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UPDATED: Man dies in boat accident on Candlewood Lake

State Environmental Conservation Police have released the identities of the two men involved in a fatal boating accident on Candlewood Lake yesterday.  DEEP officials say 48-year old Gary Hayes of East Hartford was located in the water, and transported to Danbury Hospital where he was later pronounced deceased.  DEEP officials say 29-year old Joseph Miranda of Manchester swam to shore and refused medical treatment.EnCon Police Officers responded to Candlewood Lake in Brookfield for a report of a capsized motorboat yesterday.  The accident remains under investigation.

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22-year old challenging state Senator in office as many years

The race for a state Senate district which includes Ridgefield and part of Bethel features a woman who has served in the legislature for 22-years being challenged by a 22-year old.  Republican incumbent Senator Toni Boucher is seeking another term in office.  Democrat Will Haskell is looking to unseat her.


Haskell was an intern in Connecticut and Washington, D.C. for 4th District Congressman Jim Himes and U.S. Senator Chris Murphy.  Haskell grew up in Westport and started knocking on doors to hear from residents about their concerns.  He heard from people frustrated that their train commute to Manhattan takes longer now than it did in the 1950s because Connecticut isn't making long term investments in infrastructure.  He also heard from young people had to choose between advancing their career and starting a family because Connecticut doesn't have Paid Family Leave.  He also heard from students who were worried about school shootings.


Boucher says there was a lot accomplished last session, specifically the bipartisan budget.  Boucher says it made structural changes to help address the budget deficit.  It also included a constitutional spending cap and a bonding cap.  It took out taxes on cell phones, tires and second homes, while returning money to local schools.  Boucher praised maintaining the Medicare Savings Program for 130,000 seniors.  She also touted her bill requiring high schools teach about the Holocaust and other genocides.  Boucher introduced the bill in response to swastika graffiti and other anti-Semitic incidents in the district.


Boucher says the conversation was changed in the Senate because of the 18-18 tie, something that hasn't happened in 100 years.  She says this was critical when it comes to the education cost sharing formula.  Reforms were put in place last session and she wants to continue to improve the system, if reelected.  Boucher says a good educational system attracts businesses and produces an excellent workforce, allowing people to climb the economic ladder.


Education funding reforms are also a priority for Haskell.  His parents are divorced and he was able to go to school in Westport, which had various technology and extra-curricular activities.  But he says it could have been different if he lived with his father in Bridgeport, where students walk through metal detectors every day.  He called it a moral failing of the state that students receive less funding just 15 minutes from their peers.  Haskell says there's so much wasted potential and an economic catastrophe by not investing in the next generation.  He wants a funding formula that's transparent and predictable.  Haskell says schools don't count on a lot of state aid, but they do count on Connecticut delivering what it promises.


Boucher also wants to continue to reform tax policy.  Haskell says the next generation of taxpayers is being burdened by yesterday's mistakes, with $36 billion in unfunded pension obligations.  Promises made in the 90s and money wasn't put into the pension fund, holding the state back today.  He says irresponsible behavior needs to be balanced through creative revenue options.


Transportation is a top priority for Boucher.  She called for more improvements along Metro North rail lines.  When it comes to tolls, she fought against proposals in the last two years.  Boucher says tolls are commonly used, but it's a bad thing for Connecticut because of the high gas tax.  Until that is reduced or eliminated, she doesn't want to entertain the idea.   Boucher says Connecticut has many more taxes than other states, and the income tax has a high bracket.  She says states that have an income tax and tolls allow residents to deduct for various things like medical care.  She says Connecticut's effective rate is higher.  She is also skeptical of a transportation funding lockbox.  Boucher says the language is not perfect, but a move in the right direction. 


Haskell says making sure bridges are safe, rebuilding roads and improving service on rail lines is crucial for Connecticut's economic vitality.  Transportation is the number one thing he heard from residents in the district.  He supports a transportation funding lockbox.  Every dollar taxed for transportation should go toward transportation improvements, according to Haskell.  He says it doesn't seem like a controversial idea, but politics is getting in the way of common sense and decried money being taken out of the fund for other purposes.  Haskell believes more revenue is needed, however because the improvements that have to be made are so great.  He would support toll implementation, if it's done in a way that won't overburden Connecticut commuters.  Right now, he notes that state residents are footing the entire bill for improvements.


Boucher wants to use bonding capacity to pay for infrastructure improvements.  She says bonding should be for priorities, not as a slush fund for special interest projects like tennis tournaments and parking garages.  Boucher called for rail modernization, bridge replacements and school construction projects.


Boucher opposes gambling and illicit drugs as a way to raise revenue.  She would rather renegotiate state labor contracts to make them more in line with municipal employee contracts.  Boucher says balancing the budget through vices, is not something Connecticut should get into, opposing legalization of recreational marijuana and regulation of sports betting.  She would prefer to solve the state's fiscal woes through better state agency management and streamlining services.


Haskell supports medicinal marijuana and doesn't think it's the job of legislators to stand in between doctors and their patients when deciding on cancer treatments or ways to ease PTSD.  As for recreational marijuana, Haskell says Connecticut can't afford to leave money on the table.  He would tax it at the same level as cigarettes and require a minimum age of 21 into any regulation that gets proposed.  Regulating sports betting is a more complex matter for Haskell.  He says the compact with the tribes makes it more difficult, but would like to find a way to bring in revenue from something that people are already doing.


Haskell's mother went back to work two weeks after he was born and doesn't think that's right.  He called for Paid Family and Medical Leave act financed by employee contributions, so that it doesn't unduly impact businesses.

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Two teens sentenced on manslaughter charges in Danbury

Two teenagers who pleaded guilty to manslaughter have been sentenced for killing a Danbury teen last year.  Ronald Massagli and Lorenzo Santana were each sentenced Friday for the death of Gabriel Bardo.  The 18-year old was reportedly delivering a small amount of marijuana to a friend when he was jumped.  The two 17-year olds were accused of fatally punching Bardo, stealing his sneakers and rifling through his car.  Santana was sentenced to 15 years in prison, suspended after serving 12. Massagli was also sentenced to 15 years in prison, suspended after 10 years served.

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Ridgefield Police caution people against 'booing' neighbors

The Ridgefield Police Department has received a number of calls from people about what Police are calling “booing.” To “boo” someone, involves sneaking onto their doorstep during the night and leave tricks and treats.  While Ridgefield Police say this is often done in the spirit of Halloween, some residents have called 911 believing that someone was trying to break into their vehicle.  Residents have been vigilant for suspicious activity due to the increase of motor vehicle larcenies that Ridgefield and the surrounding area has been experiencing.

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Danbury man struck, killed by car in Brookfield

Brookfield Police have released more details about the pedestrian struck and killed by a car Friday morning.  Police say 58-year old Harold Trafton died at Danbury Hospital.  He was on the roadway helping a paving company off-load a piece of equipment from a trailer when the accident happened. A Brookfield woman, Linda Pendergast, moved into the northbound lane to go around the trailer.  But She struck the Danbury man in the attempt.  The crash remains under investigation. Anyone who witnessed the crash is asked to call Brookfield Police at 203-775-2575.

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More than $100,000 expected left over in contingency funds from Bethel Police station project

When Bethel officials close out the Police Station project, likely by the end of the month, there will be between $115,000 to $120,000 in contingency funding left over.  Public Site and Building Committee chairman Jon Menti says some of the budgeted money wasn't used for special testing of materials.  The $50,000 budgeted item was completed with $2,000 or $3,000 which will go back into the account.  Some of the IT and telephone work came in under budget.  Menti hopes by November there will be a final accounting of actual expenditures and what actually remains.  Eversource did a site walk through, because the town applied for a rebate grant.  Menti believes the project meets all of the requirements for the heating and cooling system, energy conservation and insulation.  Bethel could get about $50,000 back from Eversource.

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New Milford residents to weigh in on making road private

The New Milford Town Council will hold a meeting for residents to vote on whether or not a section of Great Brook Road should be made private.  Residents spoke out this week against the proposal claiming it could be used as an emergency exit from the cul-de-sac and if the change is made, could open the land up to development.  The section of roadway remains on maps, but is no longer used.  Two applicants would take control of the road if a discontinuance is granted.  The paved portion of Great Brook would remain a town road and continue to be maintained by New Milford.  The meeting is at 6:15pm.
 

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Blight ordinance hearing in New Fairfield tonight

The New Fairfield Board of Selectmen will hold a Public Hearing Monday to hear comments on the Draft Blight Ordinance currently under consideration. The draft ordnance addresses concerns that residents expressed about previous drafts presented at Town Meeting.  New Fairfield officials are looking for input and encourage all concerned about the issue of blight to attend. The hearing will be held in the community Room at the Senior Center at 7:15pm.

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New Milford Mayor hosts coffee & chat event today

New Milford Mayor Pete Bass is hosting his monthly Coffee with the Mayor program today.  The open session for residents to bring up concerns, comments and input on any topic is held in the meeting room on the second floor of town hall.  The Coffee chat event is from 9:30am to 11am.

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4th Congressional District debate this weekend

The first debate between 4th Congressional District candidates this election season takes place tomorrow.  Democratic incumbent Congressman Jim Himes is being challenged by Republican Harry Arora.  The debate sponsored by the Connecticut League of Women Voters is being hosted by the Wilton chapter, with support from Wilton High School Model Congress. The debate tomorrow starts at 4pm at Wilton High School.

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New Fairfield water testing today

The New Fairfield Water Pollution Control Authority will provide water testing today from 8am to noon.  Residents who picked up a test kit at the Land Use Office at Town Hall, collected a sample based on written instructions, can return the sample to the table at Stop and Shop.  Test results will be mailed to home addresses. There is a $40 fee, and testing is provided by AQUA environmental Labs.

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Teal Pumpkin Project returns this Halloween

Kent State Representative Brian Ohler says Halloween can be a tricky time for families managing food allergies.  He touted the Teal Pumpkin Project, which promotes safety and inclusion of individuals managing food allergies. The worldwide movement offers an alternative for kids with food allergies, as well as other children for whom candy is not an option, and is signaled by a teal pumpkin in front of participating homes. Ohler says across the country, one in 13 children has a food allergy – that’s roughly two in every classroom.

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26th annual Ghosts of Ridgefield hike tonight

The 26th annual Ghosts of Ridgefield hike is being held this weekend with the Discovery Center at Ridgefield.  The event tonight at Hemlock Hills Open Space starts at 6pm, with tours going out in assigned groups of up to 15 people every 15 minutes.  Reservations are suggested, with a 15-dollar participation fee.  The tours feature characters from Ridgefield’s past, including Colonel Phillip Burr Bradley, Chief Catoonah, Geraldine Farrar and The Leatherman.

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Candlewood Lake Authority says FirstLight skirted FERC requirements

The Candlewood Lake Authority is concerned with what the group says is unilateral action taken by FirstLight Power Resources on the Nuisance Plant Monitoring Plan. 

 

The CLA wrote to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission expressing disappointment that FirstLight hired a new consulting firm to conduct the FERC-mandated monitoring, without the consultant being approved by a FERC committee.  Approval is required by FERC.  Committee members also were not consulted and did not have a chance to review the modified scope and survey methodology. 

 

The former consultant provided the monitoring for about 10 years.  The CLA relies on the consistent data, program scope and methodology to our nuisance plant management practices, including the successful Sterile Grass Carp Program. 

 

CLA officials say they met with FirstLight to come to a resolution, but none was reached.

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Proposed drive-through regulations get hearing in Newtown

The Newtown Planning Director has revised a proposal to allow drive-through window service at eateries located in shopping centers.  The Planning and Zoning Commission held a public hearing on the proposal last night.  It's based on regulations approved in 2016 for Starbuck off Exit 10.  The proposal requires the shopping centers be on lots at least 10 acres large, and not for stand alone structures.  They would have to be on the side of rear of buildings not surrounded by parking spaces.   Only two drive-throughs would be allowed per shopping center.

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Annual Ballot Tabulator maintenance performed in Bethel

The Bethel Registrar have overseen annual Ballot Tabulator Maintenance.  There are 2 machines for each of 5 voting districts, plus two for Absentee Ballots and Election Day Registration. The optical scan ballot tabulators are not, and have never been, connected to the internet nor any computer.  Bethel's Registrars and the Town Clerk do not transmit election results from the tabulator via the internet or a wireless network.

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Sandy Hook Fire & Rescue gets FEMA grant for equipment replacement

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved a competitive grant application for Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue to cover most of the cost of new equipment.  The Newtown Bee reports that the more than $155,000 of FEMA funding will cover 95 percent of the costs, with Sandy Hook Fire picking up the balance.  The money will be used to replace 16 portable two-way fire radios, 12 firefighter air packs and a thermal imaging camera.  The volunteer fire company will also buy a new “fit tester” which is used to determine how well the face mask for an air pack fits, to ensure a good seal.

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New Fairfield reminding residents about authorized storm damage assessors

New Fairfield officials are reminding residents about approved property inspectors looking at damage from the May 15th macroburst.  The town has contracted the services of Michael Cilfone to aid in the inspection process and is the only contractor evaluating storm damage.  The town's assessor is also in the job. 

 

If anyone asks to set up an appointment to revalue properties, New Fairfield residents are reminded to ask for identification.  The scope of work includes physically inspecting each damaged property and reporting the findings to the assessor. Most of the inspections will not require interior viewings.  

 

If property owners feel the need for an interior inspection, they are asked contact the assessor's office to schedule an appointment. The assessor is not performing structural/safety assessments and cannot offer advice on repairs. The purpose of the inspections is to determine if storm related damage has significantly impacted the property assessment.

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2nd state House District race a match up for close 2016 race

The 2nd District state Representative race is a rematch of the 2016 contest.  Democrat Raghib Allie-Brennan is challenging Republican Will Duff for the seat, which Allie-Brennan lost by 280 votes.  The district includes parts of Bethel, Redding and Newtown. 

 

Duff says there were a number of successes in the last year.  He touted the elimination of the tax on social security and pensions.  It will be phased out over the next 4 years.  He also touted modifications to the 8-30g affordable housing statutes to combat the problem of affordable housing regulations and predatory developers putting up big developments.  He also touted stopping cuts in school and municipal aid.

 

Since 2016, Allie-Brennan has become more involved in community, as vice president of a board that focuses on of the opioid epidemic in the Danbury area, serving on the League of Conservation Voters and on the Triangle Community Center which helps with the LGBT community in Fairfield County.  Allie-Brennan works for a company that helps small businesses get grants loans from the state.  He says that has put him in a position to see how the state isn’t working for small business and where improvements can be made.  He says DECD had a good program to allow businesses access to capital, but there is some red tape.  He believes the state should be giving more tax breaks to small businesses than to big corporations.

 

Duff opposes tolling.  As for the Transportation Funding Lockbox on the November ballot, he encouraged people to vote for it.  But he says there was no definition for the lockbox so he’s not sure how effective it will be.  Duff compared this to the 20 year battle to get a constitutional spending cap defined and put in place.  Duff called the lockbox a marketing scheme and nothing but flashy words.  He called the bill meaningless.

 

Allie-Brennan is opposed to tolls.  He hasn’t seen a plan for implementation and wouldn’t want to burden people who commute from the district to elsewhere.  Metro North improvements are something that Allie-Brennan would like to see accomplished.  He questioned why the trains are often replaced by buses, why the trip takes so long and why there’s limited weekend service.   He would like to see more transit-oriented development, but trains have to run in order for it to be effective.  He doesn’t want to see rail or bus fare hikes to pay for improvements, focusing instead on fixing inefficiencies.  One part of the budget he’d like reexamined is the $1.3 billion spent on corrections and prisons.  Allie-Brennan says that’s more than what Connecticut spends on education and with crime and prison population down, the spending should be realigned.

 

As for improving rail service, Duff says the legislature only treats Fairfield County as an ATM and puts no money into the region.  He notes that the Danbury area generates a tremendous amount of revenue for Hartford and gets very little back. 

 

Duff says every child has an equal right to education.  He notes that when there are cuts, they go to the lunch programs, ESL, special needs transportation and other services.  Duff says the students who need programs the most are deemed as low-hanging fruit.  He wants the funding formula simplified.  If distressed districts need more help, that should be a separate pool of money.  He notes that Hartford doesn’t have a lot of taxable property because it’s state owned, and does need more money.  But he says the formula has become a political poker chip.

 

Allie-Brennan says the Education Cost Sharing formula is broken and needs fixing.  He says the state cherry-picking funds from a town because they seem wealthy and giving them to another one that needs them punishes towns that are good stewards of local budgets.  He acknowledged that Danbury, which is a small part of the district, doesn’t get full funding and needs more assistance.

 

When it comes to legalizing recreational marijuana, Duff says that’s just giving the go ahead to say that drug use is ok.  He is concerned that waxes and oils have synthesized the narcotic out of the organic material.  He wants the FDA to take charge on the marijuana issue and says it’s a federal issue.  Duff is not inclined to look at new revenue sources and would be apprehensive about bringing sports betting to Connecticut.  He wants to see a bill about where it’s being run; if it will be done in bodegas or OTB-style terminals.  Duff says Connecticut took in more money last year than ever before, but is still in deficit.  He says there’s a spending problem and not a revenue problem.  Duff was critical of state bonding priorities, questioning millions of dollars for Aer Lingus, and money to pay for a splashpad.

 

As for whether or not to legalize recreational marijuana, Allie-Brennan wants to have the conversation.  While Connecticut, needs the revenue, he doesn’t believe this will be the silver bullet.  He can see the positives of taxing it and regulating it.  On the other hand, Allie-Brennan wants any regulations to also take police into consideration.  He wants them to feel comfortable when they pull people over that they are covered.   Allie-Brennan suggests looking at Colorado and Massachusetts as Connecticut moves forward.  Allie-Brennan would also support Sports Betting, noting again that it's not the silver bullet to the budget crisis, but a way to stop taking money from Social Services programs.

 

As a way to improve wait times at the DMV, Duff proposed having a renewal of a license for every five years instead of every four years and then 20% of the line will shrink.  He doesn’t think the impasse with AAA is insurmountable and could renegotiate to have the outside source provide licensing services again.  Allie-Brennan wants to put more DMV services online to help cut down wait times at the DMV.  

 

If reelected, Duff wants to help towns lower property taxes by funding state mandates.  He says that would free up money from local budgets. 

 

Duff also wants to look into making higher education more affordable.  He wants to look at changing or altering some programs to better align teaching with the open jobs.  Duff says investing in the teaching staff and not growing the bureaucracy the administrative class saying they tend to get in the way of professors and teaching staff.  Duff says having autonomy will keep the uniqueness of each state school.  By getting rid of the Board of Regents for higher Education, the four regional colleges and the community colleges would still have to follow the laws and policies dictated by the state.  But he says the Board is more cumbersome than anything else.  Duff says it’s spent millions of dollars and created more obstacles.  He wants to divert funding back to the schools.

 

On the opioid epidemic, Allie-Brennan says insurance should cover people who want to get help.  He also wants to look at criminal justice reform to make sure people that are addicted and incarcerated can get treatment, so they are not put back on the street and into the same vicious cycle.

 

 If elected, Allie-Brennan wants to be part of the energy committee.  He took a course on natural disasters in his senior year and focused on Hurricane Katrina and how to improve response.  Allie-Brennan also worked on energy policy in Washington, D.C. and would like to find ways to lower energy rates and invest more in green energy.

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New Milford Police investigating untimely death

New Milford Police are investigating an untimely death.  29-year old James Broderick was found dead Tuesday morning, though police say it's not a murder investigation.  Police received a call shortly before 8am about an unconscious man in a driveway.  Broderick was reportedly found partially in the car and partially outside of it.  The Chief Medical Examiner's Office is investigating the cause and manner of death.  Police are trying to determine the man's whereabouts and contacts in the 24 hours leading up to his death.

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Bethel school officials caution against unauthorized fundraiser targeting businesses

The Bethel Superintendent of Schools has sent out a letter to local business owners cautioning them to a soliciting scam.  The Bethel Chamber of Commerce then passed the message along to members.  Bethel school district leaders learned that a group called Sports Media Advertising has been soliciting local businesses in attempt to collect money for a fundraiser they claim is to benefit Bethel High School.  That is not a fundraiser that is authorized by the Bethel School District and Dr Christine Carver says should not be supported. All fundraisers that are conducted by Bethel Public Schools must get pre-approval by administration.

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DOT postpones Redding paving project again, moves it to daytime hours

The state Department of Transportation has changed an overnight road paving project in Redding to being done in the daytime.  Route 58 will be repaved between the Easton town line and South Lane.  There will be lane closures starting Wednesday at 7am.  The project has now been rescheduled twice.  The DOT advised motorists to maintain a safe speed when driving in this vicinity and to be aware that modifications or extensions may come up due to weather delays or other unforeseen conditions.

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Sandy Hook man allegedly causes in-flight disturbance

A Sandy Hook man has been charged for allegedly causing a disturbance on an inbound flight to Bradley Airport Tuesday night.  State Police Troopers met the plane when it arrived after  air traffic control was notified of a disturbance on board.  Police say 31-year-old Jeffrey Levasseur was intoxicated and disrupting the flight attendants and other passengers.  In the terminal, he allegedly was loud and used profanities.  He was held on bond.

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Wilton settles harassment complaint with female detective

WILTON, Conn. (AP) The town of Wilton has settled a harassment and discrimination complaint filed against the police department by its only female detective.

The Hour reports that the Board of Selectmen approved the settlement worth more than $17,500 with Detective Eva Zimnoch in April. The town's insurer paid the sum.

Zimnoch said in her claim that colleagues complained when she started wearing V-neck shirts and capris to work in 2015, even though then-police Chief Robert Crosby approved the attire.

She says colleagues also wore sneakers with no consequence, despite a department ban.

Zimnoch says the department became a ``hostile working environment'' when she took a stand.

The details of the settlement were recently disclosed through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Current police Chief John Lynch declined comment.

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Ex-Newtown officials defend handling of shooter's education

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Former educators in the Connecticut town where 20 children and six adults were shot to death in an elementary school are pushing back against a state report that was critical of how the shooter's education was handled.

The former Newtown officials gave state senators Thursday a 22-page rebuttal to the 2014 report by the state child advocate's office on the upbringing and education of Adam Lanza.

The 20-year-old Lanza, who grew up in Newtown, killed 26 people and himself at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012.

The former Newtown officials cited the school system's efforts to help Lanza with his mental problems when he was in school and called his mother a "tremendous obstacle" to those efforts.

The child advocate's office is defending its report.

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Animal shelter involved in legal case with City of Danbury is looking to move

An animal shelter involved in a legal case with the City of Danbury is looking to move to a new location.  Tails of Courage Animal Rescue officials deny allegations in a lawsuit that claims inspectors found animals kept in deplorable conditions.  The adoption organization says they're looking to move because they need a larger kennel.  The Newstimes reports that the group has not yet selected a new location, but must wait until after the Smith Street home sells.  Danbury sued Tails of Courage in July, alleging the shelter violated a cease and desist order.  An agreement was filed in court yesterday allowing city health inspectors to conduct unannounced inspections.  Danbury is seeking a permanent injunction against the shelter, forcing operators to comply with health codes.  An employee facing animal cruelty charges is due in court next week.

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State Police Detective brings 4-legged friend to work in Southbury

A dog named Alabama who belongs to a Western District Major Crimes detective in State Police was in the office yesterday and served as a mascot for the Southbury Barracks.  A State Police spokesperson says even though Alabama isn’t a sworn Police K9, he plays a vital role in helping individuals who come to the barracks dealing with extremely difficult situations to feel at ease, especially kids accompanies by their parents. Many of the troopers and detectives working at Troop A were involved in response to the Sandy Hook tragedy, so at the discretion of Supervisors, their 4 legged friends can accompany them to help out around the office.

(Photo: CSP Facebook)

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Redding League of Women Voters is hosting debates tonight

The Redding League of Women Voters is hosting debates tonight for three local election races.  Candidates in the 2nd state House race, Republican incumbent Will Duff and Democratic challenger Raghib Allie-Brennan, will face off in a rematch of 2016.  District 135 Republican incumbent Adam Dunsby is being challenged by Democrat Anne Hughes.  The 26th state Senate District race features Republican incumbent Toni Boucher and Democratic challenger Will Haskell.  The forum is from 7 to 9pm at the Redding Community Center.

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Putnam County Sheriff Deputies promote Project Lifesave

Putnam County Sheriff Deputies were at the Senior Health Fair held yesterday and discussed project lifesaver.  The initiative provides timely response to save lives and reduce potential injury for adults and children due to Alzheimer’s, autism and other related conditions or disorders.  Putnam County residents can fill out enrollment applications with the Sheriff's Department, and once reviewed, an appointment will be made for a home visit by a Project Lifesaver specialist.  A transmitter and related equipment for the program costs $300, if none are available from the Sheriff's Department. The battery and wristband has to be changed every other month.  Maintenance appointments are held by the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department.

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Blue Star By-Way Marker has been dedicated in Carmel

A Blue Star By-Way Marker has been dedicated in front of the Putnam County Office Building in Carmel as a tribute to the U.S. Armed Services. The Blue Star Memorial Marker Project was started by National Garden Club members following World War II.  The Brewster-Carmel Garden Club sponsored the marker unveiled over the weekend.  District Attorney Robert Tendy donated $500 for the cost of the marker.  County officials located a suitable rock to which the plaque has been attached. Tendy described his donation as the “right thing to do because the markers are wonderful gestures for veterans.

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Political newcomer takes on 20-year incumbent in Ridgefield state House race

Democrat Aimee Berger-Girvalo is challenging longtime Republican state Representative John Frey in the 111th District of Ridgefield.  She decided to run to provide a better path forward, and couldn't wait for someone else to provide that path.  She has a business background and is a volunteer and advocate in Ridgefield.  Berger-Girvalo has gone door-to-door and talked with residents about their concerns over the state's financial future, women's rights and health care costs.  She also wants to take on education funding and costs.

 

Frey was raised by a single mother after his father died unexpectedly.  He is in real estate and has represented Ridgefield since 1998.  He wants to continue working to improve the state's economy.  Frey cautioned about more big businesses moving out of Connecticut. 

 

The pair was asked about Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski's proposal to eliminate the income tax.  Frey has been on the Finance Committee since he was first elected.  Half of Connecticut's revenue comes from the income tax.  He says it can only be eliminated after adding 300,000 state residents.  Frey says it's a laudable goal, though.  Berger-Girvalo says that will create a huge hole in the budget.  She called for smart spending, but says the state is so far into the hole that the sales and property tax would have to double to fill that in. 

 

As for long-term solutions to solve Connecticut's fiscal woes, Berger-Girvalo says the devastating financial situation has been 20 years in the making.  She called for smarter spending, rather than random cuts.  Berger-Girvalo says vacant property and assets in Hartford can be sold off.  Berger-Girvalo noted that pensions are only 38-percent funded.  Frey says there's some low-hanging items that can be addressed first like higher paid employees, who have larger pensions.  He wants wage freezes and wants to remove health care benefits, pensions from collective bargaining.  Frey used the local example of police officers having pensions based a salary, unlike state trooper pensions being based on earned income, including overtime.  Frey says there are too many managers in state government and wants to eliminate some duplicate deputy commissioners.

 

Frey is a ranking member of the Transportation Bonding subcommittee.  He was critical of the busway from New Britain to Hartford and rail service from Hartford to Massachusetts.  Frey says the state should have focused instead on fixing dangerous bridges.  He opposes bringing electronic tolling to Connecticut.  Ridgefield's First Selectman has supported the idea of tolling the past, but Frey says not the proposals seen recently.  He adds that trucks already pay a fee based on miles traveled in Connecticut.  Frey added that transportation is the only area that Connecticut gets more back from the federal government, than sends.  He says the state gets $1.76 back for every dollar sent to D.C. on transportation.  Berger-Girvalo says there's no decision about how much to charge and how many gantries would be put in place.  She says commuters, students and seniors could pay less.  She also proposed lower weekend rates.  Frey called the transportation funding lockbox proposal ineffective. He says an amendment was defeated that would have put the money into the lockbox without having to go through the legislature, which would have prevented diversions.

 

The candidates were also asked about various gun-related issues.  Berger-Girvalo says ghost guns, 3D printed guns, should be banned.  She says right now laws are chasing technology, and legislators should anticipating technology.  Berger-Girvalo doesn't want to imagine the future, but that waiting years to regulate certain technologies is too long.  Frey's nieces and nephew attended Sandy Hook School on the day of the shooting and he says they have been diagnosed with PTSD.  He voted in favor of the gun restrictions signed into law after 12-14.  Frey cosponsored the ban on bump stock devices, which became law on October 1st.  He also introduced the bill to ban ghost guns, which was placed on the House calendar but never came up for a vote.

 

Frey voted for a bill supporting same-sex adoption.  Initially Connecticut had a bill for same-sex unions, not marriage.  Frey says he wishes he wouldn't have voted against that measure.  He added that he does regret voting for civil unions and did vote for the bill eventually codifying same-sex marriage.  Frey has officiated 20 same-sex marriages as a justice of the peace.  Berger-Girvalo says more should be done to combat hate crimes.  She says that applies to LGBTQ discrimination, but also anti-semitism.  She wants to education communities about marginalized groups and to embrace rights protecting LGBTQ groups.

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Police K9 Ale tracks down Danbury car thief suspect

A State Police K9 helped find a car thief suspect this week.  Danbury Police issued a "be on the look out" call Tuesday night about a car stolen in the City.  Troop-A Southbury Troopers located the vehicle as it  traveled on I-84 eastbound, passing exit 15.  The suspect, later determined to be Manuel Ortiz, refused to stop and engaged police in pursuit. 

 

Troopers deployed stop sticks, but the Waterbury man exited the highway a short while later, parked and tried to flee on foot. 

 

K9 Ale was able to track the 18-year old.  But the man kept trying to break free from Ale.  Troopers then deploy a Taser. 

(Photo: CSP)

Ortiz was charged with Engaging Police in a Pursuit, Interfering with an Officer, Reckless Endangerment and two counts of Larceny.  He was released on bond for a court appearance on November 1st.

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Brookfield, Danbury Police wear purple ribbons on this 'Purple Thursday'

Some members of the Brookfield and Danbury Police Departments will be wearing purple ribbons today on this “Purple Thursday”.  The day is aimed at highlighting Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Brookfield Police say they are proud to partner with the Women’s Center of Greater Danbury, and others in Law Enforcement, in helping to keep victims of domestic violence safe.  The Women's Center says today is about giving hope to people experiencing domestic violence, to celebrate those who have survived and to remember those who lost their lives to domestic violence.

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Conn. Supreme Court hears case involving New Milford Board of Ed, teacher union

The Connecticut Supreme Court will hear arguments today in the case of New Milford Board of Education versus New Milford Education Association.  The case centers on whether grievances of the teachers’ union under a collective bargaining agreement was arbitrable or subject to resolution under the Teacher Negotiation Act. 

 

In the fall of 2014, while the parties were negotiating a new agreement, the Board of Ed gave notice to the union that, starting in the 2015-2016 school year, it would eliminate abbreviated school days during which teachers did non-teaching work and that such non-teaching work would be done outside of school hours.  An arbitration panel did not accept change, but the school board implemented them any way. 

 

The grievance arbitrator found in favor of the union and more litigation was filed. 

 

The Supreme Court will decide whether the trial court properly determined that the union's grievance was arbitrable where the Board of Ed argues that, under the agreement, it had the unilateral authority to alter the teacher work day and that any resulting disputes would be resolved through impact negotiation.

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Brookfield First Selectman in court over mortgage payments

Brookfield First Selectman Steve Dunn was in court this week after mediation last year with his bank over mortgage payments.  He was accused of falling behind on his payments.  The Newstimes reports that the situation was due to a mix-up between his bank and loan company because he's been paying his mortgage since signing a new loan agreement last year. An attorney for the bank asked the judge to allow Dunn, the loan company and the bank to resolve the issue.  When he initially defaulted, Dunn said that he had several bills coming in when he fell behind on the payments.

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NY man files suit against Costco over injuries sustained in 2016

A New York man claims in a new lawsuit that he  suffered “irreversible brain damage” at Costco in Brookfield two years ago.  The suit was filed Tuesday on behalf of 62-year old Peter Aurigemma of North Salem.  The suit claims that he was shopping at the Federal Road warehouse and when he was taking a package off the top of a display pallet, a steel rod hit him in the face above his left eye.  The rod was approximately 40 inches long and 3 inches in diameter.  He is seeking damages over $75,000 on claims that Costco should have known about any unsafe, dangerous or defective conditions.  The lawsuit says Aurigemma suffered a concussion, lapses of short-term memory and irreversible brain damage.

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Metro North installing PTC equipment on Harlem line

Metro North is working on installation of Positive Train Control Equipment on the northbound Harlem Line between Southeast and Wassaic.  Bus service only, with up to 30 minutes of additional travel time, will be in place today through Friday between 9:30am and 5pm and then from 10:30pm through 2am.

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New Fairfield Police to participate in Rx Drug Take Back Day

The New Fairfield Police Department will be participating in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on October 27th.  Police tout National Take-Back Day as a safe, convenient, and responsible way to dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs.  Unwanted prescription medication can be dropped off at the New Fairfield Police station from 10am to 2pm.

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Meetings today on long-range transportation proposals

Planning for long-range transportation proposals in the Greater Danbury area will be discussed during three sessions today.  The meetings are being held by the Western Connecticut Council of Governments, the regional planning agency for towns from Sherman to Stamford.  WestCOG is looking for input on drivers experience traveling in the region.  The meetings are from 1 to 2pm at Booth Library in Newtown, 3:30 to 4:30 at Mark Twain Library in Redding and from 5 to 6pm at Bethel Library.

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Monroe Police participate in 'No Shave November'

The Monroe Police Department has teamed up with the Connecticut Cancer Foundation for “No Shave November”. All proceeds from the fundraiser go directly to the Connecticut Cancer Foundation to Connecticut cancer patients. Monroe is 1 of 27 police departments across the state participating in the program. During this time, officers are collecting online donations to sponsor the department. The Connecticut Cancer Foundation has provided over $5 million in financial aid to cancer patients and their families over the last three decades and has funded over $1.9 million in lymphoma research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

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UPDATED: Car crashes into overturned tractor trailer on I-84

A tractor trailer accident on I-84 eastbound in Brewster has been cleared from the scene and the roadway reopened.  New York State Police say a trucker lost control shortly before 10:30pm Tuesday and overturned in the area of exit 20S, initially blocking the left lane. 

(Photo: NYSP)

A passenger vehicle, unable to avoid the wreckage, then struck the overturned truck.  Police say injuries sustained by both drivers appeared to be minor.  

 

The left lane of traffic remained closed for emergency crew cleanup of the tractor trailer through 9:15am.  

 

Police had asked drivers to use caution, and be mindful of emergency personnel in low light conditions. 

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5th Congressional District debate held in Danbury

The candidates seeking to be the next U.S. Representative in the 5th Congressional district met for a debate last night in Danbury.  They were asked a range of questions including on gun control, immigration reform and the Affordable Care Act.

 

Democrat Jahana Hayes supports universal background checks.  She believes Connecticut laws, approved in the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook School, should be duplicated across the country.  Hayes acknowledged that individual rights should be protected, but that collectively the community needs protecting.  Her husband is a police officer, and expects others to go through background checks as he had to.  She wants to close the gun show loophole.  Republican Manny Santos said there’s few things more important in the constitution than individual liberties.  He says there’s no doubt there’s a gun violence problem, but that the majority of shootings were done by people who have criminal backgrounds or mental health issues.  He says aggressive gun control legislation will turn law-abiding citizens into criminals.  Santos says responsible gun owners are not the problem.

 

Hayes says waiting for people to commit a crime before they get on law enforcement radar is outrageous.  She called for comprehensive mental health reform to go along with gun control.  If the second amendment isn’t upheld, Santos questioned what else government would infringe upon.  He asked if the right to assemble would be infringed upon because of disorderly conduct.

 

The candidates were also asked if they would support arming teachers.  Santos says he doesn’t support the idea.  But he added that he does support the federal Department of Education to send money to states that want to implement the idea.  Hayes, who was the 2016 national Teacher of the Year, does not support arming teachers.  She says she wouldn’t want to have to explain how a student gets their hand on a gun that might not be secured, or that was taken off a teacher’s person.  She added that police shouldn’t be put in the position of having to decide who is a teacher and who is an active shooter.  Hayes added that funding set aside for academics should not go to buying guns.  She also questioned how the funding for training would be kept up.

 

In order to rein in college costs and control student debt, Santos says individuals incurred the debt by their own choosing.  He says people have to have the expectation that the debt has to be paid back through a meaningful career.  But he wants to incentivize graduates who go into certain fields by forgiving some of their debt.  Hayes says people should have access federal funds like PEL grants.  She notes that the amount spent on that program is the same amount proposed for the border wall.  Hayes called for different priorities in Washington.  She would look at incentives for people who return to Connecticut for work after graduation.  Hayes also wants to look into overhead and administrative costs.  Santos says federal loan access should continue. 

 

As for making rail travel safer, both candidates support reinstating a mandate that conductors be tested for sleep apnea in an effort to prevent derailments.  Hayes says infrastructure improvements are also needed.  Santos called for more funding for rail service.

 

Immigration was a heated topic.  Santos believes so-called DREAMERS, young people brought to this country as minors by their parents, should have a path to legalization, but not citizenship.  Santos added that the lax enforcement has led to a strained system.  When it comes to separating children from their parents, Santos says more judges have been added to address the situation.  He says the problem is because of past administrations not enforcing the laws.  Hayes says there is an immigration problem, but that there is not enough being done to help people seeking asylum.  She says DREAMERS have been brought here through no fault of their own and should be given a pathway to citizenship.  Santos says there are clear paths to refugee status, which should be followed.  Hayes says the current path could take decades for someone to legally become a citizen.  Santos says the pathways are clear.

 

Trade disputes and the recently renegotiated NAFTA plan were also discussed.  Hayes said she would support trade agreements if they protect jobs, rates, standards and the environment.  She says policies shouldn’t be driven solely on the economy and not forget about what they do to people, the environment and allies.  Santos says trade agreements that protect jobs should be a priority.  He said that he lost his job because of NAFTA and was pleased it was renegotiated.  Santos says pushing back to make sure Americans get a better deal is needed.

 

Medicare for All and a single payer system were some of the health care topics brought up.  Santos says government health care is not the utopia that many believe it will be.  He cautioned against more government involvement, saying that it’s unaffordable for taxpayers.  Santos also said there would be too many inefficiencies if government controls health care.  He wants to look at the Affordable Care Act and other legislation that can address some problems with the current system.  Hayes supports the idea of Medicare for All.  She says the Connecticut marketplace under the Affordable Care Act is one that actually works.  She called for more competition and reduced costs, saying the administrative cost is lower than private insurance.  Santos says government health care will be a rationing scheme. 

 

Hayes says remarks have been made recently by Republican leaders about eliminating Medicare and Social Security to reduce the deficit, created by the tax plan.  Santos said he hasn’t heard that, called that idea preposterous and questioned where she heard those remarks. 

 

On climate change, Santos says he believes there are changes but questioned how much was due to human contributions.  He says environmental concerns have to be balanced with supporting families.  Santos says no one wants dirty water or polluted air, but there is room to remove burns on businesses and individuals.  He added that no one is advocated for getting rid of all regulations.  Hayes says believes humankind is a contributor to climate change.  She added that she is not willing to trade a vibrant economy for clean air and water and the future.  Hayes says a factory or a community shouldn’t be profiting as children struggle to breathe.  She called for full funding of the EPA and continued regulations to protect against pollution.  Santos says farmers are having a hard time staying in business because of costly environmental regulations. 

 

The candidates were also asked about women’s rights.  Hayes is pro-choice.  She says priorities are determined by who is in the room and women should have the right to make their own health care decisions.  Santos says he is in favor of having equal rights so the question comes down to abortion.  Santos said he has a mother and a daughter and would not pass legislation that would put them at risk.  He is pro-life, but noted that it’s the law of the land. 

 

Ways to combat the opioid crisis were also addressed.  Santos says alternate pain management options should be explored.  He also wants to look into the DEA and examine why they are no longer cracking down on distribution facilities.  Hayes says there is no singular preventative approach.  She called for more education, reforms to overprescribing and expanding rehab or transitional services.

 

This is an open seat because Democratic incumbent Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty opted not to seek reelection amid a controversy over her handling of a sexual harassment case in her office.  Hayes called for more transparency and wants more procedures so staffers or other workers are protected.  Hayes says there should be a set of policies for reporting and there should be follow-through.  She wants thorough and quick investigations when there is an incident.  Santos was critical of Esty for not doing anything about the situation until it came out in the media.  He says elected officials should be held accountable for their actions and noted that he would have removed his chief of staff.

 

On how to achieve bipartisanship, Santos said partisanship is a problem, but that it exists because of ideological differences.  He added that resistance is a problem because that closes off discussion.  Hayes says people can disagree without being disagreeable.  She noted that thinking about constituent needs would be her priority.

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Brewster man charged for breaking into home

A Brewster man has been arrested for breaking into a North Salem home.  New York State Police Troopers responded to Route 22 on the evening of October 8th on a report of  an intruder in a house.  Troopers found and arrested 24-year old Carlos Lopez who broke into the residence.  Lopez also damaged the kitchen stove and a window while breaking in.  He was arraigned and ordered held at Westchester County Jail without bail.  Lopez appeared before the Court again on Monday.

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Meeting tonight on Ridgefield wastewater treatment plant upgrades

Ridgefield's wastewater treatment plant needs improvements.  Planning for the upgrades and capital needs has been underway for several years.  Ridgefield residents will get a chance to officially weigh in on the upgrades during a referendum vote scheduled for November. 

 

The project is estimated to cost $48-million, but grant funding could lower that figure to $37.5 million.  The grant deadline requires the project designed, bidded out and contract awarded by July. 

 

The two wastewater treatment facilities would be combined, closing the Route 7 facility.  Sewage would be routed to the South Street facility through a three-mile pipe, and that facility would be upgraded to meet new state and federal phosphorous removal guidelines. 

 

An informational meeting is being held tonight at 7pm in Ridgefield Town Hall.

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Police ID final passenger killed in plane crash off Long Island

Authorities have released the identity of the final passenger killed in the plane crash off of Long Island on Saturday.  New York State police identified the passenger as 53-year-old Richard Terbrusch, of Ridgefield. 

 

Friends say he had gotten his pilot license years ago, but let it lapse when he was going to law school.  Terbrusch worked for the judicial system before starting his own law firm in Danbury about 15 years ago. He also served in the past as a member of Ridgefield’s Police Commission and Board of Education. 

 

The small plane was headed from Danbury Airport to South Carolina, when it crashed, killing all three aboard.  Also killed was a Georgia special education teacher and the plane's owner.  

 

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

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Flu vaccine clinic in Kent today

A seasonal flu vaccination clinic will be offered today for Kent seniors from 10am to 11am, and then for age resident from 11am to noon at Kent Town Hall, in the first floor large meeting room. Accepted insurance plans are Aetna/Medicare Advantage, Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Cross, Connecticare/Medicare VP, Medicare Part B.  Registration forms and related information packet are available at the Kent Senior Center and in the Kent Town Hall lobby. Participants should bring their insurance card or a copy of the card. The clinic is sponsored by the New Milford Visiting Nurse Association and Kent Community Fund in conjunction with the Town of Kent.

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Ridgefield house destroyed by fire

A Ridgefield home was destroyed by fire early yesterday morning.  Firefighters were called to a Lake Road home shortly after 1:30am.  There were no injuries reported.  The Ridgefield Press reports that the only part of the home remaining standings is the brick chimney.  The walls of the two-and-a-half story home all collapsed.  The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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Sen. Blumenthal visits Brookfield to talk storm damage relief

Senator Richard Blumenthal was in Brookfield this morning to urge support for legislation the Connecticut congressional delegation introduced to end the prohibition on FEMA disaster aid to homeowners to clear fallen trees.  Blumenthal also discussed the newly-approved SBA loans to help property owners recover from the May 15th macroburst.  Brookfield First Selectman Steven Dunn was on hand for the event this morning.

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Newtown Parent Connection gets grant to fight opioid epidemic

A $10,000 donation is being made to the Newtown Parent Connection.  The grant from AT&T will help to fight the opiate epidemic in Connecticut.  The Newtown Parent Connection works to combat substance abuse through education. The organization was founded by Dorrie Carolan, a parent who lost her child to addiction. The organization works in conjunction with town agencies, the police department, the schools, and religious communities to prevent the use of drugs and alcohol among youth.

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Heroin and Opioid Awareness Conference at WCSU tonight

The Heroin and Opioid Awareness Conference is being held tonight at West Conn.  The University's Justice and Law Society, in conjunction with the Heroin Education Action Team, will host a screening of the documentary “Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict.”  HEAT is a partner program with the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut. The event will take place at 6pm at Ives Concert Hall in White Hall on the Midtown campus.  The documentary was created by the FBI and DEA to educate students and parents about the dangers of addiction. The movie will be followed by a panel discussion with a federal prosecutor, DEA agent, and two local parents who lost children to an opioid overdose.

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Putnam County marks 4th annual Organ Donor Enrollment Day

Putnam County officials marked the 4th annual Organ Donor Enrollment Day.  The goal was to enroll as many New Yorkers as possible to be organ donors. County Executive MaryEllen Odell says every 18 hours a New Yorker dies waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant. A contributing factor to this statistic is that there are not enough people registered as organ donors. While 92 percent of New Yorkers support organ donation, and despite having the fourth fastest growing registry in the country, just 30 percent are registered.

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Danbury man in stolen car dragged Newtown Officer during traffic stop

A Danbury man fleeing Newtown Police injured an officer, almost crushing him between the patrol vehicle and the suspect vehicle.  The incident started last Sunday when Newtown officers conducting traffic enforcement on Route 34 saw a car without a front license plate and a rear plate that belonged to a different car. 

 

The driver, later identified as John Paul Suero, engaged police in pursuit, before the chase was called off due to community safety concerns.  The car was located by Officer James, who approached on foot and was dragged as Suero sped off. 

 

Newtown's K9 tracked the suspect, who was picked up by a different vehicle. 

 

This weekend, Newtown and Danbury Police conducted a manhunt for Suero, who had four outstanding warrants.  One charged him with 11 crimes, including assault on an officer and larceny, for the stolen vehicle.  The other warrants were out of Bethel and Torrington on Failure to Appear in Court on other charges.

Suero was held over the weekend on a combined $104,500 bond and transported to Danbury Superior Court for arraignment yesterday.

 

Newtown Police LT. Aaron Bahamonde says this was an extremely dangerous individual that was taken off the street. 

 

He added that this is just one of multiple criminal suspects that have been causing havoc across the state in the breaking into vehicles and stealing them.  The police implore residents to remove valuable items from vehicles, including the keys to the vehicle.  Bahamonde says this is not just a Newtown problem but a statewide problem that has reached an epidemic proportion

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Father, son plead guilty to $27M health care scam

A father and son from California have pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud Affordable Care Act programs in Connecticut and 11 other states.  60-year old Jeffrey White and 33-year old Nicholas White are accused of fraudulently enrolling people in ACA plans in states where the individuals didn't live, defrauding the system of more than $27 million. 

 

According to court documents, the Whites created phony residential leases using fictitious landlords in various locations in Danbury, Farmington, Hartford and Norwalk.  They reportedly used an online application to obtain false cell phone numbers for the individuals with area codes that made it appear they lived at the fictitious addresses.  The calls would ring through to a phone controlled by the Whites. In order to enroll the individuals in an ACA plan, the Whites paid the insurance premiums for the individuals. 

 

They also paid to have the individuals transported to California where they were placed in expensive residential substance abuse treatment programs.  The treatment programs then billed the ACA plans for thousands of dollars of treatment each week, including claims for expensive laboratory tests such as blood or urine toxicology screenings. The treatment programs paid the Whites thousands of dollars for each referral, and some programs arranged for the Whites to receive a percentage of the money the treatment programs received from the ACA health insurance plans.  

 

FBI Special Agent in Charge Brian Turner says the Whites exploited both the opioid epidemic and the ACA by enrolling people with serious drug addictions into insurance programs for the sole purpose of enriching themselves and so-called rehabilitation centers. 

 

Sentencing has been set for January.

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Watertown Police Lt. proposed as New Milford's next Chief

Police Lt Spencer Cerruto has been nominated to be the next New Milford Police Chief.  Mayor Pete Bass will put his name forward to the Town Council.  Cerruto is currently with the Watertown Police Department and has over 30 years of police and command experience.  Bass says he has a strong commitment to community policing.  The Mayor pulled together a group of volunteers with experience to assist in the nominating process, including retired members of the New Milford Police Department, a retired NYPD member, Farmington's Police Chief and the town's Human Resources Director. 

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Officials ID second victim of weekend plane crash

A Georgia school official says a teacher there was one of the three victims of a Saturday plane crash off of Long Island.  Jennifer Landrum had been a high school special education teacher in Thomson.  The twin-engine Piper PA-34 was headed from Danbury Municipal Airport to South Carolina, when it crashed in about 20 feet of water south of the Hamptons.  Another victim has been identified as 41-year-old plane owner and flight instructor Munidat “Raj” Persaud, of Waterbury.  Divers on Sunday also recovered a third man’s body. He hasn’t been officially identified.

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Hearing in Bethel on proposed fracking ordinance

The Bethel Board of Selectmen is hosting a public hearing tonight on fracking. The previous fracking ordinance proposal was tabled for a number of months for research.  At the same time, the state was considering a stronger bill than what the towns would be capable of doing but it never got out of committee. 

 

There's still a moratorium on the use of fracking waste in Connecticut.  The ordinance considered in Bethel was rewritten, with the help of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities. 

 

The ordinance would prohibit the use or storage of waste from hydraulic fracking in Bethel.  The waste would not be permitted in wastewater treatment or solid waste management facilities and could not be sold or disposed of in Bethel.  Selectman Paul  Szatkowski was concerned about who would enforce the ordnance and that the fine  of $250 was too low. 

 

The hearing is at 6:30pm in Meeting Room A of the  Municipal Center.

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Presentation tonight in Brookfield about school construction plans

A presentation is scheduled in Brookfield for tonight about the proposed Huckleberry Hill Elementary School Project.  A presentation will be made to the Boards of Selectmen and Finance about the benefits, scope and costs. The public will have an opportunity to provide input and ask questions following the presentation, which will be held at the high school auditorium at 7pm.  The $78.1 million plan is to build a new school for pre-kindergarten through fifth grade on the back field of the existing Huckleberry facility.  A driveway, parking and ball fields would also be added.  Center Elementary School, which houses pre-kindergarten through first grade, would be turned over to the municipality.  Brookfield officials hope to hold a referendum in March.

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Bethel School Start Time Committee discusses survey results

The Bethel School Start Times Committee continues to examine putting all elementary schools on the same time schedule to address the third grade moving to Johnson School as part of the renovations at Rockwell and Johnson.  The committee has decided that in the upcoming school year, all Bethel elementary schools will be on the same time schedule. No other decisions or recommendations have been made at this point.  

 

The committee felt that there was not enough support among stakeholder groups surveyed to flip secondary and elementary times, and that option was eliminated.  Opposition was because of increased cost of aftercare and getting kids up before 7:30 was too early. 

 

On November 6th, the committee will be reconvening to discuss a final recommendation. On November 12th, there will be an informational meeting for parents on the final option. The meeting will be at 6PM in the BHS Auditorium. According to survey results, a majority of elementary parents felt their children learn the best in the morning. 

 

Parents of middle and high school students felt that their children get adequate sleep. They also felt that their children learn best in late morning, and generally supported a later start time. There was not overwhelming support for high schoolers riding the same bus as middle school students. There was some concern expressed regarding start time and its impact on athletes.   Contrary to parent reports, 80-percent of students felt they did not get enough sleep and in general supported a later start time.  There was some concern among students that a later start time would impact after school activities.

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K9 Texas tracks man suspected in Oxford burglary

State Police K9 Texas helped detectives save the day for a woman and her child in Oxford on Friday.  A woman called police from the 2nd floor of her home, saying that an unknown white man entered the residence.   When confronted, the man fled on foot.  Troop A bloodhound “Texas” and his partner responded to the scene and was able to track the suspect’s scent to a possible suspect home.  The man was identified as 41-year old  Daniel Tichy. He was located in Waterbury and charged with Burglary. Tichy was also arrested for Larceny and Credit Card fraud via a warrant on a separate incident. He was in possession of narcotics when Troopers arrested him.

 

(Photo collage: CSP)

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Leaf pick to start in Bethel

Bethel will begin curbside pick up of leaf bags today, continuing through December 7th.  Each road in Bethel is listed on the schedule for when leaves will be picked up. Residents are asked not to rake leaves into the streets, to avoid clogging storm drains which could lead to localized flooding. 

 

Residents are encouraged to bring their bagged leaves to the transfer station at no extra cost while this program is in effect.  Household garbage will not be accepted with the leaves.  All leaves must be neatly bagged in paper bags. No plastic bags will be picked up.  Tape should not be used to close and seal the leaf bags.

 

All leaf bags should be placed on the curbside the night before, unless inclement weather is expected. Leaves placed after the scheduled pickup date will be collected on the next rotation.

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Candlewood Lake Authority donates bench to New Milford park

The Candlewood Lake Authority has donated a park bench in New Milford.  It's in memory of Purple Heart Recipient Harold Meyer, a 30 year member of the authority and an acclaimed filmmaker. The bench is located at Lynn Deming Beach.

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SafeWalk raises $70,000 for Women's Center services

The Women's Center of Greater Danbury's 12th Annual SafeWalk event raised nearly $70,000 to help fund the Center's free services.  More than a thousand people participated in the Safe Walk, which kicked off the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. For the fourth consecutive year, Ridgefield High School Football team members, together with their mothers, walked in solidarity supporting the mission to end domestic violence.  This year's event Co-Chairs were Kathy Graham, MaryBeth Prunty and Chip Salvestrini.

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DOT to continue emergency roadwork on Route 37 into next week

The state Department of Transportation says the emergency roadwork on Route 37 at the New Fairfield-Sherman border turned out to be a bigger job than anticipated.  Crews are expected to finish the job Friday, though only one lane of traffic will get by next Monday and Tuesday because of guardrail replacement.  Part of the delay was because of moving a utility pole, which was near a steep slope.  There were also rain delays.

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Two arrested in separate road rage incidents on I-684

Two people have been arrested in unrelated road rage incidents on Interstate 684.  New York State police say 42-year old Luca Racanelli of Carmel threw a quarter inch socket wrench at another driver on Thursday afternoon.  The victim was struck in the face and sustained minor injuries.  He was charged with reckless endangerment and harassment.  Shortly after, Troopers say 57-year old Monica Parker of Lewisboro threw an object at a vehicle, damaging the windshield.  She was charged with criminal mischief.  Racanelli is due in court on the 23rd, Parker is due in court on Thursday.

 

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Danbury man charged for alleged drug sales

A police investigation into neighbor complaints of drug sales in Danbury has landed a City man under arrest.  On Thursday, Police saw Ronald Kenneth Scott engage in a suspected drug transaction with a driver who pulled into his Irving Place driveway. 

 

Investigators were able to stop the operator when it left the immediate area, who was found to be in possession marijuana.  An infraction was issued. 

 

Search warrants were then carried out and police found several ounces of cocaine, marijuana, drug paraphernalia and suspected drug proceed.  Scott was placed under arrest and held on bond.  

 

Scott was charged with two counts each of possession of a controlled substance and sale of a controlled substance.  He was also charged for possession of drug paraphernalia.

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Two men arrested for alleged drug sales in Danbury

Two men have been arrested by Danbury Police for drug offenses.  An investigation was launched weeks ago into neighbor complains of drug sales from a Bank Street apartment, where Christopher Kevin Maloney lives. 

 

On Thursday night, search warrants were carried out and Chevalier Terrell Purvis disobeyed orders not to move and immediately began to run to the rear of the apartment.  Investigators chased Purvis into a bathroom where he became combative and actively resisted attempts to restrain him. He also tried to swallow a substantial quantity of cocaine.  In addition to seizing the drugs, investigators seized a substantial quantity of cash and drug paraphernalia. 

 

  

 

Each was placed under arrest and held on bond.

Purvis, of Waterbury, was charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, possession of a controlled substance within 1500’ of school, possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell within 1500’ school, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of drug paraphernalia within 1500’school, and interfering with a search warrant.

 

Maloney was charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, possession of a controlled substance within 1500’ of school, possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell within 1500’ school, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of drug paraphernalia within 1500’school.

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Brookfield Police get new External Ballistic Vest Carriers

Brookfield residents will soon begin to see a new look to the uniform worn by some Brookfield Police Officers. A new External Ballistic Vest Carrier has been authorized for officers, in an effort to reduce back injuries from carrying all of their equipment on their waist belts. The external vest carrier will also allow officers to more easily remove the vest and gear when they are working inside the police station or in an emergency situation.  Not all officers will choose to wear the new external vest but for those who do, it will feature the officer's name and badge on the front, just as the uniform shirt does now.  The back panel will display the words "BROOKFIELD POLICE" for easy identification.

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New Milford swears in interim Police Chief

New Milford officials have sworn in an interim Police Chief.  As Chief Shawn Boyne's contract ended this weekend, Mayor Pete Bass thanked him for his service.  Lt Jeff Covello will be Interim Chief and Sgt. Katherine Massicotte will serve as interim Lt.  Bass says he will have an update this week on the future of the Department.  He expects the interim positions to be needed for about a month.  The 46-year old Covello joined the New Milford department in 2016 after serving 22 years with state police.

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Remaining bodies recovered in plane crash off Hamptons

Authorities have recovered the remaining two bodies from a small plane that crashed into the ocean waters off of Long Island, after taking off from Danbury Municipal Airport.  The Coast Guard said divers located the bodies of a woman and a man on Sunday after finding the aircraft wreckage in about 20 feet of water about a mile south of shore. Their identities have not yet been released.  The first body, identified as 41-year-old Munidat Raj Persaud, of Waterbury was found on Saturday.  The three were in a twin-engine Piper PA-34 that left Danbury Airport Saturday morning and was heading to South Carolina when it crashed.  The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.  New York State Police said as of last night, the search has ended.  But investigators are still on scene and have not cleared yet.

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Congressional debate in Danbury tomorrow

A 5th Congressional District Debate is being held Tuesday night at the Portuguese Cultural Center from 7 to 8:30pm.  Doors will open at 6:30pm.  The candidates for the open seat are Democrat Jahana Hayes and Republican Manny Santos.  This will be their second debate in the district.  After answering questions posed by a panel, the candidates will take questions submitted by the audience.  The League of Women Voters will be screening the questions from the audience to avoid duplication.  The Leagues of Women Voters of Northern Fairfield County and of Litchfield County, the Newstimes and the Newtown Bee are sponsoring the forum.  WLAD will be participating as well.

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Annual Danbury College Fair tonight

The annual Danbury College and Vocational Fair takes place Monday at the Danbury Mall.  Over 235 two-year and four-year schools will be represented.  The Armed Services, trade schools, business schools and the job service will also be at the fair.

5,000 students and their parents are expected to visit the college and vocational fair.  Adults interested in further training are also being urged to attend.  Chairwoman Valerie DeRubertis says this is one of the largest and most successful college fairs in the country.

Students and adults can talk with school representatives about majors, costs, entrance requirements, student life, sports and scholarship information among other topics.  Students are urged to write up a short list of questions to ask admission representatives, including what the two or three most popular majors are. That can give a good idea of the main interests of the majority of the students. Students who are undecided should ask about what services and support are available to help them explore various majors.

Freshmen and sophomores are urged to ask admission representatives what they should do to strengthen their transcripts and activities. Juniors who attend are urged to start making a list of colleges they are interested in to learn more about heading into senior year. Seniors can make another contact with a school they're interested in or find a school they weren't aware of before the fair.

DeRubertis says college fairs can be very informative but they can also be overwhelming.  Danbury High School counselors, including Spanish speaking counselors, will be on hand to help fair attendees.  She says it's easy to get caught up in the crowds and confusion, criss-crossing the room, stopping at any booth that seems popular.

The Danbury School District website shows the list of institutions attending. There are also tips on what to ask college representatives and financial aid information on the Danbury site.


Students with access to a computer can print a few sheets of self-stick address labels with contact information, high school, year of graduation, intended major(s), and any extracurricular activities of interest. The label can then be put on information cards to save time in filling out the same information at each college’s table.

The College Fair will be held on both levels of the mall from 5pm to 8:30pm.

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WCSU west side buildings experiencing water discoloration

Western Connecticut State University is experiencing water discoloration and water pressure issues in the Westside campus buildings.  The issue was first reported yesterday afternoon. Facilities Operations officials say they are working with the City of Danbury Water Department on a resolution and believe the condition will be resolved within 48 hours. Anyone encountering discolored water is asked to run the tap until it comes out clear.

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Vacancy on Danbury Board of Education

There is a vacancy on the Danbury Board of Education.  Republican member Richard Hawley recently resigned, creating an open seat for a member of the same party.  Danbury residents interested in applying for this vacancy should send a letter of application to the Board of Ed's office.  This term will be until the next regular election in November 2019. Residents must be at least 18 years old and a United States Citizen.  Applications will be accepted until October 25th.

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State DOT pushes back completion estimate for Route 37 work

The state Department of Transportation has pushed back their competition date of emergency roadwork in the New Fairfield and Sherman area.  The DOT's latest estimate on the reopening of Route 37 is next Friday at 5pm, a week later than originally anticipated.  road repairs were needed as the result of washout conditions threatening the road’s structure and strength.  The repairs started were slated to only take two weeks, but there were rain and other delays because of the type of ledge and bedrock found by excavators.  The closure starts slightly north of the turn for Big Trail, near the Sherman town line. 

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Esty works with AmeriCorp members at Macricostas Preserve

5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty met with AmeriCorp members at Macricostas Preserve in the Washington/New Preston area as the team concludes it service projects.  She and the team installed garden bed frames and transplant vegetable seedlings.  They worked with the Steep Rock Association to support a range of projects, including building and installing board walks along local hiking trails and building garden bed frames, and preparing the new garden for bed installation. 

 

As part of their service, the AmeriCorps volunteers built and expanded trails, repaired and maintained structures and infrastructure, restored habitats, and engaged in community outreach in order to improve public access.  The service project is sponsored by the Litchfield Hills Greenprint Collaborative, an organization dedicated to increasing the pace and quality of land conservation across northwestern Connecticut.

 

More than 460 AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members have served in over 90 locations throughout central and northwestern Connecticut over the last year.

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