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Nuvance Health CEO expects second COVID-19 peak in mid-January

The next surge of coronavirus in Connecticut will be more manageable, according to one local doctor.  Nuvance Health CEO Dr John Murphy says the next peak is expected in mid-January, but he notes that health care workers have learned to treat the disease.  Now when patients arrive, they’re given anti-coagulant medication early as they're at a higher risk of potentially fatal blood clotting.

He says the percentage of people testing positive back in March, April and May who were under age 18 was 4 percent, now it's a quarter of everyone testing positive.  Murphy added that the average person admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 in May and June stayed about two weeks, and now it's just under 7 days.  He says they also have fewer comorbidities.

Murphy noted that with he holidays coming, there is a tendency for people to gather, potentially with out-of-state visitors.  He warned of a second peak in mid-January.  Murphy says the prediction is based on six different models after the second wave in the fall and winter.  Murphy says the state is in for a “tough winter.”

The state has seen a steady uptick in cases of COVID-19 recently, but the average of those testing positive is 2.2 percent.

He notes that many more individuals are wearing masks. Even if you are going to get sick, Murphy says it is likely you get less severely ill because the size of the viral exposure is significantly reduced by wearing a mask.

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28th state Senate District candidates square off in repeat of 2018 contest

The candidates vying for the 28th state Senate District seat are looking to represent Newtown and other southern Fairfield County towns.  Republican incumbent Tony Hwang is being challenged by Democrat Michelle McCabe, who unsuccessfully challenged him two years ago.  They recently took part in a candidate forum hosted by the Newtown Bee. 

Hwang says there are ways to make Connecticut affordable for seniors to retire here, and attractive for young people to move to the state.  Hwang says people are moving away from urban centers and business recruitment needs to happen.  But he says the key is to attract workforce talent.  McCabe Connecticut is not friendly to businesses because of the permitting process.  She says it needs to be streamlined, with a renewed focus on a skilled workforce.  She also advocated for a public-private partnership with student loan forgiveness.

When it comes to getting the state's fiscal house in order, Hwang says Connecticut has the highest unfunded pension liability in the country, per capita. He wants to find a way to pay down that debt while honoring the commitment that past legislatures have made.  He notes that the other critical factor is helping small businesses.  McCabe agreed that workforce development is important and called for benefits reform.

The pair also addressed the pandemic.  Hwang says the public health concern, but the economic fallout was devastating.  He says any decision needs to rely on the science, but there has to be a plan to take progressive steps to reopen.  He called for a bipartisan collaboration on the work ahead.  McCabe says the state should help businesses to prepare to pivot.  She notes that a lot has been learned since March and that should be applied to building an infrastructure to help businesses.

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Ridgefield Police investigate three business break ins

Three breaking and entering incidents have been reported in Ridgefield.  Police say burglars forced entry by breaking a door window and unlocking the door of three businesses--two on Main Street and one on West Lane.  The incidents happened in the early morning hours Sunday into Monday.  The cash registers at two businesses were removed and cash was taken from the other business.  Police say anywhere from 100 to 200 dollars was taken from each.  Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Ryan at 203-431-2794 or the department’s tip line at 203-431-234.

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New Fairfield to hold in person registration

Today is the last day to register to vote in Connecticut before Election Day.  New Fairfield will have in person registration from 9am to 8pm.  Residents are asked to wear a mask and go to the window just to the right of the front door at Town Hall.  Anyone who wants to register should bring a form of identification and a pen.  There will be a limited registration session in New Fairfield on Monday, November 2nd from 9AM to 5PM for those who turned 18 years of age, became a US citizen or moved to Connecticut after today's date.  This session is also available to members of the armed services who were discharged in the past year.  Election Day Registration will be available at New Fairfield Town Hall from 6am to 8pm on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3rd.

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REdding Registrar holds registration session

The Redding Registrar of Voters will be holding a registration session today from 9am to 8pm, by appointment only.  In order to register to vote, residents must have proof of residency and proof of citizenship such as a driver’s license, passport, birth certificate or social security card.  Mail in registrations postmarked after the 27th and online registrations will not be processed.  Those turning 18 years old after tomorrow, but before November 3rd, may apply at the Registrar’s office on a daily basis until the opening of the next limited session on November 2nd, from 9am to 5pm.

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Newtown Police investigating two more Zoom hacks

A virtual assembly of Newtown High School freshmen and their advisers was Zoom bombed.  Newtown Superintendent Lorrie Rodrigue said in a letter to parents over the weekend that hackers used the n-word and other hate speech.  She called incidents like these not only disruptive, but highly offensive to students and staff.  The Newtown Non-Profit Council also experienced Zoom bombing last week, again with racist hate speech.  Newtown Police Chief James Viadero says these latest incidents, coupled with the Newtown constituent meeting featuring Congresswoman Jahana Hayes are an apparent coordinated hack.  All three are under investigation. 

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Danbury bar owner arrested again for violating public health emergency policies

A Danbury bar has been cited for a third time for violating public health emergency orders.  35-year old Erika Fajardo-Sumba, owner of La Costeñita Bar & Restaurant on Ives Street, was arrested on Friday on a warrant from a June 30 licensed business inspection.  Danbury Police say officers went to inspect the Ives Street establishment but were denied access.  Police say the doors were locked and the employees turned the lights off, but they could see people drinking inside the bar.  That's a violation of Governor Lamont’s coronavirus pandemic restrictions.  Police also referred the matter to state liquor control.  Fajardo-Sumba was also charged twice over Fourth of July weekend for “multiple violations” including employees not wearing masks, tables too close together, lack of partitions at the bar, and people drinking without food being ordered at the bar. 

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Brewster Fire Department responds to first chimney fire of the season

The Brewster Fire Department responded to the first chimney fire of the season last night.  No injuries were reported and damage was kept to a minimum.  The Brewster Fire Department recommends chimneys be inspected and cleaned annually by a certified chimney sweep before lighting your first fire of the season. The reason to clean a chimney is to not only remove a build up of soot and creosote, but also debris such as twigs, leaves, birds nests and whatever else may have found its way into the chimney.

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Bethel's COVID-19 case load is beginning to rise

Bethel’s COVID-19 case load is beginning to rise. While still not near the level to threaten business closures, First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says this is not where the town should be.  Since last week’s reporting period, Bethel’s daily case rate climbed to 6.9 new cases per 100,000residents, up from 4.9 the week before.Knickerbocker says practically anyone you come in contact with, unless they have been quarantined for the proper amount of time, has the potential to have contracted the virus unknowingly, and can spread it to you unknowingly.

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Redding Police locate 'trespasser'

The Redding Police Department responded to a reported four-legged trespasser on a property this weekend. The suspect in question was a horse.  Officer Livingston was able to quickly find and locate the animal, which was safely escorted home.

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Monroe firefighters to host drive up Trick or Treat event

This Halloween, Monroe Volunteer Fire Department is inviting parents to bring the kids to their drive up Trick or Treat event at the Route 110 fire station.  Families will be handed a pre-packaged treat bag. Kids dressed as a firefighter get a special bonus.  The event is on Halloween from 6:30pm to 8pm, while supplies last.

The Monroe Volunteer Fire Department has created a 13-minute video for children that gives them a virtual tour of the fire truck and equipment.  They also provide age-appropriate fire safety tips. Hosted by over a dozen of our volunteer firefighters, the fire company says its a great way to wrap up Fire Prevention month while they've had to put off school and daycare center visits.
https://youtu.be/RklQKD0tZwI

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Hazard buoys to be removed from Candlewood Lake

The Candlewood Lake Authority is removing the hazard buoys from the water.  Anyone who is still out on Candlewood is asked to use cautioning while navigating the waters during the off seasons.

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Brookfield firefighters remove Marine 25 from service for the winter

Brookfield Volunteer Fire Candlewood Company has wrapped up the first boating season of the new Marine 25 vessel.  It was taken out of the water for its yearly maintenance and to be put in storage until next spring.  Fire company officials say this year has been the busiest year on the lake in recent memory and say accepting delivery of the new Marine 25 last year was very fortunate.  This year covered the gamut of fires, water rescues, and dive calls with the Brookfield Police Department.  Their smaller boat, Marine 24 which is housed at Candlewood Company, stays in service all year. During the winter months, Candlewood Company firefighters continue to train on ice rescue tactics for emergencies that occur on Candlewood Lake and Lake Lillinonah year round.

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Danbury cracks down on house parties, trick-or-treating

Danbury is cracking down on house parties.  The State has clarified that under Phase 3, private house parties whether they are indoor or outdoor, are limited to 25 people.  The City has had a large number of house parties reported this past weekend. 

Mayor Mark Boughton says the police and Health Departments will be conducting enforcement action as needed. 

When it comes to Halloween, police could be in one neighborhood.  Deer Hill Avenue, a popular trick or treating location, is not open for trick or treating this year.  The neighborhood approached City officials and the Police Department and asked for assistance in discouraging trick or treating. Given the thousands of people who usually turn up, Boughton says its a smart move because there's no way for social distancing. 

Homeowners are encouraged to use a bowl or box to place candy outside - avoiding face to face contact with trick-or-treaters if they plan to participate in the traditional activity.  Handing out candy at the door is considered a high risk activity for transmission of coronavirus.  Anyone who plans to skip Halloween is urged to leave the outside light off, and ask that people respect homeowners decisions.

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Ridgefield middle schools have distance learning today

Ridgefield middle schools will have distance learning today because of four positive COVID-19 tests at the two middle schools.  There is one positive case among the Scotts Ridge Middle School community and two at East Ridge Middle School. Contact tracing is being done for the 4th case, out of Scotts Ridge.  Remote learning is set only for today as the school district consults with the local Department of Health.  A decision about in-person classes tomorrow will be announced today.

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Danbury man charged for alleged assault of woman in Bethel

A Danbury man allegedly broke into a Bethel woman's home and attacked her. Police charged 62-year old Jose Espinal last week.  Police say the victim found her male acquaintance in her bedroom when she came out of the bathroom Tuesday.  Police say the victim had injuries to her face and head.  She told officers that Espinal struck her in the head, choked her, and she lost consciousness.  When she came to, Espinal was gone.  He was later found involved in a car accident in Trumbull and hospitalized.  Espinal was charged with burglary, home invasion, strangulation, assault and criminal attempt to commit assault.

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Ridgefield Police seek to hire Connecticut certified police officers

The Ridgefield Police Department is accepting applications from Connecticut certified police officers for the position of patrol officer. Candidates must have at least 2 years of continuous service with their current Connecticut department, and in good standing with their current department.  Applications will be accepted through December 21st.   The salary starts at 67,000 and the cap is about $98,000.  Salary step will be based on years of experience as Certified police officer. Applicants must complete staff interviews, background investigation, drug screening, medical and psychological exams, and polygraph and physical agility tests.

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Bethel schools look to add professional development time for teachers

More professional development time is being built into the Bethel school district calendar.  Superintendent Dr Christine Carver says the amount of change this particular year and the ability to learn while implementing these complex coronavirus-related systems requires time for professional learning and planning.  She says the time that teachers currently have is not adequate to keep up with the pace of expectations. Carver is asking that the Bethel Board of Education consider adjustments in the calendar to a "conference schedule" early dismissal, giving teachers two opportunities for extra planning a month.  This will bolster professional learning days. The proposed additional early release dates are all Wednesdays so if the district goes back to a hybrid schedule, it will have no effect on family planning.  The proposed dates are 11/11/20; 12/2/20 & 12/16/20; 1/6/2021 & 1/20/21; 2/3/21 & 2/24/21; 3/3/21 & 3/17/21 and 4/7/21. 

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4th Congressional District candidates face off in debate

The candidates in the 4th Congressional District have met for their lone in person debate of this campaign.  Democratic incumbent Jim Himes is seeking a 7th term and is being challenged by a political newcomer.  Republican Jonathan Riddle, who works in financial consulting and wealth management.  The debate was by the League of Women Voters of Connecticut.

The debate started off with the topic of the Affordable Care Act. 

Himes, who voted for the ACA, said while he would defend it relentlessly, it isn't perfect.  He added that it's more vital today as most people get their insurance form an employer, but in the last 8 months some 20 million Americans have stopped having an employer.  Riddle says the ACA has some good points, but is a massive failure.  He says the exchanges eliminated competition and called for competition between states to drive down prices.  Himes says the ACA needs to be enhanced, not repealed.  Riddle says it should be replaced, not repealed.

Response to the COVID-19 pandemic was also addressed.  Himes touted his support for the bipartisan stimulus bill in March and noted that the House has passed two other stimulus packages, neither of which have come up for a vote in the Senate.  Riddle called on Congress to do more and stop dragging their feet.  He said the $3.2 trillion bill aims to save bankrupt states like California and New York and Illinois and Connecticut, making coronavirus the issue of the fiscal irresponsibility of these states. 

The candidates also differed on immigration, but agree on some aspects.  They both say the system is broken and that Dreamers should be provided with a path to citizenship.  When it comes to building a border wall, Himes opposed it and Riddle supports it.  Himes became emotional when talking about separating families at the border.  Riddle pointed out that the program was started by President Obama.

They agreed on the need for more funding to repair roads and bridges.  Riddle says the train and highway systems are falling apart. He called it unacceptable that new trains were purchased, but no one thought to upgrade the tracks.  He called for high speed rail throughout the region.  Himes touted federal funds to fix the century-old Walk Bridge.  He says all of the funding he was able to secure hasn't been enough.  Himes says he would have supported President Trump's pledge to get an infrastructure bill passed and remains on the top of his priority list.

The pair had some agreement on gun laws, but departed from each other elsewhere on the issue. Riddle says there are strong enough gun laws on the books, but they're not being enforced properly.  Himes says it's not about enforcement, it's about a lack of consistent laws.  Himes called for universal background checks, limits on certain types of guns and standards for safe storage.  Riddle fully automatic weapons aren't on the streets legally.  He agrees about the need for universal background checks and closing the gunshow loopholes.

The 4th Congressional District encompasses Bridgeport, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Monroe, New Canaan, Norwalk, Oxford, Redding, Ridgefield, part of Shelton, Stamford, Trumbull, Weston, Westport and Wilton.

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Danbury cancels plans to move to hybrid learning in schools

All in-person classes across the Danbury Public School district have been postponed and the district is continuing with remote learning.  The city experienced 96 COVID-19 cases in a three day span.

At the K-5 level, this means students will continue with their current teacher and their distance learning schedule they have been in since September. At the 6-12 level, students will begin their revised bell schedule as posted in PowerSchool.

Due to school closures, the SAT’s will be cancelled on Tuesday, October 27th.

Breakfast and lunch for students will continue to be available for pick-up on Monday-Friday at all schools from 12 pm - 2 pm.

Superintendent Dr. Sal Pascarella says they are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and working with the Mayor, Department of Public Health and medical advisors. 

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National Prescription Drug Take Back Day today

The Drug Enforcement Administration National Prescription Drug Take Back Day from 10 am to 2 pm.  Greater Danbury area police departments say the day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating people about the potential for abuse of medications.  A drop box is located in the main lobby of the Danbury, Ridgefield and Wilton Police Departments, which are accessible  24/7 - 365 days of the year to dispose of unused medications.

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Public hearing on proposed Brookfield water line postponed

The Brookfield Board of Finance Informational Public Hearing on the proposed Candlewood Lake Road Waterline next week has been rescheduled to Wednesday, November 4th at 7pm.  It will also be a virtual meeting.  The proposed water line will run from the intersection of Nabby Road to 100 Candlewood Lake Road.  Details of the project and projected costs will be discussed, followed by public comment. The current plan is to install the water line within the next 12 months.

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Southbury Police mark National Teen Driver Safety Week

Now in its 13th year, National Teen Driver Safety Week is dedicated to raising awareness and seeking solutions to prevent teen injuries and deaths on the road. Southbury Police say this grassroots movement is about addressing the number one cause of death for teens in the U.S. – car crashes. According to the UConn Crash Data Repository, the number of teen-related fatal crashes in the first six months of 2020 has more than doubled when compared with the same time frame for 2019.

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Car goes through Brewster business in crash

No one was injured in Brewster when a car went through a building yesterday afternoon.  Brewster Fire Department and EMS responded to the Dunkin Donuts on Route 22 for a report of a car into the store. Firefighters arrived to find a vehicle completely inside the business. 

(Photo: Brewster FD)

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First Responder Memorial unveiled in Ridgefield

There were a lot of emergency responders on Main Street at Bailey Avenue this week.  They were attending the unveiling of The Town Of Ridgefield's First Responder Memorial.  The memorial was the idea of local scout Shreyas Nandon as his Eagle Project.  He was heavily involved in the process of planning, securing funds, and construction of the monument.  Some funds were donated by the Ridgefield Professional Firefighters Local 1739. 

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