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Local Headlines Archives for 2013-04

Absentee ballots available for Redding budget referendum

Redding residents will be voting on a budget next Tuesday, but as of now absentee ballots are available. 


The Town Clerk's office has absentee ballots for Redding resident who will be out of town during referendum hours, are physically unable to get to the polls, can't turn out next Tuesday because of religious beliefs or are serving active duty in the military.  If residents are unable to get to the Town Clerk's office, they can designate a family member to drop off the application and return the ballot. 


The office will be open on Saturday from 9am to 11am to process applications. 


Ballots must be returned to the office by 8pm on May 7th.

Connecticut school shooting families seek NJ rules

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) Relatives of the Connecticut school shootings children are pressing for stronger gun control laws in New Jersey.

They'll join Assembly Speaker Shelia Oliver and Assembly Majority Leader Low Greenwald at a news conference in Trenton Tuesday as a Senate committee considers bills aimed at preventing gun violence.

The Assembly in February passed a 22-bill gun violence package. But the Senate version does not include a 10-bullet limit on ammunition magazines. The state's current law has a 15-bullet limit.

New Jersey's gun laws are among the strictest in the nation. The state limits purchases, has a waiting period and bans assault weapons.

Gov. Chris Christie wants to expand government-funded mental health treatment and restrict children's access to video games.

Airport control towers saved for now, but face 9 years of uncertainty

First the contract air traffic control tower closures were put off to June 15th because of legal challenges.  Now Congress has acted to allow the Federal Aviation Administration to move around some funding to stop furloughs and closures through the end of the fiscal year--September 30th. 


Danbury Municipal Airport Administration Paul Estefan says he's pleased they're staying alive this year.  But he cautions that sequestor budget cuts are part of a 10 year program.  He says it's hard to tell what's going to take place in the next nine budget years.


Assistant Airport Administrator Michael Safraneck says the 6 controllers are all former military with a highly specialized skill set.

Lake clean up cancelled amid proposed budget cuts

An annual tradition at Candlewood Lake will not be happening this summer.  The Candlewood Lake Authority says the 2013 Clean Up has been cancelled.  The organization says the event has become a tradition to kick off the summer where the community removes debris that collected during the year. 


Executive Director Larry Marsicano says they are anticipating budget cuts from First Light Power, the Lake's owner, and the possibility of budget cuts from the towns which surround the lake.


Marsicano says the Clean Up requires a significant amount of planning time and resources that just weren't available this year.  He says they had to cancel once before, in 2009, so its not unprecedented. 


He adds that they hope to bring the vent back next year.

Few schools hire armed guards after Newtown shootings

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Two school districts are going ahead with plans to hire armed guards even as other Connecticut municipalities and states across the country have backed away from such a move as unaffordable or imprudent.

North Branford hired private guards in January in response to the Newtown school shooting in December and is awaiting state approval to arm them. Enfield is anticipating funding in its new budget to bring on armed security guards through the town's department of public safety.

Other districts across the nation are experimenting with a variety of initiatives that balance safety and cost in tough economic times.

Meanwhile, Connecticut is moving forward to establish a council for school safety infrastructure as laid out in the gun control legislation signed this month by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

Conn.'s Rep. Esty to hold immigration reform event

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) Connecticut U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty has scheduled a roundtable discussion on immigration reform.

The 5th Congressional District Democrat has scheduled the event on from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday at Waterbury City Hall.

Esty is expected to be joined by students, workers, local elected officials and community leaders to learn first-hand what immigration reform would mean for people living in central and northwestern Connecticut.

Immigration legislation being considered in Congress would strengthen the border with Mexico, allow tens of thousands of new high- and low-skilled workers into the country, mandate that all employers verify workers' legal status and provide an eventual path to citizenship for those living here illegally.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day today

After collecting more than 1,000 tons of expired, unwanted prescription medications at previous events over the past three years, the Drug Enforcement Administration will hold a sixth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day across the country on Saturday.


New Milford Hospital and Community Partners are sponsoring a Drug Take-Back Day today.

New Milford Hospital Director of Patient Experience Damon DeChamplian says area residents can clear their home of unused or expired prescriptions and over-the-counter medications in the original containers.  Unused medications in homes create a public health and safety concern, because they are highly susceptible to accidental ingestion, diversion, misuse, and abuse.


Only solid medicines may be turned in.  No liquids, injectables or needles will be accepted.

The event is scheduled for today from 10:00 a.m. to – 12:00 p.m. and will be held at New Milford Hospital at the the 21 Elm Street parking lot.


Other locations include:


Bridgewater Resident Troopers Office


Bethel Police Department


Danbury Police Department


New Fairfield Resident State Troopers Office


Newtown Police Department


Oxford Resident State Troopers Office


Roxbury Resident State Troopers Office


Sherman Resident State Troopers Office


two Connecticut State Police Troop A locations in Southbury


A complete list of locations can be found here.

Malloy's Sandy Hook panel meets on mental health

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's advisory panel charged with reviewing the Newtown school shooting has convened again to discuss mental health issues.

The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission held its 11th meeting on Friday to hear from experts on trauma, violence and mental illness.

Specialists from UConn, Yale University, the University of Virginia School of Law, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and the Connecticut Center for Effective Practice addressed the panel.

Last month, the commission forwarded preliminary recommendations on gun laws and school security to the governor, who empaneled the commission in January. A final report on mental health issues is not expected until later this year.

Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson, who chairs the commission, said the panel seeks to create policy models for not just Connecticut but the entire nation.

Carmel veteran makes 'Honor Flight' to DC

An 87-year old Carmel resident made an Honor Flight to Washington DC this weekend.  Mario Antoci, an army veteran was among 90 other veterans and their guardians who went to visit the World War II memorial on Saturday. 


The National Honor Flight Network was created in 2004 by a retired Air Force physician assistant to allow any veteran who wanted to make the one-day trip to the monument the chance to view the memorial in their honor.  Guardians pay their own way. 


There are more than 70 Honor Flight chapters in the country and more than 81,000 World War II, Korean and Vietnam veterans have made the trip to the nation's capital. 


Antoci enlisted without his parents knowledge and told the draft board he was 18.  He spent the last five months of his deployment as a prisoner of war in Germany.

Brookfield receives state grant money for forestry project

Brookfield is among the 10 towns receiving state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection grants.  There is $49,000 in America the Beautiful grants for urban forestry projects. 


Brookfield through its Conservation Commission will use $1,700 to plant trees on the Gurski Homestead property to create a forest buffer as part of its 2013 Earth Day celebration. 


DEEP Commissioner Daniel Esty says these grants will also help implement recommendations of a 2012 report that will better prepare the state for future storm events.

New Fairfield residents vote Saturday on budget

The combined municipal and school budget is about $52 million.  The plan increases spending on both sides by about $600,000 each.  New Fairfield officials say the proposed budget would raise taxes by a little less than 4-percent. 


According to budget documents, there is funding included in the school's plan for security improvements. 


The Board of Selectmen requested about $60,000 for the Candlewood Lake Authority, but the Board of Finance trimmed that to $1,500.  While the Selectmen included no funding for the Lake's administrative costs, the Finance committee proposed $60,000. 


This is a breakdown of the Board of Finance recommended budget.


Polls will be open Saturday from 8am until 8pm.  All New Fairfield residents will cast votes at the Meeting House Hill School Gymnasium.

GE Capital cuts lending ties with gun stores

NEW YORK (AP) General Electric's finance arm is cutting its last ties with gun dealers, halting financing offers at about 75 gun shops across the U.S. in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., massacre.


The gunman's father, Peter Lanza, is a vice president of taxes for GE Energy Financial Services.

The December school shooting has ignited a national debate about gun laws and driven some companies to distance themselves from the gun industry. General Electric Co.'s headquarters is in Fairfield County, Conn., about 20 miles from Newtown.

GE Capital says that ``industry changes, new legislation and tragic events'' sparked it to do an audit of its 200,000 customers. GE Capital originally cut ties with gun stores in 2008, but discovered less than 75 stores were still receiving financing packages.

GE Capital says the policy change won't have a material effect on sales.

LeBron shoes being auctioned for Newtown families

MIAMI (AP) NBA MVP LeBron James is trying to raise money for families affected by the December massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The sneakers he wore in Miami's game against Washington on Dec. 15 one day after the shootings in Newtown, Conn. are up for grabs in an online auction that runs through tomorrow.

Proceeds will benefit the Newtown Memorial Fund, through the LeBron James Family Foundation.

James' signature is on one of the shoes, and an inscription of ``vs. Wizards 12/15/12 Never forget!!'' is on the other. The auction is expected to generate at least $5,000.

Conn. senators to discuss gun control plans

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut's two U.S. senators are expected to discuss plans to push for gun control legislation following its recent Senate defeat.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy have scheduled a meeting today with members of the media at the Legislative Office Building to talk about ``the path forward for federal gun violence legislation.''

The two Democrats plan to discuss the ramifications the Senate's rejection of an amendment expanding background checks for gun purchases, as well as other proposals, earlier this month.

Both senators had expressed optimism before the April 17 vote there would be enough support to extend required federal background checks to gun shows and online firearms sales. They had credited the lobbying efforts of the parents and family members of the victims of the Dec. 14 Newtown school shooting.

Newtown foundation increases disbursement to $7.7M

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The foundation overseeing the largest pot of donations sent to Newtown following the December massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School is nearly doubling the amount of its initial disbursement.

The Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation announced Thursday it would increase the amount of money going to the 40 families most affected by the tragedy from $4 million to $7.7 million. The funds will be distributed by May 23.

The beneficiaries included the families of the 26 people killed, 12 surviving children from the classrooms where people were shot and the two people wounded during the shooting.

The foundation also announced that retired U.S. District Court Judge Alan Nevas will chair the initial distribution committee. The panel will be advised by attorney Kenneth Feinberg, an expert in disaster-fund management.

Sexual Assault Awareness month marked by Women's Center

This is Sexual Assault Awareness month and a documentary involving the U.S. Military is being shown to mark the month.  The Women's Center of Greater Danbury is hosting a screening tonight of The Invisible War. 


Training and Program Development Director Melanie Danyliw says the 2012 Sundance Film Festival winner explores the epidemic of rape within the U.S. military.  The director says in the documentary that female soldiers in combat zones today are more likely to be raped by fellow servicemen than attacked by the enemy.   The Department of Defense estimates that 19,000 assaults go unreported every year; in 2011, less than 8% of the 3,192 reported rapes were prosecuted.


Survivor stories and interviews with military leadership are featured in the film.


Following the screening, staff from the local VetCenter and the Women's Center will look at parallels between sexual assault in the military and civilian society.  They will also discuss resources available for survivors, and steps to end sexual violence. 


The screening tonight is at 7pm at the Palace Theater.

Area lawmaker opposes bill he says weakens voting process

The State House has approved a bill that would amend the state constitution giving the legislature power to make future changes to the process of casting ballots.  It would also eliminate the requirement for voters to gather at a designated date to cast their votes. 


Southbury Representative Arthur O'Neill says this is a slippery slope to internet voting.  O'Neill says early voting and online voting is far from a fool-proof, integral and safe method of casting votes.  He says that would mean never knowing who truly won elections and would leave the process open to being hacked by people here and in foreign countries.


He says whether for vandalism or by people being paid to subvert the election process for a larger and darker purpose, it would leave questions.


O'Neill says these changes to election laws will render the elections meaningless and subject to potentials for fraud.  He says the fraud would be difficult to detect and once it has occurred , impossible to correct.  He adds that there is no reset button or way for election officials to reimburse citizens if their votes are stolen.


The amendment would also remove restrictions for absentee voting.

Conn. Hall of Fame inducts four

The Connecticut Hall of Fame, established in 2005 to recognize the outstanding achievements of people from Connecticut, has four new members. 


Former Connecticut men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun and UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma were inducted Wednesday.  Auriemma says it's a great honor to represent the players and coaches in the program.

The pair were inducted on Wednesday along with Roger Sherman and toy maker A.C. Gilbert, known for creating the erector set.  Sherman, a founding father who helped draft the Declaration of Independence, moved to New Milford at the age of 22.  He served two non-consecutive terms in the state House in the 1700s.

Local schools make 'Best High School' list

U.S. News and World Report is out with its 2013 rankings for the Best High Schools in the country.  Several Connecticut schools are in the top 500, including many locally.  Connecticut has 11 gold medal schools, 24 silver medal schools and four bronze medal schools.  Students here are assessed via the Connecticut Academic Performance Test. 


Weston High School is ranked 3rd in the state and 240th nationally.  Ridgefield High School comes in at number 4 in Connecticut and is nationally ranked at 250. 


Ridgefield High School Dr Stacy Gross has congratulated the staff.  She says she is very proud of the teachers, students and parents.  She says students that feel safe, secure and appreciated tend to do better academically.


Wilton High School places 6th in the state and 292nd nationally.  Joel Barlow in Redding is 9th in Connecticut and 434th nationally.


Brookfield High School is ranked 22nd in Connecticut.


A complete list of Connecticut rankings can be found here.

Conn. bill of rights for homeless progresses

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A bill establishing a bill of rights for the state's homeless population is progressing through the Connecticut General Assembly.

Some lawmakers, however, questioned Tuesday whether the legislation is necessary.

The bill, which passed the Planning and Development Committee, 12-7, spells out how each homeless person has the right to move freely in public spaces, have equal employment opportunities, receive emergency medical care, and the ability to register to vote and vote. The bill also lists their right to a reasonable expectation of privacy regarding their private property, and to receive equal treatment by government agencies.

New Fairfield Rep. Richard Smith said homeless individuals already have those rights.

Proponents say there's a need for this legislation because the homeless are often ostracized and alienated, and often have their constitutional rights ignored.

Conn. panel poised to fund Superstorm repairs

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The State Bond Commission is expected to approve funding for repairs and improvements to Connecticut recreation and maintenance facilities damaged by Superstorm Sandy.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Tuesday the commission, which he chairs, will vote Friday on $1.7 million in bonds to replace metal roofs and install new windows and doors at Hammonasset State Park's maintenance facility in Madison.

Some of the funds will also be used to make improvements to the state's Marine District Headquarters in Old Lyme. The structural work is expected to also make the buildings more energy efficient.

The commission is also anticipated to approve an additional $1.4 million in bonds. Some of the funds will help close the sewage treatment plant at the Southbury Training School, which the governor's office said is outdated.

Sen. Blumenthal wants FAA to prioritize safety, schedules

One of the actions being made by the Federal Aviation Administration because of the sequester budget cuts is getting rid of contract air traffic controllers, like those at Danbury Airport.  While that won't take effect until June, Monday was the first weekday on which thousands of air traffic controllers are being forced to take an unpaid day off. 


Senator Richard Blumenthal says preventing delays at airports should be a priority. 


Blumenthal wants the furloughs delayed by 30 days to give Congress an opportunity to address options for avoiding the costs and inconvenience of delays and cancellations. 


At LaGuardia Airport, one out of every five flights scheduled to take off before noon Monday was delayed 15 minutes or more.  Some flights into New York, Baltimore and Washington saw delays of more than two hours. 


The FAA kept some planes on the ground because there weren't enough controllers to monitor the busy air corridors.

Alzheimer's Association hosting caregiver support group meeting

The Connecticut chapter of The Alzheimer’s Association is hosting a Caregiver Support Group to help families and caregivers in caring for people with memory-related disorders.  The gathering tomorrow will be at the Watermark at East Hill in Southbury--an independent living, assisted living, skilled rehabilitation retirement community. 


Director of Health Services Denise Julian says the group helps educate caregivers on necessary skills for caring for people with Alzheimer's.  She notes that every meeting is different with spouses, children and siblings sharing personal concerns and issues.


Julian says they also provide emotional support and problem solving solutions related to giving care. 


The group meets the last Wednesday of every month from 6:00 to 7:30 pm.  The Caregiver Support Group is free of charge and open to the public, however reservations are required. Please RSVP by calling The Watermark at East Hill at 203-262-6868.

Committee votes move budget to full fledge negotiations

The legislature's Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee has advanced a budget plan.  Representative Toni Walker says their plan is a little better than the Governor's proposals when it comes to the impact on programs and the public.


Payment in Lieu of Taxes payments were changed a bit.  PILOT was taken out of the ECS grant and put into its own grant.  But the Committees ultimately cut it by $11-million


Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, whose district includes Newtown, says he hopes Republicans will have a role in upcoming negotiations.


The committee budget plan still makes big cuts in aide to Hospitals while giving raises to judges and preserving most aid to municipalities to compensate for revenue losses due to tax exempt state facilities.  Western Connecticut Health Network, which includes Danbury and New Milford Hospitals, stands to lose 30-million dollars.

Bill on tolls moved to full Conn. House

A bill that would bring tolls back to Connecticut has been moved to the House calendar.  The Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee Tuesday took no action the bill to place tolls on Route 11 in Southeastern Connecticut, forwarding it on. 


New Milford State Representative Cecelia Buck-Taylor was among the Western Connecticut legislators on the committee to vote no.  She wants the Department of Transportation study on issues related to reinstating tolls completed first. 


Transportation Committee Ranking Member Brookfield Representative David Scribner says if tolls are put on roads, it may impact the availability of federal funding to fix highways.


Danbury State Senator Mike McLachlan says tolls on Route 11 would open the door to tolls elsewhere in the state, including at the borders.

Mercury in fish found high in some waterways

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) A study by a University of Connecticut professor has found increased levels of mercury in fish in seven waterways.

The Hearst Connecticut Media Group and Connecticut Health Investigative Team report that the study by Christopher Perkins showed that fish in waterways such as Canoe Brook Lake in Trumbull and Lake Kenosia in Danbury contained increased levels of mercury.

However, in 22 lakes tested statewide where comparisons were made from one year to the next, mercury concentration declined by 17 percent. It fell from 0.41 parts per million in 1995 to 0.34 parts per million in 2005-06, the most recent data available.

But it's still higher than the 0.2 parts per million threshold for unhealthy mercury levels.

Mercury, which is toxic to humans, can attack the central nervous system and damage the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys and immune system.

Conn. Supreme Court taking up death penalty repeal

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The Connecticut Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on whether the state's repeal of the death penalty for future crimes violates the constitutional rights of the 11 men on the state's death row.

Justices are scheduled to hear the case tomorrow.

The arguments come in the case of former Torrington resident Eduardo Santiago, who was sentenced to death for the 2000 killing of a West Hartford man in exchange for a broken snowmobile.

The state Supreme Court overturned the death sentence and ordered a new penalty phase last year. But the ruling came two months after the state repealed the death penalty for murders committed after April 24, 2012.

Justice will decide whether the repeal law bars the state from executing the death row inmates.


Former State Senate Andrew Roraback, now a Judge in Connecticut, had long opposed the death penalty but voted against the repeal bill on grounds of certain provisions in it.  He said the 11 people on death row would continue to face execution if the bill was approved, and he disagreed with that.  He called it "inconsistent".


Danbury State Senator Mike McLachlan also opposed the repeal bill.  He said Connecticut would be at a disadvantage not having the death penalty for egregious crimes.  He added that listening to the testimony of Dr. William Petit, whose wife and two daughters were killed in a home invasion, in favor of the death penalty solidified his position.

Hearing planned on Conn. medical marijuana rules

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The state Department of Consumer Protection has scheduled a hearing on proposed regulations for Connecticut's new medical marijuana program.

Members of the public can testify today at the State Office Building in Hartford, on the wide-ranging package of rules. Medical marijuana was approved by the General Assembly and signed into law last year.

The regulations touch on numerous aspects of the program such as the rights and responsibilities of medical marijuana dispensaries, security requirements for those dispensaries and rules for manufacturing marijuana products.

The Department of Consumer Protection is expected to submit the final regulations to the legislature by July 1.

Patients receiving medical treatment for an applicable debilitating medical condition included in the law may qualify for a temporary registration certificate to legally use medical marijuana.


Wilton State Senator Toni Boucher filibustered during most of the debate on the bill.   She spoke for about five hours before introducing several amendments.  Boucher and others introduced 48 in total, though none of them were approved. 


During her remarks she said licensed dispensaries were little more than dope dealers with licenses and that marijuana isn't medicine.  She quoted from studies that found marijuana use leading to health issues ranging from cancer and heart defects to depression and schizophrenia.

Hospital aid still on state budget chopping block

The legislature’s Appropriations Committee is keeping one of Governor Dannel Malloy’s most controversial proposed spending reductions.  Deep cuts in state aid to hospitals are in the Democratic majority's plan.

A budget voted on yesterday by the committee reduces state funding used to help reimburse hospitals for caring for uninsured patients.  Western Connecticut Health Network, which includes Danbury and New Milford Hospitals , stands to lose $30 million over the two-year budget plan.


The Committee does replenish $5.6 million in the first year and $58.8 million in the second to continue providing health insurance to certain needy parents.  Malloy cut that coverage as of January 1st, when the health care exchange begins.

Friday’s votes by the Appropriations and Finance Revenue and Bonding set the stage for full-fledged budget negotiations between lawmakers and Malloy.

Newtown budget to be voted on this Tuesday

The Newtown budget referendum is being held on Tuesday.  There will be a single polling place for the $111-million budget. 


This is the first time that Newtown residents will be voting on separate school and municipal budget allocations and also a guidance question, if the funding is too low.  The proposed municipal budget is about $39-million while town officials are asking for $72-million in school spending. 


It's a 4.7 percent increase in overall spending. 


The referendum Tuesday at Newtown Middle School is from 6am to 8pm.

Obama presses on for background checks; NJ Gov. on gun violence

WASHINGTON (AP) Now that he's been blocked by Congress from expanding gun sale background checks, President Barack Obama is turning to actions his administration can take on its own.

The Health and Human Services Department is starting a process aimed at stopping gun sales to people barred for mental health reasons.

Federal law prohibits certain mentally ill people from buying guns, but not all states are providing mental health data to the FBI's background check system.

A federal review last year found 17 states contributed fewer than 10 mental health records to the database. That means many deemed by a judge to be a danger still could buy a gun.

Some states say they are not reporting the information because of health privacy laws. Obama wants to remove barriers in the law.


TRENTON, N.J. (AP) Gov. Chris Christie has announced a multi-faceted plan to curb gun violence.

The proposal calls for expanding government-funded mental health treatment, requiring parental sign-off before minors can buy or rent violent video games and mandating would-be gun owners show government-issued IDs.

The New Jersey governor also recommended banning the sale of Barrett .50-caliber semi-automatic sniper rifles. But his plan doesn't address classroom security or propose limits on magazine capacity.

Christie announced his proposals Friday, a week after receiving a report from a task force he created after the mass school shootings in Connecticut.

His proposals come two days after the U.S. Senate rejected expanded gun background checks. Members of the Democrat-controlled state Legislature have proposed their own gun laws.

New Jersey's gun laws are among the strictest in the nation.

Conn. trains searched for marathon bombing suspect

NORWALK, Conn. (AP) Authorities in Connecticut say they searched trains in Norwalk and Darien for one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects but didn't find anything.

Norwalk officials say Boston police asked them to search an Amtrak train that left South Station in Boston at about 5 a.m. Friday. Police say the Acela Express train was the only Amtrak train to leave Boston on Friday morning before Amtrak suspended service between Boston and Providence at the request of Massachusetts officials.

Police from Norwalk, Stamford and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority boarded the southbound train in East Norwalk with at least one bomb-sniffing dog shortly before 8:30 a.m. and didn't find anything.

An MTA spokesman says police also searched a Metro-North train in Darien and didn't find anything. The southbound train originated in Danbury.

Redding to hold town meeting to set budget referendum date

A town meeting will be held in Redding next Thursday to set the date of the budget referendum.  The Board of Selectmen has decided to send the budget to a machine vote referendum, so the town meeting will only be to set the date. 


There have been public hearings already about the proposed budget, which represents a 1.3 percent increase in spending. 


The town budget meeting will be held on Thursday in the afternoon at town hall.  Officials are recommending the referendum be held May 7th.

Library in Newtown once again acting as support center

In response to the bombings at the Boston Marathon, Newtown is providing a space for the community to gather for support, guidance and to be with one another. 


Newtown Health District Director Donna Culbert says as the town continues to navigate through the response to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the events in Boston will impact people differently.  She urged residents in the coming days to do whatever gives comfort whether it's talking, exercising, working or art.


C. H. Booth Library will be open today from 11am to 5pm for people to gather.  Weekend hours are still to be determined.

Clean City Danbury Day to be held Saturday

Monday is Earth Day and Danbury is doing a little spring cleaning this weekend.  Clean City Danbury Day is being held on Saturday.  Mayor Mark Boughton says it's a time for residents to drop off their bulky waste.


Volunteers are supplied with safety vests and trash bags.  Bulk garbage dumping is restricted to city residents and property owners, ID will need to be shown at drop off.  No commercial vehicles will be allowed.  That means no vehicles with any business name on them, no vehicles with a commercial plate, and no vehicles that can clearly be used for hauling.


Boughton says a number of people have volunteered to help keep Danbury beautiful by picking up litter off city streets and helping residents unload bulk waste.


Construction debris and grass clippings or yard debris will not be accepted.  Electronics can be recycled year round, for free, at the Recycle Ceter on White Street and must be brought there.  Hazardous waste won't be collected tomorrow.  Hazardous Waste Day is in September.


Scrap metal, tires and white appliances containing freon must be kept separate from other garbage.


Bulk waste collection will run from 8am to noon.




City Hall (155 Deer Hill Avenue)


Rogers Park (by tennis courts)


Mill Ridge Intermediate School (1 School Ridge Rd.)


Public Works Building (53 Newtown Rd.)


P.A.L. Building (35 Hayestown Rd.)

Newtown families stand with President to denounce Senate vote results

Parents of those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School are speaking out about the Senate's failure to approve background checks for more firearms sales.


We are not defeated and we will not be defeated.  Those words from Mark Barden whose son Daniel was killed on December 14. He appeared with President Barack Obama following the vote yesterday. He says families are returning home ``disappointed but not defeated.''  He said no one should feel the pain of those who've lost loved ones to senseless violence and that what happened in Newtown can happen anywhere, in an instant any dad in America could be in his shoes.


Barden said the families will return home disappointed, but not defeated.  He continued to say they they will return with the determination that change will happen.


"We will always be here because we have no other choice, we are not going away.  Everyday as more people are killed in this country because of gun violence our determination grows stronger.  We leave Washington hoping that others here and across the country will take The Sandy Hook Promise,  a pledge that we had great hope more U.S. Senators would take literally."


Barden then quoted the opening words: "Our hearts are broken, but our spirit is not."

Neil Heslin, whose 6-year-old son Jesse Lewis was killed, calls the vote discouraging but says the process is only just beginning.


Also appearing with the President were Jimmy Greene, Nicole Hockley, Jeremy Richman and other members of the Barden family along with former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Senate gun control vote angers Conn. officials

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut officials are reacting with shock and anger after the U.S. Senate rejected gun control legislation inspired by the school massacre in the state, including tightened background checks.

State lawmakers recently passed a sweeping bipartisan package of measures including a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines and an expanded assault weapons ban.

State Republican House Leader Lawrence Cafero Jr. appeared stunned the U.S. Senate couldn't pass a background checks compromise. He says ``I just don't understand how you could vote no.''

Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy says senators who voted against the measure ``should be ashamed of themselves.''


Senator Chris Murphy says it's shameful that so many in the Senate chose to turn their backs on Newtown families, victims of gun violence and the vast marjority of the American public.  He continued to say that he saw cowardice on the Senate floor, but has faith that public opinion is moving in only one direction and that the tide of support for gun violence reform will ultimately prevail.

Newtown 911 dispatcher wins national award

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) A Newtown 911 dispatcher who helped handle the chaos after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings has been honored with a national award.

Robert Nute was honored in Newtown Wednesday as the national winner of the Smart Telecommunicator Awards. He was among 12 finalists chosen from hundreds of nominations.

Nute was humble in accepting the award, saying he just did his job like dispatchers in any other town would have done.

The award is given by software company Rave Mobile Safety, the Industry Council for Emergency Response Technologies and the Denise Amber Lee Foundation.

Also Wednesday, the Association of Public Safety Officials awarded the entire Newtown dispatch team a plaque honoring them as Dispatch Center of the Year.

Twenty students and six adults were killed in the December shootings.

Greenberg enters Conn. 5th District race

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Republican Mark Greenberg has entered the race for Connecticut's 5th Congressional District, eight months after losing the GOP primary for the same seat.

Greenberg says he filed the required paperwork to run for the 2014 Republican nomination for the House of Representatives post now held by freshman Democratic Rep. Elizabeth Esty. He's the first person in the northwestern Connecticut district to announce his candidacy.

The Litchfield real estate developer also ran for the 5th District seat in the past two elections. He lost last year's GOP primary to Andrew Roraback.

Greenberg criticized the current members of Congress for not doing enough to reduce the national debt and for being more concerned about re-election than helping struggling families.

Western Connecticut Health Network opens new imaging center

A new Breast Imaging Center is open in Danbury to replace the diagnostic imaging done at Danbury Hospital.  The Center on Germantown Road is a bigger space that's staffed by certified technologists and board-certified radiologists. 


Western Connecticut Health Network Breast Care Program Director Dr. Valerie Staradub says the Breast Navigator at the imaging center will help guide women through the diagnostic process.  She says screening mammography is often the initial point of access to the services provided by the Breast Care program.


Dr. Staradub says the Center will provide all aspects of imaging care from mammography to biopsy services.  The center has state of the art technology and plans to incorporate new technology soon.


She notes that women often feel more comfortable coming to a place that's not a hospital because many of the people they see aren't sick, but coming in for routine screenings.

WCSU event to celebrate death penalty abolition

An event is being held at Western Connecticut State University tonight to mark the one year anniversary of Connecticut abolishing the death penalty.  Marilyn Kain, whose husband is an adjunct professor of Justice and Law Administration, is organizing the celebration. 


Her husband George has traveled across the country and across the globe to advocate for the abolishment of the death penalty.


The keynote speakers are a Hartford Reverend who's son was murdered at the age of 24 and his son's killer.  Reverend Walt Everett and Mike Carlucci have appeared at a number of events together. 


Tonight's event is at 5:30 at the Campus center Ballroom on the Westside campus.

Brookfield Library hosts events for Money Smart Week

The national initiative is designed to help consumers better manage personal finances through free programs and activities.  The events in Brookfield are being held on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday of next week. 


On Monday a program called the Key to Affordable Housing will be held at 7pm.  The Connecticut Finance Housing Authority, which offers mortgage programs and assistance for first time homebuyers and others will discuss all of the programs they offer. 


Wednesday April 24th at 7:30 Brookfield Library will host a panel discussion with Entrepreneurial Moms sharing their secrets for success.  There will be four moms with different business ventures sharing their stories and advice. 


On Thursday at 7pm, Brookfield residents will learn how to spot frauds, scams and identity theft.  The Federal Trade Commission reports that more than 30 million Americans fall victim to fraud each year and that individuals are 40 times more likely to be defrauded than to have a car stolen or home burglarized. 


The panel will also talk about how to limit the harm if you are an identity theft victim.

Conn. to honor environmental conservation officers

MERIDEN, Conn. (AP) Connecticut officials will be honoring the good work of state environmental conservation police officers.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has scheduled an awards ceremony for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Connecticut State Police Museum in Meriden.

Department Commissioner Daniel Esty says awards will be given this year to 11 environmental conservation officers who responded to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown in December. A gunman killed 20 first-graders, six adults and himself at the school, after shooting his mother to death at their home.

Esty said the 11 officers helped evacuate the school and search the building.

Also receiving awards are three DEEP emergency dispatchers and the Maine Warden Service critical incident stress debriefing team.

Memories of shootings return for Newtown runners

BOSTON (AP) Laura Nowacki had rushed to help the shooting victims at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. As a first responder, the pediatrician was stunned at the horror she encountered.

Just four months later, she hurried out of Boston with her husband and four children, anxious to keep them safe after the deadly explosions near the finish line of the historic marathon she had just completed.

The race was supposed to help Nowacki recover from the shock of the Newtown shootings that killed 20 children and six educators and from which her 10-year-old daughter fled uninjured. Instead, it brought the painful memories back.

About 40 minutes after she completed the Boston Marathon on Monday, two explosions near the finish line killed three people and injured more than 170.

Area cities and towns step up security in wake of Boston bombings

Governor Dannel Malloy has ordered U.S. and Connecticut flags to fly at half-staff in honor of the victims of Monday’s bombing at the Boston Marathon.


Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton says the city is on heightened alert and follows a security protocol set up by homeland security. 


Metro North increased security along the commuter railroad in response to the bombings.


The 26th mile of the Boston Marathon was dedicated to Newtown victims.  Karen Alexander, of Sandy Hook, who was scheduled to run but stayed home, said she heard from all the local participants, and they were safe. Alexander said the group completed the race before the explosions.

Company chosen for Danbury school safety assessment

A Georgia-based company has been selected by Danbury schools to act as a consultant on school security.  Safe Havens International, which has conducted more than 2,500 school safety assessments, was selected by the Danbury Board of Education. 


The company charges a $34,000 fee. 


The company says they have developed state-wide school safety security, climate, culture and emergency preparedness assessment approaches for the states of Georgia, Indiana, Hawaii, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

43 Newtown charities report raising $20.4 million

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut officials say 43 charities that collected funds after the Newtown school shooting report raising nearly $20.4 million and distributing nearly $2.9 million of that money.

State Attorney General George Jepsen and Consumer Protection Department Commissioner William Rubenstein said Tuesday that they identified 69 charities involved with raising money after the Dec. 14 massacre. Each were contacted by letter and asked to respond to a short survey.

Jepsen's office plans to follow up with charities that didn't respond.

The foundation handling the largest charitable fund, worth $11 million, voted this month to release $4 million to a distribution committee that has not yet been named.

That $4 million is expected to be dispersed directly to families of the victims, 12 children who escaped and two people who were injured.

Conn. shooting prompts expanded movie ratings

LAS VEGAS (AP) The Motion Pictures Association of America is changing its rating system to better inform parents about violence in movies.

CEO Christopher Dodd announced the tweaks in Las Vegas Tuesday at the annual movie-theater convention, CinemaCon.

The White House has called on the movie industry to give parents better tools to monitor violence in media since the Newtown, Conn., school shooting.

Dodd did not address the shooting directly but spoke generally about the need to help parents control what their kids see.

The new ratings system will include descriptions about why a movie received its ratings.

For example, the rating might cite ``strong carnage'' or ``war violence.''

Newtown parents back study for clues to violence

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Parents, Jeremy Richman and Jennifer Hensel were plunged into grief when their only child, 6-year-old Avielle, was killed in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. As scientists, they wanted answers about what could lead a person to commit such violence.


The couple believes it's unlikely there ever will be a full answer explaining why a man gunned down 26 people inside the Newtown, Conn., school last year. But they feel more research into brain health - and how a propensity for violence is manifested - could help prevent future tragedies.


"When we started reaching out to scientists to talk about the underpinnings of violence and how this particular factor played a role in what happened to us, there is some, but no real, research going on this field," Hensel said.


On Monday, they announced a scientific advisory board for the Avielle Foundation, which was established with the goal of reducing violence. While some other victims' families have immersed themselves in the push for tighter gun restrictions, Avielle Richman's parents see the foundation named for their curly-haired daughter as their response to a tragedy that has launched advocacy work on many fronts, including school safety and mental illness.


The Dec. 14 massacre was carried out by 20-year-old Adam Lanza, who killed 20 first-graders and six educators inside the school with a military-style semi-automatic rifle before committing suicide. The isolated, socially awkward Lanza played first-person shooter video games in a weapon-filled house where he lived with his mother, according to search warrants released last month, but authorities have not described a possible motive or released details of any medical condition that might shed light on his actions.


Avielle, a girl who loved horses, Harry Potter and the color red, had moved to Connecticut with her family about two years before the shooting. Her father kept a blog called "Avielle's Adventures," telling friends about a trip to a Thanksgiving Day parade, her 6th birthday at a horse stable, a road trip to Iowa.


Jeremy Richman is a researcher at the pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim. Hensel, his wife, is a medical writer with her own company. The foundation is a way for them to harness their training and skills - and to channel their grief.


"I think the best way to help from a tragedy such as this is by action where your strengths lie," Hensel said. "This is our motivation now. We will never stop being parents to Avielle."


The Avielle foundation, funded through donations and grants, aims to raise $5 million this year and begin reviewing its first grant applications later this year.


One member of the foundation's advisory board, Terrie E. Moffitt, said science on the origins of violence has been neglected by federal agencies that provide research grants.


"Families of individuals with autism, ADHD, learning problems or schizophrenia demand that funding agencies support research into these disorders," said Moffitt, a neuroscience professor at Duke University and at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London. "Families of violent individuals don't."


The other members of the board announced Monday are R. John Krystal, chair of the psychiatry department at the Yale University School of Medicine, and James Blair, chief of the unit on affective cognitive neuroscience at the National Institute of Mental Health.


The Avielle Foundation says it hopes to remove stigmas for people seeking mental health aid, develop the concept of a "brain health check-up," and identify behavioral and biochemical diagnostics for detection of people at risk of violent behaviors.

Budget hearing tonight in Danbury

There is a public hearing tonight in Danbury on the Mayor's proposed budget.  Residents are being urged to attend the 7pm hearing at City Hall to discuss the budget and $3-million in proposed bonding. 


Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton has proposed a budget for the coming fiscal year that includes a $7.5 million spending increase, or 3.3 percent. Much of the increase is due to health insurance costs.   As of now, the proposed budget would not increase property taxes on 60-percent of residents.  There is however a 19-percent hike in the mill rate because of the state-mandated reval.


City Council Minority Leader Tom Saadi says he hopes residents will attend the public hearing to voice their concerns or support for various proposals.


The budget plan includes $2.2 million for road repairs, funding for Still River dredging and patrol cars.  25 of the 56 vacant positions in city government will go unfilled to save $2-million in spending.  Boughton is keeping a tax freeze in place for eligible seniors.


The sewer and water rates are not slated to increase.


The Education system will be getting an additional $3.1 million. That funding must be used, in part, to pay for school security measures and mental health care.  All-day kindergarten, which was started in many elementary schools in the City, will be expanded to King Street Primary, Ellesworth Avenue and South Street Schools.

Bill banning smoking in cars fails to get out of committee

Committees of the General Assembly have all voted which bills would go further in the legislative process, and which would be put off.  One bill not forwarded by the Transportation Committee this session would have banned smoking in a car when a child younger than 6 is a passenger. 


Committee member Wilton State Senator Toni Boucher says it's like going into someone's home and that's too far reaching.  She says smoking is restricted in public places, but the question is whether a car is a public place or not.


Boucher says the state does a good job of educating kids on the dangers of tobacco.


Representative Henry Genga and 6 others introduced the bill, calling it a matter of public health, and 36 other lawmakers co-sponsored his proposal.

Concert to benefit Edmond Town Hall reonvations

A concert is being held in Newtown on Friday to continue to raise money for the restoration and renovation of Edmund Town Hall Theater.  "Live at the Edmond Town Hall" music series will feature Phosphorescent, a band from Brooklyn New York that's been together for 10 years.


The group leaves the following week for Europe after an appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.  


Series organizer Hayden Bates created the event in 2011.


Friday's will be the first show to use the new state of the art sound system.  Edmond Town Hall was build during the Great Depression and is the only $2 movie theater in Connecticut.


The concert on Friday is at 7pm.


Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online and more information can be found on their Facebook page.

Danbury Children First offers summer camp scholarships

Danbury Children First is offering scholarships for kids to attend Hillside Camp in Brewster this summer.  Executive Director Linda Kosko says the children, age 3 to 15, must live in Danbury.  Parents need to apply before April 22nd. 


The scholarship will be based upon financial need, but also based on a child's particular circumstance.  Scholarships are made possible by Danbury Children First’s partnership with Green Chimneys.


The Hillside Camp is located on 160 acres with fields, forests and streams, with an indoor swimming pool and gym, farm and wildlife center featuring over 350 animals, riding arenas, sandy canoe launch along the East Branch of the Croton River, archery range, playground and pavilion. Kosko says the programs are designed to help campers to learn, grow, make friends and have fun.


Parents must be willing to contribute at least $150 toward the cost for each 3-week session their child will be attending. The regular cost per session is $850–$1,250.


About 18 scholarships will be awarded in total.  Application can be found online.

Blumenthal defends fundraising appeal

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal is defending an electronic fundraising appeal sent to supporters that refers to the elementary school massacre in Newtown.

Appearing at the University of Hartford on Friday, Blumenthal said he's been ``immersed in advocating for sensible, commonsense, preventive measures dealing with gun violence'' and ``the outreach was in support of that cause.''

The email mentions ``the horror of the Dec. 14, 2012 massacre of 20 beautiful children and six dedicated educators in Newtown'' and how Blumenthal has ``focused on serving as a leader in the national effort'' for meaningful gun reform. It then asks supporters to contribute $5.

Connecticut Republican Party Chairman Jerry Labriola Jr. said Blumenthal's appeal ``was at best insensitive.''

A New Haven Register editorial Thursday called Blumenthal's fundraising message ``tasteless as it gets.''

Newtown mom pleads for gun control at White House

WASHINGTON (AP) The mother of a Newtown, Conn., shooting victim is making a deeply personal plea from the White House for all Americans to take action on gun violence.

Francine Wheeler's 6-year-old son, Ben, was killed inside Sandy Hook Elementary School. She's stepping in for President Barack Obama to deliver the president's weekly radio and Internet address. She is the first person to deliver the address other than Obama or Vice President Joe Biden since the two took office in 2009.


A video of the address will be posted here.

Wheeler says "I’ve heard people say that the tidal wave of anguish our country felt on 12/14 has receded.  But not for us.  To us, it feels as if it happened just yesterday.   And in the four months since we lost our loved ones, thousands of other Americans have died at the end of a gun.  Thousands of other families across the United States are also drowning in our grief."


She asks for help to do something, in her words, ``before our tragedy becomes your tragedy.''


Wheeler then talked about the place where she heard the news about her son.


"Sometimes, I close my eyes and all I can remember is that awful day waiting at the Sandy Hook Volunteer Firehouse for the boy who would never come home – the same firehouse that was home to Ben’s Tiger Scout Den 6.  But other times, I feel Ben’s presence filling me with courage for what I have to do – for him and all the others taken from us so violently and too soon."

In the Republican address, congresswoman Jackie Walorski of Indiana criticizes Obama's budget blueprint as a blank check for more spending and debt.

Boston race honors 26 Newtown victims on 26th mile

BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Marathon is honoring the victims of the Newtown, Conn., shooting with a special mile marker in Monday's race.


Boston Athletic Association president Joanne Flaminio said there was "special significance" to the fact that the race is 26.2 miles long and 26 people died at Sandy Hook Elementary school.


Laura Nowacki, a spokeswoman for the Newtown Strong Fund, says the runners will hit Heartbreak Hill knowing it's nothing like the pain felt by the runners back home. She says, "It's just running, but we want our steps to count."


The mile marker that will hang at the end of the 26th mile will feature the city seal surrounded by 26 stars, one for each victim.


There will also be 26 seconds of silence at the start before the race.


Detective Rachel Halas Danbury Officer of the Year

The Exchange Club of Danbury has held its 15th annual Police Officer of the Year Award.  This year's Officer of the Year is Detective Rachel Halas, a 17-year veteran of the Department. 


She started in the Patrol Division and worked her way through Community Services Division Bike Patrol up to Detective in 2000.  Selection Committee Chair Joseph DaSilva says Halas currently works in the Special Victims Unit, which had been the Youth Bureau.


DaSilva says Detective Halas’s police work frequently involves investigating heinous crimes committed against children and has resulted in the removal of violent criminals from the streets.  He says her work with outside social agencies has also been instrumental in improving care provided for families in Danbury.


Detective Halas has taken active leadership roles in community activities such as the Special Olympics Tip-a-Cop and Torch Run events, PAL charity fundraisers, as well as the Danbury Fire Department’s Annual Children’s Fishing Derby among others.


DaSilva says it's obvious of the pride and respect she has for her job.  He adds that Detective Halas constantly and consistently demonstrates her commitment to the community in which she works and lives.

Gun activists raising money to fight Conn. law

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Three gun rights organizations, including the National Rifle Association, are joining forces to challenge Connecticut's new gun control law in court.

Scott Wilson, president of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, said Thursday that his organization, the NRA and the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen are raising funds from gun clubs, gun shops and individuals to help finance a legal team.

Last week, the General Assembly passed and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed into law a wide-ranging bill that bans the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines, expands the state's assault weapons ban, and imposes other restrictions on gun owners. Malloy contends package is ``on a strong footing.''

On Thursday, New London resident Scott Ennis filed the first lawsuit challenging the new law. He's the founder of the Disabled Americans for Firearms Rights.

Start dates et for Newtown interim school Superintenent

The interim Superintendent of Newtown schools is set to start next month.  At the Board of Education meeting Tuesday night it was decided to have Dr John Reed start May 6th.  Reed is a former Newtown Superintendent of Schools. 


May 6th will also be the final day in office for Dr Janet Robinson. 


She will be taking paid vacation days through the end of June, and will be paid for 21 remaining vacation days owed. 


Robinson verbally agreed to take the same position in Stratford on December 13th.  She formally submitted her resignation to the Board of Education in March.

Danbury Mayor lobbies lawmakers at 'Day on the Hill'

Wednesday was the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities' annual Day on the Hill event.  Mayors and First Selectmen from across the state were at the capital to lobby lawmakers about Governor Malloy's proposed budget. 


Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton was among those in Hartford.


In addition to the proposed elimination of the car property tax on most vehicles, Boughton says he is concerned with the proposed elimination of PILOT money.  PILOT, or Payment In Lieu Of Taxes, is a reimbursement to municipalities for hosting facilities like Danbury Hospital and Western Connecticut State University.


Boughton says Danbury also never really receives its fair share of education funding.

Conn. gun maker declares intention to leave state

BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut gun maker has announced it intends to leave the state following the passage of gun-control legislation it says tramples on the rights of citizens and does not show enough consideration for the industry.

Bristol-based PTR says in a statement posted on its website that it has not decided where it will move but it has commitments from most employees to relocate. The company makes military-style rifles and employs more than 40 people.

PTR Vice President John McNamara said Wednesday that it expects to make a more formal announcement about a move within six weeks.

Several Connecticut gun makers have indicated they were considering a move after Gov. Dannel P. Malloy last week signed the law imposing new restrictions on weapons and large capacity magazines.

Conn. hospital members to meet with lawmakers

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut hospitals are organizing a day at the Capitol to lobby against proposed cuts in state aid.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's two-year, $44 billion budget plan cuts state aid to hospitals by $208 million in the first year and $342 million in the second year.

The Malloy administration says that as Medicaid expands and health insurance exchanges are put in place, the number of uninsured will decrease in a few years. As a result, uncompensated care by hospitals will shrink.

The administration says the state is still spending $1.6 billion despite the cuts.

Hospitals say the budget cuts would lead to reductions in jobs, programs and services and shift health care costs to businesses, leading to higher premiums for families.


Western Connecticut Health Network President and CEO Dr. John Murphy says the Governor's proposal calls for unprecedented cuts to patient care reimbursements that, over the next two years, total more than $550 million to hospitals statewide and $30 million to Western Connecticut Health Network.  He says these cuts could devastate the hospitals and agencies that provide health and human services in Connecticut.  Every patient, physician, hospital employee and community in the state will feel the impact.


Murphy says the Governor indicates that hospitals can easily absorb the cuts because of additional revenue we will receive from the Affordable Health Care Act through newly insured patients, but the fact is the care we provide for patients on government-sponsored plans, such as Medicare and Medicaid, will likely receive the lowest reimbursements, and will not cover the cost of the services we provide.


The $30 million reduction in reimbursements - added to the millions of dollars in new taxes and the $4.8 million in cuts faced in December means Western Connecticut Health Network will be forced to scale back on programs and services, including those for low-income families and mental health services.  Murphy says among these would be several community clinic programs, many of the patients who need care most are those who lose care first.


Murphy says if Western Connecticut Health Network is forced to cut programs and services, it cannot sustain current levels of employment.


In 2012, Western Connecticut Health Network subsidized this care by more than $25 million.


Murphy says in order to bolster earnings, they sold inpatient dialysis service and retail pharmacy, and captured nearly 60% of our earnings from investment performance.  Western Connecticut Health Network missed their budget last year by $7 million and did not achieve the 3% operating margin typically needed to receive the best credit rating.


Murphy says the Hospital can't count on investments to grow at the same rate each year.  He notes that the Hospital doesn't have any more services to sell.

Newtown dispatchers praised by Lt. Governor

The dispatchers from the Newtown Emergency Communications Center involved in the response to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School have been recognized.  They were honored during the annual statewide Telecommunicator Day Conference yesterday in Southbury. 


Lt Governor Nancy Wyman noted that it was an honor to be able to say thank you.  She says often times people forget these people save lives every day, it might not be as large of a tragedy as what happened at the school, but they save lives daily.


She said the dispatchers were able to calm callers down and get first responders out to save lives.  One dispatcher who went to Sandy Hook as a student and his kids went there, told Wyman his account of the day.


The man told Wyman that he received a phone call at the Center from people he knew and they were yelling  over the gun shots in the background.  She praised how quickly he and others reacted to get first responders to the school.


State Police Troop A also responded on December 14th and Wyman praised them for their work as well.

Dozens gather in Danbury to raise support for immigration reform

The Time is Now.  That was the rallying cry in downtown Danbury as a group of immigrants and supporters marched down Main Street to raise awareness about the need for immigration reform.  Tribuna Newspaper Editor Emanuela Leaf says the whole system needs to be changed.


Leaf says about 35-percent of Danbury's population is made up of immigrants, but it's not known what percentage are undocumented.  She notes that the line a lot of people talk about and the need to get in line, can happen and undocumented immigrants can then file for citizenship.


Rally co-organizer Carolina Bortolleto is part of a group of students working for passage of the DREAM Act for citizenship.


The U-S Senate is expected to debate a plan this week.

Newtown support fund distributes $4 million to 40 families

$4 million of the $11 million donated to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund is being distributed to 40 families most closely impacted by the shooting. 


The Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation will make the payments to the families of the 26 victims, of 12 surviving children from the two classrooms, and the families of two people injured that day.  Foundation Board Member Attorney Ann Ragusa says these families could receive other monies in the future.


Officials overseeing the fund have faced criticism over the pace of their work from people, including a daughter of Principal Dawn Hochsprung.


Ragusa says immediate needs of first responders and school personnel are currently being considered.

Senators unveil deal on gun sales background check

WASHINGTON (AP) Two pivotal senators have announced a bipartisan deal on expanding background checks to more gun buyers. The agreement could build support for President Barack Obama's drive to curb firearms violence.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Sen. Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania said their agreement would help keep firearms from criminals and the mentally ill.

The checks would now apply to commercial sales, such as transactions at gun shows and online. The sales would have to be channeled through licensed firearms dealers, who would have to keep records of the transactions.

Manchin said that since the slayings of school children and educators in Newtown, Conn., both sides in the gun debate must find common ground. Toomey said he considers expanded background checks common sense, not gun control.

Municipal leaders to lobby against car tax cut

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Municipal officials from across Connecticut are headed to the Capitol to propose changes to Gov. Dannel Malloy's budget plan.

Mayors, first selectmen and town managers have scheduled meetings with lawmakers today.


Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton is among those at the state capital.  He says Danbury would lose $11 million in revenue if the car tax proposal goes through.  His proposed budget for the coming fiscal year assumes that the idea doesn't gain approval.

Local officials are expected to ask the legislature's Finance and Appropriations committees to ``do no harm'' to municipalities, and they will highlight possible cuts in municipal aid that would result from Malloy's proposed budget.

Municipal officials and others have criticized Malloy's two-year $43.8 billion budget plan for proposing to exempt the first $20,000 of a vehicle's assessed value from the local property tax. Town and city officials worry they'd have to raise property taxes to cover the lost revenue.

Hundreds of real estate agents from around Connecticut are also expected to come to Hartford to meet with state lawmakers.

The Connecticut Association of Realtors opposes increases in the real estate conveyance tax and wants changes to the state's foreclosure regulations.

The professional trade association has expressed displeasure with Malloy's proposal to increase the municipal portion of the real estate conveyance tax to help cover the state's budget deficit.

Tweed airport to sue FAA over cuts, Danbury officials fight to save tower

All of the contract air traffic control towers being closed because of federal budget cuts received a small reprieve last week when the Federal Aviation Administration announced that it would not close the towers until this summer.  Danbury officials say over the coming weeks they will work to keep the six controllers employed at the Danbury Municipal Airport tower.


New Haven officials and Tweed New Haven Regional Airport are planning to sue the FAA in an effort to stop the closing of the airport's air traffic control tower.

Mayor John DeStefano Jr. tells the New Haven Register that officials will do everything possible to stop the closing of the tower and retain commercial service, including filing a lawsuit or joining existing litigation over tower closures across the country.

The FAA intends to close control towers at 149 small airports nationwide on June 15 because of government-wide spending cuts. Towers at five other Connecticut airports would close under the plan.

Tweed officials first have to file an administrative complaint with the FAA before suing, but expect the agency to reject the complaint.

Newtown parents to lobby lawmakers

WASHINGTON (AP) Senate Democrats continue to mull strategy for their efforts at gun legislation, especially expanded background checks.

They're holding a lunchtime meeting today to assess whether West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin has reached an acceptable compromise or has a realistic chance of getting one with Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey.

Some Newtown, Conn., families are spending time today lobbying lawmakers.

Democrats will be deciding in the next couple of days whether they should try to get Republican support or follow the shakier path of pursuing it on their own.

Obama warns against blocking gun bill, man with BB gun arrested near motorcade

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) President Barack Obama says the contentious debate over gun control measures ``shouldn't be about politics.'' He's warning Republican lawmakers against using delay tactics to sink legislation.

Obama spoke Monday night about his gun proposals in Connecticut, where 20 children and 6 adults were killed in a horrific school shooting last year. The shooting spurred fresh debate in Washington over gun control measures.

The president is singling out GOP lawmakers who want to use procedural maneuvers to block legislation. Obama says the move would be akin to saying the public's opinion doesn't matter.

He's also challenging the notion that gun legislation would be a political victory for him. He says the debate ``isn't about me'' and should instead focus on families that have been torn apart by violence.

Police in Connecticut say they arrested a man who pulled out a rifle-like BB gun as President Barack Obama's motorcade passed by him.

Authorities say the man was pacing back and forth and then pulled out the gun yesterday as the motorcade went by in Bloomfield while returning to Bradley International Airport, after the president's speech on gun control at the University of Hartford.

Bloomfield police have not released the man's name or the charges against him.

Police say officers noticed the man acting suspiciously and took him into custody by force when he pulled out the gun.

The man is expected to be arraigned in Hartford Superior Court today.

Newtown sends out the last post-shooting donations

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Newtown officials and the families of those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary school have given away nearly 64,000 stuffed animals and thousands of other gifts that poured into town after the massacre.

An official says the last boxes of toys, teddy bears and school supplies were shipped out of the warehouse the town had been using on March 29.


Newtown officials say they have distributed all of the 63,790 stuffed animals and thousands of other items sent there in the wake of December’s shooting. The town received enough school supplies to fill 2,211 large moving boxes, and games and puzzles to fill 159, said Chris Kelsey, the town assessor, who was in charge of organizing the gifts. Other gifts included clothing, bicycles and quilts.

Sandy Hook and later Newtown families were able to pick what they wanted from the donations, through town-sponsored giveaways.

The rest went to charities, mostly chosen by the victims' families. They include hospitals, programs for children with mental health issues, victims of Superstorm Sandy even street children in India.


Tree Arrington, founder and director of REAL Skills Network Inc., said he became emotional as he watched the parents of 6-year-old Daniel Barden lug boxes of toys and school supplies up the stairs to his office in Poughkeepsie.


The organization provides educational and summer programs for underprivileged children in the area, and after their niece’s experience there, the Barden family decided it would be a perfect place to share some of the gifts.


Arrington said the Bardens’ donation allowed him to provide book bags and pencil cases to children who wouldn’t otherwise have one, as well as toys for a reading program.


Robbie Parker, who lost his 6-year-old daughter, Emilie, sent some of the donations to a group called Green Chimneys, which provides help for children with emotional and behavioral problems.


‘‘To go from the darkest moment that you could ever imagine yourself being in and being overwhelmed with love and support really does help you get out of that hole,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s been amazing to be a part of that.’’


Six-year-old Ben Wheeler’s family sent teddy bears in his memory to victims of Sandy in the hard-hit Rockaways area of New York City.


The Lindenwood Christian Church in Memphis, Tenn., ended up with 240 boxes of toys, school supplies and clothing, which the church’s youth group is repackaging to send to India to give to homeless children there.  The church became the beneficiary through the family of 6-year-old victim Jesse Lewis. His grandmother has a good friend who is a member of the church and told them about the India project.


The families of Jesse and teacher Victoria Soto, who was hailed as a hero after her death for trying to shield students from the gunman, asked that some be given to the state Department of Children and Families.

Budget forum hosted in Danbury by area state lawmakers

Danbury state Senator Mike McLachlan and Senate Minority Leader John McKinney will answer taxpayers' questions during a 90-minute forum at the Broadview Middle School Auditorium in Danbury.  The event is part of McKinney’s statewide “Fiscal Responsibility” tour. 


McLachlan says it's important for the legislature and the Governor to hear from taxpayers as the General Assembly finds a way out of the fiscal crisis.  The pair will discuss the proposals in the state budget, Connecticut's deficit and pension obligations. 


McLachlan says in order to get the state back on the right fiscal track, the General Assembly and the Governor need to listen and learn from taxpayers.


They will then take questions.  The session tonight at Broadview Middle School is from 7pm to 8:30.

Sandy Hook memorial playground opens in central NJ

SEA BRIGHT, N.J. (AP) Organizers in New Jersey have opened the first of several memorial playgrounds that are being built across the region in honor the 26 victims of the Newtown, Conn. Schoolhouse massacre.

The playground that opened Saturday in Sea Bright honors special education teacher Anne Marie Murphy.

The playgrounds one for each child and teacher killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School are being built in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut communities hit hard by Superstorm Sandy.

The project, named ``The Sandy Ground Project: Where Angels Play,'' is being spearheaded by New Jersey's Firefighter's Mutual Benevolent Association. It connects the two tragedies that share the name ``Sandy.''

Sea Bright was chosen for the first playground because of the level of devastation brought by Sandy.



(Photo Courtesy The Sandy Ground Project)


Ground was broken this weekend for another playground.  That one dedicated to a 6-year old boy.


Jack Pinto's playground in Union Beach is just about finished.  The ribbon cutting will be May 4th at Firemen's Park.  Jack's 8th birthday would have been May 6th.  His older brother was named foreman of the project.



Ben drills the first hole in the cement to start the build (Photo Courtesy The Sandy Ground Project)

Obama promoting gun legislation in Conn., will bring some families on AF1

WASHINGTON (AP) President Barack Obama is trying to boost the chances of gun legislation that could be in jeopardy this week with a trip to the home state of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Obama is visiting Hartford, where last week the governor signed a law with widespread restrictions on firearms. The U.S. Senate could take up national legislation this week.

Obama plans to meet with Sandy Hook families and argue that lawmakers have an obligation to the children killed and other victims of gun violence to act on his proposals.

Senators have yet to reach a deal to pass expanded background checks for gun sales. An assault weapons ban doesn't appear to have enough votes, and the prospect for a ban on high-capacity magazines also appears bleak.


Obama is bringing 11 families of those killed in the shooting at Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School to Washington on Air Force One.

A nonprofit organization that works with the families, Sandy Hook Promise, says the president is bringing victims' relatives with him on his plane after he delivers a speech Monday on gun control in Hartford. The White House says Obama is going to say in his remarks that lawmakers have an obligation to the children killed and other victims of gun violence to act on his proposals.

Gun legislation is up for debate in the Senate this week after lawmakers return from spring break. The Sandy Hook families want to speak to lawmakers to encourage their vote amid tough opposition to the proposals.

Conn. assisted suicide bill not to be considered

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut lawmakers are declining to consider a bill that would permit physicians to prescribe medication to help a dying patient end his or her own life.


The legislature's Public Health Committee faced a deadline of Friday to vote on the bill. Supporters said they removed it from the agenda to avoid lengthy discussion or filibuster that could jeopardize other vital bills.


Supporters said they would reintroduce the bill in the next legislative session.


The bill would have made Connecticut the third state in the country, after Oregon and Washington, to allow what is sometimes referred to as assisted suicide.


Danbury State Senator Mike McLachlan says this bill tells Connecticut residents that suicide is an acceptable solution to life’s hardships.  He calls it a dangerous precedent that will legitimize suicide.


McLachlan says in states where assisted suicide has been approved suicide rates have increased.  13 years after assisted suicide passed in Oregon, the suicide rate was 41% higher than the national average.

Rangers fan honors daughter killed in massacre

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Longtime Texas Rangers fan Robbie Parker was trying to calm his nerves before throwing the ceremonial first pitch in honor of a daughter who died in the Newtown school shooting.

So he turned to former star catcher Ivan Rodriguez and jokingly asked if they were the only two people around, even though they were on the field at sold-out Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Friday. It sure seemed that way when the pair shared a long, emotional embrace after Parker met his goal of getting the pitch all the way to the 14-time All-Star's glove.

Parker's 6-year-old daughter, Emilie, was among the 26 people who died in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in December.

Conn. delegation hopes to push gun control in DC

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy say they hope this week's passage of a sweeping gun control bill in Connecticut will prompt support in Washington for universal background checks, tougher gun trafficking laws and a ban on high-capacity magazines.

Joined by U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, the lawmakers who dub themselves ``Team Newtown,'' in honor of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, plan to renew their efforts this week and next. They hope to persuade their colleagues to support gun law changes. They appeared on the steps of Hartford City Hall.

Murphy said he hopes the passage of Connecticut's bipartisan legislation will be ``a turning point in the national discussion about gun violence'' because the state has shown that Republicans and Democrats can work together to reduce gun violence.

Congress members, teachers union react to new bill

The state's largest teacher's union is applauding passage of the gun control legislation which was signed into law Thursday.  Connecticut Education Association President Sheila Cohen says the establishment of School Safety Committees and Safety Standards for school building projects as well as tougher gun laws will go a long way to improving school security.


While some districts have put armed guards and police in schools, Cohen says the CEA was pleased that was not mandated in the bill and left as a local decision.  She is pleased the school security measures in the bill will not turn facilities into prisons.


The CEA was also pleased that some mental health reforms were also in the bill, including a measure that calls for training to be able to more easily recognize warning signs in kids.


U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and 5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty are discussing the chances for gun control measures coming out of Washington.  Esty was asked if Congress will pass new controls given pro-gun lobbying, political maneuvering and skepticism about member's ability to accomplish anything.


Esty urged resident to write to lawmakers asking for common sense gun reform laws.


Blumenthal says he hopes Connecticut's new gun law will inspire Congress to take action rather than bypass the issue because it's controversial.  He says Congress can pass universal background checks.

Danbury budget unveiled, includes funding for school security

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton has proposed a budget for the coming fiscal year that includes a $7.5 million spending increase, or 3.3 percent.  Much of the increase is due to health insurance costs. Boughton has created a retirement incentive program that will de-leverage the current pension system of  millions of dollars of required payments.
The budget assumes that the Governor’s plan to eliminate the car tax will not take effect.  If the car tax is eliminated, the City will have an $11-million hole to fill with either higher taxes or drastic spending cuts. 
Boughton says as of now his proposed budget would not increase property taxes on 60-percent of residents.  There is however a 19-percent hike in the mill rate because of the state-mandated reval. 
The Education system will be getting an additional $3.1 million.  That funding must be used in part to pay for school security measures and mental health care.  All-day kindergarten, which was started in many elementary schools in the City, will be expanded to King Street Primary, Ellesworth Avenue and South Street Schools.

The budget plan includes $2.2 million for road repairs, funding for Still River dredging and patrol car replacements. 


25 of the 56 vacant positions in city government will go unfilled to save $2 million in spending.
Boughton is keeping a tax freeze in place for eligible seniors.  The sewer and water rates are not slated to increase.

Conn. jury awards $6.5M in hospital death

DANBURY, Conn. (AP) Attorneys say a Connecticut jury has awarded $6.5 million to the family of a man whose death at Danbury Hospital was blamed on excessive sodium.

The Danbury Superior Court jury deliberated more than four days before reaching the verdict Thursday. A court clerk confirmed the verdict amount.

Attorneys for the family of 44-year-old Jeffrey Pattison say he was admitted to Danbury Hospital March 1, 2006 due to low sodium, and died March 16, 2006 when his sodium level rose rapidly.

Attorneys Sean McElligott and Joshua Koskoff, who represented Pattison's estate, say Danbury Hospital did not properly monitor Pattison and continued to administer a sodium solution despite the obvious danger that was resulting.

Hospital officials say they disagree with the judgment.

Area lawmakers split on new gun violence prevention bill

Governor Dannel Malloy, who four months ago broke the news to shocked parents, is touting new restrictions on weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines similar to the ones used by the gunman.  In the hours after the shooting Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School, as anxious family members gathered inside a firehouse and waited for news, Malloy told them their loved ones were not coming home. He said later that he didn't think it was right for the families to wait for the victims - 20 first-graders and six educators - to be formally identified.


Here is a tally sheet of how Greater Danbury area lawmakers voted:



24th District Michael McLachlan (R) YES

26th District Toni Boucher (R) YES

30th District Clark Chapin (R) NO

28th District  John McKinney (R) YES



2nd District (R) Dan Carter NO

106th District (R) Mitch Bolinsky YES

107th District (R) David Scribner NO

108th District (R) Richard Smith YES

109tth District (D) David Arconti YES

110th District (D) Robert Godfrey YES

138th District (R) Jan Geigler NO

67th District (R) Cecilia Buck-Taylor NO

112th District (R) DebraLee Hovey YES

135th District (R) John Shaban YES

111th District (R) John Frey  YES


Here is a look at how the proposals compare to laws passed this year in Colorado and New York:



Connecticut would ban the sale or purchase of ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds. The legislation allows people to keep high-capacity magazines they already own if they're registered with the state by Jan. 1 but limits their use to the home and a shooting range.

New York restricted ammunition magazines to seven bullets and gave current owners of higher-capacity magazines a year to sell them out of state. Colorado banned ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds.



Connecticut wants to expand its assault weapons ban, adding more than 100 types of weapons in addition to those that have more than one banned military-style feature.

New York also expanded its assault weapons ban. Colorado did not pass an assault weapons ban.



Connecticut would require universal criminal background checks for the sale of all guns as soon as the bill passes, closing a loophole in private sales of rifles and shotguns. Background checks also would be required to buy ammunition and magazines.

Colorado expanded background checks to private and online gun sales but did not require them to buy ammunition. New York expanded background checks to private gun sales and became the first state to require background checks to buy bullets.



Connecticut created what officials called the first statewide dangerous weapon offender registry in the nation. Individuals who have been convicted of any of 40 weapons offenses must register with the state for five years after their release.



People involuntarily committed by court order to a hospital for psychiatric disabilities within five years would not be allowed to possess a gun, up from one year under current Connecticut law.

New York required mental health professionals to tell state authorities if a patient threatens to use a gun illegally.



Connecticut wants to expand the legal duty to securely store a firearm to cover situations where a resident of the premises poses a risk of personal injury to themselves or others.

New York requires locked storage of guns if you live with someone prohibited from them because of a crime, commitment to a mental institution or court protection order and made the unsafe storage of assault weapons a misdemeanor.

Greater Danbury lawmakers comment on new bill

Newtown Representative DebraLee Hovey says the law passed early Thursday strikes a very difficult balance between the second amendment right to bear arms and the protection of citizens that as a state must be provided. 


She said it's unfortunate that honest, law abiding gun owners will have to jump through so many hoops but in response to the victims and families who were personally affected by the Sandy Hook tragedy, but that she had no option but to vote yes.  Hovey continued by saying the rhetoric of the two opposing positions has pitted neighbor against neighbor, but hopefully, now the community will be able to begin to heal.


Newtown Representative Mitch Bolinsky said in prepared remarks:


"Today, I dedicate my vote to the memory of those whose lives were lost at Sandy Hook Elementary School. For the families I represent, I vote yes to a comprehensive, bipartisan bill that, while not perfect, provides a foundation of common sense firearms legislation, while preserving the rights of responsible citizens under the Second Amendment. I am also encouraged to see the bill before us as a beginning in the process of addressing critical mental health issues and establishing historic school safety guidelines, giving municipalities the ultimate choice - without mandates."


"Twenty-six families and the entire Newtown community suffered unimaginable losses on December 14, 2012. I hope the victims' families, our first responders and everyone affected can sleep a little better and feel safer knowing that, through an arduous and deliberate process, we in the legislature and the State of Connecticut listened carefully to all perspectives and took action. I would like to thank every resident who spoke at our public hearings, wrote, called, e-mailed, texted or engaged me on the street, at the grocery store and even at Newtown's Edmond Town Hall movie theater."


Danbury Representative Jan Giegler says the bill does not focus on the true issue in the tragedy at Sandy Hook.  In an emailed statement, she said mental health which was at the root of the rampage at Sandy Hook and that the tragedy in Newtown was caused by a person who should never have had access to a gun in the first place.  “This bill package, which includes only a sliver of information about mental health and school safety, only attacks responsible gun owners and their 2nd Amendment rights.  Every two years as elected officials, we stand and raise our right hands and swear to uphold the State and Federal Constitutions which I feel I would not be doing by voting for this bill.”


Giegler added: “As a parent I deeply care about the safety of our children in their learning environment but this bill has missed the mark, creating more regulation and little to make individuals safer, consequently I cannot support it.”


Redding Representative John Shaban said in an emailed statement:


"As a father, gun owner and resident of northern Fairfield County, these issues and the tragedy that prompted this discussion weigh on me as they do all citizens of Connecticut.  Notably, the bill is not simply a “gun bill,” it addresses school security, mental health reforms and new gun control measures as one package.  From the beginning of these discussions, my consideration and calculus has been to focus more on people than devices – and specifically, how can we best protect our children and neighbors from those who chose to use a gun to commit violence, without vilifying law abiding citizens who chose to own a gun under their inalienable rights.  This has been a difficult process."


Shaban continued by saying: "Thus, as a gun owner, lawyer and legislator, I believe that the resulting gun restrictions -- both the common sense ones and the problematic ones -- are acceptable (and Constitutional) when viewed, as they must be, in conjunction with the larger package containing the reforms in school security and mental health treatment.  (Indeed, a republican motion to “divide the question” was defeated on a party line vote.)  I support the final bill because, in total and on balance, I think it will effect a positive change despite its remaining imperfections."


Danbury Senator Mike McLachlan says he spent many nights thinking about how he would vote on this bill.  He was inclined to vote "no" before the grandfather clause was added for fears that the new law would not pass constitutional muster. 


"December 14th changed a lot of people's view points on a lot of things.  The preciousness of life, the priority of our lives and it certaintly affected me in a very great way quite frankly more than I would have anticipated."


McLachlan says this tragedy forced him to take pause and think about this debate in a different way than he never would have before. 


"What I found was that Caroline Pheobe Previdi, who was 6 years old...whose grandparents and great-grandparents I have known my entire life, was lost that day at Sandy Hook...Under different circumstances I would look at this bill very differently.  But today I am support this bill.  In hopes, in hopes, that I am properly honoring Caroline Pheobe Previdi."


New Milford Senator Clark Chapin said he gave great consideration to the many different viewpoints that have been shared by email, phone and in person during several town hall meetings.


“During today’s legislative session, the final bill was shared with legislators only hours before the debate was scheduled to begin. After reviewing the 138-page document, I continue to have concerns with some of the provisions that would penalize law-abiding gun owners. While there are some worthwhile provisions that focus on gun violence, improving mental health care and school safety measures, I could not support today’s legislation since some provisions negatively impact those who responsibly use firearms for hunting, sports competition and self-defense in northwest Connecticut.”


Wilton Senator Toni Boucher said when a parent sends their child to school they expect them to be safe.  She also related a story of her neighbor's children visiting her and telling about their school day.  She said the kids practiced hiding in closets to see if they would fit and one tried to get inside her locker.  Boucher said it's awful to think that that is what kids have to worry about now.


Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, whose district includes Newtown, said he felt he was representing the interests of the Sandy Hook victims as he cast his vote.  ‘‘I stand here as their voice, as their elected representative,’’ he said, reciting the names of the 26 victims at the school.

Conn. lawmakers pass wide-ranging gun control law

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut lawmakers have approved wide-ranging legislation in response to last year's deadly school shooting in Newtown, including gun control measures that ban the sales of large-capacity ammunition magazines and more than 100 weapons that previously had been legal.

Following hours of respectful and at times somber debate, the House and the Senate voted in favor of the 139-page bill crafted by leaders from both major parties in the Democratic-controlled General Assembly.

The bill now goes to Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who plans to sign it at noon on Thursday.

Some of the measures take effect right away. Those include expansion of the state's assault weapons ban, background checks for all firearms sales and a ban on the sale or purchase of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. The bill also addresses mental health and school security measures.


The bill passed 26-10 in the Senate and 105-44 in the House.


House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz says he prays the bill will prevent other families from experiencing the loss felt by the 26 families of the Sandy Hook school shooting victims.


House Republican Leader Lawrence Cafero helped craft the legislation. He says he realizes gun owners aren't happy with the bill, but he stresses that no one will lose their legally owned guns or magazines.

Photo released of Newtown gunman by Conn. college

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) A photo of the gunman who killed 20 first-graders and six adults at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school has been released by the college he attended several years ago.

The college identification photo of a wide-eyed Adam Lanza was released by Western Connecticut State University in Danbury in response to a records request by the media.

Among the newly released records, Lanza responded ``none'' to a question asking if he had any documented disabling condition.

The 20-year-old, who went on a shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, was said to have been diagnosed with Asperger's, a disorder not associated with violence.

Lanza took his last class at the college in 2009. He declined to answer questions in 2008 about his gender and how he described himself.


$95 million in state bond money for CSUS

Governor Dannel Malloy approved the funding for the Connecticut State University System on Tuesday.  The bond money will be used for CSUS 2020 projects during the 2014 fiscal year.  The long-term capital infrastructure investment plan started in 2009. 


Western is receiving $1 million for code compliance infrastructure improvements.  There is also $4.6 million earmarked for equipment and furniture for the new Fine Arts Instructional Center.  $4.2 million is being used for a new police department facility.


Western Spokesman Paul Steinmetz says there is nearly $3 million for the design phase of renovations at Higgins Hall.


Alterations and improvements to auxiliary service projects systemwide will share $5 million.


A bulk of the bond money, $71.5 million, is going to Eastern for construction of a Fine Arts Center.

Lawmakers to vote on gun control package, Obama plans Conn. trip

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut lawmakers are expected to pass a package of gun control and other measures they believe are some of the most comprehensive in the country, following the Newtown school massacre.

Debate on the far-reaching legislation, negotiated by Democratic and Republican legislative leaders, is expected to begin late Wednesday morning.

It could last for hours. Both gun rights advocates and gun control supporters are expected to show up in large numbers.

Some measures in the bill would take effect immediately, including expansion of the state's assault weapons ban, background checks for all firearms sales, and a ban on the sale or purchase of ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds.


The text of the bill can be found on the state legislature's website.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says he'll sign the legislation into law. Family members of the shooting victims have voiced their support.

The mother of a child killed in the Dec. 14 school shooting says she's grateful and pleased with the gun control proposal that state lawmakers have unveiled.  Nicole Hockley and five other relatives of Newtown victims visited the Capitol on Monday, asking lawmakers to ban existing high-capacity ammunition magazines.

The proposal fell short of that but did include a ban on new high-capacity magazines and registration requirements for existing ones.

Hockley said lawmakers had listened to her and other victims' families by strengthening the provision on large capacity magazines.

Tim Mackris, co-founder of Sandy Hook Promise, called the bill ``a step in the right direction.''

President Barack Obama is planning a trip to Connecticut Monday to step up the pressure on a reluctant Congress to pass gun control legislation.

A White House official speaking on a condition of anonymity says the president will speak at the University of Hartford. Families of those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in December are being invited to attend.

It will be the president's second trip in a week to a state hit by a mass shooting tragedy. He's traveling Wednesday to Colorado, the site of a shooting at a crowded movie theater last summer.

The official spoke on a condition of anonymity since the trip had not yet been officially announced.

Conn. bill provides immunity to security experts

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut lawmakers are considering a bill that would provide immunity from civil liability for school security consultants.

The legislature's Judiciary Committee heard public testimony Monday on the proposal, co-sponsored by Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, whose district includes Newtown.

Many school districts have revisited their security plans following the Dec. 14 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

Under the bill, any person hired by a school board, charter school or regional educational center as a consultant and who designs a security plan for a school or a district would be immune from civil liability for damage or injury resulting from any errors or omissions made in a school security plan.

There would be an exception for damages and injuries caused by reckless and willful misconduct.

Conn. lawmakers unveil bipartisan gun control plan

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut lawmakers say they hope their announcement of sweeping proposals to curb gun violence sends a message to Congress and other states that bipartisan agreement on gun control is possible.

Legislative leaders yesterday revealed proposals spurred by the Dec. 14 Newtown school shooting following weeks of bipartisan, closed-door negotiations. A vote is expected tomorrow in the General Assembly, where passage is all but assured.

Senate President Donald Williams Jr. says Democrats and Republicans were able to agree on a ``strong, comprehensive bill,'' and that message should resound around the country.

The proposals include a ban on new high-capacity ammunition magazines like the ones used in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 20 children and six educators, and a statewide dangerous weapon offender registry.

Applications accepted for Sandy Hook Workers Assistance Program

The fund is intended to provide immediate financial help for emergency responders, medical and mental health professionals, and Sandy Hook Elementary School employees who suffered a mental or emotional impairment because of the shooting. 


The Program limits each eligible person to a total of 52 weeks of financial help, including any retroactive payments to cover time lost and medical expenses before filing the application. 


All medical and mental health expense payments will be made directly to applicants who will be responsible to pay providers directly for services. If vacation or sick time compensation is being requested, the employer will be reimbursed and vacation or sick time would be restored. 


Eligible persons can receive financial help for unpaid wages from their employment and payments for related medical and mental health expenses that are not covered by health insurance or any other financial resources.   If applicants had unpaid lost wages or a decrease in income, payments will be made directly to that individual. 


In addition to the medical opinion, applicants must also submit a letter from employers or the agency they volunteer for that documents being at or provided necessary duties related to the Sandy Hook crisis.


More information about the Fund can be found here.


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