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Local Headlines Archives for 2015-04

Second suspect in Danbury beating arrested

The second of three suspects wanted for beating and robbing a man in downtown Danbury has been arrested. 

 

21-year old Fakeem Mouning turned himself in to police after learning of a warrant for his arrest.  Danbury Police were called March 23rd to Railroad Place on a report that a 57-year old accidentally brushed up against one of the suspects, who then started yelling at the victim.  The victim tried to walk away, but witnesses say three men punched him, hit him from behind with a bottle and took off with his cash.   

 

19-year old Mikayel Zullo of Danbury was caught after a brief foot chase. 

 

Zullo was charged with assault 2nd degree, 6th degree larceny , breach of peace, 1st degree robbery, 1st degree conspiracy to commit robbery and interfering with an officer.  Zullo was released on a court set $50,000 bond for an appearance in Danbury Superior Court on May 4th.  He also has two other cases being heard that day.

 

Mouning was charged with 1st degree assault, 1st degree conspiracy to commit robbery, 2nd degree conspiracy to commit larceny, 6th degree larceny and breach of peace.  He is being held on a $100,000 court set bond for an appearance May 7th.  He also has another case on the docket for that day.

 

The victim was treated at Danbury Hospital.

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Fatal accident in Putnam County being investigated

New York State Police are investigating a fatal accident that happened on Route 22 in Patterson yesterday afternoon near Route 311.  Troopers say 42-year old Christopher Osborne of Pawling was travelling northbound shortly before 4pm and crossed the double yellow line into the southbound lanes, striking a Subaru. 

 

A passenger in that car, 63-year old Jean Riccobon of Carmel was pronounced dead at the scene.  The driver, 65-year old Mario Riccobon was transported to Danbury Hospital with injuries that do not appear to be life-threatening. 

 

The accident remains under investigation.  Anyone with information is asked to contact New York State Police in Brewster at 845-677-7300.

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Bethel Board of Finance cust $542,000 from proposed budget

The Bethel Board of Finance has made revisions to the budget proposal for the coming fiscal year.  The budgets last week were rejected by residents, 29 votes on the municipal side and 2 votes on the education side. 

 

The Finance board cut $300,000 from the education spending plan and $242,000 from the municipal side.  The proposed tax increase is .21 percent.  The overall proposal of $70.3 million will go to a special town meeting set for Monday night. 

 

Bethel residents will then set a date for the next referendum.

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Driver charged for chain reaction, 3-car highway crash

There was a three car crash on I-84 eastbound Wednesday night.  The accident happened shortly after 5pm, just before exit 7.  State Police say 52-year old Mark Conrad of New Milford was travelling in the right lane when he lost control, spun out and hit a car in the center lane, which then hit a car in the left lane. 

 

Police say the driver in the center lane, 22-year old Montana Sclavos of New Fairfield, was transported to the hospital with minor injuries.  Her car and the vehicle in the left lane, driven by 30-year old Joseph Thomas Harper of North Carolina, were towed from the highway.  The vehicle in the right lane was able to be driven from the scene. 

 

Conrad was found at fault for the accident and charged with following too closely

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Police ID man who died in rush hour crash in Danbury

An accident on Lake Avenue in Danbury originally reported as a car fire has left one man dead. 

 

Assistant Fire Chief Mark Omasta says a 55-year old man died from injuries sustained in the crash.  The Grey GMC Sierra City of Danbury utility truck went off the road around 5pm and struck trees.  Firefighters extricated the man from the truck, but the impact caused fatal injuries.  There were no other cars involved and no one else in the truck. 

 

Samuel Crews was the ground foreman at Tarrywile Park in Danbury.  Park Executive Director Becky Burr-Petro says Crews was a great man, always had a smile on his face, and was very dedicated to the park.

 

Any witness's are asked to contact Officer Lance Brevard or Sgt. Rory DeRocco at (203) 797-2156.

 

Around the same, there was a three-car crash on Interstate 84 eastbound between exits 5 and 7.

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Groundbreaking ceremony held for New Fairfield Free Public Library renovations

A ceremonial groundbreaking has been held for the renovation to the New Fairfield Free Public Library.  A massive renovation is planned in New Fairfield to bring the Library into compliance with the American Disabilities Act.  A competitive state library grant will help pay for the project, which includes improved walkways and construction of an elevator.  There will also be energy-efficiency improvements for the building that hasn’t seen renovations for 30 years. 

 

The groundbreaking ceremony was held on Friday. 

 

 

State Representative Richard Smith says the library provides important educational services to the community and he hopes the renovations will attract new visitors, noting that the improvements will assist the people who already visit regularly. 

 

The library will remain open during the renovation, which is expected to last a few months, with entry available only through the front doors.  The Children's Library is temporarily located in the upper level community room.

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State releases new figures on enrolled medical marijuana patients

The Department of Consumer Protection has provided an update on the number of people registered for the state's medical marijuana program.  The state's medical marijuana program was signed into law by Governor Dannel Malloy about three years ago.  It allows licensed physicians to prescribe medicinal marijuana for certain debilitating diseases or conditions. 

 

At that time, the state also approved four producers and six dispensaries, one of which is located in Bethel. 

 

The latest numbers from the state are from mid April, and show overall there are more than 3,600 qualified patients.  Fairfield County has 884 patients approved for medicinal marijuana, the second largest of all counties in Connecticut, behind only New Haven County.  There are 994 patients in that county.  Litchfield COunty has 235 qualified patients.

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Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission meets with families

The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission has held another meeting about outreach.  During the gathering Tuesday night, the Commission discussed information gathering and re-engaging with the 26 families who lost loved ones on 12-14. 

 

During previous meetings, Chairman Kyle Lyddy talked about the ongoing presentations and whether they should continue if the group decides that ultimately an anonymous competition will be held.  The group looked at the 9-11 Memorial Competition Guidelines for design concept and submissions for similar rules. 

 

Lyddy said he wanted to re-engage with the families, some of whom are members of the Commission, to show them what the group has so far and to ask for their input. 

 

Lyddy is also working on another Q&A sheet for the next meeting.

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U.S. Supreme Court rejects appeal of fatal drug raid allowing suit to advance

An appeal by five Connecticut police departments has been denied by the U-S Supreme Court saying they are not shielded from the lawsuit by government immunity. A federal lawsuit over a 2008 drug raid that killed an unarmed former Ridgefield man and injured an Easton resident can move forward. 

 

Ronald Terebesi, formerly of Easton, named the police departments of Easton, Monroe, Wilton, Darien and Trumbull—along with the towns of Easton and Monroe—in his suit. 

 

Hersam Acorn Newspapers reports that the regional police team raided Terebesi’s home during a drug investigation, and a Monroe police officer fatally shot 33-year old Gonzalo Guizan of Norwalk.  A state prosecutor determined that the use of force was appropriate.  Terebesi’s lawsuit claims he was injured when police pinned him to the floor.

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Danbury fires teacher charged with sex assault over certification

A Danbury High School science teacher facing charges of second-degree sexual assault and distributing alcohol to a minor has been fired.  A school official says 24-year old Kayla Mooney failed to maintain her certification. 

 

Mooney appeared briefly in Danbury Superior Court Monday for arraignment, which was postponed to May 27th. 

 

She has been on administrative leave since February when a student told district officials about the sexual relationship and they confirmed parts of his story after obtaining emails he and Mooney exchanged.  Mooney was charged March 31 after an investigation into a complaint she made to school officials that she was being harassed by the boy's ex-girlfriend.

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State police review of response to Sandy Hook not yet complete

Reports reviewing law enforcement action during mass shootings have been issued for several recent events, but not about Sandy Hook School.  Reviews of police and first responder actions along with recommendations about areas of improvement have been issued generally within two years. 

 

The Hartford Courant reports that Connecticut State Police have yet to issue an after-action report.  Spokesman Sgt Shane Hassett told the publication that those kinds of report take a considerable amount of time and they are continuing to work on one. 

 

It's been nearly two and a half years since the December 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook School. 

 

The Connecticut Police Chief's Association reviewed the Newtown Police Department's response, and that 9 page report didn't make any recommendations on improvements.  The Courant reports that these types of reviews are not meant to place blame, but focus on ways lives can be saved.

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WCSU ranked in top 5 of colleges providing best value in Conn.

Western Connecticut State University places in the top 5 for Colleges Providing the Best Value in Connecticut.  The statewide review of colleges and their value was done by a group called SmartAsset.  Western Connecticut State University was ranked 4th highest in the state. 

 

The survey compared the expense of attending college with the anticipated return to the student in terms of education and financial compensation from future employment.  UConn, Yale and Trinity College placed in the top 3.  Central Connecticut State University rounded out the top 5. 

 

The cost of college attendance was determined based on tuition, student living costs, and average scholarships and grants offered to students at the institution. The return to students was estimated on the basis of retention rates for current students and the average starting salary for graduates of the institution.

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Informational meeting about grass carp stocking in Candlewood Lake

An informational meeting is being held tonight by the Candlewood Lake Authority about their planned grass carp stocking program.  The Authority, with the backing of the five municipalities surrounding the Lake, applied for and was awarded a grant from the state for the program.  Executive Director Larry Marsicano says part of the permitting process is to hold a forum for residents to learn about this, express concerns and ask questions.

 

The Eurasian Milfoil can be disruptive to boaters and swimmers on the Lake. 

 

Marsicano says there's very little that can be done when trying to manage something, that doesn't have unintended consequences.  But he says this program also includes water quality monitoring, weed mapping and analysis. 

 

Tonight's meeting is at 7pm on WestConn's midtown campus, in the science building.

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Newtown residents approve town, school budgets

Newtown residents have approved budgets for the coming fiscal year by a large majority.  The municipal side was approved 2,379 to 814.  The education plan was approved 2,246 to 939.  There was an approximate 19 percent voter turnout.  

 

The budget is $111.73 million and is a .6 percent increase over the current fiscal year.  The municipal side is $40.1 million and the schools asked for $71.6 million. 

 

Even though there is a spending increase, there is a projected reduction in taxes by .7 percent.  This is because of intergovernmental revenue increases, new grand list revenue and more savings in health insurance costs for municipal employees. 

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Conn. man hits parked cars, flees scene

A Stamford man has been arrested in Danbury for crashing into parked cars.  Danbury Police responded to a call of a disabled vehicle on Franklin Street Sunday night and found heavy front end damage.  The driver, 38-year old Luis Discua-Donaire, told officers that his transmission gave out.  Witnesses though told police that two parked cars on Farview Avenue had been hit by the now disabled vehicle.  Discua-Donaire was charged with driving without a license, evading responsibility and failure to drive right.

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NY woman arrested for unemployment fraud

A Pawling woman has been arrested for unemployment fraud.  New York State Police say 43-year old Linda Tirado is accused of unlawfully collecting more than 43-hundred dollars in unemployment insurance benefits over 3-and-a-half years.  Police say Tirado created false business records weekly, certifying that she was unemployed while she was actually gainfully employed.  The investigation was also conducted by the New York State Department of Labor.  The Pawling woman was arraigned and released for a court appearance on May 14th.

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Recount shows Bethel education budget fails by 2 votes

The Bethel education budget failed last week by two votes.  An automatic hand recount was triggered after the referendum when the results showed there were just three more votes in opposition than those in favor.  Residents rejected the municipal budget by 29 votes, and decided that both were too high. 

 

The founder of the Tax watchdog group Bethel Action Committee, Billy Michael, says this is the second time a recount was needed.  He says the BAC isn't against a slight increase in spending, noting that there can be 3-point-3 million dollars in new spending without needing a mill rate increase.

 

The Bethel Board of Finance is set to meet at 7pm tonight about budget revisions.

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Former Danbury FCI employees admits role in bribery scheme

A former case manager at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury has pleaded guilty to her role in a bribery scheme.  43-year old Kisha Perkins of Waterbury was in court yesterday on the charge of acceptance of a bribe by a public official. 

 

According to court documents, the alleged scheme to get cash bribes from Danbury FCI inmates was in exchange for an early release recommendation to a halfway house.  During the February 2014 undercover investigation by another FCI employee, Perkins was told about an inmate looking for this type of deal.  She also admitted to agreeing to accept a pair of shoes or a Louis Vuitton pocketbook for counseling the undercover employee about the bribe schemes. 

 

Perkins faces up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.  Sentencing is set for July 21st. 

 

 

“There is no tolerance for corrupt employees within the ranks of the Bureau of Prisons.  Prison officials, like this defendant, will be held accountable in federal court,” stated U.S. Attorney Daly.

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Danbury Company To Ramp Up Production Of Diabetic Drug

DANBURY, Conn. (AP) Mannkind Comp. says it is tripling their production of its new fast-acting inhalable insulin for diabetes at its Danbury plant.

Matt Pfeffer, the company's chief financial officer, tells the News-Times the company plans to increase the production of Afrezza from one line that can make 120 million cartridges of the drug annually to three production lines during this quarter.

The company began selling Afrezza in February after several years in development. The Food and Drug Administration approved the drug last June for treating diabetes, three years after the agency first asked MannKind to run additional clinical studies on the drug.

Pfeffer says the company has been getting positive feedback and is hopeful the use of the drug will continue to grow.

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Breaking Bad Heroin Kills

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) Prosecutors say a New York man has pleaded guilty to distributing a potent form of heroin in the Hudson Valley that resulted in three people dying.

Dennis Sica, of Hopewell Junction, pleaded guilty Monday to one-count of conspiracy to distribute heroin and fentanyl resulting in death. It carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Prosecutors say Sica and others sold the potent heroin last year in bags stamped with the brand name ``Breaking Bad.''

They say the drug killed 20-year-old Anthony Delello of Beekman in December in 2013.

On Feb. 1, 2014, 31-year-old Thomas Mille, of Pawling, was found dead with several ``Breaking Bad'' packets near his body.

The same day, in New Milford, Connecticut, Laura Brown was found dead with ``Breaking Bad'' packets around her.

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Ridgefield Woman Rescued From Fire Has Died

In Ridgefield...a 78 year -old woman  who suffered from smoke inhalation and other injuries from a fire last week at the Casagmo Condominiums , has died  at the Bridgerport Hospital Burn Unit as a result of her injuries. 

She has been identified as 78 year old Sandra Reyes . Her son, Joseph Reyes has been upgraded to stable condition . He is also at the burn unit in Bridgeport . He was injured while he and his brother were trying to rescue their Mother.

First Selectman Rudy Marconi says she was a wonderful person and he's sorry the community has  lost her. 

The woman had been airlifted by helicopter to the burn unit from Danbury Hospital on Thursday night.

 

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Danbury teacher has case continued in court on sexual assault charge

A Danbury High School science teacher did not face arraignment Monday on charges of sexually assaulting one of her students.  24-year-old-year-old Kayla Mooney appeared briefly in Danbury Superior Court.  Her attorneys asked for a delay citing documents they have not seen yet.

According to an arrest report, Mooney was charged March 31 after an investigation into a complaint she made to school officials that she was being harassed by the boy's ex-girlfriend.  Police say the boy involved told them about the sexual relationship and they confirmed parts of his story after obtaining emails he and Mooney exchanged.

She was placed on administrative leave in February after the school contacted the state Department of Children and Families.

Mooney has been charged with second-degree sexual assault and distributing alcohol to a minor.

Mooney has not commented on the allegations.

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New Fairfield residents approve budget

New Fairfield residents have approved a budget with 694 in favor, 401 opposed.  There was about a 12-percent voter turn out.  The $52 million budget is a slight increase in spending over the current year.  There's $41.4 million budgeted for the schools and $10.6 million on the municipal side.  The increase is about $879,000.  New Fairfield officials say that's for an increase in tax relief for seniors, school employee raises and extended paramedic coverage to 24-hours-a-day during the week. 

 

Because of the revaluation done last year, not everyone will see a tax increase. 

 

Savings were found in the school budget by eliminating three teaching positions through attrition and declining enrollment.  While there is a 1.3 percent increase in spending, school officials say that was kept down because of health insurance savings and energy efficient lighting being installed. 

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Danbury official addresses concerns about the proposed budget

Some concerns with various areas of the proposed budget in Danbury have been addressed. 

 

Some residents and city officials have questioned Mayor Mark Boughton about the civilian dispatching at the police station and the combined police and fire dispatch.  One resident asked about recorded messages at the Police Department.  The automated system was installed in 2009.  There is a shift commander on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Boughton says any resident can call the non-emergency line and talk with the shift commander. 

 

He noted that all of the dispatchers have been trained, and for the first several months are working side by side with officers and firefighters. 

 

Which non-profits receive City funding was also questioned.  There is just one lump sum line item in the budget for funding.  Boughton says social service grants are once again awarded by the United Way of Western Connecticut after a thorough vetting process. 

 

Volunteers spend several weeks reading agency proposals and listening to presentations to arrive at a final funding recommendation based on the biggest impact on the community.  The City then must approve the recommendations.  There is information publicly available of why each decision was made and how they scored each agency.

 

Committees of the City Council have met to vet the budget and ask questions of various city department heads.

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Newtown creates committee to study town roads policies

Newtown officials have created a committee to study policy and planning for town roads.  During the Board of Selectmen meeting last week, the panel was put together to advise officials of how best to spend money to fix deteriorating roads. 

 

Legislative Council Chair Mary Ann Jacob said during the meeting that there are several heavily traveled, but poorly maintained private roads in Newtown.  In addition to roads in the two lakeside neighborhood associations, which was previously four associations, there are more than 100 other roads that don’t pay for the maintenance provided by the town.

 

First Selectman Pat Llodra said the town pledged in 1968 to maintain private roads to ensure safe emergency vehicle access to all residents in four lakeside neighborhood.  In return, they pay 50-percent of material cost to the town for improvements.  But there are several other private roads where no payment is received. 

 

$3 million in bond money will be used over the next several years to fast track work on some roads in the worse condition around Newtown. 

 

The committee will include residents, Public Works employees and Newtown officials.

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Monroe boy shines spotlight on rare neuro-genetic disorder

A rare neuro-genetic disorder is being placed in the spotlight by a local lawmaker.  Angelman Syndrome results in intellectual and developmental delay.  Joey Moretti, a young boy from Monroe, is the inspiration behind The Fighting Angels Foundation.  His father, Joe Moretti Senior says it's been a learning experience, researching and trying to learn as much as possible about the disorder.

 

Monroe state Representative JP Sredzinski said on Saturday that Governor Malloy declared the day as Angelman Awareness Day in Connecticut.

 

The characteristics of Angelman Syndrome include lack of speech, seizures, and walking and balance disorders.  Angelman Syndrome is often misdiagnosed as cerebral palsy or autism, due to lack of awareness. Individuals with Angelman syndrome usually have a happy demeanor, laugh frequently and are often smiling. 

 

The disorder occurs in one in 15,000 live births. 

 

Sredzinski says when he found out that  cutting-edge genetic research was being conducted at the UConn School of Medicine, he decided to highlight what is being done, and ultimately bring attention to, the fight for a cure.

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Local lawmaker backs measure creating fee to fund state parks

A bill now awaiting action by the state Senate seeks to provide for the fiscal sustainability of state parks.  The bill would allow people to make a voluntary opt-out $5 donation to state parks when they renew motor vehicle registration. 

 

Redding Representative John Shaban introduced an amendment to create a type of lockbox for the funds, and the amendment was approved for add on to the proposed bill.  He cautioned that whether that mechanism will finally protect this “dedicated” fund is still unknown. 

 

State Senator Ted Kennedy Junior notes that Governor Malloy's proposed budget calls for a $2 million dollar cut to state parks.

 

The Motor Transport Association of Connecticut is concerned.  President Mike Riley says the bill represents a raid on the Transportation Fund.

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Newtown Hook and Ladder breaks ground on new facility

A ground breaking ceremony has been held for the Newtown Hook and Ladder volunteer firehouse on Church Hill Road.  The ceremony was held Wednesday and marked the start of construction at the former Trinity Episcopal Church site.  The 16,000 square foot building is slated to open in about a year and replaces a firehouse built in 1929 on Main Street.  Newtown has agreed to contribute $1.5 million toward the $2.5 million cost.  The building will sit on little more than three acres purchased for $500,000.

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Widow gets 4 years in prison for burning Connecticut home

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) A widowed mother of two from Florida has been sentenced to four years in prison for burning down her former million-dollar home in Connecticut for the insurance money.

39-year-old Amanda Azevedo pleaded with a state judge in Bridgeport on Friday to let her go home and be with her children. But Judge John Blawie imposed the prison time.

A jury convicted the Clearwater, Florida, resident last month of arson, fraud and other crimes in the burning of her former $1.4 million home in Monroe in 2008. The 3,660-square-foot home with an indoor pool was destroyed.

At the time of the fire, Azevedo's husband was hospitalized with an undisclosed illness. He died in 2010.

A woman accused of helping Azevedo awaits trial on arson charges.

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YMCA Healthy Kids Day Saturday

The Regional YMCA of Western Connecticut is hosting it's annual Healthy Kids Day.  Membership Director Megan Hebert says the free community event is to inspire more kids to keep their minds and bodies active.

 

They will teach families how to develop a healthy routine at home.  Healthy Kids Day  features games, healthy cooking demonstrations, and other events. 

 

 

The free event is being held this afternoon at the Y's Greenknoll Branch on Huckleberry Hill Road in Brookfield from 1 to 3pm.

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Newtown budget referendum Tuesday, special Saturday absentee session

A special Saturday voting session is being held in Newtown today for those who won't be able to get to the referendum being held on Tuesday.  Today's voting in Newtown is being held at the Town Clerk's office from 9am to noon. 

 

The budget is proposed at $111.73 million and is a .6 percent increase over the current fiscal year.  The municipal proposal is $40.1 million and the schools are asking for $71.6 million. 

 

Even though there is a spending increase, there is a projected reduction in taxes by .7 percent.  This is because of intergovernmental revenue increases, new grand list revenue and more savings in health insurance costs for municipal employees. 

 

The Saturday voting session at the Town Clerk's office is from 9am to noon.  The budget referendum is Tuesday with polls open from 6am to 8pm.

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Women's Business Council hosts Conversations with Extraordinary Women

The Women's Business Council of the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce has hosted their 5th annual Conversations with Extraordinary Women.  During the event Thursday night, three women shared their journeys to success and what they learned along the way. 

 

 

Director of New Media at Yale, Amy Kundrat says years ago the biases in the workplace were more overt--including separate want ads.  She gave the example of a male colleague who consistently interrupts women, but not men.  She suggested creating a safe space in organizations to talk about that unconscious bias.  Kundrat says recent surveys have shown that women only make up 17 percent of corporate boards in the United States and that women hold only 20 percent of elected offices.  Norway has a 40 percent rule for corporate boards.

 

Missy Chase Lapine, founder of Sneaky Chef Foods says having it all changes on an hourly basis.  If she has helped to empower women to feel like a supermom doing well by families, she considers herself a success.  A group of high school and college students attended the event and Chase Lapine told them to be motivated, to make themselves proud, and to strive to do better than the day before.  But she noted that it is hard to remain true to who you are and remain true to yourself when everyone around you tells you differently.

 

Ms Foundation for Women CEO Theresa Younger says women and men are being paid differently.  To explain it to those who don't believe the numerous polls stating otherwise, she gave this example:

 

"Equate it to boys and girls, and ask them to explain why their daughter should be paid less than their son when you paid the same amount for  them to go to college."

 

Younger says she is fortunate to lead an organization that juggles the issues facing women in this country in the fight for equality so everyone can reach their fullest identity.

 

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'Dancing with the Stars' to benefit Danbury Youth Services

Some stars of Danbury are putting on their dancing shoes tonight for a fundraiser benefiting Danbury Youth Services.  The Dancing with the Stars event is being held at The Palace Danbury.  Among the featured dancers are City Center executive director Andrea Gartner, State Representative David Arconti and Danbury Elderly Services Director Susan Tomanio. 

 

Danbury Youth Services Co-chair Sherry Creighton says the money raised tonight will go toward DYS programming.  DYS programming includes counseling for children and families, afterschool programs, mentoring programs, earn a bike program and others.  Creighton says the event is a partnership with A Common Ground Community Arts Center and Arthur Murray. 

 

 

The event is from 6:30 to 10:30 pm.  Tickets are$75.00, which includes Appetizers and Drinks.  Votes are $10.00 each.

 

This year's "Dancing with the Stars" event features the following "Stars" and "Dancers":

  • Andrea Gartner, City Center executive director, dancing with Andy Cabell from Arthur Murray;
  • David Arconti, state representative for Danbury, dancing with Elizabeth Cotter;
  • Dinilio Jimenez, DYS board member, dancing with Tara Aston from Arthur Murray;
  • Dana Perez, Danbury Westside Middle School counselor, dancing with Jill Hancock from A Common Ground;
  • Jack Deep, owner and manager of Deep's Hardware, dancing with Jen Spagnolo Danise from A Common Ground;
  • and Susan Tomanio, executive director Elderly Services at City of Danbury, dancing with Mike Rodrigues from Arthur Murray.

 

Judges include Deputy Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bill Glass and Danbury First Lady Phyllis Boughton

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NY woman charged for alleged theft from mall department store

A woman caught on surveillance tape taking jewelry from a store at the Danbury Mall has been arrested.  Danbury Police say security personnel at Lord and Taylor told responding officers on Wednesday that a woman took 15 items and left the store. 

 

30-year old Lynn Ciacci of South Salem, New York was held by store security. 

 

Danbury Police searched the woman for the items, valued at nearly $900, and also found needles and packets of heroin in her possession.  Ciacci was charged with larceny, possession of drug paraphernalia and two counts of possession of narcotics. 

 

She was released on bond for a May 4th court appearance.

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Accidental fire displaces two Newtown residents

A Newtown house has sustained heavy damage from a fire last night.  The blaze was reported around 6pm Thursday on Castle Hill Road.  Fire officials say there were flames coming from the windows on the upper story of the raised-ranch. 

 

There were no injuries reported.

 

The American Red Cross is providing assistance to two adults by helping to secure temporary housing for the occupants because the home is uninhabitable.  The cause of the fire is being investigated by the Newtown Fire Marshal's office, though initial reports are that it was accidental.

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Ridgefield Fire: Mother And Son Critical

Ridgefields first selectman Rudy Marconi was at the scene at last nights fire at Casagmo condominiums in the heart of downtown Ridgefield .

A 70 year old woman was trapped upstairs in her condo. Both of her sons tried franctically to rescue her . Firefighters did finally get her out of the burning building. One son  suffered injuries on his hands head and arms. He is in critical condition as well as his Mother . They have been taken to the burn unit at Bridgeport Hospital after being taken to Danbury hospital .

The cause of the blaze is unknown. The fire did not spread to nearby condos.

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Danbury woman sentenced on 2013 child abuse charges

A Danbury woman has been sentenced on child abuse charges.  A Danbury couple was charged nearly two years ago with child abuse. 

 

Last week, 37-year old Tara Henke was sentenced to seven years in prison, suspended after two years to be followed by five years probation.  Her boyfriend, 37-year old Marco Tuapante, pleaded guilty in February and was sentenced to nine years in prison and nine years of special probation.  He was ordered not to contact the two children. 

 

The couple was accused in June 2013 of repeatedly beating the children with a belt.  School officials saw suspicious injuries and reported it to police. 

 

Henke was charged with two counts of risk of injury to a minor.  Tuapante was charged with two counts each of assault, kidnapping, negligent child cruelty, injury to a child and reckless endangerment.

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Commission formed to study options for Newtown Community Center project

The Newtown Community Center project is headed back to the drawing board.  During the Board of Selectmen's meeting on Monday, a Commission was created to continue studying the needs of the town.  Opposition to Phase 1 of the proposal as just a senior center and aquatics center forced the cancellation of an April 28th referendum on the issue. 

 

First Selectman Pat Llodra says the ground work that's already been done should make the Commission's job easier.  Llodra says she wants to ensure that essential partners have a voice.  She is looking for a six month process to determine what various sectors of the community are looking for in a Center. 

 

The funding for the project comes from a $15 million grant donated by General Electric last year.  Most of the grant is to be used for the development and construction of a new community center.  About $5 million would be spent for operational costs over the first several years that a Center is open.

 

The Commission's first meeting will be held either next week or the week after.

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Prison for Jasper Johns assistant who stole art from studio

NEW YORK (AP) A former Jasper Johns assistant will spend 18 months behind bars for stealing artworks from the pop artist's Connecticut studio and arranging for them to be sold at a gallery.

James Meyer, of Salisbury, Connecticut, was sentenced Thursday in federal court in New York City.

He was Johns' studio assistant for over 25 years.

He told the judge he removed 22 pieces from Johns' studio in Sharon without the artist's permission so he could sell them at a gallery.

He pleaded guilty to interstate transportation of stolen property.

Prosecutors say the art was sold by a Manhattan gallery for $6.5 million after Meyer provided the owner with fictitious authentication papers. They say Meyer got half the proceeds.

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Brush fires in Danbury and Redding, fire in Ridgefield

A weekend brush fire in Redding was started by someone who had an open burn without a permit.  Volunteer firefighters from the three Redding Departments along with Bethel and Stony Hill firefighters responded to Sanfordtown Road in Redding Sunday afternoon.  The open space land had no nearby structures in danger.  Open burns are allowed if residents have a permit issued by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and have notified the Redding burn center.

 

Some businesses along Main Street in Ridgefield were briefly evacuated Thursday afternoon because of a fire alarm.  Fire officials say the alarm was set off shortly before noon by a burnt object which was extinguished quickly.  People at the businesses in the Main Street and Bailey Avenue area were allowed back inside after a few minutes.

 

The  Danbury Fire Department responded to an illegal burn on Indian Head Road Thursday afternoon.  Fire officials say the resident didn't know a permit was needed.  The blaze was reported around 1pm and quickly extinguished.

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Overnight paving on I-84 in Danbury

Some overnight road work is underway along a five mile stretch of highway through Danbury. 

 

The state Department of Transportation is milling and paving both east and westbound between exits 3 and 8.  The overnight work started Sunday and is being done between 8pm and 5:30am.  The work is scheduled to be completed by mid-July.  Various lane closures will be set up for the overnight roadwork each week night. 

 

The DOT says modifications or extensions to the schedule may be needed due to weather delays or other unforseen circumstances.

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Tobacco compliance checks in Monroe fine 3 violations

Compliance checks held in Monroe recently revealed that three store clerks sold tobacco products to minors.  The enforcement program was carried out by the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the Monroe Police Department last Thursday. 

 

Similar to liquor compliance checks, an underage youth entered stores and attempted to purchase cigarettes or other tobacco products.  10 inspections were conducted in Monroe and three clerks were issued a $200 ticket. 

 

Administrative sanctions from the Department of Revenue Services could be levied against the Cigarette Dealer License holder at each store.  They are Brand Cigars, Henny Penny and Buck Stop.

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Weston students sickened by candy brought home from China

A letter has been sent to Weston parents from the school district about students and staff members being hospitalized after eating candy brought back from China from the recent high school student trip over vacation. 

 

School officials said (Thursday the candy was brought to Weston Middle School and shared with a small number of students and two staff members.  Some then experienced discomfort so as a precaution, all individuals who consumed this candy were transported by ambulance to the hospital to be checked by medical personnel. 

 

Parents are being asked that if their child has this type of candy, that they notify Weston school officials and police.

 

(Photo Courtesty: Weston Public Schools)

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Passenger: Shortness of breath on flight diverted to Buffalo

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A passenger on the SkyWest airlines flight to Connecticut that made an emergency landing in New York on Wednesday described a lack of air in the cabin and shortness of breath as others on board lost consciousness.

The flight, carrying 75 passengers, departed from O'Hare International Airport in Chicago and had been bound for Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. It landed at Buffalo Niagara International Airport in Buffalo at about 11:40 a.m.

Passenger Larry Johnson of Danbury, Connecticut, tells The Associated Press it became difficult to breathe part way through the flight and none of the air vents were working.

In all, three passengers lost consciousness and others reported feeling ill. None required hospitalization.

A transportation safety official says Thursday his agency is assessing the circumstances.

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Bill adds GPS usage to state stalking statutes

A bill has been advanced this week to the state House aimed at better protecting victims of stalking.  The legislation would include the use of a Global Positioning System, or GPS, into the existing criminal laws on stalking.  Monroe state Representative JP Sredzinski says this isn't for routine use of a GPS device by businesses who keep tabs on deliveries and the like.

 

The Office of the State's Victim Advocate supports this legislation.

 

A committee on Tuesday voted nearly unanimously to make the use of a GPS device for stalking a class B misdemeanor punishable by 6 months in jail. 

 

Sredzinski says that new technology is sometimes being used to  terrify, torment and instill fear in victims who are forced to always look over their shoulder. He hopes that including GPS devices in existing law will will provide victims with some level of comfort.

 

Current state law says stalking is when a person recklessly causes another to reasonably fear for his or her physical safety by willfully and repeatedly following, or lying in wait for that person.

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Area lawmakers rally for environmental protection bills on Earth Day

State lawmakers and environmental advocates have rallied in support of a number of bills aimed at protecting the environment. 

 

Kent state Representative Roberta Willis says the state and country have come far since the first Earth Day was celebrated 45 years ago.  There was no Environmental Protection Agency, no Department of Environmental Protection, and no Council on Environmental Quality.

 

One of the bills being considered this session would phase out single-use plastic bags in Connecticut.  Lawmakers are also calling for passage of legislation to reduce the use of pesticides in the state.

 

A bill to ban the sale of personal care products which contain microbeads is also being considered.  Redding state Representative Dan Carter says the idea for the bill came from a constituent.  The small particles of plastic found in toothpaste, soap and other products find their way into wastewater treatment facilities, and into the water becoming a significant source of pollution.  Lawmakers say the non-biodegradables threaten aquatic life which often mistake them for food.

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Danbury officials recommend smaller budget than Board of Ed requested

A Committee of the Danbury City Council is recommending that the education portion of the budget be lower than what the Board of Education requested.  The Board sought $127.5 million, but the Mayor has recommended $124 million.  That smaller number is still a 2.3 percent increase in spending over the current year. 

 

Superintendent of Schools Dr Sal Pascarella says full day kindergarten, a new middle school and increased security are leading to some of the increase.  Special education is a major cost driver in this budget.  Danbury is looking to create a a so-called building brace program to keep kids in the district rather than outplace a student.  Part of the outplacement cost is transportation.

 

Pascarella says the state has flat funded Education Cost Sharing grants to Danbury since 2008, even though the City has seen consistent enrollment increases. 

 

Pascarella says if there are more budget cutbacks there will have to be fewer teachers, less supplies and consolidated administrators.

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Danbury named 'Tree City USA' for 25th year in a row

Danbury has once again been named as a Tree City USA.  The National Arbor Day Society awards various cities nationwide with this honor and chose Danbury because of the work by the Forestry Division to follow tree care ordinances while addressing community needs. 

 

This is the 25th consecutive year that Danbury has been given this recognition. 

 

In honor of this Arbor Day, on Friday, Mayor Mark Boughton will join the Danbury Garden Club for a tree planting ceremony at 10am at Park Avenue School.  Another tree planting will follow at 11am at Kenosia Park.

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UPDATED: New Milford Police help ATF in arrest of fugitive

A fugitive has been apprehended in the Gaylordsville section of New Milford.  New Milford Police assisted the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives this morning in their search on Kent Road. 

 

37-year old Jeremiah Clement of Illinois was arrested for drug trafficking and conspiracy.  ATF officials did not detail what led to the charges citing an ongoing investigation. 

 

An Illinois television station reported on their website today that Clement was one of two men arrested for conspiring to manufacture more than a thousand marijuana plants in that state.  An investigation was launched after an Illinois warehouse was destroyed by fire in January.  Two other Illinois men also face charges. 

 

The warehouse dated back to 1925 and an historic archway remained in tact after the fire.

 

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Child hit by car in Danbury parking lot

A child has been struck by a car in Danbury .  Police say a 10-year old girl sustained minor leg injuries in a parking lot on Scuppo Road around 3:45 this afternoon.  Police say the child was conscious and alert.  The girl was transported to Danbury Hospital for evaluation.  No other details were immediately available.

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Ridgefield Board of Ed scales back budget proposal

The Ridgefield Board of Education has scaled back its budget proposal to comply with a reduced budget approved by the Ridgefield Board of Finance.  The $86 million proposal was lowered Monday by $400,000 and represents a .98 percent increase in spending over the current fiscal year. 

 

The Ridgefield Press reports that cuts were made by reducing the curriculum and instruction budget, the hardware and software technology line item, and some maintenance projects.  Projected energy savings and staff turnover savings were increased.  New staffing requests were reduced and some supplies and materials accounts were also reduced. 

 

The only change from the recommendations was a $25,000 reduction to the curriculum and instruction budget for planning to improve the STEM program was replaced with a $25,000 increase to the projected staff turnover savings.

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Danbury baby sitter accused of burning child enters not guilty plea

A baby sitter accused of intentionally burning a child in her care entered a plea of not guilty.  The Danbury woman who allegedly intentionally burned a 3-year old girl in her care is being held on a million dollars bond and appeared in Danbury Superior Court today. 

 

The nanny, 31-year old Lidia Quilligana, said the child accidentally touched the hot stove while she was tending to the other children.  That night, the mother watched video from a hidden nanny camera which was recently installed and saw that the injuries were intentionally inflicted.  Quilligana was charged with assault, criminal mischief and risk of injury to a minor. 

 

The investigation is ongoing, and has been referred to the Special Victims Unit for follow up.

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Man caught selling drugs rams police car during getaway attempt

Danbury police launched an investigation into illegal drug sales taking place in the South Street/Liberty Avenue area following a number of neighbor complaints.  Surveillance was set up of the nearby gas station by members of the Special Investigations Division based on past suspected drug activity. 

 

31-year old Erick Ortiz-Aguayo of Danbury was seen by police yesterday making several drug transactions in the area. 

 

His car was followed by investigators until the Patrol Division could help in the stop.  Ortiz-Aguayo ignored marked patrol cars signalling him to stop and rammed one of the unmarked police cars.  While being arrested, officers found illegal drugs and remnants of destroyed evidence.  He was taken into custody without further incident. 

 

Ortiz-Aguayo was charged with possession of narcotics, possession with intent to sell, tampering with evidence, engaging in pursuit, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license and failure to obey a control signal. 

 

He was held on $150,000 bond.

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11 Newtown families: No ties to group behind McGraw concert

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- The families of 11 people killed in the Newtown school massacre distanced themselves Wednesday from a gun control group, saying they want to clarify that victims' families are not benefiting directly from a Tim McGraw concert planned this summer.

 

The July 17 concert in Hartford is benefiting Sandy Hook Promise, an advocacy group that was created in response to the 2012 tragedy and involves several victims' relatives. It has lobbied for tighter restrictions on guns and organized community-based efforts around the country to protect children from gun violence.

 

In their statement, the 11 families said they wanted to address confusion regarding whom the group speaks for and the purpose of the benefit concert headlined by McGraw. They said the statement is not related to any position on gun control.

 

"Our decision to publicly address this matter is not related to a position regarding any of the complex issues surrounding our tragedy," the families said. "We wish only to provide clarification for the many generous donors that believe they are directly supporting the families at the center of this tragedy" by contributing to the Sandy Hook Promise organization.

 

McGraw has defended his decision to participate in the concert at the XFINITY Theatre against criticism from gun rights advocates, saying there is no contradiction between gun ownership and supporting Sandy Hook Promise.

 

The opening act, Billy Currington, withdrew and said on his Facebook page that he doesn't want to become involved in a debate between gun rights and gun control.

 

"I've never been one to take on controversial issues - I'm a singer," he wrote. "I do feel strongly about honoring and supporting the Sandy Hook community and will be making a donation to a local organization."

 

The families who signed the statement are the parents of slain first-graders Charlotte Bacon, Josephine Gay, Jesse Lewis, Ana Marquez-Greene, James Mattioli, Emilie Parker, Jack Pinto, Jessica Rekos and Avielle Richman as well as the families of slain principal Dawn Hochsprung and teacher Victoria Soto.

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Danbury officials discuss proposed High School renovation project

Danbury's chief elected official is backing his plan for a major renovation project at the High School.  During a public hearing on Monday, Mayor Mark Boughton told the City Council that the proposed design would essentially give the 9th grade their own building, creating the Freshmen Academy.  He cautioned that it will be a staffing challenge once opened, but he sees no other way to accommodate the influx of students.

 

The City Council takes up the $53.5 million proposal again in two weeks.  Boughton is pushing for approval to send the idea to a referendum the second week in June. 

 

An addition to the current building would include a two story gym, an academic floor and a science and computer lab level with the possibility in the future for another level.  62-percent of the cost will be paid for by the state. 

 

Boughton anticipates construction by November if the weather cooperates, or by the Spring of 2016

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Deadline approaching for additions to Veterans Walkway of Honor in Danbury

The next phase of the Veterans Walkway of Honor is under way in Danbury.  The bricks engraved with the names of veterans from all branches of the armed forces are located at the Danbury War Memorial and lead to the memorial monuments.  

 

450 bricks already line the walkway. 

 

The deadline for ordering an engraved brick is the 27th, and they will be installed in time for Memorial Day.  Profits from the brick sales go directly to the Danbury War Memorial Association and other local veteran organizations.

 

A new addition will also be added to the walkway this year. Twelve granite pillars, each with a military medallion will be installed, with a bronze plaque listing the six veteran organizations in the city.  They are Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #149, American Legion Post #60, Disabled American Veterans Chapter #25, Marine Corps League Hat City Detachment, Catholic War Veterans Post #1042, and Korean War Veterans Association.

 

For additional info, contact Lee Teicholz at (203) 748-0723 or Dan Hayes at (203) 743-3932.

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Two men arrested for assaulting day laborer in Danbury

Two people have been arrested after a fight in Danbury Sunday morning.  Danbury Police say a man standing on Kennedy Avenue trying to get work for the day was approached by a truck.  The man told responding officers that he went to the driver's window, but 27-year old Jose Sucari of Danbury pushed him out of the way. 

 

The victim says he asked not to be pushed, but was punched several times in the face by Sucari.  Danbury Police say a witness confirmed the account and said that 32-year old Marco Lopez of Danbury also pushed the victim and tried to punch him. 

 

The victim declined medical attention. 

 

Sucari has been charged with assault and breach of peace.  Lopez was charged with breach of peace.  Each man is being held on bond.

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Bethel Residents reject budget according to unofficial referendum results

Bethel residents have rejected a combined municipal and education budget proposal of about $70.9 million. It represented a 1.13 percent tax increase.  There was about a 26-percent turn out at the polls.  Last budget process took four votes to gain approval of a plan.

 

The proposed municipal budget of $27.6 million was rejected by 29 voters, according to unofficial tallies.  The proposed education spending of $43.28 million was unofficially rejected by 3 votes. That will trigger an automatic recount.

 

The municipal budget received 1,438 yes votes and 1,467 no votes.  1,873 residents said the plan was too high while 599 said it was too low.  The education budget received 1,451 yes votes and 1,454 no votes.  1,760 residents said the plan was too high while 701 said it was too low.

 

One of the 14 capital items, making up about half of the $2 million proposal, is road reconstruction, was approved 1,780 to 1,103.

 

The capital items are as follows:

$50,000 for the 2017 revaluation work

$30,000 for a new air compressor for the Bethel Fire Department

$52,000 in structural repairs to the Highway Garage

$285,000 for an emergency generator for Bethel High School

$35,000 for a Building Department vehicle replacement

$20,000 for a fuel maintenance system

$118,000 for a backhoe/loader replacement

$170,000 for a Highway Department vehicle replacement

$15,000 for two funnel plows

$12,000 for a trailer for the Parks and Recreation Department

$18,000 for a top dresser for the Parks and Recreation Department

$30,000 for construction of Rubino Property Fields

$50,000 toward the 2017 Plan of Conservation and Development

$1 million in road reconstruction

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Danbury man being arrested for domestic incident, found with narcotics

While at the Danbury Police station being arrested for a domestic violence incident Monday afternoon, narcotics were found in the man's possession.  Police say 35-year old Julio Cabello was being processed when officers found four packets of what appeared to be heroin in the man's wallet.  The drugs tested positive as heroin.  Cabello is facing charges of assault, disorderly conduct, illegal possession of narcotics, risk of injury to a child and threatening.  He is being held on $10,000 bond.

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Newtown Police investigate threat made against NHS over break

Newtown police have investigated a potential threat to Newtown High School.  The school's Principal said in a letter to parents Monday that rumors about a potential safety threat over spring break were found to be unwarranted. 

 

When a group of students were overheard discussing issues that had the potential to impact school safety, concerned students made sure that this information was reviewed by local authorities.  The threat was learned of on Friday, the last weekday of Spring vacation. 

 

There were extra police patrols at Newtown High School Monday.

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Brookfield GOP ousts two members from party

A Brookfield woman has been ousted from the Republican Party by the town's Registrar of Voters.  A hearing was held earlier this month about whether Jane and Larry Miller should remain members of the Brookfield GOP. 

 

The state statute allows registrars to expel people from the party for "lack of good faith affiliation".  The Newstimes reports that Jane Miller received a letter with the decision Monday afternoon.  Her husband can remain affiliated with the Republican party. 

 

Both Millers were questioned about donating to opposing political parties--specifically the political action committee Brookfield's Best Choices.  Jane ran as a Democrat for the Board of Finance in 2013.

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NY man arrested for violating protective order

A New York man has been arrested for violating a court order of protection.  New York State Police from the Brewster Barracks were dispatched Monday to conduct a welfare check at a Patterson home. 

 

An investigation by Troopers determined that 47-year old Martin Larghi shoved the person protected by the court order during a domestic dispute.  Larghi was charged with criminal contempt and arraigned. 

 

He is being held in Putnam County jail on $5,000 bond.  He will be in court on May 14th.

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Public hearing held about Danbury budget proposal

A public hearing has been held about Danbury's proposed budget for the coming fiscal year. 

 

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton is proposing a $237.7 million budget with a tax increase of 2.4 percent.  Sewer and water rates would remain the same.  The municipal side of the budget is heavy on infrastructure projects, including roads, bridges and school roof improvements. 

 

The City Council committee studying the education portion of the proposed budget is meeting at 6pm tomorrow in City Hall about the plan. 

 

Boughton also issued a so-called Playbook of steps to take over the next five to 10 years to streamline City government and save taxpayers money.  He has proposed creating a Project Management Office.  Other cities that have done this and Boughton says they've seen a 30 percent decrease in failed projects and 25 percent increase in projects delivered under budget.

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Funding awarded for housing, services for homeless veterans

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Veterans Affairs has released nearly $700,000 to Connecticut public housing agencies to provide rental assistance for 76 homeless Connecticut veterans.  Case management and clinical services will also be provided. 

 

Senator Chris Murphy says every time Connecticut wins new housing vouchers from homeless veterans, they go to different parts of the state.  Danbury has received the vouchers in the past, but this round is going to Norwalk, Hartford and West Haven. 

 

Murphy commended Vet House 1 and Vet House 2 in Danbury, calling the effort innovative.  He says Danbury's tremendous effort to get veterans off the street is a great example of the community and government coming together.  He says Danbury will continue to get its fair share of vouchers.

 

Murphy says one homeless vet is too many, and given all they have done to serve this country, they must be provided with the support they need.

 

In 2008, Murphy assembled a working group to secure more HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing vouchers for the state.  Since then, the assistance has increased by more than 300 percent, and has helped more than 700 Connecticut veterans move off the streets and into homes of their own.  In 2010, Murphy visited Army Sgt. Shellyann Burke of Waterbury – a nine-year veteran who had been living with her 3-year old daughter out of their car – at the new 2-bedroom apartment they had been able to move into because of the increased number of HUD-VASH vouchers made available to Connecticut veterans.

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Slow driver gives police false name, also charged with DWI

A Danbury man driving well below the speed limit on the highway drew the attention of New York State Police early Sunday morning.  Troopers patrolling Interstate 84 in East Fishkill saw a driver going under 40 miles an hour in a 55 zone. 

 

Police stopped the car and determined that the driver was intoxicated. 

 

27-year old Jose Ramirez of Danbury provided a the name and date of birth of someone else.  He was arraigned at Southeast Town Court and released.  But Troopers determined that he gave the last name Rodriguez to avoid arrest.  He was located nearby and charged again, this time being held in Dutchess County Jail on $10,000 bond. 

 

Ramirez was charged with felony Forgery, felony Falsifying Business Records, and False Personation.  He will be in Southeast Town Court on May 23rd on the DWI charge.

 

 

Ramirez is due in court Tuesday.

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Teen acknowledges role in 13-year-old motorcyclist's death

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) A teenager has acknowledged his role in the 2008 death of a 13-year-old motorcyclist who was killed when his neck struck a rope that had been strung across a dirt-bike trail in Wilton.

John ``Tully'' Knight's prepared statement in court Friday was part of a settlement of a civil lawsuit filed over the death of Nicholas Parisot.

David Golub, an attorney for the Parisot family, says Knight was 11-years-old when he ``set a trap'' for Parisot by stringing a rope between two trees across the trail. Parisot suffered a broken neck when he struck the rope on June 13, 2008.

Knight told the court ``his conduct'' was responsible for Parisot's death.

The settlement also includes payments of $5,000 from John Knight and $51,500 from his parents to the Parisot family.

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Lawyer for convicted ex-Connecticut governor outlines appeal

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) A lawyer for former Republican Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland has outlined an appeal strategy over his client's conviction in a political consulting scheme.

Attorney Andrew Fish argues in court papers filed Friday that Rowland has a good chance of having his conviction overturned and doesn't pose a flight risk. He wants his client to remain free while the appeal makes its way through the federal courts.

Rowland was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison on charges that include conspiring to hide payments for work he did on the 2012 congressional campaign of Lisa Wilson-Foley.

Fish argues that prosecutors failed tell the defense that Wilson-Foley said she believed Rowland was hired to do legitimate consulting work for her husband's health care company.

The government hasn't responded to the filing.

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Cashier accused of keeping gift cards added to customer bills

A Norwalk man has been arrested in Wilton for allegedly adding gift cards to customers bills without their knowledge.  Wilton Police say a manager at Stop and Shop in the River Road Shopping Center collected evidence that 20-year old Jabari Dear added a $25 gift card to the end of customer's transactions. 

 

Police say the customer would pay their bill and the cashier would allegedly keep the card for himself.  It's not clear who often this was done, but police are continuing their investigation. 

 

Dear was charged earlier this month with larceny and illegal use of a credit card.  While being processed, police found a small amount of marijuana in his sock.  Dear was also charged with possession. 

 

He was released on a written promise to appear in court tomorrow.

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Mental health funding cuts stir outcry in Connecticut

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's proposal to cut state grants to community mental health and substance abuse providers is prompting an outcry from advocates and some families of Newtown massacre victims in Connecticut.

Advocates say the Democratic governor's spending plan for next fiscal year reduces the grants by $25.5 million.

That money is used by private agencies to help cover patients without medical insurance and the gap between how much it costs to provide mental health services and the state's reimbursement for Medicaid patients. They're predicting layoffs and program closures.

One Newtown parent wrote a letter to Malloy and legislators, asking if the deaths ``mean nothing'' to them now.

Despite the proposed reduction, Malloy's budget still spends more on the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services than last year.

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Public hearing in Danbury on budget, other items

Nearly a dozen items are up for discussion in Danbury tonight at a Public Hearing. 

 

The main items are the proposed budget for the coming fiscal year, Capital Item bonds and a Danbury High School renovation project.  The City Council is also calling on residents to attend the public hearing if they want to weigh in on a proposed Dog Park off Miry Brook Road, Tax Deferral Assessments and adding two members to the Board of Assessment Appeals.  The other three items on the agenda are changes to Governmental Entities, changes to liquor permit renewals and the 2015 Neighborhood Assistance Act.

 

The Tax Deferral Assessment ordinance revision is to comply with changes at the state level.  Currently Danbury can offer a 50-percent deferral for projects up to $25,000 for three years.  The state has changed the threshold to projects up to $10,000.

 

There are end dates set for several Commissions, Authorities and Agencies in the Governmental Entities code of ordinance.

 

The liquor permit renewals ordinance would bring Danbury into compliance of a new state law that requires the Chief of Police to be notified of and comment on renewal applications by establishments with on premises liquor permits.

 

The 2015 Neighborhood Assistance Act program, run by the state, allows businesses to sponsor approved community programs and receive tax credits for their contributions. No City funding is used for the credits.

 

Tonight's Public Hearing is at 7pm in Council Chambers of City Hall.

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Wilton woman arrested for DUI, kicking police officer

A Wilton woman accused of kicking a police officer while being arrested is due in court today. 

 

Wilton police received a phone call on the evening of April 10th that a tire fell off a woman's car and that she appeared intoxicated when he tried to help her.  Police say another person called to say the woman, later determined to be 38-year old Elizabeth Blum, hit his car with her fist and yelled at him when he tried to help. 

 

When officers arrived, the woman was uncooperative.  Police say Blum kicked an officer and tried to close her car door on another.  She refused to take a breathalyser test and was later charged with driving under the influence and disorderly conduct. 

 

Blum is due in court today.

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Lawmaker opposes shrinking drug-free zones around schools

A local lawmaker is speaking out against a bill making its way through the legislative process. 

 

New Fairfield Representative Richard Smith says he's disappointed the Judiciary Committee narrowly approved a bill to shrink drug-free school zones and all felony drug possession charges to misdemeanors.  Smith, a practicing attorney, says he voted against the measure in the Judiciary Committee because of the potential long-lasting affects it will have.  The group voted 22 to 20 in the early morning hours of the final day for sending bills out of Committee.

 

The drug-free school zone would be reduced from the current 1,500 feet to the immediate school property.

 

The legislation is a core piece of Governor Malloy's proposed Second Chance Society program.  Smith says the bill would allow anyone to possess up to a kilogram of narcotics without being charged with a felony.

 

Proponents claim its intent is to give drug offenders a second chance at turning their life around by making drug possession a simple misdemeanor, barring them from a mandatory jail sentence.   Smith says there would be no limit on the quantity or type of the possessed drug, nor is there an enhanced penalty for multiple offenses.

 

Smith says he would rather see the person addicted to drugs get treatment as opposed to sitting in a jail cell, but that this bill does not provide for that.

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Danbury Whalers still in Danbury, for now

5pm came and went Friday and the Danbury Whalers had not moved out of the Danbury Ice Arena.  Eagle Ice Sports, which owns the Arena, sent the Whalers owners a letter earlier this month saying that it would not be renewing their second five-year term of a lease signed 5 years ago.  Among the complaints listed in the letter was the team paying invoices for rent and other expenses  late.  The arena also cited the team allowing customers to bring in outside food, drinks and alcoholic beverages.  The Whalers CEO claims the Arena owes the team money.  Negotiations are reportedly still under way.

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Danbury Mayor proposing renting out jail cells to generate revenue

Danbury officials are looking to increase revenue to the City through regionalization.  During his budget address, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton suggested leasing 10 jail cells a night. 

 

When asked who would rent the cells, he gave the example of Bethel.  The neighboring town is planning to build a new police station with a lock up and dispatch center.  Bethel residents rejected a $14 million proposed police station in December.  A slightly scaled back proposal is now being considered.

 

Boughton says the prisoners end up going to the Danbury Court house anyway, so Danbury could transport them there as well.  He claims by other municipalities contracting out those services to save money, Danbury could generate $700,000 a year in revenue.

 

He also suggested consolidating area police dispatchers into the new Center that's now up and running.

 

Last summer Newtown was considering the future of dispatching services for their police department.  A 2011 regionalization effort with Danbury and other towns was not successful, in part because Danbury had not yet consolidated its 911 call center operations.

 

A public hearing on the budget is being held Monday at 7pm at City Hall.

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Exchange student program seeks host families

Residents in Western Connecticut who are looking to host an international exchange student are being sought as host families for the Council on Educational Travel USA.  Local coordinator Nancy Hershatter says the program is for high school students aged 15 through 18 to attend an American high school for a semester or a year.  They have come to the U.S. from over 40 countries as diverse as Thailand and Finland, Denmark, Spain and China. 

 

The Council on Educational Travel USA also administers an outbound program. 

 

Hershatter says hosting an international exchange student is a great way to grow in a shrinking world.  She says the only requirement is that volunteers have a nurturing home and a family open to learning about another culture.

 

More information can be found on the organization's website or by emailing nancy.cetusa@gmail.org.  Hershatter will also be at Rumor's Cafe, 22 Mill Plain Road, between 3 and 5 PM on Saturday, April 18.

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Brush fire spreads to boats, truck in Monroe

A Monroe resident burning a small pile of sticks Wednesday called 911 when the fire quickly escalated.  It spread to two boats and trailers, a box truck, and a large section of woods off Webb Circle.  Firefighters from Monroe, Stevenson and Stepney volunteer departments responded around 1:30pm. 

 

Smoke could be seen from several miles away. 

 

Monroe Fire Marshal Bill Davin says the blaze was stopped fairly quickly despite the area not having fire hydrants.  Several tanker truckers were on scene.  No one was injured. 

 

 

(Photos: Monroe Volunteer Fire Department Facebook)

 

Burn permits are required through the Monroe Fire Marshal's Office and burning must be done away from wooded areas.

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Federal Road water main project continues, costs rise

Milling and paving work is being done next week on Federal Road in Brookfield between Candlewood Lake Road and the Danbury city line.  The work, weather permitting, will be done on Wednesday and Thursday.  There will be various lane closures. 

 

This stems from a project to extend a water line down Federal Road. 

 

Property owners along Federal Road are paying for the infrastructure work in the form of a benefit assessment.  But there was a mistake when the bonds were issued in 2010 and 2013.  They were done as tax free, and Brookfield now owes the IRS 289-thousand dollars.  The Newstimes reports that Brookfield must also spend 150-thousand dollars to swap out the bonds for taxable ones.

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Danbury Police Officer of the Year Award presented

The Danbury Police Officer of the Year Award has been presented to this year's honoree.  The Exchange Club of Danbury says Police Officer Joseph Pooler is a veteran officer with a genuine concern for the public and his fellow officers. 

 

He is a member of the SWAT Team, Crisis Negotiation Team and serves as Sniper Team Leader. 

 

The Exchange Club says Pooler's mindset is focused on the prevention of crime, and has a knack for putting victims at ease.  He was also selected as this year's Officer of the Year for a successful conclusion to cases through diligent investigations.  The Exchange Club says Officer Pooler's dedication to the Danbury Police Department and community, professionalism, pride and respect that he has for his job and fellow officers is highly commendable. 

 

The Exchange Club says Pooler was selected as this year's honoree because he demonstrates a consistent work ethic and professionalism.

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Woman arrested for threatnening pedestrians with box cutter

A Danbury woman has been arrested for threatening people with a box cutter.  Police were called to the bus station on Kennedy Avenue yesterday afternoon on a report of a woman carrying the box cutter and yelling at pedestrians.  When officers arrived, police say 43-year old Melissa Myers tried to hide the razor.  She was charged with breach of peace and possession of a dangerous weapon.  Myers is being held on $5,000 bond.

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Tim McGraw defends decision to headline Sandy Hook concert

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Tim McGraw is defending his decision to headline a Connecticut concert to benefit a Sandy Hook group, responding to critics who call it a ``gun control fundraiser.''

Gun rights advocates took to Facebook and Twitter, calling the country singer a hypocrite for appearing in the event that will benefit Sandy Hook Promise, which seeks to protect children from gun violence.

Opening act Billy Currington withdrew and said on his Facebook page he's ``never been one to take on controversial issues.''

McGraw said in a statement to The Washington Post Thursday he supports gun ownership, but it requires education and safety. He said the concert is intended to help the community.

McGraw will perform at the XFINITY Theatre in Hartford, Connecticut, on July 17.

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Progress being made on new Sandy Hook School

More progress is being made on construction of the new Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.  In an updated post on the official project design and construction website, the contractor says the foundations for Wing A and the basement of Wing B have been excavated. 

 

 

(Photos: sandyhook2016.com)

 

The foundations and footings for those areas have also been installed.  Some utility work has started at the site as well.  Retaining walls along the new entry driveway and some drainage infrastructure has also begun. 

 

Construction officials said in their forecast of the work this month is that the Wing B foundations would continue to be installed.  The start of the Wing C foundations is set to begin. 

 

The school is slated to open in the fall of 2016.

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Esty calls for roadblocks to gun violence prevention removed from appropriation bills

A local member of Congress is lobbying U.S. House leadership to act on gun violence prevention measures.  5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty is calling on House leaders to not include legislative language in upcoming appropriation bills that would block efforts to reduce and prevent gun violence. 

 

Esty, Vice Chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, says these riders have been added without open debate in previous bills, and have acted as roadblocks.  She specifically cited language that's prevent law enforcement and academic institutions from using gun trace data to better understand the pattern of criminal gun transfers. 

 

Esty says there's no justification for preventing scientific research into the causes of gun violence and restricting the ability to track and combat the spread of illegal guns.

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United Way launches campaign to end homelessness

A local social service agency is working on a new campaign to reduce homelessness.  The United Way of Western Connecticut has collaborated with Opening Doors of Fairfield County for this effort. 

 

Together, they have launched a 100 day campaign to direct the limited housing resources available to families and individuals who are currently experiencing a housing crisis. 

 

One of the goals of the effort is to reduce the family shelter wait list by housing 100 families.  Another goal is to reduce the time between assessment and allocation of resources for housing inventory.  The United Way says they also want to enhance outreach efforts to landlords to help increase the inventory of affordable rental units throughout Fairfield County.

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WCSU to host 'Mini-Mudder' obstacle race

The mascot of the Western Connecticut State University Colonials, Chuck, is playing host to the 3rd annual Mini-Mudder event this weekend.  The event fundraiser is to benefit recreation programming.  Assistant Director for the Center for Student Involvement Amy Shanks says it's one of the most popular events held on campus and is changed a bit from year to year.

 

The event on Sunday will include 16 physical challenges over the course of two miles.  It begins and ends on the turf field of the Athletic Complex on the West Side Campus on Sunday. 

 

Registration is $20, and free for WCSU students.  Registration will begin at 7 a.m. on the day of the event in the lobby of the Westside Athletic Complex (stadium building) until 8 am. The first heat will start at 8 am. Additional heats will start every 15 minutes.

 

The event will not be timed and will be held rain or shine.

 

Headbands will be distributed at the finish line. Camouflage “Got Mud?” t-shirts will be available for purchase on event day.  The event is hosted by the WCSU Recreation Office, the WCSU Health Promotion & Exercise Sciences Department and the Student Government Association. Participants between the ages of 12 and 17 must have written parental consent. Participants between the ages of 12 and 16 must be accompanied by an adult throughout the course.

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Female Soldiers: Forgotten Heroes benefit held by Monroe Women's Club

A benefit is being held this weekend in Monroe to raise funds for the organization known as Female Soldiers Forgotten Heroes.  The community-based transitional housing facility in Bridgeport helps homeless female veterans and their children. 

 

The home was purchased in partnership with the Kick for Nick Foundation, named for 19- year old Nicholas Madaras of Wilton who was killed in Iraq in 2006 while on foot patrol. 

 

The luncheon fundraiser on Saturday is being held at Roberto's Restaurant on Main Street by the Monroe Women's Club.  There will be a silent auction among other events that afternoon. The benefit is from 1-4 pm.  The cost is $35 per person. Tickets may be purchased by calling 203-452-8468. Questions can be directed to monroewomensclub@yahoo.com.

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Teen charged for selling drugs at Danbury park

A teenager has been arrested in Danbury for selling drugs at Tarrywile Park.  Danbury Police were conducting surveillance of the upper parking lot around 5 o'clock Tuesday night when they saw 18-year old Brian Berrios conducing the sale from a car. 

 

Police say the teen had a digital scale, 11 grams of marijuana and $155 cash. 

 

While being processed on the drug possession charges, police found an outstanding warrant fro Berrios for failure to appear in court.  He was released on bond for an April 23rd court appearance.

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IRS phone scam reported to Monroe Police

With taxes on people's minds, Monroe police are warning of a phone scam from someone saying they are from the IRS.  The Monroe Courier reports that the scammer has been calling people and telling them that if back taxes are not paid immediately they will be arrested. 

 

One victim reported last week that the Caller ID was spoofed to show up as the IRS and the man on the phone said to get a money order for hundreds or thousands of dollars and ship it overnight to the provided address.  A second call showed up as the local police department saying to cooperate with the IRS investigation.  The victim was then told to either transfer the money to a Wells Fargo Bank account or send a color copy to a GMail account. 

 

The IRS says they never tell people to transfer funds or send money orders.

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Police say video shows abuse of 3-year-old child by nanny

DANBURY, Conn. (AP) -- Police say video from a nanny cam shows a baby sitter beating a 3-year-old Connecticut girl and burning her on a hot stove.

 

Lidia Quilligana is in custody on a first-degree assault charge that carries a 20-year prison sentence. Following her arrest in late March, bail was set at $1 million after a prosecutor who saw the video argued for an increase from $100,000 that was initially set.

 

Hearst Connecticut Media Group reported that Danbury Police Officer Thomas Geanuracos wrote in the arrest report that the video shows Quilligana put the child's hands on what appeared to be hot stove burners.

 

The 31-year-old Quilligana has not entered a plea. Hearst Connecticut Media Group said her lawyer, Jennifer Tunnard, was not available for comment Wednesday. She did not immediately return a call early Thursday morning.

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Danbury seeking applicants for Veteran Affairs Director

The position of Director of Veterans Affairs in Danbury has officially been listed as an opening. 

 

Over the last several months, the workload of the office has been audited.  Mayor Mark Boughton says the position is right-sized at 19 hours a week.  Last month there were 33 requests for service from area veterans.  21 of them were not Danbury residents.  Boughton says that was the case over the last five or six months since the passing of Director Patrick Waldron in October at the age of 81.

 

He attributed part of the slow down to the opening of the new Veterans Affairs office on North Street.  That office, opened by the federal government, provides needs counseling and other services for returning veterans. 

 

The local job has now been posted.

 

Boughton says Waldron did such a great job and had so many procedures that he just knew about, it's going to be a big learning curve for the next person coming in.  Boughton says the City suffered a major loss with the passing of the 37-year Director.  He said Waldron fought relentlessly to help veterans, serving generations of veterans.  Waldron help generations of veterans, their widows and dependents.

 

The City will work closely with the state and federal VA departments to provide a seamless approach to services offered to veterans.

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Rally for higher minimum wage held in Danbury

Union members, civic leaders and elected officials from Western Connecticut were part of a global protest Wednesday.  Arally and march were held in Danbury. 

 

(Photo courtsey: AFT Connecticut)

 

Healthcare employees, school support personnel, adjunct professors, home health and child care providers, service and maintenance workers joined fast food and retail workers at 4:15pm in a protest called Fight for $15.  Speakers at the rally will included Danbury Hospital Nurses Union President Mary Consoli and AFT Connecticut First Vice-President Steve McKeever.

 

The Danbury rally was one of four in Connecticut.

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Connecticut committee hears testimony on allowing keno

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The president of the Connecticut Lottery Corporation says keno can be up and running in six months, if lawmakers ultimately agree to pass legislation authorizing the gambling game.

Anne Noble said the quasi-public agency already has ``the expertise, infrastructure and vendor relationships in place'' to launch keno.

The legislature's Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee held a public hearing Wednesday on a bill allowing the lottery to offer keno. It's similar to legislation scrapped last year after lawmakers had second thoughts about allowing the game.

While Noble said keno would help the lottery diversity its portfolio and protect its revenue stream to the state, some lawmakers voiced continued concern with the legislation.

Sen. Tony Hwang, whose district includes Newtown, said he's worried about the impact on families by allowing the game in bars and restaurants.

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Unlicensed driver charged during DWI checkpoint

A New York man is facing felony drug possession charges following a routine traffic violation.  Putnam County Sheriff's Deputies assigned to a DWI checkpoint on Route 311 in the town of Kent on Saturday stopped a motorist who wasn't wearing a seatbelt.  24-year old John Calvachio III of Kent initially didn't stop.  He was found with drugs in the car and to not have a valid drivers license.  Calvachio was arraigned and is being held on bond for a May 4th court appearance.

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Funeral arrangements announced for 17-year old killed in Danbury crash

Fausto “Junior” De Los Santos, 17, of Danbury, died on Sunday, April 12th as a result of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident.  He attended Danbury schools and was a member of the Junior Class at Henry Abbott Technical School where he was studying carpentry.

 

An obituary posted by Jowdy-Kane Funeral Home says De Los Santos enjoyed soccer, ice skating, boating and jet skiing. Most especially, he enjoyed the time he spent with family and friends.

De Los Santos, a son of Karen (Pecor) De Los Santos of Danbury and Fausto De Los Santos, Sr. of Danbury is also survived by two sisters, Kristin Soares (Oseias) of Danbury and Yuriset “Judy: De Los Santos (Ralph Azcona) of Hightstown, NJ; his paternal grandparents, Prebisterio and Ludovina De Los Santos; four nieces, two nephews and several aunts, uncles, cousins and many friends.

 

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday evening, April 16 at 7pm in St. Peter Roman Catholic Church on Main Street.  Interment will be private and at the direction of the family.

The family will receive friends at St. Peter Church on Thursday from 4:45pm to 6:45pm.

Contributions may be sent to the Fausto “Junior” De Los Santos Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 459 Ridgefield, CT 06877.

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Danbury man killed in accident on I-684

New York State Police are investigating a fatal car crash that happened Tuesday night on Interstate 684 in Brewster.  Police say a car driven by 37-year old Israel Albarracin of Danbury was headed northbound and struck the rear passenger side of a Subaru Legacy. 

 

Albarracin's car left the roadway, rolled over and struck a tree.  He was pronounced dead at the scene from head trauma. 

 

The other driver, 27-year old Raymond Finney of Carmel was uninjured. 

 

Troopers were assisted by the Brewster Fire Department, Transcare ambulance, and the Danbury Police Department.  The cause of the crash remains under investigation.  Anyone with information about the moments leading up to the crash, is asked to contact police at (914)277-3177.

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Danbury ramps up pothole repairs

The asphalt plants were supposed to open last week, but Danbury Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola says many delayed opening until this week because of the rain.  Four crews had been at work in Danbury filling potholes during the off-season with Cold Patch, but Iadarola says that will be ramped up.

 

Danbury officials are asking resident to continue reporting potholes to the City’s 311 Information Line.  Motorists are being cautioned that when driving over a puddle of water, it might be a particularly deep pothole in hiding.

 

If you brake directly over a pothole, it can actually cause more damage than if you're able to slow down before getting to the pothole.  The potholes are prioritized on the busiest roads and then crews continue down the list.

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Mayors, selectmen lobby lawmakers to maintain state funding levels

As the legislature's money committees near decision time on a new state budget and tax plan, mayors and selectmen came to the state capital to plea their case for maintaining current levels of aid.  Though the Governor's budget supposedly does no harm to municipalities it may actually create some cuts in state aid. 

 

Connecticut Conference of Municipalities spokesman Kevin Maloney says many have been forced to trim costs.  Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton has proposed leaving 15 vacant positions open in the next fiscal year's budget. 

 

Boughton pointed out that the state budget cuts the Priority School District Grant by $6.6 million. 

 

Officials also complained about the high cost of abiding by mandates that the state does not fund.  Small towns are threatening to fire their resident state troopers if Governor Malloy's plan to pass the full cost of the program to communities survives the state budget process.  About 56 towns, including New Fairfield, Kent, and Sherman, either have a resident state trooper or share one.

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Candlewood Lake area towns meet with CLA about funding

The Mayors and First Selectmen from the five municipalities that surround Candlewood Lake have agreed to help cover some cost differences in the Candlewood Lake Authority's budget.  During a meeting Monday, CLA explained more about the 80-percent cut by the lake's owner, First Light Power. 

 

Danbury, Brookfield, New Fairfield, New Milford and Sherman will each contribute about $77,000 toward the CLA's $534,000 budget.  First Light is contributing $10,000.  CLA must fundraise to make up the difference. 

 

New Fairfield First Selectman Susan Chapman says they plan to meet again after the summer to talk more in depth with the CLA about future budgets. 

 

With the support of the surrounding communities, the CLA  applied for and was awarded a state grant to stock grass carp in the lake in an effort to control the non-native, invasive Eurasian Water Milfoil.  The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is hosting an informational meeting about the sterile triploid grass carp program at West Conn on the 29th.  The meeting will be at 7pm in room SB125 of the Science Building on the midtown campus located on White Street.

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Danbury man charged for jewelry theft from Ridgefield home

A Danbury man has turned himself in to Ridgefield Police on a larceny charge.  Ridgefield police were investigating the theft of more than $100,000 worth of jewelry from a home in early March. 

 

44-year old Edwin Medina is alleged to have carried out the larceny.  He turned himself in Tuesday after learning of a warrant for his arrest.  Police say the arrest stems from a residence that Medina was doing some work at. 

 

Medina was released on bond for a May 1st court appearance.

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Danbury restaurant owner pleads guilty to tax evasion

A Danbury restaurant owner has pleaded guilty to tax evasion.  47-year old Agostino Incorvaia waived his right to indictment in court on Tuesday.  According to court documents, the owner of Augie’s Numero #1 failed to report about $2.65 million in in gross receipts generated by the Danbury eatery from 2007 through 2011. 

 

During the investigation, Incorvaia admitted to an undercover IRS agent that he understated the restaurant’s gross receipts on his income tax returns and provided false numbers to his accountant.  He also had a large group of “off the books” employees.  A portion of the unreported receipts supported his business interests and properties, including those in the Dominican Republic. 

 

Sentencing has been set for July 7th.  Incorvaia faces up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.  He agreed to  pay $396,650 in back taxes, as well as interest and penalties.

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Machete discovered in car at Tarrywile Park in Danbury

Danbury Police officers investigating a report of a disturbance in Tarrywile Park discovered a machete in plain view in the car being looked into.  Police were called to the parking lot on Southern Boulevard around 7 o'clock Sunday night and found 6 people in the parked vehicle. 

 

Police say 18-year old Joshua Castillo of Danbury took ownership of the machete.  He was charged with possession of a weapon in a vehicle.  Police say there was also an active warrant for Castillo on charges of driving without a license, simple trespass and failure to respond to an infraction. 

 

He is due in Danbury Superior Court on the 27th.

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Shoplifting incident reported at NY Home Depot

A Brewster man has been arrested in connection with an alleged shoplifting incident.  The Putnam County Sheriff's office reports that Deputies responded to Home Depot in the town of Southeast on Thursday for a report of a shoplifter in custody of store security.  An investigation determined that 53-year old John Tomassetti took merchandise and left without paying.  He was charged with petit larceny and released for a future appearance in Southeast Justice Court.

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Suspicious Newtown fire, Bethel garage fire, Danbury false alarm

AMC theater in Danbury was evacuated around 11 o'clockTuesday morning on a report of a possible fire.  When firefighters arrived, they determined that the alarm was set off by an exploding light bulb in a projection room.  

 

Bethel firefighter have put out a blaze at new townhouse complex being developed on Stony Hill Road.  The 911 call from Copper Square was made around 2 o'clock Monday afternoon and found a small fire in a garage.  There was minimal structural damage. 

 

A suspicious fire is being investigated by Newtown Police and Fire Marshal.  Firefighters responded to 52 Taunton Lake Road Monday night on a report of a smokey smell in the neighborhood.  Firefighters found several small fires burning inside the unoccupied house.  While officials say the house, which is currently under renovation, is repairable--there was fire, smoke and water damage to all three levels of the home. 

 

Mutual aid was provided to four Newtown fire companies by the Southbury Fire Department.  There were no injuries to firefighters. 

 

The Newtown Bee reports that the state has a reward program which offers a reward for information leading to the arrest, conviction, or prevention of an arson fire.  Anyone with information is asked to contact Newtown PoliceDetective Bureau at 203-426-5841, the town fire marshal at 203-270-4370 or the Connecticut Arson Hotline, at 1-800-842-7766.

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Mahopac man arrested for punching victim in face

A Mahopac man has been arrested for assaulting a Putnam Valley residents Monday.  New York State Police were called by the victim who alleged that 40-year old Robert Davis the 3rd punched him in the face following a verbal argument.  Davis fled before officers arrived.  The victim was treated at the hospital for a facial injury.  Davis was located a short time later and charged with assault and ordered to appear in court today.

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Water main cleaning project in Bethel underway

A water main cleaning project in part of Bethel is underway.  Aquarion Water Company is conducting a water main cleaning project in the Chimney Heights system in Bethel.  The work is being done daily through Friday, between 8am and 5pm. 

 

Aquarion officials say the water main cleaning project is being done to ensure a high water quality. 

 

During the project, customers may notice some discoloration in their water.  This results from the temporary disturbance of the water flow, which stirs up naturally occurring minerals that settle in water mains.  Aquarion recommends customers store water in their refrigerators for drinking and cooking. Customers should also refrain from washing laundry if water is discolored.

 

Prior to resuming use, customers should run their cold water faucets until the water appears clear.

 

The streets that will be affected by the water main cleaning are:

• Adams Dr.                           

• Apple Tree Rd.

• Benedict Rd.

• Brookview Ct.

• Budd Dr.

• Buff Ln.

• Cedar Dr.

• Chimney Dr.

• Colonial Dr.

• Far Horizons Dr.

• Fox Den Rd.

• Green Pasture Rd.

• Hearthstone Dr.

• Hillcrest Rd.

• Hilldale Ln.

• Hollyberry Dr.

• North Hearthstone Dr.

• Oak Ridge Rd.

• Old Field Dr.

• Old Hawleyville Rd.

• Patridge Dr.

• Payne Rd.

• Pondview Dr.

• Pound Sweet Hl.

• Quaker Ridge Rd.

• Ridgedale Rd.

• Sand Hill Rd.

• Sky Edge Dr.

• Sky Edge Ln.

• Stony Hill Rd./Rt 6

• Terrace Dr.

• Walnut Hill Rd.

• Westview Dr.

• Wine Sap Run

• Woodlawn Dr.

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WCSU announces dates, speakers for commencement

Western Connecticut State University has announced their commencement speakers, dates and locations.  The May 2015 undergraduate commencement ceremony will feature remarks by former Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell. 

 

Senator Chris Murphy will deliver the graduate commencement address on Friday May 8th.  That ceremony will be held at 7pm in the O’Neill Center on the university’s Westside campus in Danbury. 

 

The undergraduate ceremony will be held on Sunday May 10th at 10:30am, and for the first time it will be off campus.  University spokesman Paul Steinmetz says the ceremony will be at Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport. Some of the factors in the decision include the traffic jams and delays for families making it to the ceremony, the stadium is crowded and it's outside. 

 

Every year there's stress over if the weather will cooperate on the day of the ceremony. 

 

Central, Souther and Eastern Connecticut State Universities all hold their undergraduate commencement ceremonies at either the XL Center in Hartford or at Webster Arena.  Steinmetz says Webster is the closest indoor facility big enough to hold the 5,000 to 6,000 people who will attend the ceremony.

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Former Bethel teacher due in court on sex assault charges

The former Berry Elementary School teacher charged with sexual assault is due back in court today. 

 

30-year old Brian Stroh posted the $250,000 court set bond after his last appearance at Danbury Superior Court.  The judge had denied a motion to release the former first grade teacher on a promise to appear after the New Fairfield man's attorney filed a motion seeking release saying his client couldn't access mental health treatment. 

 

Stroh was placed on leave February 19th when Bethel school officials learned of a State Police investigation into inappropriate contact with minors.  The victims, 3 boys, were ages 6, 9 and 11.  He resigned shortly after.

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Blumenthal to offer amendment in honor of Newtown victim

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal is seeking to amend a federal education bill and set aside funding to train teachers in social and emotional learning.  He introduced the amendment yesterday, calling it the Jesse Lewis Empowering Educators Act.  The legislation is named for 6-year-old Jesse Lewis, one of 20 first graders killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. 

 

Scarlett Lewis created the foundation after her son's death. Lewis said Jesse wrote the words "nurturing, healing and love" on her kitchen blackboard days before the shooting.  She said those words became the inspiration for the foundation.  The Jesse Lewis Foundation is focused on programs and curriculum for children, teachers and parents that encourage peaceful and positive interactions.

 

Blumenthal says qualities of courage and resilience shown by Jesse and other Sandy Hook heroes will help inspire lesson plans for emotional intelligence and personal strength.

 

Blumenthal says this would address how children learn to recognize and manage emotions, achieve positive goals, demonstrate caring and concern for others, maintain positive relationships, make responsible decisions and handle interpersonal situations effectively. This includes learning how to calm oneself when angry, make friends and resolve conflicts. Numerous studies and reports have found that students who exhibit these skills not only perform better academically, but are less likely to engage in problem behavior like alcohol and drug use, violence, truancy and bullying.

 

Senator Chris Murphy says he learned from Jesse's mother, that the 6-year old had this idea that you always help somebody when you can, and that if you can make somebody a little bit better off, then you do it.  Murphy says by making schools a safer, more compassionate place for kids to grow and learn, that will honor Jesse's memory.

 

5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty says social and emotional learning is a proactive and effective holistic response to violence and helps facilitate early mental health interventions.

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Tim McGraw to headline Sandy Hook benefit concert in July

A special concert will be held this summer to raise money for Sandy Hook Promise.  Country Singer Tim McGraw will donate all of the proceeds from a July 17th show at the XFINITY Theatre in Hartford to the group, which was created in response to the shootings at Sandy Hook School. 

 

As a father and as a friend, McGraw says he wants to be a part of what the group stands for--to protect children from gun violence. 

 

Part of his touring band, fiddle player Dean Brown, is a friend of musician Mark Barden.  Barden's son Daniel was among the children killed on 12-14.

 

Tickets go on sale Friday.

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Fairfield County city considers allowing medical marijuana facilities

Stamford zoning officials are considering whether to establish medical marijuana factories and dispensaries in some neighborhoods.  Factories and dispensaries must apply to the state Department of Consumer Protection for operating permits. 

 

The General Assembly legalized medical marijuana in 2012. 

 

Six dispensaries and four factories operate in Connecticut.  One of the dispensaries is located in Bethel.  More than 700 of the thousands of Connecticut residents who are registered as patients to use palliative marijuana, are located in Fairfield County.

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Teenager killed in Danbury crash identified

Danbury Police have identified the teenage driver who was found dead after crashing his car into a tree on Sunday morning.  Police say 17-year old Fausto Delossantos was killed in the early morning hours on Crows Nest Lane, near Birchwood Condominiums.  The teen attended Henry Abbott Technical High School in Danbury. 

 

A driver saw a badly crushed black Chevy Cobalt off the road and down an embankment shortly before 8am.  Police say Delossantos hit the curb, went airborne, then hit a tree and wrapped around it. 

 

Emergency response crews pronounced the Crows Nest Lane residents dead at the scene.  An autopsy will be conducted by the state medical examiner. 

 

Anyone with information about the crash is asked to call Danbury Police investigators at 203-797-2156.

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Skin cancer screenings offered by New Milford Hospital

A free skin cancer screening is being held soon by the Diebold Family Cancer center at New Milford Hospital.  The appointment-only screenings will be held on April 18th.  Community Outreach Coordinator Susan Twombly says skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States.  It is treatable if found early.

 

The screenings are by appointment only on April 18th from 9am to noon.  The screenings will be provided by dermatologists from Dermatology Associates of Western Connecticut.  To schedule an appointment, call 1-800-350-1595.     

 

Skin cancer screenings are encouraged if you have risk factors for skin cancer, never had your skin checked for skin cancer, or you want to learn more about preventing or recognizing skin cancer.  Risk factors for skin cancer include fair skin that freckles or burns easily, blond or red hair, blue/green/gray eyes or a personal or family history of skin cancer.  Other risk factors are environmental, if you've had high sun exposure, multiple sunburns especially at an early age, or have used tanning beds or sun lamps.

 

This is a screening only, no treatment will be provided.

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Summer host families needed for Danbury Westerners college athletes

Danbury Westerners players come from all across the United States, and there are 28 college athletes on the roster.  As of Friday afternoon, 6 players still need a host family while they are in Danbury for June and July.  The players have their own transportation, they just need a roof over their head and friendly faces to come home to.  The players need a bed to sleep in, access to a kitchen and meals, and a shower.  Host families must live within a 25 mile radius of Danbury. 

 

The summer season is played at Rogers Park.

 

Other host families this year are in Danbury, New Milford , Redding, Ridgefield, South Salem New York and Mahopac.

 

Host Family coordinator Shelley Pitser says besides building a lasting relationship, there are other benefits to being a host family.  That includes a host family season pass for all of the games, 10 percent off Westerners merchandise and 1 week free of the kids camp that the Westerners run.

 

Pitser says they are structured, diligent kids who have had to work hard to get where they are.  The students must keep their academics up while honing their baseball skills.

 

Pitser still keeps in contact with the collegiate athlete her family hosted 6 years ago, and this spring he made the major league roster for the Oakland As.  She says they are very proud and excited for his accomplishment.

 

Those interested in hosting a college athlete for the summer can contact Pitser via email, shelley@danburywesterners.com, or by calling 203-788-3898.

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Clean Vessel Program will operate this boating season on Candlewood

More than $1 million in grant money is being distributed for a program that helps to improve water quality in navigable waterways within Connecticut.  A recreational marine sewage pumpout boat that operates on Candlewood Lake is among 44 in the state receiving some of the funding from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. 

 

Clean Vessel Act grants coordinator Kate Hughes Brown says most of the facilities are on Long Island Sound.  The program mostly involves land-based and boat sewage disposal facilities, known as pumpouts.  The facility on Candlewood is a mobile vessel. 

 

During the 2014 boating season, pumpout facilities removed a record level of 995,000 gallons of recreational marine sewage from vessels.

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Airman killed in 2013 to receive posthumous Bronze Medal

A member of the New York Air National Guard killed in action in Afghanistan in 2013 will be posthumously awarded a military decoration for bravery.

National Guard officials say Staff Sgt. Todd J. Lobraico will be honored with a posthumous Bronze Star Medal with Valor during a ceremony early Saturday afternoon at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh.  The Bronze Star Medal is the fourth-highest individual military award and the ninth-highest by order of precedence in the US Military. When awarded for acts of heroism, the medal is awarded with the "V" device.

The 22-year-old from New Fairfield was serving in the Newburgh-based 105th Airlift Wing when his base security unit was attacked by enemy forces near the Bagram Air Base in September 2013.  Military officials say Lobraico's actions during a firefight allowed members of his team to reach cover and return fire. 

 

(Photo courtesy: NY State Division of Military & Naval Affairs)

 

The unit is trained to secure air bases and trains and fights much like Army infantry. 

Lobraico is the first member of the New York Air National Guard to die in a combat zone since Sept. 11, 2001. 


His parents Master Sgt. Todd J. Lobraico Sr. and Lt. Col. Linda Rohatsch both are members of the 105th Airlift Wing.

 

Lobraico was on his second deployment.  His other awards include the Meritorious Unit Award, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Air Force Overseas Short Tour Ribbon, Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Air Force Training Ribbon, and the New York State Humane Service Medal. 

 

A building at the base will also be dedicated in his honor.

 

The citation reads:

 

Sgt. Lobraico volunteered to establish a listening and observation post eight miles from base in known hostile enemy territory.

 

Despite the inherent risks, he volunteered to take the point position on this mission, scouting ahead and providing security for his fire team. Sergeant Lobraico discovered a large, numerically superior insurgent force in the midst of establishing a planned combined rocket propelled grenade, improvised explosive device and small arms complex ambush of his fire team.

 

With total disregard for his own safety he placed himself directly between his fire team and the insurgents who unleashed a hellish barrage of rocket, grenade, and small arms fire. Sergeant Lobraico took immediate and decisive actions while braving this intense enemy fire, and was mortally wounded while directing the maneuver of his fire team to covered positions from which they could effectively defend themselves and return fire on the enemy positions.

 

His actions were instrumental in gaining fire superiority and the survival of his team.

 

Sergeant Lobraico's remarkable heroism, valorous actions and selfless commitment to his fellow Defenders resulted in the removal of numerous insurgents from the battle field at the cost of his own life. By his heroic actions and unselfish dedicate to duty in the service of his country, Sergeant Lobraico has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

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Southbury home builder cited by OSHA for potentially fatal fall hazards

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, has cited a Southbury home builder for exposing workers to potentially fatal fall hazards.  OSHA has proposed more than $52,000 in fines for Rock Hard Homes Incorporated. 

 

Fall protection hazards were seen by inspectors driving by a worksite on Pembroke Road in Danbury in November.  An investigation was then opened and found four repeat and one serious violation.  The repeat citations stem from Rock Hard Homes history of similar fall protection violations in 2011 in Brookfield and may and June of 2013 in Norwalk. 

 

The violations include: failure to equip employees with an adequate fall protection system while they worked on a pitched roof approximately 28 feet above the ground; allowing employees to walk and work on surfaces without fall protection and exposing them to falls through holes, including skylights; improperly using portable ladders to access upper landings in which the ladders did not extend beyond the landings by the required three feet; and use of defective equipment.

 

The company has 15 days to comply or contest the findings.

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NY man charged for series of home burglaries

A New York man has been arrested for a series of residential burglaries in North Salem and Somers New York.  State Police say a prolonged investigation led to 30-year old Michael Krisa of Purdys.  He was charged on Wednesday with four counts of burglary. 

 

Krisa is accused of breaking into three unoccupied homes and taking jewelry and electronic devices.  He was also accused of breaking into a business and stealing items.  Items taken in the burglaries were recovered. 

 

Krisa was arraigned and is being held in jail on $250,000 bail.  He is due in court on Monday.

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Bridge over Housatonic River in Newtown, Southbury being replaced

A Bridge replacement project in Newtown is getting started.  The bridge that carries Glen Road over the Housatonic River in Newtown and Southbury will be rehabilitated.  The full length of the concrete deck will be replaced, structural steel repairs will be made to the truss and floor beams. 

 

McNamee Construction was awarded the nearly $4.4 million project, which is slated for completion in June 2016. 

 

The work will be done between 9am and 3pm during the week and between 6pm and 10am on weekends.  Alternating one-way traffic will be allowed through at a time during the construction.

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WCSU hosts Accepted Students Day

Western Connecticut State University is hosting Accepted Students Day today. 

 

Last year more than 380 families, about a thousand people, joined faculty and staff at Western Connecticut State University for “Accepted Student Day.” This year that number is expected to be significantly higher, with 30 percent more applications for the fall semester.

 

At 10:30 am, accepted students and their families will gather at the Midtown campus on White Street in Danbury to see what the university has to offer. For prospective Honors Program students, there will be a 9am brunch held by Program Director Dr Chris Kukk about what the program entails.  Following a welcome address, students are invited to listen to faculty presentations in their major of interest.

 

There will be student-to-student panels with current students about campus life, and a “successful first-year panel” for parents to ask about housing, counseling, career services, security and meal plans.  Students accepted to the School of Visual and Performing Arts will be invited to drive to the Westside campus for a tour of the new Visual and Performing Arts Center and other campus facilities.

 

Of the students who came to the university last year on Accepted Students Day, more than 80 percent ultimately enrolled. Since financial aid packages have not been awarded yet, many students still have not committed to any school.

 

Senior administrators, including the university president and provost, as well as deans and faculty representatives of every university department will be at the event.

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Buses replace trains north of Southeast, NY for track work

There will be some road work taking place on Route 312 in New York by the railroad tracks.  Officials say Route 312 in Brewster will be closed at the railroad crossing through Monday at 4pm.  Message boards have been put in place, and a letter was sent to area homes and businesses from the Brewster Fire Department. 

 

MTA Police will be on site 24-7 until the project is complete. 

 

Bus service will be provided for passengers traveling north of Southeast train station to Southeast until Sunday. Passenger service North of Southeast station will resume Monday morning.

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Car reportedly falls on employee at Ridgefield dealership

Ridgefield Police and firefighters have responded to a Pamby Motors lot where a car reportedly fell on and trapped an employee.  Police on the scene report the person, possibly a mechanic, is conscious with a head injury.  An ambulance is headed to Danbury Hospital.  No other information has been provided at this time.

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UPDATED: 'Disgruntled employee' brings gun to Danbury workplace

A Bridgeport man has been arrested for bringing a gun to work. 

 

Danbury Police were called Thursday afternoon for a report of a disgruntled employee pacing in the parking lot of Eastern Account System on Corporate Drive.  The suspect, later identified as 22-year old Ariteigh Bailey, had gone into the office while officers were on their way to the building.  He was sitting at his desk with his head down.  It was unclear if Bailey still had the gun or not.

 

A tactical entry was made and Bailey was located at his cubicle.  Bailey initially failed to comply with officers orders to show his hands, but eventually complied.  A replica handgun was located in Bailey's vehicle.  There were no injuries and the gun was not used. 
 
Bailey was charged with Breach of Peace.  He was transported to Danbury Hospital for evaluation.

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Danbury-based FuelCell to install power plant for Pepperidge Farm

Danbury-based Fuel Cell Energy has entered into a new contract with Pepperidge Farm to install a 1-point-4 megawatt Direct FuelCell power plant at its bakery in Bloomfield, Connecticut.  Pepperidge Farm will pay for power as it is produced under a power purchase agreement.

 

This new power plant will supplement the existing Direct Fuel Cell power plant that was installed at the bakery in 2008.  Fuel Cell says that plant has been generating savings for Pepperidge Farm and carbon reductions since that time.  

 

FuelCell officials say ultra-clean and affordable power plants add value for food and beverage processors such as Pepperidge Farm.

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Yale 'Whiffenpoofs' a cappella group to perform in Danbury

An a cappella performance is coming to Danbury.  Before the headed out on a three month world tour, the Yale Whiffenpoofs will make a stop at the Palace Danbury Theatre tonight.  Managing Director Carol Spiegel says every year, 14 senior Yale men are selected to be in the Whiffenpoofs, the world's oldest and best-known collegiate a cappella group.

 

The Whiffenpoofs were founded in 1909.  Their century-old tradition is carried on each year with over two hundred performances in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Rose Bowl. 

 

Opening the show will be the Danbury-based Martini Glass A Cappella, 13 women from the greater Danbury area.  Many of their Martini Glass A Cappella members are current or alumni students from Western Connecticut State University. 

 

Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased online, by telephone at 203 794-9944 between 1:00-5:00 PM daily, and at the box office starting onehour before showtime on the day of the event.

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Ridgefield Police to honor K9 Officer Zeus with 'Final Ride'

Retired Ridgefield Police K-9 Zeus will be honored on Wednesday.  The 11 year-old German Shepherd retired from the force last May due to severe degenerative hip disorder.  His health has seriously declined since then and Zeus will be euthanized Wednesday. 

 

His final ride will will begin at Ridgefield Police Headquarters at 4:45 pm.  Zeus’s Final Ride will take the following route: West on Governor Street, North on Rt. 35/Main Street, North on Rt. 7, ending at Ridgefield Veterinary Hospital.  Ridgefield officers will be joined by local law enforcement agencies to pay tribute to Zeus during this final ride.

 

(Photo courtsey: Ridgefield Police)

 

During Zeus’s career he was responsible for over 250 narcotics arrests, performed hundreds of demonstrations for the public and conducted over 50 tracks for missing or wanted individuals. During these tracks he located 6 individuals that were in life-threatening situations and located 6 suspects that had fled the scenes of crimes. The largest amount of narcotics Zeus was responsible for seizing was 10 pounds of marijuana which occurred in 2006.

 

Zeus joined the department in 2006 and was partnered with Officer Shawn Murray who he continued to reside with after his retirement.  

 

Members of the community are asked to gather on the sidewalks of Main Street Wednesday along the route if they wish to pay tribute.

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Former employee brings gun to Danbury workplace

Danbury police are investigating a report of a disgruntled former employee bringing a gun into a Danbury business this afternoon.  Police are at Eastern Account System on Corporate Drive and have taken a suspect into custody.  Police say there are no injuries and the gun was not used.  The suspect has not been identified by police.  The investigation is continuing.  No other details are available at this time.

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Ridgefield father sentenced for son's hot car death

A Ridgefield father charged with causing his 15-month-old son's death by leaving the boy in the car for hours on a hot July day will not serve jail time.  36-year-old Kyle Seitz was sentenced Thursday to two years of conditional discharge on a charge of criminally negligent homicide.

 

Authorities say Seitz forgot to take his son, Benjamin, to day care on July 7th and unintentionally left him in the car for more than seven hours while he went to work.  Temperatures that day hit the upper 80s.  The medical examiner found that the toddler died of hyperthermia, or extremely high body temperature.

 

His wife, Lindsey Rogers-Seitz asked the judge for leniency and compassion for her husband.  The couple has two other children. 

 

The judge, in issuing the ruling, said Seitz has endured a sufficient level of suffering.

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Bethel Police Commission hosts meeting on proposal for new station

A public information session is being held tonight in Bethel by the Police Commission.  A new, less expensive plan for a new police station will be presented.  The original proposal was rejected by voters in December.  The $13.7 million proposed project is about $400,000 less than the plan for a 25,000 square foot facility at the corner of Judd Avenue and Whittlesey Drive. 

 

The Police Commission does not plan to vote on forwarding the proposal during tonight's meeting at 7pm at Bethel Town Hall. 

 

The original proposal was for a building three times the size of the current Police Station.  The proposed site is 8 acres near Bethel High School.  The current building was constructed in 1974, expanded in 1989 and does not comply with Federal Emergency Management Agency standards or environmental regulations.  Bethel now has 37 officers, 8 dispatchers, two clerks, 11 ranked officers and two civilian employees. 

 

Police officials say the estimated price is not based on bids, which they say could come in even lower.

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Congresswoman tours UTC Aerospace Systems in Danbury

A town hall style meeting has been held by 5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty with employees of United Technologies Corporation Aerospace Systems in Danbury.  The employees develop and manufacture elctro-optical systems that support a range of critical missions in space, air, and on the ground in defense, civil and international markets.  Esty is a member of the U-S House Science, Space and Technology Committee.  Esty said UTC Aerospace employees told her of a need for a strong, predictable federal partnership.

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New Milford woman being served warrant assaults officers

A New Milford woman being served with an arrest warrant for failing to appear in court is now facing charges of assaulting a public safety officer.  New Milford Police say officers went to the Wellsville Avenue home of 31-year Kristy Smith Tuesday night with the warrant. 

 

She was reportedly intoxicated and combative.  Police say she kicked and punched two officers, who tasered her and arrested her.  Smith was held on bond for interfering with police, assaulting an officer and failure to appear. 

 

She was originally charged in February on a disorderly conduct count.  Smith will be back in Bantam Superior Court on May 6th.

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Forum in Newtown on state cuts to Developmental Services Department

An informational forum is being held in Newtown tonight about proposed cuts to the state Department of Developmental Services.

 

The Arc Connecticut, an advocacy organization for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, is co-hosting the informational with Representative Mitch Bolinsky and Senator Tony Hwang.  The Newtown lawmakers are part of the General Assembly's Intellectual/Developmentally Disabled Caucus. 

 

Hwang says they have received letters from several families in the region about the impact that Governor Malloy’s proposed cuts to DDS would have on their families.  Hwang says he wants to find a long-term, sustainable funding mechanism that does not subject families to the fear and uncertainty they are faced with every year around budget time.  Hwang says he recognizes that the state has a spending and taxation problem, but that he wants to weigh every dollar spent against its anticipated benefit. 

 

Cuts to the Department of Developmental Services have already been made in the current fiscal year that ends June 30, as Malloy acts to close a growing deficit.  Further cuts to the department in his proposed biennial budget, include to its Volunteer Services Program. 

 

Arc officials say the proposed budget cuts will have a devastating impact, especially on children and new graduates who will be left with virtually no supports. 

 

Tonight's meeting is at CH Booth Library from 6:30 to 8pm.  RSVP to Erika Pocock at Erika.pocock@cga.ct.gov or by calling 800-842-1421.

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Danbury Mayor presents budget proposal, new initiative

A $237,700,000 budget is being proposed by Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton for the coming fiscal year.  The proposal is a tax increase of just over 2%.  Boughton says spending up 6% from last year, but if it wasn't for the increase to the schools the mill rate could have been reduced.  Part of the increase is due to higher enrollment and more costs to accommodate more students.

 

The municipal side of the budget is heavy on infrastructure projects.  Roads, bridges and school roof improvements top the list.  Boughton says the last few winters have taken a toll on Danbury's infrastructure.  It's about 30 million dollars in work that will be done around the City this summer and fall.

 

There are two new initiatives.  They will take place with the start of the new fiscal year.  The 311 info line is going to become a 24/7 operation.  Starting on July 1st, residents will get a live operator on the phone at all times to discuss a concern, a pothole or something that needs to be fixed.

 

The other initiative is a pilot program with Savings Bank of Danbury.  Residents will be able to go to any of the 5 branches in the City as of July 1st to pay their property taxes with a teller.  Boughton says this will take some of the pressure off City Hall, but also allows Danbury to offer services to residents 6 days a week.

 

$3 million dollars in bonding is also being proposed.  $1.7 million of that will go to road and drainage improvements throughout Danbury.  The balance is for other projects that should last the City 20 years.

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Conn. man accuses Sandy Hook administrators of faking school shooting

Monroe police have arrested a Wallingford man for making harassing phone calls to Sandy Hook School. 

 

Police say 30-year old Timothy Rogalski left four message on the school answering machine on Tuesday, and then spoke to an administrative assistant accusing the staff of fabricating the events of 12-14, which left 26 children and educators dead. 

 

Monroe police say Rogalski also left messages at two other Newtown schools.  He has been charged with disorderly conduct and five counts of harassment.  Newtown Police have also charged Rogalski with harassment.

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New Milford couple, Hurricane Sandy survivors, win CT Lotto

After surviving Hurricane Sandy and the total destruction of their homes, New York residents Maryann Daino and Dennis Klaus relocated to New Milford to carve out a new existence for themselves.  They were among the New Yorkers who moved in to mobile homes on the property of Faith Church, with the help of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.  On Monday, the couple arrived at CT Lottery headquarters, eager to start a new chapter in their lives.  They were the $255,555 top prize winners of the lottery’s $2 draw game, 5 Card Cash.

 

 

“Dennis didn’t believe me at first; he thought I was kidding him,” Daino said.

Daino’s 5 Card Cash ticket for October 12, 2014, was a perfect match to the winning card symbols drawn on that date.

“We took our time claiming the prize,” explained Klaus. “We lost everything before and we didn’t want to lose everything again. We wanted to be careful, so we talked to an accountant and a lawyer first.”

Daino and Klaus have now put an offer on a house.

The ticket was purchased at New Milford Hess, located at 20 Danbury Road in New Milford.  New Milford Hess, receive a $2,500 bonus check from the CT Lottery for selling the ticket.

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Connecticut bill would allow kids to use medical marijuana

A General Assembly panel has advanced a proposal expanding Connecticut's medical marijuana program to allow children with several debilitating conditions to access the drug. Under the proposal, residents under age 18 could be considered a qualifying patient with approval from a parent, pediatrician and a physician with experience treating the debilitating condition.

 

One critic of the measure, Republican Representative Richard Smith of New Fairfield says until there's more definitive medical information on the effects of marijuana on developing brains, he can't support the bill. 

 

The measure was approved by the committee 29 to 15. 

 

Also among those voting against it was Cecilia Buck-Taylor of New Milford, Wilton Senator Toni Boucher, Danbury Senator Mike McLachlan, John Shaban of Redding and Brookfield Representative Steve Harding.  One of the yes votes came from Danbury Representative Bob Godfrey.

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Conn. man arrested for allegedly assaulting girlfriend

Monroe police have arrested a Connecticut man on breach of peace and reckless endangerment charges after allegedly assaulting his girlfriend.  Monroe police were called Sunday night by a resident who said two cars were stopped in the middle of Purdy Hill Road and an assault was taking place. 

 

The Monroe Courier reports that when the person yelled from their home that they were calling police, the cars moved to the Monroe Post Office. 

 

Police say 29-year old David McCall was a passenger and began arguing with his girlfriend, the driver.  He grabbed the wheel and almost caused a crash.  When the woman stopped the car, McCall tried to remove his girlfriend from the car.  The other car was driven by a friend of McCall's girlfriend.

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Animal sanctuary, Animal Center part ways

A two-year joint effort between The Animal Center in Newtown and the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation led to the formation of the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary.  With the mission and goals of the sanctuary now established, The Animal Center announced on its website that the agency and the sanctuary will be individually pursuing their respective goals for the welfare of animals. 

 

The animal sanctuary is named for one of the children killed at Sandy Hook School. 

 

Last year, Connecticut transferred some state-owned land in Newtown to the non-profit for the sanctuary.  The parcel of land is 34 acres.

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NY sex offender charged with failure to report whereabouts

A sex offender in New York has been charged with failure to report his whereabouts. 

 

A wanted flyer for 66-year old William Deitz was posted on March 31st by the Putnam County Sheriff's Office.  Within two days, a tipster alerted police that the man he knew as Mickey was living in an apartment on Route 6 in the town of Southeast. 

 

Investigators allege that Deitz moved out of the Henry Van Hotel in Southeast late last year and failed to report his new address.  As a level 3 high risk sex offender, Deitz was to have reported his new address to authorities within 10 days of a move. 

 

Deitz was arrested on Thursday for the felony offense and is being held at the Putnam County Correctional Facility in lieu of $10,000 bail.  He faces up to 4 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 for failing to report his change of address.

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Potholes are subject of most March calls to Danbury's 311

Pothole reports were the main source of calls last month to Danbury's 311 info line.  More than 150 reports of potholes were submitted to Danbury via telephone, email and DanburyDirect. 

 

The Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team is reporting to the City Council tonight that potholes were the majority of inquiries made to the 311 info line. 

 

Residents are being encouraged to keep an eye on catch basins and potential drainage issues associated with melting snow and with rain.  Potholes will continue to be a problem until the weather stabilizes, drivers are urged to use caution when driving over puddles as they may in fact be large potholes. 

 

Danbury residents are being reminded to slow down before hitting a pothole, leave plenty of room between vehicles and to hold the steering wheel firmly.

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Easton lawmakers hosting Capital Update forum

Easton lawmakers will be on hand for a legislative update meeting Tuesday.

 

It's nearly the half-way point of the 2015 legislative session.  To provide an update on the many issues being tackled at the state Capital, and to give residents an opportunity to weigh in, State Senator Tony Hwang and state Representative John Shaban will be hosting a community meeting in Easton Tuesday night.  The lawmakers had originally scheduled this forum for February, but it was postponed because of the snow. 

 

The meeting will be held at the Easton Public Library from 6:30 to 8pm.

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Danbury considers changes to liquor permit renewal law

The Danbury City Council is being called on to consider a new ordinance in an effort to comply with a state law passed last May.  The state law requires anyone applying to renew a liquor permit for on-premises alcohol consumption with the Department of Consumer Protection, to also give written notice of the application to the Police Chief where the business is located. 

 

Danbury has drafted a local ordinance in order to comply with that new state law.  The draft Danbury ordinance details the state law, and says that the Police Chief may respond in writing within 15 days to the Consumer Protection Commissioner with comments about the renewal application.

 

The state law was signed by the Governor in May 2014, but Police Chiefs weren't told of it until that October.  Only one other municipality in the state has created a local ordinance, West Hartford.  If the City Council adopts the proposal, Danbury would be the second in the state.  The written notice to the Police Chief must be made 30 days in advance of their application. 

 

Police Chief Al Baker says there are 45 restaurants with this type of license on the public Department of Consumer Protection website, but the agency told him the site is not the most recent and up to date list.  If the local ordinance is approved by the City Council, he will get a complete list of license holders.  Baker says he will then call all license holders to send out notice making them aware of the change to reporting requirements.

 

Baker says the way the state law is written, the Commissioner is required to read his comments but not necessarily act on them.

 

Baker says that's not  the only part of the state law that's unclear.  The legislature didn't define a sanction for non compliance, they just defined a reporting process.  He will look at expiration dates for each license, and can notify the Department if an establishment hasn't notified him a month in advance of their pending renewal.

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Former Brookfield school employee under investigation again

Brookfield's former school district finance director is once again coming under scrutiny by investigators.  A forensic audit is being done to determine whether 57-year old Art Colley provided improper benefits to his assistant.  The Newstimes reports that a Brookfield School District credit card was used for 9 monthly payments to the Regional YMCA of Western Connecticut totalling $7,000. 

 

While it's not clear what the charges were for, receipts showed charity and social services listed, and school officials noted that the high school swim team occassionally uses the pool for practice. 

 

The Brookfield Board of Ed chairman told the paper that there was a written agreement between Colley and his assistant, Elizabeth Kerekes, for money to offset health care costs and tuition for classes she was taking.  Brookfield School Superintendent Ralph Iassogna confirmed in the published report that the money provided by Colley to his assistant, Elizabeth Kerekes came out of the school's operating budget.  Kerekes has been on leave for the past 2.5 weeks. 

 

Colley is due in court on the 22nd on larceny and forgery charges for trying to claim nearly a thousand dollars in reimbursements for three iPads he never purchased.  He resigned in February 2014 following reports that he overspent the district's budget by nearly $1.2 million.

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First Light Power's parent co. answers Candlewood funding question

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy has heard back from the parent company of First Light Power about funding changes to the Candlewood Lake Authority.  GDF Suez wrote this week that there was a significant deliberation process held before deciding on a competitive grant program. 

 

First Light, in making an 80-percent reduction to funds for the CLA, said it wants to distribute an equal amount of funds to the 23 town Housatonic River region.  GDF Suez wrote to Murphy that they believe it will have a greater positive impact on the communities around Candlewood Lake. 

 

The company continued by explaining that the grant program requires organizations to described how they will use the funding so that First Light can have a better accounting of how the money is used and what the benefits are.

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Local lawmaker speaking out about proposed state budget

Governor Dannel Malloy is receiving a steady stream of complaints from social service advocates and others about the cuts in his second two-year budget, which were needed to help cover an approximately $1 billion projected deficit in each fiscal year. 

 

About $470,000 dollars in cuts proposed by Malloy in the next budget are opposed by a local lawmaker.  The cuts are for Connecticut Honor Guard detachments at veteran's funerals to eliminate two members of the guard, bringing their numbers down to three.  Southbury state Representative Arthur O'Neill says given the pomp and ceremony of Malloy's inauguration, this is ironic.  He received a military salute.

 

The unit would be cut from five to three members.  They perform a rifle salute, play taps and fold the flag among other duties.  Lawmakers are currently considering a bill that would fully exempt military retirement pay from the state income tax.

 

O'Neill also cited wage increases for people in Malloy's office, Commissioners and others totalling $1.2 million.

 

Lawmakers still have about a month before they must vote on tax and spending plans that are typically the basis for closed-door negotiations with the administration.

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State Troopers investigating fatal New Fairfield crash

A fatal accident in New Fairfield last weekend is being investigated by State Police.  On the afternoon of March 28th, a northbound car on Route 37 veered into the shoulder, hit a rock and then crossed back onto the road. 

 

State Police say 41-year old Robert Francis Martini Jr. of New Fairfield man crossed into southbound traffic and struck a car being driven by 54-year old Jody Stracci of the Bronx.  She was transported to Danbury Hospital where she was pronounced dead.  The other driver was also taken to the hospital for treatment. 

 

The accident happened around 3pm last Saturday on Route 37 near Pine Hill Road.  Anyone with information is being asked to contact state police at 203-312-5701.

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State Police Trooper promotion ceremony

20 State Police Troopers have been prompted.  A ceremony was held yesterday at the State Police Training Academy.  Among those being promoted from Trooper to Sergeant is Michael Dogali of Newtown.  He served at Troop A in Southbury for 9 years and has been reassigned to Troop L in Litchfield.  He has a BA in criminology and earned a Unit Citation from the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.  Lt Governor Nancy Wyman attended and addressed the promotees.

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Redding Board of Education makes cut for a flat funded budget proposal

A flat funded education budget in Redding has been approved by the Redding Board of Education.  The group was seeking a .8 percent increase of about $173,000.  In order to fulfill the 0% increase budget, several cuts were approved by the group this week.  They include reducing a few positions, some health insurance reductions and eliminating half-day kindergarten buses and a new retirement being announced.  The Redding Board of Finance will take up the newly proposed budget at their meeting on Monday.

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Oxford man fights with coworker, assaults responding Danbury officer

An Oxford man has been arrested for assaulting a Danbury Police officer investigating a complaint of an attack on a coworker. 

 

Danbury Police responded to Ingersoll Auto of Danbury on Federal Road this morning and found a man standing outside with injuries to his face.  The man told police he was attacked by a co-worker during a dispute over construction on the building. 

 

The suspect, 45-year old Douglas Cooke, was located in a room currently under construction.  He refused officers commands to go speak with them and to drop pliers and a sheet rock knife.  A struggle ensued and the officer was cut by the knife. 

 

Cooke was charged with assault on an officer, two counts of assault, and resisting arrest.  He was released on $15,000 bond. 

 

The officer received several stitches and was released from a Danbury Hospital.

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Newtown adds money to current budget for snow removal effort

The Newtown Legislative Council has approved amending the current fiscal year's budget to add money for snow removal efforts.  The budget was increased nearly $300,000 to make up the difference in the amount spent and what was in the budget. 

 

There were 25 winter weather events that the Newtown Public Works Department had to respond to this season, which is substantially more than typical.  First Selectman Pat Llodra told the Legislative Council Wednesday night that the total cost of storms was a little more than $841,000. 

 

Newtown officials emphasized that this amendment avoids the town operating at a deficit, and has nothing to do with taxes.  Overtime was originally budgeted at $156,370, salt costs were pegged at $320,342 and there was $63,407 for sand in the budget.  That was all based on a five year rolling average of previous years spending on winter operations.  Llodra looked at a 10 year history and says the town has been pretty close each year.

 

The nearly $300,000 is being funded by state revenues, which were greater than anticipated. 

 

It comes from two intergovernmental accounts that were increased when the state budget was adopted in May, after the local budget had already been approved by voters.  The state owned property reimbursements, money for hosting Garner Prison, increased from $780,000 to $946,000.  The town's share of Pequot Compact funding increased from $820,000 to $952,000.

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Local lawmaker critical of Gov. on deficit mitigation strategy

Criticism is coming from a local lawmaker over Governor Malloy's response to the growing deficit in the current state budget.  After the state Comptroller pegged the deficit at $172 million and urged the Governor to formally consult the legislature, Malloy's budget chief said that could wait until end-of-the-session budget negotiations. 

 

Senator Rob Kane, whose district includes Bethlehem, Bridgewater and Oxford, says that attitude is misguided.  Kane claims the Governor hopes big revenues after the April 15th tax deadline will bail him out.  He doesn't see that happening.

 

Kane was critical of the Governor for continuing to put off lawmakers, the Office of Fiscal Analysis , the Comptroller and the treasurer .  He says Malloy can not continue to go this alone.

 

Kane says the Rainy Day Fund may have to be tapped.

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Danbury teen charged with panhandling at Walmart

A Danbury teen has been arrested for panhandling at Walmart.  Danbury Police were called to the store around 5 o'clock Wednesday night on a report of an unwanted person. 

 

19-year old Justin Balzarini was being held by Walmart security officers who told Danbury Police that he was bothering customers.  He was also charged with breach of peace and criminal trespass. 

 

After Balzarini was arrested, police discovered that customers contacted store security to report that the suspect was spitting on cars and begging for money in the parking lot of the Newtown Road store.

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Newtown officials advance proposed budget

The Newtown Legislative Council has approved the Board of Finance recommendation to present a $111.73 million municipal and education budget to the voters.  The budget referendum will be held on Tuesday April 28th. 

 

Council members Wednesday night praised Newtown officials for finding a million dollars in the budget to move into the road maintenance account rather than increasing the overall bottom line.  The education budget is proposed at $71.58 million while the municipal budget would be approximately $40 million.

 

It's an overall .6 percent increase in spending.  The mill rate would be reduced though because of additional revenue, including on the grand list, and a reduction in debt service costs.

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Bus stop changed in Brookfield for magnet school students

There's a bus stop change being made in Brookfield and some parents are not pleased.  Students who attend the Academy of International Studies magnet school in Danbury currently wait for the bus at Brookfield Town Hall, but that's changing on Monday to Cadigan Park on Candlewood Lake Road. 

 

Parents were notified of the change via letter sent out last Wednesday and say that was too short of a notice. 

 

Acting Superintendent of Schools Ralph Iassogna told the Newstimes that the change was prompted by safety concerns of the First Selectman and Human Resources Director.  Iassogna says siblings of the magnet school students have been playing on the grass median between the parking lot and the nearby park.

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Town meeting held on proposed Brookfield capital improvement projects

A Special Town Meeting has been held in Brookfield to give residents an overview of the capital improvements projects proposed for the coming fiscal year.  During the meeting Wednesday night, the budget referendum date was set for May 19th. 

 

First Selectman Bill Tinsley says there's $6.7 million for deferred and long overdue maintenance.  The items will be broken down into three questions for the budget ballot.

 

Almost 20 different maintenance and repair projects are planned for Brookfield High School and Whisconier Middle School representing $2.6 million in proposed spending.  There's also about $2 million for an emergency Flood Drainage Diversion project.  $2.1 million for improvements at Town Hall, the Library and to the roads is being proposed.

 

The overall proposed budget is about $61 million with no planned tax increase.  The proposed budget represents a year-vs-year spending increase of 1.29%.  The Board of Finance says that's off-set by income growth in the grand list of taxable property, and from a growth in fees associated with robust construction activity.

 

The Municipal budget is pegged at $21,659,688, with an Education budget of $39,522,766.

 

The Board of Finance will hold a Public Hearing on Tuesday, April 7th, 7pm, in room 133, Town Hall about the budget proposals.

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Rowland starts appeals process in latest conviction

Former Governor John Rowland has started the appeals process in his latest conviction.  

 

The 57-year old was sentenced last month to 30 months in prison for campaign fraud charges.  His attorney filed a notice of appeal on Monday, two days before the filing deadline. 

 

Rowland was also ordered to pay a $35,000 fine and serve three years of probation as part of his sentence.  A jury convicted Rowland in September of conspiring to hide payments for work he did on the failed 2012 GOP 5th congressional district campaign of Lisa Wilson-Foley through a phony contract with her husband's company.

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NC man gets jail for his role in check fraud ring

A North Carolina man has been sentenced to prison for his role in a Connecticut check fraud ring.  37-year old Langston Xavier Neal was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in prison followed by three years supervised release.  Police in New Milford, Southbury and 9 other local police departments helped the U-S Postal Inspection Service with the investigation.  Neal was also ordered to pay more than $104,000 in restitution. 

 

Authorities say Neal, Benjii Carr and Brandon Key Bentley obtained stolen checks, recruited runners to cash the checks and altered the recipients names to those of the runners.  39 checks totalling more than $114,000 were altered and 37 of the checks were cashed by the various Connecticut bank branches. 

 

Carr and Bentley, both of New Haven, previously pleaded guilty and await sentencing.

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Lawsuits against estate of Sandy Hook gunman's mother consolidated

A Judge has granted a motion to consolidate 15 lawsuits by families of children and educators killed at Sandy Hook School against the estate of the gunman's mother.  The lawsuits seek to collect on her homeowner's insurance.  A status conference for the single case has been scheduled for next Thursday, the 9th.  The lawsuits contend that Nancy Lanza failed to properly secure the rifle that her troubled adult son used on 12-14.  The Yogananda Street home was demolished last week after the town was able to purchase it from the estate for a dollar.

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Easton, Redding, Region 9 names new school superintendent

The Easton-Redding-Region 9 schools have named a new Superintendent.  Dr Thomas McMorran who is currently Assistant Superintendent and Head of Schools of Joel Barlow High School will move into the lead role on July 1st.  The appointment was made by unanimous vote of the three boards at a special meeting Tuesday night. 

 

Dr. McMorran will succeed Dr. Bernard Josefsberg, who last fall announced his intention to retire from the position of Superintendent at the end of the current school year.  The 51-year old Newtown resident has served as Head of School and Assistant Superintendent for Regional School District 9 since 2007.  

 

McMorran was named the 2012 Connecticut State High School Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals and Connecticut Association of Schools.

 

14 applications were reviewed by a Search Committee.  An online survey of residents drew 650 responses to help developed a set of qualities and attributes to be met by candidates.  Focus group sessions were also held. 

 

McMorran served as Assistant Principal (2005-2007) and English Department Chair (2001-2005) at Ridgefield High School in Ridgefield, Connecticut. He began his educational career as an English teacher and has held teaching positions in Ridgefield, Newtown, New Fairfield, and, from 1989 to 1992, at Joel Barlow. He holds an undergraduate degree, cum laude, in English and Education from Boston College, as well as a Master’s Degree in Philosophy from Fordham University, a 6th Year Degree in Educational Leadership from Southern Connecticut State University, and a Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) from Seton Hall University. He was named to the Seton Hall Graduate School of Education Hall of Fame in 2014.

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Bomb threat reported at New Milford High School

There is a reported bomb threat at New Milford High School.  The students have been evacuated to the football field and are waiting for the buses.  All other New Milford schools will be dismissed at their regular times.  An automated message was sent out to New Milford High School parents by Superintendent of Schools Dr. JeanAnn Paddyfoote.

 

All after school and adult education at New Milford High School Wednesday have been cancelled.

 

Connecticut State Police say a state police K9 unit is assisting New Milford police.

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Woodbury man charged with assault on baby daughter

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) Court documents show a 21-year-old Woodbury man whose daughter suffered a head injury last June had searched the term ``shaken baby syndrome'' on his smart phone shortly after the girl was injured.

Benjamin Marshall is free on a $50,000 bond after his arraignment Monday on an assault charge.

Marshall told police he was changing his daughter when he received a chat message and become distracted. He said he caught the child as she fell from the changing table, but the baby hit her head.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, police searched the phone and found four searches for ``shaken baby syndrome.''

The baby was treated at Saint Mary's Hospital in Waterbury for a fractured skull.

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Police cracking down on texting while driving

State police and more than 50 local police departments have begun a crackdown on people using their cell phones while driving.  The Connecticut Department of Transportation says the ``U DRIVE. U TEXT. U PAY'' initiative focuses on texting, but police also will be looking for drivers talking on their phones. 

 

The Brookfield Police Department received an $18,000 grant to support officer overtime, for targeted special enforcement of distracted driving laws on local roads.  New Milford and Danbury Police Departments also received grant money for the month long effort.

 

The effort will run through the month of April.  Violators face fines of $150 for a first offense, $300 for a second violation, and $500 for any additional charges.

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Route 53 bridge in Redding being replaced

A construction project starts in Redding today.

 

The state Department of Transportation will be rehabilitating a bridge over Route 53.  The bridge that carries Route 53 in Redding over a brook between Umpawaug Road and John Read Middle School is being replaced.

 

The bridge was built in 1928 and is 28 feet wide.  A 21-foot section is being rebuilt so that there can be 12-foot travel lanes and 4 foot shoulders in each direction.  Some other minor safety improvements will also be completed. 

 

The project work will be done Monday through Friday 9am to 3pm with alternating one way traffic controlled by flaggers or temporary traffic signals.  The construction is scheduled through September 8th.

 

Dayton Construction Company Incorporated of Watertown Connecticut was awarded the $425,000 contract.

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Mental health care roundtable held in Danbury

A roundtable discussion about mental health prevention, intervention, and treatment has been held in Danbury.  It was hosted by Senator Chris Murphy, who is writing a bill with a Republican from Louisiana to reform the mental health system.  He wanted to learn about the concerns and needs of the Fairfield County mental health advocacy community.

 

In the Danbury region, Murphy says there's a lack of inpatient bed space for someone with a complex psychosis who needs two weeks or a month of care.  Murphy says people get discharged into the community too early because that type of facility doesn't exist in the area.

 

He was joined by mental health professionals, providers, clients, educators, and advocacy groups.

 

(Photo Courtesy: Senator Murphy)

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Boehringer Ingelheim cuts ribbon on new research facility

Boehringer Ingelheim has cut the ribbon on a new research facility. 

 

The Ridgefield-based pharmaceutical company says the Pilot Plant will be used to produce larger quantities of compounds being researched for testing and other uses.  Senator Chris Murphy was among the officials on hand Tuesday for the ribbon cutting.  He says the Pilot Plant will play a crucial role in research and development to bring new treatments to market faster. 

 

The building project was about $65 million and part of a larger overall expansion of BI's U.S. headquarters.

 

(Photo Courtesy: Senator Murphy)

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