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Local Headlines Archives for 2015-01

HAZMAT situation cleared at Danbury Hospital parking garage

A Hazmat situation closed the Danbury Hospital Parking Garage for a time Friday afternoon and evening.  Danbury Fire fighters and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection responded around 4pm to the hospital.  The initial reports were that there was an irritating chemical in the area.  Fire officials believe some sort of pepper spray was discharged, and the hazmat response was a precaution.  The hospital was not effected.  There were no reported injuries.

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26 victims or 27? Newtown panel considers role of Lanza mom

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- A Connecticut panel developing a report on the Newtown massacre debated Friday whether the victims counted in the dedication should include the shooter's mother, a woman who has been faulted for contributing to the tragedy by fostering his fascination with guns as he grew increasingly socially isolated.

 

The gunman, Adam Lanza, began his rampage on Dec. 14, 2012, by killing Nancy Lanza inside their Newtown home before gunning down 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School and then killing himself.

 

A draft of the dedication for the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission's report references 26 victims, but commissioner Harold Schwartz asked at a hearing Friday why Nancy Lanza should not also be considered a victim. He suggested mentioning her name at least in a footnote.

 

"I'm not certain it is morally right to not acknowledge her as a victim," said Schwartz, a psychiatry professor at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine.

 

The role of Nancy Lanza, who often took her son to shooting ranges and purchased the rifle he would use the school massacre, has been a vexing question in Newtown. While friends have said she did her best raising a troubled son, a report by the state's Office of the Child Advocate concluded she contributed to his isolation as she kept him at home where he was surrounded by an arsenal of firearms and spent long hours playing violent video games.

 

The commission chairman, Scott Jackson, said it is impossible to know how much responsibility Nancy Lanza bears.

 

"I think that's why number 27 is always so difficult, because there's so much we don't know," said Jackson, the mayor of Hamden.

 

The advisory commission, created by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in the wake of the shooting, plans to issue its report soon with dozens of policy recommendations in areas including law enforcement and emergency response, school design and mental health and wellness.

 

Several commission members said they had no objection to leaving the dedication intact for the 26 people killed at the school. Commissioner Adrienne Bentman asked how other victims' families might feel about seeing Nancy Lanza's name on the same page with those of their loved ones.

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Ridgefield attorney sentenced for tax fraud

A Ridgefield attorney has been sentenced to 6 months in prison for filing false tax returns.  55-year old Timothy Griffin must also serve one year supervised release and pay a $1,000 fine to the U.S. Treasury as restitution.  The IRS says Griffin didn't file income tax returns for 2002, 2003 and 2004. 

 

He then prepared a false return for two of the years.  Griffin was also ordered to pay more than $153,000 in restitution for the taxes due on income he didn't report. 

 

Griffin has two pending cases in New York state.  One over his alleged embezzlement of nearly $2-million from the United Hebrew Cemetery and the other for his alleged embezzlement of $750,000 from seven clients.

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Redding, Ridgefield police investigating threatening letters

A new scam is being warned about by Redding Police.  Chief Douglas Fuchs says a Redding resident this week received a typed letter in the mail demanding payment in exchange for the safety of the family.  The letter said if the payment was not made via Bitcoin transaction, the resident and their family would be killed.  The letter also threatened to carry out the violence if the resident went to police. 

 

Ridgefield Police say the envelopes are postmarked from different locations in the United States. 

 

Bitcoins are a currency purchased online and stored in a so-called wallet, with the names of the buyers and sellers not revealed.  Police are attempting to identify the owner of the “wallet”.  The Redding Police Department is currently attempting to identify the owner of the so-called Bitcoin “wallet”. 

 

Ridgefield police said in an emailed statement that personal data can easily be obtained through various internet searches.  Police believe the letters are a scam, but the incidents are being thoroughly investigated.

 

Anyone receiving similar threats is asked to contact Redding police at 203-938-3400.

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Connecticut legislature approves NRA-opposed judge nominee

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The Connecticut House and Senate have voted overwhelmingly to confirm a state judge nominee who was opposed by the National Rifle Association and other groups because she supported a gun control bill approved in the wake of the Newtown school shooting.

The House voted 125-18 and the Senate voted 30-4 Friday in favor of attorney Auden Grogins, a Democratic former state representative from Bridgeport. Grogins will serve as a Superior Court judge.

The NRA asked members earlier this month to urge lawmakers to reject Grogins' nomination because she co-sponsored stricter gun control legislation that passed in 2013 in response to the killings of 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012.

Gun control supporters asked their backers to urge lawmakers to approve Grogins' nomination.

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Lawmakers issue congratulations recognizing Hospice's opening

Regional Hospice and Home Care cut the ribbon this week on their new facility in Danbury.  State Senator Mike McLachlan read an official citation from the General Assembly, introduced by the Danbury delegation, congratulating the Center for Comfort Care and Healing in recognition of the opening.

 

Regional Hospice has been serving the area since 1983 with bereavement support and end of life care.  The organization served 500 patients and their loved ones in 2014.  1,200 people took part of their free bereavement programs last year.

 

Former Brookfield State Representative David Scribner, who also served on the Board of Directors for Regional Hospice said it was a long road to this opening.  The construction of the Center was funded entirely by donations and grants to cover the approximately $12 million cost.  They expect patients will come to the new hospice center from a 50-mile radius surrounding Danbury. 

 

Mayor Mark Boughton says the staff do more than just a job, they get up every day with a smile and make people comfortable.  He called them angels of mercy who people face at the worst moments of their lives--whether it's with a dying loved one or as a patient.  Danbury is providing free sewer service to the facility.  A cost of about 5-thousand dollars a year that the Center will not have to budget for.

 

 

The all-private suite facility has a palliative-care trained medical director, physicians and APRN’s are available 24/7.  The Center for Comfort Care and Healing will also house the Healing Hearts Center for Grief & Loss, a program of Regional Hospice that provides grief support services to the community at no charge, bringing all of Regional Hospice’s programs and services under one roof for the first time.

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5 clerks fail Putnam County liquor compliance checks

Liquor sale compliance checks in Putnam County have landed five clerks under arrest.  22 stores in Putnam County were checked by a 19-year old volunteer working with New York State Police and the state Liquor Authority.  The compliance operation was carried out last Thursday.  Five clerks sold beer to the volunteer. 

 

They were then arrested and charged with prohibited sale of alcohol and unlawfully dealing with a child.  The clerks were all issued tickets to appear in court at a later date.  The establishments face possible civil penalties from the State Liquor Authority. 

 

New York State Police routinely conduct underage drinking enforcement operations to curb alcohol abuse and DWI incidents among teens. 

 

The following persons charged during the operation:
 
Mayra Venegas-Roque, 33, of Brewster, employed at Mobil Gas Station, 978 Route 22, Brewster.
 
Gregorio Galindo-Baizan, 37, of Brewster, employed at La Guadalupana Deli, 70 Main Street, Brewster.

Sambhu P. Gurung, 38, of Carmel, employed at BP Gas Station, 89 Gleneida Avenue, Carmel.
 
Jospeh Padamadan, 51, of Carmel, employed at Shell Gas Station, 966 Route 6, Mahopac.

Ishfaq Ahmed, 54, of Bronx, employed at Gulf Gas Station, 634 Route 6, Mahopac.

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Mixed reviews this week for Metro North from local lawmaker

Metro-North is winning praise for its performance during the winter storm.  Wilton state Senator Toni Boucher says she'd give the commuter railroad an `A.'  But her praise of the railroad was short lived. 

 

Metro-North has faced strong criticism in the recent past after two derailments, one of which was fatal, and the death of a track worker in Connecticut.  There was another small derailment last night at Grand Central Terminal. 

 

Boucher says passengers shouldn't have to worry about their safety every time they board the train.  She says it did not end in tragedy, but it very well could have.

 

U-S Senator Richard Blumenthal  says he appreciates that the Federal Railroad Adminsitration has begun an investigation into the incident.

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NY man violates protective order, steals woman's license plates

A Mahopac man has been arrested for violating a protective order.  The Putnam County Sheriff's office reported today that that a woman walked into their headquarters earlier this month to report that she has an order of protection against 45-year old Julio Vasquez, but he came to her house. 

 

She told Deputies that Vasquez removed license plates from her car.  Police called the Mahopac man and he agreed to turn himself in. 

 

Vasquez has been charged with criminal contempt, petit larceny and criminal tampering.  He was arraigned a released for a future court appearance on the misdemeanor charges.  A new temporary order of protection was issued for the victim.

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DWI for Conn. man in one car crash

A Connecticut man has been arrested for drunk driving following a one car crash in Putnam County.  New York State Police say troopers were called to Interstate 84 in Southeast on Monday where there was a oner-car crash with injuries.  Troopers determined that 32-year old Jack Wessells of Bridgeport was intoxicated.  The Brewster Fire Department and EMS also responded to the scene to transport Wessells to Danbury Hospital for evaluation.  He was issued traffic tickets and ordered to appear in Southeast Town Court on February 12th.

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Fire in Bridgewater barn quickly extinguished

A fire in a Bridgewater barn has been extinguished.  The fire was reported around 12:30 this afternoon on Town Line Road.  The property is owned by the Bridgewater Land Trust and farmed by former First Selectman Bill Stuart.  Mutual aid was provided by Roxbury, New Milford and Brookfield.  A tractor inside the barn has been deemed a total loss.  The barn was reportedly salvaged.

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Slushy road blamed for overturned truck accident

Slushy roads from this week's snow storm is being blamed for an accident Wednesday morning that closed I-84 westbound for more than 6 hours.  State Police say 33-year old Vincent Fragola of Newtown was driving in the left center lane of the highway by exit 3 when he traveled across the split, spun clockwise several times and was hit by a box truck travelling in the right center lane just behind him. 

 

The truck driver, 55-year old David Shuda of Wallingford, tried to swerve to avoid the car, but spun and overturned in the left lane.  Shuda and his passenger, Rober Shuda of Milford, were both transported to Danbury Hospital for treatment of minor injuries. 

 

(Photo: Local 801 IAFF, Twitter)

 

Both vehicles were towed from the scene, a fuel spill was cleaned up and the guard rail was repaired.  Fragola found at fault fro the crash and ticketed for failure to maintain proper lane. 

 

The road was reopened shortly before 4pm.

 

(Photo: Local 801 IAFF, Twitter)

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Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission to host public forum

A second public forum is being held tonight in Newtown by the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission.  A little more than a dozen people attended the first gathering last week to hear from the commission member on their progress and to give their opinion on the matter. 

 

Commission chairman Kyle Lyddy says the memorial is to honor the 26 lives that were lost at the school and to honor what is best for the Newtown Community.  Lyddy says some families still need time and he hopes that the community will be patient with the Commission through the process.  They do not have a deadline. 

 

At the first forum, resident George Osuch asked how a final decision would be made and was told that the Commission wants to find one memorial to provide comfort to those who loved and were touched by the children and women.  Lyddy says this is not about the event, but about the lives lost. 

 

The Commission has an inventory of everything that's come to Newtown since 12-14.  While fundraising has not yet started, Lyddy says $80,000 so far has been earmarked in donations for a Memorial. 

 

A subcommittee for locations has been set up.  Property owned by the town, the state and the Newtown Forest Association are being considered.  A philanthropist may be willing to donate land as well.  The subcommittee is working with the Zoning Department on potential sites and will survey them in the spring.  Their focus is on a place that can be a destination , not something people would have to drive past daily. 

 

The Commission has heard from 18 of the 26 families.  He hopes once a few locations suggestions are set and they have something solid to present to the families, they will reengage. 

 

Tonight's public forum is at 7pm at Newtown High School.

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Brookfield GOP candidate applies for campaign fincancing in special election

One of the two candidates running in the special election next month for the 107th state House district seat has qualified for public campaign financing.  Republican Stephen Harding is seeking to fill the seat left vacant in Brookfield and parts of Bethel and Danbury. 

 

The requirement is to raise at least $3,750 in small contributions from a minimum of 113 people in the district.  He raised over $4,000 in small contributions from more than 150 people in the district.  Harding submitted his application to the state for a $20,000 grant.  Harding is a Brookfield Board of Ed member. 

 

He faces Democratic former selectman Howard Lasser in a February 24th election.

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Local lawmaker proposes amendment to hate crime statutes

A bill to give more protections to public safety personnel has been introduced by an area lawmaker.  Monroe Representative JP Sredzinski's proposal would include law enforcement and other first responders in the state's hate crime statutes.  Sredzinski says the bill would make crimes a hate crime if committed maliciously or with intent to intimidate or harass someone because of their actual or perceived occupation as an emergency responder. 

 

The bill enhances the penalties for repeat offenders and could lead to participation in anti-bias programs. 

 

Sredzinski says the recent execution style murders of two NYPD officers shows that an already dangerous profession, could be a target for even more danger.

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Wilton police investigating lotto ticket theft

Wilton police are investigating the possible theft of lottery tickets from Caraluzzi's market.  Police say a clerk was helping a customer with another lottery ticket manner, and the woman paid for her tickets, which were placed on the counter.  Wilton Police say the woman took those tickets, as well as an unopened package of scratch off lotto tickets valued at 600-dollars.  Police are investigating to see if the woman accidentally took the tickets when she picked up the ones she purchased.

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Medical presentation scheduled at Southbury Senior Center today

A presentation is being made today at the Southbury Senior Center about new technology being used in robotic joint replacement surgery at Danbury Hospital.  Dr. John Dunleavy says Danbury Hospital is the first hospital in the state to perform MAKOplasty Partial Knee Resurfacing and Total Hip Replacement.

 

Dunleavy says it's a minimally invasive surgical treatment option for patients suffering osteoarthritis of the hip and knee.  MAKOplasty preserves healthy bone, surrounding tissue and ligaments thus delivering better results and minimizing recovery time.

 

Board certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery, General Orthopedics, Dr. Robert Deveney received his Doctor of Medicine from the State University of New York – Downstate completed his fellowship training in adult reconstructive surgery from Piedmont Hospital/Emory University School of Medicine.

 

Board certified, Dr. John Dunleavy received his Doctor of Medicine from Georgetown University School of Medicine and completed a fellowship in adult reconstructive surgery from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard University.

 

Dr. Sanjay Gupta serves as Director of the Joint Replacement Program at Danbury Hospital.  He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and completed a two year fellowship in adult hip and knee reconstruction at the Hospital for Special Surgery and Lenox Hill Hospital.

 

The presentation at the Southbury Senior Center on Main Street South is at 2 pm.

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Danbury fire officials ask for help in keeping City safe

Danbury Fire Department spokesman Steve Rogers says it would be a huge help if people could clear snow from around fire hydrants on their property.  He wants to make sure can get all the way around the hydrants.  Rogers notes that if there's a three foot clearance, firefighters can hook up the hose and get water to a fire if needed.  Rogers says they appreciate everyone's help in keeping Danbury safe.

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Regional Hospice opens new Center in Danbury

Regional Hospice and Home Care has opened the state’s first and only nonprofit, all-private-suite, family focused hospice center.  The ribbon was cut at the Center for Comfort Care and Healing on Monday.  President and CEO Cynthia Roy says this has been a long journey, and just when they thought there couldn't be one more thing to endure, there was.

 

The drapery installer last week accidentally drilled into the sprinkler system and caused three patient rooms to get flooded.  It was 20 minutes before the SWAT team of 100 Danbury Police Officers were set to be there for an emergency drill.  Roy says the Center survived, and the place now looks fantastic.

 

Roy says she is perplexed when people ask her why they built such a beautiful place for people who are dying.  She believes that death is like birth, a sacred moment that families will never forget.  She notes that people remember where they were, what time of day and the last words of loved ones when they pass.  Roy says the loss of a life changes the world of all who knew that person.  She hopes this center is a place that is sacred, to honor, witness and be thankful for the love and life of that person. 

 

During the ribbon cutting ceremony, Roy also honored their former colleague, 23-year old Rachel Sack of Bethel.  The young mother was killed by a hit and run driver in November on South Street in Danbury.  Her family was on hand for the ceremony.  Roy said it was strange to do the opening without her, but she is always in their hearts.  Her picture hangs in the new center.

 

Roy says she is proud of what the staff has built collectively.  She says each person has given of themselves and given financially.  As hospice workers, Roy says they are welcomed into families lives at a very difficult time.

 

The Center is set to open the first patients in February.

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Local officials pleased with storm response

The statewide travel ban has now been lifted, but police and fire officials are urging continued caution on the roads. 

 

Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says gas stations and grocery stores are open, some restaurants are opening for the day.  Many officials say if you don't have to go out, it's best to stay in and let the clean up continue.  Knickerbocker says they are thankful that people have not hit the roads, which made for easier clean up.  He reported no power outages in Bethel.  There was only one ambulance call, which Knickerbocker says turned out to not be a serious problem.

 

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton says people listening to the travel ban made the job of snow removal much easier for highway crews.  He noted that there were no major incidents overnight in Danbury.  Property owners have to have sidewalk cleared two hours after the end of the storm, but Boughton says the City does give them some leeway.

 

Brookfield First Selectman Bill Tinsley says the roads still need some clean up work.  The wind gusts are blowing the snow back onto the roads creating some treacherous driving conditions.  But Tinsley says there are not a lot of accidents to report through Tuesday afternoon.  There are also no major power outages.

 

Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi says he is grateful that there were no power outages and that the region was spared the brunt of the storm.  He says the worst part of this storm was that the snow was light and the wind was fierce, so the snow was blown back into the roads once it was cleared.  Marconi says the storm gave Ridgefield an opportunity to practice getting the phone banks up and ready, to get the Emergency Operations Center prepared to open up and to get large crews ready.  So he says the blizzard bust has not been a waste, but is glad to not be looking at a major clean up and hundreds of outages.

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Danbury firefighters put out chimney fire

Danbury firefighters battled a gas fireplace and chimney fire around 11:30 Tuesday morning at 48 East Hayestown Road.  Despite the snowy roads, Department Spokesman Steve Rogers says firefighters were able to arrive in a timely fashion and quickly extinguish the blaze.  Danbury firefighters saw the homeowner rushed out of the house with a fire extinguisher.  Firefighters then cleared the home of smoke.  There were no reported injuries to residents or firefighters.  The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

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DMV allows extension for registrations, license renewals

Governor Dannel Malloy today announced that he is ordering an extension of expiration dates for motor vehicle registrations and driver’s licenses due to the impending severe winter storm.  The Governor’s action covers expiration dates and periods of validity for motor vehicle registrations, licenses, permits, certificates and other forms of credentials issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles and runs through January 30.  This also covers emissions test late fees.

 

The extension period runs from January 24, when a snow storm shuttered DMV offices, to midnight on Friday, January 30.  On January 31, all required late fees and penalties will resume.

 

All knowledge and road skills tests for license applicants are canceled for Tuesday and Wednesday due to storm conditions. 

 

To reschedule a test:

 

Knowledge Test – Customers should wait for an e-mail from DMV regarding then cancelation, then visit http://ct.gov/dmv/qsc, enter their personal identification number and then follow the instructions.

 

Road Test – Customers should call 860-263-5700 within the Hartford area and those outside the Hartford area can call toll-free at 800-842-8222. DMV will also be contacting customers with appointments.

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Cl and P Says Power Stays On In Storm

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Power outages have been rare despite the significant snowfall in the winter storm pummeling Connecticut.

Al Lara, a spokesman for CL and P  parent company Northeast Utilities, said the snow has been light and powdery, posing little threat to power lines that typically come down under ice or wet and heavy snow.

CL and P  has been bracing its systems in response to destructive storms. It won permission from regulators to recover $89.5 million for damage from storms in 2011 and 2012 and $25.3 million to protect equipment from storms in the future.

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Police arrest Danbury man for December bank robbery

Danbury police have made an arrest in the robbery of a Savings Bank branch last month.  On December 26th a suspect robbed the Newtown Road branch.  Police determined that the suspect was 63-year old Wendell Hovey of Danbury.  A search warrant was granted by the court and Hovey was arrested this morning.  He was charged with robbery and held on $2,500 bond.

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Feds: 12 years for Venezuelan financier in Connecticut fraud

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Federal prosecutors say a Venezuelan financier who ran a massive investment fraud scheme in Connecticut deserves at least 12 years in prison.

Authorities say in their sentencing memo that the crimes of Francisco Illarramendi caused losses of more than $300 million. The biggest client among his mostly foreign investors was Venezuela's state oil company.

In the memo filed Monday, prosecutors say Illarramendi took $20 million of the money for himself, using some of it to build a $5 million home in New Canaan.

The 45-year-old Illarramendi pleaded guilty in 2011 to several counts of fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Prosecutors say he lied repeatedly to investors and creditors to cover up losses.

Illarramendi has argued he should receive no more than six months of home confinement.

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Greater Danbury region prepares for Blizzard 2015

Area towns are taking precuations for the blizzard of 2015.  Most have closed town offices and libraries for Tuesday.  Schools around the region have also closed for the day.

 

Danbury has issued a Level 2 Snow Emergency.  If residents have no other place to park, the Patriot parking garage will be open free of charge for the duration of the storm. Cars on city streets will be ticketed and towed.- are prohibited from parking on city streets. All vehicles may be returned after all snow-and-ice-control operations have ceased.

 

Redding Town Hall Emergency Info Line is functional at 203-938-2002 and will be open from 9am-5pm during the day as a means by which residents can obtain up to the minute information.  After hours this line will have an automated message detailing information for residents. Please ONLY call 911 in the event of a true emergency.

 

New Milford has declared a snow emergency and parking ban effective at 5pm so that snow removal can be done.  Public Works Director Michael Zarba says New Milford will close the two crossovers on the Green for use as temporary snow storage.  The areas will be cleaned as time permits and then reopened.  Alternate parking is available in the posted lot behind Town Hall.  Additional parking is also available in the Patriots Way lot by the railroad tracks and the Richmond Center along the rear fence. 

 

Bethel winter street parking ban will be in effect for the duration of the storm. Please ensure all vehicles are off town streets through the duration of the storm to aid highway cleanup operations.  The Police Department reserves the right to tow vehicles if necessary to ensure successful snow removal operations.  Residents are advised to shelter "in place" and stay indoors for duration of the storm. Bethel's emergency center has been made ready in case it is needed.  Conditions will be evaluated early Wednesday to determine if emergency shelter is needed.

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Connecticut governor orders travel ban on state highways

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has ordered a travel ban on Connecticut highways in response to the expected winter storm.

 

Malloy said Monday the ban is set to begin at 9 p.m.

 

He also said the state's two utilities expect outages due to heavy winds.

 

The governor also plans to activate the emergency operations center at 4 p.m. Monday. It will remain open throughout the storm.

 

The National Weather Service is warning of a two-day snowfall of 20 to 30 inches and winds gusting more than 30 mph to as much as 75 mph. The state is under a blizzard warning from 1 p.m. Monday until midnight Tuesday.

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Teen accused of running Ponzi scheme due back in court

A teenage club owner charged with running a Ponzi scheme is due back in Court today.  Ian Bick of Danbury was charged earlier this month with defrauding 15 people out of nearly $500,000.  Bick was arrested for fraud, money laundering and making false statements. 

 

Prosecutors say Bick solicited investments from friends, former classmates and their parents by promising high returns in a short time.  Bick allegedly told some victim investors that he would use their money to buy electronics to resell on the internet.  The indictment alleges that Bick instead used the money for hotel stays and jet skis. 

 

Bick pleaded not guilty and was released on bond.

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Man commits suicide at Danbury Mall

Danbury police responded to the Danbury Fair Mall on Saturday afternoon on a report of a man stabbed in the bathroom of Sears.  Police located the man and say it appears he committed suicide.  Danbury Police say the man is the while male is in his 50s.  His name has not been released.

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NY man sentenced for home invasion, armed robberies of drug dealers

A New York man has been sentenced to 7 years in prison for his role in two home invasion armed robberies in Danbury of marijuana dealers.  The judge yesterday also ordered 27-year old Scott Myrie of Bedford Hills to serve 3 years supervised probation, substance abuse counseling and to seek education opportunities or vocational training. 

 

Prosecutors says Myrie was part of a 10 person group that preyed on Danbury area drug dealers, by breaking in, stealing money and drugs before assaulting their victims. 

 

In January 2013, Myrie and others pistol-whipped a man and intimidated his wife, mother and 1-year old child.  They fled with 30-thousand dollars and a pound of marijuana.  The following month, Myrie and two others pistol-whipped a man and further assaulted him until the victim fought back.  The victim's mother also fought off the suspects, who fled with no money or drugs.

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Area lawmaker calls for more state budget cuts

Connecticut's governor has announced $31.5 million in spending cuts to help close a budget shortfall.

The cuts announced Friday afternoon follow $54.6 million in cuts ordered by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in November to address a projected deficit of more than $120 million.  The new round of cuts includes $6 million expected from the Judicial Branch, $2.3 million from operating expenses at the University of Connecticut, and $1.5 million from the Connecticut State University system.

Malloy's budget director, Ben Barnes, will take additional steps if necessary to keep the budget in balance. Barnes has said the state will balance its books by June 30.  The state comptroller says the projected deficit has grown in part because of lower-than expected gas tax collections, caused by falling gas prices.


Southbury Senator Rob Kane, Ranking Member of the legislature’s Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement in response:

 

“Cutting spending is the way to fix our state’s financial crisis.  We simply can’t afford more and more tax hikes in this state. We face multi-billion dollar problems in the years ahead.  We need to stay focused on what taxpayers’ dollars are spent on, and go line by line in the budget to make cuts.  The sooner we confront our state’s spending addiction, the better off Connecticut taxpayers will be in the long run.  We have got to work together, as Republicans and Democrats, to do what is best for Connecticut.”

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Wilton police investigating iPhone thefts at High School

Wilton Police are investigating a couple of iPhone thefts from the high school.  Police say in one case, a 14 year old has been charged with larceny and credit card theft for being found by a staff member with an iPhone and a debit card of another student.  The youth will be in juvenile court on February 3rd. 

 

Police say the debit card was in the iPhone case and was not used. 

 

In another incident at Wilton High School this month, a female student reported that her iPhone 6 was taken from her backpack in the team room.  The phone was in a custom case and is still missing.

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Danbury Library adds new iPad kiosks to Children's Department

Danbury Library is adding some new technology for kids ni the new year.  Funding from the Friends of the Danbury Library has enabled the Library to put in Crayola kiosks in the children's department that hold 8 iPads.  Digital Services Librarian Katherine Chung says kids can access over 50 educational apps on the iPads.

 

Danbury Library has also added two new online databases for children to encourage reading and learning. 

 

“Starwalk Kids Media” provides children in kindergarten through eighth grade with a selection of high quality books. Children and parents can select books by age, grade or reading level and children can listen to an audiobook or read it themselves. This program's app has been downloaded to all of the Junior Department’s iPads so the books can also be enjoyed while visiting the library.

 

The second online database that is has made its debut is the “Worldbook Early World of Learning.”   The online resource encompasses three interactive learning environments for preschoolers and children in the early elementary grades. The program includes interactive games, narrated stories and videos that teach numbers, shapes, phonics, vocabulary, and research.

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League of Women Voters to host legislative forum

State House and Senate members from the Greater Danbury area will be at a forum tomorrow at Danbury Library.  It's being hosted by the Danbury Area Member-at-Large League of Women Voters.  Spokeswoman Judy Griemsmann says this region had an active league in the past, but not in the last two years. 

 

The League of Women Voters produces voter guides and hosts public forums and candidate debates among other activities.  The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan group.  They don't support political parties or candidates, but rather is there to raise public awareness of issues and increase citizen participation in policy making. 

 

People who attend the event will hear the legislators discuss goals of this General Assembly session, ask questions of the legislators.  Voter registration forms will also be available.  

 

The event is at the Danbury Library 2:30 to 4pm on Sunday.

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Danbury group to receive state funds to help end homelessness

New efforts to end chronic homelessness among veterans and persons with disabilities in Connecticut by 2016 has been announced.  The state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services is awarding 15 private, not-for-profit agencies $1.1 million to provide in-home supportive services to 176 recently housed persons who have experienced chronic homelessness.

 

Center for Human Development in Danbury is among the recipients of the new supporting housing subsidies from the state. 

 

The state has also been chosen by a national non-profits coalition to be part of a 6 state initiative to combat homelessness.  The national initiative is being organized by the nonprofit Community Solutions. 

 

According to recent surveys, there are about 1000 Veterans and about 2400 chronically homeless people with disabilities in the state.

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Missing teen found, mother freed from jail

A 14-year old boy missing for more than a month and was the subject of a nationwide search has been found.  14-year old Storm Sorrentino was reported missing last month by his father, Saverio Sorrentino of Newtown. 

 

The boy's mother, Kathyrn of Fairfield, has been jailed for three days for not telling a judge where the boy was.  The couple divorced in 2007 and Saverio was granted custody last May.  Each of the last three days Kathyrn was brought before a judge and asked where Storm was, and each day replying that she didn't know despite her ex-husband's belief that she did. 

 

Fairfield Police received a call Friday afternoon of a suspicious person sitting on a stone wall.  It was the missing 14 year old. 

 

The location was about three miles from his mother's house.

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Sandy Hook School Support Fund looking for input on continued needs

The Sandy Hook School Support Fund is looking for community input on the on-going needs of those impacted by the shootings at Sandy Hook School.  A similar survey was sent out by the group last year. 

 

This is an online survey with some questions proposed by the Recovery and Resiliency Team.  The survey is anonymous and the Distribution Committee says is being done to get as accurate a picture as possible of the needs and feelings in the community.  Most of the questions are the same however, so the group can measure the data against the benchmark first survey done last year on challenges, strengths and needs.

 

Responses must be completed by February 6th.

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Ridgefield Board of Education member arrested

51-year old Irene Burgess plans to resign as Vice Chairman of the Ridgefield Board of Education.  She was arrested Thursday for a 6th degree larceny charge.  Ridgefield Police report that officers were called to Stop & Shop to investigate a possible theft.  Their investigation revealed that Burgess stole $69 worth of items. 

 

She was released on a written promise to appear in court on February 5th. 

 

Burgess told the Ridgefield Press: “It’s a mistake, but in order to prevent embarrassment to the board I’m going to resign even though nothing was intentionally done wrong.”

 

Burgess was arrested in November 2013 on the same charge for an incident at Kohls where she allegedly stole $160 worth of items.  She pled not guilty last January and entered the state's accelerated rehabilitation program.  The she completed the program in December, the charge was dismissed. 

 

At the time she said it was an accident and misunderstanding between the store manager and the police.

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Man arguing across from police station arrested for pending charges

A man having an argument across from the police station has landed him under arrest for outstanding warrants. 

 

Newtown Police say a man was involved in an argument across the street from the Department on Sunday and officers went to investigate.  Police say 26-year old Victor Stendbergh was wanted on pending charges from state and local police so he was arrested.  

 

Court records show that Stendbergh was arrested by Newtown Police in August for refusal to show his license and registration, but didn't appear in court and was charged in October with failure to appear.  He is due in court Monday on those charges. 

 

He was arrested by State Police in September for operating under the influence, failure to drive in the proper lane and possession of drug paraphernalia.  He is due in Waterbury Superior Court on Monday.  Also on that date, he faces charges of evading responsibility, operating an unregistered vehicle, following too closely and improper use of license plates.

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Two Conn. men arrested for DWI in separate NY accidents

A Sherman man has been arrested for drunk driving after crashing his car.  New York State Police responded to an accident Wednesday on Route 22 in Brewster near the intersection with Route 311.  A BMW lost control and collided with an embankment. 

 

Police say 52-year old Richard Seyfried Junior of Sherman was trying to turn on to South Quaker Road when he lost control.  Seyfried failed field sobriety tests and was found to have a blood alcohol content more than twice the legal limit.  He was released on bond and will be in court on February 2nd for the aggravated driving while intoxicated charge.

 

A New Fairfield man has been arrested on a drunk driving charge after hitting multiple vehicles in different accidents. 

 

New York State Police reported Thursday that a New Fairfield man has been arrested for aggravated driving while intoxicated for the events of last Saturday .  Police say 54-year old Grant Retallick Junior left a Brewster area restaurant and hit two cars in the parking lot.  He then fled the scene. 

 

Police were then called about an a collision on Route 6 which rendered Retallick's car undriveable.  He failed field sobriety tests and was found to have a blood alcohol content more than twice the legal limit.  Retallick was issued traffic tickets and ordered to appear in court on Monday.

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House struck by car in Danbury

A car has struck a house in Danbury.  Police say a woman driving southbound on Great Plain Road lost control of her car and struck the house Thursday afternoon.  The 20-year old woman was uninjured.  The accident happened shortly after 1:30pm at 82 Great Plain Road.  She was issued a verbal warning for travelling too fast for conditions.  The driver's name was not immediately released.

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Danbury company awarded $53 million contract from NASA

Danbury-based Praxair, an industrial gases manufacturer, has been awarded NASA’s agency-wide Acquisition of Liquid Hydrogen contract. Praxair’s hydrogen supply network will serve four NASA sites, including the Space Center in Mississippi; Kennedy Space Center in Florida; Marshall Space Flight Center, in Alabama; and Glenn Research Center in Ohio. 

 

NASA projected the maximum value of the five-year contract to be $53 million.

 

“NASA has been a longtime customer of Praxair, and we are proud to have been awarded this contract,” said Jeff Barnhard, vice president, east region for Praxair’s U.S. industrial gases business. “We look forward to playing an even larger role in our country’s national space program and the expanding satellite technology industry.”

 

Praxair’s hydrogen manufacturing infrastructure and delivery capability satisfies NASA’s stringent standards for product quality and on-time delivery to fulfill the agency’s missions. NASA uses liquid hydrogen as fuel for rocket engine development, testing and launch of spacecraft; delivery of satellites into earth orbit; and delivery of payloads to the International Space Station.

 

NASA also awarded Praxair a five-year liquid oxygen supply agreement for the Kennedy Space Center.  The Department of Defense previously awarded Praxair a five-year liquid hydrogen supply agreement for missions launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

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Danbury Police investigate home break in

Danbury Police are investigating a break in Thursday morning on Stevens Street.  Police were called around 9:45am on a report of a dark skin man forcing his way into a house.  Police located the homeowner, a 27-year old, who told officers that a light skin man was also banging on the door.  The three scuffled, until the victim pepper sprayed the pair. 

 

The suspects fled in an unknown direction in a gray car.  The victim declined medical treatment. 

 

The investigation so far has revealed that the suspects are known to the victim and that this is an isolated incident.

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Governor Malloy calls for widening I-84 in Danbury

Governor Dannel Malloy says that widening a section of Interstate 84 in Danbury is critical for economic growth in the western part of the state. 

 

Still no word from Malloy on how he plans to pay for massive transportation infrastructure improvements that he's proposing.  During a stop yesterday at the I-84 rest area off exit 2, Malloy said he wants to widen a five mile stretch the highway to three lanes from exit 3 to 8 in Danbury.  He spoke generally saying tolls and taxes aren't the only way to pay for two generations of neglect.

 

(DOT Commissioner James Redecker, Governor Dannel Malloy)

 

Malloy has proposed increasing bus service in the region with a more modern service.  He also wants to make improvements to the Danbury branch of Metro North with an expansion to New Milford.

 

While there's been no official talk of bringing tolls back to Connecticut, it's been on many people's minds.  Malloy was asked how he responds to criticism that border tolls are an unfair regional tax.  He says that's a fair complaint.

 

Malloy also responded to questions about Transportation Committee chair Representative Antonio Guerrera, of not wanting tolls in his district but at the state's gateways.  He says tolls are a tax on people who use the highway, and he understands the goal of capturing 26 percent of the traffic that comes from out of state.

 

Malloy says paying for any improvements is a discussion still to be had, and for now he is focused on a comprehensive report on what improvements are needed.

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Adam Lanza's Newtown House to be Demolished

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Officials in Newtown have voted to tear down the home where Adam Lanza lived before he carried out the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The vote Wednesday evening by the Newtown Legislative Council approves a proposal by the board of selectmen to raze the 3,100-square-foot home and keep the land as open space.

First Selectwoman Pat Llodra said she expects the Lanza house will be razed once winter is over. The 2-acre property was given to the town in December by a bank that acquired it from the Lanza family.

Lanza killed 20 children and six educators at the school before committing suicide.

Neighbors have been pleading with town officials to tear down the house, with one resident saying it's ``a constant reminder of the evil that resided there.''

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Western Connecticut Health Network holding annual meeting

Western Connecticut Health Network is holding it's annual meeting today.  The annual meeting of Western Connecticut Health Network will be held at 4 o'clock this afternoon at the Ethan Allen Hotel.  There will be a State of the Network address and also a recap of the accomplishments. 

 

One of the items likely to be discussed will be this summer's opening of the largest expansion in Danbury Hospital's history. 

 

The Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Pavilion is an 11 story tower that added 316,000 square feet to Danbury Hospital.  It was paid for in part by a $30 million donation from Subway restaurants founder Peter Buck.  The addition includes a new emergency department, a critical care unit and private patient rooms.

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Change of venue granted in lawsuit against Bushmaster

A lawsuit against the manufacturer, distributor and seller of the rifle used in the Sandy Hook School shooting will have a change in venue.  The owner of Bushmaster Firearms International has been granted a move of the case from Superior Court to Hartford Federal Court. 

 

The families of several of those killed and a teacher injured at Sandy Hook School originally filed the lawsuit around the two year anniversary.  The negligence and wrongful death lawsuit asserts that the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle should not have been made publicly available because it is a military weapon unsuited for civilian use. 

 

In addition to Bushmaster, the families have named Camfour, a firearm distributor, and Riverview Gun Sales, the store where the Bushmaster rifle was purchased in 2010.

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Newtown man arraigned for pistol-whipping girlfriend

A Newtown man has been arraigned on charges stemming from a police stand off in Danbury this weekend.  In Court yesterday, 23-year old Steven Hernly was ordered held on bond for charges of assault, assault with a firearm, breach of peace, illegal possession of a facsimile firearm and interfering with police. 

 

The incident started around 11pm Saturday at the McDonald's on Padanaram Road when a woman said Hernly pistol-whipped her and left for a halfway house on Terrace place to get another gun.  Police found the man hiding nearby after others at the house refused to let him in--and also called police.  Hernly refused to take his hands out of his pockets and told officer they would have to shoot him. 

 

He surrendered around 2am and was taken to Danbury Hospital for evaluation. 

 

He pleaded not guilty in court Tuesday, was ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluation, have no contact with his girlfriend and is under a suicide watch.  Hernly, who is currently on probation, will next appear in court on February 10th.

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Court case continued against father charged in death of son

The case has been continued to next month for the Ridgefield father charged with causing his 15-month-old son's death by leaving him in the car for hours on a hot July day.  36-year old Kyle Seitz was not in Danbury Superior Court yesterday when the judge set the next appearance as February 19th. 

 

Seitz is charged with criminally negligent homicide.  The medical examiner found that Benjamin died of hyperthermia, or extremely high body temperature. 

 

Seitz has two other children, whom his wife has moved out of state, though he has been ordered to stay in Connecticut.  Seitz is free on bail.  He faces a year in jail if convicted.

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Former Garner warden named Corrections Commissioner

A former warden of Garner Correctional Institution in Newtown has been named Commissioner of the state Department of Correction.  Governor Malloy has tapped Scott Semple to serve in the post, and will now go through legislative confirmations. 

 

Semple has been Acting Commissioner of the DOC since August. 

 

He became warden of the high security prison in Newtown in 2009.  Garner specializes in treatment of adult male offenders with significant mental health issues.  Malloy says Semple, as a former corrections officer, is familiar with best practices and finding ways to reduce recidivism.

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Drug surveillance leads to police pursuit, Route 7 crash

Surveillance for a drug investigation was being conducted Tuesday afternoon in Danbury when an officer saw a man they knew sold narcotics in the Danbury area before.  24-year old Andrew “Moe” Parra of Waterbury also had an outstanding warrant for his arrest for sale of narcotics and motor vehicle offenses that included engaging in pursuit.

 

Members of the Special Investigations Division and Community Conditions Unit followed Parra in unmarked police cars to the Franklin Street area.  He parked and entered a house for a short time.  Officers tried to prevent him from driving away, but he did and a short pursuit started.  Officers called off the chase when Parra sped up after a marked patrol unit became involved.

 

About 15 minutes later, Danbury Police was notified by State Police that a vehicle matching the description of Parra’s had crashed on Route 7 Northbound. 

 

Parra lost control of his vehicle about three miles from where the pursuit ended, and crashed without striking another vehicle.  State Police say Parra's car swerved to the left and into the grassy median, but he over corrected and swerved across the highway down an embankment to the right.  The car rolled onto its left side, hit several trees and finally stopped on its left against a tree.  Parra sustained cuts, abrasions and leg and arm fractures.

 

The Brookfield Fire Department extricated Parra from his vehicle.  Parra was transported to Danbury Hospital and later sent to the Westchester Medical Center for specialized care and treatment.

 

Parra was issued a written promise to appear in court at a later date and time for the outstand warrant, but due to his extensive injuries Parra was not charged with Tuesday’s offenses.  Danbury Police have applied to Danbury Superior Court for an arrest warrant so that he can be charged at a later date and time.

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Danbury police officer fired for use of excessive force

An internal investigation has resulted in the firing of a Danbury Police officer for use of excessive force.  Daniel Sellner was fired last Wednesday for violating the department's professional standards.  Mayor Mark Boughton says all people should be treated with dignity and respect, and should not be threatened with arrest or use of force because they appear to disrespect an officer.

 

Boughton says he's sensitive to the fact that someone is losing career, but it's his responsibility to protect the health safety and welfare of residents.

 

In the latest incident involving Officer Sellner, he was accused of injuring a man in handcuffs being escorted out of the Dollar General store on Main Street.  The Mayor also cited Sellner's use of offense language toward people found trespassing at the skate park.  Sellner went through use of force retraining in 2012 based on a Taser incident.

 

Youtube videos also show a person being manhandled in a holding cell, and a driver being threatened at a gas station. 

 

The officer had been suspended in March 2013.

 

 

 

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Two men charged for heroin sales in Putnam County

Two New York man have been arrested for drug sales in the Putnam County area.  A month long investigation has been conducted by Putnam County Sheriff's Deputies into sales of heroin in the region. 

 

During the investigation, undercover deputies infiltrated the drug ring and purchased heroin on five separate occasions.  They also set up controlled deliveries.  The first where 236 baggies of heroin were delivered, the other four netted 190 baggies. 

 

In an email Tuesday. Sheriff Donald Smith said that 29-year old Tiquan Lewis and 25-year old Donnell Norman, both of New York City, were arrested January 2nd.  Lewis was charged with five counts each of Criminal Sale of and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance. 

 

Norman was charged with two counts of possession and one count of sale of a controlled substance. 

 

The investigation is continuing.

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Xpect Discounts to close Dabnury location

Xpect Discounts is closing it's Danbury store by this spring.  The low price supermarket on Newtown Road is the latest franchise location to close in Connecticut in recent years.  Danbury Economic Development Director Bruce Tuomala says there was no word on why the location will be closing March 1st.

 

A Planning Department official says two approvals have been granted for 100 Newtown Road.  One is departmental waiver for a 37,000 square foot health center.  The other is for a 9,300 square foot package store.  That one requires a special permit, which will come before the Zoning Commission.

 

The property has gone through some litigation.

 

A permanent injunction was issued in 2012 preventing Sonic from building a restaurant in the parking lot there, despite Danbury land use officials approving the project two years prior to that.  The injunction was sought by Xpect Discounts claiming it violated the terms of their lease giving them approval to any changes in the common area of the shopping center.

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NY woman arrested for shoplifting from Kohl's

A New York woman has been arrested for allegedly shoplifting from Kohl's Department store.  The Putnam County Sheriff's office received a call from Kohls in Southeast the afternoon of January 9th.  It followed a review of security video that showed a theft of some merchandise. 

 

The suspect was identified as 33-year old Renee Loria of Southeast.  She turned herself in to police in Carmel and was charged with misdemeanor petit larceny. 

 

Loria was released on a written promise to appear in court on Thursday.

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Sandy Hook Memorial Commission holds public forum

A forum has been held by the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission.  The group charged with recommending whether a permanent memorial should be created, a design and a location was created in 2013. 

 

The group of 12 has been in contact with the families of the 26 children and women who were killed on 12-14.   18 of them have responded.  Emergency services groups, other parents of students at Sandy Hook School and staff members have weighed in as well.  Community members were called on to attend the open forum to hear updates and ask any questions. 

 

Another gathering will be held at the end of the month.

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Monroe-based classroom supplies company opening new center

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) An online company that sells classroom supplies plans to open a distribution center in south Kansas City, bringing 44 jobs to the region.

Connecticut-based ReallyGoodStuff.com says the center will open in June. It will distribute products, mostly geared toward elementary school teachers, across the United States and Canada.

The Kansas City Star reports the center will be located at the CenterPoint Intermodal Center at the site of the former Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base.

Company official Tim Kochuba says the company will make a $3.36 million investment in the project and will share space with another tenant.

ReallyGoodStuff will receive about $170,000 in state incentives if it meets job creation and investment criteria.

The company's corporate headquarters is in Monroe, Connecticut.

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New Fairfield Mother In Court On Child Abuse Charges

The child-abuse case against a New Fairfield mother who allegedly beat her daughters with rods, belts and cords is back in court today . 

The case against  27 year old Alexandra Aucapina has focused on her defense counsel rather than the discovery of evidence so far.

Aucapina has two cases pending, each with a separate attorney. She pleaded not guilty to two child-abuse charges in February and another 10 charges that were brought against her in August.

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Ridgefield Father In Court Over Sons Tragic Death

The Ridgefield father charged in the death of the toddler he left in a hot car all day will be back in Danbury Superior Court on Tuesday.

36 year old Kyle Seitz is in the pre-trial stages of his case. He is answering a misdemeanor charge of criminally negligent homicide in the death of his 15-month-old son, Benjamin.

During his first court appearance in November, Seitz had been told not to leave the state while his case is pending. However, in December, Seitz was given special permission by a judge to leave Connecticut temporarily to be with his wife and two daughters, who are living out of state.

The judge’s decision let Seitz spend the Christmas holiday with his family while his criminal case continues.

She wanted to spare her children the adverse publicity about their father in what has been a high-profile criminal case in Ridgefield and the region.

Seitz faces a maximum sentence of one year in jail.

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Home heating safety reminders from Fire Department

With bitter cold temperatures sticking around, the Danbury Fire Department is offering some reminders to homeowners as they try to keep warm.  Spokesman Steve Rogers says you should keep anything that can burn at least three feet from any heat source like fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators, or space heaters.

 

Residents are being urged to keep fire extinguishers in the kitchen, laundry room, and garage.  They can fight fires caused by paper, wood, cloth, flammable liquids, and electrical short circuits.

 

Heating equipment is involved in one of every six reported home fires and one in every five home fire deaths.  Danbury Fire Department spokesman Steve Rogers says a little common sense goes a long way toward safety.

 

Residents are urged to have a qualified professional clean and inspect chimneys and dryer or stove vents every year.  If you use a fireplace, store cooled ashes in a tightly covered metal container, and keep it outside at least 10 feet from your home and any nearby buildings.

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Danbury Library offers iPads for borrowing from Technology Center

Danbury Library patrons can now check out iPads.  The The Library has started circulating 9 iPads to adult cardholders who are at least eighteen years old.  Digital Services Librarian Katherine Chung says the lending period is one week and check outs are available to one per household at a time. 

 

Checkouts and returns are completed in the library’s Technology Center. 

 

The tablets come pre-loaded with applications that include Overdrive, Hoopla, Freegal, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, along with photography services such as Clone Camera, Photoshop Mix and Photoshop Express and productivity apps that include Excel, Word and Keynote.

 

The iPads are protected by so-called "survivor cases", but Chung is asking that people treat thetablets like their own.  If they are lost or completely damaged, the patron will be responsbile for the cost of replacement.

 

The Danbury Library children’s department, through funding from the FRIENDS of the Danbury Library, now has brightly colored Crayola kiosks that hold eight iPads kids can use to access over fifty educational applications.

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Lawmakers hear testimony on Southbury Training School future

Lawmakers from both parties listened to parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities as part of a Family Action Day hearing at the state Capital.  Speakers testified about whether Southbury Training School should be kept open and if new admissions should be allowed. 

 

Parents like Allison Jacobson told lawmakers they continue to wait years on end for housing opportunities for their children, some of whom are adults now.  Some speakers say they know whatever sympathy was expressed by lawmakers, their plea for funding could be lost in yet another deficit-driven budget battle.

 

Parent Al Raymond says for the last 29 years there have been no new admissions at Southbury Training School.  He argued against those saying that it costs more per resident than group homes do by noting that STS resident population gets smaller every year due to attrition.  Raymond says since 1986 there's been no new admissions to make up the losses, and by reopening admission it could lower the per person cost.  He says it could also reduce the waiting list of those who need special care.

 

Some speakers say they know whatever sympathy was expressed by lawmakers, their plea for funding could be lost in yet another deficit-driven budget battle.  One of the parents accused lawmakers of giving developmentally disabled people a lower priority in the budget than convicted criminals in the prison system.

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Former Danbury Fire Chief takes job in MA.

Danbury's former Fire Chief has taken on a new job in Massachusetts.  Geoff Herald, who retired in July from Danbury, has been hired as the interim Fire Chief in Marlborough Massachusetts.  The position took effect January 5. 

 

Herald continues to be a community college instructor in Fire Sciences providing advice and technical expertise on firefighter training and education. 

 

The Mayor of Marlborough said in a press release that he conducted a wide search for the interim chief and that Herald is held in high regard throughout Connecticut--with a proven track record of success managing a large public safety organization.

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Sandy Hook Advisory Commission working on final details of report

The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission has met to discuss finalizing their report to the Governor and the legislature. 

 

Part of the discussion was about including photographs of the victims in their dedication.  Member Chris Lyddy, a former Newtown state Representative, says they should make a statement that the families don't necessarily endorse the report if they provide a photo.  Lyddy says many of the families have diverging views on mental health, school safety, and gun protocols and may not they agree with the full report.

 

Lyddy also mentioned that the families testifying before the Commission have told the group what they've been able to do in their recovery.  They have one central location where people are directed to communicate with them and to learn about their family member.  He suggested they also direct people to that site, MySandyHookFamily.org.

 

When it comes to how to refer to the man who carried out the shootings, the Commission wants to have a unified voice.  Many of the Commission members agreed that the report should have one mention of the gunman's full name as a reference, and then just the initials AL. 

 

Dr Harold Schwartz was also part of the writing group for the Child Advocate's report and says that was their conclusion as well.  He says some victim's families said they had extreme emotional reactions to hearing the man's name.  Other said the use of the name humanized him.  If there was a secondary reason to use initials, Schwartz said for some, the use of the full name aggrandizes the shooter and creates a negative legend of sorts.

 

The Director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement sits on the panel.  Dr David Schonfeld said by referring to the shooter only by that gives him a title or status that distills a complicated life down to one thing.

 

The final report from the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission will include a recommendation to ban the sale and possession of guns that can fire more than 10 rounds without reloading.  In its meeting Friday, the commission also decided to remove language from the report that would have acknowledged the importance of the Connecticut's gun manufacturing industry.

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Danbury community center, Head Start projects moving along

The state Bond Commission this week approved funding for three projects in Danbury.  One is to convert the former YMCA building into a Boys and Girls Club facility.  Connecticut Institute for Communities Executive Director Jim Maloney says the paperwork will be finalized over the next 30 to 60 days. 

 

Engineering and design work for the building, both internal and external improvements, needs to be submitted to the state for public bidding. Maloney says it will be about a million dollars worth of improvements. 

 

Another project involves infrastructure improvements to the Danbury War Memorial.

 

Bond money was also approved to purchase a building on Park Avenue in Danbury to add more Head Start classrooms.  That funding was for a down payment.  The next step is the closing.  Private funds will be used to do the rehabilitation.  Maloney says that won't be completed by the upcoming fall semester.  The target is to have the classrooms ready by next January.

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Repeat offender arrested for drug sales at Danbury condo complex

Two Danbury residents have been arrested on drug charges following an investigation into neighbor complaints.  Danbury Police stopped 36-year old Jason Danzy at his Padanaram Road condo complex last night to carry out search warrants issued based on surveillance of drug trafficking activity. 

 

An initial search of Danzy's car turned up heroin and crack cocaine packaged for sale. 

 

Danzy was charged with two counts of Possession of Narcotics, two counts of Possession of Narcotics with intent to sell, two counts of Possession of Narcotics Within 1500 feet of a school, two counts of Possession of Narcotics with intent to sell Within 1500 feet of a school, Possession of a Controled Substance and possession of Drug Paraphernalia.  Danzy was held on $200,000 bond.  He was recently arrested for similar offenses. 

 

A female passenger in his car was arrested on unrelated charges stemming from outstanding warrants.  In addition to the drugs on Danzy, more were found in his residence when searched.  50-year old Wanda Taylor  was charged with possession of crack cocaine.  She was released on a written promise to appear in court at a later date.

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Ridgefield officials interviewing Schlumberger planning candidates

The Ridgefield Board of Selectmen are starting their interviews of people to serve on an advisory committee on what to do with the former Schlumberger site.  Ridgefield officials decided to form the group after residents voted down two proposals for separate pieces of the property. 

 

32 people submitted applications by the end of last year.  The Selectmen had called for a committee of 9 to help steer the future of the remaining town owned land. 

 

5 of the 45 acres has already been sold.  Another 10 acres will be voted on next month for a housing development project.

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Newtown police arrest two people for having illegal guns in cars

A Danbury teen and a Bridgeport man havee been arrested in Newtown for weapons offenses.  Newtown Police report that while officers were on patrol late Sunday night, they saw two cars in a South Main Street parking lot.  Newtown police found pistol-style BB guns in each of the cars. 

 

Court records show that 19-year old Lisbeth Rivas of Danbury was charged with felony possession of a weapon in a motor vehicle.  She was released on bond for a court appearance on the 27th. 

 

The Newtown Bee reports that 40-year old Milton Martinez Junior of Bridgeport was also charged with that offense Some marijuana was also found in Martinez's vehicle so he was charged with possession of less than half an ounce of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

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Ridgefield physician pleadd guilty to health care fraud charge

A Ridgefield physician has pleaded guilty to health care fraud charges.  46-year old David Lester Johnston was in court Friday to enter the plea.  According to court documents, Johnston operated at Osteopathic Wellness Center in Ridgefield, and defrauded Medicare and private insurance companies by submitting claims for physical therapy and other services that he did not perform. 

 

Prosecutors say he also misrepresented the nature of the services that were performed by claiming he did the work that a massage therapist actually did.  Johnston is set to be sentenced April 10th and faces up to 10 years in prison. 

 

He has agreed to pay the government $270,500 to settle federal civil claims.

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Drunk, unlicensed driver causes crash involving New Milford's Police Chief

A 3-car crash on Route 202 Wednesday involved New Milford's Police Chief.  The accident happened shortly after 2:30pm in Bantam near Mount Tom State Park. 

 

State Police say a pick up truck driven by 30-year old Gonzalo Vavedne of Morris, crossed the double yellow line into a car driven by 48-year old Christopher Milano of Brewster.  Chief Shawn Boyne, who was driving a Police Department vehicle, swerved to avoid the pickup truck but was hit by that driver too. 

 

Chief Boyne's car was hit with such force, it was tipped onto the driver's side wheels, spun around, and went off the road.  His car finally stopped against a ledge wall. 

 

Mialno's car hit a guard rail, crossed the roadway and went off the other side of Route 202 into the woods.  The car, property of a Brewster funeral home, stopped about 20 feet into the woods.

 

The 50-year old Boyne and Milano were not transported to the hospital.  The pick up truck driver was treated for injuries.  Vavedne was later charged with driving under the influence, operating without a license and failure to drive right.  Vavedne is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.

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Aquarion gives rate credit to customers on bills for 3 years

Aquarion Water Company rate credits are coming to Connecticut customers totalling 5.6-percent on their billing statements, effective for the next three years.  In addition to the rate credit, Aquarion will also be delaying its next general rate case.

 

Recently issued tax law regulations by the IRS have resulted in a refund to the company, and Aquarion is passing this refund on to customers. The total amount to be returned to customers through rate credits is $29 million.

 

These regulations effectively allow Aquarion to adopt an alternative to how capital expenditures are treated for income tax purposes. The Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority reviewed and approved Aquarion’s proposal before it was finalized.

 

Public Relations Manager Peter Fazekas says the company will continue to improve and maintain the integrity of the system's infrastructure.  He adds that customer should continue any conservation efforts because the overall water supply is still finite.

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Danbury Senior Resources website launched

The Danbury Aging in Place Council has launched a new website to help seniors.  Danbury Senior Resources, a first of its kind website, is designed to help seniors, their families and service providers.  The site has links to resources in Danbury such as home care and energy assistance, as well as federal resources like medicare and medicaid. 

 

Danbury Director of Elderly Services Susan Tomanio says the project was three years in the making.  Over 100 seniors, service providers Danbury officials gathered to launch the new site

 

Information and resources about Danbury's Department of Elderly Services, the Elmwood Hall Senior Center, and the Danbury Aging in Place Task Force can also be found on the site.  It was created by SandorMax: Integrated Marketing, Inspired Design out of Sandy Hook.

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DHS presented with $25K check for safe driving contest

Danbury High School has been presented with another "Celebrate My Drive" grant.  The students once again worked to raise awareness of the dangers of reckless and distracted driving.  They received $25,000 from State Farm Insurance Thursday for their effort.  DHS Principal Gary Bocaccio says the students were elated.

 

Danbury High School was one of the first place winners last year, but were ineligible to win the $100,000 grant two years in a row.  Bocaccio says he challenged the junior class to work just as hard to bring the top prize to Danbury next year. 

 

A group of students, teachers and others will meet soon to decide how to spend this year's winnings.

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Doctors propose more conditions be covered by medical marijuana

Doctors for Connecticut's medical marijuana program reportedly have recommended expanding the number of conditions that could have medical pot prescribed. 

 

There is a medical marijuana dispensary located in Bethel.  It's one of just 6 licensed by the state. 

 

Doctors have suggested that some chronic back pain conditions and sickle cell disease be added. Consumer protection officials and state lawmakers would have to approve the move.

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NY man arrested for throwing space heater at child

A New York man has been arrested for endangering the welfare of a child during an argument recently.  New York State Police were dispatched to a Dover home on a report of a disturbance and learned that 55-year old Antonio Angelucci of Carmel threw a space heater at a woman who was holding a 1-year old child.  Angelucci was arraigned and released without bond to reappear in the Town of Dover Court next Tuesday afternoon.

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Democrats back former Selectman to run in Brookfield special election

The special election for the 107th state House District of Brookfield, and parts of Bethel and Danbury is coming up soon, and the candidates names need to be sent to the Secretary of the State by tomorrow. 

 

Democrats held a convention Tuesday and selected former Brookfield Selectman Howard Lasser to run for the seat vacated by Republican David Scribner last week.  Lasser previously served on the town's Board of Finance, Charger Revision Committee and the Senior Citizen Tax Credit Committee.  He is currently leading the Brookfield Craft Center.  He also ran for the position of Brookfield First Selectman in 2013, but lost by less than 100 votes.

 

The Republicans are meeting tonight to select their candidate.  The special election is February 24th.

 

Scribner resigned the day he was set to be sworn in for his ninth term--in order to accept a position on the state Liquor Control Commission in the state Department of Consumer Protection.

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Man seen picking up a prostitute arrested for selling drugs

A Waterbury man has been arrested after police saw him pick up a prostitute in Danbury.  Police were patrolling the area of Foster and Bank Streets because of complaints about prostitution and illegal drug sales in the area.  Tuesday afternoon, officers saw a known prostitute enter the car of Bryan Montalvo.  He was then pulled over. 

 

There were drugs in plain view of police and a further search revealed a secret compartment that contained a large quantity of heroin and crack cocaine. 

 

Montalvo was charged with Possession of Narcotics, Possession of Narcotics with intent to sell, Possession of Narcotics within 1500’ of a School, Possession of Narcotics with intent to sell within 1500’ of a School, Possession of Crack Cocaine, Possession of Controled Substance, Possession of Controled Substance Within 1500’ of a School, Possession of Controled Substance  with intent to sell within 1500’ of a School and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

 

He was also charged for operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license.

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NY man arrested for alleged shoplifting in Newtown

A Queens New York man has been arrested for allegedly stealing from a drug store in Newtown.  The Newtown Bee reports that Walgreens on South Main Street called police last Wednesday afternoon about a man who set off alarms at the store for allegedly stealing items. 

 

The man, later determined to be 33-year old Morgan Owens, ran from store security, and was later seen by police hiding behind a fence at Newtown Country Club.  Police reportedly engaged in a short foot chase with Owens. 

 

He's been charged with 4th degree larceny for allegedly taking items valued at $1,200.  The Bee reports that it was 8 boxes of One Touch Blue Ultra diabetic test strips for blood glucose monitoring. 

 

Owens is set to be arraigned on the 20th.

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Roxbury First Selectman, legislative leader at odds over regionalization

The Council of Small Towns hosted an issues forum Wednesday.  Legislative leaders were on hand, and there was a heated exchange on one particular issue.  House Speaker Brendan Sharkey says more local government efficiency will be sought.

 

He said while the state should get out of the way of municipalities to create more efficiency, he doesn't think taxpayers should be in a position that perpetuates inefficiencies where they do occur.

 

Roxbury First Selectman Barbara Henry says towns have been surviving and clawing every day to regionalize expenses, and that it's wrong for leaders to make new demands.

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Car crashes into day care center in Ridgefield

A car crashed into a day care center in Ridgefield Wednesday.  The accident at the Apple Blossom facility on the Boehringer Ingelheim campus happened shortly before 1pm.  There were no injures reported to the driver or the children.  Ridgefield Fire Chief Kevin Tappe says a visitor accidentally stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake. 

 

The car broke a big glass window in the teacher's lounge.  There were no children in the area.  Three teachers were in the room at the time.  One was treated at the scene for debris in her eye.

 

The accident caused a bit of structural damage to the building, but Tappe says it wasn't enough to prompt an evacuation.  The facility was then boarded up.  The town building inspector will be on site Thursday to determine exactly how much damage was done.

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Firefighters from across Connecticut, New York fight blaze

CORNWALL, Conn. (AP) Firefighters from municipalities in Connecticut and as distant as Dover Plains, New York, have battled a massive fire for hours that destroyed two buildings, equipment and lumber in West Cornwall.

The fire at Northeast Building Supply Monday night and early Tuesday was fueled by lumber and wind. Firefighters came from Canaan, Cornwall, Dover Plains, Falls Village, Goshen, Kent, New Milford, Norfolk, Sharon, Sherman and Warren.

Firefighters also faced water shortages and below-freezing temperatures before extinguishing the 12-hour blaze. Firefighters used water from the nearby Housatonic River.

Town Fire Marshal Stanley MacMillan said no one was injured.

He said the cause has not been determined and the investigation is continuing.

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Local lawmaker appointed to Gun Violence Prevention Task Force

An area lawmaker will continue in her leadership role on the U.S. House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.  5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty will continue to serve as one of eleven vice chairs during this new session of Congress.  Esty says the scourge of gun violence is devastating communities while Congress has shamefully failed to act on common sense reforms.

 

The Task Force is calling for expanded background checks and stricter punishments for illegal gun trafficking and straw purchasing.  Esty says these proposals will protect the 2nd amendment rights of lawful gun owners, while keeping people safe.  She says children's safety doesn't have a "D" or an "R" after it and shouldn't be a partisan issue.

 

Many of the leaders of the task force represent districts marred by gun violence, including Aurora ,CO and Columbine, CO.

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Danbury Probate Judge sworn in for new term

Danbury's Probate Court Judge has been sworn into office for another term.  Judge Dianne Yamin was the first female to fill the position in Danbury and is the longest serving Probate Judge in the City's history.  She is entering her 25th year as Probate Judge.

 

She calls it an honor to serve the community in everything from weddings and adoptions to matters involving the mentally ill and intellectually disabled.

 

In addition to her responsibilities as a judge, Yamin also gives seminars to groups about the probate system.  She's held annual seminars at the senior center for years about what she does.  Over the years though, she's gotten more inquiries to learn more about the probate system.  Yamin has two seminars coming up: one to retired state employees, the other to a moms group at a church in New Fairfield.

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Redding police warning of pure heroin being sold in CT

The Connecticut Department of Public Health is warning area police departments about an unusually pure batch of heroin being sold in the state. 

 

Redding Police Chief Douglas Fuchs said in a press release that while every police officer in Redding carries Narcan kits, which can temporarily reverse the effects of an overdose, these drugs could be cut or mixed with other drugs against which Narcan is ineffective. 

 

Police say the drugs of concern are being packaged and sold under the names Power Hour, Strike Dead and Taliban.  Fuchs encouraged anyone with information about illegal drug sales in the community to contact police.

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Local lawmaker supports veteran help bill, now in the Senate

4th District Congressman Jim Himes has voted in favor of legislation to address the epidemic of suicide among veterans. Himes says each day, 22 of America’s veterans take their own lives and this bill will improve the accessibility and effectiveness of mental health care available to returning heroes. 

 

The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act would establish a new peer support and community outreach pilot program for transitioning service members, among other initiatives. 

 

The bill, which passed the House of Representatives Monday, has been reintroduced in the Senate by Richard Blumenthal and John McCain.  It now moves to the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs for consideration.  The Act failed to win passage in the Senate last year by one vote. That lone senator, Tom Coburn, has retired.

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Brookfield officials outline 2015 priorities

Brookfield's First Selectman has outlined his priorities for the coming year.  Bill Tinsley says among the projects he'd like to see accomplished are finishing the Parks Revitalization Project on the lake side of the road, starting construction of the Still River Greenway and funds approved for the flooding fix in the Meadowbrook Manor section of town. 

 

Tinsley says he'd also like to complete a new Plan of Conservation and Development since the last one in Brookfield was done in 2002. 

 

The First Selectman says he also wants to reach a community consensus when it comes to Library facilities, there's been efforts recently to expand.  There has also been some opposition.

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Garner inmate hits cell mate, charged with assault

State police say an inmate at the high security prison in Newtown assaulted his cellmate last weekend.  Correction officers at Garner Correctional Institution witnessed 42-year old George Montanez strike the 25-year old in the chest and face last Sunday. 

 

State Police charged Montanez with 3rd degree assault.  He was arraigned the following day in Danbury Superior Court.  Montanez was sent back to Garner for a court appearance on the 20th. 

 

He was in the prison originally on a 1st degree assault  conviction which resulted in a 7 year sentence.

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Newtown victims' families sue town, school board

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Families of two of the 20 children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting are suing the town of Newtown and its school board.

The suit served on the town on Friday alleges security measures at the school were not adequate.

The lawsuit says classroom doors could only be locked from the outside with keys, leaving teachers vulnerable to intruders. The suit also says the front of the school didn't have security glass to protect against gunshots.

The plaintiffs are the parents of slain children Jesse Lewis and Noah Pozner.

Town Attorney David Grogins declined to comment on Monday.

 

The Hartford Courant reports the lawsuit alleges that substitute teacher Lauren Rousseau, who was also killed on 12-14, wasn't given a key to lock the door and wasn't told of the school's security protocols.  All but one girl in the classroom were killed.  The lawsuit erroneously names the school principal as Sandy Gombos. The text of the lawsuit also erroneously names the school superintendent.

 

Norwalk attorney Donald Papcsy, who is representing the families and is a Sandy Hook resident, released a statement Monday afternoon.  He said they "hope the town will work with these families, who have already suffered, and continue to suffer, unimaginable loss, to help resolve this matter in the most efficient and constructive way possible."

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Judge postpones sentencing of former congressional candidate

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) A federal judge has postponed the sentencing of former Republican congressional candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley in the campaign finance scandal that also led to the conviction of former Connecticut Gov. John Rowland.

Wilson-Foley and her husband pleaded guilty last March to conspiring to hide $35,000 they paid the former Republican governor for help with Wilson-Foley's 2012 campaign in the state's 5th District.

Wilson-Foley had been scheduled for sentencing on Tuesday, but Judge Janet Bond Arterton has agreed to push that back until next Friday.

Arterton sentenced Brian Foley on Friday to three years of probation, including three months in a halfway house, for his role in the conspiracy.

Prosecutors are requesting a 10-month prison sentence for Wilson-Foley, who unlike her husband, did not testify against Rowland.

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GOP nominating convention soon for 107th state House seat

Things are moving quickly in Brookfield to name a successor to state Representative David Scribner.  Governor Malloy announced on Friday that a special election would be held February 24th to replace the Republican he named to a post in the Consumer Protection Department.  That means candidates names have to be sent to the Secretary of the State's office by this Friday. 

 

Republican convention temporary chairman Robert Belden says he anticipates there will be between three and seven candidates.

 

A meet and greet event will be held Wednesday, and the nomination will be made Thursday.  Both events will be at 7pm at Golf Quest.  The public is invited to both events. 

 

Any Republican interested in running for the open seat should contact Robert Belden at 203-240-1345.

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State approves money for YMCA purchase, War Memorial updates

Nearly $3.8 million dollars has been approved by the state for the Danbury Community Facility Collaboration.  The Bond Commission Monday approved funding three projects by the group of non-profits.  Most of the money, $2.5 million, is to purchase the former Boughton Street YMCA building and turn it into a community center.  Connecticut Institute for Communities CEO Jim Maloney says Danbury is the largest city in the state without a Boys and Girls Club. 

 

$800,000 grant-in-aid funding has been approved for the Connecticut Institute for Communities to assist with renovations for seven head start classrooms at the Head Start of Northern Fairfield County facility at 29 Park Avenue in Danbury.

 

$498,000 grant-in-aid funding has been approved for the Danbury War Memorial to assist with renovations and improvements to the building.  The improvements include upgrades to the gymnasium and fitness center, relocation of the main entrance and lobby, security improvements, refurbishment of three early childhood classrooms and other miscellaneous renovations.

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Some state bond money is coming to Danbury, a Monroe company

Several million dollars in bond money is being allocated to the Judicial Department for improvements at buildings and grounds.  All of the projects will create or retain 46 construction jobs in the state.  $100,000 dollars in bond money was approved Monday to design a retaining wall at the Danbury Superior Court House on White Street.  $150,000 has been approved for Remote Terminal Unit relocation and roofing repairs at Danbury Juvenile Court. 

 

$556,000 has also been approved in state Department of Public Health grant in aid funding for the Connecticut Institute for Communities in Danbury.  The money will be used for new computer hardware and software.

 

A Monroe company is among those benefitting from the state Department of Economic and Community Development's Manufacturing Assistance Act.  Among the projects is one by Northeast Laser Engraving, Inc at its new facility in Monroe.  The company will be buying machinery, equipment and making other improvements.  The estimated cost is $1.85 million, with the company contributing $1.15 million. 

 

The state bond commission approved the remaining $700,000 loan at an interest rate of 2-percent for ten years. The company will be eligible for $200,000 in loan forgiveness if it meets certain job retention and creation goals.

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NY man tased, arrested after police chase

A New York man has been arrested in New Milford following a short police chase, confrontation with officers and a stand off at Faith Church.  The Newstimes reports that police were called Saturday afternoon about an erratic driver on Kent Road headed into New Milford. 

 

Officers spotted the vehicle, driven by 30-year old Bryan Morfea of Dover Plains, pulled him over and he refused to cooperate.  He then drove off.  Morfea's vehicle was seen at Faith Church, and the building was put in lockdown. 

 

New Milford Police, with the help of state troopers and Brookfield officers, searched the building and found the man.  He resisted arrest and was tasered.  Morfea sustained minor injuries and was eventually transported to Danbury Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. 

 

He was charged with disorderly conduct, engaging in pursuit, interfering with an officer and reckless driving.  Morfea will be back in court on the 20th.

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Legislature may mull data exemption for UConn Foundation

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) State lawmakers may take another look at the University of Connecticut Foundation's exemption from the state Freedom of Information Act.

The Journal Inquirer reports state Representative Roberta Willis, co-chairwoman of the legislature's Higher Education and Employment Committee, said more needs to be known about the foundation's finances. It's the fundraising organization of the state's flagship university.

The foundation drew questions over a large increase in its contribution to UConn President Susan Herbst's salary and a speaking fee to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Willis, a Salisbury Democrat whose district also includes the Kent area, said one measure could require the foundation to publicly disclose expenses.

UConn Foundation spokesman Derek Slap said it opposes any changes that could limit fundraising. He says donors must have confidence their personal information will not become public.

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One person injured in weekend fire in Danbury

The Danbury Fire Department responded to a Structure Fire at 7 Oak Ridge Avenue Sunday night to find the attached garage fully charge with smoke.  Department officials say firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the blaze around 10pm.

 

No firefighters were injured.  One person was taken to the hospital with burns to their hands and minor smoke inhalation.

 

Neighbors had alerted homeowners to the fire.  Department spokesman Steven Rogers says firefighters were able to get to the scene quickly because of the warning, and hold the fire to the garage.  Firefighters were able to prevent the fire from extending into the house.

 

The blaze is under investigation.

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Danbury overflow shelter seeks volunteers

Danbury's homeless shelters are very crowded due to the bitter cold temperatures. The overflow shelter at the First Congregational Church on Deer Hill Avenue is in urgent need of volunteers to help.

Volunteer organizer Kathy Bardes says there will be a brief orientation Tuesday night for those who volunteer to help.  Bardes says the orientation is a short program just to acquaint the volunteers with the shelter.  

 

The shelter specifically needs males over age 21 to stay overnight from 9pm to 6:30 PM. Women can also volunteer, but they will be paired with a male volunteer to oversee the shelter.

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Seymour man sentenced for failing to report income

A Seymour man has been sentenced for filing a false tax return.  57-year old Michael Vasaturo was ordered Friday to serve two years probation, perform 100 hours of community service and pay a $16,000 fine. 

 

Vasaturo was a business executive who reportedly earned a $132,500 supplemental income from the sale of copper to a scrap metal dealer.  He failed to report that income on his 2007 federal income tax return.  Vasaturo previously paid the IRS about $81,000 for the taxes, plus interest and penalties. 

 

He agreed to forfeit an additional $144,000 in cash that he admits having "structured" into his bank account to avoid federal cash transaction reporting requirements.  He pleaded guilty in August to filing a false tax return.

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Ridgefield Police to offer free car seat installation

The Ridgefield Police Department now has three officers who are nationally certified child passenger safety technicians.  Spokesman Captain Jeff Kreitz says that means they can offer a program to help parents install car seats in their vehicles.

 

The three officers attended a four day class where they trained for nine hours a day in the classroom.  There was also hands on training.

 

The trained officers will determine the appointment dates based on call volume.  Ridgefield Police say 7 out of 10 car seats are installed incorrectly. 

 

People needing a car seat installed can contact the Ridgefield Police Department at 203-438-6531 to set up an appointment.  The service is free of charge.

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Danbury Library hosts AARP fraud prevention seminar

A presentation has been held at Danbury Library about a new Fraud Watch Network.  The presentation was given by AARP volunteer Tia Murphy.  She says the focus was on how to outsmart scammers and ID thieves before they strike, con artists latest tricks, and how to report fraud.  Murphy says there's something new in the state called the Elder Justice Coalition, which is working to educate all age groups.

 

Murphy says someone is defrauded every two seconds, but that's based on what is reported.  The incidents of crime may be much greater than that.  Murphy says it's not always financial loss, it could be complete identity theft.

 

Murphy says the more information scammers get from you, the more money they can bilk you out of.  Murphy says one of the things that con artists rely on is that people will try to hide it.  She says they also tend to go back to that victim over and over again once they get what they are after.

 

AARP now has “Watchdog Alerts” that people can register for that detail the latest scams that are circulating.

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Teen club owner charged with running Ponzi scheme

A teenage club owner in Danbury has been charged with running a Ponzi scheme and defrauding 15 people out of nearly $500,000.  19-year old Ian Bick was arrested Friday morning for fraud, money laundering and making false statements. 

 

U.S. Attorney spokesman Tom Carson says Bick solicited investments from friends, former classmates and their parents by promising high returns in a short time.  He told some victim investors that he would use their money to buy electronics to resell on the internet or to organize and promote various concerts. 

 

The indictment alleges that Bick instead used the money for hotel stays and jet skis.  During an interview last summer with U-S Postal Inspection Service agents , Bick allegedly falsely stated that "70 to 80 percent of the money had been on 'artist deposits'," when only a minimal portion, at most, of the invested funds that one person made with Planet Youth Entertainment LLC had been used in any way connected with any artist deposits. 

 

Bick was a principal and/or managing member of various Danbury-based entities, including This Is Where It’s At Entertainment, LLC, Planet Youth Entertainment, W&B Wholesale, LLC, and W&B Investments, LLC.

 

Bick pleaded not guilty and was released on $250,000 bond.  He was ordered not to have any contact with his victims and not to use social media.  Each of the 11 wire fraud counts carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.  The three counts of money laundering carry a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years on each count, and the false statement charge carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years.

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Newtown Selectmen recommend gunman's home be demolished

The Newtown Board of Selectmen is recommending to the Legislative Council that the Yogananda Street home of the Sandy Hook gunman be demolished.  According to minutes of the Board meeting this week, officials said there was significant outreach to those most effected by 12-14, with varying responses.  Most felt the house should be demolished and land left undeveloped. 

 

First Selectman Pat Llodra proposed that if the land is eventually sold for redevelopment, any profit revert back to the families or be put in a mental health fund.  She said if many years in the future the property is sold, the money should not go into the town's coffers. 

 

The Sandy Hook Insurance Recovery Fund was created to account for proceeds received from building and business insurance after 12-14, and could be used for the demolition. 

 

No other action was taken by the Board on Monday.

 

The appraised value of the 3,162-square-foot home was $523,620.

 

Bill LaCalamito, senior vice president at Hudson City Savings Bank, said when the house was deeded to Newtown that there was some work done on the house. For example, the bank had the house stripped of rugs, furniture, lighting fixtures and other effects and incinerated the belongings.

 

The bank also paid for new locks, repaired or replaced doors that were "compromised" by police who entered the house in the immediate aftermath of the Dec. 14, 2012, shootings, installed a security system and hired a landscaper to maintain the property.

 

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Key player in Rowland conspiracy case sentenced to probation

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut businessman who admitted conspiring to hide payments from his wife's congressional campaign to former Gov. John G. Rowland has been sentenced to three years' probation, including three months in a halfway house.

Brian Foley and his wife, Republican Lisa Wilson-Foley, pleaded guilty last March to conspiring with Rowland to hide his work on Wilson-Foley's 2012 campaign for the Republican nomination in Connecticut's Fifth District, where Rowland served for three terms in the 1980s.

Foley provided key testimony that helped convict Rowland of seven federal counts in September. Foley said he hid $35,000 in campaign payments in a contract for Rowland to consult with Foley's nursing home company.

Judge Janet Bond Arterton gave Foley credit for his cooperation, but said there needed to be consequences.

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Traffic violations end with DWI arrests in NY

Speeding has landed a Carmel man under arrest for drunk driving.  New York State Police saw 27-year old Lucas Gilchrist driving more than 80 miles and hour on Interstate 84 on January 2nd.  When he was pulled over, a field sobriety test revealed Gilchrist had a blood alcohol content level three times the legal limit. 

 

He was charged with felony Aggravated DWI.  He was also issued a traffic ticket and ordered to appear in Southeast town court on the 15th. 

 

Meanwhile on Sunday, New York State Police stopped a Fairfield man for speeding on Route 20.  48-year old Todd McGarvey was also charged with driving while intoxicated and ordered to appear in court on the 15th. 

 

A routine traffic stop has led to bigger problems for a New York woman who doesn't have a valid license.  Putnam County Sheriff deputies saw 27-year old Danielle Shaw of Southeast commit a traffic violation in Brewster early Wednesday morning.  Deputies determined that Shaw had a suspended license and a suspended vehicle registration. 

 

She was charged with misdemeanors and released on a written promise to appear in Southeast Town Court on the 26th.

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Neighbor complaints of drug sales lead to arrest of Danbury man

Neighbor complaints about suspected drug sales in Danbury have led to the arrest of a city man.  Police started an investigation several weeks ago of Joseph Dlubac, who lives in an apartment on Nabby Road.  Officers determined that the man was participating in activity consistent with drug trafficking.  Police Spokesman Lt Christian Carroccio says search warrants were then sought and granted.

 

On Thursday night, the 47-year old Dlubac's vehicle was seen in a private parking lot.  He and the car were then taken to his apartment for searches.  A substantial quantity of cocaine, some packaged for sale, along with drug paraphernalia and money was found. 

 

Dlubac was charged with possession of narcotics, possession with intent to sell, possession within 1,500 feet of a daycare, possession with intent to sell within 1,500 feet of a daycare and possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

Dlubac was arraigned and is being held on $75,000 bond.  He is due back in Danbury Superior Court on the 30th.

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Ice skating returns to Rogers Park

Free ice skating has returned to Rogers Park in Danbury.  There was about a decade when skating didn't happen because the City renovated and preserved the pond in its natural state.  A skating rink was purchased in 2010.  During the City Council meeting this week, Mayor Mark Boughton commended the Parks and Rec Director and also the Public Works Director for their work in getting the rink set up again.

 

There are some rules, including that everyone on the ice must wear skates.  People must bring their own skates.  There is no hockey, sleds, bikes or pets allowed on the ice.  It's open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 4pm to 8:30pm during the winter, weather permitting.

 

Signs will be in place if there are hazardous conditions.

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UPDATED: New Milford, Brookfield teens found safe

A Silver Alert has been cancelled for a missing teen in New Milford.  State Police issued the alert for 16 year old Madeline Ellen Baldwick, who was reported missing on Wednesday.

The Silver Alert for missing Brookfield teen Emma Weis was cancelled Thursday.  She was found safe after 3 days, though Brookfield Police did not elaborate.

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Newtown Prevention Council, schools, police partner for parent workshop

A presentation has been given to Newtown parents about teen substance abuse.  The Narcotics Enforcement Officers Association partnered with the Newtown Prevention Council, the schools and police department for Thursday's workshop.  Police Chief Michael Kehoe says the presentation focused on more familiar drugs, pharmaceuticals and some of the newer designer drugs.

 

Parents were told about symptoms of various drug use, how to identify a variety of narcotics and how these drugs are being concealed.

 

Kehoe says there's been a rise in the use of heroin or opiates.  Many first responders are now carrying NARCAN kits, which can temporarily reverse the effects of an overdose.

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Man in court for alleged theft from elderly hospice patient

Wilton Police have arrested a Bridgeport man for allegedly stealing from an elderly man he cared for at the Greens at Cannondale hospice facility.  Wilton Police say 27-year old Joshimar Craig Russell was arrested December 30th during a routine traffic stop in Fairfield. 

 

Officers found the outstanding warrant on larceny, forgery, false statement, felony larceny and felony identity theft charges. 

 

Police say the elderly man was physically and mentally incapable of writing checks, and that Russell allegedly stole three checks depositing two of them worth $3,000 in his own bank account.  Police allege he tried to deposit the third, but the bank put a freeze on the man's account. 

 

Russell worked for a Greens at Cannondale subcontractor based out of Westport.  Police say his story about being asked to do roof work on the man's New Jersey home was proved false when officials learned that the house was sold several years before.

 

He was released on bond for a court appearance today.

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Bethel's Registrars retire with party, successors sworn in

Bethel's two Registrars of Voters have been honored at a retirement party.  Mary Legnard and Mary O'Leary were surprised by current and former town employees with a party at the Senior Center on Tuesday.  The two Marys, both in their 70s, did not seek reelection.  Legnard was first elected in 1981 while O'Leary became Registrar in 1997.  They were presented with a proclamation from First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker for their work.  The new Registrars, Nancy Ryan and Timothy Beeble, were also sworn in to office that afternoon.

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Smoke conditions reported at Danbury business

The State Departments of Health and of Environmental Protection are investigating a chemical accident in Danbury.  Fire Department spokesman Steven Rogers says one worker at 50 Beaver Brook Road was mixing chemicals Thursday morning, when the wrong amounts were mixed.

 

Rogers says there are no expected exposure worries with regard to health, property or environment.

 

No firefighters suffered any injuries in their response, though a worker reportedly was treated for smoke inhalation.

 

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Danbury appoints new Deputy Fire Marshal

A Danbury firefighter has been promoted to Fire Inspector and Deputy Fire Marshal.  Firefighter Jonathan DeJoseph started his career in Danbury in 2007.  City Councilman Warren Levy is also a member of the King Street Volunteer Department, and said Tuesday night that it's an honor to take part in the promotion of a fellow member.

 

(DeJoseph, Mayor Mark Boughton, Fire Chief TJ Wiedl and Town Clerk Lori Kaback)

 

DeJoseph is a member of the Fire Extinguisher Evaluation Team, the Firefighter Recruitment Team and the High School Mock Crash Team.  He is a lead instructor for the Danbury Firefighter 1 Certification Class.

 

DeJoseph holds a Masters of Fire Science Degree, with a concentration in Fire and Arson Investigation.  He has a Bachelor Degree in Criminal Justice/Criminology.

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Group founded by local man raises enough to cover slain NYPD mortgages

A charity created in part by a New Fairfield man after 9/11 has been joined by the families of the two slain New York police officers to officially announce that the group raised enough money to pay off their home mortgages.  The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, named for former First Selectman John Hodge's cousin, raised $860,000 in donations.  Hodge says they estimated the need at $800,000.  More than 10,000 people donated to the cause and came from as far away as Australia.

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Danbury lawmaker appointed to head national committee

Connecticut Deputy House Speaker Bob Godfrey, who was sworn into office for another term today, has been named chair of The Council of State Governments' Intergovernmental Affairs Committee for 2015.  The group was founded in 1933 and is our nation's only organization serving all three branches of state government.  State policymakers from throughout the country serve on various CSG public policy committees.

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Area lawmakers react to Gov.'s State of the State address

Area officials are reacting to Governor Dannel Malloy's State of the State address, which he delivered yesterday shortly after being sworn in for a second term.  Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton says he wishes Malloy a good four years, because as well as he performs is how well the state will perform.  Boughton says he hopes to work with the Governor for the betterment of the City.

 

Former Danbury State Senator David Cappiello appeared on CT-N and said Malloy did not have an easy first term. 

 

He cited having to deal with the state employee unions, some natural disasters and the tragedy at Sandy Hook.  Cappiello says that's a lot for any governor, let alone a first term governor.  But Malloy also said the budget deficits were something he inherited.  Cappiello says now that Malloy has been governor for four years, he has to own the budget.

 

Cappiello notes that Malloy won the election by a bigger difference than last time.  Whether he agrees or disagrees with the agenda, Cappiello says he likes that Malloy has an agenda and doesn't shy away from pushing it forward.

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Greater Danbury towns open warming centers

The bitter cold temperatures has prompted some towns to open warming centers. Greater Danbury area residents are being urged to prepare for this cold snap, to protect pets and to check on any elderly or frail neighbors to be certain they are doing OK in this weather. 

 

Newtown is opening some buildings for people needing relief from the cold.  The Municipal Center, located at Fairfield Hills, is open as a warming center, and will remain open through evening hours, closing at 9:30pm.  The Newtown Senior Center and CH Booth Library are also open during normal business hours for those needing relief from the cold.

 

In Brookfield, the Senior Center will be made available for sheltering purposes. 

 

Danbury has a warming site open from 11am to 5pm.  It's a heated Hart Bus located in front of 198 Main Street.

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Rep. Scribner resigns from House, joins state commission

State Representative David Scribner has submitted his resignation to the Secretary of the State's office, effective at the close of business Tuesday.   Scribner won re-election to the Connecticut General Assembly, yet by resigning as of yesterday he will not be sworn into his new term when the 2015 session convened today.  The vacancy in the 107th district of Brookfield and parts of Danbury and Bethel occurs as of today.  Scribner is taking a job in the Liquor Control Commission. 

 

Scribner, who was recently re-elected to his house seat representing the 107th District, was first elected in a special election in 1999.

 

“I have cherished every moment of my service in the State House of Representatives, and I can’t overstate  how much it has meant to me to have been entrusted by the residents of the 107th District over the years to represent them in Hartford.  I thank the Governor for his faith in me for this new post.  I am looking forward to the new set of challenges that will accompany my new responsibilities, and I am grateful for this opportunity to continue my public service in a new and exciting way.”

 

According to Connecticut election laws, Governor Dannel Malloy has until January 17th to issue a Writ of Special Election setting a date for a special election to choose a successor.  That special election must be held in the 107th district 46 days after the writ is issued.

 

According to Connecticut state law, major parties have until 36 days prior to the special election to endorse candidates.  Petitioning candidates have eight days after the Writ of Special Election is issued to turn in signatures to get on the ballot.

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Danbury police seek funding for new riot gear

The Danbury Police Department is looking to purchase new riot gear. 

 

During mobilization for a post-Ferguson demonstration planned at the Danbury Mall on Black Friday, it was discovered that the riot helmets had become unserviceable since their last use.  Police Chief Al Baker says the liners have deteriorated to the point where there is no liner.

 

The discovery came from routine planning for the demonstration, which didn't pan out.  Baker says they are fortunate that the demonstration did not occur.

 

The Police Department made a special request to the City Council of an emergency appropriation to buy 175 helmets.  The Police Department is getting three quotes, but the appropriation should not exceed $35,000.  Each helmet costs approximately $200.  Each helmet will come with a carrying case.  Part of the expenditure will also be to update shields for crowd control and other related equipment.

 

The riot gear helmets are 30 years old. They are not used frequently, and haven't been used in the 10 years that Baker has been in the Danbury Department.  This $35,000 is not available in the Police Department 's budget.

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Regional planning group sets out legislative agenda

The region's top legislative priorities for 2015 have been discussed by area mayor's and first selectmen.  The recently formed Western Connecticut Council of Governments have met to discuss what they see as the issues that need the most attention in the coming year.  Their meeting in Ridgefield marked the first time the group of 18 municipalities in Fairfield and Litchfield Counties have worked together in the merged planning agency. 

 

WestCoG chairman, Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says actions the General Assembly could take to improve transportation and allow municipalities to function better was presented to state legislators.  They included upgrades to the Danbury and New Canaan branches of Metro North that would allow faster and more frequent service.

 

Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi noted that the existing prevailing wage rules added significantly to the cost of projects funded through private donations to the town. 

 

Sherman First Selectman Clay Cope explained the importance of state aid to municipal budgets. 

 

An affordable housing appeals procedure used by developers to supersede local zoning regulations drew the rebuke of several First Selectmen.  Darien's Jayme Stevenson suggested that “predator developers” were abusing this appeals procedure, known as “8-30g”, and that most of these developers had no real interest in producing affordable housing.

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NY man arrested for breaking in, stealing copper pipes from summer homes

New charges have been filed against a New York man previously accused of burglarizing from seasonal homes.  The Putnam County Sheriff's Office received a number of reports of homes being broken into early last year.  Their investigation led to 40-year old Irving Baisley of Putnam Valley. 

 

He was arrested in June on two counts of burglary.  The investigation continued and Baisley was charged December 23rd with four more counts of burglary and five counts of criminal mischief.  Those were all felony crimes.  He is accused of breaking into the unoccupied homes, dismantling copper plumbing pipes and stealing them. 

 

Baisley was arraigned in Carmel Town Court and ordered held at the Putnam County Correctional Facility for a future court appearance.

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Danbury man found naked, bleeding in closet

A Danbury man has been arrested on criminal mischief and other charges after a fight with the mother of his child.  Officers patrolling Osborne Street heard arguing Sunday and spoke with the couple arguing in the street.  After that, things escalated when the woman called police a few minutes later to report that she was afraid of 26-year old Cordero Callands and lied when she said everything was ok. 

 

Police found a broken window at the woman's home.

 

During their search, found Callands naked and bleeding in her closet.  Callands also faces charges of breach of peace, burglary and threatening. 

 

He is being held on bond for a February 17th appearance in Danbury Superior Court.

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Area lawmaker hopes for bipartisanship in new Congress

Lawmakers return to Washington Tuesday to open the 114th session of Congress with more than 70 new faces and Republicans in control of both the House and Senate. Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal says his primary legislative priority is trying to get approval for a measure aimed at helping prevent military veteran suicides.  4th District Representative Jim Himes, says he chose to wear a red and blue striped tie for his swearing in hoping for a term of cooperation, functionality and bipartisanship.

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Prosecutors defend motives for prosecuting Rowland case

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) Federal prosecutors are defending their motives for prosecuting the conspiracy case against former Gov. John Rowland and former Republican congressional candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley.

Wilson-Foley's attorneys have argued that hiding payments for Rowland's work on her 2012 campaign was a ``record-keeping'' violation that could have been handled in a civil enforcement by the Federal Election Commission.

In a pre-sentencing memo last week they suggested the criminal prosecution was driven by sensationalism due to the involvement of Rowland, and the government's dissatisfaction with the sentence the former Republican governor served in his 2004 corruption case.

Prosecutors responded in a filing Tuesday, denying they were on a ``blind pursuit'' of Rowland, and arguing that if elected Wilson-Foley would have taken office ``as a criminal who had won election by criminal means.''

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Ct. Hospital Errors Rose in 2013

A new study reveals that  Connecticut hospitals reported record numbers of patients killed or seriously injured by hospital errors in 2013, with large increases in the numbers of falls, medication mistakes and perforations during surgical procedures. 

 

Some of the state's largest hospitals reported the highest numbers of serious errors: Yale-New Haven Hospital had 94, Hartford Hospital had 68. 

When calculated in terms of patient volume, New Milford Hospital had the highest error rate, with 78 adverse events per 100,000 patient days, followed by Danbury Hospital, with 62 adverse events per 100,000 patient days.

The  Western Connecticut Health Network responds by saying  says it sets quality and safety performance targets to ensure that their outcomes are comparable to the best in the country.

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Brookfiled Construction Worker Hurt On Job

In Brookfield .. the state Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports sending a compliance officer to the scene of a construction accident in which a worker was injured yesterday about 3:30 p.m.. No further details were available.

The site is at 388-414 Federal Road in Brookfield. That is the site of construction of incentive housing by BRT Development.

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Danbury man due in court for breaking into ex-girlfriend's home

A Danbury man is due in court today for breaking into his ex-girlfriend's home.

 

Newtown police were called to an Eden Hill Road home on December 11th on a report of a break in.  Police say 25-year old Abner Soares of Danbury smashed a window at his ex-girlfriend's house and smashed a glass coffee table with a baseball bat once inside.  There were four people home at the time, no one was injured. 

 

Soares fled the scene, and was caught a short time later by Danbury Police. 

 

Soares was charged with burglary, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, reckless endangerment and threatening.  He was initially held on $50,000 bond for arraignment, which was reduced to $25,000.  He was released for an appearance in Danbury Superior Court today.

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WCSU professor weighs in on 'Torture Report', subsequent proposals

The outgoing chairman of the Senate intelligence committee is urging a legal ban on torture and other policy and legislative changes to ensure that the U.S. government never again mistreats detainees.  Western Connecticut State University political science professor Chris Kukk, a former Counter Intellegence Officer, previously said that there is no difference between "torture" and "enhanced interrogation techniques".

 

Kukk says in the past, when this type of information was buried, all of the laws had to be rewritten because the country waited too long to find out what was done wrong. 

 

He says throughout human history, these types of techniques don't work.  The 525-page executive summary cited the CIA's own documents in finding that the agency's interrogation program was more brutal than previously understood but failed to produce crucial intelligence. 

 

California Senator Diane Feinstein's proposals come amid polls showing that a majority of Americans believe harsh CIA interrogations after the 9/11 attacks were justified.

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Newtown man fights brother, lands under arrest

A Newtown man has been arrested on a number of charges after a fight with his brother.  Danbury Police say 20-year old Patrick Capozziello and his brother were fighting inside Plasma club on Ives Street Saturday afternoon and both were escorted out by the bouncer.  Police say the pair continued to fight in the nearby Firestone parking lot.  When officers tried to break up the fight, Capozziello fought with them as well.  Police say he's now been charged with assault, breach of peace, interfering with an officer and possession of marijuana.

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Driver falls asleep, causes accident

A highway crash early Sunday night was caused by a drowsy driver.  State Police say 23-year old Elliot Grom of New Fairfield fell asleep while driving on Interstate-84 eastbound by exit 4.  Police say he was in the left lane, the car drifted left into the median, waking the man--who then swerved.  Police say Grom went up an embankment on the right side and his car rolled on to the roof in the right lane.  Grom was uninjured and refused medical attention.  He was charged with failure to drive in the established lane.

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Judge postpones Rowland sentencing due to evidence concern

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) A federal judge has delayed the sentencing of former Connecticut Gov. John Rowland in a campaign fraud case because of defense lawyers' concerns about some evidence.

U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven on Monday postponed Rowland's sentencing, which was scheduled for Wednesday. A new sentencing date wasn't immediately released.

Rowland was convicted in September of conspiring to hide payments for work he did on the failed 2012 5th congressional district campaign of Lisa Wilson-Foley, through a phony contract with a nursing home business owned by her husband, Brian Foley.

Rowland's lawyer, Reid Weingarten, asked for the delay, telling Arterton he didn't know that Brian Foley told his wife that a law firm signed off on the deal with Rowland.

Rowland potentially faces more than three years in prison.

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Danbury Man Arrested After Allegeldy Taking over 1,800 Dollars Worth of Handbags

A 20 year-old Danbury man is being held by New Milford Police on a larceny charge after allegedly taking over $1,800 dollars  worth of handbags Friday at TJ MAXX on Danbury Road..

Andres Cortes, of Division Street,  was arrested after attempting to take the handbags.  He was held by store security until police arrived.

An Asian woman was seen taking handbags with Cortes ..she left the store and drove off. 

Cortes is being held on $5,000 bond . He will be in  Superior Court in Bantam today.

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A New Jersey Real Housewife has gone to Danbury Federal Prison

DANBURY, Conn. (AP) One of New Jersey's ``Real Housewives'' has gone to the big house.

An attorney representing Teresa Giudice says the star of ``Real Housewives of New Jersey'' reported to federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut, on Monday morning to begin serving a 15-month sentence for bankruptcy fraud.

James Leonard says Giudice was anxious to ``get this nightmare behind her'' so she can return home to her family.

Her husband, Giuseppe ``Joe'' Giudice, will start his 41-month sentence on similar charges when Teresa Giudice is released. The couple has four daughters.

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Condo development with affordable housing proposed in Danbury

A committee of the Danbury City Council is looking into the possibility of a condo development on Triangle Street.  The group met ahead of tomorrow's Council meeting to discuss a contract between Senuna Realty and Danbury for an affordable housing unit at the proposed Hatter's Dale condo development. 

 

Triangle Street is zoned for six units, but the Danbury Planning Commission has granted special exception approval to build eight.  One extra density bonus unit is allowed because one extra unit will be deed restricted as affordable.

 

Zoning regulations require the City Council to approve the contract with sales and rental prices.

 

This unit must be deed restricted as affordable housing for the next 40 years.

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YMCA location chosen for pilot program

A Regional YMCA facility in Bethel has been chosen as a pilot program site to help students in math.  The Y's Children Center will be one of four Khan Academy pilot programs in Fairfield County.  School-age director at the Center, Michelle Burbage says Khan Academy offers online mini lectures, practice problems and educational tools to both students and educators.

 

At the end of the pilot study, surveys will assess students’ attitudes toward math and the pilot’s impact on program staff, students, parents and in-school teachers.  The Fairfield County’s Community Foundation and the Connecticut After School Network are partnering with Khan Academy and the YMCA in this effort.

 

Burbage says they will be given the tools and training needed to incorporate more online educational resources into afterschool programming focused specifically on mathematics.  Burbage says skills learned early in life are vital building blocks for future academic and personal success.

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Brookfield road closure due to development project

There's a road closure planned for the next two days in Brookfield. 

 

Brookfield Police say Laurel Hill Road will be closed to through traffic from 7am to 5pm both today and tomorrow.  This is being done so that Dakota Partners can set the units for Building #2 in their three building project.  The 72 unit development known as Residences at Laurel Hill features modular units, which will be staged and set by a crane. 

 

Brookfield police say the road is being closed to make things safer along the roadway and at the construction site.  The closure is from Old Route 7 to Station Road.  While school busses, emergency vehicles and US Postal vehicles may pass through the construction site, Brookfield Police caution that they may have to stop and wait for any on-road activity taking place to clear. 

 

The complex is one of the first residential projects approved as part of the Four Corners revitalization.  The plan calls for a mix of residential, retail and dining in a pedestrian-friendly area.

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New Milford teen threatens police, arrested for criminal mischief

New Milford Police have arrested a teen in an incident that resulted in one officer being injured.  Police were called to an apartment on Housatonic Avenue around 10 o'clock Friday morning on a report of an emotionally disturbed intoxicated person with a firearm. 

 

19-year old Jeremy Gibb surrendered to police with what appeared to be a handgun on him, and continued to display unstable behavior and he had to be subdued.  The weapon turned out to be a BB pistol.  One officer reportedly suffered a knee injury during the struggle. 

 

Police say Gibb spit at officers and asked them multiple times to shoot him. 

 

He was transported to New Milford Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. 

 

A pellet rifle, that also looked like a real rifle, was found during a search of the teen's house.  Police say he faces charges of breach of peace, threatening, assaulting a public safety officer and criminal mischief. 

 

He is being held on $50,000 bond for arraignment in Bantam Superior Court.

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Firefighters extinguish pickup truck blaze

Danbury firefighters quickly extinguished a fully involved car fire around noon Friday.  The incident happened in a driveway on Stone Street.  Deputy Fire Chief Bernie Meehan says they received a number of 911 calls because a lot of smoke could be seen at the house on a high hill near City Center.

 

The pickup truck was burning under a grape vine trellis and part of the garage.  The pickup truck was destroyed.  Part of the trellis and the home were damaged.

 

(Photo courtesy: Local 801)

 

The residents were home at the time.  There were no reported injuries.  The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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Newtown delegation set to tackle economic issues in new session

Inauguration Day is coming up soon for Governor Dannel Malloy as he gets set to start a second term.  State lawmakers will also be sworn into office for a new legislative session.  Among them is freshman lawmaker Representative-elect JP Sredzinski.  He is succeeding DebraLee Hovey in the 112th district of Newtown and Monroe.  He says although he has big shoes to fill, he looks forward to working with the Republican caucus and the entire legislature.

 

Sredzinski says the big goal is the budget, saying that will be the big project that gets done during this session.  He wants to make sure the state doesn't spend more than it can afford.  This comes as State Comptroller Kevin Lembo announces that Connecticut is on track to end the current fiscal year with a $31.6 million budget deficit. 

 

Another member of the Newtown delegation is Mitch Bolinsky.  He will be the ranking member of the Aging Committee.  He says seniors face a high cost of living, in a high tax state that is over-reliant on property taxes.  He also wants to look into transportation, nutrition and healthcare.  The committee has cognizance over of all matters relating to senior citizens in Connecticut.

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Rowland's lawyer seeks delay in sentencing

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A lawyer for former Connecticut Gov. John Rowland is seeking a delay in next week's sentencing, saying he was not informed of some key evidence.

Rowland was convicted in September of conspiring to hide payments for work he did on the 2012 congressional campaign of Lisa Wilson-Foley, through a phony contract with her husband's nursing home business.

In a letter to U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton on Friday, attorney Reid Weingarten says he did not know that Brian Foley had told his wife that a law firm had signed off on the deal.

He said that information would have prompted him to call Wilson-Foley as a witness.

Rowland is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 7. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment on Friday's letter.

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Girl faces DUI after smashing bottle by car

An underage girl has been arrested in Danbury for illegal operation of a motor vehicle under the influence.  The incident on Tuesday came to officer's attention when they saw 20-year old Chelsea Byrne smash a bottle of alcohol on the ground by her car.  Danbury Police say there was an open 12-pack of been in the car as well. 

 

Byrne failed field sobriety tests. 

 

She was initially held on $10,000 bond because she was uncooperative while the arrest was being processed and told officers she was not going to court because she was going to leave for Mexico.  Byrne was arraigned on Wednesday and released on a written promise to appear back in court on the 29th. 

 

She also faces a litter violation.

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Progress at site of new Sandy Hook School

Progress is being made at the Newtown site of the new Sandy Hook School. 

 

Construction officials in December continued mass excavation throughout the project site to create a new footprint for the building.  Soil was also placed to make a new entryway to the site.  Limited storm drainage piping and structures were slated to be started at the Dickinson  Drive site. 

 

(Photo courtesy: sandyhook2016.com)

 

The building will have one long so-called main street corridor.  There will be three wings off of it for different grade level classrooms.  

 

Consigli Construction broke ground in October for the new 87,000 square-foot Sandy Hook School.

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Civilian dispatch in Danbury on track for police, fire departments

Phase one is underway in Danbury for the migration to a centralized civilian dispatch center for the Police and Fire departments.  Mayor Mark Boughton says starting this month, civilians are staffing the front desk operations of the Police Station.  By mid-February, the new Western Connecticut 911 dispatch center will go live. 

 

Boughton called it a huge culture change for the public safety system, and sets the stage for an eventual migration to a regional 911 call center.

 

Boughton says it represents a $1 million-per-year increase of proactive policing for the community. He says residents will see quicker response times by police, more traffic enforcement, and a greater emphasis on quality-of-life enforcement.

 

Financially, after an initial two- to three-year up-front investment, Boughton says taxpayers will see a significant savings driven by a reduction in overtime, and a reduction of staffing through attrition.

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Oversize boats on Candlewood Lake face fine for operating

All boats over 26 feet in length that operate on Candlewood Lake must now have a decal sticker grandfathering them in under new regulations.  The rules limiting boat size went into effect in September of 2013.  Tuesday was the deadline to apply for an exemption to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection rule. 

 

The purpose of the regulation is to improve boater safety and enjoyment of the lake by halting what DEEP says it the general escalation in the size of vessels used on those waters.  More than 200 decals have been issued as of a few weeks ago. 

 

The fine for having an oversized vessel on Candlewood Lake is $75.

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NY man faces charges for falsely reporting a stabbing

A New York man has been arrested for falsely reporting an incident to police.  Troopers from the Brewster barracks were dispatched by Putnam County 911 to a reported stabbing in November.  An investigation revealed that the caller, 25-year old Yefrin Cazanga-Gregorio of Pawling, made up the reported stabbing at a Patterson area business.  He was arrested Tuesday on the misdemeanor charge.  Cazanga-Gregorio was released on a written promise to appear in Patterson Town Court on the 19th.

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Public hearing scheduled for mixed use project in Brookfield

A public hearing is continuing this month in Brookfield on a mixed use development.  The Inland Wetlands Commission decided at their last meeting of 2014 to continue the public hearing for the Laurel Hill Road project. 

 

Their next regularly scheduled meeting is on the 12th. 

 

The mixed Use, Incentive Housing Development consists of 98 residential units and 8,600 square feet of commercial space with supporting driveway and utilities.  The Inland Wetlands Commission says it requires the disturbance of existing wetlands, including minor filling of a wetland, and disturbance of upland review areas associated with both onsite and offsite existing wetlands. 

 

The meeting on the 12th is at 7:15pm at Brookfield Town Hall.

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Contract awarded for work at Cadigan Park

A contract has been awarded for the next phase of work at a Brookfield Park.  Brookfield officials have awarded the contract for the next phase of work at Cadigan Park to Hawley Construction Corporation.  The bid from the Danbury-based company was for approximately $1.7 million.  It's a general contract for the Parks Revitalization Program on the Town Beach side of the park.  The scope of the work includes renovating the bathrooms and picnic pavilion.  A new concession and lifeguard station along with a bathhouse will be constructed.  Some work to the beach seawall itself will also take place.

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First Night Danbury a success

First Night Danbury went off without a hitch Wednesday night in City Center.  It was the 25th annual event to usher in the new year.  The event was more family focused, starting at 4:30 and ending with an LED light show atop the Patriot Garage at 9pm.  There were a mix of entertainment events ranging from ice sculptors to vaudeville acts at the Palace Theater.  Danbury Library, the Danbury Music Centre and others hosted events throughout the night as well.

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2014 in Review

Ethics inquiries, medical marijuana and land sales were among some of the top stories for the region in 2014.  Monroe-based D&B Wellness is one of only six medical marijuana dispensaries licensed in the state.  Their Stony Hill opening in September launched a complaint about zoning regulations.  An application to open in Redding prompted that town and others to issue a moratorium on facilities. 

 

The long anticipated opening of the Walnut Hill bridge in Bethel happened in June--more than a year after construction started.  But just a few days after reopening, vulgar spray painted messages were found on the at the site. 

 

Another ethics complaint against the Brookfield First Selectman was investigated in 2014.  The first, shortly after Bill Tinsley's election about a charge in Vermont, this about a trip to Tennessee with a town-owned car.  Brookfield also fired its school superintendent after an audit last year showed the district overspent its budget for two years. 

 

Ridgefield residents have rejected another proposed sale of part of the former Schlumberger site for residential use.  More proposals are being considered by town officials to recoup some of the purchase price and a committee is being formed to study use of the 45 acre site. 

 

A bomb hoax, phoned-in threats and vandalism were among the top school news in 2014.  Two swastikas were found spaypainted at Ridgefield High School. A few months earlier in Wilton, there were two separate incidents within weeks of each other of swastikas being found in the high school.  One was spraypainted in a boys bathroom, the other was etched into a locker by a 15-year old student, who was charged. 

 

A former Wilton preschool aid is due in court soon  in his child pornography possession case.  33-year old Eric Von Kohorn resigned in June when district officials learned of the police investigation.  The attorney for a Wilton family says their child was inappropriately touched by the former paraprofessional. 

 

A series of phone call threats prompted school lockdowns in several districts in the Greater Danbury region in 2014.  There were three threats made in a short period of time to schools in Newtown, which are now under investigation by the FBI.  WestConn evacuated and closed four buildings on the midtown campus after an email was sent claiming there were bombs in them.  An investigation determined that it was a hoax. 

 

As the old saying goes--when one door closes another opens--that was the case for facilities in the region this past year.  Ridgefield Library closed the door to their temporary location and moved into a newly renovated and expanded facility on Main Street in May.  The new Army Reserve Center in Danbury opened around Memorial Day to serve 8 reserve units and the Connecticut National Guard.  At the start of the fall semester Western Connecticut State University cut the ribbon on their new Visual and Performing Arts Center on the west side campus after about two years worth of construction. 

 

Danbury Hospital cut the ribbon on an 11-story, state-of-the-art building which includes private patient rooms and a new--larger--emergency department.  Cartus Corporation announced an expansion in Danbury and Praxair will be building a new headquarters in the City. 

 

The Boughton Street YMCA closed in July.  The Board of Directors said it was no longer feasible to maintain and operate two similar facilities so close in distance, the other being the Greenknoll branch in Brookfield.  The Danbury facility was built in the 1960s and in need of significant structural upgrades, including to the pool, and a roof replacement. 

 

CH Booth Library in Newtown was closed for about three months because of a burst sprinkler pipe in January.  The Putnam County Courthouse was shuttered for nearly two weeks following damage to its sprinkler system in January.

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Clarke Business Park businesses vote to dump oversight group

Stakeholders in Bethel have voted to not renew an arrangement to have the Economic Development Commission manage Clarke Business Park in the future.  The current agreement expires in a few weeks, and at a special Town Meeting on Monday night--property owners decided not to have that group be in charge of the rules and regulations for the 644 acre park.  More than 70 businesses are located in Clarke Business Park.  The vote Monday was 28 to 26 not to renew the 10-year agreement.

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Southbury audit seeks $250,000 library money

SOUTHBURY, Conn. (AP) An auditor will try to determine what happened to $250,000 the Southbury Library Board of Directors says the town received after construction at the library finished eight years ago.

The Republican-American reports that First Selectman Ed Edelson said officials can find no record of the money. The library board said the money was remaining construction funds that returned to the town after the library opened in 2006.

Edelson said he'd like to think ``there's a logical explanation'' for what happened to the money.

Questions surfaced last month when the boards of selectmen and finance asked the library board to use money from its gift fund to pay $50,000 to $60,000 on the library's heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. The library refused, saying the gift fund is not for building-related costs.

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Guided New Year's Day hikes planned across Connecticut

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is once again offering free, guided hikes on the first day of the new year.

On Thursday, DEEP staff and volunteers will lead hikes at six state parks. The hikes will average one-to-two miles. The annual First Day Hike Program is part of a national effort to encourage people to visit state parks on New Year's Day.

Hikes are planned at Hammonasset Beach Park in Madison at 1 p.m., James L. Goodwin Conservation Center in Hampton at noon, Southford Falls State Park in Southbury at 1 p.m., and Mansfield Hollow State Park at 11 a.m.

Free guided hikes are also planned Thursday at Scantic River State park in Windsor at 1 p.m. and Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden at 1:30 p.m.

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Regional planning agency searches again for an executive director

Despite not thinking a larger regional planning agency is beneficial for the Greater Danbury area, several elected officials say it's a state mandate and they'll make it work.  There is a hurdle the newly formed Western Connecticut Council of Governments has to overcome.  Their Executive Director resigned from the position after the group's first meeting earlier this month. 

 

Craig Leiner was hired in October, met with the chief elected officials and decided the elected officials all had differing views.  The Executive Director deals with transportation, land use and other issues.  Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker is the group's chairman.  Knickerbocker says they had a couple of very strong candidates for the position, and one is still available.

 

The group, made up of the former Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials and SouthWestern Regional Planning Agency, is meeting next on January 22nd in Sherman.

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