher, where an American Flag is painted across six maple trees.

 

The guest speakers at the ceremony tomorrow are Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, flag memorial artist David Merrill and West Conn political science professor Dr Chris Kukk. 

 

The ceremony is at 8:15 Thursday morning, includes a moment of silence, the playing of taps, a name reading and placing of roses among other tributes.  The local VFW Post will lead a rifle salute, the Dodgingtown Fire Department will perform a bell ringing and the Superintendent of Newtown Schools will also make some remarks.

 

Originally created to honor the loss of nine close business associates of Lasher from the American Stock Exchange, and the son of a member of the Exchange who worked at Cantor Fitzgerald.  The Memorial has, over the years, come to represent all who were lost on that infamous day.

 

Lasher says though they are gone, they are not forgotten, for the circumstances and date of their deaths has forever been etched into hearts and minds.

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Malloy visits WCSU to unveil college affordability proposals

The campaign trail took Governor Dannel Malloy to Western Connecticut State University in Danbury yesterday afternoon.  He talked about his proposal to make college more affordable at state institutions of higher learning. 

 

Malloy says he wants to increase the Governor's Scholarship Program by $10 million.  He has started to restructure the state's scholarship aid programs to target scholarship funds tothose who need it most on a consistent basis over four years of college, while reduing the support previously provided to wealthy private Connecticut colleges.

 

In addition, he is proposing allowing the Connecticut Higher Education Student Loan Authority to refinance students loans. 

 

Malloy also wants to introduce an offset on income tax returns for the interest payments on student loans, mirroring a federal program.  The proposal will be scaled based on affordability, as the federal program is.  Malloy says the cost of this would be about $20 million annually.

 

(Photo Courtesy: WCSU)

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Kent residents approve purchase of blighted property for town green

Kent residents have approved buying a vacant 1.6 acre lot in the center of town.  A $500,000 Small Town Economic Assistance Program grant from the state will be used to purchase the vacant lot that sits on Route 7, which was once a Chevrolet dealership.  The hand count of the vote was done on Thursday, and was overwhelmingly in favor of the proposal. 

 

First Selectman Bruce Adams says it's a blighted property and will greatly benefit the town once it's put to good use.  Kent is looking to build public restrooms, parking  and a village green. 

 

Adams says a green would be a great place to host events such as craft fairs or movie nights.  He says right now people people stop at the railroad tracks, turn around and go back because it looks like nothing if beyond that.

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Small plane that crash in Watertown left from Danbury

Emergency workers have responded to a small plane crash in Watertown.  Fire officials were on the scene Tuesday morning and said there are no injuries. The pilot was taken to a local hospital as a precaution.

The plane was heading from Danbury Municipal Airport to Waterbury Airport.  It hit the ground and came to rest in a stand of trees and brush.  The fixed-wing, single engine aircraft is registered to Daniel Kropas of Ridgefield.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection was at the scene to investigate a fuel spill.

Police and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating.

 

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter. @OnSceneFire)

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Meeting being held in Bethel about boiler replacement

There is a special town meeting being held in Bethel Wednesday night.

 

The Board of Selectmen is recommending that funding be approved to replace a Burnham boiler at the Municipal Center.  The Board of Finance has approved $64,880 for the replacement from the town's unreserved undesignated fund balance.  The boiler would be replaced with a cast-iron scotch marine boiler. 

 

With the upcoming heating season, Bethel officials say the existing boiler is insufficient to properly heat the facility due to an intermediate section failure.  Connecticut Combustion Corporation, which currently provides services to the town and the schools, will do the installation.  In order to save money and prevent disruption of service, the bidding process has been waived. 

 

Residents are being asked on Wednesday night to vote on the appropriation.  The Town Meeting is at 7:30pm in Meeting Room A of the Municipal Center.

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Siting Council moves forward with Ridgefield cell tower proposal

The Connecticut Siting Council has ruled on a 150-foot cell phone tower proposed for a property in Ridgefield.  Homeland Towers and New Cingular Wireless made the application for the intersection of Old Stagecoach Road and Aspen Ledges Road--overlooking Ledges Road. 

 

The Siting Council's draft report of the environmental compatibility and public need found that the town's emergency service agencies have documented gaps in communication networks in that part of Ridgefield, which impacts response time and creates difficult communications during emergencies.  The Draft Findings of Fact, Opinion, and Decision and Order, as amended, was approved. 

 

The report found that 21 residential properties would have year round views of at least a portion of the proposed tower.  Another 40 homes would have views of it at least part of the year.

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Man arrested in connection with Monroe woman's untimely death

A former Trumbull man has been arrested in connection with the death of a Monroe resident.  47-year old Thomas Fischer was charged for violating a protective order based on information police obtained while investigating the untimely death of Jennifer Sredzinski. 

 

Police spokesman Lt Brian McCauley previously said officers were called to the Hills of Monroe condo complex two weeks ago.  The 41-year old woman was found with a severe head injury. 

 

Fischer assaulted Sredzinski, his girlfriend in Virginia this year, but had been living with her at the condo complex.  Fischer is being held on $100,000 bond for a court appearance today.

 

Police say they continue to investigate Jennifer Sredzinski's death, and that all leads and information are being pursued.  The Medical Examiner's office has not yet released her cause of death. 

 

She is the ex-wife of Republican Town Council member JP Sredzinski, who is running for the 112th district state House seat.

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Technology upgrades coming to Danbury High School

A number of computer items are being purchased and leased for Danbury High School.  Last year there were major upgrades done at the middle school level.  Director of Finance Joe Martino says the purchases will replace student computer labs, teacher laptops and assign each department their own laptop cart. 

 

400 Chromebooks, 200 Macbooks, 140 Apple iMacs and 90 PC Desktops are being purchased.  LCD projectors, document cameras, tablet charging carts and Citrix monitors are also being purchased.  Citrix makes it so computers have one application on it, but access to a virtual desktop with everything running remotely.

 

The school district has been able to put aside more money in the technology reserve fund.  About a year and a half ago, Citrix was put in along with wireless infrastructure at the High School.  Martino called that the heart and lungs of the operations.  Now that that's been replaced, it's the hardware.

 

The middle schools have a core Apple environment, but they are migrating to PC and the Citrix system.

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Risk of injury case continued in court to October

A Brookfield woman has had her risk of injury charges case continued.  45-year old Emily Wild was arrested on the night of August 24th when police found her car, with the engine running, stopped in the middle of Signal Hill Road.  Officers saw her slumped over behind the wheel, with her three children the backseat.  Initially, officers couldn't wake the woman.  She failed field sobriety tests and was arrested for driving under the influence. 

 

She was taken to Danbury Hospital for treatment.  She was then released on a written promise to appear in court Monday.

 

The case was continued at Danbury Superior Court to October 6th.

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Bethel man arrested for drug sales, escaping police

A several month long investigation by Danbury police has resulted in the arrest of a Bethel man on drug related charges.  Officers saw 42 year old Juan Rodriguez drive to the back of a business parking lot on North Street Friday, and walk to another car parked there.  Police spokesman Lt Christian Carroccio says officers identified themselves and the man tried to run.

 

Rodriguez found with cocaine in his possession. 

 

After being handcuffed and awaiting transport to the police department, Rodriguez broke free from the officer's restrainment.  He fled on foot, but was captured a short time later trying to get into a stopped car in what appeared to be an effort to use the car as a get away.

 

He was taken to Danbury Hospital for treatment of minor injuries from resisting arrest.  A search of his Highview Terrace home in Bethel turned up more cocaine and thousands of dollars in cash.

 

Rodriguez was charged with:

Possession of Narcotics

Possession of Narcotics With Intent to Sell less than 1 ounce)

Possession of Narcotics Within 1500’ School

Possession of Narcotics With Intent to Sell Within 1500’ School/Housing

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Interference with a Search

Criminal Attempt To Escape from Custody

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Old Ridgebury Rd land sale approved by Danbury to Peter Buck

13 acres of city owned land off Old Ridgebury Road in Danbury has been approved for sale to Peter Buck.  An all cash, $32 million proposal was considered by the City Council on Wednesday.  Currently, the land is being used by youth soccer players.  Officials say the small building for warehouse storage of cars would be a low intensive use for the property.  Buck has proposed building an 18,000 to 20,000 square foot building, not visible from the street, with incidental parking.  It would not be open to the public. 

 

Most of the revenue from the sale would be put into the General Fund.  $750,000 would be set aside for recreational uses.

 

Councilman Ben Chianese asked if there would still be recreational opportunities on the land.  The plan calls for leaving open space free of development, but privacy is desired.  Buck's representative told the Council at an earlier meeting that the family would not want hikers and others walking through the property.

 

Councilman Paul Rotello says he would have liked to see Danbury hold on to the property for recreational use or in case future municipal use is needed.  He was one of three Councilmen to oppose the sale.  Councilmen Duane Perkins and Irv Fox also voted in the negative.

 

Mayor Mark Boughton says this is an opportunity to put a piece of property back on the tax rolls, help grow the grand list and mitigate any need for property tax increases.  He noted that other offers were heavy on contingencies and heavy on development.

 

There were no contingencies placed on the sale.  Boughton says the proposed use is less intensive so it doesn't require state approvals, just local approvals. 

 

The land was a donation from the WCI Group, who went into bankruptcy and their assets sold to Toll Brothers.  There have been several proposals in the past.  A proposal to build a minor league baseball park on the land went to referendum, but was rejected.  In 2012 there were two tries to have a mixed-use development built on the site.  The most recent was a proposal from the nearby Matrix Corporate Center.  They provided an approximately $35,000 non-refundable deposit, but decided to opt out of the sale.

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Proposed Charter revisions divided into questions for November ballot

The Brookfield Board of Selectmen has voted on Charter Revision questions to appear on the November ballot. 

 

At the Board of Selectmen meeting tonight, members are being asked to create an advisory committee.  The membership is the proposed as the current Charter Revision Commission.  They will be tasked with assisting the Board over the next few months when it comes to the vote on Charter revisions.  The committee will disband the day after the election. 

 

This is needed because the role of the Charter Revision Commission ends when their final report is turned in. 

 

The revisions will be broken into three questions on the November ballot.  One proposed Charter change is to have the budget separated into education and municipal votes along with advisory questions.  Another proposal is that the Town Meeting moderator be an elected position.  The last question would be about whether the remaining charter revisions be approved.

 

Among those revisions are removal of the Board of Education, Board of Finance and Planning Commission from the list of boards that can fill their own vacancies by a vote of current members.  The proposal removes Youth and Gurski Commissions from the list and increases the membership of the Library Board of Trustees from six to nine.  Another change would remove judge of probate, which is now a regional position.

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Two public hearings in Brookfield slated for Monday night

A public hearing is being held in Brookfield about adding tattoo parlors to its code of ordinances. 

 

An amendment to the code of ordinances dealing with salons and spas has been proposed to include tattoo parlors and businesses.  A locally issued license is required to open or operate personal care service businesses.  The Director of Health must also conduct annual inspections of the facilities. 

 

The ordinance change would be that a shop, salon or studio now include tattoo businesses involving the insertion of an indelible ink into the dermis of the skin, and businesses offering temporary tattooing of the face, eyelids and eyebrows.

 

The public hearing at Brookfield Town Hall is at 7pm.

 

The leaders of 10 Greater Danbury area towns are taking steps to merge their regional planning group with one representing lower Fairfield County towns.  A public hearing is being held tonight in Brookfield about merging the Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials and the South Western Regional Planning Agency into the Western Connecticut Council of Governments. 

 

The state recently passed an initiative calling for the 13 planning agencies in the state to merge into no more than 8.  The state is hoping for more regionalization efforts when it comes to a sharing of equipment and bulk purchasing power to bring the cost of government down.  Area leaders say the HVCEO region already does a lot of that. 

 

That hearing is scheduled for 7:15.

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Danbury to switch some parking lot lights to LEDs

An energy efficient lighting program by CL&P has been approved for 17 buildings in Danbury.  City Councilman Paul Rotello asked for clarity regarding the proposed payback schedule, and whether it accounts for the cost benefits of LEDs.  New England Energy Management said an analysis of what the city pays and what the city would pay based on the upgrades.  No increases in market pricing was taken into account.

 

CL&P, working with the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, will subsidize a portion of the project, with the balance of the cost being paid for by loans without interest through the Small Business Energy Advantage Program.  The LED lights have to meet specific criteria to qualify for the program.

 

The estimated monthly savings is little more than $1,500.  Public Buildings Superintendent Rick Palanzo says the loans without interest, costing $130 a month, will come from the individual building's utility accounts.

 

A NEEM representative told the Council there is more environmental impact now with the ballasts that have to be swapped out.

 

Palanzo says the color rendering was taken into account, so there wouldn't be a garish blue light, it would be closer to a warm light.  The light pattern would be cast in a downward pattern so there would not be light pollution.

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Large motorcycle event honoring 9/11 victims to ride through region

The annual CT United Ride will take place on Sunday.  More than 4,000 motorcyclists are expected to participate. The ride honors those who lost their lives on Septebmer 11th 2001.  CT United Ride is recognized as the largest 9/11 tribute in the state.  The ride travels through several Fairfield County towns.  Governor Dannel Malloy will speak at the opening ceremony at 10:30 am at the Norden Industrial Park in Norwalk.

 

Police are asking drivers to use alternative routes during the ride, partly because motorcyclists will not be stopping at traffic lights and signs.  Delays for drivers could be 20 to 30 minutes.

 

CT Untied Ride Parade Route:

  • Motorcade from Norden Park Norwalk to Route 136
  • To Route 33 through Westport
  • To Wilton Route 7
  • To Route 107 Georgetown
  • To Route 58 Reddnig
  • To Route 302 Bethel
  • To Newtown Route 25  through Monroe
  • To Main Street Trumbull
  • To Old Town Road
  • To Park Avenue in Fairfield
  • continuing into Bridgeport and straight down to Seaside Park with Bpt's Fire Rescue 5 leading the Motorcade.

 

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New Milford close to receiving energy efficiency grant

The Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund and other state programs have teamed up to encourage residents and municipalities to make energy efficiency improvements.  In exchange for having residents and businesses sign up, cities and towns receive grant funding to make similar improvements at municipal buildings. 

 

The New Milford Clean Energy Task Force is reporting that they are close to receiving a grant, needing just 10 more residents to participate.  Once that happens, a $10,000 energy efficiency grant will be awarded to the town. 

 

State officials say the average home in Connecticut saves $200 on energy costs each year after completing the Home Energy Solutions program service.

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Elections complaint against New Milford man dismissed

A complaint has been dismissed against a local candidate for the State House.  The complaint was filed by Republican Tom Morey against Gale Alexander who is the Democratic candidate for the 67th District in New Milford.  The complaint said that the Town Committee's nomination was not proper because it was filed at a Town Committee meeting and not a caucus. 

 

The State Elections Enforcement Commission recently dismissed the complaint saying that because the district is one municipality, it's considered a municipal office and candidates are selected by party rules so the SEEC doesn't have jurisdiction. 

 

The nomination was accepted by the Secretary of the State's office.

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Ridgefield man arrested for alleged theft from soccer club

A Ridgefield resident has been arrested for allegedly stealing nearly $200,000 from the Lewisboro Soccer Club.  A statement from the club, also known as the John Jay Futbol Club, says the organization uncovered financial irregularities in their bank account and reported the matter to the Westchester County District Attorney's office. 

 

The DA's investigation over nine months led to the arrest Thursday of David Loeffler, who held several positions on the board from 2008 through 2012.  He most recently served as treasurer.  The former South Salem resident has been charged with grand larceny and criminal tax fraud for the alleged theft of $198,000.  The club is seeking full restitution. 

 

Loeffler will be back in court on the 15th.

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Yale students studying Danbury FCI weigh in on renovations delay

The Liman Program at Yale Law School came out with a report this week about the transfer of inmates from Danbury Federal Correctional Institute as the facility underwent renovations.  Danbury FCI is being turned into a facility for male and female inmates, but the Bureau of Prisons says their 18 month schedule has been extended to 30 months.  Student Emma Kaufman says Danbury FCI offered a good deal and suffered from significant limitations.  Female prisoners were transferred to jails in Philadelphia and Brooklyn.

 

The Bureau Of Prisons told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the renovations could be done by repurposing or shifting money, and that it would involve less than $10 million.  Connecticut two U.S. Senators say they were also told by the Bureau of Prisons that no new appropriations would be needed to renovated the Danbury facility, so they don't know what the hold up is.

 

Student Anna Arons says when they visited Danbury FCI in November, prisoners reported that they were not being given clear information about the transfers.  One inmate reported that some 80 to 90 people were put on a bus to headed to Aliceville, but 15 were taken off the bus just before it left.  According to the interviews, non-citizens went to Alabama, prisoners from Washington DC went to a jail in West Virginia and some went to Philadelphia.

 

Judith Resnick of the Liman Program at Yale Law School says they saw prisoners throughout the course of the transfers.  In December, the Bureau started renovations to accommodate male inmates with improvements to living spaces, hallways and bathrooms.  At that time, the current inmates reported that their movements were restricted and at times there were lockdowns.  Resources and programming were also reduced.

 

The Northeast Region has 28 facilities for men.  Before 2014, the Northeast had only two facilities for women, Danbury FCI and its adjacent camp.

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DCF unveils plan to revamp mental health services

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut's Department of Children and Families is out with a draft plan to revamp how the state provides mental health services to children.

Lawmakers ordered the plan in 2013 as part of its response to the December 2012 massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School by Adam Lanza, a 20-year-old with a history of mental-health issues.

The agency and its nonprofit partner, the Child Health and Development Institute, have been holding forums across the state to get input from experts and families of children with mental health needs.

Suggestions in the plan include periodic standardized screening of children for mental health problems; better training of teachers and doctors to identify issues; and an expansion of services.

 

The report suggests pooling the existing state financial resources for children's mental health services, estimated at between $200 and $300 million, which are now spread across numerous agencies and programs. It suggests that money be reallocated in a more flexible way, giving families more choice in how it is spent and providing more money to community-based services.

 

The idea, said Jeffrey Vanderploeg, the institutes' vice president for mental health initiatives is to create a system that is "less fragmented, that's more accessible to children and families, that's more responsive to their needs and that ultimately results in more kids experiencing better outcomes over the long term."

 

DCF Commissioner Joette Katz said the report also recommends breaking down the confidentiality barriers that currently prevent doctors and teachers from sharing information about children with mental-health problems.

 

"The whole point of this is to make it easier for families to get care for their children before situations erupt, before they become emergencies," she said. "And part of that means to make things as normative as you can."

 

The plans authors said they don't know whether their recommendations can be implemented without additional state spending, and part of the plan is to conduct a comprehensive fiscal analysis to make that determination.

 

The report emphasizes early detection and screening to connect children with appropriate services, but falls short of recommending that testing be mandated either in schools or by pediatricians.

 

The report also suggests forming a Children's Behavioral Health Implementation Team that would come up with a standard set of behavioral health goals and track and regularly report on whether those goals are being met. That, officials said, would help them to determine what programs are working and which ones are not.

 

A final plan will be presented to the legislature in October. It is supposed to be fully implemented within five years.

 

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Siting Council meets about proposed Ridgefield cell tower

The Connecticut Siting Council has held a final meeting on a 150-foot cell phone tower proposed for a property in Ridgefield.  Homeland Towers and New Cingular Wireless made the application for the land at the intersection of Old Stagecoach Road and Aspen Ledges Road, overlooking Ledges Road. 

 

The Siting Council's draft report of the environmental compatibility and public need found that the town's emergency service agencies have documented gaps in communication networks in that part of Ridgefield, which impacts response time and creates difficult communication during emergencies. 

 

The report found that 21 residential properties would have year round views of at least a portion of the proposed tower.  Another 40 homes would have views of it at least part of the year.

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Ribbon cut at WCSU Visual and Performing Arts Center

The ribbon has been cut at the new Visual and Performing Arts Center at Western Connecticut State University.  The $97 million, two year construction project came in a little under budget.

 

(Photo courtesy: WCSU)

 

University Spokesman Paul Steinmetz says all of the music and arts students are now on the west side campus.  The old classroom space on the midtown campus will be renovated.  Ives Concert Hall will remain as a lecture space, and a place for speakers who will be a big draw for the community.

 

(Photo courtesy: WCSU)

 

The new building has a Studio theatre--featuring flexible seating for up to 125 audience members, a Main stage theatre--featuring seating for an audience of up to 350 with an orchestra pit to accommodate up to 30 musicians, a Concert hall with "seating in the round" on three levels for an audience of up to 350 and an art gallery. 

 

Among other features of the new building are 28 practice rooms--acoustically treated and isolated, 18 distinctive art studios for MFA students and fully outfitted scene and costume shops.  There are also art studios for drawing, graphic design, painting, photography and sculpture; theatre rehearsal studios; and dressing rooms for chorus and guest artists.

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Manhunt in NY prompts lockdown on first day of school

A man who caused a lockdown at some Mahopac schools on the first day of classes has been captured.  A manhunt that began shortly after 8:30 Thursday morning when officers, who were aware that 25-year old Xhem aka “Jim” Hoti was wanted in New Jersey for alleged grand larceny, saw him driving in Mahopac Falls.  The officers attempted to pull him over. 

 

The suspect tried to flee, but veered off the road, struck a fire hydrant and went down embankment.  Hoti then fled on foot into a wooded area.  The middle and high schools were put on lockdown, and an automated call went to area residents advising them to lock their homes and vehicles. 

 

Police bloodhounds and a helicopter were called in to search the area. 

 

A  Mahopac Falls resident called police reporting that a man fitting Hoti's description was knocking on his door.  Contact was made with Hoti via his cell phone.  The suspect emerged from the woods along Route 6N and taken into custody without further incident around 10:15am.

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House candidate saw Rowland as a 'toxic' presence

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) A Republican candidate for Congress has testified that he ruled out hiring former Gov. John G. Rowland for his 2010 campaign because the former governor's $35,000-a-month fee was outrageous.

Mark Greenberg testified Thursday, the second day of Rowland's trial on federal corruption charges that Rowland's previous felony conviction tainted his expertise.

Greenberg said Rowland proposed to be paid for providing business and charitable advice. Sam Fisher, a political consultant for Greenberg in 2010, testified that Rowland wanted to be paid through Greenberg's nonprofit animal shelter.

Rowland is accused of accepting consulting fees from Lisa Wilson-Foley's 2012 congressional campaign disguised as payments from a nursing home chain. Foley and her husband Brian Foley pleaded guilty in March to conspiring to make illegal campaign contributions.

The ex-governor has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy, falsifying records and other charges.

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Wilton superintendent clarifies comments about former aid accused of child porn possession

Wilton's Superintendent of Schools has written a letter to parents to clarify earlier statements about the former employee arrested recently on child pornography charges.  33-year old Eric Von Kohorn worked as a paraprofessional at the Miller Driscoll School and resigned in June amid a police investigation.  120 video files of child pornography were found on his laptop.  An attorney for a Wilton family says their child was inappropriately touched by Von Kohorn while helping the child in the bathroom last January. 

 

Superintendent Kevin Smith, who is new to the district, says in his letter that he relied on information in a summary report of the district's investigation into the original allegations.  He says there was a second report sent to the Department of Children and Families, that detailed Von Kohorn walking a child to the bathroom without other staff members present. 

 

Smith says he can't comment on the specifics because of the active investigation, but that the DCF report did contain information not in the initial report and the district's investigation report.

 

Von Kohorn was arraigned Wednesday, and had his case continued by two weeks.  He is free on bond.

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US gives $3.1 million for Newtown school recovery

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The U.S. Department of Education has announced it's awarding another $3.1 million to Newtown schools to help students and staff in their continuing recovery from the December 2012 shooting deaths of 20 children and six educators.

Newtown Schools Superintendent Joseph V. Erardi Jr. said on a conference call Wednesday that the money will allow the schools to hire more school counselors and social workers. The $3.1 million is for programs operating in this school year and for 2015-16.

Rep. Elizabeth Esty, whose district includes Newtown, said $16.5 million in total has been received from the departments of Education and Justice.

Erardi said that despite the passage of time, Newtown's students, staff and parents still require recovery and support. He said he believes the town and the schools are at the beginning of recovery.

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Delays in renovations at Danbury FCI

The Bureau of Prisons is being called on to explain delays in planned renovations to the Danbury Federal Correctional Institution.  Connecticut's two U.S. Senators and nine of their colleagues from the northeast have written with concerns over a revised 30-month timeline to renovate Danbury FCI. 

 

In the summer of 2013, the BOP announced plans to transfer out more than one thousand female inmates from Danbury; many were to be sent to a new facility in Aliceville, Alabama.  The BOP announced in November 2013 that it had reconsidered its decision.  It committed to constructing a new facility for women in Danbury.

 

"Orange is the New Black" author Piper Kerman, who spent most of her sentence at Danbury, says women have been transferred to facilities that were not designed to house them on a long-term basis.  She spent 11 months of her 13 month sentenced in Danbury, with the rest in a federal prison in Chicago.  Kerman says a lack of legal resources and rehabilitation programs are just two of the many problems reported by women who were moved away from their families.

 

Kerman says access essential programming, such as a Residential Drug Abuse Program, has been proven to reduce recidivism and enhance public safety.

 

Faculty and law students in the Arthur Liman Program at Yale Law School were asked to research and draft a report about the harm that the transition imposes on women.   The report about the consequences of extensive delays in the renovations was released Wednesday.  The change to a mostly male facility, which were originally scheduled to take 18 months, are not yet underway.  It's now estimated to take 30 months. 

 

The minimum-security “camp” at Danbury continues to house approximately 200 women, above its rated capacity of 146, according to the Liman report.

 

In addition to Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, the letter is signed by U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernard Sanders (D-Vt.), Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-Penn.), and Angus King (D-Maine).

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Testimony: Rowland wanted payment outside campaign

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) A congressional candidate has testified that a former Connecticut governor wanted to become a consultant to his 2010 campaign but be paid as though he was working for the candidate's animal rescue organization.

Mark Greenberg says he turned down the deal.

Greenberg was the first witness Wednesday in John Rowland's federal trial. The former Republican governor is charged with seven federal counts, including obstruction of justice and conspiracy to violate election laws.

During opening statements Wednesday, Rowland attorney Reid Weingarten said Rowland never worked for Greenberg, and did legitimate work for a nursing home chain owned by the husband of another candidate, Lisa Wilson-Foley in 2012 while volunteering for her campaign.

Prosecutors say they will prove Rowland offered an improper deal to Greenberg and hid his political work for Wilson-Foley.

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Arts magnet school renamed for Newtown victim

AVON, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut elementary school arts academy is being renamed to honor a 6-year-old girl killed in the Newtown school shooting.

The state Capitol Region Education Council announced Tuesday its Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts elementary school will become the Ana Grace Academy of the Arts.

Ana Grace Marquez-Greene was one of 20 first-graders and six adults killed in December 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Her parents, Nelba Marquez-Greene and jazz saxophonist Jimmy Greene, are alumni and former teachers of the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts.

Ana's name will appear on the elementary school's temporary Avon location, with a formal naming ceremony planned later at its permanent facility. Its curriculum will include the ``Love Wins'' campaign Ana Grace's family created to promote love, connection and community for children and families.

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93-year old drives into Arthur Murray Studio building in Danbury on way to dance class

A 93-year-old New Fairfield woman on her way to her  ballroom dance class in Danbury jumped the curb with her car and slammed into the brick exterior wall of the studio before throwing the car into reverse and crashing it into the building a second time.

The driver, Thelma Ferrari, told an eyewitness last night that she was not in pain moments after the bizarre crash at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio, at 345 Main St.

The accident happened in the parking lot next to the rear entrance of the dance studio shortly after 7 p.m.

The back end of her car struck a van as her car continued to circle backwards until it smashed into a recess in the building filled with garbage containers.

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Hot humid weather makes fighting Newtown fire difficult

A heavy residential fire damaged two floors of a Newtown home and had firefighters struggling in the heat.

All five volunteer fire companies in Newtown responded to a heavy smoke call at 40 Alpine Circle last night . When the fire department arrived there were heavy flames in the basement and first floor of the home.

Sandy Hook Fire Chief  William Halstead says firefighters quicly attacked the fire but the severe heat and humidity of the fire took a toll on crews.

Because the fire was so hot a lot of man power was needed so firefighters could switch out and be looked at by EMS..

The home can be repaired  with damage to the basement and first floor. The rooms on the second floor have mostly heat and smoke damage.

Halstead will be investigating the cause of the fire for the next few days.

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Police: men assault officers then flee, cocaine found during speed stop

Danbury police say two people have been taken into custody after a short foot chase and an assault on an officer.  Police say two men fled into a garage on Lake Avenue shortly before 11am Tuesday, where they were cornered by officers.  The men have been identified as 24-year old Ive James and 25-year old Anthony James, both of Danbury.  They were both charged with criminal trespass, assault on a police officer and interfering with police.  Each are being held on $25,000 bond.  The younger James was also being held on $10,000 bond for a probation violation. 

 

A speed enforcement operation in Danbury over the weekend netted more than just a fast driving arrest.  Danbury police were on Balmforth Avenue Sunday as part of a Speed Enforcement Grant operation.  One driver who was stopped and checked, was operating with a suspended license.  21-year old Rafeal Souza of Danbury then had his car search.  Police found several packets of cocaine in the vehicle.  He was charged for driving with a suspended license, possession of narcotics and of drug paraphernalia and also possession of narcotics and of drug paraphernalia within 1,500 feet of a school.  He was held on $5,000 bond. 

 

A Danbury man has been arrested on a number of charges for refusing to leave his former place of employment.  Police say Whole Foods Market on Backus Avenue called Friday saying the man, 30-year old Oliver Sathoud, was acting bizarre after showing up to work even though he had been cut from a training program.  The man led officers on a chase to the Danbury Fair Mall parking lot and was stopped while trying to enter the mall.  He was charged with assaulting an officer, breach of peace, criminal trespassing, and interfering with the duties of a police officer.  He was held on $10,000 bond.

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Report: Conn. police get free military equipment

A group of Connecticut newspapers reports that nearly two dozen police departments in southwestern Connecticut have an inventory of M-16 assault rifles, utility trucks, Commando armored cars, a mine-resistant vehicle, an armored truck and a Huey helicopter.

The Hearst Connecticut Media Group reports that an open records request shows 19 police departments in southwestern Connecticut have received free surplus military equipment from the Department of Defense since 2006. That's more than half the 35 departments in the region.

The Defense Department's Law Enforcement Support Office has come under scrutiny after the militarized police response to violent protests in Ferguson, Missouri.

Local police say it's good news that there hasn't been a need to use the $923,000 helicopter for Stratford police, $658,000 anti-mine truck for Trumbull police and other equipment.

 

BROOKFIELD POLICE DEPT received two M14 rifles, 31 M16 rifles, 50 magazine (cartidges), 6 spectacle kit and 1 commercial armored vehicle from 2009 through 2013

 

DANBURY POLICE DEPT received 40 M16 rifles, three M14 rifles in 2006 and 2007

 

RIDGEFIELD POLICE DEPT received elbow and knee pads, eight M16 rifles, a receiver (cartridge), a spectacle kit, and two utility trucks from 2011 through 2013

 

REDDING POLICE DEPT received one utility truck in 2012

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Newtown fire departments receive FEMA grants for equipment

Two fire departments in Newtown will be receiving federal grant money.  The Hawleyville Fire Department is set to receive $37,487 from FEMA for breathing apparatuses.  Chief John Basso says they set out five years ago to upgrade air packs, and this grant brings them closer to upgrading all of the Company's equipment.  He says all first due apparatus in Hawleyville will use these units to the benefit of the firefighters themselves and the public they serve. 

 

Botsford Fire & Rescue will use a $99,988 Assistance to Firefighters grant for portable radios.  Chief Wayne Ciaccia says the radios are needed for daily operations and surrounding mutual aid calls. 

 

The Hawleyville Volunteer Fire Department and Botsford Fire & Rescue have been serving the Newtown community since 1925 and 1949 respectively.  Since 2001, the Assistance to Firefighter Grant has helped firefighters and other first responders to obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards.

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More than a dozen arrested in underage alcohol sales compliance checks

13 people across Putnam County have been charged for allegedly selling alcohol to underage patrons. 

 

The Putnam County Sheriff's Office reports that the arrests were part of compliance checks conducted in recent weeks.  The Putnam County Communities that Care Coalition funded the operation by undercover deputies in the Narcotics Enforcement Unit.  70 unannounced inspections were made at establishments licensed to sell alcohol for off premise consumption. 

 

During these checks, an underage person acting under the direct supervision of a law enforcement officer attempted to purchase an alcoholic beverage without presenting proof of age.  Those selling a beverage to the patron would then receive an arrest summons upon completing the transaction.

 

Each of the 13 people arrested was charged for unlawfully dealing with a child, which carried a penalty of up to a year in jail and or a $1,000 fine.  The New York State Liquor Authority may also take action in the cases ranging from possible suspension or revocation of the liquor license. 

 

Brewster:

  • Albert Valiaparambil – 50 years-old – employed at J&P Retail

 

Southeast:

  • Xiao Lin – 27 years-old – employed at New Tuscany Wines & Spirits

 

Carmel:

  • Lolita Morales – 62 years-old – employed at Putnam Wine & Spirits
  • Walter Ramos-Perez – 25 years-old – employed at Putnam Wine & Liquors
  • Amy Plassman – 26 years-old – employed at Sterling Wines & Liquors
  • Sheila Ritchie – 34 years-old – employed at Messim Auto Service
  • Tina Silva – 21 years-old – employed at CVS Pharmacy
  • James Donofrio – 59 years-old – employed at Grapevine Wines

 

Patterson:

  • Thomas Cairney – 62 years-old – employed at Scotty’s Wine & Liquors
  • Deborah Schmeltz – 42 years-old – employed at State Line Food & Beverages

 

Putnam Valley:

  • Sing-Wai Cheung – 62 years-old – employed at Osca Deli & Gas
  • Philip Santiago – 49 years-old – employed at Lakeside Deli

 

Phillipstown:

  • Nelly Castro – 23 years-old – employed at Gulfmart

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Conn. officers, suspect identified in shooting and chase

State police have identified the suspect and officers involved in the shooting and chase that went from Southbury to Woodbury over the weekend.  State police say the car theft suspect who wounded himself with a knife after being shot at by a trooper and Woodbury officer during a chase has been identified as 31-year old Tyler Santoro of Southbury. 

 

A domestic dispute was called in on Saturday, but the man fled before troopers arrived in an SUV taken from a neighbor's home that contained a handgun. 

 

A trooper on patrol Sunday spotted the vehicle in Woodbury.  Trooper Tyler Spence and Woodbury officer Tim Wright fired at Santoro when he refused to drop a weapon after trying to ram police cruisers.  Police say the trooper used a stun gun on Santoro as he was injuring his neck with a knife.  The Trooper and officer forcibly removed the suspect from the stolen vehicle. 

 

Authorities say the man suffered a non-life threatening wound and will be charged after he's released from Waterbury Hospital.

 

Trooper Spence and Officer Wright sustained minor injury from the accident scene and were transported to St. Mary's Hospital where they were both treated and released.

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Former New Milford man sentenced for fleeing from fatal accident

A former New Milford man has been sentenced for a fatal hit and run accident.  28-year old Ryan Cable was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison, suspended after four years, and also to three years probation. 

 

He pleaded guilty in June to manslaughter and evading responsibility charges that stemmed from the April 2013 accident in which 65-year old Jane Ryan of Ridgefield was killed. 

 

Surveillance video from a gas station on Route 7 showed a witness confronting Cable about the accident that happened moments before.  The cameras taped Cable entering the station's bathroom and leaving through another exit. 

 

Cable was arrested in Rhode Island, where he was then living, and was extradited to Connecticut.

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Last day to pay tax bills in Bethel without penalty

The last day to pay the First Real Estate payment on the 2013 Grand List without penalty is today.  Tax Collector Ann Scacco says the penalty for paying after September 2, will be charged at 1 ½% per month from the due date or a $2.00 minimum charge, whichever is greater plus any additional collection costs.  Mailed payments must be postmarked no later than September 2.
 
The Personal Property and Motor Vehicle tax is due in full by today as well.  Interest will be charged at 1 ½% per month from the due date or a $2.00 minimum, whichever is greater  plus any additional collection costs.  Delinquent Motor Vehicle taxes must be paid in cash, official bank check or money order, if registering a vehicle.
 
Taxpayers can pay by check or credit card online at www.bethel-ct.gov.  Credit card payments will not be accepted in the Tax Office. The Tax Collector’s Office, located in The Clifford J. Hurgin Municipal Center, 1 School Street, is open Monday-Friday from 8:30am-4:30pm.

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Bethel Engineer, Public Works Director resigns

Bethel's longtime Town Engineer and Director of Public Works has resigned.  Andrew Morosky will be pursuing other opportunities.  He's had a 10 year career in Bethel.  First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says the town wishes him well in his future endeavors. 

 

Bethel will be separating the two positions, similar to how it's done in other towns.  Knickerbocker says in the past it made sense to have the two jobs combined into one, but Bethel is growing and more development is happening here.  He says the responsibilities of the engineer have increased to the point where another person has to come on board.

 

The description of the Town Engineer is that the person will be responsible for the inspection, design, construction and improvement of public works projects and facilities.  The Public Works Director will perform administrative work planning, organizing and directing the engineering, water and sewer departments, the highway department, building maintenance and transfer station, and related operations.

 

Knickerbocker addressed rumors that Morosky resign because of the drawn out Walnut Hill Road bridge replacement.  He says it has nothing whatsoever to do with that.  His office had no direct involvement with managing that project, it was a state-run project. 

 

Knickerbocker says an outside engineering firm was responsible for managing the project as well. 

 

He says there were no errors with the project, just what engineers called bad luck.  The bedrock that the bridge was supposed to be anchored to was not in the position where it was thought to be.

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Nominations sought for 3rd annual Warrior Award

Nominations are being sought for the 3rd annual Warrior Award.  It will be presented to a local veteran at the 2014 Walk of Honor in Danbury October 19th.  Event organizer Mary Teicholz says it's been an honor the past two years to have so many people share their veterans' stories with the committee.  People who previously sent in nominations can re-submit.

 

Teicholz says the committee is blessed to have so many incredibly brave veterans in our community.  She created this award because it's important to take the time to say "thank you".  She adds there are many heroes walking among us every day, we might not realize who they are, but know they have given of themselves.  She calls this recognition a small token of gratitude.

 

Nominees must have served in a combat zone and exemplify the values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage.  The nominations should be approximately five hundred words and should include the nominee’s name, military rank, medals awarded and as many details as possible about their service.

 

The name and contact information of the person submitting the nomination must also be included.

 

The deadline for all nominations is September 22, 2014.  Nominations can be emailed to mteicholz@yahoo.com, or visit www.walkofhonor.us for additional information.

 

The first recipient was a Vietnam veteran who earned the Bronze Star with Valor, Navy Achievement Medal with Valor and three Purple Heart Medals. Danny Mack Welch served 6 combat tours in Vietnam.  He served from 1968-1970, and was additionally awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnamese Campaign Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with 6*’s, He fought in multiple combat operations including Operation Persuit, Tampa, Worth, Ballard Valley, Mameluke Thrust and Allan Brook.  Welch was nominated by Operation Vet Fit co-founder Dan Gaita. 

 

Bethel native Todd Angell was the second recipient.  He received one of the nation’s highest military awards for valor, the Silver Star, for his heroism in Afghanistan as a corpsman with Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division.  Angell was active in NJROTC, finishing out his senior year as Commander of Cadets.  Immediately after high school, he joined the US Navy and was accepted into Corpsman School. Todd volunteered to become a Combat Medic, so he could attach to a marine unit knowing full well that would mean deployment to Afghanistan.  He was nominated by his mother.

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Newtown Labor Day Parade prompts road closures, parking bans

The 53rd Newtown Labor Day Parade will step off at 10 am on Monday, September 1. The parade forms on Main Street, near its intersection with Currituck Road. The parade proceeds southward on Main Street, turns left onto eastbound Glover Avenue, and then turns left onto northbound Queen Street.  All roads leading to the center of town be closed to traffic from approximately 9:40 am to approximately 1:15 pm.

 

Police have announced the following roadblocks leading to the town center:

 

-Mt Pleasant Road at its intersection with Reservoir Road;

 

-Academy Lane, Currituck Road, Hanover Road, Schoolhouse Hill Road, and West Street, all at their intersections with Main Street;

 

-Church Hill Road at The Boulevard;

 

-Sugar Street at Elm Drive;

 

-Queen Street at Elizabeth Street;

 

-South Main Street at Elizabeth Street; and

 

-South Main Street at Mile Hill Road.

 

Traffic traveling northward on South Main Street (Route 25) will be detoured onto Mile Hill Road and Wasserman Way.

 

A number of temporary No Parking zones will be posted with signs and will be considered tow-away zones during the parade.

 

The no-parking zones are: The Boulevard, between Church Hill Road and Schoolhouse Hill Road; Schoolhouse Hill Road, between The Boulevard and Main Street; Hanover Road, between Main Street and Hall Lane; and Elm Drive, between Sugar Street and Hawley Road.  Parking will be banned on one side of Meadow Road and also on one side of Elizabeth Street

 

For spectators and Participants, parking is available at: Big Y, Caraluzzi's, Hawley School, and St. Rose.  There is no parking on Private or Town Property without written permission.  Shuttle bus service will be provided.

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Danbury works with parents to resolve school bus concerns

There are always new parents in a school district, whether they are the guardian of a kindergartener or have recently moved into town.  Danbury Superintendent of Schools Dr Sal Pascarella is reminding all parents there is a system in place if they are dissatisfied with something.

 

If there are bus stops that need to be looked at for safety, school staff and the bus company will go out ant look at them.  Pascarella says they do have a person in the office dedicated to working with the bus company.  He adds that they do have regular meetings with the bus company.

 

On the first day of school last week a number of parents were concerned with the bus route taking about an hour, one way.

 

Pascarella says he's heard of some parents upset that kids are the first ones picked up and have to sit through the whole bus run, but sometimes you can't make adjustments.  He notes that what's reasonable for one set of parents might not be reasonable for others.

 

He says in some cases the parents will appeal to the board.

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