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Local Headlines Archives for 2013-10

Thriller on New Milford Green

Halloween revelers are in for a treat Thursday night  on the New Milford Green. That’s when all the adventurous people who answered a call for flash mob dancers will perform to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

A former Rockette asked folks 14 and older to come learn the dance, to add a new twist to the town’s Halloween festivities. The mob is expected to thrill residents at 6:30 p.m.

Tests confirm no drugs in system of Conn. Shooter

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The office of Connecticut's chief medical examiner has confirmed that toxicology tests on the body of the Newtown school shooter did not turn up any drugs or alcohol in his system.


The Associated Press reported in May that no alcohol, illegal drugs or prescription medications had been found in the system of gunman Adam Lanza.


The medical examiner's office said Tuesday that the full report indicated the tests were negative. The report was cleared for release months ago with permission from Lanza's father. The findings were first reported Tuesday by The Hartford Courant.


Lanza gunned down 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14 before committing suicide.


Authorities have said prescription records were found in Lanza's home but have not disclosed the contents of the documents.

Relatives of Sandy Hook victims issue pleas

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The prosecutor leading the investigation into the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre is asking a Connecticut court to stay an order by the Freedom of Information Commission to release 911 tapes from last year's shooting. The FOI commission last month ruled in favor of The Associated Press, which sought access to the recordings.


Two relatives of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre are telling members of a Connecticut panel they don't want the 911 tapes from that day released to the public.


Bill Sherlach, whose wife, Mary, was killed on Dec. 14, said Wednesday that no one needs to hear the sounds from that day. He said there could be a compromise, such as providing a written transcription.


The task force is reviewing ideas for balancing public disclosure with victim privacy rights.


The state's Freedom of Information Commission recently ruled in favor of a request made by The Associated Press to release of the 911 recordings, but a prosecutor has said the ruling will be appealed.


Nicole Hockley, whose son, Dylan, was killed, is also worried about crime scene photos being released, fearing that "misguided people" might try to use the photos to promote political or other agendas.

Women's Center SafeWalk raises $40K, honors men

Nearly 400 people have participated in the Women's Center of Greater Danbury's annual SafeWalk.
The 7th annual SafeWalk was held earlier this month at the mall and to date more than $40,000 was raised by the Women's Center of Greater Danbury.  Any donation made through the Women's Center First Giving online fundraising effort through December 30th will be counted toward the 2013 SafeWalk goal.
The top three fundraising teams during the 2013 SafeWalk were Strength in Number s from Fairfield County Bank, Team Walkie Talkie from Ridgefield and Danbury Surgical Center. 
This year's theme was Honoring Men in the Movement.  Seven people were recognized for their efforts.  Among them is Kyle Pinto, a former Prevention Educator at the Center who now lives in Virginia as a national trainer with social service agencies to increase the knowledge and response to domestic violence.  Another honoree is Shaun McDonough, a Residential Director at West Conn and co-chair of Operation Jungle Red--an extensive anti-violence campaign.


Denis Boufard, a retired teacher who helped bring the Dating Violence awareness program to Immaculate High School in Danbury, was also among those honored.  David Lee, a registered Nurse and volunteer EMT, has also volunteered at the Women's Center and recently completed their bystander intervention training program. 


James Ascone a Women’s Center Prevention Educator and co-chair of the “Men’s Initiative to End Violence”, is also the leader of The Women's Center “Young Men’s Initiative”.  Russell Coyle serves as a Captain of the Northville Volunteer Fire Department who was instrumental in bringing Sexual Harassment Training to the firehouse. 


Everett Redente is a West Conn social work student who previously interned with the Women’s Center as the LGBTQ Advocate, and is a co-developer of the “Safe Zone Training,” education on gender identity and sexual orientation and the surrounding issues to prevent and eliminate discrimination.

Artwork by Bethel, Sherman students to be displayed at Capital

Artwork by some Bethel Middle School students will hang in the state capital next month. 
Representatives Dan Carter and David Scribner visited Bethel Middle School last week to meet with 6th graders and to announce the winners of an art contest they sponsored.  The lawmakers gave the theme of what it means to be from Bethel. 
Three winners were chosen. 
The winning pieces were created by Isabella Donatucci, Ryan Dudley and Danielle Da Silva.  They illustrated pieces entitled PT Barnum Circus Horses, Bethel Music Department is a Top 100 School District and Bright Futures for Bethel Children.


(Bethel Middle School art teacher Maureen Berescik, Rep. David Scribner, art contest winner Danielle Da Silva, art contest winner Isabella Donatucci, Rep. Dan Carter and art contest winner Ryan Dudley)


Sherman State Representative Richard Smith met with art students at the Sherman School to celebrate their recent illustrations of “What it means to be from Sherman, CT.”  Smith asked the school to select the top two pieces of art to be displayed at the State Capitol complex during the exhibition that will take place throughout November.



Josh Schutz and Nadia Ostrosky were presented with certificates of recognition for their hard work and creativity.

Sidewalk dining area license considered in New Milford

Licenses for outdoor dining on town owned portions of village sidewalks has been discussed in New Milford.
A sample "sidewalk dining area" license was drafted for the New Milford Town Council to review.  It's a revocable license that requires proof of insurance by the restaurant.  Both the establishment name and the owner would be listed on the proposed license. 
Right now there is no fee listed. 
Mayor Patricia Murphy told the Council that an 11pm restriction in the license is because most restaurants are in mixed use neighborhoods. 
The license would be granted and revoked at the discretion of the Mayor.  Some concerns were raised about the lack of appeal process.  But the town's attorney said adding an enforcement agency or "sound discretion" wording would open the town to lawsuits. 
The item was tabled for a future meeting.

Part of Main St in New Milford to close on Halloween

Main Street in New Milford is being closed down for a few hours on Halloween. 
The southbound side of Main Street will be closed between 5pm and 7:30pm for the Trunk or Treat event.  It's being promoted as a safe alternative to door-to-door trick or treating.  An $800 donation from Arthur Howland and Associates will defray the cost of the event. 
Last year, because Superstorm Sandy virtually canceled Halloween, more than a thousand children participated in the Parks and Rec event.  A thriller flash mob event with dancing zombies will start at 6:30. 
Main Street will be closed from the top of the green down to Bridge Street.  The northbound side would remain open to thru traffic.  The traffic authority approved the request unanimously at their meeting earlier this month.

Meet the Candidates night in Brookfield

A meet the candidates night is being held Tuesday in Brookfield.


The Brookfield PTO and the Brookfield High School Student Council are hosting a Meet the Candidates Night on Tuesday.  The event will feature people running for the Boards of Education, FInance and Selectman.  Organizers say it's a chance to learn more about the candidates in an open forum. 


Questions are being crafted by the student council, which is accepting community input. 


Brookfield High School students will be providing child care during the evening with crafts projects.  The forum is at 7pm Tuesday in the Brookfield High School library.

Pot or Not, a debate about marijuana's future in CT

Now that Connecticut has legalized the medical use of marijuana, a forum on the issue is being held at West Conn. 
"Pot or Not: A debate on the future of marijuana in Connecticut" will be moderated by a state lawmaker and be between a doctor and an advocate of the legalization.  Darien state Representative Terrie Wood served on the Regulations Review Committee for Medical Marijuana.  The debate is being hosted by Danbury-based Midwestern Connecticut Council of Alcoholism. 
Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds is executive director of the Long Island Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.  Erik Williams played a leading role in drafting the medical marijuana bill. 
With the decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana and implementation of medicinal marijuana, some have questioned if Connecticut will join states like Colorado in legalizing marijuana for use by adults. 
The debate in Ives Concert Hall in White Hall on West Conn's midtown Campus is Wednesday at 7pm.

Town meeting set in Redding on ordinances, capital expenditures

A Town Meeting is being held in Redding Wednesday to decide on a number of items.  Among them is an increase in the number of days in the "demolition delay ordinance".  The delay would be doubled to 180 days if someone wants to demolish a home older than 50 years to allow for an historic evaluation. 


An ordinance requiring dogs to be on leashes at Topstone Park is also be on the agenda.  The leash law would apply to public areas like the beach, the parking lot, driveway and by trail entrances.  The ordinance would be in effect between Labor Day and May 15th of each year.  The fine for a violation would be $75.


$1.35 million in capital expenditures will also be discussed at the Town Meeting.  That includes funding for Stepney Road Bridge totaling $739,000, $300,000 for a Highway Department Garage addition and $55,000 for Community Center permanent gym storage.  $71,000 is being requested for Community Center Field Maintenance Equipment Building and nearly $193,000 for a new Transfer Station dumpster roof.


The meeting is October 30th at 7:30pm in the Redding Community Center.

'Point in Time' count data released on homelessness

This year's Point in Time Count of the state's homeless population shows mixed results.  Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness Executive Director Lisa Tepper Bates says 4,506 people were counted on January 29th, a 7 percent increase.  While there was an increase overall in homelessness, there was also an increase of domestic violence as a contributing factor to homelessness.  That statistic increased by 14 percent from last year.


In Greater Danbury, 14 families were counted in shelters and 137 adults without children were in shelters. 


Statewide 340 veterans, 24 who are female, experiencing homelessness were counted in shelters and in places unintended for human habitation. Greater Danbury had more homeless veterans than chronically homeless adults.  23 veterans and 9 chronically homeless were counted in the area.

Sandy Hook project outlined as being 6 phases

An update has been given to Newtown officials about the demolition at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  During the Public Building and Site Commission meeting Tuesday, a representative from the company overseeing operations reported that several people have tried to gain access to the site and were turned away. 


In addition to 24-hour security at the site, all workers are required to sign non-disclosure agreements.  Workers cell phones are collected before they enter the site. 


The work has been divided into six phases and demolition started yesterday in areas where there was minimal or no hazardous material abatement.  They are the kindergarten wing, the library and the modular building.


Phase 1 and 2 are demolition.  State recommended and pre-qualified contractors for that saved at least three weeks time because the town didn't need to go out to bid.  Phase 3 is a new driveway, site access and utilities.  Phase 4 is construction.  Phase 5 is furniture, fixtures and equipment.  The last phase will be playground equipment.


While most of the materials that leave the site will be in undistinguishable forms, a portion of the flagpole will be salvaged.  Bricks off the newer portion may be salvaged for future use in the project area.  Crushed concrete and block material will be mixed with fill and be used to backfill the excavated footing areas.  Steel is being hauled to a facility in Waterbury to be mixed with other steel and melted down. 


Friday a rigging firm removed sandstone dinosaur tracks donated by the state for storage in the Public Works Garage.  Crews will also start searching for a time capsule that was buried on the site more than three decades ago.

DHS safe driving campaign ending Saturday night

Danbury High School is putting up a good fight in a Teen Safe Driving contest.  The students had been switching back and forth from the leader spot with a school from Iowa. 


But with just hours left in the campaign to earn the school a $100,000 grant from State Farm Insurance, two schools from Tennessee have bumped to Danbury to third place.  Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton said in a tweet that the City was in contact with State Farm about those two schools.  He said they may be a "bot", or web robot, is a software that runs automated tasks over the internet.  State Farm says they are looking into it.


In an effort to help the students with their awareness effort, the City sent out a reverse 311 call Friday reminding people to take the safe driving pledge at  As of Saturday morning, the students have garnered over 163,000 votes. 


The contest ends Saturday at 11:59pm central time.

Brookfield gets coveted AAA S&P rating

Brookfield's bond rating has been upgraded by Standard & Poor's.  The AAA rating is the highest possible.  There are only 15 towns in the state with that rating, including some in the Greater Danbury area. 


Standard & Poor's said part of why they upgraded the rating was because of strong budgetary flexibility with 9-percent of general fund expenditures reserved.  The rating agency saud the stable outlook is because of consistent financial performance underlying economy.


Moody's also held Brookfield's rating steady.

Mackenzie Newsome Scholarship Family Fun Day Satuday

A scholarship fund created in memory of a young Danbury girl who died of cancer is getting a financial boost this weekend.


The Annual Mackenzie Newsome Scholarship Family Fun Day is being held on Saturday.  It's named for a 4-year old who died in March after a battle with Stage 4 cancer. 


The day's events will honor her fighting spirit with a dinner, pumpkin painting, face painting and other activities for kids.  The scholarship will be awarded in June to a High School senior looking to enter the medical field. 


Tickets can be purchased at the door for $10 for $35 for a family of four.  The event Saturday at the Moose Lodge is from 3 to 8pm.


Donations to the scholarship fund are also being accept by mail:
The Mackenzie Newsome Scholarship
36 Tamarack Ave
Suite 342
Danbury, CT 06810

Police union says Newtown worker fund inadequate

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- A union lawyer says the private charitable fund created by Connecticut lawmakers to help cover the unreimbursed mental health-related costs of first responders and other workers affected by the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School falls short of what's needed.


Eric Brown, a staff attorney for the union representing the Newtown police officers, said one of the officers is too emotionally traumatized to return to work and now faces possible termination.


Newtown Police Chief Michael Kehoe says he can't comment on the particular case but says the town is looking into the benefits that might be available to officers whose doctors say they can't return to work.


Brown said the fund - which records show currently has a balance of $147,066 - is inadequate. He said lawmakers should instead change the law and provide workers' compensation benefits for work-related mental or emotional impairments.


Such legislation died this year amid concerns it would create a financial burden for municipalities.

Newtown residents relieved by school's demolition

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Neighbors of the Newtown  elementary school where 20 children and six adults were shot dead last year are expressing relief as workers tear down parts of it.

Demolition of the Sandy Hook Elementary School is expected to take several weeks.

Bill Clark lives across the street. He says he believes it's going to take a long time for the community to heal. He said Friday town officials are ``going to put up another beautiful school'' and residents are going to move on.

A task force of Newtown officials voted unanimously in May to raze the school and build a new one on the property where the existing school is located.

Newtown has accepted a $50 million state grant for the project. A new school is expected to open by December 2016.

Three way race for Bethel First Selectman

A former Bethel Selectman is looking to challenge the incumbent whole a 3rd party candidate is hoping to beat both of them.


Republican William Duff is a former Selectman and Board of Assessment Appeals member.  He currently sits on the Board of Education.  Duff was a sheriff and retired several years ago from a career in information technologies. 


Al Vargas, who's never run for office before, petitioned his way on to the ballot as a Green Party candidate.


Democratic incumbent Matt Knickerbocker says he'd like to continue the road recovery project.  He says there are 31 miles of roads in bad shape, the town is 15 miles through, but that's a vital part of the town's infrastructure.  He says there are also new projects he'd like to work on including a new police station.  He says that will likely be ready for a referendum in about a year.  Knickerbocker says the project sat on a shelf for nearly a decade and police officers need to be able to work in a 21st century environment.


Duff said even though the Walnut Hill Bridge was in disrepair before Knickerbocker took office, his opponent hasn't gotten on the phone with the state to get on the ball about the bridge.  Duff says the First Selectman is supposed to be doing something.


Knickerbocker wants to automate the building permit process, health department permits and planing and zoning process.  He says town hall has to be as business friendly as the best run company.


Knickerbocker says the voters spoke very clearly about the potential sale of the Water Department.  He says they are dealing with a 10 year old debt load that keeps getting bigger and poor infrastructure.


Duff says an outside company would need Bethel's infrastructure.  He says the 300-plus acres would never be returned to Bethel.  He says a budget that includes the cost to maintain and operate the system should be sent to the Public Utilities Commission.  He says the rate increase that the town gives would be far less than what Aquarion would hand down.  Duff says there should be a long-range water plan with a segment of rotted pipe dug up every year and replaced.  He says it all doesn't have be done tomorrow and there doesn't have to be a $40-million budget put out all at once.  Duff says he would seek federal and state grant money for the projects and work with the utilities on the cost of the digs.


Duff says Bethel has a number of different aquifers and in the future water will be more valuable .  He says it doesn't make sense to give one company an open ended lease, never to be renegotiated, just because the current town government no doesn't want to maintain the infrastructure.


Knickerbocker says an engineering form has been hired to develop a plan for new wells, replacement pipes and water storage problems.  He notes that some of the pipe are over 100 years old and there are new regulations in place.


Knickerbocker says the only good news for taxpayers is that the infrastructure improvements are covered by ratepayers, but the goals will be accomplished as cost effectively as possible.


Duff says while his opponent has hired a Director of Economic Development, that person has done nothing for the town.  He called Bethel "uniquely situated for business" being between two major highways, a train line running through town, and an accessible corporate park. 


Duff says economic development is not just an idea, it's an activity.


If elected and if he were to keep the position of Economic Development Director, Duff says that person would be out knocking on doors attracting new businesses.  He adds that the director would have to got to Hartford and work with legislators about incentives for companies or spend just some time in Town Hall coordinating with various entities to improve infrastructure to propel economic development.


Knickerbocker says Bethel has a well thought out plan of conservation and development.


Knickerbocker says one new school resource officer started at the beginning of the year and hardening efforts were put in place.  He says the Board of Education has taken on the task to make enhancements and improvements.  Knickerbocker also touted the work done to complete the Library renovations.


Two former Brookfield Board of Finance members are is looking to step up to the town's top spot.  Click here for a look at the open race in New FairfieldTwo people are vying to become First Selectman in ReddingDanbury's Mayor is being challenged in November.  To see sample ballots from across the region, click here.

Workers start demolishing the old Sandy Hook Elementary building

The early stages of a weeks long project have begun.  First Selectman Pat Llodra says small scale demolition is happening now with the abatement of hazardous materials.  Llodra says the building will be removed in pieces and there will be no "wrecking ball'' action. 


Contractors are being asked to completely destroy the building materials in an effort to eliminate nearly every trace of the building.  All workers were required to sign non-disclosure contracts as well.  There is 24-hour security at the site, which is fenced in. 


Llodra says the demolition work should be completed by the December 14th anniversary of the shootings that left 26 children and educators dead. 


Sandy Hook students have been attending classes in Monroe.  The town has accepted a nearly $50 million dollar state grant to raze the building and build a new school, which is expected to open by December 2016.

WCSU students take part in cost of college debate with Senator Murphy

Western Connecticut State University students, faculty and administrators are weighing in on the cost of a college degree.  They participated Thursday in a roundtable discussion hosted by Senator Chris Murphy, who is looking to introduce legislation to make college more affordable.  Murphy says Congress spends too much time talking about the rate on students loans and not enough time to talk about lowering the cost of college.


Murphy who says it's not enough to give schools more money, the cost of school has to be lowered.  He suggested less time in school.  He suggested that colleges try awarding degrees when students achieve a certain set of schools rather than taking a set number of classes.


He says in a short time the United States went from being top in the world for the number of people college degrees, to 12.  He says a lot of that has to do with cost.


He says he also has a personal stake in this issue.  He and his wife are still paying off student loans while saving for their two young sons.  He says they are representative of millions of families who have to pay off past college degrees while saving for future ones.


Murphy says over the last 20 years, the cost of college has risen by 300 percent, putting a degree out of reach for thousands of students across Connecticut.

Drug Take Back Day at area police departments Saturday

A Drug Take Back Day is being held in Betheland elsewhere this weekend.  The Federal Drug Enforcement Adminstration is working with local police for this event were officers will be collecting expired and unwanted prescription medication. 


According to the DEA more than two million pounds of pills have been destroyed in the past five years.  The DEA says disposing of old prescriptions this way prevents children and pets being accidentally poisoned, deters misuse by teens and adults, avoids health problems by taking expired medication and keeps medicine from entering waterways if flushed and contaminating drinking water.


Old or excess medication can be turned in at the Bethel Police Department from 10am to 2pm on Saturday. 


Take Back Day collections are also being held at the Danbury Police Department, Newtown Police Department, Monroe Police Department and the New Fairfield and Sherman Resident State Trooper barracks.  State Police Troop A will also be colelcting unwanted medication at 421 Main Street South in Southbury and 90 Lakeside Road in Danbury.



Operation Jungle Red at WCSU seeks to reduce violence

A campaign to end violence has expanded at Western Connecticut State University. 


Operation Jungle Red has been held for several years to educate students about domestic violence, sexual assault and rape.  The presentation Wednesday featured state Attorney General George Jepson about campus violence.  Students were encouraged to sign a pledge against violence. 


This year a series of events were held that also included presentations about stereotypes and myths related to gender, race and the realities of abusive relationships.  There was an event featuring hostile language, the impact of these words and who to intervene in those circumstances. 


Operation Jungle Red organizers say the activities are meant to promote reflection and to build awareness.

Brookfield: an open race for First Selectman

Two former Brookfield Board of Finance members are is looking to step up to the town's top spot.


Democrat Howard Lasser has been a Chief Financial Officer of various corporations, served a chair of the Board of Finance, was a member of the Zoning Commission and most recently on the Board of Selectman.


Tinsley is a retired corporate executive and former business owner.  He's served on the Board of Finance, including some time as its chairman, and on the Board of Education.  He lost a three-way race for First Selectman four years ago to Bill Davidson.  He says he will listen, be responsive and to be a team player.  Tinsley says one of the best sources of learning is to talk with residents about what concerns them.  He says there are some complex issues in town that he would like to boil down into their simplest form to take them on. 


Lasser says if he is elected as First Selectman, he wants to maintain and continue the progress that's been made in the last few years.  He says his professional background will be an asset in making sure the right resources are in the right place the best value is coming from those investments.  As a Selectman, Lasser says money has been put into fixing roads and infrastructure, but there a lot more to do.  He cites the recent referendum for money to rebuild Kids Kingdom and Cadigan Park. 


Tinsley says Brookfield is 165 of 169 municipalities on the "get to give" ratio.  The ratio is revenue that goes to the state Capital compared to what comes back.  He says Brookfield gets about 7 cents on the dollar.


Tinsley says there's only $116,000 of money in this year's budget for the roads, but the only way to keep up with maintenance of infrastructure without putting it on the credit card is to grow the economy.  He says the town is in for a big tax increase because of the bonding.


Lasser says Brookfield's pensions are in pretty good shape.  He and current First Selectman Bill Davidson created a Retirement Benefits Advisory Committee that worked to evaluate the Pension system.  He says the group suggest alternatives and better ways to manage pensions.  Lasser says over time, retired employees have paid 20-percent of health insurance and the town has picked up the rest of the bill.  He says that's a significant liability.  The benefit has been eliminated from new-hire contracts, except for police officers.  He says the cost of the old commitments is a concern which he says he will continue to monitor.


Lasser says the town has been paying off bonds over the last four years, so while much more has been bonded, the town's debt is lower than when he became a Selectman four years ago.


Tinsley says the pension fund has been underfunded by about $5 million in the last four years.  He says there's no funding at all for the post-employment retiree funding for health care.  He says Lasser has been quoting 2014 pension plans, which take into account a lot of assumptions.  What is not in the plan is the additional three police officers that have been hired and the salary increased that have been proposed.


Tinsley says the concept being considered now for the Four Corners area is like one that was discussed more than a decade ago.  He says there's very little talk about undeveloped eyesores that could be developed to help pay for maintenance of the roads, the schools and the library.  Tinsley says he wants to grow the commercial and industrial tax base.


Lasser says the town needs to develop its commercial base, particularly along Federal Road in the Four Corners area.  He says a conceptual plan has been developed to turn that area into a pedestrian-friendly place.


Tinsley says he's met with the owner of a big property near the Four Corners that's been approved by the Zoning Commission, but there are obstacles.  He says the Department of Transportation, parking and streetscape funding and design need to be resolved.  Another issue is working to fix parking problems in the village business district.


A lot of work was done on school security last year.  Lasser says plans were already being put in place to harden the school.  The town has invested in technology that will allow for greater surveillance.  Improvements have been made to reduce entry and speed up response time.  The Brookfield Police Department budget was increased to add two school resource officers to the program in response to residents request.  He says security is an ongoing process with the Board of Education and the Police Department to evaluate if changes are needed.  Lasser says the school board reassessed the role of the High School security officer, who's primary job used to be monitoring who's parking in the parking lot.  After December 14th, that changed.




Click here for a look at the open race in New FairfieldThere is also an open race in ReddingDanbury's Mayor is being challenged in November.  To see sample ballots from across the region, click here.

Danbury students leading charge for driver safety

Danbury High School students in various leadership clubs at the school are seeing their efforts pay off.  Several students have been active in raising awareness of the dangers of reckless and distracted driving as part of a safe driving campaign. 


Danbury has, for the most part, been in first place in the Celebrate My Drive contest among 3,500 other schools nationwide.  But the numbers are close and the students are reminding people to pledge daily to drive safely. 


If Danbury stays in first place through Saturday, the school will be given a $100,000 grant from State Farm Insurance.  Danbury High School is one of only three schools in Connecticut participating.  To date, the DHS students have garnered more than 68,000 pledges from people to drive safely.  The leader board is updated on a regular basis.


You can take the safe driving pledge at

Halloween alternative to benefit Brookfield Food Pantry

Brookfield PTO is hosting a Trunk or Treat event this weekend.  The safe alternative to trick-or-treating came to popularity in the last couple of years when snow and Superstorm Sandy made traditional door-to-door Halloween activities unsafe. 


The event in Brookfield on Sunday is from 2 to 4pm at the Huckleberry Hill Elementary School parking lot.  Participants are also asked to bring a donation for the Brookfield Food Pantry.

Newtown state lawmaker tours Curtis Packaging

As part of an effort to reach out to businesses in his district, Newtown State Representative Mitch Bolinsky has toured Curtis Packaging.  The company, which employs nearly 150 people, has been at its Berkshire Road location since 1845. 


Bolinsky says the state should be jumping at opportunities to attract more businesses like Curtis. 


The company was the first in the nation to use 100-percent wind power and be 100-percent carbon neutral.  Curtis Packaging is also certified by the Forest Stewardships Council and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.

Family of girl killed in Newtown to open Connection Center

The family of a girl killed at Sandy Hook Elementary has created the Ana Grace Project of Klingberg Family Centers, with the goal of promoting love, connection and community. 


The Center for Community and Connection will launch in December.  Ana's mother Nelba Marquez Greene is a licensed marriage and family therapist at Klingberg. 


The Center's mission is to identify the most effective ways to build community to prevent violence and promote recovery.  Marquez-Greene says this will be accomplished through research, practical tools, professional development and public policy.

Georgetown redevelopment goal of Redding First Selectman candidates

A current Selectman in Redding is looking to step up to the town's top spot and a Board of Education member is also seeking to be First Selectman.  They are looking to take the reins when Natalie Ketcham retires.


Republican Chris Hocker served as President for three years and remains active with the Redding Boys and Girls Club.  He has served on the Region 9 school board since 2007 and has more than 30 years experience at the executive and management level in the generation and transmission of energy.


Democrat Julia Pemberton is currently a Selectman who works at a non-profit in Fairfield.  She has served 8 years on the Region 9 Board of Education and 4 years as a Selectman.  She says her experience in town government, as a parent and a longtime resident make her qualified to take on the task.


Hocker says one thing many residents are concerned about is the level of taxation in town.  He says that's tied to the prospect of redeveloping the Georgetown section of town.  He says if that project gets restarted, it would expand the tax base and reduce the burden on residential taxpayers.  He hopes to apply his experience working on major projects on getting that restarted.


Hocker says the mixed use development of the Georgetown section of Redding has a great deal of potential benefits to the surrounding area.  He says part of the overall plan to redevelop the old Gilbert and Bennett wire mill site is to have another train station there. 


If elected, Pemberton says she will be laser focused on the Georgetown redevelopment project.  She says it's a large area and is concerned about development there that might not fit in with the town's rural feel.  She says the master plan calls for a mix of housing, commercial and cultural space.  Pemberton says she was first attracted to Redding's open space and hopes to preserve that feel as Georgetown is developed.


Pemberton says there is money available from the state for a second train station to be developed in the Georgetown section of town.  She says it's imperative that when development happens, it does so around transportation.  She says most Redding residents commute elsewhere for work, but as Georgetown is developed it's an opportunity to attract businesses.  She says the ability to attract jobs is important during the slow economic recovery.


Hocker says the First Selectman's office doesn't directly supervise the schools, but sees his experience with the Region 9 Board as an asset because of the good relationship he has with the Superintendent of Schools.  He says Redding's enrollment is declining while the enrollment at Joel Barlow is growing.  He says there are opportunities for cost savings that the First Selectman can influence by having a good, credible relationship with administration officials.


Hocker says school security has already been addressed in the current budget with the addition of school resource officers from the police department.  He says that was a point of controversy , but believes those positions will likely continue in the future at the elementary and intermediate schools while different common sense security measures have been adopted at Joel Barlow High School.  He does not anticipate additional costs in future budgets over what is in place now.


Pemberton says she wants to be able to provide quality services while minimizing the tax burden for residents.  She wants to do a line by line review of each department to see if services are being delivered as effective and efficiently as possible.


Pemberton says when she was elected to the Region 9 school board, it had a mixed reputation in town because of its own Board of Finance and making its appeal directly to the public.  While serving on the Board, she helped create the financial oversight committee to bring more transparency to the system.


Hocker says dealing with major utilities in New York and New Jersey in his professional life, he is familiar with the energy field/  While he doesn't have direct technical knowledge of what CL&P would need to do during a storm to restore electricity, he feels he could deal effectively with the utility if a situation arises in the future like Irene or Sandy.


Pemberton says the town funds 65 percent of the Mark Twain Library's operating budget.  Calling it a gem, she  said it's important to continue that support.  She says whatever she can do as First Selectman to create public-private partnerships to support institutions like the library, the Redding Boys and Girls Club and elsewhere is important.


Click here for a look at the open race in New FairfieldDanbury's Mayor is being challenged in November.  To see sample ballots from across the region, click here.

Graphic presentation at DHS about distracted driving consequences

A graphic presentation is being made at Danbury High School today in hopes that the message hits home with students about the dangers of driving while distracted.  This is part of National Teen Driver Safety Week and the school's effort to win grant money through the Celebrate My Drive contest. 


There are only three high schools in Connecticut participating in a competition of more than 3,500 schools across the country.  Danbury is among those working to promote safe driving and public awareness of the dangers of reckless and distracted driving.


Senior Nicholas Goetz says Kramer Entertainment is bringing it's Save A Life Tour to DHS.


The Company's website says their objective is to use every method to bring home the shocking reality of the dangerous practice of distracted driving because it has eclipsed drunk driving as the Number One safety concern of the driving public.


It's only for juniors and seniors because of the nature of the presentation.  The company will be displaying a coffin as part of the assembly to show the dangers of distracted driving.  A graphic video which shows an accident will include police response, emergency room scenes and family response. 


The upperclassmen will also be able to test drive car simulators while trying to text.  Participants receive a  “ticket-type” review showing violations committed during their Save A Life Distracted Driving simulation experience. 


The company says simulators should not be confused with a “video game”.


A projection screen shows the audience the participants’ actual experience in the simulator, showing both the driver’s view and the drivers themselves.  An ongoing presentation of memorials to victims who lost their lives to a distracted driving incident, playing between each participant.


Participants may briefly experience an altered state of equilibrium when exiting the simulator.


The Celebrate My Drive contest has incentive for adults and the students.  A $100,000 prize for the school and a concert for the students by Kelly Clarkson. 


Voting for DHS can be done at by entering an email address, verifying that you are over 14 and selecting Danbury, CT.  One vote per person per day through October 26.

I-84 east Exit 5 ramp to close for paving work

The Interstate 84 eastbound exit 5 off ramp will be closed during the evening on Wedensday, Thursday and Friday.  The state Department of Transportation says Down Street in Danbury will be repaved in the overnight hours. 


The state Department of Transportation says traffic control personnel and signs will be up to guide motorists through the workzone, but Spokesman Kevin Nursik said he did not yet know where the detour would be. 


The work will be done 9pm through 5am Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

New Fairfield First Selectman candidates share goals for town

The interim New Fairfield First Selectman is looking to be elected to a term of her own while a Selectman is looking to step up to the town's top spot.


Republican Susan Chapman been on the Board of Selectmen for almost four years and has served as First Selectman for five months.  When she and John Hodge were elected together, Hodge became very ill with Leukemia.  She stepped up to the First Selectman role then and also this summer when Hodge took on the role as Selectman to dedicate more of his time to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, created in his cousin's memory. She says she was better prepared now than when that happened after just a few months on the Board.


Democrat, and current Selectman Mike Gill is a small businessman who's served on the Board for two years.  He has worked with the Ball pond Volunteer Fire Company and the New Fairfield Fire Department over the years. 


Gill has also been the town's representative on the Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority, mostly recently as chairman.  As a member of HRRA, Gill says he's help to successfully renegotiated contracts with various haulers servicing the 11 area towns, implement electronic recycling and single-stream recycling as well as lead Connecticut in the paint care initiative.  The state is only the second in the country to launch the program which went into effect in July.


If elected to a term of her own, Chapman says she would like to continue to keep taxes low, get the library project started and help pursue affordable senior housing.  Chapman says the library project has been waiting for final grant money and been inactive for a while.  She says she wants seniors to be able to sell their houses if they want something more manageable.


When it comes to the budget, Chapman says the town does keep an eye on the bottom line.  This year there is a $500,000 surplus, a portion of which is being used to complete the road program for the year.  She says maintaining infrastructure helps keeps taxes down because the town doesn't have to bond money for items like road repairs.


Gill says if he is elected as First Selectman, his primary goal is to keep taxes in check while maintaining services that residents expect: police, fire, EMS and emergency preparedness.


Chapman has met with the other town leaders, the Candlewood Lake Authority and First Light Power to get on the same page.  She wants to come up with a comprehensive plan for the lake because New Fairfield has the largest land around the lake.  She also wants to educate people on what they do that contributes to the lake's health and quality.


Gill says a lot of people have a hand is working to maintain and protect Candlewood Lake: it borders five towns, is owned by a private company and has oversight by the state and federal government .  He says the milfoil and zebra mussel issues need to be controlled.  But he says they can study the Lake and still get nothing done.  So he wants to take the information that's already out there, sit down and make a solid plan.


He says Hidden Valley, off Gillotti Road, also has a serious milfoil problem.  While it's small, it does empty into Candlewood Lake.  To protect water quality he says they need to clean what's upstream so it doesn't effect what's down stream.  He notes that the Ball Pond area has done pretty good cleaning up the milfoil, but there are other issues there.


Click here for a look at the Danbury Mayoral raceTo see sample ballots from Greater Danbury area towns, click here.

Workshop tonight in Danbury for business-minded people

Danbury Library tonight is hosting another in a series of workshops for people thinking about starting a business or those who currently own a small business.  The workshops cover a variety of topics.  The series of 10 workshops is being presented in part by SCORE, a business counseling organization.


Tonight's features relationship strategies to grow your business.  It's being presented by Heather Hansen O'Neill of  Find Your Fire in Five. 


This is a follow up series to one that was held over the winter.


The workshops are free and open to the public.  There are three more workshops in the series.  They cover topics including increasing website traffic, protecting your business from death or retirement of partners and how to avoid bankruptcy.


Tonight's is from 6pm to 7:30 at the Library.

Family of slain teacher holding 5K race

STRATFORD, Conn. (AP) The family of a teacher killed in last December's school shootings in Newtown hopes to get dozens of people dressed as flamingos to run the streets of Stratford.

They've organized a road race, the Vicki Soto 5K, for Saturday, Nov. 2, in Soto's hometown. Soto was a 27-year-old first grade teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School who authorities say tried to shield her students from the gunman who killed 20 children and six women.

Proceeds from the race will go to the Vicki Soto Memorial Fund, which provides scholarships to students seeking to become teachers.

Soto was a big fan of flamingos, and her family has used the bird as a symbol for their efforts.

The race has an entry fee of $26, in honor of the shooting's 26 victims.

Danbury Mayoral candidates discuss issues facing City

There's little more than two weeks before municipal elections.  A former Danbury City Councilman challenging the incumbent seeking a 7th term as Mayor. 


Republican incumbent Mayor Mark Boughton says one of his goals is working to finish the expansions on the schools, and open a third middle school.  He says that's a big undertaking for the City with two sub-academies, one for international students and one from Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math studies.  Boughton attributed a vibrant and robust school system to increasing home values.


Democratic challenger Paul McAllister is a native Danburian who served on the City Council, is a former Ridgefield Police officer and now works as a security guard at Henry Abbott Tech.  McAllister says there are changes that need to be made.  McAllister says people are asking about infrastructure, complaining that roads haven't been worked on.  He says looking around, things are being left undone and said the job of Mayor is all about the details.


Boughton says school security has already been budgeted for, but he still anticipates a tough spring budget cycle.


McAllister says Boughton had a chance to hire a dozen firefighters with a $2 million grant, but the money was returned because the members weren't hired.  This August he said 14 firefighters were hired at a full cost to City taxpayers.  McAllister says the police department hasn't been up to full staff.  He called that a quality of life issue.


McAllister says there's another quality of life issue.  He took a walk down Main Street one night and two people were out panhandling.  He says there needs to be a police presence.  As someone who's walked a beat, he's learned it can be a psychological benefit. 


Boughton says City services do well to serve people with catastrophic illness, loses their house or has an employment issue.  Police and the Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team are downtown, but he says supportive housing with services is needed to get people off the street.  A consultant has been hired to manage that part of the population.  Boughton says surrounding communities, including those in New York state, have to have a shelter and provide services as well.


McAllister says he's not a businessman but believes there are things that can be tried to rejuvenate downtown.  He says he would consult with others with a business sense on how best to revitalize the area.  He knows that nothing changes over night, but will look at what can be modified and changed in the budget to make improvements.  If something is not working properly, change needs to be made.


Boughton says the Metro North improvements on the Danbury Branch will be a good thing for the City.  He says an updated signal system is something that's been long needed.  One of the reasons the Kennedy Place property is intriguing for developers, is it's location near the rail station.  He anticipates construction there within 18 months.


The candidates were both asked about a few regional issues, including Candlewood Lake.  Boughton says the towns that surround Candlewood have a unified in the approach to management, which includes the annual problem of milfoil and long-term plans for water quality.  McAllister says a regional approach needs to be taken to protect the water quality.  He says one step is to identify where phosphates are coming from and how they are getting into the water.


Another issue is emergency management and response to major storms.  McAllister says there needs to be better communication with the power company to recover from massive storms.  He says someone in Hartford or in another country, if jobs are outsourced, don't understand the problem as if they were right in the City.  Boughton says a lot of work has been done on cutting trees near power lines to prevent some of the power problems associated with storms.  He says the City continues to work with CL&P, but the emergency management center is top notch.


There's also a unique situation in Danbury's municipal election, a potential run for Governor by one of the candidates.  Boughton says residents have been supportive as he explores a run for Governor, but he notes that Danbury is his first priority.  He says he will make a decision about 2014 around January.  But McAllister says he and other believe Boughton is more interested in running for Governor than for Mayor.

DHS ramps up teen driver safety campaign

This is National Teen Driver Safety Week. 


There are only three high schools in Connecticut participating in a competition of more than 3,500 schools across the country.  Danbury is among those working to promote safe driving and public awareness of the dangers of reckless and distracted driving. 


The Celebrate My Drive contest has incentive for adults and the students.  A $100,000 prize for the school and a concert for the kids. 


Senior Kate Shannon says they are going around at lunch with iPads asking students to vote and reminding them to have family vote.  They've also reached out to the sports teams and other clubs to get the word out.  There will be two wrecked cars, donated from a junk yard, on display to drive home the point. One will be at the High School and one will be on display by Fast Freddies on Newtown Road.


(DHS students Nicholas Goetz, Nicholas Mortara, Mayor Mark Boughton, DHS Principal Gary Bocaccio, students Kathryn Shannon, Najmah James and Danielle Biele)


Senior Nicholas Mortara says the past few years have held too many bad accidents involving speeding, cell phone use and reckless driving noting that many students were affected by the death of 17-year old Christopher Reyes last year in a crash.


(DHS students Nicholas Mortara, Nicholas Goetz, Danielle Biele)


Voting for DHS can be done at by entering an email address, verifying that you are over 14 and selecting Danbury, CT.  One vote per person per day through October 26.

'Warrior Award' goes to Danbury area Vietnam vet

The second annual Warrior Award has been presented during the Walk of Honor yesterday at the Danbury War Memorial.  This year's recipient is a Vietnam veteran who earned the Bronze Star with Valor, Navy Achievement Medal with Valor and three Purple Heart Medals. 


Danny Mack Welch served 6 combat tours in Vietnam. 


He was nominated by Operation Vet Fit co-founder Dan Gaita.  He says Mack Welch was the same guy at 19 as he is today, but with the ghost of war that perpetuates throughout life.


Mack Welch is both a supporter of the Operation Vet Fit program and a benefactor.  Gaita says when Mack Welch and others came home from war, they were treated as second class citizens and didn't receive the warm welcome that combat veterans receive now.  He says hopefully that's a lesson learned from Vietnam.


Gaita said Danny Mack Welch is amazing inspiration who just finished successful brain surgery and is in recovery now.

Conn. municipal election ballots available online

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut voters can go online and view the ballots for every city and town holding municipal elections on November 5.

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill is urging the more than 2 million registered voters to familiarize themselves with the ballots before heading to the polls. They can be found online by clicking on each city or town.

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the majority of Connecticut municipalities. Voters can visit the Secretary of the State website to also check their registration status and find their polling place.

Eligible voters have until Oct. 29 to register in person.


Bethel has a three-way race for the town's top spot.


Ballots are available for Brookfield.


Danbury's ballot is several pages because they are different for each ward.


New Fairfield has a contested race for First Selectman.


New Milford Mayor Pat Murphy is running unopposed, but other positions have candidates for both parties.


Newtown has sent in sample ballots.


The Redding First Selectman post is an open race because of the retirement of Natalie Ketcham.


In Ridgefield, the First Selectman post is a four-year position, but other races are up for election.

New details emerge in Sandy Hook shooting

The mother of one of the children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School says her son was shot after yelling for his classmates to run.

Scarlett Lewis says that when the gunman paused to reload, her 6-year-old son Jesse urged the others to run. The gunman then shot him in the head.

Lewis said Friday that investigators detailed what happened inside her son's classroom after gathering accounts from children who survived. Lewis says she is incredibly proud of her son and wasn't surprised to learn he tried to save his friends.

The boy's actions were first reported by The Hartford Courant.


The Courant report, citing confidential police sources, went on to detail the shooter's bedroom and other details about what happened to his mother and inside the school.  Investigators told the publication that five matching shirts and pairs of khaki pants were found in the closet and the bed was neatly made.  There were black garbage bags duct taped over the windows and an empty cereal bowl on the desk.


Investigators allege that Nancy Lanza was shot four times in the same spot, with the gun pressed against her head.  The weapon was recovered from her room, where the shades were still closed.


As previously reported, the young man's hard drives were removed from computers and partially smashed.


Sources told the publication that the Principal's office was used as a command center and officials were unaware that a secretary and nurse were hidden in a closet there at the time.  The phone there was not hung up when the 911 call was made and the FBI is reportedly using technology to track the shooter's movements.  Some of the surviving first graders told police they didn't hear gun shots until the man came into Victoria Soto's room.  Police are working to determine a timeline of the shots fired and initial confidential sources believed he went to Lauren Rousseau's classroom first.


Details about bullet casing found outside the school are also being detailed in The Courant account.  Police believe shots were fired in one classroom toward the windows and that's how cars were hit.


A source with knowledge of the probe said that when the gunman parked his car around a curve, it was positioned so he could have ambushed responding police officers.  His shotgun was found leaning against the passenger's side door, with the school and woods behind him.

Danbury Fire Department hosts open house

If you've ever wanted to know what it's like to be a firefighter, today is your day.  The Danbury Fire Department is hosting an Open House with demonstrations and other events. 


Firefighter Nick Cabral says they'll show how to do a vehicle extrication and some firefighters will repel down ropes from the fire trucks.  Kids will get the chance to climb into fire trucks and use a fire hose aimed at a target.  Cabral says they hope this is an educational day as well as being fun.  Adults can practice their fire extinguisher skills. 


The Fire Marshall's office will be on hand today as well to talk with families about evacuation plans and testing smoke detectors. 


The Open House is from Saturday 11am to 3pm at Fire Headquarters on New Street.

Metro North details credit claims process

Metro North has released details about how commuters who couldn't use weekly or monthly tickets on the New Haven line because of the massive power outage can receive a credit.  September and October monthly ticket holders will receive a 25-percent credit for each month toward the purchase of a future ticket. 


If commuters turn in both tickets at once for a November monthly--that new ticket will be accepted starting October 20.  Mail and Ride customers will have the credit automatically applied to their December monthly ticket. 


Commuters who also have a Metro Card on their monthly ticket and still have value should request their Metro North credit at a later date.  Metro North ticket windows can't transfer Metro Card value, that can only be done at subway station booths. 


More information about the credits can be found on the MTA website.

Over 500 citations issued during 'texting' crackdown in Danbury

While Danbury Police were out with extra enforcement of the cell phone use ban, citations were also made for other motor vehicle violations.  More than 275 cell phone infractions were caught by Danbury Police between October 9th and the 16th.  During that time 145 people were cited for texting while driving. 


When officers were conducting motor vehicle stops, they also issued 26 tickets for seat belt infractions, cited one person for having an unrestrained child in the car and caught one person speeding past them.  Nine unregistered motor vehicles were also stopped.


Officers also charged two drivers for narcotics violations.  Five people were ticketed for traffic signal infractions and one uninsured motorist was cited.  53 other traffic violations were also cited. 


Danbury Police also cited 10 drivers for vehicle equipment violations, four drivers for having suspended licenses and one generic distracted driving infraction. 


Police also apprehended eight fugitives during the enforcement effort.  Danbury Police did not detail what the charges were for on those outstanding warrants.


In June, the Connecticut Department of Transportation also administered grants to municipalities to ramp up patrols.  The one week campaign in Danbury resulted in more than 500 citations being issued to drivers who were texting. 


The state grant paid for the majority of the costs of the October enforcement with Danbury picking up about $4,000 of the cost.  The funding to cover that is available in the Police Department's budget.  The cost covered four officers and one supervisor working 56 hours each on the enforcement.

Vietnam vet chosen as Warrior Award winner

The 2nd annual Warrior Award will be presented this weekend in Danbury.  The award will be given during the Walk of Honor taking place this Sunday at noon at the Danbury War Memorial. 


Organizer Mary Teicholz says this year's recipient is a man who earned the Bronze Star with Valor, Navy Achievement Medal with Valor and three Purple Heart Medals.  Teicholz says United States Marine Danny Mack Welch's story is one of bravery and heroism.


The Vietnam vet was chosen to honor because he went above and beyond his call to service at a time when "Thank Yous" weren't often spoken. 


The Walk of Honor takes place after the award presentation at noon at the Danbury War Memorial.  Phase Two of the Veterans Walkway of Honor will also be dedicated during the ceremony.

Bethel Voters office to open Saturday for registration

The Bethel Registrars of Voters office will be open special hours on Saturday for residents looking to register to vote of for those looking to enroll with a different party.  The office in the Municipal Center will be open Saturday from 10am to 2pm. 


The deadline to register by mail to vote in the November Municipal Election is Tuesday the 22nd.  The deadline to register in person is October 29th. 


Absentee ballots are also now available in the town clerks office.

I-84 west in NY reopened by state line

Interstate-84 has been reopened after an early morning truck fire.


The truck fire on I-84 happened about a mile over the Connecticut state line just before the new bridge over Dingle Ridge Road.  The truck driver reportedly fell asleep around 5:30am and hit a cement barrier right where the fuel tank was.  The fire burned so hot and so long that parts of the truck reportedly melted into the highway.


The driver escaped uninjured.


Secondary roads around the highway were reporting bumper to bumper traffic as rush hour drivers were forced off the highway.  Back roads around Danbury's West side were also reportedly experiencing more traffic than normal.


While there was rubbernecking on the East Bound side from that truck fire, there was a roll over accident between exits 2 and 3 in Danbury.  Fire Dispatchers say there was no injury from that accident involving a car and a tractor trailer.

Eastbound I-84 to be closed in NY, detoured through Danbury for bridge replacement

Another bridge of Interstate 84 near Danbury is being replaced.  The bridges carrying east bound traffic over Dingle Ridge Road in New York is up next.  On Saturday at 5pm the east bound side is being closed to traffic at exit 20 and detoured onto Route 6 to get back on the highway at Exit 1 in Connecticut. 


New York Department of Transportation Communications Director Beau Duffy says the work was supposed to have been done this past weekend, but they didn't want to work over Columbus Day weekend when more people were travelling.


Duffy says the old bridge will be demolished and the new structure will be raised two feet to meet the road and slid into place.


Closures and Detours on Sawmill Road, Route 6 will begin to set up around 12:30pm Saturday.  Interstate-684 South Bound Exit 10 ramp will be closing at 1:30 the North Bound Exit 9E off ramp will be closed around 3.


The demolition and installation is expected to take about 18 hours.  Drivers should leave an extra half hour of travel time for Route 6 traffic.


Federal and state funding is being used for the $10.5 million project.

Lawyer: Newtown families want 911 tapes shielded

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut attorney says most of the families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims want a recent law barring the release of certain crime records to be expanded to include other materials including 911 audio tapes.

Morgan Rueckert spoke Wednesday before a task force developing recommendations to the General Assembly on balancing victim privacy with the public's right to know. Rueckert said he represents 22 of the 26 families that lost relatives in the Dec. 14 school shooting.

Prosecutors have said they will appeal a recent order by the state Freedom of Information Commission to release the Newtown 911 tapes.

A state law passed in June prevents the release of photos depicting a homicide victim if those records could constitute an ``unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.''

Newtown leader: No events for shooting anniversary

Newtown's first selectman says it will not be hosting any town-wide events to mark the anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Pat Llodra says the community is choosing to remember and honor the victims in ways that are ``quiet, personal and respectful.''

A gunman killed 20 children and six women inside the school on Dec. 14 before committing suicide.

Llodra suggested in a blog post on the town's website Wednesday that the tragedy could serve as a reminder for families to talk about the importance of compassionate acts. She said Newtown residents are being encouraged to use the weeks leading up to the anniversary to commit to acts of service and kindness.

She said schools, houses of worship and municipal organizations joined her in the statement.


"Newtown has received great kindness and generosity these past 10 months. We are grateful and humbled by the expressions of love and support of friends and neighbors from near and far.  We ask now for patience and understanding as we approach the first anniversary of the shootings at Sandy Hook School.  Our community is choosing to remember and honor those who lost their lives in that awful tragedy in ways that are quiet, personal, and respectful – centered on the themes of kindness, love, and service to others.  We are wishing fervently that those many persons who wish us well, and the media, will allow us this time to be alone and quiet with time for personal and communal reflection.   


The municipality will not be hosting any town-wide event. Our houses of worship and their clergy will offer religious and ecumenical services for congregants. The schools will honor the event in ways that are appropriate for each level of student. Our town organizations, such as Parks and Recreation, C. H. Booth Library, Edmond Town Hall, and the Senior Center will provide remembrances in ways that are appropriate and within their scope of service.          


Our community is committed to creating a long-lasting and sustainable ‘good’ to honor those who lost their lives in a senseless act of violence.   We cannot undo the awful happening on that day – but we can choose how we respond to it and that choice could maybe have long-lasting positive effects. 


We suggest that in the weeks leading up to that date, organizations, businesses, families, faith communities, and individuals pledge an act of kindness to one another.  Maybe this tragedy can serve as a reminder for all families to set aside a few minutes to talk together about the importance of compassionate acts – that those acts become the glue that binds us together in our humanity.  Maybe some small amount of time can be set aside in school classrooms for appropriate and meaningful discussions about kindness and service.  It is not that these things don’t already occur from time to time, but just think about the power of so many thinking the same good thoughts and acting to benefit others at the same time.   There is great power in a community supporting and believing the notion that each of us can and do make a difference and that it is our compassion and genuine caring for one another that connects us not just in Newtown but as citizens of this country.


In Newtown, we are encouraging every resident, young and old, to use the weeks leading up to this anniversary, as a time to formally commit to acts of service and kindness. Perform a kindness in honor of those who lost their lives at Sandy Hook School; and spend some time in reflection about how our future can be made better for all persons.  We have the opportunity to continue to move toward positive change – there is no greater gift of love than to act on behalf of those whose lives were taken.    


Finally, for those who choose to recognize the anniversary of this tragic event with gifts, please understand that we in Newtown have been the recipients of many gifts, beyond measure.  We appreciate the kindness but know that others are deserving. We strongly encourage donors to consider needs within their own communities.   For those who wish to donate money specifically to honor the children and adults who lost their lives on that tragic day, you may want to consider the many family funds dedicated to specific causes found at, select In Memoriam.


Our town, our schools, our houses of worship, and our municipal organizations, are joined in this statement by Newtown civic, social service, and athletic groups. Together, we believe that this statement represents the best interest of our community. Thank you in advance for respecting our wishes and our privacy."

No transfers yet at Danbury FCI

A group of activists holding a rally Tuesday cited an anonymous source at Danbury Federal Correctional Institution that told them about 30 inmates were improperly transferred last week.  The Department of Justice has assured Senator Richard Blumenthal that during the government shutdown, no women have been or will be transferred from Danbury.  Blumenthal remains opposed to what he called a wrongheaded decision which ensures that incarcerated women will be farther away from their families.


Meetings are being called for by Connecticut's two U.S. Senators over the stalled plan to convert the Danbury FCI back into a facility for men.  Blumenthal has urged the U.S. Attorney General to meet with Senators before any action is taken and has been assured that such a meeting will occur.


Senator Chris Murphy says he's been promised a meeting with the Bureau Of Prisons in the coming weeks before they transfer any inmates and will again press the case against the plan in person.  Murphy says he supported a rally Tuesday in New Haven aimed at raising awareness about the need to stop the transfers.


Blumenthal called the transfers shortsighted and says it will cause severe hardship, harm and pain for the young children of these women.

WIC stays afloat for October, November financials unknown

The program that provides supplemental food and nutrition counseling to low-income pregnant women and young children in Danbury has gotten a bit of a financial reprieve.  But it's still at risk of running out of funding because of the federal government shutdown, just not right now. 


The state Department of Public Health has announced that contingency federal funding will be available to keep the WIC program in Danbury going through the end of October.  The Women, Infant and Children Program serves about 2,500 Greater Danbury area families each year.  There is a staff of 8 full-time employees.


Connecticut Institute for Communities Executive Director Jim Maloney says the fiscal year ended September 30th.  Originally the state told him that the money would run out October 15th, but now enough contingency funds are in place to keep the program afloat through October 31st.


Maloney says while the WIC program can limp along through October, he doesn't expect any further federal carry over or contingency money at that point.


Maloney says if WIC doesn't have the funding as of November 1st, babies and pregnant women will suffer unnecessary determents and there is no way to recover from that gap in service.  He says their clients are anxious because the developments of a young child and a fetus are among the most critical times in any ones life for physical development.

Danbury Board of Ed candidates featured in forum tonight

A "meet the candidates night" is being held in Danbury tonight for residents to learn more about the people who are running for the Board of Education.  The event is being sponsored in part by Danbury Children First.  Executive Director Linda Kosko says they along with the City Wide PTO have prepared questions for the candidates, who will also take questions from the public if time permits.


The candidates will be asked about their future roles and responsibilities if elected in November.  Danbury Board of Education Candidates include Eileen Alberts, Charles Alpuche, Gary Falkenthal, Michael Ferguson, Richard Jannelli, Kathleen Molinaro, Mayra Olavarria, and Ralph Pietrafesa.


The 7 o'clock forum will be held at Broadview Middle School.


If parents need childcare, childcare and homework help is available, and they should RSVP to Executive Director Linda Kosko at (203)797-8088.


Danbury Children First provides educational programs and advocacy to help children reach their full potential in school and in life. It supports parents by connecting them with the community and resources for their children.

Ridgefield discusses medical marijuana application moratorium

The Ridgefield Planning and Zoning Commission has held a public hearing on a number of items, including a moratorium on accepting applications for medical marijuana dispensaries and production facilities.  The hearing was held Tuesday night.


Town Planner Betty Brosius said in the Ridgefield Press that a moratorium would give commission members time to decide how and if they should regulate such facilities and where they could be located. 


Monroe planning and zoning officials are considering a moratorium on marijuana dispensaries as they figure out Connecticut’s new state medical marijuana law.  In Monroe, a proposal has been made for a marijuana production facility at a vacant industrial building.


Shelton and Ansonia have already imposed moratoriums to study how their zoning regulations fit in with the state law for marijuana dispensing facilities.


Regulations were approved by the state Department of Consumer Protection at the end of August.  By a voice vote, the General Assembly’s Regulation Review Committee approved the rules crafted by the Department of Consumer Protection. While there were some nay votes, no tally was taken. Some cheers erupted in the audience after the regulations were declared approved.


The wide-ranging regulations address everything from how marijuana dispensaries and growers will operate to how marijuana can be kept secure and unadulterated. The General Assembly passed the original legislation that created the medical marijuana program in 2012.

Ridgefield teen makes donation for dialysis patients

A Ridgefield teen has been inducted into a philanthropic organization for young adults.  High School Freshman Katie Hackett has donated pillows and blankets to Danbury Hospital to benefit dialysis patients as part of her Silver Award Project. 


The Kids Care Club brings in donations to support pediatric programs and services at Danbury Hospital and New Milford Hospital.  Hackett says she hopes the donation brightens patients days and makes them more comfortable during treatment. 


Hospital officials say youths have organized penny drives, operated lemonade stands and donated a portion of their allowance to contribute to the club.

Gun rights event won't be on Newtown anniversary

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) -- Gun rights groups have responded to public criticism by rescheduling a national "Guns Saves Lives Day" that was originally planned for the one-year anniversary of the Newtown, Conn., school shootings.


The groups now say they'll hold the event Dec. 15, the day after the anniversary.


Organizers note that the day after the anniversary is national Bill of Rights Day. They say events in all 50 states will counter expected activism by gun control advocates on the anniversary.


The day is being organized by the Second Amendment Foundation, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and other organizations. Alan Gottlieb of the Bellevue, Wash.-based Second Amendment Foundation says it is about defending the right to bear arms.

Area lawmaker calls for end to government shut down

An area lawmaker is speaking out for an end to the government shut down.  During her appeal on the House floor, 5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty said the piecemeal approach is not acceptable for families that need the entire federal government open and that benefits taxpayers have paid for with their hard earned tax dollars should be available to them. 


Esty says across the district and the country veterans and seniors are seeing their earned benefits delayed.  She wants the Veterans Affairs Department reopened so veterans can have access to the benefits they have earned. 


She added that people in Connecticut are suffering the consequences of this reckless and unnecessary shut down in very real ways.


Esty said she wants the Federal Aviation Administration reopened and the contract air traffic control towers funded.  She also wants the Small Business Administration workers back on the job because loans for small businesses, to help them grow and create jobs, are being delayed.  The average loan approved per day in the 5th District is about $188,000.


Esty says taxpayers will be paying unemployment instead of paying workers to work.  More than 800 claims have been filed in Connecticut by furloughed employees.

Gov. presented with leadership award for Sandy Hook response

In accepting a leadership award from the Henry C. Lee Institute for Forensic Science at the University of New Haven Monday, Governor Dannel Malloy commented on his effort to lead the state.  Malloy noted that preparing for the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School is an impossibility.  He says he continues to wait for the final state police report on the investigation.


State Police promised the report this fall and Malloy says they have made steady progress.  But he hopes it will be released sooner rather than later.  He is also awaiting the Sandy Hook Commission report on school safety.


Malloy says in the meantime the state has worked to pass strong gun laws and provide resources to improve school security.  He says some things are very obvious on what needs to be done to harden schools.


Some money has been distributed, additional dollars are about to be distributed and Malloy expects additional funds will be appropriated come February.

New domestic violence response program in Redding

A new law about domestic violence and sexual assault took effect at the start of the month.  It expands protection for victims. 


Recently the Redding police department adopted what it calls the Lethality Assessment Program.  It requires officers to ask about a dozen questions of a domestic violence or sexual assault victim to determine if a Women's Center of Danbury counselor should be called in. 


Police Chief Douglas Fuchs told the Redding Pilot that since the program started in June, 40 restraining and protective orders have been received.  There was one arrest for assault and two for violating protective orders.  No one has been relocated by the Women's Center to a safe house.

DHS in contest to win $100K, Kelly Clarkson concert

While Danbury Police are running an enhanced campaign to enforce the ban on tecting while driving, some high school students are hoping a concert by Grammy Award winner Kelly Clarkson will be incentive to pay attention on the road.  Danbury is participating in the Celebrate my Drive contest and Danbury High School could win a concert and $100,000. 


National Teen Driver Safety Week is the 18th through 26th.


Student Nicholas Mortara says the Board of Governors, Peer Leaders and marketing club DECA are holding events to discourage reckless driving. 


He says the past few years have held too many bad accidents involving speeding, cell phone use and reckless driving.  Mortara was the passenger in a car involved in a head on collision.  A lot of students were affected by the death of 17-year old Christopher Reyes last year in a 1-car crash on West Conn's west side campus. 


Senior Carissa Miguel says there will be two wrecked cars, donated from a junk yard, on display to drive home the point.  One will be at the High School and one will be on display by Fast Freddies on Newtown Road.  She says the cars will be set up to show why safe driving is important and so people make the right choices to prevent more crashes from happening.


The students will be manning booths at the Danbury Fair Mall and are getting some help from Microsoft.  The technology company will loan students internet-capable devices to have people take the safe driving pledge.  The students will also be at AMC theater on Friday and Saturday nights.  Comcast is also getting involved by running a Public Service Announcement created by students, which will also air before movies at AMC. 


People 14 years and older can find the DHS website for the campaign here.

Behavioral health group looking at services for young adults

One of the groups created after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School is a state task force studying behavioral health services for young adults.  Co-chair Dr. Daniel Connor says there are barriers that need to be overcome.  They include a lack of guides to help parents navigate the complex and fragmented mental health system, communication issues and issues about homeless. 


Connor says there is also an unbalanced geographic distribution of the workforce.


He suggests a consultation system be set up between primary care pediatric doctors and child psychiatric doctors.  Another way is to involve the school system, go where the children are.  State Representatives say school based health clinics could address some stigma related to behavioral health issues because the child wouldn't have to go to a separate building.


Connor says payment strategies need to be examined.


The Task Force has until February 1st to make recommendations to the legislature.

31st annual Columbus Day Parade in Bethel

Bethel is holding it's annual Columbus Day Parade today.  The event was started in 1982 by Geraldine Mills' late husband, First Selectman Ed Mills.


Mills says each year speakers talk about the history of Italian Americans and what they've accomplished in this country and in Bethel.


The parade starts around 8:45 and runs along Greenwood Avenue.  Billy Michael says the parade is made up of a couple of vehicles and a motorboat carrying the costumed characters of Queen Isabella and Christopher Columbus.  The boat was donated by the Caraluzzi family.


Michael called is the smallest Columbus Day Parade, with the biggest heart.  It's the only organized parade in Connecticut.


The parade ends at PT Barnum Square, where the Italian Flag is raised.

Nondisclosure contract to be signed by SHES site workers

Extra security measures will be in place at the former Sandy Hook Elementary School to protect the site during demolition and rebuilding work.  According to minutes of the latest Newtown Public Building and Site Commission meeting, a fully screened fence will be up around the perimeter and there were be a 24-hour guard stationed on site. 


The plan calls for demolition to start on the 21st and be completed by December 6th. 


First Selectman Pat Llodra told the Newtown Bee that no photography will be allowed at the site and everyone going to the site, all crew members, will have to sign a very strict non-disclosure contract.  The document no only talks about taking photos and removing items from the site but also the possibility of background checks.

Newtown leader outraged by gun day planned for 12-14

Three groups are partnering for a call to arms, on the anniversary of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School., the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and the Second Amendment Foundation have announced plans for a "Guns Save Lives Day" on December 14th. 


The group, which has created a website about events being planned in each state, says in a press release that the project is for all freedom loving organizations to be a part of.  The group created a petition to counter what is says is “the anticipated push by the gun prohibition lobby to exploit the anniversary of the Newtown tragedy to push their political agenda".  The groups say they are hosting the Guns Save Lives Day “because crazy people, criminals and gun control extremists prefer unarmed victims".


Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra issued a statement in response to the announcement.


“For this group to use our Sandy Hook tragedy as a springboard for political action is disrespectful to our community of Newtown and is of particularly insensitive timing.  I respect their right to promote their beliefs regarding guns. I ask that they respect our community and not use us for their purposes.  We will not host a political rally of any stripe on that day and we hope that all such inclined persons understand that they and their agenda are not welcome. We ask for privacy and expect that all caring folks, including the media, will accommodate us. Those persons, who choose to not accede to our request to be left alone, [will] show the world their own moral and ethical fiber.”

Local lawmaker concerned with move to buy tennis tournament

The state is looking to purchase the Women's Tennis Tournament that's been played in Connecticut for years.  The Governor has announced $618,000 to keep the tournament here.  The US Tennis Association was going to sell it to North Carolina. 


Wilton Republican State Senator Toni Boucher, who is exploring a run for Governor, says the state should be concentrating on making government better.  She doesn't think the state has expertise in running a sports operation and right now should be focused on running itself.   She cited problems with the Departments of Motor Vehicles, Social Services and Children & Families.


Boucher says her concerns are more than about sports, but about the proper role of government.  She wondered if the state should be running any private business.


Boucher says the sport was very popular and the tournament used to feature both men and women.  But she says the interest level has changed since the tickets are no longer sought after.  She adds that this move doesn't send a very good signal to businesses and people who are struggling and looking for tax relief.


The Capital Region Development Authority will vote on purchasing the sanction for the event at a meeting on Thursday.

Close fundraising race for Conn. GOP candidates

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The race to raise campaign contributions is a close one among Republicans considering running for governor.

Three of the four major contenders have each raised about $30,000 as of Sept. 30. They include Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, Greenwich businessman Tom Foley and Wilton Sen. Toni Boucher. Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton raised $14,545.

McKinney, who officially declared his candidacy for governor, said Friday he has actually raised $90,000 after holding four additional fundraising events since Oct. 1. The Fairfield resident, whose district includes Newtown, must raise $250,000 in small contributions to qualify for public campaign financing.

Foley, Boucher and Boughton each formed exploratory committees and plan to seek public financing if they ultimately run.

Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has not yet revealed his re-election plans.

Newtown residents run 26 miles for 26 victims

Dr. Laura Nowacki will be running the 26.2 miles of the Hartford Marathon on Saturday to honor the 26 children and educators who died last December at Sandy Hook Elementary School.


Nowacki, a Newtown pediatrician, rushed to the school shortly after the shooting, as both a doctor and the mother of a fourth-grader there.


"I found my daughter safe, but then I had to run up to the school as a first responder, and then I had to go back and face all those parents whose kids didn't come out," the 48-year-old mother of four said. "It just hit on all levels. It hit me to the core. Running for me has kind of been a therapy for 12/14."


Nowacki is part of a group of 26 runners from Newtown participating in the marathon or half marathon for the 12.14 Foundation, which is raising money to build a performing arts center in Newtown. The group includes a family member of one of those killed, a woman who does not want her name publicized.


Nowacki said for all of them, this is not just a fundraiser. About half the students who died were her patients. The educators were her children's teachers or aides to a son who has special needs, she said.


"Running a marathon is about facing your pain, and overcoming," she said. "You have to face it, walk through it, run through it. These families will never overcome it, but they will have to learn to live with it. At the end of our marathon, we experience joy. And I hope someday these families will again experience some joy."


This is Nowacki's sixth marathon, and second since the shootings at Sandy Hook.


She could not bring herself to run for two weeks after the shootings. But once she did, she found it to be an emotional release. She ran with three other Newtown residents at the Boston Marathon, marking each mile for particular victim, thinking about that child or educator and something specific she knew about them.


"Then I ran that last stretch down Boylston just to let it all out, and be like a kid and run like the wind, run like we did that day to get our kids," she said.


She finished about a half hour before the two bombs went off directly across the street from the VIP seating area where her family had been sitting minutes earlier, holding signs that included ones shaped like green hearts with "SHS" on it.


"It didn't stop me from making plans to run this, in fact it reinforced it," she said. "But it made me not want to have my kids at any big events like this, which is awful. But that is the part that was scariest, knowing that my kids were right there in harm's way, again."


Police have said there will be extra security in Hartford, where about 12,000 runners are expected to participate in the marathon, half marathon or 5K race on Saturday.


Dr. Sarah Baroody, who also knew many of the children and educators who died, organized the Newtown runners, who will each be wearing green shirts (green and white are the school's colors) with the 12.14 logo on it.


This will be her first marathon. The 40-year-old said she had thought about running one before the shooting.


"All my excuses vanished, for almost everything in my life," she said. "The realization that it was 26 miles and there are 26 souls, made it even more important for me to run in their honor."


The group expects to raise about $10,000 for the arts center, which she said is being planned as a place of expression, enjoyment and healing.


"What we want to do is create a tribute, something positive for the community moving forward," she said. "And everyone is for that."

A night at the Glass House up for sale

Looking for stocking stuffers and have $30,000 burning a hole in your pocket? You could spend a night at the Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan.  That's among the 8 unique offerings for sale in this year's Neiman Marcus Christmas Book, which was unveiled yesterday. 


The 87th edition describes the item as including a dinner party for you and up to 10 people and the opportunity to wander the 49 acres of landscaped grounds and visit 14 architectural structures.  


The property includes Johnson's private library and modern painting and sculpture collection.

Open house at Redding Ridge fire station Sunday

This is National Fire Prevention Week.  As part of the education happening this week, Redding Fire and EMS Company 1 will be hosting an open house this weekend.  The open house at the Redding Ridge firehouse will be Sunday from 10am to 3pm. 


Fire safety activities, demonstrations and displays will be part of the event at the fire house on Black Rock Turnpike. 


Fire officials say cooking is the leading cause of home fires across the nation followed by heating equipment.  Nationwide, smoking is the leading cause of home fire deaths.

Great Danbury State Fair being celebrated

The Great Danbury State Fair is being celebrated tomorrow night.  The Fair started in 1869.  Many people came up with the idea to pay tribute to the Fair 32 years after it closed.


Fair Vice President Jack Stetson's photos, many which have never been seen in public before, will be on display in the lobby of the Palace Theater along with other fair memorabilia.  Review Director Billy Michael says the real memorabilia is the people who will be attending.  Michael, whose grandfather ran a stand at the fair, says history and music will lead the night.


Some of the features of tomorrow night's event are two former Danbury Fair queens, the voice of the race arena and other surprise guests.  Paul Baker, the voice of the Racearena will be on hand along with the 1947 national baton twirling champion, who is now 81.


Michael says there's still a lot of people that love the fair and long for anything associated with it.  He says as time goes on, fewer people remember the fair, so Saturday night will be like a family reunion.


Tickets to the event at 7:30 at the Palace Theater are $20.

Items reclaimed from Sandy Hook School for use in district

A number of items from the old Sandy Hook Elementary School are being reclaimed for use elsewhere in the district. 


The Newtown Board of Education has decided that some items, including smart boards, can be reused in other buildings.  At their meeting in September the group was told that two dual fuel power flame burners and a hot water heater could be removed free of charge through a donation.  The smartboards were removed free of charge and brought to the middle school. 


A rigger is being brought in to remove a generator, but officials say that can wait until after the building begins to be taken down. 


Some other items including three fridges, lighting fixtures and stainless steel sinks will be removed before asbestos abatement.

Grant money to Newtown delayed by federal gov't shutdown

Grant money for Newtown is being affected by the partial government shutdown.


At the most recent Newtown Board of Education meeting, the schools Business Manager said the representative for the SERV grant has been furloughed so that will be affected.  In May it was announced that Newtown would receive $1.3 million in federal aid to recover after the December 14th shootings. 


Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced the School Emergency Response to Violence grant during a visit to the state. 


The grant is designed to offset costs the district incurred after the shooting as well as provide counseling and training for school officials.  SERV grants provide funding when a significant traumatic event has occurred and schools or colleges need resources to respond, recover and re-establish safe environments for students.

Absentee ballots now available

Absentee ballots are now available for Redding residents who will not be able to get to the polls on election day.  The municipal election is November 5th. 


Absentee ballots are available from the Town Clerk for people who are on active service in the armed forces, will not be in Redding between 6am and 8pm on election day, people with physical disabilities, illness or religious conflicts. 


An application needs to be filled out before the absentee ballot will be issued.

Leaves, rain make slippery combo on railroad tracks

"Leaf Season" has started on the Danbury Branch of Metro North and effected Monday night's commute.  There was some bussing around certain stations because of decomposing leaves and rain.  Connecticut Rail Commuter Council member Jim Cameron says those mix, making the tracks extremely slippery.


Cameron says this problem is not unique to Metro North.  It happens on uphill tracks where decomposing leaves build up.  Metro North does make announcements when bussing will be required.  He says it's an uphill climb from Norwalk to Danbury and if the trains stopped at every station, the conductors wouldn't be able to get enough traction to move the train up the hill again.


Cameron says despite Metro North's best efforts, the leaves do build up.  Railroad workers use brooms, high power water sprays and other tools to clear the tracks.  But the trains run under a leafy canopy.

Search continues for Newtown Superintendent of Schools

Newtown is making progress in the search for a new Superintendent of Schools.


Two focus group meetings with parents and a community forum on Monday have been held by the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education's Search Services firm.  The consultants have also met with about 100 school staff, senior citizens, clergy and PTO leadership.  About 150 people have taken the survey posted to the school district's website. 


People were asked for their input on strengths, challenges and leadership qualities of a new superintendent. 


Dr John Reed is serving as Newtown's interim Superintendent.  Dr Janet Robinson left the district to take the same position in Stratford over the summer. 


Applications will be reviewed as received and the search will remain open until the position is filled, with applications due in by the end of October.

Last dry town in Conn. briefly talks about booze

BRIDGEWATER, Conn. (AP) Officials in Connecticut's last dry town have briefly talked about changing local law banning the sale of alcohol.

But Bridgewater selectmen said Tuesday that the issue should wait until after municipal elections in November and new leaders take office.

The Republican-American reports that First Selectman William Stuart, who is not seeking re-election, said the next administration should consider changing the law.

Selectman Curtis Read, the Democratic candidate who is vying with Republican Nancy Hawley and petitioning candidate Neil Cable for the first selectman's job, said Bridgewater's blue laws should not be what he called a ``hot potato'' in the campaign.

The issue was raised by a business owner who asked town officials to rescind the no-liquor law so restaurant owners may be licensed to serve alcoholic drinks.

Permanent Sandy Hook Memorial Commission appointed

Four parents of children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School are among those who will decide how to memorialize the kids and educators.  The group was sworn in on Monday after being named by the Board of Selectmen. 


The 12-member group will decide if there should be a permanent memorial and if so, where and how it should be built.  The group will also determine the funding for one or more permanent memorials, if they determine there should be a permanent memorial.  The Commission has been tasked with also taking in public comment on memorials.  The Commission's work is expected to take several years. 


The town has already received many proposals.  First Selectman Pat Llodra says notes and offers of memorials have been archived by members of the Cultural Arts Commission.


The panel's recommendation will be submitted to the Selectmen. 


35 candidates volunteered to be part of the Permanent Sandy Hook Memorial Commission. 


The parents of the children who have been sworn in as members of the commission are JoAnn Bacon, Brian Engel, Scarlett Lewis and Tricia Pinto.


The other commissioners are Joanne Brunetti, who has a background in Medical Office Administration; Steffan Burns, a landscape products supplier; Daniel Krauss, the parent of a Sandy Hook Elementary student; Agni Pavlidou Kyprianou, an architect; Kyle Lyddy, a marketing manager; Alan Martin, a former Board of Education chairman; Sarah Middeleer, a landscape architect and Donna Van Waalwijk, a member of the Employee Medical Benefits Board.

Hotel, self-storage facility proposed for some Schlumberger land

The first of many steps has been taken to sell off a portion of the Schlumberger Property in Ridgefield.  When the town bought the 45 acres, the plan called for selling some back to recoup the $7-million cost. 


First Selectman Rudy Marconi says one proposal came in for 5-acres of land across from the main property on Old Quarry Road.  Developer Stephen Zemo is proposing to buy the land for $1.25 million.


Zemo is proposing a 48-unit hotel with suites, a self storage building and a third commercial building.  The town could get $115,000 in tax revenue from the hotel alone.  Marconi says the proposal fills a need in town.  He says a potential catering facility would also be a benefit to the town.


Marconi says when the Elms has closed, that left only the Inn, which is pretty well booked and deservedly so.  He says with the many church weddings and those at the community center, there is a need for hotel rooms so people have a place to stay in addition to the Inn.


Zemo's proposal would need Board of Selectmen approval, a public hearing and Town Meeting approval.


10 acres of the Schlumberger property could be sold to a developer for multi-family housing units, though when requests for proposals are sent out a provision would be that half of the land be left open.  About half of the parcel is wetlands and steep-sloped. 


The town is in talks to sell 13 acres, including the Philip Johnson building, to an art collector.

Dog park, skate park in the works in Danbury

Two new parks are being developed in Danbury.  One is a dog park, the other is a skate park.  Bouth could be completed in 2014.


City officials say the dog park will be located on land owned by the city at the airport.  The Federal Aviation Administration ordered Danbury to clear trees adjacent to the runway several years ago.  That's when the city acquired the land, with the help of a federal grant.  The FAA has signed off on plans to have the dog park built, which should be completed by the summer. 


City engineers are currently working on a design.  They are also working on designs for a skate park across from the Patriot Drive parking garage. 


The park would be located on city-owned land near the old "gasball".  The 50,000 pound steel ball was dismantled in 2005.  The 65-foot tall ball was owned by Yankee gas and built in the 1940s.




The project is currently working to get the necessary approvals and could open in the spring.


Generator delivered to Ridgefield Rec Center

The hurricane season is far from over and with a few hundred people without electricity in Ridgefield last night because of the storm, some minds are turning to the weeks long outages from Sandy, Irene and that October snow. 


Ridgefield now has a 450 kilowatt diesel generator at the Recreation Center. 


The equipment was delivered last week and is in place if a big storm hits the region.  The generator was purchased used and it's fuel tank has come from the now-town-owned Schlumberger property. 


Town officials say the equipment is only slightly used, 500 hours, and has a year warranty.

Danbury Airport officials awaiting word on two shutdown-related issues

The partial federal government shutdown has some airline officials on edge in Danbury and across the state.


The Federal Aviation Administration called back 600 aircraft maintenance and compliance inspectors  leaving at least 2,200 out of work.  It's a situation the inspectors union calls a needless risk.  Inspectors protested Tuesday at Bradley International Airport.


Danbury Municipal Airport Administrator Paul Estefan says the recall does and doesn't affect them.  There are no airliners at DXR, but there are charter operators.  If one of the operators needed an inspector, one would be called in.  So he says they are waiting to see how this pans out.


Another issue Danbury Airport is waiting to hear about is the future of contract air traffic controllers.


Estefan says the FAA is claiming to only have enough money for the control towers to operate through the end of October.  He says that has Administrators at small airports across the country on edge.

Danbury company making strides in cancer detection

A Danbury-based company is making strides in detecting breast cancer.  During this national Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Hologic is touting it's new 3D mammography technology.  Danbury State Senator Mike McLachlan says the new technology nearly eliminates false positives that often happen in existing screenings.


Unlike conventional 2D mammography where the presence of overlapping breast tissue can make it more difficult to detect cancer, Hologic's 3D screening makes the image clearer.  The company says the technology detects invasive cancers earlier when the disease is easiest to treat.


The technology detects invasive cancers earlier when the disease is easiest to treat

Conn. dealers see ammunition shortage due to laws

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) Gun dealers in Connecticut are reporting a shortage in ammunition they say is due to laws restricting guns.

At Northwest Sporting Goods and Supply in Winsted, for example, customers may not buy more than 200 rounds of .22-caliber ammunition.

The Republican-American reports store owner Bill Berlinski says he or his staff calls wholesalers across the country to find ammunition. He says manufacturers are making bullets as fast as they can and retailers are selling them just as quickly.

The shortage began shortly after a gunman killed 20 children and six educators at a Newtown school in December.

Michael Bazinet, spokesman for the Newtown-based National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade group for gun manufacturers and retailers, says national debate over firearms restrictions has contributed to rising demand for ammunition and guns.

Danbury FCI prison transfers delyed by shut down

Over the objection of several Senators from the Northeast, the Federal Bureau of Prisons Monday planned to resume the transfers of all female inmates out of the Danbury Federal Correctional Facility.  The plan was delayed over the summer.  Senator Richard Blumenthal is seeking a meeting with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to reverse the plan.


A person answering phones at the Danbury facility would not comment on the transfers, referring calls to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.  Phones in Washington went unanswered due to the government shutdown.

Senator Chris Murphy said the Department of Justice informed his office on Monday they would not proceed as planned, due to the shutdown.


Danbury FCI is being converted back into a men’s prison, citing a need for more minimum-security beds for male prisoners. 


The 1,100 female inmates are being transferred to Alabama. Blumenthal is concerned the remote, rural location would make it more difficult for families to visit.  He says children who can't visit with their parents are more likely to follow in their footsteps and commit criminal activities.


Blumenthal called the transfers unfair and unwise.

Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Charles Samuels recently said 348 inmates from the Northeast or Middle Atlantic States could instead be transferred to a West Virginia prison, a Philadelphia detention facility or the lower-security camp at Danbury.

Victim privacy panel to hold 2nd Conn. hearing

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) A state panel reviewing ways to balance victims' privacy with Connecticut's open records law is holding its second public hearing.

The Task Force on Victim Privacy and the Public's Right to Know is scheduled to hear from members of the public Wednesday at Bridgeport City Hall. The hearing begins at 6 p.m.

The panel faces a Jan. 1 deadline to present recommendations to the General Assembly.

The 17-member task force was created by the legislature as part of a new law that creates exemptions to the state Freedom of Information Act. The exemptions bar the release of photographs, film, video and other images depicting a homicide victim, if those records are considered an unwarranted invasion of privacy.

Families of the Newtown school shooting victims requested the legislation.

Four Conn. schools named National Blue Ribbon Schools

St. Jude School in Monroe is among the Connecticut schools has been recognized as a National Blue Ribbon Schools.


The U.S. Education Department has come out with it's 2013 National Blue Ribbon Schools.  Staples High School in Westport and Weston High School also achieved the status. 


Monroe’s St. Jude was chosen for the program which recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students' academic achievement. 


State Representative DebraLee Hovey says being named a Blue Ribbon School is a great achievement and means students will have a bright future because they were diligently prepared.

Danbury Firefighter of the Year named

The Danbury Firefighter of the Year has been named by the Danbury Exchange Club.  Captain Gary Arconti, who has 28 years on the job is the 2013 selection for the honor.  Exchange Club President Joe DaSilva says Arconti has also coached basketball and baseball and organized fundraisers for the Bridgeport Burn Center.


Arconti has been a fireman for 28 years.  Fire Chief Geoff Herald says Arconti has many credits towards his degree in Fire Technology, is involved with the Juvenile Fire Setters program and active in union activities.  Before joining the department Arconti served 13 years with the volunteer division at Water Witch Hose Company #7.


Arconti says it was a humbling experience.


The Danbury legislative delegation presented a General Assembly citation recognizing Captain Arconti for his commitment and contributions during his service to the fire department.  Representative David Arconti says he's extremely proud of his uncle’s recognition and sees it as a testament to his integrity, commitment and hard work protecting the community.

Immaculate Field Hockey raises money to fund cancer research

Some Danbury area high schoolers are working to put an end to cancer.  Immaculate High School’s Field Hockey team recently participated in a fundraising campaign for the National Foundation for Cancer Research.  Sports teams across the country donate proceeds from at least one game to research charity. 


Field Hockey Coach Matt Arinello says Play4theCure raised about $500.  The team honored Watertown High School's coach during the game.  Denise Brown is currently battling cancer.  Arinello called it a great team bonding experience.


The National Foundation for Cancer Research is a cancer research charity dedicated to funding cancer research and public education relating to cancer prevention, earlier diagnosis, better treatments and, ultimately, a cure for cancer. 


Immaculate won the Tuesday game versus Watertown High School.

Newtown girl inducted into a philanthropic organization

A Newtown girl has been inducted into a philanthropic organization for children and young adults.


Sophia Lasaro has donated an assortment of brand new toys and books received at her birthday party to Danbury Hospital.  She is now part of the Danbury Hospital’s Kids Care Club.  Lasaro said she hoped this donation brightens the day of patients and making their experience at the Hospital less frightening. 


The Kids Care Club brings in donations to support pediatric programs and services at Danbury Hospital and New Milford Hospital.


Donations help purchase toys, movies, video games and other items to make children’s hospital stays more comfortable.  Hospital officials say children have organized penny drives, operated lemonade stands and donated a portion of their allowance to contribute to the club.

Newtown votes on state bond money

Newtown residents have voted to accept $50 million in state funding.  There were 4,504 votes cast in favor and 558 votes to reject the funding.


Five question and answer documents were put out by Newtown officials with information about the building of a new Sandy Hook Elementary School.


The special appropriation from the state is for architectural and engineering services to design a new building, to demolish the facility currently on the site and to build the new school.  Some of the money will be used to buy two neighboring parcels of land so the entrance to the school can be relocated. 


Abatement of any hazardous materials could begin later this month.  The school would be demolished sometime in November.  The architect, engineering and construction management firms have already been selected so they would begin work soon on the design and construction.

Redesign of DC Navy building falls to man who helped Newtown

The Navy is considering an extensive redesign of the Washington Navy Yard building where 12 workers were gunned down last month.

A contract for repairs to Navy Yard Building 197 directs the contractor to create ``a different sense of place'' to soften the impact on returning occupants.

The Navy says it hasn't decided whether Naval Sea Systems Command will still be headquartered in the five-story, red brick building damaged by the shootings on Sept. 16.

Bethesda, Md., consultant Rich Harwood helped Newtown, Conn., devise a proposal to demolish the elementary school were 26 people were killed in a shooting last December, and to build a new school nearby.

He says the Navy's decision isn't about a building, but about whether people are ready to move from trauma and despair to healing and hope.

Some candidates to be on Nov. ballot, others still off

A recent court ruling allows minor party candidates in Westport to appear on the ballot, but the decision is not a blanket one for other towns.  The Save Westport Now candidates were among many in the state to be kept off the ballot because the candidates being endorsed did not sign the paperwork submitted to Town Clerks. 


Candidates being cross endorsed by the Independent Party of Ridgefield will be on the ballot, but as Democrats or Republicans.  In Bethel, Connecticut Tea Party candidates will not be on the ballot, unless they are write in candidates. 


The Secretary of the State's office says the only way that can change is if Town Clerks and the parties come to an agreement, which is approved by a judge.

New Milford Hospital to break ground on new ER

Ground is being broken for New Milford Hospital's new Emergency Department.  A ceremony is being held tonight for the Arnhold Emergency Department.  New Milford Hospital officials say the new facility marks the beginning of a new era in emergency care in New Milford. 


The Hospital says the space will solely be dedicated to emergency care for patients, families and visitors through state of the art technology, a larger more efficient triage room and all private patient rooms.  The new facility will also have a centralized nursing station for direct oversight of patient rooms, will be geriatric accessible and pediatric friendly. 


Improvements outside will be made to the parking area.

Shutdown trickles down to local WIC, Head Start programs

The program that provides supplemental food and nutrition counseling to low-income pregnant women and young children in Danbury is at risk of running out of funding because of the federal government shutdown.  Connecticut Institute for Communities Executive Director Jim Maloney says WIC funding was to have started October 1st is federal dollars, but comes through the state.  He says the state hasn't gotten word on the money for this year.


Maloney says his fear is that there may not be federal money coming to Connecticut which means difficult decisions will have to be made locally.  Maloney says the state is not yet in a position where they can release money from the federal government.


The state has advised the Connecticut Institute for Communities to continue operations, but he says there's only so long the program can be run without new funding. 


The Women, Infant and Children Program serves about 2,500 families each year.  WIC has a staff of 8 full-time employees.


Meanwhile another program that has a contract through the Connecticut Institute for Communities is not at risk of shutting down.  Head Start in Danbury is in good shape because the contract runs from January 1st trough December 31st.


Action for Bridgeport Community Development is among four Head Start providers nationwide that are closing due to the federal Government shutdown.  Head Start serves more than 1 million low-income children annually, helping prepare them for elementary school while also providing meals and health care.

WCSU to host Veterans Appreciation Weekend

Western Connecticut State University is holding a Veterans Appreciation Weekend.  The Student Veteran Organization, Commuter Student Organization and others are teaming up for event tomorrow night and Saturday with donations benefitting the TJ Lobraico Scholarship Fund and the Wounded Warrior Project. 


The events will be free and open to the public.


A Dinner is being held at 7pm tomorrow in the Science Building on the Midtown Campus.  Saturday's events start with a Westside Nature Preserve Walk followed by a luncheon, Hoops for Heroes basketball game and a semi-formal dinner.


All of the Saturday events will be on the Westside campus. The dinner is free for WCSU faculty, staff, students and veterans. The public may attend for $20.

Nationwide survey conduct on gun control laws

The Quinnipiac University Polling Institute has released the results of a nationwide survey on gun control. 


A similar Quinnipiac poll done in April showed overwhelming support for tougher gun laws.  Assistant Director Peter Brown says little has changed since then despite congressional inaction.  89-percent want a federal law requiring background checks on all gun purchases. 


Brown says the poll shows that while the public wants background checks, they don't believe tougher laws alone can prevent incidents such as the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary or the Washington Navy Yard.


Brown says an overwhelming majority believe guns should not be sold to people mental illnesses.

Danbury Army Reserve Center name approved by military officials

Construction is on schedule for the new military facility being built in Danbury.  The Army Reserve Center being opened in Danbury now has a name.  The facility being constructed on the Lee Farm Property will be known as Veterans Memorial Armed Forces Reserve Center. 


The name is supported by the Danbury Council of Veterans, a group that represents six Veterans Posts and Organizations.  Various elected officials including the City Council, the Mayor and the state's Congressional delegation also support the name.


Army reservist Tom Saadi says the name is meant to honor all military veterans in all branches throughout history.


8 Army Reserve Units, including the Danbury-based 411th Civil Affairs Battalion, and two units of the Connecticut National Guard will be assigned to the Center.

Brookfield Chamber to hold candidate debate

A debate will be held this month in Brookfield among the First Selectman candidates.  The Brookfield Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the event on October 21st at Whisconier Middle School.  Democrat Howard Lasser and Republican Bill Tinsley will meet at 7pm for the debate. 


This is one of several candidate forums that are being held in Brookfield. 


The PTO will hold a Meet the Candidates night at Brookfield High School on October 29th at 7pm.

Airport, prison open but park sites closed

While many aspects of federal government has been shut down, airports continue to be staffed.


Danbury Municipal Airport Administrator Paul Estefan says it's still a "wait and see" situation.  While Congress battles it out for an emergency spending bill compromise, there's been no word on if the Federal Aviation Administration will have to make budget cuts. 


But for the time being, Estefan says Danbury Airport is operational and contract air traffic controllers were at work Tuesday.  Automatic spending cuts were put off in March and in June.  Monday was the new deadline for sequestration to kick in, but the 149 contract air traffic control towers are still staffed as of now. 


While the traditional summer vacation season has come to an end, people are still wanting to get outdoors this fall.  The Weir Farm National Historic Site is closed because all national parks were shuttered.  All buildings and grounds are closed at the site in Wilton so leaf peepers will have to take in the scenery some place else.  The Appalachian Trail, which runs through Kent, does remain accessible. 


People currently receiving Medicare and Social Security will receive payments, but no new applications can be processed.  The same goes for Small Business loans.  IRS audits have been suspended.  The system employers use to check the immigration status of potential hires has been shut down. 


Federal courts will remain fully operational for about two weeks, but if the stalemate in Washington continues, some employees will have to be furloughed.  Cases however will continue to be heard.

Danbury mall carousel garners award

Danbury's Commission for Persons with disAbilities has honored the Carousel at the Danbury Fair Mall with an award for providing access and accommodation to people with disabilities.  On Saturday a presentation was made by commission members to Florida-based Island Carousel Incorporated for providing individuals with free rides. 


AMC Theaters was the last Danbury company to be presented with the award for having some shows with the lights on for people with Autism. 


The Commission was created to help people with housing, employment, transportation and other services.

Danbury polling location change to be decided after election

Residents who live in Danbury's 3rd Ward will be voting in a new location for next month's election.  Ward 3 voting is being moved to Stadley Rough School from Broadview Middle School.  Stadley Rough is more centrally located in the district.


The polling place in Danbury's 6th Ward will not change for next month's election. Changing the polling place because of reapportionment has sparked a firestorm of comments from elected officials.  The decision on moving the polling location has been put off until the November City Council meeting. That date falls after the election.  Republican Registrar of Voters Mary Ann Doran was asked to justify choosing the Moose Lodge as a new location for voting. 


She says there is no perfect polling place in Danbury.  Complaints that the Moose Lodge is on a hill would mean that Shelter Rock School couldn't be used.  The same argument about traffic would eliminate Pembroke School.  Mill Ridge School is on a dead end, similar to the Moose Lodge.


Doran says there was a similar uproar 10 years ago, after the last reapportionment, when Morris Street School polling was moved to Mill Ridge.  But she says in retrospect, the move was a good one.  She adds that moving the polling place from South Street School to Shelter Rock was also a solid decision.


Democratic Registrar of Voters Marge Gallo was asked why she originally supported the proposal to move 6th ward voting out of Park Avenue School.  She said the ongoing construction looked like it wouldn't wrap up in time for Election Day and there was a lack of parking.  But she says construction at the front of the school finished and parking was added.


Gallo said she didn't think about November's possible winter weather and the slope of the Moose Lodge parking lot.


Doran says she and Gallo went to many places to reach their proposals.  For the 3rd ward, it was decided that Stadley Rough was more centrally located than Great Plain School.

More 'texting while driving ban' enforcement coming soon

A new texting ban enforcement operation could be under way soon in Danbury.  The City Council is being asked tonight to approve an application by the Police Department for state funding to carry out another texting while driving ban enforcement effort. 


In June, the Connecticut Department of Transportation administered grants to municipalities to ramp up patrols.  The one week campaign in Danbury resulted in more than 500 citations being issued to drivers who were texting. 


The anticipated enforcement would take place this month, October 9th through the 15th. 


The state would pay the majority of the costs of the enforcement with Danbury picking up about $4,000 of the cost.  The funding to cover that is available in the Police Department's budget.  The $16,000 price tag covers four officers and one supervisor working 56 hours each on the enforcement.

Sandy Hook School to be demolished, beyond recognition

Ahead of Saturday's referendum in Newtown on $50 million in bonding from the state to build a new Sandy Hook School, the state has approved the first of that allocation.  $3.7 million was approved Friday by the Bond Commission to demolish the current building. 


Channel 8 is reporting that the demolition plan includes that nothing leave the site a recognizable condition, meaning that everything will be ground up.  The plan also calls for designating the area where the killings took place as sacred areas where nothing will be built until a memorial is decided on by the town.


If the referendum Saturday is rejected, it will not result in a different site being selected to build a new school.


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