Local Headlines Archives for 2013-11

Extra patrols in downtown Danbury throughout December

Extra foot patrols by Danbury Police officers have started in downtown.  Mayor Mark Boughton says due to the expected increase in activities for the holiday season, the police are strengthening their presence in the area. 

 

The stepped up enforcement started on Monday.  It involves officers walking the downtown area and surrounding streets to address quality of life violations. 

 

The extra patrols will be in place through December 24th.

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Postal workers thanked for participation in Imagination Library

At a time of year where post office employees are working overtime, The United Way of Western Connecticut is thanking letter carriers for taking part in Imagination Library.  The program sends an age-appropriate book each month to newborns through five year olds.  Coordinator Monet Borione says in the last five years, the Danbury Post office has helped deliver more than 75,000 free books.

 

The program relies on funding partners to cover the costs of purchasing and mailing the books.  Borione says they got together recently  with children to decorate letters to mail carriers to thank them for their role.

 

Borione says the program ensures that every child has a book collection, regardless of their family’s income.  Books about color and shapes, change to sharing and cultures as the children get older.  About 6,000 children in the area participate in Imagination Library.

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Danbury Fire Department, DCF host 'Stuff A Truck' event

While out shopping for your loved ones, the Danbury Fire Department is also hoping the giving season extends to those less fortunate.  Firefighters will be at the Danbury Square Mall this afternoon with a fire truck waiting to be filled with new, unwrapped toys for children in foster care. 

 

Fire Chief Geoff Herald says this is a joint effort with Danbury Professional Firefighters Union Local 801 and the state Department of Children and Families.  They are looking for gifts for children of all ages, from the youngest through teenagers.

 

Firefighters will be at the Backus Avenue shopping Center from 10am to 2pm with the fire engine and Sparky, the Department's mascot.

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Area towns plan events for 'Small Business Saturday'

Grey Thursday and Black Friday are in the books.  Up today: Small Business Saturday.  This is the time when mom and pop shops are hoping the community will spend some time and money visiting them. 

 

Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says money spent in the community gets invested in the community and he is hoping people will support local retailers.  Knickerbocker says some authors will be at Byrd's Books and the Art Walk from yesterday will continue today.  some of the vacant store fronts have been turned into galleries.

 

In Newtown, First Selectman Pat Llodra is calling on people to visit the shops in Sandy Hook saying that commercial village was economically devastated last year right during the prime shopping season and that some local businesses--went out of business.

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Newtown police plan review of response to shooting

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Newtown's police chief says his department will review its response to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School once the complete state police report on the massacre is released.

State police are currently in the process of redacting personal information from the thousands of pages in their evidence file so that they can be released publicly. The Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice said the redactions were expected to be completed by the anniversary of the Dec. 14 shooting.

Newtown Police Chief Michael Kehoe told The News-Times that his department's review will look at everyone's actions. Such reviews of major incidents help police departments improve response and planning.

Kehoe told the newspaper a summary report released this week showed his officers acted properly. He was not available for comment Wednesday.

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Thanksgiving message from Newtown First Selectman

In the wake of the Sandy Hook investigative report's release and a pending release of 911 audio tapes from December 14th, Newtown's First Selectman is issuing a Thanksgiving message from the community.

 

"The beginning of this holiday season is especially difficult for us in Newtown and Sandy Hook.  Last year at this time we were intact.  Families were preparing for the Thanksgiving feast, and readying those shopping lists for the fast approaching Christmas holiday.  The town was beginning to look festive and celebratory. 

 

Our world changed suddenly on December 14th.  Our journey since then has been grief-filled, working hard to restore our sense of confidence and belief in the promise of a bright future for us, our families, our children. 

 

I am thankful for the love and support offered to us by so many from near and far.  Hands and hearts reached out in friendship have helped us move through the darkest days.  I am thankful that we are able to see the great blessings heaped upon us in the wake of great tragedy.  I pray that our families, so grievously hurt in a loss of a loved one, find solace and comfort.  I am thankful so many join in that prayer. 

 

To all of you, Newtown extends heartfelt thanks for your kindness.  We wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends and we ask that you take a moment to think about all you have to be thankful for.  We ask too that you express those thanks with an act of kindness in honor of the Sandy Hook Victims. 

 

Thank you very much on behalf of Newtown, First Selectman Pat Llodra"

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Obit: Former Newtown First Selectman Jack Rosenthal

A former Newtown First Selectman has died.  Jack Rosenthal passed away Monday at the age of 94, the last 2 years of his life residing at Masonicare at Newtown.  Rosenthal, a Democrat, served 6 terms as First Selectman.  His son Herb also served in that role. 

 

The elder Rosenthal was in the U.S. Army and trained as a medical technician.  He worked in the insurance industry and held many elected positions in Newtown over his lifetime.  Some of those positions included on the Board of Finance, the Legislative Council and the Charter Revision Commission. 

 

He also was active with the Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire Company. 

 

Family, friends and the community may pay respects at Honan Funeral Home in Newtown on December 4th from 4 to 8 pm.  Funeral services will be private.  Interment in Newtown Village Cemetery will also be private.   A memorial service will take place at the Newtown Meeting House at a date to be determined.

 

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Newtown Scholarship Association, or The Masonicare At Newtown Quality of Life Fund, 139 Toddy Hill Road, Newtown CT 06470.

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Conn. FOI and privacy panel facing deadline

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A deadline is fast approaching for a Connecticut task force charged with finding ways to balance victim privacy with the public's right to know.

The group must report its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly by Jan. 1. However, the legislation creating the Task Force on Victim Privacy and the Public's Right to Know says the panel terminates on Jan. 1 or when it submits its report, whichever is later.

Hartford state Rep. Angel Arce has offered some initial ideas, including a possible compromise for handling 911 audio tapes. That has been a key issue in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Task force members met Wednesday to discuss Arce's recommendations.

 

The panel, meeting next on Dec. 17, has yet to reach consensus. One proposal would create a central repository for sensitive information about crimes. The data could be reviewed but not copied.

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Lillinonah boat launch opening delayed to April

The state boat launch on Lake Lillinonah that's been under construction will not be opening this year as planned.  The renovations to the facility in Bridgewater were supposed to have been completed by December 31st, but state officials say the cold weather has prevented paving from being completed. 

 

The new estimated finish date is April 19th 2014, the first day of fishing season. 

 

The boat launch on Lillinonah closed on Labor Day for renovations that included a handicapped accessible design.  Erosion prevention, a new parking lot and turn-around area were also being installed.  State Environmental officials say the floating dock system will make launches safer and more efficient. 

 

New solar powered street lights and a portable toilet platform have been installed.

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Planes, trains and automobiles: busy Thanksgiving travel weekend

Despite the lower gas prices, it looks like fewer folks will be visiting Grandma for pumpkin pie this holiday weekend.  Most drivers will pay the cheapest gas prices for the Thanksgiving holiday since 2010.  But Connecticut AAA spokeswoman Fran Mayko says the sluggish economic recovery is putting a crimp in some people's plans for this weekend.

 

AAA projecting a 1.5 percent decrease in the number of people traveling between today and Sunday.  About one-third of travellers are expected to return Sunday; while 24-percent plan to be home Monday or later. 

 

Of the overall 43.4 million travelers, 7% or 3.1 million will travel by air, a 3.7% decline; and the remaining 3%  or 1.4 million will take some other mode of transportation including rail, bus or cruise ship.

 

Metro North is trying to make getting away for the weekend a little easier.  From Thursday through Sunday, there will be only off-peak fares.  Today, Metro-North spokeswoman Marjorie Anders says they will operate 20 extra afternoon trains departing Grand Central between noon and 4:10 pm. 

 

On Thanksgiving Day, Metro-North will provide additional inbound morning service for customers going to the Parade. There is also expanded outbound service for those returning home and also expanded evening service for customers returning to New York City.  Metro-North expects to carry more than 100,000 customers on Thanksgiving Day, making it the busiest holiday of the year for them.

 

On Friday there are fewer commuters, but more sightseers so Metro-North will run fewer morning rush hour trains and more midday trains.  Regular Saturday and Sunday schedules are in effect, but with extra trains.

 

Sobriety checkpoints, roving DUI patrols and safety spot checks are all part of the stepped up enforcement by State Police this long holiday weekend.  Spokesman Lt Paul Vance says Troopers will patrol all roads and highways across Connecticut and will focus on drunk drivers while targeting aggressive and unsafe drivers.

 

Vance is hoping for a safer Thanksgiving weekend.  Last year there were fatalities from accidents.  Last Thanksgiving Weekend, state police charge 1,600 drivers for speeding, issued more than 3,000 hazardous moving violations and made 62 DUI arrests.

 

Vance says young people, especially college students returning home, should be reminded of the rules of alcohol consumption and drinking and driving.

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Judge orders release of Newtown 911 recordings

A Connecticut judge has ordered the release of the 911 recordings from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, but the tapes will not be immediately unsealed.

The state's Freedom of Information Commission ruled in September that the recordings should be provided to The Associated Press, but State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky asked for a stay while he appeals that order.

New Britain Superior Court Judge Eliot Prescott denied his request Tuesday, but the tapes remain sealed until December 4th to give the prosecutor a chance to appeal.  Sedensky said he is reviewing the judge’s decision and will determine what action he will take before the set date.

The AP has sought the recordings in part to examine the police response.  Sedensky urged the judge to consider the anguish releasing the tapes could cause victims' families.

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Redding Police Department set for state accreditation

The Redding Board of Selectman have gotten an update on the Police Department's work toward receiving state Accreditation.  The process was described by Chief Douglas Fuchs on Monday night.  According to minutes of the meeting, he said the Department's policies and procedures are reviewed to assure they meet current operation standards. 

 

The state has completed the review.  Fuchs told the Board he expects the Police Department will receive Accreditation status in February. 

 

There is no cost for the town associated with the review or accreditation.  There 15 police departments in Connecticut with this accreditation including Monroe and Ridgefield.

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Details about Sandy Hook shooting released in report, no motive

Investigators have released a long-awaited report on the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, nearly a year after tragedy.  A copy of the report can be viewed hereIn addition to the more than 40 page investigative summary released by Danbury State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky, a supplemental report was released. 

 

The report did not determine a motive for the attack. Physical evidence consists of more than seven-hundred individual files that include reports, statements, interviews, videos, laboratory tests and results, photographs, diagrams, search warrants and returns, as well as evaluations of those items.

 

The supplemental report included 29 documents, mostly warrants issued by the court.  Among them were warrants for the detailed call logs of several phone numbers issued to the gunman and his mother.

 

The previously released search warrants from their Yogananda Street home were included in the report.  They included an inventory of sorts of weapons confiscated from the house.  Information about computers and gaming systems were also included.  Also included was a warrant that detailed personal items in the home like a check to the gunman from his mother so he could purchase a gun.

 

Adam Lanza may have hinted at his deadly plans online in the days before last year's shooting.  In documents that were part of a report released Monday, authorities say a Texas woman contacted Hartford police the day of the December 14th attack to say her son had interacted with someone while playing a videogame 20 hours earlier who said there would be a school shooting.  It isn't clear whether she contacted authorities before or after the massacre.

 

Two days before the shooting, an anonymous user posted comments online saying that they planned to commit suicide December 14th and that it would make the news. The poster said they lived in Connecticut.

 

The information came from an application for a search warrant for Lanza's computer. Authorities say that the computer's hard drive had been smashed and that nothing usable was obtained.  Other information about Lanza's online gaming habits were discussed in warrants for information from "World of Warcraft" and "Combat Arms".

 

Documents show the shooter wrote a violent book in the fifth grade that included passages in which a character shoots his mother in the head.  The homemade manuscript titled "The Big Book of Granny" was among items seized from Lanza's home.  He fatally shot his mother in the head, then drove to the school, carried out the killings and committed suicide.

 

The documents say the main character in Lanza's book has a gun in her cane and shoots people. There's nothing to indicate Lanza ever handed the book in at school.  The son character sinks his mother to the bottom of the ocean with a "cement floatation device." Another character likes hurting people, especially children.

 

The report indicates that nearly six minutes passed between the arrival of the first police officer and the time local officers entered the school.  Two other officers then arrived at the school, and gunshots were heard in the background.  The last gunshot officers heard, which is believed to be the suicide shot by Lanza, was heard at three seconds past 9:40.

 

Sedensky wrote that police entered the building believing someone could be there ready to take their lives as well.  He also acknowledges and thanks the staff of the Sandy Hook Elementary School who acted heroically. "The combination saved many children’s lives."

 

One staff member who was injured by gun shots crawled back into a conference room and held the door shut, according to the report, calling 911 and also turned on the school wide intercom system. Sedensky says this appears to have been done inadvertently, but provided notice to other portions of the building.  Other staff members in the main office also called 911, but were not spotted by the gunman.

 

Among the documents in the supplemental report was one that included many redactions.  It described the lobby, hallway, conference room and one first grade classroom.  The document also included ballistic reports.  Another document detailed the weapons brought to the school, how many ammunition rounds were left unused and trajectory of the suspected suicide shot.

 

The report says that the gunman had an obsession with mass murders but that investigators did not discover any evidence he had indicated to others an intention to carry out such a crime.  The summary of the investigation said the shooter  was obsessed in particular with the April 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado.

 

There was a supplemental document that had details from a GPS unit seized from the home.  On Thursday December 13, 2012, one route started and returned to the house and lasted less than half an hour.  The route tracked the vehicle to Chimney Swift, which goes by Sandy Hook Elementary School.

 

The report does not include the full evidence file of Connecticut State Police, which is believed to total thousands of pages.

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Newtown man appointed as CFO of Praxair

A Newtown man is the new Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Praxair.  41-year old Matthew White, who is currently the president of Praxair Canada will be taking on the role as of January 1st. 

 

He is replacing Jim Sawyer, who has worked for Praxair and its predecessor company Union Carbide for nearly three decades.  Sawyer served as CFO for 13 of his 28 years with the company and will stay on in an advisory position for a few months. 

 

White has been with Praxair for 9 years, first serving as Finance Director of North American Industrial Gases and later as President of Praxair Canada.

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Report into shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary released

Investigators have released a long-awaited report on the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, nearly a year after tragedy.  A copy of the report can be viewed here.

 

The prosecutor who led the investigation into the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School says it did not determine a motive for the attack.  Danbury State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky says there is also no clear indication why the shooter chose the School as the target for his rampage other than the fact that it was close to his home.  Despite the collection of extensive background information on the shooter through a multitude of interviews and other sources, the question of why this happened may never be answered conclusively.  Physical evidence consists of more than seven-hundred individual files that include reports, statements, interviews, videos, laboratory tests and results, photographs, diagrams, search warrants and returns, as well as evaluations of those items.

 

The report says that the order that the shooter went into the two first grade classrooms is unknown.  The first 911 call was recorded at 9:35 on the morning of December 14th 2012. The report says it was fewer than 4 minutes from the time the call was recorded to the time police arrived at the school and fewer than 5 minutes from that time that the shooter killed himself.  It was less than 6 minutes when the first officer entered the school.  The report says it was less than 11 minutes that all 26 children and women were killed.  The report detailed the types of guns that were recovered from the school and the shooter's home.

 

Sedensky wrote that police entered the building believing someone could be there ready to take their lives as well.  He also acknowledges and thanks the staff of the Sandy Hook Elementary School who acted heroically. The combination saved many children’s lives.

 

One staff member who was injured by gun shots crawled back into a conference room and held the door shut, calling 911 and also turned on the school wide intercom system. Sedensky says this appears to have been done inadvertently, but provided notice to other portions of the building.  Other staff members in the main office also called 911, but were not spotted by the gunman.

 

Some people were able to escape out of the building prior to the police arrival and went to Sandy Hook center, nearby residences, or received rides from parents going to the school or from passersbys.

 

There is no evidence that anyone knew of the shooter's plan before the tragedy or that anyone else was involved.  The report acknowledges that there were people found in woods near the school that hand been handcuffed until their identities could be determined.  Among the people who were initially detained by police for fear of another shooter, was a parent with a cell phone, a man who came to the school after seeing an alert on his phone and two reporters.  Police say there were also two sweatshirts outside of the shooter's car and shell casings outside of the school also led officers to take extra precautions.  Area surveillance videos were viewed and witnesses were interviewed to determine there was only one shooter.

 

 

There will be no state criminal prosecution as a result of these crimes. 

 

The report says that the shooter had significant mental health issues that affected his ability to live a normal life and interact with others but did not affect his mental state for the crimes.

 

The report says that the gunman had an obsession with mass murders but that investigators did not discover any evidence he had indicated to others an intention to carry out such a crime.  The summary of the investigation said the shooter  was obsessed in particular with the April 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado.

 

The report also includes an inventory of sorts of the gunman's house.  It lists the video games found in the man's room along with the articles related to other school shootings.  The report also listed the previously reported spreadsheets about mass murder.  A GPS in the car that the shooter used showed a trip in Sandy Hook the afternoon before the shootings.  As previously reported, the investigative summary also detailed that the shooter's mother had been out of town in the days leading up to December 14th, having returned home the night before.  Neither the shooter's father or brother had contact with him since 2010.

 

"The shooter disliked birthdays, Christmas and holidays. He would not allow his mother to put up a Christmas tree. The mother explained it by saying that shooter had no emotions or feelings. The mother also got rid of a cat because the shooter did not want it in the house."

 

The report does not include the full evidence file of Connecticut State Police, which is believed to total thousands of pages.

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Newtown First Selectman writes blog on gearing up for tough weeks

Newtown's first selectman says the next few weeks will be difficult and she is asking residents to quietly mark the anniversary of the December 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School by coming together and supporting local businesses.

 

First Selectwoman Pat Llodra says in a blog post that Newtown is not planning any townwide events to mark the anniversary.

 

This is the full posting by Llodra on her bog:

 

"These weeks are very difficult for our community. We are gearing up for the release of the investigation report, will learn of the disposition of the tapes of the 911 calls, and will experience the first anniversary of the tragedy at Sandy Hook School.  Each of these happenings has the potential to feel like a body blow – it takes our breath away and we struggle to regain our balance.  No one experiences these events more deeply and more painfully than the families of the victims. Consider too the cumulative emotional impact of this past year as felt by every parent of every Sandy Hook student, by their teachers and staff, and by those who love and care for them.  Part of our despair is that we can do little to ease their personal pain. We cannot stop the drip-drip-drip of leaked information – a problem that has plagued us for months and months. Is it possible that those persons who feel compelled to speak without authority and without permission do not know the harm they do?  And we cannot stop the release of whatever information the courts determine must be released. And we cannot, despite massive efforts of many, ensure that we will not be overrun by media on December 14. 

 

So, what can we do?  We can tap into that inner strength we have called upon again and again over this past year to confront what we must, manage that hurt as best we can, and put it behind us somehow.  We can be sure to not let others control our destiny. We cannot change what happened at Sandy Hook School; we can only choose how we respond.  We have a choice on December 14.  We have called upon every person to honor those who lost their lives that day in a personal, kind way.  We ask, too, that you not let the specter of media overload destroy again our Sandy Hook commercial village.  Come to shop, to dine, and enjoy the beauty of the village on December 14. Our presence there in support of these businesses shows that we will make the choice to not be deterred on our journey of recovery."

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Conn. judge listening to Newtown 911 recordings

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) -- A Connecticut judge said he will listen Monday to the 911 recordings from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting before ruling on whether they can be publicly released.

 

New Britain Superior Court Judge Eliot Prescott said he will issue his decision soon after listening to the tapes, but that it will not be issued Monday.

 

The state's Freedom of Information Commission ruled in September that the recordings should be provided to The Associated Press, but a prosecutor asked for a stay while he appeals that order. The AP has sought the recordings in part to examine the police response to the massacre, which left 20 first-graders and six educators dead.

 

Prescott ruled Monday that the recordings should continue to remain sealed while he reviews them. He said the seal is necessary to preserve the confidentiality of recordings until he rules on the request for a stay, sought by State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky III.

 

"The plaintiff's interest in preserving the confidentiality of the audio recordings until such time as his motion for stay can be fairly adjudicated outweighs the public's interest in immediate access to such information," Prescott said in his ruling.

 

Neither the information commission nor the AP voiced objections.

 

During Monday's hearing, Victor Perpetua, an attorney for the information commission, said the recordings had been leaked by at least one member of law enforcement to the media, referring to a report last week from Hearst Connecticut Newspapers. Perpetua asked Prescott whether he believed that development to be relevant in his ultimate decision on whether to release the audio tapes.

 

Prescott said that he did not know whether the information in the Hearst report came from law enforcement sources and that he had no plans to hold a hearing on who might have leaked the tapes or whether the information was accurate.

 

"I think I have what I need at this time," he said, referring to making his final decision on the tapes.

 

Sedensky is expected Monday afternoon to release a long-awaited summary report on the Dec. 14, 2012, shooting.

At a hearing this month, Sedensky urged the judge to consider the anguish that releasing the tapes could cause for victims' families. He has said the judge should consider effects on others, including people who might hesitate to dial 911 out of fear their voice would end up on a newscast.

 

But Perpetua argued with the AP against Sedensky's requested stay, arguing that it is important to release the recordings because the public has a right to know how police acted in a moment of crisis.

 

Recordings of 911 calls are routinely released, but the Newtown police department and Sedensky sought to keep the Sandy Hook calls secret, arguing they could jeopardize the investigation.

 

After the AP took its challenge to the information commission, Sedensky argued that releasing them could violate survivors who deserve special protection as victims of child abuse and subject them to unwanted attention from people, including reporters.

 

If the recordings are released, the AP would review the content and determine what, if any, of it would meet the news cooperative's standards for publication.

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More progress on bringing Skate Park to Danbury

A skate park is in the works in Danbury.  Mayor Mark Boughton says kids have been asking him for this for the last few years and the City has finally identified a place to locate it.  A committee of the City Council discussed the proposal last Monday.  They are recommending that the property be transferred back from an Authority to the City.  

 

Boughton says a lot of skateboarders downtown use railings, stairs and other infrastructure that's not really designed for that use.  He hopes once the park is built, they will take advantage of it.

 

Councilman Duane Perkins says he supports the skate park as a way to promote kids exercising.  But he says he is concerned with the location because it's close to a residential neighborhood and a modular steel construction is loud.  Boughton says the park would only be open during the day, with no lights.  He says it's already a pretty noisy place because trains come through on the tracks and blow their horns.

 

Boughton called it a good location because it's near public transportation.

 

Boughton says the parts take a significant amount of time to come in, but it could open as early as this coming spring, across from the Patriot Drive parking garage.  The park would be located near where the old Yankee Gas "gasball" was before it was dismantled in 2005.

 

(https://www.lookingforadventure.com/photopages/DANBURYGASB.htm)

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Putnam County officials touting debt rating by Moody's

Putnam County has a Aa2 rating from Moody's Investors Service, which cited the County's sound financial position and low debt burden. 

 

County Executive MaryEllen Odell says that allowed the County to close on the sale of $3-million in general obligation bonds at a low interest rate.  The proceeds of the bonds are used to fund various road and facility improvements. 

 

Odell says Putnam County taxpayers will be saved thousands of dollars in interest costs due to fiscal accountability.  Despite the positive rating, Odell says property tax payers need mandate relief and she is working with New York state Senator Greg Ball's Mandate Relief Council.

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Area lawmaker to visit Wilton production facility

An area lawmaker will be visiting a Wilton company today to learn more about their work. 

 

4th District Congressman Jim Himes will visit Sun Products' Danbury Road facility this afternoon. He says he wants to learn more about the laundry detergent, fabric softener, dish care, and other household products that they make.  Sun Products was formed in September 2008 from the combination of Unilever’s North American fabric care business and Huish Detergents Incorporated. 

 

Himes says Sun Products' portfolio includes such well-known brands as Wisk, All, and Snuggle.

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Danbury Hospital awarded grant for preventative medicine training

A $1.5 million grant has been awarded to Danbury Hospital for a new Preventative Medicine and Public Health Residency Training Program.  Two medical residents each year will be funded for the two year study program.  Medical Education Director Dr Ramin Ahmadi says over the five years of the grant, 14 residents will be trained in this important area of medicine.

 

Ahmadi says preventative medicine is a keystone of the health care reform law. 

 

Danbury Hospital's new residency program will offer training in population health, behavioral health, occupational health and global health.  The program was designed in collaboration with the Greater Danbury Community Health Center, a Federally Qualified Teaching Health Center.

 

The grant covers expenses including  professional education and research expenses, program administration, insurance, rent and other costs of the residents.

 

5th Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty was in Danbury on Friday for the grant announcement.

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New electric vehicle charging station grants available

In order to help cover the costs of installing publicly available electric vehicle charging stations, Governor Dannel Malloy has announced a second round of grant funding.

 

Western Connecticut State University will install four electric vehicle charging stations with the help of the first round of EnergizeCT grants.  Two will be in the White Street Garage on the Midtown campus and two in the Centennial Hall Garage on the Westside campus.  The units will fully charge a vehicle in 2 hours and will be free for students, faculty and the public.  The units must be installed before April.

 

Bethel was also among 42 locations approved for the first round of state grants.

 

The grants range from $2,000 to $5,000, depending on the specific requirements of each project and the technology being used.  Each grant makes up a partial amount of the total cost of hardware and installation costs, meaning that each award will drive private investment in a network of charging stations across the state.

 

Those interested in applying for a grant through the EVConnecticut Incentives program should visit www.ct.gov/deep/evconnecticut.  Applications will be accepted through December 3.

 

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Bethel man honored for volunteer work at Putnam Park

Harry Gibson, a founding member of the Friends and Neighbors of Putnam Memorial Park, has been honored with a GreenCircle Award.  The award from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is for businesses or individuals who work to protect the environment and natural resources. 

 

DEEP officials say Gibson was recognized for his work along with other volunteers to maintain 152 acres of Putnam Memorial Park.  He and others have spent thousands of hours weeding, mowing and pruning.  He also organized and coordinated "Living History School Day" and the Living History event, which educates the public on the American Revolution history of the Park. 

 

Commissioner Dan Esty says for the past 15 years, GreenCircle Awards have called attention to the voluntary efforts of businesses, organizations, and individuals, that have played a very real role in improving the environment of our state. 

 

He says there are a lot of good works being done by so many people to improve the quality of life in Connecticut and build a sustainable future for the state.

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Thanksgiving cooking safety tips to prevent fires

Danbury Fire Chief Geoff Herald says as families gather in kitchens to cook Thanksgiving dinner, many are stepping into what can be one of the most hazardous rooms in the house if you don't practice safe cooking habits.  The leading cause of all Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings is cooking.  On Thanksgiving Day itself, fires occur most frequently in the afternoon hours from noon to 4 pm.

 

According to data from the USFA, an estimated 2,000 Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings occur annually in the United States, resulting in an estimated average of five deaths, 25 injuries, and $21 million in property loss each year.

 

Herald has some tips and reminders to make sure firefighters aren't acidentally invited to your Thanksgiving celebration.

 

  1. You should never leave cooking food unattended.
  2. Keep food packaging and other combustibles away from burners and heat sources.
  3. Heat cooking oil slowly and watch it closely; it can ignite quickly.
  4. Don't wear loose sleeves while working over hot stove burners - they can melt, ignite or catch on handles of pots and pans spilling hot oil and other liquids.
  5. Keep a lid nearby to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cool.

Deep-fried turkey has become a favorite Thanksgiving tradition in many households.  But if used improperly, an overloaded fryer can easily tip over and set an entire house ablaze.  USFA offers the following helpful tips to backyard chefs who plan to deep-fry a turkey for Thanksgiving:

  1. Never use turkey fryers in a garage or on a wooden deck.
  2. Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
  3. Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
  4. Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water do not mix, and water causes oil to spill over causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.
  5. Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. If the fire is manageable, use your all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call the fire department for help.

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Police: Brookfield raises, enhanced Newtown patrol

Brookfield's Police Chief is getting a raise.  The Board of Selectman voted at their meeting yesterday morning that Chief Robin Montgomery has promoted professional standards and practices throughout his more than dozen years on the job.  The Board also voted to extend his contract. 

 

Two members of the department in Montgomery's executive staff were also granted raises.  Major Jay Purcell and Captain John Puglisi were also awarded raises.

 

There will be a larger police presence than normal at Newtown schools on Monday.  That's when the chief state's attorneys office says a summary of the investigation into the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School will be released. 

 

Interim Superintendent of Schools Dr John Reed sent an email to parents yesterday about the police department's decision to step up patrols.  He said other area police departments will be helping with traffic control because of the expected increase in media presence. 

 

The enhanced police patrol will also be at the new Sandy Hook Elementary school in Monroe.

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Bethel shopping center sold for $34.5 million

The Big Y shopping Plaza in Bethel has been sold for more than $34 million.  Cedar Realty Trust purchased the shopping center on Stony Hill Road.  The 101,000 square foot, fully-occupied, grocery-anchored shopping center was acquired for $34.5 million, unencumbered.

 

The company said they are working to put more shopping centers anchored by grocery stores along the East Coast.  In a press release, the company said the shopping center is part of a solid trade area with average five-mile household income of $92,000 and a population of 103,000.

 

Bruce Schanzer, President and CEO said the acquisition was initially acquired using a line of credit, but that the company ultimately intend to fund it with proceeds from capital recycling activities.

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Gun group considering leaving Newtown

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) --The gun industry's national trade association and lobbying organization considered moving its offices from Newtown, Conn., after last year's mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the president and CEO of the National Shooting Sports Foundation said in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press.

 

With a handful of the nearly 50 foundation employees confronted by angry neighbors, as well as protesters appearing outside the foundation's headquarters, Steve Sanetti said he had to look at the situation from "a strategic standpoint" and determine whether having the name of Newtown associated with the organization would affect its mission to promote hunting and shooting sports.

 

"We had to consider whether a move was appropriate," Sanetti said Wednesday. "But I polled all the employees here and, to a person, it was like, `Don't move. We like it here. We're part of the community. We have nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed of. We didn't do this. We've been fighting this sort of thing. Stay the course.'"

 

While the Northeast is not necessarily a place steeped in the hunting culture, like other parts of the country, Sanetti said the foundation is located in Connecticut because, historically, that's where the manufacturing base of the firearms industry was located. NSSF boasts a membership of 9,500 of mostly businesses, including manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen's organizations and publishers. It owns the Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show, the largest of its type that draws nearly 70,000 people involved in the various aspects of the industry.

 

Many Newtown residents were likely unaware of the foundation's existence until Adam Lanza shot his way through the school Dec. 14, 2012, killing 20 first-graders and six educators before committing suicide. The organization has been based in Newtown for 20 years, located in a white colonial-style building along a main road into town but only its initials and street address appear on a sign posted out front.

 

In the wake of the massacre, Sanetti said the group deliberately didn't make any statements for about a month.

 

"Being here in the community, we just didn't think it was appropriate, frankly. It was respectful silence," Sanetti said. "It was horrible in town here. The funerals going by and everything. It was, let's just stay out of the way."

 

Sanetti said many of his employees knew families affected by the shooting, as well as the local first responders and teachers at Sandy Hook. One of the teachers killed went to school with Sanetti's daughter.

 

"Obviously, it was like a punch to the stomach to hear what happened, this horrible tragedy in Newtown," he said. "All of us were affected one way or another: either by knowing people or just being in the community. It's just horrible. The idea that it would happen anywhere, let alone in the same town where we've been for 20 years, is incredible."

 

The Danbury state's attorney's office on Monday is scheduled to release its report on its investigation into the shooting.

 

Sanetti said the group became more outspoken as Connecticut and other states moved to tighten their gun laws.

 

"That's when we began visibly stating our positions on things and that's when the protesters started coming," Sanetti said. Some have held signs protesting the National Rifle Association, which is a separate organization that represents mostly individuals.

 

Sanetti said gun safety is a major focus for his group.

 

"It has to be said, that had Mrs. Lanza in town here taken the appropriate steps to keep her guns secured from her son, who she knew to be at risk, this wouldn't have happened," Sanetti said of 20-year-old Adam Lanza's mother, Nancy. Police said Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother before committing the school rampage.

 

After the Newtown shooting, NSSF hired a public relations firm to promote and rebrand its Project ChildSafe effort, dedicated to gun safety and the distribution of gun locks. During President George W. Bush's eight-year presidency, ChildSafe received $92 million in federal funds and distributed 34 million gun locks across the country. NSSF is now hoping to garner support for $10 million in federal funding to supplement the $1 million the gun industry provides annually. Sanetti said he was optimistic in January after attending a meeting with Vice President Joe Biden, whose senior policy adviser approached Sanetti and said the administration liked the program. But there was no follow-up afterward, he said.

 

"Not a peep," he said. "I have a feeling that they just don't want to get involved - quote - in bed with the gun industry. It's just a feeling of mine."

 

The foundation's gun lock program is still being embraced by law enforcement and municipal leaders throughout the country who've made requests for more gun locks. And while it has gotten some public support in Connecticut since Sandy Hook, including at a news conference with Bridgeport's Democratic Mayor Bill Finch, an active member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, some of NSSF's friends in the state have steered clear of the initiative because it's sponsored by the gun industry.

 

"It's a raw nerve here," Sanetti said. "I understand that."

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Girl killed in Newtown shooting honored by ASPCA

A 6-year-old girl killed in the Newtown school shooting is being celebrated for her love of animals.  The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said Wednesday that Catherine Hubbard was being honored with its Kid of the Year award.  The ASPCA award is named for 9-year-old Tommy Monahan, who died trying to save his pet from a 2007 New York City house fire.

The ASPCA says Catherine ``had a natural ability to connect'' with animals, even designing business cards for an imaginary shelter.

Her parents asked that donations be made in Catherine's honor to The Animal Center in Newtown, which hopes to build the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary.  In a previous interview with WLAD, Jenny Hubbard talked about her daughter's love of animals and how she would ask them to tell their friends that she is kind.  Jenny Hubbard said her daughter was a advocate for all creatures great and small. 

 

The Hubbards plan to share concept drawings with Newtown officials next month in hopes of finding the right property for the facility.

 

 

(Photos from The Newtown Bee)

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Danbury Music Centre's Nutcracker tickets on sale

An annual tradition in Danbury is coming soon.  The Danbury Music Centre’s production of the Nutcracker.  Tickets are on sale for the December 13th and 15th performances.  Premium and Super seats for all three have sold out, but there are regular seats available.  Executive Director Nancy Sudik says they decided not to have a production on December 14th so that people involved and the greater community could participate in remembrance events in Newtown.

 

The Danbury Music Centre's production began more than 45 years ago.

 

The 60-member Danbury Symphony Orchestra will perform the music of Tchaikovsky. There are approximately 230 dancers in the cast and 30 snowflake singers.  Sudik says the performance showcases talented dancers from throughout the greater Danbury area.

 

Tickets can be purchased at the Danbury Music Centre on Main Street.  Tickets are also being sold online through their website.

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Newtown investigation report to be released Monday

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Connecticut officials say a summary of the investigation into the shooting that killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School will be released Monday.

The office of the chief state's attorney said Friday the report will not include the entire evidence file, which runs hundreds of pages.

The report was initially expected over the summer, and the projected release date was pushed back several times. State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky III has come under pressure from authorities including Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to release more information as the anniversary of the Dec. 14 massacre approaches.

The gunman was 20-year-old Adam Lanza. He killed his mother at their Newtown home, fatally shot 20 first-graders and six educators at the school, and killed himself as police arrived.

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Newtown official calls for release of 911 tapes

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Newtown First Selectwoman Pat Llodra has called on state prosecutors to release recordings of 911 calls from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.

She told Hearst Connecticut Newspapers that releasing the recordings will end leaks to media outlets that she says are painful to family members and Newtown officials. She compared the leaks to Chinese water torture.

The state's Freedom of Information Commission ruled in September that the recordings from Dec. 14 should be provided to The Associated Press, but a prosecutor asked for a stay while he appeals that order. A Superior Court judge said Nov. 8 he wants to hear the 911 recordings before ruling whether they can remain secret.

A hearing is set for Monday on whether the recordings can be sealed so he can access and hear them.

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Danbury ceremony honoring JFK to be held tonight

A remembrance ceremony in honor of President John F. Kennedy is being held tonight in Danbury. 

 

November 22nd 1963, the assassination of JFK, is a date that many people can remember vividly 50 years later.  Danbury Democratic Town Committee Chairman Joe DaSilva Junior says there are certain things that resonate with people and they will never forget where they were when they heard the news, and the death of President Kennedy is certainly one of them.  Similarly the generation before can remember where they were when they heard about Pearl Harbor and the generation after can remember 9/11 like it was yesterday. 

 

Tonight the Danbury Democratic Town Committee is inviting the public to Kennedy Park on Main Street at 6pm. 

 

DaSilva says they will light 50 luminaries around the fountain at the park and lay a wreath.  Speeches of remembrance and inspiration including the recitation of a Robert Frost poem will also take place at there ceremony.

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Board of Ed gets update on Superintendent search

During the Newtown Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, the search firm collecting information on qualities for a new Superintendent made a presentation with their findings. 

 

Members of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education were on hand to talk about the 20 focus group meetings and the hundreds of responses to an online survey.  Dr John Reed took the role of interim Superintendent in May when Dr Janet Robinson announced she was going to take the same post in Stratford. 

 

Reed says about two dozen applications have been received.  He told the Board the interview process should move quickly so Newtown won't have to compete with other districts next year when they start looking to fill vacancies.

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Parents cautioned on report of school shootings

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Newtown's school superintendent is advising parents to limit their children's exposure to media coverage of the report on the investigation of the Sandy Hook shootings that killed 20 children and six educators last December.

In a letter sent Wednesday, Superintendent John Reed told parents he wants to give them time to think about how they may shield children from details of the report.

He said he's been informed the report will be released on Monday. A spokesman for the chief state's attorney's office would not confirm the release date, saying it will be at a time to be announced.

In the letter Reed encouraged parents to reach out to school administrators, counselors, psychologists and social workers to allay concerns about their children's emotional health.

 

Information about services available can be found on the school district's website.

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Danbury's Glen Apartments to receive grant funding

Grant money is coming to Danbury from the state to help fund affordable housing improvements at The Glen Apartments.  Danbury is among the municipalities sharing in 18-million dollars in grants and loans to help fund affordable housing developments in the state.  Glen Apartments, which is owned and managed by the Danbury Housing Authority, is receiving $4.3 million.  There are 100 apartments for the elderly in 23 buildings that were constructed in the 60s. 

 

State Representative Bob Godfrey says the rehabilitation project includes upgrading lighting and insulation and converting heating and cooling systems.  Godfrey says an emergency generator will be installed, each apartment will get an electricity meter and  Call for Aid systems will be installed.

 

The rehabilitation project will include converting heating and cooling systems and making the community building fully handicapped accessible among other infrastructure projects.

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Danbury High wins $100,000 grant in safe driving contest

Thousands of safe driver commitments made in support of Danbury High School through the "Celebrate My Drive" program means big money for the school.  Danbury finished in the top 10, and was awarded a $100,000 grant from State Farm Insurance. 

 

Car crashes are the number one killer of teens, and a teen’s first year on the road is the most dangerous according to research by State Farm.

 

“State Farm is proud of Danbury’s efforts to generate excitement among students, faculty and the entire community to make safe driving commitments and have positive conversations about teen driver safety”, said State Farm Agent Tom Huse, who is also an alum of the School.  Maria Ordonez, another local agent concurred with Tom and added, “Our goal is to celebrate the honor of getting a license and encourage young people to be safe on the road.”

 

 

Principal Gary Bocaccio says it was an incredible accomplishment.  Some of the funding is going to safe driving awareness education.  Suggestion boxes will be put in place at the High School for student input on how the money should be spent.  Boccaccio is putting together a committee of faculty, parents and students to discuss the best ideas.  Student activities at Danbury High School that will have the biggest impact will be funded.

 

Over 6,000,000 safe driving commitments were made in support of over 3,500 schools throughout the U.S. and Canada between October 18th and October 26th.  More than 250,000 pledges were made to Danbury High School.

 

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, two schools from the same town in Tennessee bumped Danbury to third place.  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.

 

The official rankings will be released December 9th.

 

 

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Pitney Bowes receives $25 million in Conn. aid

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Pitney Bowes is receiving $25 million in state economic development aid in exchange for plant investments and 200 jobs added to its Connecticut workforce of 1,600.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced the financial package on Wednesday. State officials say the mailing equipment and software company will invest $25 million in facility improvements, training and technology.

Pitney Bowes will invest in its technology center in Danbury, its business operations center in Shelton and its new headquarters in Stamford.

The package includes a $15 million loan, of which $10 million is forgivable after 200 jobs are created over the next five years.

The company also will receive a sales and use tax exemption of up to $1 million for capital improvements, a $1 million job training grant and up to $10 million in tax credits.

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Family of slain teacher speaks out against video game

While the game based on the Sandy Hook tragedy has been taken down by some online vendors, a number of websites are still hosting it.  Connecticut's two U.S. Senators are calling for all online vendors to take it down. 

 

Victoria Soto was one of six educators killed while trying to protect students.  The Soto family has released a statement regarding the video game:

 

"The constant barrage of negative backlash we face as a family is unimaginable. We constantly have to battle people who still to this day, think Sandy Hook is a hoax. For those people I can only say I hope you never have to go through what we do as a family.

 

On top of all that, today as we are trying to summon up the courage and composure to face the 1 year anniversary, we learned about a video game that was made called "The Slaying of Sandy Hook', the title alone, was painful. Through conversation with the maker of the game on twitter, we have learned he intended it to be a video game addressing the gun control debate. But why? We do not understand why anyone would do this? Perhaps someone else knows the answer.

 

We do not encourage this game, nor do we condone it. We only bring attention to it so that we can perhaps reach the maker and make him understand why his message was delivered in the most inappropriate way. We cannot understand why anyone would think what happened at Sandy Hook is something that can or should be made into a "game". This is real life to us. Every day."

 

Senator Chris Murphy called the game sickening. 

 

Senator Richard Blumenthal called the video game abhorrent and vile.  He says the game shocks the conscience and mocks common decency.  He says he can only begin to imagine how the families of those killed feel about this game and hopes they haven't seen it, even if they've hear about it.  Blumenthal says as the one year anniversary approaches, some still exploit the horrific tragedy and it should stop.  He also called it shameful, appalling and salacious.   

 

A former Houston man living in Australia is taking credit for creating "The Slaying of Sandy Hook Elementary" and says he also created a game inspired by the shootings at Virginia Tech.  In the credits of the game, players are told to call their members of Congress. 

 

In the game, players are directed to pick up a gun and shoot the mother before being transported to a school  The Connecticut Post reports that keyboard controls allow gamers to kick down classroom doors where dialogue boxes pop up with screams or pleas.  In the end, an alert says people dave arrived and the shooter kills himself.

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Danbury officials recommending tax deferral for housing project

A seven year tax deferral is being recommended by a Danbury City Council committee for a developer of the Kennedy Place Property.  At a meeting Tuesday night, Virginia-based Greystar Development proposed building 375 units of market rate apartments.  Mayor Mark Boughton says the city isn't spending any money by approving the deferral and isn't losing any because right now Danbury is not making money off the property.

 

After completion, the developer would pay about $300,000 annually in taxes even with the deferral.  Once the deferral is over, that figure could be around $2 million in taxes annually.  Boughton says the project could result in a $70 million investment in downtown. 

 

He says the company believes in what downtown could become and is interested in the spot because their footprint isn't that big in New England.

 

Boughton says construction could start in mid-spring and would last about 18 months. 

 

The property is being sold by BRT, which came under fire from several City Council members when they built the Crosby Street apartments using a tax break meant to bring people downtown and turned it into student housing for West Conn.  Boughton says that won't be the case with this development because there is no need or demand for student housing.  He says the developer feels strongly that the market conditions are right to fill the property.

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ER wait times longer in Conn. than national average

A new study has been released showing that wait times in Connecticut Emergency Rooms is slightly higher than the national average of 28 minutes.  Danbury and New Milford Hospitals were lower at 25 and 18 minutes respectively. 

 

New Milford Hospital Emergency Room director Dr. Tom Koobation says a shortage of primary care physicians or those who won't accept new patients will lead to longer waits.  He says Western Connecticut Health Network hasn't put anything specific in place yet to deal with the projected increase in ER visits.  But he says they are planning for it because of the increase in Emergency Department visits seen in Massachusetts when that state expanded health care coverage.

 

Dr. Koobation says they are trying to build the Primary Care Physician infrastructure of WCHN to accommodate an expected increase in people needing medical attention so they don't spill over to ER.

 

He says increased coverage is a good thing, but doesn't necessarily translate to fewer people in the ER.  Dr. Koobation says a lot of people signing up for health care coverage are on Medicaid, but there are many physicians who don't participate in Medicaid.  He says that can cause increases in ER visits if they can't get access.

 

The State Office of Health Care Access annual hospital report shows that ER visits increased from 2011 to 2012 by 3.2 percent.

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GE gives $15M for Newtown, Conn., community center

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) General Electric Co. has donated $15 million to build and operate a community center in Newtown.

 

Following the December rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School, it was clear that Newtown lacked a central meeting space, town officials said Monday. In the hours after the massacre, parents met at a firehouse near the school to wait for students, and that was where victims' relatives were told that their loved ones had been killed.

 

First Selectwoman Pat Llodra said Newtown has long wanted a community center that could house recreation, the arts, community-outreach services and other programs. Tight finances blocked the town from reaching that goal.

 

The town says it will use $10 million to build the center and $5 million for operating costs over five years. That will include hiring staff. The center will be owned and operated by the town.

 

The gift is intended to help the town establish space for activities such as seniors playing mahjong or children taking art lessons, Llodra said.

 

More than 150 employees of GE, which is headquartered in nearby Fairfield, live in Newtown.

 

Jeff Immelt, chief executive of the industrial conglomerate, said that over the past year, GE employees who live in Newtown identified a community center as among the town's greatest needs.

 

"We are proud to help them achieve that goal," he said.

 

Four GE executives have been helping the town, working in the offices of the selectmen and school superintendent and doing other tasks. In addition, the company's finance arm cut ties with gun dealers, halting financing offers at about 75 gun shops across the U.S.

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PTR Industries hiring 30 workers in SC

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) A Connecticut gun manufacturer that is opening a plant in Horry County will be hiring 30 workers in January.

The Sun News of Myrtle Beach reports PTR Industries will begin the hiring for the plant in Aynor.

Morgan Dendy with the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corp. said the company will be hiring gunsmiths, assemblers and custodians.

PTR has said it will have 145 employees in Horry County by the end of 2016.

PTR Industries decided to move from Bristol, Conn., after that state passed stricter gun laws in April in response to the killings of 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

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Bethel watchdog group opposed to possible Charter changes

The Bethel Charter Revision Commission has met to discuss a number of items.  At their meeting last night, the Commission talked about the possibility of increasing the term for the Board of Selectmen from two years to four years and increasing the number of people on that Board from three to five. 

 

Bethel Action Committee founder Billy Michael says extending the term is concentrating more power in the hands of a few.  He says if the term is increased, he would like to a recall option after two years, in the event that the "wrong" person is elected.

 

Michael says his organization, a taxpayer watchdog group, is opposed to adding more paid positions to town government.

 

Michael is also opposed to doubling the amount of signatures needed for residents to insert themselves into the debate.  He calls it a complete shift from the town meeting form of government.  BAC help with two successful petition drives recently.  One was for town residents, not the town's attorney, to decide on the demolition of Old Town Hall.  The other was for the "all or none" ordinance.  That required notification of town meetings be made to all residents or no notification, which became a model for the state. 

 

Michael says both those petitions went against the grain of local officials and says the proposed doubling of needed signatures looks like retribution through the Charter Revision Commission.

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Former Newtown official named Superintendent of the Year

Dr Janet Robinson has been named Superintendent of the Year for 2014 by the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents.  The non-profit organization says the former Newtown Superintendent of Schools was selected in part because of her leadership following the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary. 

 

The organization said her leadership is a model for how superintendents can and should lead in the wake of a tragedy.  In June 2013, Dr. Robinson was honored with the CAPSS Exemplary Leadership Award in recognition of her exemplary leadership.

 

Robinson was Superintendent in Newtown for five years, before that she served three years as Superintendent in Derby.  She is now leading Stratford schools.

 

“I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to lead a district and work with educators truly dedicated to student learning. We can’t do this work alone. It is about building teams that are constantly looking for improvement,” said Robinson.  “As superintendents, we do not do this work for accolades. You must have a passion about leading an organization that has student success as its mission and focus."

 

Dr. Gary Richards, the Superintendent of the Wilton Public Schools, was the Superintendent of the Year for 2013.

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Family of Newtown victim starts triathalon program

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) -- Chase Kowalski loved to run, bike and swim. Most of all he loved to race.

 

The summer before he was killed inside Sandy Hook Elementary School with 25 other students and staff, the 7 year old competed in his first triathlon.

 

Wearing swim shoes and riding his red "Lightning McQueen" bicycle inspired by the speedy character from the movie "Cars," Chase competed in a 20-yard swim, a half-mile ride and a third-of-a-mile run. He finished first in his age group.

 

Now Chase's family has started a foundation in his memory that will help other children experience the thrill of the race.

 

"He swam and he biked and he ran every day, that was the essence of who he was," his mother Rebecca said. "How could we not honor him in this way?"

 

The Chase Kowalski Memorial Fund is teaming with the Greater Waterbury YMCA to support that organization's existing triathlon program for kids, and work to spread the program across the country.

 

Chase ran competitively for the first time when he was just 2 1/2 years old, earning ribbons and Popsicles for his races. He ran three that day, begging his mother to let him do longer distances after each race. Rebecca Kowalski cried as she described how a 5-year-old friend - wearing the race number 26 - went back to hold hands with Chase and help him cross the finish line after his first 400-yard race.

 

Chase got his first bike when he was 4, and taught himself to swim in his backyard pool by watching Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte on television at the Olympics.

 

At 6 years old, Chase asked if he could do one of those races where he could combine all three events.

"Stephen and I busted out laughing," Rebecca Kowalski said, referring to her husband. "We said, `Dude that's called a triathlon, maybe when you're 16.'"

 

After much cajoling from her son, Kowalski went on line to research whether anyone offered triathlons for kids. She found one scheduled for a week later in Mansfield, about 90 minutes away.

 

The YMCA project, now called the Race4Chase Kid's Triathlon Program, will train children for six weeks during the summer in the fundamentals of swimming, racing and bicycling, culminating with a short-course triathlon, where the kids will earn medals.

 

"Self-esteem is a big part of this," said Jim O'Rourke, the executive director of the Greater Waterbury YMCA. "When you see a kid who could not even swim six weeks before complete this event, and see that look on their face. It lets them know that they can achieve."

 

The foundation is working with the YMCA to create protocols and a package that will allow other organizations across the country to set up similar Race4Chase triathlons, Rebecca Kowalski said. Two other Connecticut YMCAs are in talks to have races as early as next summer.

 

A Race4Chase triathlon is being planned for Newtown-area kids next July in Monroe, where Sandy Hook kids are currently attending school.

 

A lot of the funding is coming from athletes. The Kowalskis' fireplace is covered with medals that have been sent to them, some anonymously, by marathoners, triathletes, and others who have heard Chase's story.

 

Many raise money by collecting pledges for the miles they complete, logging them on the foundation website. The goal is to get to 1 million miles. Runners have tallied a little over 5,000 miles so far.

 

One of Stephen's childhood friends, Kevin Bresnahan of Colchester, Conn., recently completed 1,000 miles for Race4Chase, beginning the last leg of his endeavor at the high school where Chase ran his first races. There he left one of two batons he created with Chase's name on them.

 

"I left a note inside about paying it forward, taking the baton and doing something athletic with it, and passing it on," he said.

 

An 11-year-old girl, Alexis Garrity, took the baton to Florida, where she completed her first 5K in October. She had never run a mile before joining the group that helped Bresnahan finish his run.

 

"It was way harder than I thought it would be," she said. "I had to keep going I had to finish and not let anybody down especially Chase's family."

 

She has passed the baton to a family friend, who had lost a son at a young age. That woman plans to run a race on Dec. 14 in St. Augustine, Fla., and then pass the baton.

 

Rebecca Kowalski said that is the kind of thing she and her husband, Stephen, had hoped for when she started Race4Chase.

 

"It keeps his spirit alive," she said. "It's hard, but it makes me feel good that he inspires people to just go and do things, and inspires families to do things together."

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Lead poisoning prevention funding for New Milford

The state Department of Public Health is sending more money to New Milford for lead poisoning prevention.

 

New Milford is receiving more funding than anticipated from the Department of Public Health Lead Poisoning Prevention Financial Assistance program.  Nearly $6,000 was approved by the Town Council for the Health Department.  The money will be used for education, prevention and follow up in lead poisoning cases. 

 

Director Mike Crespan says any case where children are tested and show levels greater than five micrograms per deciliter are treated.  He told the Town Council at their most recent meeting that the town only sees one or two cases a year, many come from lead dust rather than children eating paint chips.

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Bethel Charter Revision Commission to meet

The Bethel Charter Revision Commission is meeting tonight.

 

There are a number of items on the agenda for the Charter Revision Commission.  One is look into increasing the term for the Board of Selectmen from two years to four years.   The Commission will also discuss the possibility of increasing the number of people on that Board from three to five. 

 

The Charter Revision Commission will also discuss petitions and overrule thresholds.  Also on the agenda are the police and fire commissions, public utility commission members and alternate positions. 

 

The meeting tonight is at the Bethel Municipal Center at 7pm.

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Solar panels at library in Redding celebrated

A different kind of ribbon cutting will be held today the the library in Redding.

 

A green ribbon will be cut at the Mark Twain Library marking the completion of a solar panel installation at the library.  The panels were installed over the summer and have been working since September.  The library has been updating the building's energy savings on their website. 

 

To date, the library has saved the equivalent of 4 tons of carbon dioxide. 

 

Today is also First Selectman Natalie Ketcham's last official day in office.  She decided not to seek an 8th term in office.  The ribbon cutting is at 10:30am.

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TED talk at WCSU Saturday on creativity, compassion

Western Connecticut State University is hosting a TED talk this afternoon.  The Technology, Entertainment, Design symposium will be about creativity and compassion.  TED talks started in 1984 and are conferences to promote ideas worth spreading.  West Conn sophomore Kristina Ocsinoski is coordinating the event.  There will be five panelists discussing education and youth activism.

 

A West Hartford elementary school teacher and a California State University professor are part of the panel.  A West Conn senior who is a political philosophy major is also on the panel.  A youth leader from Georgia is coming in for the discussion. 

 

Matthew Badger, who started the LilySarahGrace Fund in honor of his daughters who were killed in a Christmas morning fire is also among the featured speakers.

 

Today's symposium is in the Science Building on the Midtown Campus at 2pm.

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Many Conn. applications for medical pot program

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Applications for licenses to produce and dispense medical marijuana in Connecticut are dominated by in-state entrepreneurs.

The Department of Consumer Protection on Friday evening released the names of 21 applicants for the state's new dispensary license and 16 applicants for the producers' license. All of the applicants for dispensary licenses were from Connecticut, including from D&B Wellness in Monroe.  All but one of the 21 producer applicants were from Connecticut. The lone out-of-state applicant, Breakwater Production Facility, listed a New York City address.

Friday marked the final day of the application period for the new program.

A department spokeswoman said the agency would immediately being a confidential review process, which will continue until the license award determinations have been made. The agency anticipates granting three producer licenses and three-to-five dispensary licenses by early next year.

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Cameras to report if drivers pass stopped school buses

Danbury Police are testing out a new tool to protect students when they are getting on to or off a school bus.  A couple of buses have been outfitted with a camera that starts recording when the bus is stopped and the stop sign is out warning drivers not to pass. 

 

City officials say the video starts automatically and is sent to a company, Redflux Student Guardian, where they review the footage for passing cars.  That information is then emailed to Police. 

 

Officials say each case will be looked at individually before any tickets are written.

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New trains added to Metro North Danbury branch

A new Metro North timetable goes into effect on Sunday and will include more trains running on the Danbury Branch.  Connecticut Commuter Rail Council member Jim Cameron says 6 new weekday trains have been added.  That brings the total to 28 weekday trains for Danbury Branch riders.  Metro North, for the first time, is also adding a new morning reverse commute train.

 

Cameron says the new schedule also adjusts the times to several trains, while increasing service during all off-peak time periods.

 

Department of Transportation Rail Administrator Eugene Colonese says the new schedule provides train service every two hours during the off-peak periods. 

 

State DOT Commissioner James Redeker says the signal system project also included the upgrade and construction of several portions of parallel track, which efficiently allows for more than one train to travel the corridor at a time.  More details can be found on the MTA website.

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New Fairfield discussing future town meeting dates

A Town meeting has been held in New Fairfield.  Residents were called on to authorize the Board of Selectmen to transfer surplus funds from the 2012-2013 fiscal year in to two other accounts.  The more than $369,000 would be transferred to the unappropriated capital and non-recurring account and the Fire Company reserve account. 

 

About $2,700 would be going to the Fire Company.  The transfers were previously approved by the Board of Finance. 

 

The Board of Selectmen will also being meeting this morning to discuss and possibly set the date of a town meeting on a hazard mitigation grant program.  They will also discuss and possibly set a hearing date for a lease of Tower Hill-the communications tower in nearby Patterson New York that the town owns.

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Long Ridge Road construction starts

Work has started on the Long Ridge Road bridge replacement project in Danbury.  The project is expected to take several months, with an estimated completion in the spring. 

 

City officials are urging drivers to use alternate routes in the area because of expected road closures.  The road has been narrowed to one lane. 

 

The bridge replacement work includes adding a culvert to carry water, a regraded hill and work to stop further erosion.

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Area towns partnering for energy savings

Easton, Redding and Trumbull are partnering to help residents save on their energy bills.  The three towns are participating in Solarize Connecticut, a grant program that provides discounts to residents who install solar panels.  Their goal is to outfit 50 new homes in the region by February. 

 

Electricity rates in Connecticut are among the highest in the nation.  At 17.31 cents per kilowatt hour, Connecticut ranks 3rd, just behind Alaska's 19.28 cents and Hawaii's 36.61 cents per kilowatt hour. 

 

Easton's Clean Energy Task Force chairwoman says residents can not only take advantage of savings through a renewable energy, but also  a federal tax credit combined with a state incentive.  Cathy Alfandre told the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities recently that everyone who gets solar will get the lowest price point at the end of the program, even the first residents to sign up

 

The grant program is offered by Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority in partnership with SmartPower.

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'Casting By' to be screened at RPH with director, producer on hand

A movie featured on HBO is being screened tonight at the Ridgefield Playhouse and some of those involved with the film will be on hand to answer questions afterwards.  "Casting By" is being presented as part of the Film Society's Documentary Film Series.  The film follows the journey of casting directors over the last 50 years.

 

Director Tom Donohue says the film spotlights casting director Marion Dougherty and the actors she discovered including Dustin Hoffman, Clint Eastwood, Diane Lane and others.  Donohue says interviews with major casting directors and many of the actors they discovered to give a sense of the work that goes on before the cameras start rolling.

 

Joining Donohue for the Q&A after the screening are editor Jill Schweitzer, executive producer John Balis and casting director Stephanie Holbrook. 

 

The screening tonight at the Ridgefield Playhouse is at 7:30pm.

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Sandy Hook group asks parents for gun solutions

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) A grass-roots group involving several people who lost loved ones in the Newtown school shooting is launching a new campaign to address gun violence, reaching out to parents around the country after seeing its push for new federal legislation fall short in Washington.

 

The group, Sandy Hook Promise, formed shortly after the Dec. 14 massacre of 26 people at the Sandy Hook Elementary School with the goal of turning the tragedy into a moment of transformation for a horrified nation.

 

The group announced Thursday that it aims to recruit 500,000 parents to its cause in the month between now and the anniversary of the shootings. Celebrities will be involved, including Sofia Vergara, Ed O'Neill and Alyssa Milano, organizers said.

 

"I think the lesson that we've learned and the lesson that we've heard from all of these other parents that we've talked to around the country is we don't want to wait for DC," said Nicole Hockley, whose son Dylan was among 20 first-grade children killed in Newtown along with six educators. "Parents don't want to be just told what to do by DC, we don't want to have laws forced on us. Let's tackle the problem ourselves within our communities and in our own schools and let that spread out to affect the nation and affect legislation that way instead of being told what to do."

 

Other major changes in the country related to drunken driving, smoking and gay marriage stemmed from local conversations that led to legislation later, Hockley said.

 

Some states, including Connecticut, have passed tougher gun laws since the Newtown massacre. But federal legislation that would have expanded background check requirements for gun buyers fell short by five votes in the Senate in April, despite lobbying by some Sandy Hook parents.

 

Organizers say they're not giving up on national gun legislation, but they acknowledge the uphill nature of the fight and their frustration and disappointment by the lack of action. Mark Barden, whose 7-year-old son Daniel was killed during the shooting, said he hopes the campaign will lead to a cultural change around gun violence.

 

"We just thought it was time to reset the conversation and look at this from another viewpoint," Barden said.

 

While the country is polarized over gun control, parents share a common passion for ensuring their children's safety, Hockley said.

 

"We want to make progress on this by re-establishing that trust by having everyone whether they're a gun owner or a non-gun owner join together as parents to find solutions to the issues that contribute to gun violence," she said. "We have to reset this conversation on a new platform of the love of our children and putting their needs first in order to move forward."

 

The campaign will raise awareness about programs that could be implemented locally to prevent violence, such as those aimed at reducing social isolation of children, encouraging the reporting of threats and early identification of mental health issues.

 

For Sandy Hook Promise, the campaign fits in with its original plan to open a dialogue at the local level to pave the way for change.

 

"This, as we've always said, is a marathon, not a sprint," Hockley said. "Get other people involved because you need a lot of people in a lot of communities to make change happen."

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Conn.'s Esty seeks more support for vets' families

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut Rep. Elizabeth Esty is seeking a vote on federal legislation that would expand support for family caregivers of veterans.

The Democrat spoke Wednesday on the House of Representatives floor in favor of allowing a vote on legislation that would extend eligibility for participation the Department of Veterans Affairs' family caregivers assistance program to all veterans with a serious service-connected disability.

Currently, the assistance is limited to only family caregivers of post-Sept. 11 veterans.

Esty said such legislation is particularly important in Connecticut because World War II veterans make up a larger share of the veteran population than any other state. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that approximately 70,000 caregivers of pre-Sept. 11 veterans would be eligible.

Esty contends that the stipends cost less than long-term institutional care.

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Bridgewater to hold hearing on lifting alcohol sale ban

Connecticut's last dry town is holding a public hearing Friday night to talk about changing local law banning the sale of alcohol.  The issue was raised by a couple of business owners who asked town officials to rescind the no-liquor law so restaurant owners may be licensed to serve alcoholic drinks. 

 

The Board of Selectmen briefly talked about the matter, but said last month that the issue should wait until after municipal elections in November.  Democrat Curtis Read, currently a Selectman, won the First Selectman race.

 

Tomorrow's public hearing is at 7pm at the Burnham School on Main Street South.

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Schlumberger informational Saturday

An informational hearing is being held this weekend in Ridgefield about the Schlumberger site.  The meeting on Saturday is at 10:30 am in the Town Hall large conference room. 

 

First Selectman Rudy Marconi and environmental consultant Scott Bristol will make presentations and then take questions. 

 

Five acres across from the main property on Old Quarry Road could be sold to Developer Stephen Zemo for a hotel, a self storage building and a third commercial building.  The town is in talks to sell 13 acres, including the Philip Johnson building, to an art collector. 

 

10 acres could be sold to a developer for multi-family housing units.  When town officials discussed that possibility, it was proposed that half of the land stay open.  About half of the parcel is wetlands and steep-sloped.

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Bike racks installed on Main St Danbury

Bike racks are being installed in downtown Danbury.  In addition to ones coming to the bus depot on Kennedy Avenue, the City is working with the Danbury Parking Authority to install bike racks along Main Street. 

 

Four are being put in place at the U.S. Post Office, near the Green, at the corner of Keeler Street and in front of Naugatuck Valley Community College.  The four bike racks on Main Street can accommodate eight bicycles. 

 

The Parking Authority already has some bike racks installed in its garages.  Each of the racks cost about $200.  The City purchased two and the Parking Authority purchased the others.

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Bridgewater again has highest Election Day turnout

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill says 31 percent of registered voters across Connecticut turned out to cast ballots.  Bridgewater reported the highest turnout, where 77-percent of registered voters participated in the November 5th election. 

 

Across the rest of the Greater Danbury region, Brookfield had the highest voter turnout with nearly 44%.  Bethel had a 37.7% turn out.  The New Milford Registrar of Voters reported a 23.7% voter turn out.  About 25.5% of Newtown cast ballots for the election.  Having served since 1999, Redding First Selectman Natalie Ketcham decided to retire when her term ends.  That prompted a 38.5% voter turnout.  Ridgefield had a 24% voter turn out despite the top of the ticket not being up for election this year.

 

Last year Bridgewater had a nearly 95-percent voter turn out. Earlier this month Democrat Curtis Read won the First Selectman race. 

 

The current leader of the town, Bill Stuart opted not to seek another four-year term after more than 30 years in office.  Stuart announced he would be stepping down amid an FBI investigation of town finances.  Stuart denies any wrongdoing with town finances and the Burnham Fund, a charity for the needy. 

 

The State Attorney General said in September there was insufficient evidence of money being misappropriated.  George Jepson wrote to the Boards of Finance and Selectmen that while some of the distributions deviated from the Fund's original intent, Stuart didn't mishandle it.

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Danbury moves to create 'Functional Needs Shelter'

The Danbury City Council has approved spending $7,500 to hire a company to complete the paperwork for an emergency generator to be located at the Portuguese Cultural Center.  The money will cover environmental and other surveys required to install a generator.

 

The Center would be used as a Functional Needs Shelter during major storm events.  The site has everything needed for this type of shelter, except the generator. 

 

Director of Civil Preparedness Paul Estefan says FEMA has funding available for generators through its Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.  During the 2011 October Snow and Superstorm Sandy, a temporary Functional Needs Shelter was run by the City for residents who could not stay in their homes because they didn't have heat or electricity to operate their medical devices.

 

Officials say the Portuguese Cultural Center is a good site for a shelter because it's close to Danbury Hospital and is a recreational banquet hall with an exercise room, locker rooms, kitchen, library and other amenities.  There is parking for more than 200 cars.  Up to 40 portable beds would be used at the Shelter and have electric outlets for special needs residents.

 

The standby emergency generator would be located outside.  It would be owned, operated and maintained by the City.

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Hundreds more Conn. schools receive security money

An additional 435 schools across Connecticut are receiving state funding to improve school security in the wake of last year's deadly mass school shooting in Newtown.

Governor Dannel Malloy announced Tuesday that $16 million will be spent to reimburse 75 local school districts for a portion of security improvements.

The awards were based on a school security assessment conducted by each local school district that applied for the state funding. Each participating city and town will be reimbursed between 20 and 80 percent, taking into account a municipality's amount of taxable property and overall number of need-based students.

 

Bethel requested $49,000 and has been granted $22,500.  The town's local match is $27,000 and the money will be used at three schools.  Brookfield requested $346,000 and has been granted $110,000.  The town's local match is $236,000 and the money will be used at four schools.

 

Danbury requested $122,000 and has been granted $74,000.  The town's local match is $48,000 and the money will be used at five schools. 

 

New Fairfield requested $385,000 and has been granted $157,000.  The town's local match is $228,000 and the money will be used at four schools.  New Milford requested $588,000 and has been granted $264,000.  The town's local match is $324,000 and the money will be used at six schools.

 

Redding requested $147,000 and has been granted $37,000.  The town's local match is $110,000 and the money will be used at two schools.  Region 9 requested $69,000 and has been granted $17,000.  The district's local match is $51,000 and the money will be used at Joel Barlow High School. 

 

Ridgefield requested $172,000 and has been granted $44,000.  The town's local match is $128,000 and the money will be used at nine schools.  Sherman and Wilton also submitted applications and will be receiving some state funding.

Some infrastructure improvements include buzzer and card entry systems and panic alarms.

 

In September it was announced that 36 districts, including Danbury, would share 5 million dollars to improve security.  Five Danbury schools received $55,000 in state funding and using a local match of $36,000.  Those schools were King Street Intermediate and Primary, South Street School, Morris Street School and the Alternative Center for Excellence (ACE).

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Danbury Council: bike racks, polling place, DUI enforcement grant

A number of items have been decided by the Danbury City Council at their most recent meeting.

 

Danbury could soon receive some federal dollars for a anti-drunk driving enforcement effort.  The Danbury Police Department is applying for funding from the state Department of Transportation's Comprehensive DUI Enforcement Program. 

 

Police Chief Al Baker explained that this is an annual grant the Department applies for.  The enforcement effort would run the entire year.

 

The state will cover $42,750 with the city covering the remaining 25-percent of the program cost, estimated at $14,250.

 

The Council has decided not to take action on changing the Ward 6 polling place.  There was a lot of heated discussion at an ad hoc meeting involving the entire Council.  More than a dozen residents spoke during the September City Council meeting and packed a hearing later that month. 

 

During the October Council meeting, it was decided to just move Ward 3's polling location.  Ward 6 residents vote at Park Avenue and a move was considered to the Moose Lodge.

 

HART has asked Danbury for permission to install four bike racks.  City Councilman Gregg Seabury says the racks will be able to accommodate up to eight bicycles.  The installation will also include air pumps.  The license agreement was approved for the Pulse Point downtown on Kennedy Avenue.

 

HART was asked as part of the license agreement to take out $2-million in bodily injury liability and property damage liability insurance to protect the City from claims.

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Area towns mark Veterans Day

Area towns are marking Veterans Day Monday.  At 10:45 am a gathering was held at the Alumni & Friends Circle outside Old Main on Western Connecticut State University's midtown campus.  That event was followed by participation in the national moment of silence at 11 am. 

 

A roll call to honor men and women from Connecticut who died in military service, or have served or are currently serving, began at 11:15 a.m.

 

A Veterans Day ceremony was held  in front of the Danbury War Memorial at 11am as well.

 

In Ridgefield, the American Legion along with the Marine Corps League and the VFW held a ceremony to honor Ridgefield’s veterans.  The ceremony was conducted at the Community Center/Veterans Memorial Garden.  The featured speaker was Harold Hval, a seven year Navy veteran who served three years in the South Pacific during World War II.


The program also included patriotic music and speeches by veterans and local officials.

 

In New Fairfield, the dedication of a Fallen Soldier monument honoring Staff Sgt. Todd “TJ” Lobraico and other town residents killed in action highlighted the town’s Veterans Day services.  The 22 year old Lobraico, a 2008 graduate of New Fairfield High School, died September 5th from wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire in Afghanistan.

He was assigned to the 105th Security Forces Squadron at the Stewart Air National Guard base in New York and was serving his second tour in Afghanistan.

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Effort afoot to end homelessness among Conn. vets

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) There's a new effort underway to try to eliminate homelessness among Connecticut's veteran population over the next two years.

Last week, a coalition of groups agreed to a statewide action plan. It was the result of six months of brainstorming and research. By filling in gaps in services and better coordinating existing resources, advocates hope the roughly 400 homeless veterans on a single night in Connecticut can have housing by the end of 2015.

The Connecticut Heroes Project, founded by Greg Behrman of Fairfield, spearheaded this effort to better coordinate services for veterans in order to address the homelessness problem. He said the action plan is one of the most detailed in the nation.

Advocates say they're optimistic because there is currently more federal funding for veterans' housing programs.

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Hearthstone Castle engineering study debated

A committee of the Danbury City Council is once again studying the ruins of Hearthstone Castle, this time to see if money should be spent for an engineering study.

 

Danbury's Planning Director says the condition of the castle and a variety of options for future use was studied by the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation.  The Castle is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but is in a state of disrepair and closed to the public because of the significant safety issues.  City officials say the Castle requires immediate attention and to be stabilized to prevent the walls from collapsing. 

 

The Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation has a $20,000 grant available for a structural analysis.  The City match would be $25,000.

 

Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola says there is evidence of people walking around where they're not supposed to be.   He says the stone base makes the Castle a unique structure so the engineering study is not a run of the mill one.  He says the $25,000 is a great price.

 

Councilman Warren Levy was among those against spending any more.  He says the Castle has no historical value, it was done be a no-name architect as a wedding present.  He says if there's a group of people that want to do something with the Castle, they should have a fundraiser and spend private dollars to preserve the structure.

 

Even if the City decides the best plan for the Castle is to tear it down, a study still needs to be done.  Mayor Mark Boughton says the City can't leave the facility the way it is because someone is going to get hurt.  He warned the Council that if he comes back to them for demolition money, he doesn't want them to vote no on that.  He called the structure an attractive nuisance.

 

Future uses in a recent study range in cost and extent from walled gardens with an observation deck to a multipurpose facilities including an academy for specialized educational programs.

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Congresswoman to advocate for Danbury Airport tower

An area lawmaker has been appointed to a Congressional subcommittee on aviation.  As part of her work, 5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty has met with officials from Danbury and Oxford airports.  She says contract air traffic control towers should be funded and not subject to budget sequestration talks.

 

The FAA has threatened to close contract towers as part of budget sequestration. 

 

Esty says there are big benefits for the whole region from these towers and that's the message she plans to take back to Washington.  She says small regional airports are engines for economic growth that create jobs.  If the towers are closed Esty says there would not only be a safety cost, but also lost economic opportunities.

 

Airport officials previously likened that to having an intersection with a broken traffic light.  Danbury Municipal is the second busiest airport in the state after Bradley International with more than 70,000 flights annually from Danbury.

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Judge wants to hear 911 calls before ruling on release

A judge says he wants to hear the 911 recordings from Sandy Hook Elementary School before ruling whether they can be released to the media.  The state's Freedom of Information Commission ruled in September that the recordings should be provided to The Associated Press, but a prosecutor has asked for a stay while he appeals that order.

The Judge set a November 25th hearing on whether tapes can be sealed so he can listen to them.

 

Stephen Sedensky has re-asserted his arguments that releasing them could subject witnesses to harassment from conspiracy theorists and violate survivors who deserve special protection as victims of child abuse.  But an attorney for the Associated Press argued that 911 recordings from the Cheshire home invasion were released about minor children and that wasn't child abuse.

 

Investigators have not revealed a possible motive, but a report on the shootings is expected to be released before the winter.  Sedensky argued that if the 911 calls are never heard, there will be no public harm. 

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Sens. say new women's prison planned near Danbury FCI

Connecticut's two U.S. senators say the Federal Bureau of Prisons has agreed to make sure there will be a low-security facility for female inmates in the Northeast.

Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal said Monday the bureau will build a new facility on the grounds of the existing federal prison in Danbury. That's where 182 of the current 1,337 women inmates will eventually be housed. It's expected to be constructed in 18 months. New York Sen. Kristen Gillibrand and Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy joined the announcement.

The 182 women are originally from the Northeast. The rest of the inmates will be transferred to a new prison in Aliceville, Ala.

The senators said the bureau still plans to move about 1,000 male inmates into the old women's prison.

The bureau didn't provide a response to the announcement.

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Electric vehicle charging stations coming to Bethel, WCSU

Bethel and Western Connecticut State University are among 42 locations that have been approved for state grants to create publicly available electric vehicle charging stations. 

 

In announcing the grants, Governor Malloy cited a federal Department of Energy study that showed it costs less than half the cost of using gasoline to operate an electric vehicle and more charging stations will help residents. 

 

West Conn Director of Facilities Luigi Marcone says two charging stations on each campus will be installed in the coming months that will fully charge a vehicle in two hours.

 

The units will be installed in the White Street Garage on the Midtown campus and the Centennial Hall Garage on the Westside campus.  He says both of the areas are sheltered, have adequate lighting and closed circuit tv camera coverage.  According to the grant, the units must be installed before April.

 

Signs designed by the state Department of Transportation will alert motorists to the presence of the charging stations.  The stations will be for both the university and the public.  The charging will be free.

 

 

The grants range from $1,000 to $5,000.  The funding totala about $136,000. 

 

The funding comes from an April 2012 settlement allowing for Northeast Utilities to merge with Boston-based NStar.

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St. Peter School students recognized for cancer awareness work

Some Danbury students are being recognized for their work during Breast Cancer Awareness month in October.

 

The St. Peter School student council raised funds to benefit the Breast Care Program at Danbury Hospital's Praxair Cancer Center.  For a small donations, students were able to dress down their school uniforms and wear pink. 

 

The students raised $160. 

 

Hospital officials say they are extremely proud of the generosity and resourcefulness of the Danbury students.  The Student Council has been inducted into the Western Connecticut Health Network Kids Care Club, a philanthropic organization for youths.

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Danbury considers moving poll location

The Danbury City Council has met about moving another polling location.  One Tuesday, residents of the 3rd ward voted in a new location, but the decision about moving the polling location in the 6th ward was delayed until later. 

 

Council President Joe Cavo represents the 3rd Ward.  He says some people didn't realize Stadley Rough School was on Karen Road, but were impressed with the school and parking.

 

Cavo says change is sometimes difficult, but for the most part voters were happy with the move.

 

Moving the 6th Ward polling location from Park Avenue School was debated for several hours during a public hearing and discussed at length during a committee meeting at the end of September.  The registrars looked at the Mill Plain and Miry Brook Road firehouses, the airport, Jensens Mobile Home Park among other locations before the Moose Lodge.

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Chapin honored by American Kennel Club

An area lawmaker has been recognized for his work protecting animals and pet owners rights.  New Milford State Senator Clark Chapin was named American Kennel Club Legislator of the Year.  He was also presented with the James S Holt Memorial Award for Promotion of Responsible Dog Ownership in Legislation.

 

The award honors legislators who demonstrate a commitment to promoting responsible dog ownership and the well-being of dogs.  The Connecticut Dog Federation is a group of 37 dog owner clubs and dog training clubs that work to promote the welfare of dogs.

 

Chapin says he's proud to support legislation that benefits animals and protects the rights of responsible pet owners.  Kennel Club Director of Government Relations Sheila Goffe says they appreciate Chapin's work to promote reasonable legislation that benefits animals and also protects the rights of the owners.

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Long time municipal leaders retire, some reelected

Danbury residents have re-elected Republican Mark Boughton as Mayor, making him the City's longest serving Mayor.

 

 

In Bethel, the winner of a three-way race is incumbent Democrat Matt Knickerbocker. 

 

 

The race for First Selectman in Brookfield was won by Republican Bill Tinsley.  New Fairfield Republican First Selectman Susan Chapman has won a term of her own.  Redding residents have chosen Democrat Julia Pemberton to take over for retiring Natalie Ketcham. 

 

Sherman Republican incumbent Clay Cope has been reelected.  In Bridgewater, Democrat Curtis Read will lead the town, following Bill Stuart who is stepping down after 30 years on the job.

 

In Ridgefield, the First Selectman position, and most of the other positions atop the ballot are 4-year terms so lighter turn out than usual was projected. New Milford Mayor Pat Murphy and Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra ran unopposed for two more years leading their respective towns. 

 

In Redding, unlike hotly contested races for First Selectman in Bethel and Brookfield, the controversial race was for Treasurer.  Frank Taylor, a Republican, ran against Peg O’Donnell, the Democratic incumbent.  Taylor claimed monthly reports to the Board of Finance are often inaccurate or incomplete.  The last time O'Donnell had a challenger was in 2009, and before that in 2003.

 

Signs became an issue again in several towns.  On Election Day, Brookfield First Selectman Bill Davidson was accused by a member of the Republican Town Committee of removing a sign from private property, which was then put it back.  In Bethel there was a dispute over if land was private or public when First Selectman Matt Knickerbock was seen removing a sign.  In New Fairfield political signs were vandalized with spray paint while in Danbury some were ripped up. 

 

There was an issue with some minor party candidates not appearing on the ballot because of a little known change in state law.  Two years ago candidates were required to sign paperwork submitted to Town Clerks accepting the endorsement. Bethel and Ridgefield were among those towns.

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Municipal Election 2013 results for Greater Danbury

Greater Danbury area municipalities have submitted forms to the Secretary of the state's office with election totals for all positions on the ballots.

 

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, Town Clerk Lori Kaback and Treasurer Dan Jowdy all won reelection.  Incumbents on the City Council who ran for reelection also were voted back into office.  The new Board of Education includes Republicans: Eileen Alberts, Michael Ferguson and Ralph Pietrafesa; and Democrats: Kathleen Molinaro and Richard Jannelli.  The other positions on the Board have terms that expire in 2015.

 

Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker and Town Clerk Lisa Bergh were reelected.  The town's treasurer will be Daniel O’Grady.  Board of Finance members Tim Draper, William Kingston, and Gary Regan were reelected along with Bruce Cornwell.  Board of Education members Melanie O’Brien and Stuart Carlsen were reelected along with Jennifer Ackerman and Nicholas Hoffman.

 

In Brookfield, First Selectman-elect Bill Tinsley will be joined on the Board of Selectman by fellow Republican Marty Flynn and current First Selectman Bill Davidson.  Republicans won every Board and Commission seat up for election.

 

New Fairfield First Selectman Susan Chapman has won a term of her own.  She moved up to the role earlier this year when John Hodge took a step back to dedicate more time to his non-profit work with the Tunnel To Towers Foundation.  Joining Chapman on the Board of Selectman are Democrat Mike Gill and Republican Kim Hanson.  Hodge has been elected to the Board of Finance.  Town Clerk Pamela Dohan, Treasurer Philip Cammarano and Tax Collector Kerri Hess Greening were nominated by both parties.

 

New Milford Mayor Patricia Murphy was unopposed this year and lead the Republican ticket to win majorities on many town boards and commissions.  Both the Town Council and the Board of Education will have a 6-3 Republican majority.  The Registrar of Voters reported a 23.7% voter turn out.

 

About 25.5% of Newtown cast ballots on Tuesday.  Incumbent First Selectman Pat Llodra ran unopposed.  Selectman Will Rodgers was reelected.  Republicans took four seats out of five open seats on the Board of Education.  They are Kathy Hamilton, Keith Alexander, Debbie Leidlein and David Freedman, who is filling a vacancy on the Board.  They are joined by Democrat Michelle Ku.  Districts 1, 2 and 3 of the Legislative Council each seated four members.  In District 1 the incumbents were all reelected.  In District 2 incumbents Ryan Knapp, Daniel Honan and Mary Ann Jacob were reelected along with Democrat Lisa Romano.  In District 3 incumbents Daniel Amaral, Neil Chaudhary and Phil Carroll were reelected along with Anthony Filiano.

 

Redding's First Selectman race was separated by less than 100 votes. Having served since 1999, Natalie Ketcham decided to retire when her term ends.  That prompted a 38.5% voter turnout.  Democrat Julia Pemberton has been elected to lead the town.  Rounding out the Board of Selectman are Democrat Leon Karvelis and Republican Michael Thompson.  Longtime Treasurer Peg O'Donnell, Tax Collector Patricia Moisio and Town Clerk Michele Grande were all reelected.  Moisio and Grande were cross-endorsed by both the Democratic and Republican parties.

 

Ridgefield had a 24% voter turn out despite the top of the ticket not being up for election this year.

 

Returns from Bridgewater, Monroe, Sherman, Weston and Wilton were also posted by the Secretary of the State's office.

 

 

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Greater Danbury area Election 2013 roundup

Unofficial Election Returns 2013

 

Municipality/Positon Affiliation Candidate
Danbury Mayor Republican Mark Boughton* (7797)
  Democrat Paul McAllister (3272)
     
Bethel First Selectman Democrat

Matt Knickerbocker* (2419)

  Republican William Duff (1922)
  Green Party Al Vargas (24)
     
Bridgewater First Selectman Democrat Curtis Read (505)
  Republican Nancy Hawley (408)
  Petitioning candidate Neil Cable (131)
     
Brookfield First Selectman Democrat Howard Lasser (2062)
  Republican Bill Tinsley (2152)
     
New Fairfield First Selectman Democrat Mike Gill (1261)
  Republican Susan Chapman (1800)
     
New Milford Mayor Republican Patricia Murphy* (3172)
Newtown First Selectman Republican Patricia Llodra*
     
Redding First Selectman Republican Chris Hocker (1295)
  Democrat Julia Pemberton (1393)
     
Sherman Republican Clay Cope*
  Democrat Chris Jellen
  Independent David Hopkins
     
Danbury City Council (two per Ward)    
Ward 1 Republican Irving Fox (1016)
  Republican John Priola (1040)
  Democrat Richard Kovacs (855)
  Democrat Dennis Perkins (810)
     
Ward 2 Republican Elmer Palma* (928)
  Republican Vinny DiGilio (850)
  Democrat Helena Abrantes (718)
  Democrat Bill Taylor (550)
     
Ward 3 Republican Joe Cavo* (1591)
  Republican Christopher Arconti (1642)
     
Ward 4 Democrat Peter Nero* (704)
  Democrat Tom Saadi* (796)
  Republican Andrew DaCunha (313)
  Republican Matthew Kennedy (346)
     
Ward 5 Democrat Fred Visconti* (683)
  Democrat Duane Perkins* (686)
  Republican Daniel Kolwicz (463)
  Republican William Nicol (441)
     
Ward 6 Democrat Ben Chianese* (750)
  Democrat Paul Rotello* (773)
  Republican Steven Froehlich (580)
  Republican Daniel Metrena (544)
     
Ward 7 Republican Marina Loyola (981)
  Republican Joseph Scozzafava* (955)
     
Danbury City Council At Large Republican Michael Haddad Sr* (6264)
(7 members from either party) Republican Gregg Seabury* (6059)
  Republican Warren Levy* (5529)
  Republican Philip Curran* (5363)
  Republican Jack Knapp* (5526)
  Republican Colleen Stanley* (6067)
  Republican Andrew Wetmore* (5600)
  Democrat Franklin Anders (3493)
  Democrat Henry Hall (3402)
  Democrat Paul McAllister (4304)
  Democrat Robert Taborsak (4793)
  Democrat Andrea Gartner (4164)
  Democrat Dev Patel (3454)
  Democrat Al Almeida (4049)

 

* denotes incumbent
(vote tallies)

 

Numbers are unofficial results which must be certified by the Secretary of the State's office.

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Voter turn out light across Greater Danbury area

Many Greater Danbury area towns have reporting low voter turn out this Election Day.  Brookfield had the highest voter turnout with nearly 44%.  Bethel had a 37.7% turn out.  The New Milford Registrar of Voters reported a 23.7% voter turn out.  About 25.5% of Newtown cast ballots for the election.  Having served since 1999, Redding First Selectman Natalie Ketcham decided to retire when her term ends.  That prompted a 38.5% voter turnout.  Ridgefield had a 24% voter turn out despite the top of the ticket not being up for election this year.

 

As of 7pm in Danbury about 29% of registered voters had cast ballots. 

 

There is same day voter registration this year.  Only a handful of people in each town took advantage of the new program.  In Bethel for example, 17 people registered to vote on Tuesday and then cast ballots.

 

The Secretary of the State's office also launched a pilot program this election where results were transmitted from polling locations to Town Hall via a computer.  That caused several delays in Bethel leading to frustration among candidates and interested attendees.

 

With redistricting done earlier this year, some Danbury voters went to new polling places.  In addition to redistricting, the Ward 3 voting was moved to Stadley Rough School from Broadview Middle School.  The polling place in Danbury's 6th Ward was slated to move, but there was a heated debate with few days left before the election.

 

There was a three-way race for First Selectman in Bethel.  Two former Brookfield Board of Finance members hoped to step up to the town's top spot.  An open race in New Fairfield left the First Selectman post open.  Two people were vying to become First Selectman in ReddingDanbury's Mayor was challenged this November. 

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Election Night Greater Danbury Results

Unofficial Election Returns 2013

 

Municipality/Positon Affiliation Candidate
Danbury Mayor Republican Mark Boughton* (7797)
  Democrat Paul McAllister (3272)
     
Bethel First Selectman Democrat

Matt Knickerbocker* (2419)

  Republican William Duff (1922)
  Green Party Al Vargas (24)
     
Bridgewater First Selectman Democrat Curtis Read (505)
  Republican Nancy Hawley (408)
  Petitioning candidate Neil Cable (131)
     
Brookfield First Selectman Democrat Howard Lasser (2062)
  Republican Bill Tinsley (2143)
     
New Fairfield First Selectman Democrat Mike Gill (1261)
  Republican Susan Chapman (1800)
     
New Milford Mayor Republican Patricia Murphy* (3172)
Newtown First Selectman Republican Patricia Llodra*
     
Redding First Selectman Republican Chris Hocker (1295)
  Democrat Julia Pemberton (1393)
     
Sherman Republican Clay Cope*
  Democrat Chris Jellen
  Independent David Hopkins
     
Danbury City Council (two per Ward)    
Ward 1 Republican Irving Fox (1016)
  Republican John Priola (1040)
  Democrat Richard Kovacs (855)
  Democrat Dennis Perkins (810)
     
Ward 2 Republican Elmer Palma* (928)
  Republican Vinny DiGilio (850)
  Democrat Helena Abrantes (718)
  Democrat Bill Taylor (550)
     
Ward 3 Republican Joe Cavo* (1591)
  Republican Christopher Arconti (1642)
     
Ward 4 Democrat Peter Nero* (704)
  Democrat Tom Saadi* (796)
  Republican Andrew DaCunha (313)
  Republican Matthew Kennedy (346)
     
Ward 5 Democrat Fred Visconti* (683)
  Democrat Duane Perkins* (686)
  Republican Daniel Kolwicz (463)
  Republican William Nicol (441)
     
Ward 6 Democrat Ben Chianese* (750)
  Democrat Paul Rotello* (773)
  Republican Steven Froehlich (580)
  Republican Daniel Metrena (544)
     
Ward 7 Republican Marina Loyola (981)
  Republican Joseph Scozzafava* (955)
     
Danbury City Council At Large Republican Michael Haddad Sr* (6264)
(7 members from either party) Republican Gregg Seabury* (6059)
  Republican Warren Levy* (5529)
  Republican Philip Curran* (5363)
  Republican Jack Knapp* (5526)
  Republican Colleen Stanley* (6067)
  Republican Andrew Wetmore* (5600)
  Democrat Franklin Anders (3493)
  Democrat Henry Hall (3402)
  Democrat Paul McAllister (4304)
  Democrat Robert Taborsak (4793)
  Democrat Andrea Gartner (4164)
  Democrat Dev Patel (3454)
  Democrat Al Almeida (4049)

 

* denotes incumbent
(vote tallies)

 

Numbers are unofficial results which must be certified by the Secretary of the State's office.

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Polls are open across Greater Danbury, turn out light

Election Day is today and so far many Greater Danbury area towns are reporting low turn out.  As of 1pm in Danbury about 15% of registered voters had cast ballots.  At that hour Brookfield was reporting about 18% turnout at the polls.  In Redding, the Registrar says about 13% of voters had cast their ballots by noon.

 

There is same day voter registration this year.  In Bethel only three people had gone to Town Hall as of 1pm to sign up to vote and to cast a ballot.

 

With redistricting done earlier this year, some Danbury voters will be going to new polling places.  The Registrar of Voters sent out post cards reminding registered voters where they can cast their ballots.  In addition to redistricting, the Ward 3 voting was moved to Stadley Rough School from Broadview Middle School.  The polling place in Danbury's 6th Ward will not change, though there was a proposal to move that location as well.  More information on those polling locations can be found here.

 

In Ridgefield, the First Selectman position is a term of four years, so there is no line on the ballot in that town.  The selectman, treasurer and town clerk positions are also four year terms.  New Milford Mayor Pat Murphy and Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra are both running unopposed.

 

There's a three-way race for First Selectman in Bethel.  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. 

 

There was an issue with some minor party candidates not appearing on the ballot because of a little known change in state law two years ago.  It requires those candidates to sign paperwork submitted to Town Clerks accepting the endorsement.  Bethel and Ridgefield were among the towns where candidates were left off the ballot.  One town brought the issue to court.

 

In Bethel and New Fairfield there was also an issue of election signs going missing.  While politicians say it happens often, in New Fairfield some of the signs were also vandalized.  In Bethel, one candidate was spotted removing an opponent's sign.

 

One candidate in the municipal election is also mulling a race for Governor next year.  That is bringing in some statewide attention to his every move, and tweet.  Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton ruffled the feathers of the state Democratic Party, two of whom dressed as chickens in protest in front of City Hall.  Boughton is one of three Republicans who have formed exploratory committees for a gubernatorial run.  Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, whose district includes Newtown, is the only declared candidate in either party for the 2014 race.

 

To see sample ballots from across the region, click here.

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First election with same-day voter registration

Today is Election Day and polls are open in cities and towns across the state.  Secretary of the State Denise Merrill says municipal elections are for important jobs like Boards of Education, planning and zoning and other local decision makers.

 

For the first time Connecticut residents can register to vote and cast a ballot on the same day.  Same day voter registration can be done by going to city or town hall, showing an ID to the registrar and signing up to vote.  A special ballot can then be filled out and will be counted for the election. 

 

Merrill says Connecticut is the 12th state to have this type of law and consulted with Wisconsin officials because that state has had same day registration for 40 years. 

 

Polls are open until 8pm.

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Walnut Hill Bridge construction to restart

A bridge construction project that's come to the center of the election in Bethel will be continued after the election.  The Walnut Hill Bridge is being replace, but there were delays and a redesign needed to comply with state and federal grant reimbursement. 

 

The State Department of Transportation has now given approval for work to continue November 11th. 

 

The delays started in August.  Completion is only slated to be pushed back by about a month.  The new finish date is January 1st.

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CCSU lockdown lifted, WCSU not under alert

One person is in custody at Central Connecticut State University.  An armed man was spotted on the campus Monday, prompting a schoolwide lockdown and warnings for students to stay away from windows as police SWAT teams swarmed the area. 

 

University officials have given the all-clear and lifted the lockdown.

 

The suspect has been identified as David Kyem, the son of a CCSU geography professor.  He was charged with breach of peace and is free on bond. 

 

University officials said Monday afternoon there were three persons of interested that they are inverviewing.  At least one suspect is a student, the others are student-aged.  No shots were ever fired.  The ID swipe card system helped to identify the suspect.

 

The university declared a campus emergency shortly after noon. It said police were searching in the area of a residence hall, and police officers were seen sheltering behind campus walls as several agencies responded.  New Britain Mayor Timothy O'Brien said there were no reports of injuries.

 

A Western Connecticut State University official says the situation at Central appears to be isolated.  Western officials are continuing to monitor the situation.  An email has been sent out to WCSU students and faculty that says while the issue is isolated to Central, the WCSU police department is on alert on both Danbury campuses.  Southern officials have sent out an email alert to students there about what is happened at the New Britain campus.

 

Jordan Governale, a 20-year-old junior from Farmington, says he saw a man carrying a backpack and a sword and sheath strapped to his back at Central. He says the man was wearing a mask, camouflage pants, knee pads and a vest resembling body armor.

 

More than 12,000 students attend the university, which has a 182-acre campus.  Central officials say students of James Hall were in Barrows Hall being questioned by police.

 

Lt. J. Paul Vance, a state police spokesman, says university police asked for assistance related to a report of a suspicious person.

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Election Day overview: the candidates, the controversy

Election Day is tomorrow and with redistricting done earlier this year, some Danbury voters will be going to new polling places.  The Registrar of Voters sent out post cards reminding registered voters where they can cast their ballots. 

 

In addition to redistricting, the Ward 3 voting was moved to Stadley Rough School from Broadview Middle School.  The polling place in Danbury's 6th Ward will not change, though there was a proposal to move that location as well.  More information on those polling locations can be found here.

 

In Ridgefield, the First Selectman position is a term of four years, so there is no line on the ballot in that town.  The selectman, treasurer and town clerk positions are also four year terms.  New Milford Mayor Pat Murphy and Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra are both running unopposed.

 

There's a three-way race for First Selectman in Bethel.  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. 

 

There was an issue with some minor party candidates not appearing on the ballot because of a little known change in state law two years ago.  It requires those candidates to sign paperwork submitted to Town Clerks accepting the endorsement.  Bethel and Ridgefield were among the towns where candidates were left off the ballot.  One town brought the issue to court.

 

In Bethel and New Fairfield there was also an issue of election signs going missing.  While politicians say it happens often, in New Fairfield some of the signs were also vandalized.  In Bethel, one candidate was spotted removing an opponent's sign.

 

One candidate in the municipal election is also mulling a race for Governor next year.  That is bringing in some statewide attention to his every move, and tweet.  Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton ruffled the feathers of the state Democratic Party, two of whom dressed as chickens in protest in front of City Hall.  Boughton is one of three Republicans who have formed exploratory committees for a gubernatorial run.  Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, whose district includes Newtown, is the only declared candidate in either party for the 2014 race.

 

To see sample ballots from across the region, click here.

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AG disagrees with CL&P storm recovery cost estimate

As some people in the Greater Danbury area continue to deal with the aftermath of recent major storms, Connecticut Light and Power is looking to recover restoration and recovery costs from Tropical Storm Irene, the October 2011 snow and Superstorm Sandy.  But State Attorney General George Jepson is asking regulators to fine CL&P up to $143 million for it's deficient and inadequate response. 

 

CL&P is looking to recover $414 million in restoration and recovery costs from Irene, the October 2011 snow and Superstorm Sandy. 

 

Jepson says his office disagrees with how the utility calculates its costs.  Jepson says at least $90 million should be disallowed, and perhaps quite a bit more.

 

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority will rule next month in a draft decision on how much CL&P can recover.

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Nearly $2 million in federal funding approved for Danbury

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has approved a $1.8 million loan guarantee to Danbury for public infrastructure upgrades.  City officials say the project is a key component of the City’s larger effort to transform its downtown area into a healthier, more walkable environment. 

 

HUD New England Regional Administrator Barbara Fields says this loan guarantee is one of the most successful investment tools that HUD offers to local governments.  She says HUD is committed to strengthening communities and this funding will have a tremendous impact on Danbury.

 

HUD’s Section 108 Loan Guarantee Assistance Program enables local governments to borrow money at reduced interest rates to promote economic development, stimulate job growth and improve public facilities.  Such public investment is often needed to inspire private contributions; to provide seed money or to simply boost confidence private firms and individuals may need to invest in distressed areas.

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Conn. Senators press for Con Ed to pay commuter reimbursements

The $8 million to $12 million that Metro North lost during the recent 12 day New Haven line service disruption caused by a feeder cable failure should be paid by Con Ed.  That's according to Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal.  

 

The Senators have written to Con Ed and the New York Public Service Commission to get the utility to cover the costs. 

 

Blumenthal says Con Ed is making hundreds of millions of dollars in profits and can afford to pay for their failure.  He notes that the New York Public Service Commission has the power to compel Con Ed to pay.

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Danbury man named Grand Marshall of State Veterans Parade

60 years ago, soldiers returned home from the Korean War and tomorrow the annual Connecticut Veterans Parade at the state capital will mark the occasion.

 

Nearly 3000 veterans have registered to march.  A local Danbury hero is a Grand Marshall.  Sergeant Samuel Jacobellis is a longtime member of the Greater Danbury Area Korean War Veterans Association.

 

Jacobellis returned from Korea in 1953 having earned a Bronze Star for Valor and Heroism in ground combat.  As a civilian, he's spent the last 40 years working in the auto parts business. 

 

The Parade tomorrow begins near the state Capital complex at 12:30.

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Bethel Women's Club collecting gift items for local vets

A non-profit group, the Bethel Women's Club, is looking for some help in bringing holiday cheer to area veterans.  The annual gift drive is asking people to donate new and unopened items such as clothing, CDs, movies, batteries and other everyday items.  Maggie Butler is one of the women leading the charge.  She says some other items on their wish lists are slippers and puzzle books. 

 

The drive runs through the 24th.

 

Items can be dropped off at First Congregational Church in Bethel or the Wells Fargo Bank in Bethel.  Collection Bins and complete list of items needed are also located in Bethel at American Pride; English Apothecary; Bethel Mail Service ; True Value; First Congregational Church; St. Mary's Church; Stony Hill Wine & Spirits and UK Gourmet on Rt 6 in Newtown.

 

On November 16, a special STUFF-A-VAN event will take place at the Bethel United Methodist Church, Greenwood Avenue, during their spaghetti dinner starting at 5:30pm.  Members of the Bethel Women’s Club will be on hand to accept cash donations and other items.

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Danbury, New Milford hospitals gala to fund ER construction

The Western Connecticut Health Network’s annual “Gala” will take place on Saturday, November 2nd at The Waterview in Monroe at 6:30 pm.

 

Hospital officials say this comes as a time of growth and innovation for Western Connecticut Health Network.  Co-chairs of this year’s Gala are Dee Dee Colabella of Ridgefield and Amy Dent of Sandy Hook.  They are billing the evening as including entertainment, dining and dancing all while contributing to the future of healthcare.

 

An anonymous donor has given Western Connecticut Health Network $10 million toward the new work.  If the Foundation reaches its $50 million fundraising goal, the same donor has pledged another $20 million.  Monies raised from the Gala will go toward the Foundation’s goal.

 

The Arnhold Family Emergency Department at New Milford Hospital broke ground this month.  New Milford Hospital's new emergency department is expected to be completed early in 2015.  The Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Emergency Department at Danbury Hospital along with the new patient tower renovation project are scheduled for completion next summer.  

 

Western Connecticut Health Network Foundation executive director and vice president Grace Linhard says the two emergency departments together currently handle nearly 100,000 patient visits annually.  She calls them the link between the community and notes that they respond to the most urgent patient needs at every hour of every day.

 

Guests at the Gala will be able to bid for auction items using hand-held bidding devices.  Individual tickets are $250 for donors, $500 for patrons and $1,000 for Benefactor.  More information can be found on the hospital's website.

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Ridgefileld and Danbury fight forest fire

Local pilots and an air-traffic controller with Danbury Municipal Airport worked hand-in-hand with Ridgefield firefighters yesterday to battle a forest fire west of Pine Mountain in the Hemlock Hills area.

Officials expect some flareups and hot spots to burn again today  but Fire Chief  Heather Burford says it should be out by the weekend. 

Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi said that if it wasn't for the initial reports from pilots about the blaze, the fire could have become more serious and impacted some of the homes in the area.

The fire started early Wednesday ..the forest dry due to  the lack of rain.

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