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Law enforcement to launch Operation Dry Water this weekend

Operation Dry Water takes place this weekend.  Law enforcement across Connecticut will be on heightened alert looking for those violating boating under the influence laws.  In previous years that has included the Candlewood Lake Authority Marine Patrol.  The enforcement is Saturday through Monday.  The state Department of Energy & Environmental Protection is working to increase boater awareness of the dangers and risks associated with boating under the influence and will be on the lookout for impaired boaters on Connecticut’s lakes, ponds, and rivers, as well as Long Island Sound. Boaters will notice an overall increase in officer patrols both on the water and at recreational boating checkpoints.  In Connecticut, it is illegal to operate a vessel with a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 – the same as it is to operate a vehicle. 

Conn. DPH updates COVID-19 data for Greater Danbury

The state Department of Public Health is providing an update on COVID-19 data for all Greater Danbury area municipalities.  According to the report for the 7 days ending June 30th, there were 32 cases in Danbury, Bethel reported 13,  Brookfield had 10 and New Fairfield  7. There were 19 COVID cases in New Milford, 18 in Newtown, Redding reported 0 cases while Ridgefield had 22. 

Danbury Farmers Market is back on CityCenter Green

The Danbury Farmers Market is back on the Danbury CityCenter Green, Saturdays from 10am until 2pm through October 29th, featuring local produce and other products.  A number of new vendors are on site, including crafters. Live music, dance classes and a special Macaroni Kids Family Fun Zone and other activities will also be taking place. Throughout the season there will be food/good eating workshops with a $15 market money incentive, among other programs.  This is the 12th year of the CityCenter Danbury Farmers’ Market, a project of the Danbury Farmers’ Market Community Collaborative with 35 community stakeholders.  CT SNAP Match, formerly food stamps, are accepted and matched at any dollar amount.  Double Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers for seniors and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children recipients as well. Veterans (with vet ID) receive $10 in market coins per market.  

Fire Departments urge caution this 4th of July

Greater Danbury area Fire Departments are urging caution this holiday weekend when it comes to fireworks.  Fireworks injure over 10,000 people a year, with hand and finger injuries the most common, followed by head, face, and ear injuries.  People should only light one firework at a time, maintain a safe distance after lighting and never re-light or pick up fireworks that did not fully ignite.  A bucket of water or garden hose should be nearby in case of fire.

Bethel Police investigating serious motor vehicle accident

Bethel Police responded to a serious motor vehicle accident on Route 302 eastbound this morning in the straight away before Shelley Road. The sole occupant was transported to the hospital with serious injuries.  The road was closed from about 7am until shortly before 11am during the on-scene investigation. Anyone who may have witnessed the accident is asked to contact the Bethel Police Department.

New Milford lifeguard credited with saving boy

A lifeguard in New Milford is being credited with saving the life of a young child at Lynn Deming Park in New Milford yesterday.  A boy went out too far and yelled for help, saying that he couldn't swim.  Mayor Pete Bass says the lifeguard didn't hesitate and was in the water very quickly.

Local lawmaker calls for ban on walk ins at state parks

New Fairfield State Representative Patrick Callahan has been visiting Squantz Pond State Park the past few weekends to observe the crowds.   He says the overflow is disruptive to area businesses and neighborhoods.  He's been in contact with New Fairfield officials, law enforcement, park staff and state park management about walk in visitors.  He says they are creating a dangerous situation by parking illegally and walking along state roads.  The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has long maintained that they can't regulate walk ins.  Callahan says if reelected in November, he plans to pursue a legislative change next session.  In previous years, efforts have failed in the General Assembly to ban walk ins at state parks.

Danbury Police remind residents about fireworks safety

 

The Danbury Police Department is reminding residents about fireworks safety, noting that only fountains and sparklers are legal for private use in Connecticut, by those 16 and older.  They added that children should not be allowed to ignite or play with fireworks.  People should also not use fireworks while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Putnam County police agencies to crack down on impaired drivers

Putnam County police agencies are participating in special efforts this weekend to bring awareness to the dangers of impaired driving. The statewide STOP-DWI High Visibility Engagement Campaign started today and will end on Tuesday.  Putnam County Sheriff Kevin McConville says the Fourth of July extended weekend is historically a deadly period for impaired driving.  He says highly visible, highly publicized efforts like this aim to further reduce the incidence of drunk and impaired driving.  There's a mobile app called Have A Plan where people will be able to find a safe ride home. McConnville notes that impaired driving is completely preventable, all it takes is a little planning.

Ridgefield to celebrate 'Let Freedom Ring'

On this Fourth of July, Ridgefield will be celebrating Let Freedom Ring, a long-standing tradition in which local churches, institutions, and individuals ring their bells 13 times at 2pm, representing the 13 colonies that fought for freedom and independence in 1776.  The Ridgefield Historical Society will once again lead the town in the bell-ringing tradition.  Participating institutions include Jesse Lee, St. Mary, St. Stephen’s, Sacred Heart, Saint Patrick’s in Georgetown, The Meetinghouse/Ridgebury Congregational Church, the Peter Parley Schoolhouse, and Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center. With the Town’s permission, a group of patriots will also be congregating on Bailey Avenue to give the old fire bell 13 tolls for independence.  A reading of the Declaration of Independence will follow the chiming bells. The Let Freedom Ring tradition was made official in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy proclaimed July 4 to be “National Bell Ringing Day” through U.S. Congressional Resolution Number 25, where all across the nation Americans would ring bells to celebrate freedom and patriotism, as the founding fathers would have done when the Revolutionary War was won in 1783. Historic sites like the Liberty Bell, many National Parks, Pearl Harbor, and the Alamo have participated in this event, and locally the Norwalk Historical Society has hosted this event in the past.

New Fairfield Lions Club annual Independence Day parade is Monday

The New Fairfield Lions Club annual Independence Day parade is being held once again.  The parade procession will start at 9:30am on Route 37 in front of the senior center parking lot and proceed south on Route 39, past Town Hall and onto Memorial Field.  Police will close streets involved around 8:45am and barriers at several locations, including the intersection of Routes 37 and 39, at Beaver Bog Road, Sawmill Road and Barnum Road.  An awards ceremony with presentation of trophies for vest floats and groups in the parade will take place at the Lions Gazebo.  About 40 different groups are participating.  Adults leading youth group participants should arrive early so parents dropping off kids do not have to wait, causing congestion on Route 37.  A shuttle will be available starting at 8am between the Department of Education Building across from Town Hall and Croix Hill Road at Route 37, which is at the middle of the parade line up order.  

Bethel man arrested, Danbury resident sought in alleged armed home invasions in Winsted

A Bethel man has been arrested for alleged armed home invasions in Winsted and Police are searching for a second person wanted in connection with the incidents. 

Winchester Police received a call Wednesday evening about two men attempting forcible entry into two homes on one street.  One man was seen brandishing what was believed to be an AK-47 or Tech-9 style firearm. The pair sped from the scene in a VW Jetta after encountering one of the occupants and crashed.  The suspects fled on foot and officers located the firearm and a red colored “do rag” worn by one of the suspects in a wooded area. 

A male and female were seen walking out from the wooded area and police determined that 22-year old Aba Wonderful, of Bethel, was involved in the incident on Wheeler Street and the collision.

He was charged with two counts each of conspiracy to commit home invasion, conspiracy to commit burglary and risk of injury to a minor.  He was also charged with Criminal use of a firearm, Receiving a long gun without a valid eligibility certificate, Breach of peace, Reckless endangerment, Tampering with physical evidence, and Possession of high-capacity magazine.  Wonderful was held on $500,000 bail.  He has pending case in Danbury Court for numerous charges including burglary.

No one was injured during the home invasion, but one of the drivers involved in the collision sustained a broken arm after a brief altercation with one of the suspects.

The second suspect is believed to live in Danbury and officers from this department as well as the Statewide Narcotics Unit are working to locate the second suspect.    The incident is still under investigation and additional charges are expected to be filed.   The police believe that this is an isolated incident and do not believe that the general public is in danger.  

DEEP identifies man pulled from Candlewood Lake Tuesday

The body of the man recovered from Candlewood Lake on Tuesday has been identified.  the State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection says 20-year-old Denis Junio Rodrigues Pio of Bridgeport was discovered in the area of Chicken Rock at the southern tip of Green Island on the Sherman-New Fairfield border.  That's the area where he was reportedly seen last one week ago.  Authorities are investigating the incident as an accidental drowning.   He is the third person to die on Candlewood Lake this year. 

Redding Police identify Danbury man killed in car accident

Redding Police have identified the Danbury man killed in a car accident on Route 53 early Monday morning.  Police say 30-year-old Elrick Mora was pronounced dead at the scene.  Redding Police responded to the area just north of John Read Middle School shortly after 2am and found a heavily damaged vehicle off the roadway.  Police determined that the car was headed south, struck a tree off the shoulder of the road and the driver was ejected from the vehicle.  Mora was the lone occupant in the vehicle.  The investigation into the accident remains open as officers await toxicology report results.

3 Newtown retailers cited for selling tobacco products to underage individuals

Three Newtown businesses have been cited for selling tobacco products to underage individuals.  Newtown Police, the Newtown Prevention Council and the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services conducted unannounced tobacco law compliance checks at 21 locations on June 15th.  The clerks at Fairgrounds Wine & Spirits on South Main Street, the Mobil gas station on Church Hill Road and Newtown Wine & Spirits on South Main Street were fined 300 dollars and the establishments face possible administrative action by the state Department of Revenue Services.  The law prohibits retailers from selling tobacco, vape and other related products to people under the age of 21 and requires them to inspect the photo ID of anyone who appears to be under the age of 30 before selling such a product.

New 'captive audience' law takes place in Conn. workplaces

With the start of the fiscal year on July 1st, a number of new laws take effect in Connecticut.  One is the so-called captive audience bill, advocated for by Danbury state Senator Julie Kushner.  It prohibits an employer from coercing any employee into attending or participating in a meeting sponsored by the employer concerning the employer's views on political or religious matters.  It prohibits employers from penalizing workers, or threatening to do so, for failing to attend.  There will be exceptions to let employers give workers information on the law and rules on what they may need to do to perform their jobs.

New Milford to host annual fireworks celebration tonight

New Milford will host their annual fireworks celebration on Friday, weather permitting.  Mayor Pete Bass says an opening ceremony will get underway at 6:30, a band will be planning on the green from 7pm to 9:30 and the fireworks will go off at full dusk.  Prior to these events, the New Milford Women's Club will be doing their "cake on the Green" at 6pm.  Bass thanked the Chamber for their assistance in the fireworks and ceremony.

NY law enforcement urging boating safety this summer

Summer is officially here, and the number of people taking to local waterways on boats and personal watercraft is increasing. Members of the Putnam County Legislature and public safety agencies are raising awareness to boating safety this season. 

Carmel Fire Department officials are encouraging all vessel operators to take an approved course on boater safety and operating, and strongly recommend that everyone operating or riding on any type of watercraft wears a proper Personal  Flotation Device. Safety components should include a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, throw cushions, horn, whistle, anchor, rope, and paddles. 

The Putnam County Sheriff's Office is reminding boaters that it's illegal and unsafe to drink and boat.  Those out on the water should designate a sober boater to navigate safely.  The Carmel Police Department, New York's Marine Unit, continues to patrol Lake Mahopac to educate the boating public on safety and enforce the Navigation Law.

Assemblyman Kevin Byrne is reminding residents that they need to obtain a New York State Boating Safety Certificate.  This was established by Brianna’s Law, enacted in 2019, for all motorized and personal watercraft operators. This requirement is being gradually phased in, and this year it applies to people born on or after January 1st, 1988. New York residents can, for a fee at the DMV, have the boater safety certificate marked on a driver’s license so the paper version won't have been be carried around.

Drainage project planned on Main Street in Danbury

The Connecticut Department of Transportation will be conducting a drainage improvement project in Danbury next month.  Work is being done on Main Street at Wooster Street where there's been decades of flooding issues.  The project on Route 53 is slated to start on Monday July 11th and be completed on July 22nd.  The hours will be 7:30am to 4pm Mondays through Fridays.  Motorists can expect delays and one lane alternating Traffic.  Traffic control personnel and signing patterns will be used to guide motorists through the work zone.

Putnam County Sheriff: Most pistol licensing procedures unchanged

Though the U.S. Supreme Court ruling impacts New York State’s concealed carry licensing procedure, the Putnam County Sheriff's Department says it does not change other aspects of pistol licensing law. Carrying a firearm without a license is still illegal in New York, and all other requirements for obtaining a pistol license still apply.  Sheriff Kevin McConville says it's important that people understand this to prevent a situation where they might unknowingly break the law and face possible consequences.

Squantz Pond swim area reopened

The swim area at Squantz Pond State Park in New Fairfield has reopened after water quality issues were detected in tests on Tuesday.  The water was retested yesterday.  Samples are collected weekly by state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection staff and are analyzed at the Department of Public Health Lab for the presence of certain indicator bacteria.  Rain events can cause elevated levels of these indicators.  Local health departments are responsible for sampling municipal beaches and swimming areas.

Holiday weekend COVID-19 vaccine clinics, testing schedules

The state Department of Public Health/Griffin Health Mobile Vaccination Team will be holding a walk-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Newtown today. Booster doses, including pediatric boosters, will also be available.  No appointment is needed for those 6 months and older at Newtown High School, from 3pm to 7pm.  The COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Danbury at Pat Waldron Hall will be closed on Saturday and Monday due to the holiday weekend.  COVID-19 Testing at 118 Memorial Drive in Danbury will be closed on Monday as well.  Any resident who wants a take home test kit is asked to contact the Danbury Health Department at 203-797-4625.

Danbury man sentenced for murder, arson plot

A Danbury man has been sentenced for his role in a plan to murder an individual and set fire to the Bridgeport business where he worked.  33-year old George Rivera, also known as Pito, was ordered to 10 year in prison, followed by 3 years supervised release. 

Early one morning in April of 2018, Bridgeport Police attempted to stop a car with no tail lights, but the driver took off.  Police saw several items tossed from the window and were able to pull the car over several blocks away.  Officers arrested Luis Mercado, who was driving, and Dominick Gonzalez, and recovered two loaded handguns and a quantity of marijuana that had been thrown from the car.  A search of the car also revealed a black ski mask, a pair of binoculars, and a container of gasoline. 

The investigation revealed that Mercado, Gonzalez, Rivera, Jason Scott and Luis Mejias were involved in a plan to murder an individual and set fire to the Wood Avenue Body Shop where the individual worked.  Rivera, Scott and Mejias were arrested later that morning at a hotel in Milford. 

A search of a hotel room revealed a loaded Smith and Wesson model M&P 15-22 caliber rifle, a loaded Taurus “Judge” revolver, a loaded Anderson Manufacturing AR 15 multi-caliber rifle, a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, additional ammunition, brass knuckles, binoculars, gloves and a knit mask.  Investigators also located a seized packaged heroin, ecstasy pills, marijuana, a digital scale and other items in the room, and ammunition and shotgun shells in the trunk of their car. 

Each defendant has a criminal history that includes multiple felony convictions. Rivera’s criminal history includes convictions for firearm, drug, burglary, robbery and assault offenses. 

Mercado, Mejias and Scott were each sentenced earlier this week to 10 years of imprisonment.  Gonzalez awaits sentencing.

Putnam County Sherriff: Premature to make licensing procedure changes after SCOTUS ruling

The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on New York's conceal carry law has left many pistol permit licensees with questions about the status of their pistol license, as well as the licensing process in general. The Putnam County Sheriff's Department says they do not yet have any definite answers on the local level.  The New York state legislature could also make changes to the laws.  The Sheriff Department says until that's all sorted out, it would be unwise and premature to make any significant changes to the current licensing procedure. The licensing officer for the County is still legally tasked with approving pistol permits and any changes or amendments to those permits. Permit applications and amendments will still be processed by the County Clerk. Any changes to this process will be discussed and announced once finalized.

Zoners give negative recommendation to Rose St. auto dealer proposal

A negative recommendation is being given to the Danbury Zoning Board of Appeals on an application for an automobile dealership & repair service center in the Central Business District Zone.  The Zoning Commission met this week and members say the proposal for Rose Street is a use that's incompatible with others in the zone and is inconsistent with the Plan of Conservation and Development.  The applicant claimed that the property card maintained by the city’s Assessors Office has the wrong zone listed for the lot, but the official zoning map shows the current zone, which was updated in 2007.  The former property owner sought a letter from the Zoning Enforcement Officer about the lot prior to the sale, and the compliance letter was issued before sale.  The Zoning Board of Appeal is holding a public hearing on the application in August.

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