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Local Headlines Archives for 2015-07

Teens arrested for portraying themselves on Twitter as a former DHS teacher

A boy and girl who just graduated from Danbury High School have been arrested for using the photo and name of a former teacher on a social media account.  Danbury Police launched an investigation in February when the former teacher reported an active Twitter account was portraying her in a defamatory manner.

 

Search warrants were issued and interview conducted over the last several months leading to two Danbury High Schoolers, who were seniors at the time.  Arrest warrants for the former students were granted recently.  On Wednesday, 18-year olds Nickolas Brito and Mikayla Ramos turned themselves into police. 

 

 

 

Each teen was charged with conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation and conspiracy to commit harrassment.  Ramos was also charged with making a false statement.  The teens were released on written promises to appear in court on August 18th.

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Rainbow flag burned at Danbury church

Danbury police have determined that a rainbow flag burned at a church was criminal mischief, not a hate crime.  The flag was put up outside the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Danbury shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same sex marriages should be legal across the country.  A church administrator came to work on July 24th and found that the rainbow flag had been burned. 

 

Reverend Barbara Fast says UU Danbury is proud to be a welcoming congregation that celebrates participation by all people.  Rev. Fast says fire can destroy, but it can also renew.  She says hateful acts never endure.

 

A new rainbow flag will be dedicated on Sunday at noon at the church on Clapboard Ridge Road. 

 

Fast says the rainbow flag is a symbol of the church's commitment to love and justice.  She says the rededication will reaffirm the basic principle that everyone has the right to determine their own path through life.

 

Board of Trustees President Walt Sizemore says burning any flag is a public desecration, and for some in the Danbury community it is more than mere vandalism.  Sizemore says they are recommitted to the pursuit of inclusion of all people. Unitarian Universalist Congregations of Danbury officials say they national association has officials opposed discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people since 1970, and that the organization has called for marriage equality since 1996.

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Bethel, Southbury receive state funding for housing improvements

Two area towns are receiving Community Development Block Grants under the Small Cities Program.  Bethel will receive $800,000 for the Reynolds Ridge Senior Housing complex.  Department of Housing Commissioner Evonne Klein the Bethel Housing Authority will create two handicapped accessible units, replace interior and exterior doors, replace windows and make energy efficiency improvements at the 80 units.

 

Southbury has been awarded $400,000, and will be undertaking its first Housing Rehabilitation program.  The plan calls for rehabilitating 12 units by replacing roofs, heating systems, and windows.  Lead paint and asbestos removal along with electrical and code upgrades will also be made.

 

Klein says the grants help facilitate projects to enhance a community.  That's done in a number of ways including developing or preserving affordable housing, providing services to the most vulnerable residents in our communities, and creating and retaining jobs. 

 

Klein says Connecticut is making critical investments in housing that will have a lasting effect on individuals, families, and communities.  The CDBG Small Cities program uses federal funds allocated to Connecticut by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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Mileage fee proposed to pay for transportation plan

Tolls aren't the only way The Governors Transportation Finance Panel has discussed as ways to raise the $100 billion needed for Malloy's 30-year transportation improvement plan.  The panel created by Governor Dannel Malloy has discussed the idea of a so-called mileage fee.  It would be assessed based on the number of miles driven per year, as determined by a car's GPS system.

 

Danbury State Senator Mike McLachlan says while it's necessary to look at all opportunities to fund transportation, the ideas so far are all about new taxes.  McLachlan says the idea currently being discussed by the chairman of the panel, former state lawmaker Cameron Staples, couldn't work because not all cars have the technology.

 

McLachlan says a new fee is absurd given that Connecticut has seen the two highest tax increases in state history in the last four years.

 

As cars get better and better milage, revenue from the gas tax gets less and less.  McLachlan says spending should be cut in Connecticut, and the state should "stop spending money foolishly" so that there is money for repair roads.  He says he'd prefer ideas to better allocate the money that's already coming in to Connecticut.

 

The panel is slated to make recommendations late next month.  A final report is due in October. The legislature could come back before the end of the year to approve it.

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Convicted embezzler charged with larceny, unemployment compensation fraud

A Bridgewater woman has been arrested for illegally collecting unemployment benefits. 

 

45-year old Deborah Wilmot, who is serving a prison sentence for embezzling thousands of dollars from Bull's Bridge Golf Club, was charged Thursday with larceny and unemployment compensation fraud.  Wilmot collected nearly $22,000 in benefits over the course of a year in 2011 and 2012 while she was employed at three different businesses, including the South Kent golf club. 

 

The arrest affidavit says she used an alias, and in one case used a relative's Social Security number so that her employer wouldn't learn of her previous felony convictions for larceny and forgery. 

 

Wilmot will be in court September 1st. 

 

Wilmot previously served three years for a 2004 conviction of embezzling $100,000 from Canterbury School in New Milford.  She allegedly took more than $220,000 from a New York-based computer software company while employed as a bookkeeper in 2008-2009.  Wilmot received a two year federal prison term in 2012 for tax evasion on the funds stolen from Amkai Corporation.

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Lightning strike hits Danbury condo unit

Danbury Firefighters have responded to two blazes today.  There is a second floor fire at a condo on Candlelight Drive.  Heavy smoke is reported.  An earlier kitchen fire at a home on Chestnut Street was extinguished quickly.  There were no injuries in that fire.  Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton says the condo fire was caused by a lightning strike.

 

(Photo: @MayorMark, Twitter)

 

The American Red Cross was helping residents of three damaged condos with temporary housing needs.

Some residents told fire officials that they saw lightning hit the building, and others said they heard a loud noise right before the fire began in an attic.  Fire officials are trying to determine exactly how the blaze began.

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Man arrested for June home invasion in Weston

A Connecticut man has been arrested for a home invasion in Weston last month.  42-year old Dylan Garner of Bridgeport is facing an assault charge for the home invasion.  State Police say Garner rang the doorbell of a home on Ten O'clock Lane on June 5th, but the woman didn't answer. 

 

She later reported hearing glass and wood on the back door being broken.  Garner confronted the victim, forced her to the ground and restrained her.  Several pieces of jewelry were taken, and the victim sustained non-life threatening injuries. 

 

Garner was arrested Tuesday and was held on $250,000 bond for arraignment today.  In addition to assault, Garner faces charges of home invasion, larceny, robbery and unlawful restraint.

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Redding to preserve 30 acres as open space

Redding, The Redding Land Trust and Aquarion Water Company are partnering to preserve 30 acres of open space land near the intersection of Routes 107 and 53.  The property borders the Saugatuck River just before the Reservoir. 

 

The land is priced at $400,000, with Aquarion contributing $60,000.  The Land Trust will spend $170,000 toward the purchase, with the town using a state grant of the same amount.  The grant was awarded to Redding in October. 

 

The Redding Pilot reports that the state will hold an easement over the land, and Aquarion will hold a secondary easement.  Redding and the Redding Land Trust would be the deed owners.

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Second arrest made in Danbury pet shop animal cruelty case

A second arrest has been made in an animal cruelty case at American Breeders pet shop on Federal Road in Danbury.  One of Richard Doyle’s store managers, 29-year old Kathy Seton of Cold Spring, NY, was charged yesterday with one count of animal cruelty.  Police did not detail the allegations against her. 

 

Doyle was charged Monday with three counts of animal cruelty over allegations he failed to properly care for two dogs and a kitten, requiring two animals to be euthanized. 

 

 

 

A complaint by an employee about animal mistreatment led to an investigation by Connecticut animal control officers. 

 

One of the allegations against Doyle is that he performed a surgical procedure on the eye of a Neopolitan Mastiff when he is not licensed to do so. The female dog sustained severe bleeding after the procedure on an inner eyelid, which Doyle allegedly performed in the rear of the pet shop in March.  The employee provided officers with photographs documenting the dog’s condition. She also said she was often made to treat animals with medication and administer shots although she is not licensed to do so. 

 

Doyle also is accused of confining a critically-ill exotic kitten and failing to provide it immediate veterinary intervention until the animal required euthanization.

 

The Mahopac resident owns two other pet shops in New York. 

 

He is also charged with failing to provide proper care to a sick Shih-Tzu puppy that was in need of immediate medical care in April.  Doyle had brought the puppy to Danbury from one of his New York stores and left it in the care of an employee but without needed veterinary care to treat it for vomiting, diarrhea and coughing. The puppy also was later euthanized by a veterinarian.

 

He was arrested Monday, and released on a written promise to appear in court on August 6th.

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Fire Leaves Many Homeless At Heritage Village in Southbury

SOUTHBURY, Conn. (AP) Two people have been hospitalized and the residents of five homes displaced in a fire at a Southbury condo complex.

Officials say crews were called to the Heritage Village condominiums at 11:45 p.m. Wednesday night.

The complex is an active senior community and has more than 3,000 residents. The flames damaged five units, which have been deemed uninhabitable.

Firefighters found people outside of the building when they arrived. No one needed to be rescued but officials say about 10 to 15 residents lost their homes.

Authorities say two residents were sent to the hospital in serious condition, one of them after suffering a heart attack. Investigators have not determined the cause of the fire.

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Esty urges action on gun violence prevention measure

With Congress on vacation, a local lawmaker is chastising her colleagues for not bringing gun violence prevention legislation to the floor for a vote. 

 

Speaking on the day of adjournment Wednesday, 5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty said Connecticut knows the devastation caused by gun violence, citing the shooting at Sandy Hook School.  But she says just as tragic are the deaths that don't make national headlines.  She pointed to 19 people killed in the capital city of Hartford this year alone.

 

Esty says no person, no community is protected from the problem of gun violence.

 

Esty urged leaders of the House to spend their five week recess thinking about all of the lives lost each year to gun violence.  In March, she introduced a bill to have comprehensive background checks for all commercial sales of guns.  She wants that called for a vote when they reconvene in September.

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Greater Danbury Community Health Center breaks ground

A ground breaking ceremony has been held for the Greater Danbury Community Health Center.  A four-story, 36,000 square foot building is going up at the former police station site. 

 

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton says the new building means permanent new jobs for downtown who will eat in local restaurants and shop locally.  He says the building is going to be beautiful, and represents a $20 million investment in CityCenter.

 

 

Connecticut Institute for Communities CEO Jim Maloney says this is a major step forward in expanding their services.  The building will house pediatric and adolescent medical and behavioral health services, comprehensive women's health services, an on site-blood sample suite, a full service pharmacy, administrative offices for the health center and headquarters for the Connecticut Institute. 

 

A pharmacy will be on site.  Anyone can enroll in the health center at no cost and use the deeply discounted facility.  People without health insurance will be able to cut their bills by about two-thirds.

 

Maloney says existing staff will basically double from about 60 employees, to more than 120.  Maloney expects $6 million a year in payroll for physicians, APRNs, front desk staff, medical assistants, clerical staff, billing, finance, legal, HR and front desk staff.  He says it will be a significant shot in the arm economically for downtown Danbury.

 

The financing package involves a mix of public and private funding.  The state is providing a $4 million grant.  Governor Dannel Malloy was on hand for the ground breaking.   

 

(Photo Courtesy: Governor Malloy)

 

There's private commercial mortgage financing totalling $6 million dollars and $5 million dollars from three federal New Market Tax Credit program investors.

 

Governor Malloy said, “We are pleased that the state can help move this project forward-- it will both enhance community health care in the Danbury area and also provide a major economic boost  to  the  city’s  downtown.  Connecticut  is  making progress  every  day,  driving unemployment to a seven-year low as we create tens of thousands of jobs.  As we do that, we’re expanding health care access like never before.  It  is projects like this that demonstrate  how we’re accomplishing both of those goals.”

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Danbury pet shop owner charged with animal cruelty

Animal cruelty charges have been brought against a Danbury pet shop owner.  55-year old Richard Doyle faces three counts stemming from allegations he failed to properly care for two dogs and a kitten at American Breeders pet shop on Federal Road. 

 

Two of the animals had to be euthanized. 

 

A complaint by an employee about animal mistreatment led to an investigation by Connecticut animal control officers. 

 

One of the allegations against Doyle is that he performed a surgical procedure on the eye of a Neopolitan Mastiff when he is not licensed to do so. The female dog sustained severe bleeding after the procedure on an inner eyelid, which Doyle allegedly performed in the rear of the pet shop in March.  The employee provided officers with photographs documenting the dog’s condition. She also said she was often made to treat animals with medication and administer shots although she is not licensed to do so. 

 

Doyle also is accused of confining a critically-ill exotic kitten and failing to provide it immediate veterinary intervention until the animal required euthanization.

 

The Mahopac resident owns two other pet shops in New York. 

 

He is also charged with failing to provide proper care to a sick Shih-Tzu puppy that was in need of immediate medical care in April.  Doyle had brought the puppy to Danbury from one of his New York stores and left it in the care of an employee but without needed veterinary care to treat it for vomiting, diarrhea and coughing. The puppy also was later euthanized by a veterinarian.

 

He was arrested Monday, and released on a written promise to appear in court on August 6th.  Charges of animal cruelty are also pending against one of Doyle’s store managers, Kathy Seton.

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Case continued against teen who threatened violence against schools

A pre-trial hearing has been scheduled for a Torrington teen who made verbal threats of violence against Danbury and Stratford schools last February.  19-year old Natalie Carpenter was arrested in 2014 on charges of conspiracy to commit assault and criminal attempt to commit assault. 

 

At a court appearance yesterady, the case was continued to August 25th. 

 

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

 

Carpenter remains held on $300,000 bond.

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Bethel teacher gets pre-trial hearing date in sex assault case

A brief court appearance was made this morning by a former Bethel Berry Elementary School teacher charged with sexual assault.  30-year old Brian Stroh of New Fairfield will have a pre-trial hearing on September 4th. 

 

He faces three counts each of felony risk of injury to a minor, felony illegal sexual contact and misdemeanor sexual assault.  Stroh has been ordered to not have unsupervised contact with minors and not to contact the boys in the case against him. 

 

Stroh is free on $250,000 bond. 

 

The charges stem from incidents on February 15 and May 1, 2009. 

 

Officials have said the contact did not happen on school grounds. Stroh was employed by the Redding Parks and Recreation Department from June 2013 through the summer of 2014.  Redding officials said at the time of his arrest that Stroh had no disciplinary actions in his personnel file and no reports from staff claiming to have witnessed any inappropriate behavior.

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Danbury teacher sex assault case continued

A Danbury High School science teacher facing charges of sexually assaulting one of her students made a brief court appearance this morning.  25-year-old-year-old Kayla Mooney had the case continued to August 26th upon the request of her attorney. 

 

She was charged in March 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 the he and Mooney exchanged. 

 

She was placed on administrative leave in February, but failed to maintain her certification and was let go.

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Cooling Center opened in Danbury to beat the heat

A cooling center has been set up in Danbury to help residents cope with the heat.  An air conditioned HART bus will be stationed outside of 198 Main Street today and tomorrow from 1pm to 5pm. 

 

Continued high temperatures and humidity have also prompted reminders about ways to prevent heat-related illness.  People are urged to drink plenty of water, avoid strenuous activities, avoid alcohol and caffeine, and avoid exposure to direct sunlight or long periods in the sun. 

 

In Newtown, the Municipal Center at Fairfield Hills will be open 7am to 9pm through Thursday.

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Danbury Democrats, Republicans endorse candidates for November election

Some people who have worked for the City of Danbury are making a foray into politics.  Both the Republican and Democratic Town Committees have met to nominate candidates for the City Council, Board of Education and Zoning Commission.  Former City Center Director, Democrat Andrea Gartner, is among those seeking a seat on the City Council.  Former Fire Chief, Republican Geoff Herald, is also seeking a position on the City Council. 

 

The Town Clerk race will feature incumbent Democrat Joan Bielizna, challenged by Republican state Representative Jan Giegler. 

 

Two Democrats who ran for state Representative positions last year are seeking local office.  Candace Fay will be on the ballot as a Zoning Commission alternate.  Henry Hall is seeking a position as Constable.

 

OFFICE CANDIDATE (I-incumbent) PARTY
Mayor Mark Boughton (I) Republican
     
Treasurer Daniel Jowdy (I) Republican
     
Town Clerk Janice Giegler Republican
  Joan Bielizna (I) Democrat
     
City Council at Large Christina Chieffalo (I) Republican
Elect 7 Philip Curran (I) Republican
  Michael Esposito Republican
  Jack Knapp (I) Republican
  Warren Levy (I) Republican
  Gregg Seabury (I) Republican
  Andrew Wetmore (I) Republican
  Al Almeida Democrat
  Andrea Gartner Democrat
  Paul McAllister Democrat
  Gregg Williams Democrat
  James Hughes Democrat
  Abu Helalul Karim Democrat
  Sherri Neptune Democrat
     
Ward 1 (Elect 2) Irving Fox (I) Republican
  John Priola (I) Republican
  Dennis Perkins Democrat
  Daniel Iskandar Democrat
     
Ward 2 (Elect 2) Vinny DiGilio (I) Republican
  Elmer Palma (I) Republican
  Ashley Ward Democrat
  Robert Karrat Democrat
     
Ward 3 (Elect 2) Chris Arconti (I) Republican
  Joe Cavo (I) Republican
     
Ward 4 (Elect 2) Matthew Kennedy Republican
  Mary Maroto Republican
  Thomas Saadi (I) Democrat
  John Esposito Democrat
     
Ward 5 (Elect 2) Geoffrey Herald Republican
  Clifton Kowicz Republican
  Duane Perkins (I) Democrat
  Fred Visconti (I) Democrat
     
Ward 6 (Elect 2) Theresa Keeler Republican
  Michael Negron Republican
  Paul Rotello (I) Democrat
  Ben Chianese (I) Democrat
     
Ward 7 (Elect 2) Nancy Cammisa (I) Republican
  Joe Scozzafava (I) Republican
  Theresa Buzaid Democrat
  Richard Molinaro Democrat
     
Board of Education (6) Annrose Fluskey-Lattin (I) Republican
  Richard Hawley (I) Republican
  Patrick Johnston Republican
  David Metrena (I) Republican
  Emanuela Palmares Republican
  Daniel Rosemark Republican
  Gladys Cooper (I) Democrat
  Frederick Karrat Democrat
  Holly Robinson Democrat
     
Zoning Commission (9) Milan David Republican
  Sally Estefan (I) Republican
  Jeffrey Giegler Republican
 

Kevin Haas

Republican
  Alan Kovacs Republican
  Robert Laber (I) Republican
  Robert Melillo (I) Republican
  Alexander Rodriguez Republican
  Annette Zatkovich (I) Republican
  Theodore Haddad Jr. (I) Democrat
  Richard Jowdy (I) Democrat
  James Kelly (I) Democrat
     
Zoning Alternate (3) Mary Cronin Republican
  John Herlihy Jr Republican
  Robert Oravetz Republican
  Candace Fay Democrat
     
Constable (5) Michael Halas Republican
  Louise McMahon Republican
  Michael Safranek Republican
  Francis Kieras (I) Democrat
  Emil (Butch) Coladarci (I) Democrat
  Henry Hall Democrat
     

 

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Bridge in Southbury closed 'indefinitely'

A bridge over a brook in Southbury is closed indefinitely.  The Spruce Brook Bridge was inspected by the State Department of Transportation on Friday when town officials noticed a significant change in the condition of the culverts.  Southbury officials were told that an immediate closure was recommended. 

 

The bridge carries a roadway over the Transylvania Brook and was closed indefinitely on Monday after a follow up inspection. 

 

Detour signs and a road block have been set up alerting motorists to use Route 172 to Liberty Lane and Yankee Drive.  The road connects to Spruce Brook Road beyond the bridge. 

 

A safe alternative over the brook is being worked on.

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Greater Danbury Community Health Center breaks ground

Governor Dannel Malloy will be in Danbury this afternoon for a ground breaking ceremony.  A four-story, 36,000 square foot building is being constructed in downtown Danbury to house the Greater Danbury Community Health Center.  Connecticut Institute for Communities CEO Jim Maloney says this is a major step forward in expanding their services. 

 

Maloney says the new building means 50 permanent new jobs for downtown Danbury.  The building at 120 Main Street, the site of the old police station, is being financed by $15 million in public, private and other dollars.  Maloney hopes to be able to open the building in about a year.

 

The building will house pediatric and adolescent medical and behavioral health services, comprehensive women's health services, an on site-blood sample suite, a full service pharmacy, administrative offices for the health center and headquarters for the Connecticut Institute.

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Boehringer Ingelheim sells off Roxane business

Boehringer Ingelheim is selling off the company's Roxane business.  The pharmaceutical company, whose North American headquarters is located in Ridgefield, is selling the generic business to Jordan-based Hikma Pharmaceuticals for $.65 billion.  According to a statement from Hikma, the company will pay $1.18 billion in cash and issue 40 million new shares to Boehringer.  The Roxane manufacturing plant is located in Columbus Ohio, and company officials expect the sale will have little impact it's Connecticut facilities.

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State approves funding to widen I-84 in Danbury

Funding for the first block of projects under Governor Dannel Malloy's proposed transportation overhaul has been approved by the State Bond Commission.  The first batch of projects identified in a ramp-up initiative is known as "Let's Go CT!" includes funding for a new dock yard on the Danbury Branch Rail Line in Norwalk will allow the state to increase capacity and service.

 

$4 million dollars for the design, engineering, and construction of a new dock yard on the Danbury Branch Rail Line in Norwalk was approved.  That will allow the state to increase capacity and service on the Danbury Line.

 

"Though the administration and I have differed on some  things, transportation infrastructure upgrades are a priority where we completely agree and have my full support.  I appreciate today's investment in the Norwalk to Danbury Branch Line after so many years of work from the local delegation to maintain, upgrade and modernize this line," said Wilton State Senator Toni Boucher.

 

Boucher continued by saying that the Danbury line has great potential to improve economic development in the region, but money for the necessary upgrades was  derailed or diverted over the years.  She says commuters have been forced to use other lines that are better equipped, yet most of the big office complexes are ironically located next to this rail line.

 

The package also includes $10 million dollars toward the design and engineering for the widening of I-84 in Danbury between exits 3 and 8.  This will widen the highway in both directions and will ease rush-hour traffic along that heavily congested section of the highway.

 

Malloy says he was caught in traffic for an hour and a half in that area on Holy Thursday.

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Absentee ballots available soon for Region 9 re-vote

Absentee ballots will be available starting Thursday for the second referendum vote being held about replacing the roof at Joel Barlow High School.  The vote on little more than $1 million will be held on August 18th.  The same amount was approved by voters in Easton and Redding on May 5th, but due to technical errors, the vote was declared invalid by the Region 9 bond council. 

 

The Redding and Easton Town Clerks say the Region 9 Board of Education didn't submit the legal notice paperwork to them. 

 

An application for an absentee ballot must be completed before a ballot can be issued.  A second referendum could cost the towns $8,000.

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Greater Danbury area towns to benefit from state bond money

Several items approved today by the state Bond Commission will benefit the Greater Danbury area. 

 

In New Milford, Dakota Partners will receive a $4.2 million loan to help with construction and rehabilitation of East Street Apartments.  The project contains 30 affordable rental units.  The loan will be provided at 1-percent for 30 years.  The project is costing $11 million in total and will be offset by $6.2 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits and $720,000 in CHFA financing. 

 

Weston is receiving $256,000 in bond money for ADA and other code improvements at the town library.  The grant will cover approximately half of the total estimated cost of the project, with the remaining funds being bequeathed to the library by a late Weston resident.  Representative John Shaban called ibraries a priceless public resource.  In such difficult economic times, he says he is pleased to be able to help secure some return from the state for needs of the district.

 

Phone line repairs and electrical system improvements will be made at Southbury Training School with $225,000 in state bond money.

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Newtown officials remind residents to stay cool, check on neighbors

Newtown is looking to help people beat the heat by offering some extended hours and reminding residents of places that are air conditioned where they can gather.  The Muncipal Center at Fairfield Hills is open 7am to 9pm through Thursday and on Friday from 7am to 5pm. 

 

CH Booth Library and the Newtown Senior Center are open during their normal hours. 

 

The Newtown First Selectman, Emergency Management and Health District offices are asking that residents check on any elderly or frail neighbors, monitor pets and keep them out of the sun.

 

Individuals are urged to take the following steps to ensure good health:

Drink plenty of water

Avoid strenuous activities

Take frequent rests for cooling down in an air conditioned area or near a fan

Wear light, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing

Avoid alcohol and caffeine

Eat lightly throughout the day

Avoid exposure to direct sunlight or long periods in the sun (especially between the hours of 12 noon and 4pm which are the hottest hours during the day

 

Heat Related Illness has some common symptoms that should be watched for, including:

Dry Red Spotted Skin

Rash

Mental Confusion

Dizziness

Weakness

Fatigue

Headache

Nausea

Cramps

Body temp. at or above 105 degrees F

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Water main break being repaired in Bethel

A water main break in Bethel is being repaired on the corner of Hoyt’s Hill and Route 302.  Service to parts of the town has been shut down because of the break.  Residents in the Hoyt's Hill, Spring Hill Lane, Governor's Lane, Whippoorwill Road, Fawn Road and parts of Winthrop Road will be without water for several hours.  About 60 or 70 homes are affected.  There was no official estimate for when the water main break would be repaired.

 

(Photo Courtesy: First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker, Twitter)

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Former school bus driver sentenced for child sex assault

A former school bus driver from Brewster has sentenced for the sexual abuse of a six year old girl.  68-year old Michael Cunningham has been sentenced to 14 years in prison. 

 

The Putnam County District Attorney's office said on Monday that the former school bus driver was also ordered on Wednesday to five years of supervised release.  The Brewster man was charged in July 2014 with two counts of felony child sex abuse. 

 

Although Cunningham worked as a bus driver in the Katonah-Lewisboro and Brewster School Districts before retiring in 2004, this case is unrelated to that work.  Prosecutors argued Cunningham worked to gain the trust of the child’s parents over a period of time, eventually offering to babysit.  Prosecutors sought the maximum sentence saying that Cunningham groomed and manipulated the child before abusing her.

 

The child's mother said in court that they opened their home to him, and he hurt the family in the worst possible way. 

 

District Attorney Adam Levy commended the staff at the Child Advocacy Center, who ensured the family received the services and counseling needed to begin recovery, and for accompanying the family throughout the trial.

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Red Bulls II soccer team to play benefit game for Newtown

A fundraiser featuring the Professional United Soccer League Team New York Red Bulls II is being held on Thursday to benefit Newtown Youth & Family Services.  The team will play an exhibition game against the Newtown Pride FC of the Connecticut Soccer League. 

 

Event coordinator Kyle Lyddy says the proceeds from the game and a silent auction will go toward the peer-to-peer mentoring program run by NYFS.  Lyddy says they are holding the event on Thursday to raise awareness of the services offered by Newtown Youth and Family Services, and to keep some of those services going.

 

The Ballpark at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport will be transformed into a soccer field. 

 

"The opportunity to play in a match for this cause, and use the game of soccer as a conduit to enrich the lives of children in our community is something that we as an organization are excited about," said New York Red Bulls II general manager Shaun Oliver.

 

Newtown Youth & Family Services has been providing mental health and community support services to the Greater Newtown area for more than 30 years.  NYFS provides after school activities, support groups, social groups for children with autism spectrum disorder and programs for pre-school, youth and teens as well as provide financial assistance for counseling to children and families. 

 

“We’re so pleased this event has come to fruition,” Mike Svanda, Newtown Pride coach, said. “When the tragedy at Sandy Hook took place we were devastated, as many people were. We were trying to think of a way to help affect change, a real difference for the future. We wanted to play soccer games to raise awareness and bring families together. Our goal is to play soccer to raise funds and awareness for the Newtown Youth & Family Services, and to help implement programs for peer-to-peer mentoring. It is amazing to see the New York Red Bull organization come together for this cause and it’s an honor to be a part of this great event.”

 

The Thursday evening fundraiser will kick off at 6pm outside of the ballpark with a fun interactive fan zone where all ages are welcome to join in the fun. The stadium will transform into a fun soccer atmosphere for a 7:30 kick off under the lights.  Tickets can be purchased online under the "Events" tab of the group's website.  They vary in price point starting at $12 with group and family discounts available.

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Lawmaker says 'politics have gotten in the way of good works'

Politics have gotten in the way of good work being done for Connecticut residents.  That response from Wilton Senator Toni Boucher on the recently held General Assembly Veto Session.  The ranking member of the Education Committee said she was disappointed there was no debate on the bill that would have established requirements for the Education Commissioner.

 

Boucher says there is a line between the two branches, and said it was shameful there wasn't a discussion in the Senate during the veto session.

 

Boucher says Connecticut residents deserve representation, and were denied that.  She says a polarized and politicized closed door style of government does not develop trust and unite lawmakers for the benefit of the people.  Boucher says the unprecedented partisanship that has characterized the deliberations is outrageous.  She cited negotiating the state budget behind closed doors monumental policy shifts with no chance for public comment as reasons for her comments.

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Case postponed again against former Brookfield school finance director

There's been another delay in the court hearing for Brookfield's former school finance director.  Monday's appearance was to be about charges of larceny and forgery against Art Colley.  He allegedly tried to claim nearly $1,000 in reimbursements for three iPads he never purchased.  The case against the 57-year old has been statutorily sealed. 

 

There is an ongoing investigation into Colley in an unrelated case, so this appearance was postponed to August 11th. 

 

The Brookfield Board of Finance was presented last month with an audit report on school spending over the past two years.  Nearly $124,000 in questionable spending by Colley and others was uncovered.  Colley resigned in early 2014 amid accusations he overspent the district budget by $1.2 million.

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UPDATED: Man drags Loss Prevention Officer, hits parked car with kids inside

A Danbury man with a suspended license has been arrested for crashing into a parked car and dragging a store loss prevention officer while fleeing Big Y in Newtown Friday afternoon.  Newtown Police say a man, later determined to be 30-year old Richard Watson of Danbury, was approached by the store's security but able to get into his SUV. 

 

Watson allegedly backed out of his parking space, dragging the Loss Prevention Officer, and hitting a parked car.  There were several people in the vehicle, including children. 

 

The SUV was tracked to a West Street home where Watson was found hiding under a pile of garbage.  He's been charged with robbery, larceny, breach of peace, evading responsibility with physical injury, operating with a suspended license and three counts of risk of injury to a minor. 

 

Watson remains held on a $10,000 bond after an appearance Monday at Danbury Superior Court.  He entered a plea of not guilty.  The case was continued to August 17th.

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UPDATED: Wolcott man in court on charges from multi-town chase

A Wolcott man has entered a plea of not guily in Danbury Superior Court on charges related to a multi-town police chase earlier this month.  The incident started early on Friday July 17th when State Police tried to stop 32-year old Kenneth Lyden in Newtown. 

 

He nearly hit a Trooper by exit 6 where he continued on local roads eventually stopped in New Milford when he crashed.  The Trooper in Danbury fired at Lyden's car, but the driver was uninjured.  He later fought with Troopers at the crash site and was Tasered. 

 

The following day, Lyden was being released from a Waterbury Hospital and escaped police custody in a Trooper's patrol car.  He was stopped a short time later and arrested.  For the later incident, he faces charges of larceny, interfering with an officer, escape from custody and engaging police in pursuit.  He will be in Waterbury Superior Court on August 7th on those charges. 

 

The case against him in Danbury was continued to August 11th

 

He has several other pending cases in various Superior Courts.  He has 13 convictions for crimes from 2006 through 2013 on charges of larceny, robbery, possession of narcotics, engaging police in pursuit and operating with a suspended license.

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Seymour construction worker injured at Boston airport dies

BOSTON (AP) Officials say a Connecticut ironworker who was critically injured this month in a construction accident at Logan International Airport in Boston has died.

The Boston Globe reports 54-year-old Lawrence O'Leary, of Seymour, Connecticut, died Friday evening at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Police say O'Leary fell about 40 feet onto the ground as he was working on a parking garage under construction at the airport on July 10.

O'Leary had been an ironworker for more than 30 years. Jay Hurley, president of the Iron Workers District Council of New England, says he is the second ironworker to die from injuries at a Massachusetts construction site in the past six weeks.

The Suffolk County District Attorney's Office and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating his death.

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Danbury continues to pursue Whalers debt repayment

The now-inactive Danbury Whalers still owe Danbury $55,000 to $60,000 for public safety presence over the five year period they were at the Danbury Ice Arena.  The police and fire marshal presence was required for safety.  The arena has since upgraded an inadequate sprinkler system, and obtained a full Certificate of Occupancy in the last several months. 

 

Mayor Mark Boughton says fire watch is not necessary anymore, though there is still a need for police presence.  The new FHL team has been made aware of that requirement.  The building has been certified by Danbury building officials as good to go for the start of the October start of the 2015-2016 FHL season.

 

Last February, the sprinkler system and the temporary certificate of occupancy were investigated by Danbury as part of an ongoing dispute with the now-inactive Danbury Whalers over public safety presence at games.  The City Council required that the Whalers pay for the police and fire marshal presence prior to each game, and repay old debt totalling more than $100,000.

 

The temporary certificate of occupancy issued in 2004 had expired a year later, when additional seats were installed in the days of the Danbury Trashers.

 

Boughton says he's not optimistic about collecting the balance due.  He chalks it up as a cost of trying to see economic success downtown through events in CityCenter. 

 

But he says the City will continue to pursue collection efforts.

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Danbury could benefit from $1 million in state bonding

A project in Danbury could benefit from $1 million in state bonding

 

When the State Bond Commission meets this week, they will act on a million dollar grant to help with the preservation of the historic Richter House in Richter Park.  The House will be fully renovated and expanded into an art, musical and environmental education facility. 

 

Danbury State Representative Jan Giegler says the new performance art center will be in keeping with the historic home’s New England farm style to accommodate up to 150 people.  She says this is a good start to the capital improvements that will preserve the local landmark for generations to come. 

 

 

Representative David Arconti says the grounds will get new stone walls, a patio and landscaping to complement the home and panoramic open space.  He says the afterschool environmental programs will be a great learning opportunity for students.

 

Varied programs will be offered in the arts, musical performances, acting, dancing and production; bio-learning, aquatic, and wildlife studies; and a summer youth camp and after school programs for children.

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Korean War cease fire anniversary to be marked

A brief ceremony is being held this morning in Danbury to mark the 62nd Anniversary of the cease fire that ended the Korean War.  Greater Danbury Area Korean War Veterans Association Commander Brendan Sniffin says there is no keynote speaker, but there will be a rifle salute at 10am. 

 

The ceremony is held at the Korean war monument at Rogers Park.

 

Sniffin says the group reads the 17 names on the of those who were killed in action, are missing in action or POWs.  They ask that representatives of the families be there if available.  A rose is placed on the wall at each name.

 

The Korean War armistice was signed on July 27th 1953, drawing a new border between North and South Korea.  The war cost the lives of over 50,000 Americans.  The armistice also established a committee of representatives from neutral countries to decide the fate of the thousands of prisoners of war on both sides. The POWs were allowed to decide for themselves to stay where they were or return to their homelands.

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Conn. man arrested following two-state investigation

A Connecticut man who led police on a two state chase has been arraigned in Connecticut and extradited to New York.  23-year old William Lester of Rocky Hill was seen speeding in the New York Town of Dover shortly before 10pm on July 4th.  A Trooper tried to stop the car, but Lester sped up and threw a lunch box from his vehicle.  Police later determined that it contained the hallucinogen LSD. 

 

During the chase, Lester drove into a New York State Police patrol car and continued into Danbury and up Super 7. 

 

He crash with a guard rail in New Milford and continued on Route 7 hitting a utility pole.  Lester and the Trooper were trapped by live utility wires.  Eversource Energy, and two area volunteer fire departments responded to the scene.  Lester was transported to Danbury Hospital for treatment of minor injuries. 

 

At that time he was charged by New Milford Police with reckless driving and evading responsibility for an accident with property damage.  He was released on a written promise to appear in Bantam Superior Court August 10th. 

 

New York State Police obtained an arrest Warrant for Lester, and learned on Monday that he was headed to Candlewood Valley Motors in New Milford to get his car from the auto body repair shop.  New Milford Police took Lester into custody as a fugitive from justice and turned him over to New York authorities on Tuesday. 

 

He is being held at Dutchess County Jail for a future court appearance.  He faces felony charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and tampering with physical evidence.

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Electronic sign coming to Danbury City Hall, pocket park progressing

An electronic sign similar to the one recently installed at Danbury High School is coming to Danbury City Hall.  Mayor Mark Boughton says the sign will notice people about meetings and other information.  That sign will give everything from road conditions to latest event at the Ives Center. 

 

The design for outside of City Hall on Deer Hill Avenue is being done by the same firm that did work at Elmwood Park, Kennedy Park and the new park slated for next to the police station.  He says the design team is working on that simultaneously with the pocket park.

 

The park is designed to commemorate police officers and firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty serving the City.  Boughton says it will include a water feature visible as drivers come down Main Street, and will serve as a gateway to CityCenter.  Boughton says he thinks they've come up with a thoughtful park to be a restful place for people to visit.

 

Boughton expects bulldozers on site in the next six weeks.

 

He's been asked why there is no parking planned for the site, and says that's because it is intended as a destination that people can walk to.

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Danbury asks CT Historical Society for grant to purchase Octagon House

Danbury is working with the Connecticut Historical Society to offset costs associated with plans to purchase the Octagon House on Spring Street.  Mayor Mark Boughton says a grant would help with the retrofitting and the purchase price.

 

The City still has to complete negotiations with the bank, But Boughton says he won't let them change an exorbitant amount of money for a property that's fallen into such disrepair it's almost worthless.  He hasn't ruled out taking the property through eminent domain if an agreement can't be reached with the bank.

 

Boughton says they're also working on layout plan for a second floor community room.  The Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team can bring people together there to talk about issues going on in their neighborhood.

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Danbury, Brewster FHL hockey teams to have same ownership

Fans turned out for an announcement yesterday by the Danbury Titans, of the Federal Hockey League.  Former Danbury Whalers Coach Phil Esposito will be the coach of the new team. 

 

Danbury Ice Arena Regional Manager Kevin McCormack says there's a 6 year lease with the team.

 

The season starts in October.  There almost wasn't a 2015-2016 season though.

 

In June, the FHL announced that a team owned by Barry Soskin of Chicago, who owns two other teams in the six-team League, would play at The Brewster Ice Arena.  It's located just a stone's throw from the Danbury Ice Arena, where the Danbury Whalers played last season.  The General Manager was going to be Herm Sorcher, managing partner of the Danbury Whalers--an inactive member of the league in good standing.  The Whalers were in a legal battle with Eagle Ice Sports over the team's lease at their building. 

 

When Bruce Bennett and Ed Crowe got permission to join the FHL shortly after that announcement, the Stateline Whalers decided to forfeit their stake in the FHL.  Bennett says if they didn't pick up the Brewster team, the FHL wouldn't exist.  A team in Michigan put it in their contract that the League has to have six teams.  He agreed that a League with only four teams was not worth investing or playing in because you see the same challengers all the time.

 

The Brewster Bulldogs will play at the Brewster Ice Arena.  A manager has not yet been named for the Brewster team.

 

The Titans will play seven home games against Brewster, with the Bulldogs playing seven home games against the Titans.  The rest of the schedule has worked out so that when the Titans are home, the Bulldogs will be on the road and when the Bulldogs are home, the Titans will be on the road.

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Ridgefield bar owner charged for selling to minors

A Ridgefield bar owner has been charged for serving alcohol to minors.  Ridgefield Police started an investigation into Tiger's Den Sports Bar & Grill after learning that there was possibly underage drinking taking place at the Catoonah Street establishment.  Police set up an undercover detail last night, with the help of the Wilton Police Department Detective Division. Plain clothes officers inside the bar saw the 20 year olds being served by owner-bartender 35-year old Joseph Attonito.  

 

The Danbury man has been charged with five felony counts of sale of alcohol to a minor. 

 

The state Liquor Commission has been notified of the incident and could take further action against Attonito or Tiger's Den Sports Bar and Grill.

 

The youth were also issued infractions for possession of alcohol by a minor.  They are Katherine Abercrombie, Kyle Chester, Patrick Molyneaux, Connor Rowe, and Michael Sexton.  All of them are Ridgefield residents.

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Connecticut woman arrested for stealing church bank deposit

A New Fairfield woman has been arrested for allegedly stealing more than $1,000 from a church bank deposit.  New York State Police charged 42-year old Denise Pimentel on Wednesday with 4th degree Grand Larceny, a felony. 

 

Troopers were dispatched to Sacred Heart Church in Putnam Lake on a report that $1,023 in cash was missing.  The money was the previous weekends donations from parishioners and was placed in a desk drawer.  An investigation revealed that Pimentel, a volunteer at the church, had taken the cash. 

 

She was arraigned and ordered held at Putnam County Jail on $3,000 bond.  She is due in court on September 17th.

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'Danbury Titans' hockey team unveil logo, jerseys

Draft night is tonight for the Danbury Titans, the newest team in the Federal Hockey League.  The team's colors, logo and uniforms were unveiled this morning at the Danbury Ice Arena.  That's the team's home ice.  The Jerseys will sport blue, green and gray, a nod to the Seattle Seahawks which is a favorite of the owners. 

 

Owner Bruce Bennett says ticket prices have not yet been set for the season, which starts in October.  But he says they will be slightly less than last season.

 

 

He says there's been nothing but support for the team since its creation.

 

When explaining to the crowd about the decision process to move from owning a car dealership to a hockey team, Bennett detailed a conversation with his wife.  She asked if he's getting ready to retire, why start this new venture.  He responded that he didn't know, and she encouraged him to do it.

 

 

The other co-owner is an Brookfield insurance broker Ed Crowe.  They also own a team that will play at the Brewster Ice Arena: The Brewster Bulldogs.

 

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Former Wilton preschool aid pleads guilty to child porn possession

A former Wilton preschool paraprofessional has entered a plea on a child pornography possession charge.  34-year old Eric Von Kohorn entered a guilty plea at his court appearance last week on a charge of possession of child pornography. 

 

He entered the plea under the Alford Doctrine, in which he did not admit guilt, but agrees that the state has enough evidence against him to get a conviction.  Part of the agreement is that a charge of promoting a minor in an obscene performance would be dropped. 

 

The former Wilton preschool paraprofessional has been free on bond since his arrest last August.  The school district learned of the investigation by the State Police Computer Crimes Investigation team last June and placed Von Kohorn on administrative leave.  He resigned a week later.  The investigative team commands the state Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. 

 

Von Kohorn was hired in Wilton in 2007.  He will be sentenced October 9th.

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Danbury looks into banning dogs at City playgrounds

Danbury officials are considering a proposal to ban certain dog breeds from public parks, and prohibiting all dogs from playgrounds.  City Councilman Peter Nero asked that ordinances addressing both issues be examined. 

 

Nero said dog breeds in the group where homeowners can't be insured, or would require a rider on their insurance, should not be allowed in parks except the off-leash dog park. The off-leash dog park was approved in May.   Dogs must be licensed, but there will be no other restrictions--including no residency rule.  The park would be for daytime use only.

 

Nero cited specific encounters he's had.  One was being charged by a Doberman in Tarrywile Park.  Another was having to shield his grandson behind a park bench from a dog-on-dog attack.  He also cited issues brought to him by constituents.  

 

A committee of the City Council is looking into his proposals.

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Danbury Hospital ranks #3 in CT in 'Hospitals of the Year' report

Danbury Hospital is ranked number 3 in Connecticut for high performance, according to U.S. News and World Report's Best Regional Hospitals of the year.  Western Connecticut Health Network President and CEO Dr. John Murphy says they were thrilled that the report ranked Danbury Hospital as "exceeding expected standards" in the management of COPD, heart failure and knee replacement.

 

U.S. News analyzed over 5,000 hospitals for adult and pediatric care to find the best in the nation, based on critical criteria and patient outcomes.  Danbury was one of seven hospitals in Connecticut to exceed the standards. 

 

Murphy says they are proud of the physicians and staff members.

 

Survey data for the latest year available shows that 70,622 patients visited the hospital's emergency room. The hospital had a total of 17,862 admissions. Its physicians performed 4,322 inpatient and 10,811 outpatient surgeries.

 

Danbury Hospital has 344 patient beds, and is also a teaching hospital.

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Former Redding man sentenced to prison for marijuana trafficking

A former Redding man, who is a previously convicted felon, has been sentenced for trafficking marijuana.  59-year old Robert Bridges was sentenced yesterday to 17 months in prison followed by three years supervised release. 

 

The U.S. Attorney's office says Bridges was released from prison in 2012 for carrying out a scheme that defrauded investors of more than $5-million.  Bridges was serving three years supervised release, but in May 2014 he filed paperwork to end that probation saying he is a totally different person having been to jail.  "The life-changing and life-improving process was used to make the most of every day.”

 

At that time, he applied for PO Box addresses in Georgetown, Wilton and the Riverside section of Greenwich. 

 

The following month his motion was granted. 

 

In December 2014, Postal Inspectors flagged three suspicious packages, which Bridges gave permission to inspect.  The first package contained 112 plastic vials that contained hashish, the second package contained nine vacuum-sealed plastic bags containing a total of approximately 4.5 kilograms of marijuana, and the third package contained 11 vacuum-sealed bags containing a total of approximately 5.5 kilograms of marijuana.

 

Bridges admitted to paying $60,000 for the drugs on a recent trip to California and shipping the packages to himself.  He pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana. 

 

To date, Bridges has paid $4,000 of the $5 million in restitution he owes from the previous conviction.

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Sherman Democrats endorse First Selectman candidate, GOP set to caucus

Ahead of the November municipal elections, town committees are starting to meet to nominate candidates.  In Sherman, Democrats have selected Don Lowe to run as First Selectman.  Ashleigh Blake was nominated last night to be his running mate. 

 

The 57-year old Lowe served as a Selectman for two terms starting in 2004.  He has served on other boards and commissions in Sherman in the past.

 

The Republican caucus is scheduled for next week, and incumbent Clay Cope is anticipated to be the nominee.  The First Selectman announced his intentions to run for a third term back in March. 

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New vote needed in Easton, Redding on Joel Barlow roof replacement

Another vote is needed on a roof restoration project already under way at Joel Barlow High School.  The Redding Pilot reports that the second referendum will take place next month due to a series of errors.  The Redding and Easton Town Clerks say the Region 9 Board of Education didn't submit the legal notice paperwork to them. 

 

The vote was held in May and the approximate $1 million project was approved with overwhelming support.  Redding residents approved the measure 1,146 to 424.  Easton residents voted 546 to 276.  Redding's share is about $566,000, Easton's is $477,000.  The 54-percent shouldered by Redding and 46-percent by Easton is based on enrollment in the school by each town.

 

At the Board of Ed meeting this week, it was decided to hold a vote on the full amount needed because the contractors are not requiring payments as work progresses.  The Pilot reports that a second referendum could cost the towns $8,000.

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Danbury man sentenced for armed home invasion

A Danbury man has been sentenced to five and a half years in prison for his role in an armed home invasion linked to drugs and drug trafficking proceeds.  The U.S. Attorney's office reports that 45-year old Robert "Rob Base" Cherry was sentenced Wednesday to 66 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. 

 

Danbury Police began an investigation into a narcotics trafficking network in January 2013.  The ring allegedly ran a series of so-called trap houses in Danbury so they could sell crack cocaine.  They also rented hotel rooms in the city to package and distribute the narcotics. 

 

During the investigation, Danbury Police learned that the head of the drug trafficking ring organized and carried out home invasion robberies of marijuana dealers.  Cherry is accused of participating in a February 2013 home invasion.  He and other masked men forced their way into a Danbury home, and one co-defendant struck the victim in the head repeatedly with a handgun.  Cherry grabbed a knife from the kitchen while they were fighting, but eventually fled with the others without taking anything. 

 

Cherry pleaded guilty in October 2014 to attempted interference with commerce by robbery.  He is one of 10 people charged in an indictment in 2013.

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ACLU renews call for drone regulations in Connecticut

Video posted online by a Connecticut teen of a drone firing a handgun has prompted renewed calls for regulations of drones from the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut.  A bill banning the weaponization of drones by law enforcement and the public was approved by the state Senate this session, but action was not taken on the bill in the House before their June adjournment.

 

A bill under consideration also would have required state and municipal police to obtain a warrant before operating the unmanned aerial vehicles in criminal investigations.  Redding Representative John Shaban says training activities and certain emergencies would have been exempt.  Shaban expressed concern with the bill interfering with federal regulations, but ultimately voted in favor of it at the committee level.

 

New Fairfield State Representative Richard Smith was concerned with these devices being used for the wrong purposes, eroding privacy rights.  Smith says he understands that reasonable suspicion has been clearly defined by the courts, but was concerned that it wasn't defined in the bill. 

 

Southbury state Representative Arthur O'Neill says use of drones by other state agencies was not addressed in the bill.  He was concerned that the Department of Environmental Protection park rangers, the Department of Motor Vehicles enforcement arm or others could register flights with the state.  The data would have been posted on the Office of Policy and Management website so it's available to the public, and O'Neill was concerned with privacy violations.

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CT Department of Labor offering job-related workshops in Danbury

The Connecticut Department of Labor is offering a number of job-related workshops next month in Danbury.  The Department of Labor is partnering with the Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board for workshops to help Danbury area residents in their job search. 

 

The events are being held at Danbury Library and the Danbury American Job Center on Main Street, which is part of the Naugatuck Valley Community College campus. 

 

A networking group will be held on two mornings,  Connecticut Advanced Manufacturing Initiative orientation will be held and there will also be a health and life science career orientation session.  Veteran representatives will be on site to meet with people as well.  Sessions on interviewing techniques, resume basics and other employment services are scheduled during August.

 

Networking Group: Learn firsthand about the benefits of networking within a local group of jobseekers – and beyond. This event will expand your job search to new levels – consistent with today’s job market.   
August 4 (10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.)
August 18 (10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.)

 

WIA Information Session: Participants will review the process and eligibility requirements to receive funding for training through the federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA).
August 4 (1 – 4 p.m.)
August 18 (1 – 4 p.m.)

 

CAMI (Connecticut Advanced Manufacturing Initiative) Orientation – This is a one hour review of the NVCC Advanced Manufacturing Facility and Program.  
August 10 (9 – 10 a.m.)

Health and Life Science Career Orientation: Review Health/Life Sciences programs at area Community Colleges.   
August 27 (1 – 2:30 p.m.)

H1B Technical Skills Training Orientation:  Review the eligibility requirements and potential opportunities for mid-level skills training in Information Technology (IT), Health Care (IT), and Advanced Manufacturing.  This session may be of particular interest to long term unemployed jobseekers with some college credits.
August 13 (1 – 2 p.m.)

 

Veterans’ Representative on-site: Connecticut Department of Labor Veterans’ Representative Ron Agard is available, by appointment, to meet with customers. For a pre-scheduled appointment, please email:
Ron.agard@ct.gov or call (203) 437-3294.
Appointments available: August 5, 12, 19, 26  

Interviewing Techniques: In this workshop, you will increase your understanding of the interview process and address challenging questions.
August 21 (10 a.m. – 1 p.m.)

LinkedIn: Participants will create a profile on a professional networking website. Learn the advantages of a digital presence in today’s job market. Attendees must have a valid email address.
August 7 (10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.)

Résumé Basics: Learn about important résumé sections, formatting, and the pros and cons of different styles.
August 14 (10 a.m. – 1 p.m.)

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Pesticides to be banned at municipal playgrounds

Legislation banning pesticides on municipal playgrounds has been approved by the state General Assembly. 

 

Redding State Representative John Shaban, a ranking member of the Environment Committee, says this new law is aimed at protecting children, pets and wildlife from exposure to pesticides.  He says he's pleased the state was able to finally craft a bill that is sympathetic to property managers, but also builds on laws that bans pesticides on school grounds. 

 

The measure was included in budget implementor bills signed by Governor Malloy June 30th, and sent to the Secretary of the State's office this week.  The measure also includes new language about parental notification by school districts when pesticide application is scheduled.  The notification must be done at least 24 hours in advance.

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Tax deferral ordinance revision considered in New Milford

A public hearing will be held next month in New Milford about tax deferrals.  At the New Milford Town Council meeting this month, there was a discussion about proposed revisions ot the tax deferral ordinance for commercial and industrial properties.  There is a standard offer currently in the ordinance, and the proposal is to change the language so that in all cases, the New Milford Town Council will be able to set the abatement level and the duration based on qualifying factors.  Those factors are also outlined in the current ordinance language.  A public hearing on the proposed revisions will be held August 10th at 7pm at New Milford Town Hall.

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Danbury DMV to be closed for a week in August

State Department of Motor Vehicle offices, including the one in Danbury, will be closed the second week of August for a major computer system upgrade. 

 

Commissioner Andres Ayala says when the upgrade is complete, there will be a number of new online services available on the DMV website.  He says the existing online registration renewal program will be enhanced.  Compliance issues can be checked, registration certificates could be printed from home and registrations could also be cancelled online.

 

Residents will also be able to order vanity plates online. 

 

The closure is from August 11th through 15th.  DMV locations will open with full service the following Tuesday, August 18th.

 

Ayala says it involves a huge transfer of data.  Over 40 million pieces of information will be moved.

 

Beginning August 11th, Governor Malloy has ordered that the expiration date of all driver’s licenses, ID cards or vehicle registrations be extended through October 10th, and renewals can be done without a late fee until that date.

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Former Danbury FCI employee sentenced to prison for bribery scheme

A former employee of the Danbury Federal Correctional Institution has been sentenced to a year and a day in prison for her role in a bribery scheme.  43-year old Kisha Perkins of Waterbury was sentenced Tuesday.  The former FCI case manager approached another employee about participating in the scheme in 2013.  U.S. Attorney spokesman Tom Carson says Perkins was a Unit Counselor at the time and didn't have the authority to recommend early release for inmates to a halfway house.

 

The coworker reported the scheme, and cooperated in the investigation by recording their future conversations. 

 

The inmate was no longer feasible, so after extensive planning another was identified.  

 

In February 2014, a second inmate was identified as a possible candidate for the bribe scheme because the first was no longer feasible.  Perkins agreed to participate and, after a month of extensive planning, they traveled to a commuter lot off of Exit 28 on Interstate 84 to pick up a partial bribe payment of $5,000 in cash in a fast food bag that, as Perkins believed, was to be dropped off by an acquaintance of the inmate.

 

Perkins pleaded guilty in April to one count of acceptance of a bribe by a public official. 

 

In pleading guilty, Perkins admitted that she participated in the scheme and, in February 2014, agreed to accept a pair of shoes or a Louis Vuitton pocketbook in return for counseling the employee regarding the bribe scheme and failing to report the bribe scheme to prison officials.

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Cyclist ticketed for hitting car, driver also cited

A bike versus car accident in Danbury has led to charges against both motorists.  Danbury Police say 20-year old Zavier Hunter of Danbury was riding his bike eastbound on Lake Avenue when he broadsided a car headed westbound and went through the window. 

 

Police say the accident happened around 6 o'clock last night as the car was turning left onto Crofut Street. 

 

Witnesses told officers that Hunter was looking back at the person on a bike behind him, rode off the sidewalk and hit the car.  He told police he never saw the vehicle.  Hunter was transported to the hospital for cuts on his face.

 

Hunter was issued a ticket for reckless use of the highway by a pedestrian. 

 

The driver, 33-year old Esther Guichay-Guartan of Danbury, was charged for driving without a license.  The passenger in the car sustained a minor cut on the nose, but declined medical attention.

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Redding Police ID man who died of apparent heroin overdose

Redding Police have released the name of the man who died of an apparent heroin overdose last week.  Police say 25-year old Alberto Queiroz was found dead at his Seventy Acres Road home Thursday afternoon. 

 

At the time, police said based on drug evidence found at the scene and past history, it appeared to be heroin, but additional testing on evidence found at the scene was needed.  Resuscitation attempts were made, and Narcan was administered.  The medicine can sometimes pull a person out of a heroin overdose. 

 

Autopsy results are still pending for an official cause of death and the incident remains under police investigation.

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New Fairfield teen wins $25,000 on lotto scratch off ticket

A New Fairfield teen has won $25,000 on a lotto scratch off ticket.  The Connecticut Lottery says 19-year old Lindsay Williams received a Golden Casino ticket from her uncle, who said he was feeling lucky.  They took turns scratching it.  One by one, the prize was revealed. 

 

Out of the 20 chances to win, they won 20 times reaching the total prize of $25,000.  Williams told lotto officials that it was crazy seeing the prizes adding up. 

 

 

Williams is entering her sophomore year of college this fall and said as she accepted the check yesterday they she will put the money in her bank account to pay for tuition. 

 

The ticket was purchased at All Star Energy on Padanaram Road in Danbury.  All Star Energy will receive a $250 check from the Connecticut Lottery for selling the prize winning ticket.

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Single car crash leads to DWI charge for Bethel man

A Bethel man has been charged in New York for aggravated Driving While Intoxicated following a one-car crash.  New York State Police Troopers responded to an accident shortly before noon on Monday on the Taconic State Parkway in East Fishkill. 

 

Police say 43-year old Christian Grillo of Bethel left the roadway near the I-84 ramp.  Grillo was uninjured in the collision. 

 

A breathalyser test revealed that Grillo had a Blood Alcohol Content level more than 3 times the legal limit at .3 percent.  He has a previous DWI conviction from 2014.  He was ordered held at Dutchess County Jail in lieu of bond. 

 

Grillo will be in court this afternoon.

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Danbury considers extending financial relief to Hospice Center, War Memorial

Prior to the completion and occupancy of the Regional Hospice and Home Care of Western Connecticut Facility on Danbury's west side, the City authorized a waiver of sewer and water charges.  It was part of an economic development incentive offered two years ago. 

 

The City Council was asked by the Mayor to authorize the full and final one year waiver for water and sewer charges for the December 2014 quarter and the three quarters that follow.  Mayor Mark Boughton said this would allow Hospice to receive the full waiver allowed by City code. 

 

Last year, members of the Danbury City Council discussed waiving water and sewer charges for the War Memorial and the request of the Danbury War Memorial Association.  The group said that the request was made because of funding concerns. 

 

The City's Finance Director and Superintendent of Public Works all weighed in on the cost of waiving those fees.  City officials determined that based on the value of the facility to local veterans and the Community in general, it would be beneficial to provide that financial relief.  The fees total about $5,000 for the year. 

 

The Council approved the waivers at their meeting earlier this month.

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Newtown discusses adding solar panel installations

Newtown is on its way to more solar power.  A solar farm could be added to the transfer station site.  Solar City has submitted a bid on behalf of Newtown for the Zero Emission Renewable Credit program.  The bid includes 4,182 panels with an annual output of more than 1 million kilowatt hours.  First Selectman Pat Llodra told the Legislative Council that there are several hurdles to clear, the next one is getting into this grant award system.

 

If the bid is accepted, the town will be over its 2 million kilowatt goal.  The final decisions will be made by Friday.

 

The system at the Transfer Station would be completed by the fall of 2016 if Newtown’s project is selected.  October 1, 2016 is the latest date to come online under the Zero Emission Renewable Credit program.

 

The state has opened the opportunity for more towns to participate in the virtual net metering program, which allows customers to assign surplus production to other metered accounts that are not physically connected to the solar panels.  Llodra told the Council that the virtual net metering makes the Transfer Station project attractive to the town.

 

Llodra says Newtown has made a significant dent in the goal to have 20-percent of energy be clean energy

 

There's a major installation at the middle school and waste water treatment plant, neither of which are really visible.  There's an installation at the Park and Rec Garage, Newtown animal Shelter, and at John Reed Intermediate School.

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Special session about tolls rumored

There is a possibility that the state General Assembly could be called on to return to the Capitol for a special session on transportation funding in the fall.  With that possibility comes the thought that tolls could be on their way back in Connecticut. 

 

Wilton State Senator Toni Boucher, a ranking member of the Transportation Committee, says she will continue to fight tolls being placed on the borders.  She called it just another tax and something that would be very negative for the Danbury region.  She says there was no talk of lowering the gas tax in exchange for tolls, layering another fee on taxpayers.

 

Last week, Danbury City Council Minority Leader Tom Saadi issued a letter to the Committee raising concerns about tolls.  He cited everything from the toll dodgers adding to already congested city streets, to the negative impact on local retailers.  He said as a matter of fundamental fairness, interior regions such as the Middletown, Meriden and the Hartford area should be included.

 

Boucher says the idea of border tolls didn't go through during the regular session because the budget faced such opposition.  She says legislative leaders didn't want to tackle tolls at that point, because the budget itself was so controversial.

 

Governor Dannel Malloy proposed a massive transportation infrastructure improvement plan, but didn't offer funding suggestions.

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Meeting in Newtown on proposed NHS auditorium renovation

The Newtown Public Building and Site Commission is holding a special meeting tonight in executive session to interview firms for the Newtown High School auditorium renovation.  Newtown residents approved $3.6 million for renovations during a July 6th town meeting.  Part of the project cost could be reimbursed by the state.  The project calls for making it handicap accessible, up to code and adding state of the art features.  It's not slated to begin until early next year.

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More bear sightings in Greater Danbury

Another bear sighting in the Greater Danbury area.  A bear was seen near the shoulder of Interstate 84 in Southbury this morning between exits 16 and 17.  It was seen scampering away from the highway. 

 

There was a bear spotted Thursday by LaQuinta hotel off I-84 near the Bethel-Danbury line.  A Ridgefield resident also reported seeing a bear in their backyard last Wednesday off Spectacle Lane. 

 

State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Wildlife biologist Jason Holly says the bears are not looking for contact with people, but rather looking for food.  DEEP advises residents not to keep bird feeders outside, keep trash covered and clean barbecue grills thoroughly.

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Danbury man arrested for DWI had kids in car

A Danbury man has been arrested for driving drunk with two children in the car.  New York State Police report that 35-year old Kleber Rodriguez-Guzman was arrested Sunday under the state's beefed up DWI law known as Leandra's Law. 

 

The felony charge is brought against drivers who are intoxicated when there are children in the vehicle. 

 

Troopers stopped Rodriguez-Guzman on Danbury Road after seeing him operate erratically.  Two children under age 16 were in the car.  A Breathalyser test revealed a .14 percent Blood Alcohol Content.  He was arraigned and has been ordered to appear in Southeast Town Court on August 11th.

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NLRB To Investigate Complaints About Danbury , New Milford Hospital Union Vote

The National Labor Relations Board has agreed to investigate complaints that the Western Connecticut Health Network intimidated and coerced nursing assistants and other employees before an unsuccessful unionization vote last month.

If the complaints are substantiated, the election results could be set aside. 

labor board spokeswoman Jessica Kahanek says the June 19 vote by about 800 non-professional workers at the network’s Danbury and New Milford hospitals was decided by a narrow margin. 

 Matt O’Connor, spokesman for AFT-Connecticut, says  the exact tallies were not released. The union already represents about 725 nurses and 250 technicians at the two hospitals.

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Newtown firearms ordinance remains unchanged

Newtown's firearms ordinance will not be amended.  The Newtown Legislative Council voted unanimously to not restrict carrying firearms, even when they are permitted, into a local public building. 

 

First Selectman Pat Llodra said during the meeting last week cited an incident in 2010 where someone brought a handgun to a Panama City, Fla., school board meeting and shot an official.  She says some concerns were raised after that, and again after the shootings at Sandy Hook School.  The ordinance was adopted in September 2013, but the drafting process began before the shootings on 12-14. 

 

The ordinance committee decided that the current law addressing public safety was a good one. 

 

Committee member Ryan Knapp said during the meeting that very few communities have such a restriction.  Police have not received a complaint about anyone with a firearm in a public building.  Knapp says there were no issues where police didn't have a "tool in their toolbox", and unable to take action.

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Malloy's 9 vetoes stand despite some desire for override

Governor Dannel Malloy's nine vetoes will stand.  Despite objections from the General Assembly's minority Republicans, the legislature on Monday did not override any of the vetoes.  Wilton state Representative Gail Lavielle spoke again in support of a bill that would have imposed new hiring standards for the next state education commissioner.

 

She says issues about assessing student progress and how to evaluate the people who are teaching them, should be addressed by someone who's been in the field at some point .  Lavielle says it doesn't limit the administrative experience to that of a Superintendent.  It could be a principal.

 

Malloy had complained the bill would have infringed on the executive branch authority to hire a commissioner. 

 

The state Senate voted unanimously in favor of the bill during the regular session.  In the House, there were just five votes in opposition.

 

In the Senate, Democrats adjourned the veto session before a debate could be held on any vetoed bills.  That prompted Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano to complain about the process, saying he was "very disappointed" in how it was carried out.   The veto session was required under the state constitution.

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UPDATED: Flags ordered to half staff in honor of TN shooting victims

Governor Dannel Malloy has directed flags to be lowered to half-staff in honor of the four Marines and the Navy officer slain in Chattanooga Tennessee.  In Newtown, Hook and Ladder firefighters lowered the flag on Main Street Monday morning to half staff on the director of First Selectman Pat Llodra.  A few hours later, the statewide directive was made. 

 

Dan Giata, director of Bethel-based Operation Vet Fit, lowered the flags at Bethel public buildings prior to the Governor's directive.  He says it's been several days and it was disheartening that no comments were made or actions taken to honor the victims.

 

Flags will remain at half-staff through sunset Saturday.

 

The Governor and Lt. Governor said that Connecticut and the nation stands with the people of Tennessee and the many communities that have been devastated by this tragedy.  They say thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the victims as they are laid to rest--and with the states across the nation who are morning the loss of their citizens.

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UPDATED: Man who led Police on chase, arrested again

A Wolcott man who was arrested by State Police on Friday attempted to escape from a cruiser Saturday afternoon.  

 

Trooper Karen O'Connor said police took 32-year-old Kenneth Lyden to a Waterbury hospital Saturday morning. She said when he was released just before noon, he drove away in a police vehicle preparing to take him back to jail. Police stopped him a short time later.

 

State Police spokeswoman Trooper Kelly Grant says Troopers tried to stop the car by exit 10 in Newtown around 3am Friday, but the driver didn't stop, and continued over so-called "stop sticks" placed by Troopers near exit 6 in Danbury.  Grant says Lyden sped off the highway toward a Trooper outside his cruiser working at an unrelated traffic stop. 

 

The trooper fired at the car, which continued up Routes 37 and 39 through New Fairfield and Sherman into New Milford. 

 

The man crashed on Route 7 at 37, fled on foot, and fought with Troopers and Danbury Police officers.  Lyden was Tasered, and eventually handcuffed.  He was taken to Danbury Hospital for evaluation, though uninjured.  Several Troopers were treated and released from Danbury Hospital. 

 

Lyden was charged with criminal attempted assault, reckless endangerment, interfering, engaging in pursuit, reckless driving, misuse of license plates and two counts of assault on a police officer.  The incident remains under investigation.

 

Lyden was arraigned in Danbury Superior Court on Monday.  The judge set bond at $250,000 cash.  His next court appearance is scheduled for July 27.

 

More charges are expected.

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Monroe Fire: Pets saved from blaze at unoccupied home

Monroe firefighters have saved family pets from a blaze at an unoccupied home.  A fire broke out around 4:30 yesterday afternoon at a house on Percheron Drive in the Stevenson section of Monroe. 

 

Neighbors saw smoke coming from the house.

 

About two dozen volunteer firefighters were able to extinguish the fire in about half an hour.  There were no fire hydrants, so tanker trucks from surrounding towns also responded, but were not needed.  Fire officials say some firefighters were treated at the scene for minor heat related conditions. 

 

The Monroe Fire Marshal's office says discarded smoking materials caused the fire.

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New Milford Police Investigate Possible Bomb

In New Milford .. it has now been disclosed that Housatonic Avenue in New Milford  was the site of a police investigation into a vehicle with New York plates parked in Helen Marx Park at 4 a.m. this morning.

Officers found the vehicle in the park after hours and on approaching the vehicle found a single male driver. Officers also saw a container on the seat with wires coming out of it. The driver of the vehicle would not tell officers the purpose of the container.

The State Police Bomb Squad was called to the scene to investigate the container. But found no explosives, The incident remains under investigation.

 

Housatonic Ave. had been closed earlier.

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Two Jet Skis Collide on Candlewood Lake

Two personal watercraft collided at the Lattins Cove boat launch on Candlewood Lake Sunday afternoon. 

The riders sustained minor injuries. They declined medical treatment at the scene, but one victim took himself to Danbury Hospital with a possible arm or wrist injury..

The DEEP Environmental Conservation (EnCon) Police along with the Danbury police, fire and EMS responded to the scene.

The State EnCon Police are continuing to investigate the accident.

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Conn. Congressional delegation urges action on transportation funding

Without action by Congress, the federal Highway Trust Fund, which provides more than half of the country’s transportation investment and funded over $603 million in Connecticut state projects last year, will run dry on July 31st.

 

4th District Congressman Jim Himes says more than half of Connecticut’s transportation funding could be cut off, likely costing Connecticut hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs.

 

Speaking on the House Floor last week, 5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, urged leaders to pass a long-term solution that will repair America’s deteriorating roads, bridges, and transit systems.

 

According to a recently released U.S. Department of Transportation report, 73 percent of Connecticut roads are in poor or mediocre condition. These poor road conditions cost the average Connecticut driver to spend $628 every year in otherwise unnecessary repairs and expenses. In addition, 35 percent of Connecticut’s bridges are structurally deficient, functionally obsolete, or both.

 

Esty says a great nation does not respond to a crisis with duct tape, but rather leads with bold action.

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2 charged in prostitution raid at Conn. massage parlor

MONROE, Conn. (AP) Police say two New York City women were arrested after a raid at a southwestern Connecticut massage parlor.

Thirty-six-year-old Lian Hua Song and 50-year-old Jin Meilua, both of Queens, were charged with practicing massage therapy without a license. Song was also charged with prostitution.

Police seized video and business records in Wednesday's raid on Healthy Massage in Monroe, which they say was a front for prostitution.

Capt. Michael Flick says the investigation was prompted by numerous Internet posts describing illegal sexual activities happening at the business.

Both women posted $500 bail and are slated to be arraigned July 23 at Superior Court in Bridgeport.

It's not clear what the women's responses to the allegations are. Phone listings for them couldn't be found, and it's not clear if they have lawyers.

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Tim McGraw donates proceeds from Conn. performance to Sandy Hook Promise

100-percent of the net proceeds from country singer Tim McGraw's performance in Connecticut last night has been donated to Sandy Hook Promise.  His stop at the Xfinity Center in Hartford drew criticism  when it was announced by Connecticut Citizens Defense League saying Sandy Hook Promise is pushing for stronger gun control laws.  McGraw responded to that by saying as a gun owner--he supports second amendment rights, but believes gun ownership comes with the responsibility of education and safety.  Opening act Billy Currington cancelled when the controversy surfaced.

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State starts roll out of sales tax collection on state park parking fees

This weekend marks the begining of the state's sales tax being collected on parking fees at some of the 25 state parks where visitors are charged for parking.  Starting today, the 6.35 percent tax will be collected at shoreline parks Sherwood Island, Hammonasset and Rocky Neck. 

 

Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Deputy Commissioner Susan Whalen is asking that visitors try to have exact change.

 

The requirement was tucked into the state budget signed by Governor Malloy June 30th.  22 other parks that charge for parking, including Squantz Pond in New Fairfield, Kettletown in Southbury, and Kent Falls will start charging tax in the coming weeks.

 

Kent Falls State Park, Lake Waramaug State Park and Campground in Kent, Mount Tom State Park in Litchfield, and Kettletown State Park and Campground in Southbury will start charging $9.58 for cars registered in Connecticut and $15.96 for cars registered in other states.  The fee is only charged on weekends and holidays.  Mount Tom will also charge in state cars $6.39, and $10.64 for out of state vehicles on weekdays.

 

On weekends and holidays, Squantz Pond State Park in New Fairfield will charge $13.83 for cars registered in Connecticut, and $23.40 for cars registered in other states.  On weekdays, the parking fee is $9.58 for cars registered in Connecticut and $15.96 for cars registered in other states.  Seven days a week, after 4pm the fee is $6.39 and $7.45 respectively.

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Danbury Fire Rescues Lost Children From Tarrywile Park

Danbury Assistant Fire Chief Mark Omasta says  Fire and Police crews rescued three children from the woods at Tarrywile Park Wednesday night.

The children — ages 10, 11 and 16 — were hiking when they got lost about 9:30 p.m.

Authorities immediately pinpointed the location of the children while talking to the 16-year-old on her cell phone.

The search team found the group in about 25 minutes and then led them out of the woods to be reunited with their mother.

No one was injured.

 

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Bill passes in honor of Sandy Hook Victim, Jessie Lewis

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A woman whose young son was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting and Sen. Richard Blumenthal are cheering passage in the U.S. Senate of legislation that would boost training of teachers in social and emotional learning.

A bill named for 6-year-old shooting victim Jesse Lewis was introduced earlier this year to dedicate money for special training for teachers.

Blumenthal's office says a similar measure was included in the Every Child Achieves Act approved by the Senate this week. He says the measure would allow funds to be used to help educators teach ``nonacademic skills'' and help children learn how to manage emotions, maintain positive relationships and demonstrate caring and concern for others.

Jesse's mother, Scarlett Lewis, has created a foundation in her son's name promoting peaceful and positive interaction.

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Danbury Police Arrest Bethel Man After Foot Pursuiit

A Bethel man carrying weapons and drugs assaulted a Danbury police officer and led police on a foot pursuit through downtown Danbury Thursday afternoon. 

Police were alerted that 27 year old William Oboy of Bethel, who had numerous warrants for his arrest, was at Yankee Peddler and Pawn on Main Street about 12:30 p.m. Thursday.

When an officer approached him, Oboy became “physically combative,” fought with her and was eventually able to break free.

Oboy then ran away and was seen dropping a black backpack on Bank Street, where the officer lost sight of him.

Police established a perimeter in the area and Oboy was caught while trying to jump over a fence.

Oboy was held on $100,000 bond for this incident.

 

Inside the backpack officers located among other items, narcotics not prescribed to Oboy as well as a revolver and knives. He was wanted on credit card theft.. drug possesion charges and motorehicle violations. 

The officer hurt in the incident was taken to Danbury Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, and she was released yesterday afternoon.

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State Police Investigations Closes Road And Stops Traffic

In Danbury...a speeding motorist refused to stop for a state police trooper on I-84 early this morning, which led to a chase and a trooper firing a shot at the driver as he drove off the roadway toward the trooper.

State police said the incident began at approximately 2:25 a.m. on I-84 west around exits 10 and 11 when a trooper attempted to stop a speeding motor vehicle. The driver refused to stop and led police on a chase which culminated when the driver crashed his vehicle at the intersection of routes 7 and 37 in New Milford.

Prior to that, troopers attempted to stop the vehicle on the highway using stop sticks, but the driver drove off the roadway and toward a trooper who fired a round at the vehicle. The shot struck the vehicle, but neither the driver or trooper who fired it were injured.

State police said the driver, who has not been identified, appeared intoxicated and was transported to Danbury Hospital for evaluation.

A portion of I-84 west between exits 6 and 7 was closed Friday morning as police investigated the incident. The Connecticut Department of Transportation reported at 7:41 a.m. that that portion of the highway had been reopened.

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Danbury Man Arrested Running Down Main St. With Heroin

A Danbury man has been arrested on numerous drug charges . He was  seen running in the middle of Main  street Monday night  Police say he had dozens of heroin packets.

Police were called to North Main Street, near Hillside Avenue, about 9 p.m. for a report of an erratic driver. When they arrived, they found an empty vehcile with a flat tire parked in a lot. 

An officer saw a man running down the middle of Main Street along the double yellow line. .

The man, 27 year old Miguel Blanchette, was waving his hands and appeared to be flagging the officer down.. . .

Police said the officer then searched Blanchette and found a plastic bag with 25  packets with heroin inside.

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A Man On The Easton Police Commission Arrested In Steroid Ring

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) A member of Easton's police commission has become the latest law enforcement official charged with participating in a drug ring that dealt in steroid and prescription narcotics.

Raymond Martin appeared Tuesday in U.S. District Court in New Haven charged with conspiracy to possess oxycodone with intent to distribute, an offense that carries a possible 20 year prison term.

Prosecutors say the 48-year-old Martin was caught on a wiretap texting with others about the distribution of oxycodone and anabolic steroids. He is the 12th person charged in the case. Other defendants include two Newtown police officials and a state judicial marshal.

Martin was released on bond.

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Bear Spotted In Danbury

Bethel resident Michael Murphy says at first he thought it was a big black dog but then realized it was a  Black bear spotted in Danbury between I 84 and the parking lot of the LaQuinta Hotel and the Outback Steakhouse .

No bird feeders for this bear!

A front desk manager at the La Quinta Hotel  says animal control was called and a crowd gathered.. a nearby bus started to move the bear got scared and ran away into the woods. 

Wildlife officials say Bear sightings are up all over the region... even in more urbanized areas such as Danbury.
 

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Danbury Man Arrested On Sex Charges With A Minor

A Danbury man is being held on a $200,000 bond Tuesday after police said he was involved in a sexual relationship with a minor. 

25 year old Hoskellyn Marte of Nabby Road, was charged with second-degree sexual assault, risk of injury to a child and illegal sexual contact.

Spokesman Lt. Christian Carrochio says Marte is accused of having a sexual relationship with a 15 year old female. 

Lt. Carrowchio says the man was arrested after Danbury police received warrants to search his cell phone, home and car.


 

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New Milford Man Arrested In Heroin Death

The heroin-related death last month of Christopher DeFino of New Milford and the arrest of the man accused of selling him the fatal dose, highlights the worsening struggle with the deadly drug.

The mother of  25-year-old DeFino says he  struggled for years with depression and addiction. He died June 22. He had been “clean” for three years. His mother, Terri-Lynne DeFino, said he never managed to overcome the psychological problems that set in when he was a teenager.

27 year old Ryan Jordan of Pumpkin Hill Road in New Milford, was charged July 9 with sale of a narcotic substance  in the transaction that led to DeFino’s death. He is being held in lieu of $350,000 bond following his arraignment Friday . 

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Ridgefield Doctor Sentenced

48 year old Ridgefield Physician David Lester Johnston was sentenced  to three months in prison for committing health care fraud.

Johnston is an osteopathic physician who operates Osteopathic Wellness Center, LLC, in Ridgefield.

He pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud and admitted that he engaged in a scheme to defraud several private health insurance companies by submitting claims for physician office visits and evaluations  that he did not perform, and by misrepresenting the nature of the services that were performed. 

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Controls Proposed On E -Cigarettes

Those who buy e-cigarettes, hookahs, cigars and pipe tobacco online or by mail would have to prove they are at least 18 years old under legislation proposed Monday by two Connecticut congresswomen.

The bill, proposed by Reps. Rosa DeLauro and Elizabeth Esty, aims to curb the fast-growing use of Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, among youth.

The Stop Tobacco Sales to Youth Act of 2015 notes that the current use of e-cigarettes among high schoolers tripled from 2013 to 2014. Approximately 2 million high school and 450,000 middle school students nationwide use the products.

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Ridgefield Field Vandalized

Ridgfield Police are seeking anonymous tips that can help them solve a case from Saturday morning in which the north field of East Ridge Middle School was badly damaged.

Police went to the field at 9:30 a.m., where it was determined that one or more vehicles were driven onto the football field, causing considerable damage.

Based on the investigation, police believe the damage occurred during the early morning hours.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the police at 203-431-2345, which is the anonymous tip line.

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Verizon Proposes Cell Tower For Danbury And Bethel line

State officials are expected to discuss a controversial plan to build a cell tower in a residential Bethel neighborhood..now  Verizon has filed a request to install another  tower about three miles from that area.

The carrier wants to put a 120-foot tower at 15 Great Pasture Road in Danbury, right on the border with Bethel.

Florida-based North Atlantic Towers wants to build a 170-foot  on  private property at 62-64 Codfish Hill Road. The plan has spurred strong opposition from neighbors who fear the tower would destroy their neighborhood's rural character and devalue their properties.

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Danbury's 311 system 'inundated' during torrential rain Tuesday

Danbury's 311 system is operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from their relocated center in the Danbury Police Station.   311 is a non-emergency call system that provides a streamlined method for citizens to gain information or report issues and concerns regarding City services. 

 

Mayor Mark Boughton says the torrential rain last week tested the limits of the operators, because the system got a little inundated.  Boughton says they logged 40 calls in a minute and a half with flooding concerns.

 

Boughton says the roll out has gone relatively well. 

 

Calls needing additional City research or resources will enter an automated escalation process.  Residents can then expect a call from City representatives with the status of resolution.

 

The number is 203-744-4311 from a cell phone.

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Fines changed for importing firewood

A local lawmaker is touting a bill to protect trees and plants from harmful pests.

 

Governor Dannel Malloy has signed a bill into law that would enforce the restrictions on bringing in firewood to Connecticut.  Redding Representative John Shaban, a ranking member of the Environment Committee, says any person who transports firewood from a quarantined area, for a first offense, will receive a warning as long as the point of origin is disclosed .  Any subsequent offense will be be fined $85.

 

Shaban says this will also allow the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to better track and control shipments of firewood.  The director of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station will be in charge of control, suppression or extermination of insects or diseases which are, or threaten to become, serious pests of plants such as the Emerald Ash Borer.

 

Any person who transports firewood violating the restrictions with the intent to sell the firewood will be fined $200.

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Newtown lawmaker 'disappointed' by budget drafting process

An area legislator is expressing frustration with the state budget crafting process.  Connecticut is spending more thant it takes in according to Newtown state Representative Mitch Bolinsky, who says that's just plain wrong.  He says residents are sick and tired of that practice. 

 

He says it looks to his constituents, who noticed, that 42 percent of Connecticut voters were locked out of the process all together.  Bolinsky says because of the example set by the Appropriations Committee early on, he expected more and is deeply disappointed.

 

Bolinsky says he is still shocked there wasn't a single Republican voice in the room when the new two-year state budget was being put together.

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Area lawmaker wants constitutional amendment protecting election integrity

A local lawmaker supported a bill that would have added Connecticut to the list of states calling for a Constitutional Convention. 

 

Bethel Representative Dan Carter says the General Assembly took up legislation that would have addressed concerns related to campaign financing.  He says corporations, labor unions and PACs should not be able to give money.

 

There's 27 states, with Connecticut making 28, on board with making this part of a balanced budget amendment.  Carter says when a Constitutional Convention is held, there's nothing written in stone that there is a limit to what can be brought up.

 

The United States Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United versus Federal Election Commission in 2010 removed restrictions on amounts of independent political spending.  Some state lawmakers say removing these restrictions has resulted in the unjust influence of powerful economic forces, undermining the people's ability to choose political leadership.

 

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Overturned dump truck closes Ridgefield road for several hours

An overturned dump truck closed South Street in Ridgefield for several hours yesterday morning into the afternoon.  Police say the truck tipped as it left the transfer station shortly after 10:30am, and it wasn't righted until after 1pm. 

 

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection responded to the scene to clean up a small hydraulic fluid spill.  Eversource Energy also responded to the area to fix a utility pole that was broken, but there were no reported outages. 

 

The Ridgefield Press reports that the truck was owned by Newtown-based D&B Hauling, and a sub-contractor to A&J Construction.  The truck was reportedly hauling old asphalt milled from Ridgefield roads so they could be repaved.  The Press reports that the truck either left the Transfer Station with its dump back up, or the dump body raised through a mishap as it left and caught on overhead wires, tipping the 28,000 pound dump truck. 

 

The driver was transported to the hospital with what are described as non-serious injuries.

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Danbury official questions Police Chief on crime statistics

The program that police use to report monthly crime statistics is not counting assaults correctly. 

 

The coding is off on some of the police reporting in the monthly presentation to City officials.  At the Council meeting Tuesday night, Councilman Chris Arconti noticed that the number of assaults was almost 200-percent higher than last year in the uniform crime report. 

 

Chief Al Baker said they are going to keep reporting statistics until the problem is resolved.

 

Last year, Council members questioned the statistical report about "calls for service" almost doubling from 2013 to 2014.  At that time Baker said there would be regular increases because of a new system being used as of April 2014 that counts calls differently.  Baker said the statistic would adjust itself as more data is put in.

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Congressmembers testify on manufacturing future in Conn.

Two members of the state's Congressional delegation have testified on the future of manufacturing during a hearing in Washington yesterday.  It was the first in a series of hearings held by Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer has been held about the future of manufacturing, and two members of the state's Congressional delegation provided testimony. 

 

4th District Congressman Jim Himes said the path forward is clear.

 

Himes says the technological advances can't be undone, so this country has to help workers by providing education and skills necessary to compete in a global marketplace.  Himes gave the example of Housatonic Community College, which he says is preparing students for the 21st century with a course called Advance Manufacturing.  The students are training for jobs that he says are non-exportable.

 

5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty talked about the successes and challenges facing northwest Connecticut, how the economy has and hasn’t changed, and what families and businesses need in 2015 to Make it in America.  She comes from a third generation manufacturing family.  She says an educated workforce is the key to a successful future.

 

Esty says Connecticut is home to more than 5,000 manufacturers, many of them small business, supplying goods for the nation's infrastructure, aerospace and defense industry.

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Petition sent to New Fairfield officials about school debt service savings

An online petition has been forwarded to New Fairfield officials calling for savings from school debt service go back to the schools rather than the town.  The Newstimes reports that 190 signatures were on the petition submitted to First Selectman Susan Chapman this week. 

 

$123,000 was saved by refinancing school bonds.  Officials say it's the town that gets the money because the town issued the bonds not the school system.  Plans call for the money to be used to offset the snow removal costs which were racked up in the winter. 

 

The published report says the petition organizers wanted a Town Meeting to be called to address the funding matter.  The transfer was made by the Board of Finance at a meeting in May.

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UNIT to get more space if 'Octagon House' sale goes through

In an effort to free up some office space at Danbury City Hall, Mayor Mark Boughton announced this week that he would enter into negotiations with the bank that holds the title to the historic Octagon House on Spring Street.  He wants to have the Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team operate from there so the City will have a bigger footprint in a challenging neighborhood. 

 

The vacant and decaying house has attracted vandalism, squatting and general blight.  The area has become a magnet for drug dealers and prostitutes.  Boughton says the City owning this property would provide stability to the neighborhood in response to resident's complaints and concerns.

 

He also says UNIT needs more space now that the 311 info line is operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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Overturned tractor trailer in NY cleared, highway gridlocked

An overturned tractor trailer on the westbound side of the highway in Southeast has been cleared from the roadway.  The accident was reported shortly after noon.  There was heavy traffic in both directions I-84 between exit 20, just over the state line in New York out to exit 9 in Newtown. 

 

The accident was cleared by New York State Police shortly after 2:30pm.

 

Part of that gridlock was caused by milling work on I-84 westbound in Connecticut closing the left lane.  The work was in place from exit 9 out to 3.  Coming off of Super 7 into I-84 was delayed because of the highway congestion.

 

Drivers on Saw Mill Road, Mill Plain Road, Lake Avenue, Newtown Road and Stony Hill Road also experienced heavier than normal volume because of the highway gridlock.

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Jury selection postponed for former Newtown Sgt, others in drug ring

Jury selection has been postponed for the 11 defendants in a drug trafficking ring involving a former Newtown Police Sergeant .  U.S. Attorney spokesman Tom Carson says jury selection was supposed to start next Tuesday, but some of the defendants asked for a continuance.  It's now been moved back to October.  Among the 11 defendants are 38-year old Steve Santucci and 48-year old former Newtown dispatcher Jason Chikos. 

 

Jury selection is now slated for October 13th for Santucci, Chikos, Alex Kenyhercz, Steven Fernandez, Jeffrey Gentile, Mark Bertanza, Frank Pecora and Michael Mase.  A date has not yet been set for Guido Volpe, John Koch and Louis Borrero.  Carson says they will likely all have the same jury selection date.

 

The nearly two month long investigation, dubbed “Operation Juice Box”, revealed that Santucci was supplying steroids to distributors.  Prosecutors says he received shipments of steroids and related materials from China since 2011, and has been manufacturing and distributing wholesale quantities of steroids.

 

Santucci was also charged for allegedly using proceeds of the sales to wire payments to foreign sellers of ingredients to make steroids and to purchase drug packaging materials from domestic companies.

 

The affidavit says 33-year old Mark Bertanza of Shelton was a steroid distributor who obtained his steroids from 28-year old Alex Kenyhercz of Ansonia.  Wiretap interceptions of the pair, along with physical surveillance of various steroid sales, revealed that Santucci was supplying steroids to Kenyhercz.

 

Santucci frequently used an application called WhatsApp to communicate with his customers.  Chickos, 32-year old Michael Mase of Sherman and 54-year old Steven Fernandez of Southington were Santucci's steroid customers who, in turn, regularly distributed the steroids in smaller quantities to their own customers.  Kenyhercz distributed quantities of steroids and prescription pills including Roxicodone, Oxycodone, Suboxone and Opana.  33-year old Jeffrey Gentile of Ansonia, a Judicial Marshal with the State of Connecticut is alleged to be a steroid distributor , and 53-year old Frank Pecora of Derby is alleged to be a prescription pill distributor.

 

In addition to the eight originally arrested, a superceding indictment charged 36-year old Guido Volpe of Prospect, 48-year old John Koch of Coventry and 52-year old Louis Borrero of Ansonia with steroid and prescription pill distribution. 

 

During the course of the investigation, law enforcement officers seized hundreds of vials of steroids, approximately 600 grams of raw testosterone powder, approximately 350 grams of powder cocaine, and four long guns.

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Autistic Brewster teen found safe after overnight search

An autistic boy has been found safe in Brewster after an overnight search.  The Putnam County Sheriff's office reports that 19-year old Alberto Salazar is verbally uncommunicative and has other health issues that require medication.  The teen went missing yesterday afternoon from his Brewster Heights home, and a search was launched around 5pm. 

 

More than 80 police, firefighters, first responders and volunteers from New York and Connecticut were involved in the effort.  Tracking dogs and helicopters were used in the search of the heavily wooded area.  Residents were also alerted to the search with a robocall. 

 

The youth was spotted via helicopter in the woods about a half mile from his home shortly before 8:30 this morning.  Salazar was evaluated at Putnam Hospital Center in Carmel and returned to his family.

 

Sheriff Donald Smith praised the efforts of the personnel who helped find the lost youth, many of whom were volunteers. Agencies involved in the search included the Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police, Brewster Police, State Forest Rangers, Westchester County Police, New York City DEP Police, Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services, Putnam REACT, the New York State Office of Fire Prevention & Control, the Westchester Tracking and Rescue Team, Dogs Incorporated, Brewster Fire Dept., Carmel Fire Dept., Kent Fire Dept., Putnam Lake Fire Dept., East Fishkill Fire Dept., Bedford Hills Fire Dept., Croton Falls Fire Dept., Somers Fire Dept., Ball Pond (CT) Fire Dept., New Fairfield (CT) Fire Dept. and Stamford (CT) Fire Dept.

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Relief For Rt. 7 Commuters

Ridgefield Police Captain Jeff Kreitz says they have received  inquires regarding the increased traffic back up and shorter green signal lights on Rt. 7. This is due to the fact that the roadway sensors that monitor the traffic flow at the traffic signals have been removed for the repaving process.

The Connecticut Department of Transportation was notified regarding the delays and plan on extending the length of time the lights are green for Rt. 7 traffic until the sensors can be replaced. The sensors will be replaced at the completion of the project which is scheduled for mid-August.

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Connecticut state parks grappling with new tax on parking

Staff at 25 Connecticut state parks will have to brush up on their math skills after learning the new state budget requires them to charge visitors the 6.35 percent sales tax.

 

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is working on a way to levy the tax, which was tucked into the state budget signed by Governor Malloy June 30th.

 

DEEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Whalen said parking fees at Connecticut state parks have not been taxed before.  DEEP Spokeswoman Cyndy Chanaca said this change, which took effect July 1, poses a challenge to the parks in the middle of the busy summer season.

 

Fees are now based on round numbers and staff member typically don't use coins.  Chanaca said the agency anticipates longer lines at entrance gates.

 

Kent Falls State Park, Lake Waramaug State Park and Campground in Kent, Mount Tom State Park in Litchfield, and Kettletown State Park and Campground in Southbury will start charging $9.58 for cars registered in Connecticut and $15.96 for cars registered in other states.  The fee is only charged on weekends and holidays.  Mount Tom will also charge in state cars $6.39, and $10.64 for out of state vehicles on weekdays.

 

On weekends and holidays, Squantz Pond State Park in New Fairfield will charge $13.83 for cars registered in Connecticut, and $23.40 for cars registered in other states.  On weekdays, the parking fee is $9.58 for cars registered in Connecticut and $15.96 for cars registered in other states.  Seven days a week, after 4pm the fee is $6.39 and $7.45 respectively. 

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Danbury appoints new Animal Control Officer, Highway Division Supervisor

After more than 30 years working for the City, Danbury's Highway Department Supervisor is retiring.  Duke Hart started with the City in 1983 and was promoted through the ranks from foreman to general foreman, all the way up to Supervisor. Hart was promoted to that role in 2004.  

 

Mayor Mark Boughton says the new Supervisor, Timothy Nolan, has some big shoes to fill.  He says everyone will miss Hart, and all of the hard work he's done.  In a recent chat, Hart told Boughton that he's sad he's leaving but happy to start a new chapter in his life.

 

Nolan was confirmed by the Danbury City Council on Tuesday night.  Nolan began his career with the City in 2009 and has a background in project management and commercial construction.  He holds a number of training certifications and licenses. 

 

The Division is responsible for the maintenance and reconstruction of city streets, walks, curbs, bridges, storm drains and waterways.  They also fill potholes and makes other road repairs, do storm drain cleaning and plowing--among other tasks. 

 

A new animal control officer was also added to the force Tuesday night.  Retired Police Officer, and recently appointed Special Police Officer, Jay Mortara began his career with the Danbury PD in 1984.  Mortara received a number of awards and citations for his work over the past three decades.

 

The Animal Control Officer is responsible for enforcing local and state laws relating to animals, domestic and wild, for performing field and office work, and operating-maintaining an Animal Control Shelter. The officers are charged with Investigating complaints of alleged cruelty animals and of persons bitten by animals; patrolling the city for roaming dogs; and feeding and caring for the lost or impounded animals.

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Woman wanted on outstanding warrants found beneath neighbor's porch

A Danbury woman has been arrested on two outstanding warrants after Bail Enforcement Agents tracked her down.  Danbury Police were called to a home on East Pearl Street around 5:45 last night on a report of a suspicious person. 

 

The bounty hunters told officers that they needed assistance in arresting 39-year old Tijuana Brown, who was hiding under the porch of her neighbor's home.  Brown complied with police officers to come out and show her hands.  She told police that the Bail Enforcement Agents came to her home on Linden Place, she got scared and ran through her backyard to a neighbor's home two houses away. 

 

One of the outstanding warrants is from Danbury.  Brown is facing charges of possession of narcotics and failure to appear in court.  The other charges are from Norwalk Police.  Those are for probation violation and failure to appear. 

 

She was held on a combined $22,500 bond.

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Danbury teen stabbed in back by another teen

A Danbury teen is being treated for multiple stab wounds.  Danbury Police were called to Lawncrest Road around 9 o'clock Tuesday night on a report of an assault with a weapon.  Responding officers found a 17-year old with several puncture wounds in her back. 

 

The girl was transported to Danbury Hospital and later transferred to Yale New Haven Hospital for treatment of her injuries. 

 

The suspect, a 15-year old girl was found a short time later and arrested.  Danbury Police say the younger teen was charged with 1st degree assault and issued a juvenile summons. 

 

Danbury Police say this was not a random assault.

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Teen bit by venomous snake at Devil's Den

A 14-year old boy on a field trip to Devil's Den Nature Preserve in Weston has been bitten by a venomous snake.  The Weston Forum reports that the Weston Volunteer Fire Department and others responded to Devil's Den on Monday, and were unable to locate the copperhead snake. 

 

The teen told first responders that he reached out to touch the snake and it bit him.  The boy was taken to Norwalk Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. 

 

The Forum reports that copperheads don't give warning signs before a strike, and will bite if they feel threatened.

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Transit planning, water storage tank funding approved in Bethel

A Special Town meeting in Bethel Wednesday night has led to approval by resident on a couple of issues. 

 

Bethel residents approved acceptance of a $100,000 grant for Downtown Transit Oriented Development/Revitalization Planning, which was granted by the state in December.  The town will be contributing $150,000 to the project from the Bethel Affordable Housing Trust Fund.  A grant proposal was made to the state last November.

 

The town will focus on four types of analysis: transportation planning, sewer capacity examinations, environmental analysis, and economic/market analysis.  The information will then be used to generate a report guiding future planning efforts in the Bethel Train Station area. 

 

$442,000 in additional funding was also approved by Bethel residents at the Town Meeting in order to construct the Eureka Water Storage Tank on Long Ridge Road in Danbury.  The money would be bonded, and reduced by any grants the town could obtain.

 

Residents approved the construction during a December referendum on the initial $2.4 million project.  At that time officials said the health and fire safety project would ultimately be paid through state grants, loans and water-rate increases for 10,000 users over several decades.

 

There was a six year stalemate between Bethel and Danbury on the issue.

 

The State Health Department  said there is a water shortage in the Bethel downtown district, leading to a six year stalemate between the town and Danbury.  The City's Planning Commission time and again denied the request saying the Long Ridge Road area is designated as scenic.  An out-of-court settlement was reached between Bethel and Danbury.

 

When the stalemate was nearing an end, Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker said no new industrial development could take place in Clarke Business Park because of the storage issue.  He called it a fragile system, sensitive to any kind of disruption, with any kind of pressure change causing rust to dislodge.

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Danbury, WCSU stalemate resolved keeping Ives Center open

A stalemate between Danbury and Western Connecticut State University has been resolved.  $55,404 for the Charles Ives Authority to be paid out on a quarterly basis is being transferred from Danbury's Contingency Fund.  The money wasn't included in the budget approved recently because an agreement to have the Ives Center operate this summer had yet to be reached. 

 

The Center is located on the west side campus of Western Connecticut State University. 

 

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton says six months of negotiations with Western was needed to extend the five year agreement.  That wasn't completed until early May, and there was a possibility the Ives Center would go dark for this season.  But Boughton says in the end, Western agreed that this is a positive "Town-Gown" relationship.

 

The roof of the stage was rebuilt last year, the stage itself was previously rebuilt.

 

Boughton plans to meet with new WCSU president in the coming weeks, and this stalemate is one of the items he plans to bring up.

 

Western provides ground maintenance, and the city hires university police officers for crowd control.  Western was under pressure of state funding cuts, and Boughton says the University wanted to find another way to derive revenue from the facility.  A parking fee will be tacked on to each ticket sold.  That money will go toward maintenance: the grass cutting, weeding, gardening and other related work.

 

Boughton called the Ives Center is a "revenue neutral operation", with enough money to pay for maintenance and security.

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Esty questions railroad oversight officials on Positive Train Control

A Connecticut lawmaker is speaking out about the delays in railroads installing Positive Train Control technology, which can automatically stop a train before an accident occurs.  It's a GPS-based system that monitors a train's location.  The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 required the system be installed on all commuter trains by the end of 2015.  With the deadline less than six months away, 5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty took part in a Congressional subcommittee hearing recently on the state of implementation.

 

Esty says she understands there are challenges, but wants the technology installed as quickly and safely as possible.  She noted that this technology has been discussed since a fatal collision in 1969.

 

The acting leader of the Federal Railroad Administration told Esty that the organization needs the authority over PTC systems in order to test them, as well as to provide for interim safety measures when they do not meet the deadline.

 

Metro North and Connecticut could be fined by the Federal Railroad Administration if they fail to install positive train control on the tracks by a December 31st deadline.  Connecticut owns the tracks that Metro North trains use in the state, and is responsible for paying for the safety system.  But officials say that it won't be fully implemented until 2018.  A state Department of Transportation spokesman says the state likely won't be fined as long as they can show progress is being made on installation of the sensors which can apply the brakes if a train is moving too fast for conditions.

 

In May, Esty offered an amendment authorizing $750 million to help passenger railroads implement PTC.

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Brewster man charged with felony rape

A Brewster man has been charged with felony rape.  The Putnam County Sheriff's office said today that an investigation of a reported sexual act with a minor led to the arrest of 19-year old Hugo De Jesus Cardona Velasquez. 

 

He was arrested last Wednesday for the crime that took place in the Town of Southeast. 

 

Velasquez was arraigned and ordered held on $100,000 bond for a future court appearance.  The judge issued an order of protection against the man on behalf of the victim. 

 

If found guilty of the felony rape charge, Velasquez faces up to 25 years in jail and a fine of up to $30,000.

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Redding officials voice concerns to Eversource Energy about storm response

Redding officials have met with Eversource Energy about last month's storm that knocked out power to more than half the town, and expressed their frustrations with restoration response.  The Redding Pilot reports that First Selectman Julia Pemberton told the utility that they failed to perform.  If this was a dry run for the next emergency, she said it too was a failure. 

 

The meeting Monday about the June 23rd storm revealed that the Redding Police Department didn't have the crews from Eversource to do anything until a day later.  Chief Doug Fuchs reportedly told Eversource that the town's so-called "make safe crews" were ready to go, but a powerline crew wasn't immediately assigned. 

 

The Pilot reports that Route 58, and part of Lonetown Road remained closed for two days while trees were cleared for access to Sullivan Drive and Mark Twain Lane for nearly three days.

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Driver run off I-84 by car trying to change lanes

A Sherman woman was injured when her car was run off the highway Tuesday night in Bethel.  State Police say a car was in the right lane of I-84 westbound around 5:30pm, when another car tried to move into that same lane.  38-year old Marrita Lammie swerved to avoid being hit, lost control on the rain soaked road, and went off the exit 8 ramp. 

 

Her Chevy Trailblazer went through the wire rope guardrail, struck a light post and rolled some 40 feet down the embankment.  The car sustained heavy damage and was towed from the scene. 

 

Lammie was transported to Danbury Hospital for treatment of neck and back pain. 

 

The other vehicle, described only as a black colored car, continued on the highway.

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Speed enforcement grant awarded to Ridgefield

Speed enforcement in Ridgefield is being stepped up by Police.  The Ridgefield Police Department is working with the State Department of Transportation to increase radar enforcement throughout the town. 

 

The goal is to slow motorists down and prevent accidents.

 

Ridgefield has received a highway safety grant for rural road speed enforcement.  Officers will be performing additional radar details throughout town during July and August, with the effort having been started on Friday.  The increased enforcement will focus on roadways that present a high risk based on crash data.  There will be no cost to the town for this increased detail because the grant will reimburse all expenditures by the police department.

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Brookfield to examine noise ordinance

Brookfield officials are looking to revise the town's noise ordinance.  At the Brookfield Board of Selectmen meeting Monday night, First Selectman Bill Tinsley asked that they take a look at the town's Noise Ordinance.  He cited some enforcement issues, and says complaints are not neighborhood specific to the YMCA and Greenknoll. 

 

He cited construction, especially on the weekends. 

 

Selectman Bill Davidson suggested that this be kept separate from the Quality of Life ordinance under consideration.  He proposed a workshop with police officials and others to hear what the problem is enforcing an ordinance and how to proceed.

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Grant awarded to Brookfield for sewer project

A grant has been awarded to Brookfield to replace a sewer system at an elderly housing complex in town.  Brooks Quarry is for lower income seniors and people with disabilities. 

 

For several years, some of the units have suffered a sewer system problem, where sewage backups into the units.  The system has been described by plumbers as insufficient to support the 35 units at the complex near the Four Corners.

 

At the Board of Selectmen meeting Monday, First Selectman Bill Tinsley said the town has received a $465,000 grant for a complete replacement of the system.  He says the project is almost bid ready.

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Danbury to repurpose, restore historic Octagon House

Danbury officials want to purchase the Octagon House on Spring Street and turn it into a multi-use building.  Mayor Mark Boughton is asking  the City Council for authority to begin negotiations with the bank that holds the title to the house.  It is located on 21 Spring Street.

 

The plan calls for locating the Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team there, and having a police substation based at the house.  Boughton is also proposing to use the backyard as a community garden.

 

The eight-sided house is on the National Register of Historic Places.  The effort would preserve one of five like it left in the country.  It was built in 1852 by John Earle, an innovator in the hatting industry and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.  The house was converted to apartments, but abandoned by its owner in 2008. 

 

Boughton says this would promote and provide stability to the neighborhood in response to resident's complaints and concerns.  The vacant and decaying house has attracted vandalism, squatting and general blight.  The area has become a magnet for drug dealers and prostitutes. 

 

Boughton says the building needs $200,000 to $300,000 worth of work because it's fallen into disrepair.  The yard also needs some upkeep, and the parking would have to be reconfigured. 

 

The listing price is about $195,000, but Boughton says that's above what the property value is worth given the condition the house is in.  Boughton says he would like to reach a deal through negotiations, but is not ruling out eminent domain and then paying fair market value to the bank.

 

There are more officers on the streets now that the City has civilian dispatching, and more officers are coming out of the academy.  He says the bike patrol and other related officers would likely operate out of the substation. 

 

He's hoping to convert the upstairs into a community room or meeting room that residents could use if they needed an area to accommodate about 45 people. 

 

The community garden would be monitored by a non-profit.  A small office would be located in the house for those who manage the plots that people can use to grow vegetables.

 

In 2011, Boughton organized a Spring Street Improvement initiative to enhance the safety and security of the neighborhood.  As part of the initiative, Spring Street has received repaved sidewalks, troublesome trees were removed, water drainage improved and street lighting enhanced.

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Newtown residents approved funding two projects at Town Meeting

Newtown residents have approved several items during a Town Meeting held last night.  $1 million in bonding was approved for road improvements and resurfacing projects, beyond what was included in the budget. 

 

$3.6 million was also approved to renovate the Newtown High School auditorium.  The project calls for making it handicap accessible, up to code and adding state of the art features.  Some of the project would be reimbursed by state funding.  It's not slated to begin until early next year. 

 

The road bond passed unanimously by those in attendance at the Town Meeting.  There was one vote in opposition to the High School project.

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Bird causes power outage that closed Danbury Library for the day

Danbury Library closed early Tuesday due to a power outage in downtown Danbury this afternoon.  Eversource Energy says about 550 customers were left without electricity in the Main and New Streets area for little more than an hour.  Eversource spokesman Mitch Gross says a bird flew into equipment, knocking it offline.

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Brookfield man injured in New Milford motorcycle accident

A Brookfield man sustained injuries in a motorcycle crash on Route 7 in New Milford Monday afternoon.  Police say an officer who was attending to a motor vehicle stop saw a motorcycle driving recklessly between the lanes at a high rate of speed. 

 

The driver and motorcycle were found crashed by Candlewood Lake Road a short time later.  Police say 21-year old Cody Bennett of Brookfield hit the back of a vehicle driven by an 80-year old Roxbury man, lost control and slid up to 75 feet across the ground before coming to a stop. 

 

Charges are pending.  Bennett was treated and released from Danbury Hospital.

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Car v. tree accident remains under investigation

A Danbury woman was seriously injured in a crash on Padanaram Road late Saturday night.  Danbury Police responded to the area shortly before midnight and found that the driver lost control of his car and hit a tree. 

 

Police say 25-year old Frederick Jones of New Fairfield and his passenger, 22-year old Amanda Bongiorno of Danbury had to be extricated from the vehicle by the Danbury Fire Department.  The accident remains under investigation. 

 

Jones was treated at Danbury Hospital.  Bongiorno was transported to Yale New Haven Hospital for further treatment of her injuries.

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Another tribal chairman slams federal change in recognition

NORTH STONINGTON, Conn. (AP) The chairman of the Eastern Pequot Tribe says ``dirty politics'' are to blame for a federal rule preventing his tribe and two others from reapplying for recognition.

Dennis Jenkins tells The Day that ``backroom dealings'' in Washington made sure Connecticut tribes denied recognition in the past would not get an opportunity to reapply for recognition allowing them to seek federal assistance and pursue casino development.

The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs last month dropped a provision allowing three state-recognized tribes in Connecticut the Eastern Pequots, Schaghticokes and Golden Hill Paugussetts to reapply for recognition.

The Eastern Pequos won recognition in 2002. It was withdrawn three years later after the state and Ledyard, North Stonington and Preston objected.

Jenkins has said he doesn't believe the tribe should pursue a casino.

 

The leader of the Kent-based Schaghticoke Tribal Nation said the new rules fall short of the promise to provide a transparent, timely, and consistent process for recognition.  Chief Richard Velky says they will not be deterred by the grave omissions and errors in the Final Regulations.

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Danbury man arrested twice in one day held police in standoff

A Danbury man who told a bouncer at a Mill Plain Road establishment that he had just done drugs, later engaged police in a standoff at his home. 

 

29-year old Robert Tyrell was arrested for criminal trespass after refusing to leave Molly Darcy's Irish Pub shortly before closing time on Saturday morning.  The bouncer told responding officers that the man said he injected himself with drugs. 

 

Tyrell allegedly refused to leave when the bouncer tried to escort him out.  The man's brother said Tyrell became aggressive when he tried to take the 29-year old home, yelling at other patrons. 

 

Tyrell was also charged with breach of peace and released on bond.

 

Police were called to Tyrell's Danbury address shortly before midnight Saturday and found a man pacing back and forth in the driveway with what looked like a gun. 

 

The man's mother told responding officers that her son wanted police to shoot him, and that he wanted to hurt himself.  Tyrell allegedly refused to obey officers' requests to put the gun down, instead pointing it at them and his own head.  Police spokesman Lt. Christian Carroccio says Tyrell could be heard repeatedly stating that he would shoot himself as well as police.

 

It was later determined to be a fake gun. 

 

Tyrell was transported to the hospital for evaluation. 

 

He was charged with breach of peace and reckless endangerment.  Tyrell is being held on $2,500 bond.  He is due in Danbury Superior Court on July 27th.

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Verizon proposes cell tower 'monopole' near Danbury/Bethel line

A proposal from Verizon to construct a cell tower at the Bethel-Danbury town line was sent to the state today.  An application has been submitted to the Connecticut Siting Council by Cellco Partnership, Verizon Wireless. 

 

The Application calls for the installation of a wireless telecommunications tower on a 14 acre lot at 15 Great Pasture Road in Danbury. The application says that a 120-foot monopole tower would be constructed in the westerly portion of this parcel.  A new 12-foot by 26-foot shelter near the base of the tower would house its radio equipment and a natural gas-fueled back-up generator. 

 

Access to the facility will be from Great Pasture Road.

 

On the day of the Siting Council public hearing on this proposal, Verizon will fly a balloon at the height of the proposed tower. 

 

Danbury and Bethel residents of can review the Application starting today at the Danbury Town Clerk and Bethel Town Clerk offices or the Connecticut Siting Council office in New Britain.

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Danbury woman nominated to fill City Council vacancy

There is a vacancy on the Danbury City Council.  Marina Loyola, one of two representatives of the 7th Ward, has resigned.  Loyola has been dealing with health issues for several months and felt unable to dedicate as much time to the City Council as she wanted to. 

 

The Danbury Republican Town Committee has voted unanimously to recommend Nancy Cammisa to fill the vacancy.  RTC Chairman Michael Safranek says the nomination is being considered tonight by the City Council. 

 

Nancy is an Accounting Assistant at PlusMedia, active with Danbury Youth Wrestling and an active member of the Danbury community.

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New Fairfield man faces DUI charge for Independence Day accident

A New Fairfield man is due in court next week on a drunk driving charge stemming from a weekend accident.  New Milford police responded to The River Bistro on Kent Road early Saturday morning and found that a driver crashed into a sign in the parking lot.  Police say 24-year old Benjamin Howell was driving northbound when his car left the roadway, went into the parking lot and into a sign.  He failed a field sobriety test and was charged with DUI and making a restricted turn.  He was released on bond for a court appearance next Monday.

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Arrest made in stabbing death of former Conn. Congressional intern

Police in Washington D.C. have made an arrest in the fatal stabbing of a 24-year old man who interned for 4th District Congressman Jim Himes several years ago.  Kevin Sutherland was riding a Metro train Saturday afternoon when he was stabbed. 

 

Police have issued an arrest warrant for Jasper Spires for 1st degree murder while armed, and say that that man has been taken into custody. 

 

Sutherland was a graduate of American University.  He served as an intern for Himes from 2008 through 2010.  Himes tweeted that he was heartbroken by the tragic loss, calling him selfless and decent.

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Conn. man facing charges in NY for chase that ended in New Milford crash

A Connecticut man is facing charges in New Milford with charges pending against him by New York State Police.  New Milford Police were called by Troopers who were pursuing a driver who was speeding.  At the intersection of Route 55 and Route 7 late Saturday night, the car crash with a guard rail and continued on Route 7 hitting a utility pole. 

 

23-year old William Lester of Rocky Hill and the New York State Trooper were trapped in their cars by live utility wires.  Eversource Energy, and two area volunteer fire departments responded to the scene. 

 

New York State Police say Lester was transported to Danbury Hospital as a precaution. 

 

He was charged by New Milford Police for evading responsibility and released on a written promise to appear in court on the 17th.  Charges are pending in New York.

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New Milford Man Died in Canoe Accident

CORNWALL, Conn. (AP) Officials say a New Milford man has died after a canoe capsized in a Connecticut river.

Crews were dispatched to the Housatonic River in Cornwall Sunday for what was initially a missing person report.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said the search turned into a boating accident investigation when officials learned that a canoe capsized with three people on board.

Two people made it to safety and the body of Antonavas Morris was later found. He was 47.

It is not yet known what caused the canoe to capsize.

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'Community Messengers' educating fellow parents about family services in Danbury

A Pilot Program taught 20 parents about community services, supports, and events and how to share that information with other parents in their neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces  The six week program, run by Danbury’s Promise for Children Partnership included information about how to best share information with other parents about services to help families raise healthy children and support their learning.

 

The Community Messengers program is based on the premise that most parents learn about community resources by talking with other parents they know and trust.  The Partnership hopes that participants will spread the word and refer parents to the services they need.  While the six formal weeks of training has ended, the Community Messengers will continue to meet on a monthly basis to keep up to date on resources and opportunities for families.

 

Each weekly session covered a particular topic including: how to find childcare, how to access health and behavioral health services, finding recreational activities, services for special needs children, and how to find financial resources. Each session featured speakers from various agencies and programs in the City.

 

This summer, the Community Messengers will be manning tables at family-oriented events sponsored by the Danbury Library, as well as at the Danbury Downtown Farmer’s Market and other venues frequented by parents. They will be distributing information about the Summer Meals program, the free Imagination Library book program, the Help Me Grow program, and other programs that support families with young children.

 

If funding is available, another six week session will be conducted next year for a new group of parents.

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Hospital staff to be trained about dementia symptoms

Governor Dannel Malloy has signed a bill into effect that would require each hospital in the state to include training in the symptoms of dementia as part of regularly provided training to staff members.  He signed the bill Wednesday.  During the legislative session, New Milford Representative Cecilia Buck-Taylor questioned whether there have been complaints that hospitals are not properly training workers in aspects of dementia.

 

Neither state law nor regulation specifies general training requirements. 

 

Buck-Taylor said there is no doubt there is a need for dementia care and there will be more of a need as the population ages.  But she says the language of the bill was vague.

 

The training must start effective October 1st.  In practice, hospitals must comply with clinical training requirements set by certain regulatory and accrediting agencies.

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Aging, broken infrastructure frustrates Metro-North riders

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Aging and broken public works have again plagued the Metro-North Railroad in Connecticut.

The Devon Movable Bridge, built in 1904, carries trains on the New Haven line, Waterbury branch, Amtrak and Shore Line East. It got stuck in the open position Wednesday, forcing officials to use another span, slowing commutes into and out of Grand Central Terminal in New York City.

The state is targeting for replacement four moveable bridges on the New Haven line. They include the Devon bridge and a Norwalk span stuck in the open position twice last year.  The Walk Bridge was built in 1896.

A Greenwich bridge over the Mianus River and Saga Bridge over the Saugatuck River also are eyed for replacement.

A state transportation spokesman says more track repairs are required before trains can cross Devon bridge next week.

 

Costs related to the Walk Bridge are about $400 million, while costs to replace the other bridges have not been detailed. Replacement work is not expected for several years.  The state budget approved by the legislature will include a $2.8 billion increase for infrastructure over the next five years, including $1.77 billion for rail, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said.

 

The failure of the Walk and Devon bridges is a "wake up call" to state transportation officials, said state Sen. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton.

 

Her constituents are "ballistic," she said. "They have suffered for so long."

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UPDATED: Assault on Trooper, pursuit and search lead to arrest

A Danbury man who assaulted a State Police Trooper and fled a traffic stop on Interstate 84 this morning has been arrested after a nearly six hour search. 

 

A Trooper was investigating a man passed out behind the wheel of a car at the Exit 1 commuter lot.  The man, later determined to be 38-year old Marc D. Debenigno, had narcotics and drug paraphernalia on the passenger seat beside him. 

 

State Police spokeswoman Trooper Kelly Grant says a Trooper was attempting to arrest the suspect around 9:30am, but the Danbury man resisted.  The Trooper used his Taser, but missed.  Debenigno then fled in his vehicle. 

 

Debenigno crossed into New York State.  Troopers there became involved in the chase.  He then got back on I-84 eastbound, exiting onto Route 7 at 90 miles an hour.  

 

The suspect crashed into a guardrail, and fled on foot.  Scanner reports described the man as having handcuffs on at the time.  He eventually jumped into a nearby swamp.

 

State Police received assistance from Connecticut State Police K9 teams, a Dive Team, a Bloodhound team, and Trooper One-helicopter.  Danbury Police Department, Ridgefield Police Department, and Redding Police Department also assisted.  The Danbury Fire Department responded with a Zodiac boat.

 

Shortly after 3pm, Debenigno was located in the swamp and taken into custody.  He was transported to Danbury Hospital for evaluation.

 

Debenigno was charged with Possession of Narcotics, Assault on a Police Officer, Escape from Custody, Engaging in Pursuit, Reckless Driving, and Reckless Endangerment.  He is due in court on Monday.

 

There were no Trooper or civilian injuries.

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Newtown legislator wants state to stay out of pet therapy licensing

A bill about animal-assisted therapy services is awaiting Governor Malloy's signature.  The bill makes several changes to current law, including to add animal assisted activities to therapy.  It also expands therapy teams beyond dogs. 

 

Newtown state Representative Mitch Bolinsky says the more government does, the less it does well. 

 

The bill requires these teams get credentials from the state.  It does not specify how DCF will credential the organizations and providers.  Bolinsky fears this will be turned into a money making operation.  He's concerned that many of the care teams are run by volunteers, and would be charged, slowing their response.

 

Bolinsky says having a state agency run this type of program, rather than letting it work as a community response seems like it would create more red tape and delays.

 

Bolinsky asked during debate if there were specific, documented complaints from those who rushed to comfort Sandy Hook residents after 12-14.  He was told there were problems with everyone who wanted to help, being able to participate in giving assistance.  The backer of the bill also said that some people said they would have liked if more Connecticut-based animals were available so there wasn't a gap when those animals had to go back to the states that they came from. 

 

Part of the bill requires the Department of Children and Families Commissioner to identify and mobilize animal-assisted critical incident response teams statewide.  He asked during debate who and how the teams would be identified and screened.  A national organization, Pet Partners, would oversee the program and the teams themselves would be responsible for any certification fees. 

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'Terrible tax increases' critcized by local lawmaker

A terrible tax increase, and an uncertain financial future.  That's how a local lawmaker summed up the state's new two-year budget.  On the day of the Special Session, Danbury Senator Mike McLachlan expressed frustration about budget talks being one-sided.  McLachlan was critical of the increased spending.  He says Connecticut needs to start living within its means.

 

The final deficit figure will be determined later this year, after the state's finances are audited.  Estimates are there's a $115 million deficit.  Any red ink will be covered by the state's Budget Reserve Fund.  The so-called Rainy Day Fund has an estimated $519 million saved up.

 

McLachlan, commercial real estate by trade, says he he got a lot of questions from constituents this session about why the General Assembly is not listening.

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Police identify man found dead in Connecticut well

WATERTOWN, Conn. (AP) Authorities in western Connecticut have identified a man found dead inside a well after an apparent accident.

Watertown police say the body of 58-year-old James McAdam was found in the well on his property by his brother Thursday morning. He was found upside down about five feet down in the 20-foot well.

McAdam's brother went to check on him and their mother, who lived with McAdam, after not hearing from them for several days.

Authorities also found McAdam's 83-year-old mother lying on the kitchen floor of their home after an apparent fall. She didn't appear to be seriously hurt but was taken to a hospital.

The medical examiner's office hasn't yet ruled how McAdam died.

Police believe he was working on the well and fell in by accident.

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'Danbury Titans' newest team to play in the FHL

The newest member of the Federal Hockey League is going to be known as the Danbury Titans.  Owner Bruce Bennett made the announcement yesterday afternoon.  The Danbury man owns Bruce Bennett Nissan in Wilton and says he liked the name, but it's a coincidence that the Titan is a new vehicle for Nissan.  It's a diesel powered pick up truck.

Bennett has a 6 year lease with Eagle Ice Sports, owner of the Danbury Ice Arena.

 

Phil Esposito was the head coach of the Danbury Whalers, the last team to play at the Danbury Ice Arena.  The team is inactive after Eagle Ice Sports and Whalers ownership could not come to agreement on a new lease for the Danbury Ice Arena.  He will be the coach of the new Danbury team. 

 

There will be six teams in the Federal Hockey League including the recently announced Stateline Whalers in Brewster.

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UPDATED: Danbury police investigating fatal car v. pedestrians accident

Danbury police are investigating a fatal accident last night in Danbury.  Shortly before 9:30 Thursday night, a tan Hyundai Elantra travelling westbound on Lake Avenue hit two pedestrians crossing from Stop & Shop toward Stanziatos pizza. 

 

Police said in a press release that 23-year old Krista Consalva of Brookfield struck the 17 year olds. 

 

Each teen was transported to Danbury Hospital via ambulance.  Rebecca Draper Townsend of Brookfield was pronounced dead at Danbury Hospital.  Benjamin Arne of New Fairfield is listed in serious but stable condition.

 

The accident remains under investigation.  Any witness is asked to contact Danbury Police Traffic Unit Officers Lance Brevard or Marcel Kruijs at 203-797-2156.

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Lake Waramaug swim area remains closed through weekend

Lake Waramaug State Park in Kent remains closed to swimming due to increased bacteria in the water.  The area was closed Thursday.  Water retesting by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection showed results that still had elevated levels today. 

 

Another round of testing is scheduled for Monday to determine when it is safe to reopen.  Results are expected on Tuesday. 

 

After heavy rain, storm water runoff can increase the amount of bacteria in the water.

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Danbury teens charged for breaking into home

Danbury Police have arrested two teens for breaking into a house.  Police say a neighbor called 911 around 5am Tuesday to say that people were seen entering the Whaley Street house, which is under construction.  Police arrived before the 18-year olds had a chance to take anything. 

 

Joshua Castillo and Eric Nunez, both of Danbury, have been charged with felony burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary, criminal mischief and criminal trespass.  They made a court appearance Thursday and remain held on bond. 

 

There were also two outstanding warrants for Castillo's arrest.  One for carrying weapons in a motor vehicle, the other for interfering with an officer.

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Ex-suburban NY police officer indicted in prescriptions case

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) A former Mount Vernon police officer has been indicted on charges he used forged prescriptions to obtain painkillers.

Joseph Russo, of Patterson, was arraigned Thursday in Westchester County. His attorney, Andrew Quinn, said he's optimistic that all of the charges will be dismissed.

Prosecutors say that between March 2011 and March 2012, Russo used prescriptions bearing a forged doctor's signature to get at least 1,470 hydrocodone pills from five pharmacies.

They say he covered some of the cost by filing insurance claims. The insurer contacted police.

He is charged with 18 counts of possession of a forged instrument.

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Man finds brother's body inside Connecticut well

WATERTOWN, Conn. (AP) Authorities say a man looking for his missing brother found his body inside a well in western Connecticut.

Police say the man searched his brother's property in Watertown on Thursday after not hearing from him for several days and discovered the body.

Officials say it appears the 58-year-old victim was working on the well when he fell in and became trapped about five feet down. There were no signs of foul play.

The name of the man who died hasn't been released. Authorities say it appears his body was in the well for several days. An autopsy will be performed.

Police say the man lived with his 83-year-old mother, who was found lying on the kitchen floor and brought to a hospital. Her condition hasn't been released.

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Quarter of a million dollars worth of illegal fireworks seized in Danbury

The Danbury Fire Marshal tipped off state police on Tuesday to illegal fireworks at a Danbury home.  An investigation was launched, and search and seizure warrants were carried out yesterday.  State Police spokeswoman Trooper Kelly Grant says the search of the home and a storage barn in Danbury uncovered possession, storage and sales of an extraordinary amount of illegal fireworks, explosives and IEDs, including M-Class devices.

 

Thousands of illegal product items were seized. Narcotics and cash in excess of $3,600 were also seized.

 

Four trailer loads of product were transported from the home in Danbury by Bomb Squad personnel.

 

It is estimated that the street value of the illegal fireworks and explosives is nearly $250,000.

 

Several felony arrests are anticipated as the investigation continues.  Grant says the address of the home will not be released until arrests are made.

 

The Danbury Fire Marshal’s Office, the Danbury Police Department, FBI–New Haven, the Connecticut State Police Emergency Services Unit Bomb Squad, and Detectives from the State Police Western District Major Crime Squad each played a role in the investigation.

 

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New Milford man charged with unemployment fraud

A New Milford man has been charged with larceny and unemployment compensation fraud.   Authorities say 46-year old Louis Hollister was arrested Wednesday for allegedly illegally collecting almost $13,000 in unemployment compensation benefits.  According to court documents, Hollister was employed, and collected the benefits he was not entitled to between November 2013, and April of the following year. 

 

The New Milford man was released on $10,000 bond for a court appearance on Tuesday. 

 

The case was investigated by the Unemployment Compensation Fraud Unit of the Office of the Chief State's Attorney following a complaint from the Connecticut Department of Labor.

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Putnam County Sheriff to step up patrols this weekend

Putnam County Sheriff's Deputies will be conducting periodic security checks of religious facilities, train stations, commuter parking lots, bus routes, shopping centers, and public parks.  Sheriff Donald Smith says the increased uniform presence is not because of a renewed safety threat, but rather part of the department's counter-terrorism strategy of continued vigilance.  Putnam County Sheriff's deputies will be out in force starting tomorrow morning, and ending Sunday night.

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Area lawmaker accuses Malloy of 'playing chicken' with corporations

Comments from Governor Dannel Malloy on Tuesday after signing a new two-year state budget into law, has drawn the ire of a local lawmaker.  Malloy said that hospitals had their best year in Connecticut history last year, with more people who are appearing at hospitals with a level of health care coverage. 

 

Bethel state Representative Dan Carter disagreed.  He says the hospitals have worked to reduce costs, including consolidation.  But he says the state has increased their property taxes, decreased Medicaid funding for them, and reduced reimbursements they get for uncompensated care.  Carter says for Malloy to say that is irresponsible at best.

 

Carter also cited the newly adopted budget including the second largest tax increase in Connecticut's history.  It's behind only the increases included in the previous budget Governor Malloy signed into law.  Carter says a lot of companies will decide in the next three to four years if they're going to stay in Connecticut.

 

He called Malloy "out of touch with reality".  Carter also accused the Governor and others of playing chicken with major corporations in the state who threatened to relocated because of proposed business tax increases.  Carter says these companies didn't issue statements lightly during budget negotiations.

 

Carter says the administration will have to answer that next year, and come up with something to help people keep their jobs.

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New taxes, new laws in place in Conn.

The start of the new fiscal year has ushered in new taxes and new laws in Connecticut. 

 

Car washes will now collect a sales tax.  The cigarette tax has gone up 25 cents, and in 2017 that will rise again.  Clothes and footwear costing less than 50 dollars used to be exempt from sales tax, but that’s no longer the case.  The state’s corporate tax structure is also changing. 

 

A three year rolling capital improvement plan for the state's technical high school system is being put in place.  That's an update from the current five year rolling plan mandate.  Renovations and repairs that each technical high school is expected to need, including to, athletic fields, heating and ventilation systems, and roofs are to be taken into account.  The state Board of Education must make recommendations for energy efficiency improvements to each school, and the specific equipment each technical high school is expected to need, based on the useful life of existing equipment and projections of changing technology.

 

The cost of textbooks for college students could soon be lowered.  The Board of Regents for Higher Education and The University of Connecticut are being ordered to establish an open-source textbook pilot program.  Digital open source textbooks are books made available on a web site to be used by students, faculty and members of the public on an unlimited basis at minimal or no cost.  The measure was approved by both the House and Senate unanimously. 

 

People who were born and adopted in Connecticut and are at least 18 will now have a chance to see their birth certificate. To be eligible, the adoption has to have been finalized after October 1st 1983.  The bill was voted on in 2014.  There were five votes opposed in the Senate , including Mike McLachlan of Danbury, Toni Boucher of Wilton and then-state Senator John McKinney.

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Danbury man ordered to have ignition interlock device, pulled over for DUI

A Danbury man who was supposed to have an ignition interlock device on his car because of a DUI charge, has been arrested for drunk driving again.  Danbury Police say an officer on patrol Sunday night saw a vehicle without its headlines on and tried to pull the driver over. 

 

The car eventually stopped a short distance away and officers could smell alcohol on the breath of the driver, later determined to be 57-year old Juan Galeas-Garcia. 

 

The Danbury man was released on an earlier written promise to appear in court, provided he didn't drive without an ignition interlock device.  Galeas-Garcia was charged Sunday with DUI, driving with a foreign license, failure to drive right, failure to have lights illuminated, and illegal operation of a motor vehicle without an interlock device.

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Cell tower going up in Ridgebury

A cell tower is being erected in Ridgefield.  The Ridgefield Press reports that the Ridgebury cell tower was being brought to the site off Ledges Road Tuesday in pieces, but the truck was too big for the access road.  Workers transferred the equipment to a smaller truck to be brought in to the site. 

 

Residents initially rejected the town purchasing open space land and building the tower, but the deal went through with a private buyer. 

 

The cell tower will help improve police, fire and town emergency radio equipment, upgrades that were approved by Ridgefield voters in May for $3.7 million.

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Storms Cause Outages And Flooding

A power outage hit 99 Per cent of Ridgefield customers this morning , but officials say it shouldn’t be a repeat of last week.

Deputy Emergency Manager Dick Aarons said the outage was mostly caused by Eversource Energy  transmission problems.

The outages started at 5:30 a.m. and peaked at 10,630 by 6:15, but that number quickly dropped to 6,600 by 6:30.

Last week’s storm did massive damage in Ridgefield  and full recovery of power took from Tuesday to Friday morning around 4 a.m.

 

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton says there was flooding in the city in the usual  places  that tend to flood.

 

 

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Bridge replacement at Weston-Redding town line

Roadwork being done at the Redding-Weston town line will likely effect traffic.  Route 57 in Weston near its intersection with Route 53 will be closed to traffic beginning today for a bridge replacement.  Most traffic will be diverted down Cobbs Mill in Weston, while trucks will be turned around in Redding.  Alternate ways around the closure are Route 7 or Route 53.  A Redding Police officer will be posted at Route 57 near the Weston town line to turn around all truck traffic.

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Ridgefield police warn of Facebook scam

Ridgefield Police are urging people to be careful on social media sites following a scam incident reported by a town resident.  Ridgefield Police were recently informed that a resident was almost lured into sending money via a fake Facebook account. 

 

Police say while there was no money lost in this incident, it does serve as a reminder to know who you are dealing with online before disclosing personal information. 

 

A woman reported that a friend request was sent to her using the name and picture of someone she knew, and they began chatting.  The person seemed to know basic information about the woman's job and told her about a grant, sending a link to the application.  The woman was tipped off when the link requested a $1,500 down payment to process the application. 

 

Police say they should be contacted if residents believe they are the victim of a scam, and to notify Facebook or other sites about suspicious accounts.

 

Profile pictures as well as basic personal information can be easily obtained online and scammers can set up an account using Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, dating sites, etc. impersonating others very easily. 

 

Other reminders including to verify your security settings on Facebook and check them regularly to make sure they have not been changed, and to never provide any personal information or credit card information.

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Brookfield lawmaker critical of 'Second Chance Society' bill

The Second Chance Society legislation, proposed by Governor Malloy and approved by lawmakers in special session this week, is being criticized by a local lawmaker.  Brookfield state Representative Steve Harding, an attorney, opposed the measure, saying that substance abuse treatment on a second arrest is already practiced.  He says by the time someone gets an actual conviction on a drug possession crime, they've gone through three, four, or five diversionary programs.

 

Harding says there's a drug education program, a community service labor program--which can be used twice--and a treatment program where someone can once again walk out of court without anything on their record.

 

Harding says this could have an indirect impact on drug sale laws, if not a direct effect.  He gave the example of a plea negotiation for someone charged with sale or intent to sell, gets convicted of possession of narcotics, and walking out with a misdemeanor conviction.

 

Harding says laws should be created to deter people from using drugs rather than pardoning it.

 

He says there are many other aggravating factors for those in jail on a simple drug possession conviction.

 

Connecticut officials and policy experts say the state's drug laws will transform from some of the most draconian in the country to some of the most lenient this fall. That's when most drug possession crimes will become misdemeanors instead of felonies.  The changes include eliminating a mandatory two-year prison term for possessing drugs within 1,500 feet of a school.

State officials estimate the new law will save Connecticut about $19 million in prison costs over the next two years by decreasing the prison population.

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Danbury legislator calls for Special Transportation Fund 'lockbox'

A local lawmaker is speaking out about funding taken from the Special Transportation Fund in the newly adopted state budget.  Danbury Republican State Senator Mike McLachlan says some of his constituents are upset because they don't feel elected officials are in touch with reality.

 

He wants a lockbox on the Special Transportation Fund. 

 

Language in the bill expands how much money can be spent from the Fund for items other than fixing roads.  McLachlan says under the bill, boating enforcement is now considered transportation.  While part of Candlewood Lake is in his district, McLachlan says that should not come out of the Special Transportation Fund. 

 

Governor Dannel Malloy signed the revised state budget into law, acknowledging he'd like to see at least one more change.  He says the state ultimately needs to amend its constitution to ensure revenues collected in Connecticut's Special Transportation Fund are spent on transportation matters, not other programs.

A bill passed during Monday's special legislative session included such a provision, but only in state statute.

Malloy, who has proposed a 30-year, $100 billion overhaul of state transportation infrastructure, said Monday's vote was the ``first step'' toward a constitutional amendment. That process typically can take two years, but Malloy contends the question could appear on the 2016 ballot.

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