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Local Headlines Archives for 2014-06

Hearing planned for proposed Park Ave cell tower

A public hearing will be held in August about a proposed so-called "stealth rooftop cell tower" in Danbury.  Plans call for the tower to be placed on an existing apartment building on Park Avenue.  The Connecticut Siting Council Thursday rejected a request by AT&T for no Certificate of Environmental Compatibility or hearing.  City Councilman Paul Rotello is pleased with the Siting Commission's ruling.


The so called stealth tower would be built inside a new structure above the roof and would be made up of 12 antennas and multiple transmitters.  AT&T has a 75-page booklet about their plans including diagrams, artist renderings, radiation output levels and other details.


Rotello cited environmental concerns with the diesel powered electric generator so near to the Still River.  He also said that if the tower were to collapse, it could cause disruption or injury to the many parents and children who walk to Park Avenue School. 


The hearing is set for August 19th at 3pm and 6:30pm at Danbury City Hall.

Skateboard Park set to open next month in Danbury

All of the hard physical work and environmental work has been completed on the skateboard park in Danbury.  It's expected to open next month across from the Ice Arena. 


For years, city officials said they've been inundated with requests by the city's youth for a skate park.  The main issue delaying the project was liability concerns.  After discussions with the City's insurance carrier late last year and early this year officials decided to move forward.  During a City Council ad hoc committee discussion it was decided that if the City doesn't permanently staff the park, and if signs are posted telling users they skate at their own risk, the liability would be minimal.  During the meeting it was suggested that providing lighting at the park would create an attractive nuisance.  The park would close at sundown, like other parks in the City.  It was also suggested that there not be fencing around the park, unless it's decorative.


The parcel of land that the City acquired from the Danbury Redevelopment Agency was a piece that no one else showed interest in, in part because the cost of remediation would be too high.  The contaminated soil will be encapsulated by the concrete pad base, which is an environmentally approved method of dealing with the type of contamination at the site.  The Traffic Commission would not have allowed cars to exit onto Patriot Drive, also making the land unattractive for other uses. 


The land is easily accessible by police, EMT and fire service. 


During the ad hoc committee meeting, it was said that the park would give skateboarders a centralized location for recreation, removing exposure to further damage throughout the City.  The Mayor said he has received numerous complaints about damage in the City.


Preliminary cost estimates were about $150,000.


There is an old brick-lined culvert that runs under the property that was built in the 1800s, diverting a considerable amount of storm drainage to the Still River.  In order to prevent damage to the culvert, a top was going to be created, and the manholes changed to grates which will allow water to go in.


There was some unforseen drainage work that was needed.

Danbury participating in Summer Food Service Program

The Danbury Public School system is participating in the federally funded Summer Food Service Program.  The program provides nutritious meals to all children 18 years and under free of charge who normally receive free or reduced priced meals during the school year. 


End Hunger Connecticut Executive Director Lucy Nolan says Connecticut went from 5th to 4th in the nation in terms of kids taking part.  Nolan says only 1 in 4 eligible children participated last year.  The average family incurs about $300 a month more in food costs when kids are out of school. 


School Address Meals Available Serving Times Service Dates


Broadview Middle School
72 Hospital Avenue Breakfast 8:15-9:15 6/30-7/25
    Lunch 11:15-12:15  
Rogers Park Middle School 21 Memorial Drive Breakfast 8:15-9:15 6/23-8/22
    Lunch 11:15-12:15  
Laurel Gardens 385 Main Street Breakfast 8:15-9:15 7/8-8/14 (Tues-Thurs only)
    Lunch 11:15-12:15  
Shelter Rock School 2 Crows Nest Lane Breakfast 8:15-9:15 6/30-7/31
    Lunch 11:15-12:15  
South Street School 129 South Street Breakfast 8:15-9:15 6/30-8/8
    Lunch 11:15-12:15  
Hayestown Avenue Elementary 42 Tamarack Road Breakfast 8:15-9:15 6/30-8/22
    Lunch 11:15-12:15  
Ellsworth Avenue Elementary 53 Ellsworth Avenue Breakfast 8:15-9:15 6/30-8/8
    Lunch 11:15-12:15  
Danbury Public Library 170 Main Street Lunch 1pm-1:30pm 6/23-8/22


Manager of Danbury school-based health centers gives update

This was the first year that the school-based health centers in Danbury were not run by the city, but rather under the authority of the Connecticut Institute for Communities.  Executive Director Jim Maloney has given an update to the City Council now that school is out of session for the summer.  He says things went fairly well with his organization as a subcontractor.


The Centers are located at Broadview and Rogers Park middle schools and Danbury High School.  They provide physical, mental, and some oral health services.  A medical center is also located at Henry Abbott Tech.  More than 90-percent of the schools population have parental permission to receive treatment.


Some vacant staff positions were filled and the licensing and billing were shifted.  This summer, they plan to bring the electronic health system into alignment with the school-based health centers.  Maloney says they hope to have that last transition piece in place by the fall.


Through April, there were nearly 3,700 student visits.  Of them, 2,100 were medical visits, 1,300 were behavioral health visits, and 189 were dental visits.

Murphy, Kane to push for student access to sites

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy and Southbury state Sen. Rob Kane are urging Connecticut school officials to allow students full access to political websites.

Murphy, a Democrat, recently sent a letter to the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education asking members to encourage local school boards to ``provide students with access to the materials necessary for developing informed opinions.''

Murphy and Kane, a Republican, have supported a Woodbury student who raised questions about why his high school's computer firewall blocked him from accessing conservative websites, such as and gun rights groups.

The two politicians were scheduled to appear Monday at a state Capitol news conference to discuss the importance of providing students access to diverse political thought. They will be joined by several students.

Fireworks display goes off without a hitch at Town Park

The sky above Candlewood Lake came alive with light once again during the City of Danbury's annual Independence Day fireworks show.  The event was once again put on by the Danbury Volunteer Firemen.  WLAD-AM had a live broadcast from the park before the show.  It included music, prizes and fun.  ATLAS of New Hampshire again provided the pyrotechnic display.


WLAD's Bart Busterna with a prize winner sporting Red Sox "T Party" t-shirts.

Memorial car show to be held Sunday in Brewster

A Car show is being held tomorrow to honor a 47-year old man who was a long-time classic auto enthusiast.  Bill Geller was walking on Route 22 when he was struck and killed by an elderly driver last February.  The First Annual Bill Geller Memorial Car Show will be held from 9am to 4pm Sunday at Temple Beth Elohim on Mount Ebo Road North in Brewster. 


There will be live bands, food and trophies for winning car show entrants.  Restaurant reservations, sports memorabilia, concert tickets and car accessories are among the donated items.  Admission is free and all proceeds will benefit the temple.


On February 15th, 2013 Geller drove to the local A&P to pick up dog food in Golden's Bridge New York. He locked his car keys in his car. He called a cab but the cab never came. He decided to walk home. Half way into his walk, an 88 year old retired veteran struck Geller on the passenger side of his car.  The graphic designer left a wife and a 14 year old son.

He had restored a '67 orange Karmann Ghia that his family says he was so proud to drive and took such great care of. His son is following his foot steps. Max drew the logo on the Registration flyer. It’s a caricuture of his father's face in the Ghia.

Operation Dry Water on look out for boaters under the influence

Operation Dry Water is back on Candlewood Lake this weekend.  State Environmental Conservation Police and the Lake patrols will be out looking for drunken boaters and other unsafe operations.  EnCon Police Captain Ryan Healy says the national enforcement effort is done around the same time each year, when most people will be on the water celebrating during the fireworks.


In Connecticut over the last five years, 47-percent of the boating accidents that resulted in fatalities were alcohol-related.  18-percent of accidents with injuries involved alcohol.  Healy says impaired boaters can expect penalties to be severe.  When impaired by alcohol, Healy says boating accidents are more likely-- and more deadly for both passengers and boat operators, many of whom capsize their vessel or simply fall overboard. 


In Connecticut they include fines, jail and loss of boating privileges. 


EnCon police will also be at the state boat launch to remind boaters about the need for adequate floatation devices on board.

Bethel residents reject municipal budget for third time

Bethel residents have again rejected a proposed municipal budget.  After two votes, the Board of Finance cut $381,000  from the spending plan, bringing it down to about $26.8 million.  $151,000 was cut in the second round after $230,000 was cut when the first proposal failed.


The municipal budget goes back to the Board of Finance for more cuts, but the town will start the new fiscal year next week without a new plan in place. 


The first vote failed, after a recount, by less than 10 votes.  The second referendum failed by about 300.  This vote had just a 36 ballot difference.

Bethel appoints new Superintendent of Schools

The Bethel Board of Education has appointed a new Superintendent of Schools.  An announcement from the Board says Dr Christine Carver was selected to fill role left vacant when Kevin Smith announced he was taking the same position in Wilton. 


15 applicants were considered.


Carver served as an associate Superintendent of Human Capital Development, Chief of Staff in Newington.  The Board says Carver was selected to sustain quality education momentum and to grow student achievement.  She is a graduate of UConn and Sacred Heart University and has a background in special education. 


Her start date is August 4th.

Newtown parents: Better communication, layers of security needed

A parent of one of the 20 first-graders killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School says communication between Newtown officials and local families broke down at points in the shooting's aftermath.

David Wheeler lost his son, Benjamin. He told a Connecticut commission reviewing the school shooting on Friday via Skype that if another tragedy happens, there needs to be a better flow of information.

Wheeler says some examples of the poor communication range from delayed notification about counseling programs to deciding to remove photos of victims from the school yearbook without telling families.


"It was as if the first three months of the school year and the people who were lost ... never existed," he said.


"There was no central clearinghouse for information for the ... affected families set up in any way," Wheeler said, acknowledging the school shooting likely overwhelmed government officials.

Newtown officials didn't immediately return messages seeking comment Friday.


Wheeler also said he and his wife were stunned when many officials from governments and nonprofit agencies who were trying to help broke down in front of them.  He added that there should be a better screening process for people being sent in to help families in such tragedies.


"We were the ones who ended up consoling them," he said. "And you can imagine that that is a devastating turn of events for a grieving parent."


Josephine's mom, Michele Gay, is a former teacher who has become part of a school safety foundation.  She spoke via Skype saying schools should use layering of various types of protection and urged better communication within schools.


"It's my personal belief that our gunman would have turned around, and returned home on December 14th had he seen a police cruiser in the parking lot of Sandy Hook School", said Gay.

The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission is working on recommendations on school safety, mental health and gun violence prevention.

Newtown officials given update on community center, SHES

At their meeting Tuesday, the Newtown Public Buildings and Site Commission has received an update on the planned Community Center and the Sandy Hook Elementary School building project.


Representatives from the Commission on Aging, Parks and Recreation, town department heads are meting every two weeks now about the project, which will be completed in phases.  At the Tuesday meeting, it was said that Requests for Qualifications and Proposals is the next step to find architect and construction firms.  GE has more than 150 employees who live in Newtown and the company made a $10 million donation to fill a need that exists in Newtown for a community center. 


The Town’s goal is to have design and construction complete in 2016. 


A feasibility study will determine if the community center can be added to the Fairfield Hill Campus. The original plan for the community center located the facility on the site of the former Litchfield hall/Yale Lab buildings.


The Commission accepted an invoice totalling little more than $207,000 from the architects for work so far on a new school.  Site plan documents are now with the Land Use department.  One member of the Commission asked that they review the scope of the project. 


The Commission's July 8th meeting will likely be about approval of the final construction package for Phase 3, Site Development.  It will be the only item on their agenda.  The Inland Wetlands Committee and Planning and Zoning will also be approached for approval later next month.

Redding adopts medical marijuana facility moratorium

A moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries has been adopted by the Redding Zoning Commission.  A public hearing on the temporary, one-year, moratoruim was held Wednesday night.  Members want to study language of current zoning laws.  The amendment would also define medical marijuana dispensaries in order to create restrictions and standards. 


The Zoning Enforcement Officer drafted the proposed moratorium amendment to include growing facilities as well. 


Last month, D&B Wellness submitted an application to Redding officials for a dispensary in the Georgetown section of town, but due to scheduling reasons, the application didn't make it on to their agenda.  D&B Wellness eventually turned to Bethel and are opening a dispensary on Garella Road. 

Road closure in Bethel for railroad crossing work

Another road closure is planned in Bethel to allow Metro North to fix railroad crossings.  Taylor Avenue will be closed from today through Wednesday for the planned work by the state Department of Transportation.  Detour signs will be put in place.  There was a closure earlier this month for work on the Greenwood avenue crossing.  That was also schedule to take about a week, but was wrapped up within three days.

Newly renovated Kennedy Park opens, Danbury Farmers Market starts

A ribbon-cutting was held Thursday at the newly renovated Kennedy Park in Danbury.  Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola says the project came in on time and under budget.  The city spent about $275,000 to upgrade the park off Main Street. 



The scope of the work included installation of decorative sidewalks, raised landscaping islands, and ornamental fencing.  The work was designed by city employees.  Electrical and plumbing services were added for the Farmers Market so people can wash vegetables.


Iadarola says pedestrian safety was a major concern before the work was completed, so that was a priority.  A box culver runs under the park that carries the Still River and Blind Brook, which complicated the work.  He says the contractor did a great job despite having to change some things due to unforseen complications.


He says the park looks larger because of the landscaping, but they didn't add to it.  The physical work took a little under two months.



Some changes have been made to the Danbury Farmers' Market Community Collaborative as the season gets underway this afternoon.  Vendors will be accepting credit cards for the first time.  Director Peggy Zamore says there is improved access to fresh food for recipients of government food assistance programs by matching up to $9 a week, the value of SNAP food stamps. 


This is the first year that bus passes through HART transit are available to give people a ride home. 


In addition to Connecticut grown foods, the Wellness Van will be there for health screenings.  The literacy van from the school system will also be on hand so kids can read while their parents shop. 


This year also features the start of a matching voucher program for low income veterans.  It's a collaborative with the state Department of Agriculture and a community philanthropist.  Eligible veterans will have $42 to spend at the market through the season.


The Market is open at Kennedy Park from 11am to 5pm.  It runs every Friday, except Independence Day, through Halloween.

Siting Council considers Danbury cell tower plan with no public hearing

AT&T is looking to put up a stealth rooftop tower on an existing apartment building located at 79 Park Avenue.  The company petitioned the Connecticut Siting Council for a ruling that no Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need is required to install the tower.


City Councilman Paul Rotello wrote to the Siting Council asking that they reject the request by AT&T. 


Rotello also called on the governing body to hold a public hearing about the proposed tower.  He wants it at a time and in a place convenient to homeowners, parents, the PTO, and staff can hear details of the proposal and voice their opinions.  Rotello says to allow the opinion of a company and not the people potentially affected diminishes the rights of all stakeholders.


The stealth tower would be built inside a new structure above the roof, opposite a penthouse, and would be made up of 12 antennas, multiple transmitters two large air conditioner compressors.  There would also be a 50,000 watt diesel powered electric generator with on board storage for several hundred gallons of fuel. 


Rotello cited concerns that the the busy parking lot slopes toward the Still River--one of the most environmentally sensitive areas in the City.  Rotello says there are strict prohibitions concerning the placement of chemical and fuel storage systems along the watershed also tapped for drinking water.  He is also concerned that if the tower were to collapse, it could cause disruption or injury to the many parents and children who walk to Park Avenue School.

Bethel residents voting a 3rd time for municipal budget

Polls are open in Bethel for residents to vote again on a municipal budget.  Another $151,000 has been cut by the Bethel Board of Finance.  After the first proposal failed, $230,000 was cut.  The budget is about $26.8 million dollars.  The reductions include to First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker's salary, holding it flat from this fiscal year.


Highway salt and sand, building maintenance and repairs and Bethel Fire Department firehouse maintenance among other line items receiving cuts.  Reductions were also made to Stony Hill Firehouse maintenance, parks and rec maintenance and supplies, tree warden contracted services and senior center funding.


The reductions include several line items of Intra Governmental Agency subsidies for Sweet Hart bus service, the transfer station and paramedic intercept, as well as reductions to the Board of Ed maintenance account and legal services.


The education budget will stand, as approved, at $42 million and will not be voted on again.  Polls are open until 8pm.

Brookfield residents approve Greenway, capital items funding

Brookfield residents have passed two questions, one is the Still River Greenway Project, the other is various Capital Project items. 


$1,037,000 has been approved for six capital items.  The Greenway project allocation is about $2,407,000.  That would cover design and construction of the 8,500 foot multi-use trail in Brookfield.  $481,000 in bonds was authorized, with the balance of the project being paid for through state and federal grants. 


The town's capital project items includes $69,000 for heating, lighting and bathroom renovations at the Library; $250,000 for parking lot paving at the library, Town Hall and Public Works facility; $188,000 for windows, HVAC and carpet replacement at Town Hall, $120,000 for air conditioning replacement in the High School auditorium; $180,000 to replace a backhoe; and $230,000 for roof replacement and kitchen renovations at the Center Fire Company.  The paving allocation is Phase 1 of a two-year, $500,000 program.  The Town Hall infrastructure work is the final of three phases in the project.


Planning for the Greenway has been in progress for more than a decade.  The two mile multi-use train would run between Route 133  to Route 202 across rom Laurel Hill Road.  Phase 1 was completed in 2011, Phase 2 will start this year, though final Army Corp of Engineering approval is still pending.

McKinney pools funds in Connecticut governor race

Senate Minority Leader and Republican gubernatorial candidate John McKinney says he's officially teaming up with former U.S. Comptroller David Walker and the pair is pooling funds to qualify for public campaign financing.

McKinney and Walker said their joint campaign would file an application for public financing on Wednesday.

McKinney and Walker each received enough support at last month's Republican State Convention to participate in the GOP's Aug. 12 primary. McKinney is challenging the party's endorsed candidate for governor, Greenwich businessman Tom Foley. Walker is challenging the party's endorsed candidate for lieutenant governor, Penny Bacchiocchi. Groton Town Councilor Heather Somers, who opted not to run with Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and go solo on the pirmary ballot, is also a lieutenant governor candidate.


Boughton dropped out of the GOP gubernatorial race last week after it looked like his new running mate, Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, would not garner enough qualified petition signatures to be on the ballot as a lietenant governor candidate.  Secretary of the State Denise Merrill's office this week determined that Lauretti fell 1,467 signatures short of getting on the ballot.  He and Boughton would have pooled their funding to qualify for public campaign financing.

State officials must determine whether McKinney and Walker raised the $250,000 in small contributions needed to receive approximately $1.25 million for the primary.

Retired business exec to challenge Boucher

There is a Democratic challenger in the 26th state Senate District, a seat currently held by Republican Toni Boucher, who is running for reelection.  Phil Sharlach has been nominated to run in November against the incumbent. 


He is a retired business executive and consultant who has worked for Deloitte, the U-S General Accountability Office and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.  He now is an adviser at SCORE--the nonprofit group of retired business executives who provide consulting services for entrepreneurs. 


The 26th district includes Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport and Wilton.  Both Boucher and Sharlach are Wilton residents.

Sandy Hook Memorial Sidewalk discussed by Newtown officials

At the last meeting of the Newtown Board of Selectmen, an update was given on a Memorial Sidewalk.  A special appropriation from the Sandy Hook Special Revenue Fund was made and the subject of that discussion. 


The appropriation still needs approval from the Board of Finance and the Legislative Council. 


Dr Draper and his son Joe Draper made what the Selectmen call "a generous donation" to create a sidewalk from Sandy Hook Elementary School to the flag pole to establish a feeling of conectedness with the community.

Area museum receives award from TripAdvisor

Parents looking for fun educational opportunities for their kids this summer can turn to the Danbury Railway Museum.  The non-profit organization, staffed solely by volunteers, was recently awarded TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence.  Museum President Wade Roese says many who sign the Guest Register praised friendly volunteers as well as their knowledge of railroad history.


The Museum takes visitors on train rides, lets kids explore different types of trains and learn railroad history.


TripAdvisor monitors people's responses to places they have visited.  TripAdvisor says the museum has consistently earned outstanding feedback from travelers, based on the quality of reviews and opinions that the travelers provided. 


People from 38 states, and 16 different countries have visited in the past year.


Less invasive heart surgery touted at Danbury Hospital

As people are living longer, more ailments are being discovered and with that comes new treatments.  Some elderly patients with heart murmurs actually have aortic stenosis, or calcium deposits which cause the valve to not open properly and the heart has to work harder to push the blood through the blocked valve.  Symptoms include shortness of breath, fainting, and chest discomfort. A physician may detect a heart murmur during a physical examination that warrants further testing such as an echocardiogram.


There is no medication to treat aortic stenosis.


Danbury Hospital Chief of Cardiology Dr Mark Warshofsky says transcatheter aortic valve replacement is a minimally invasive surgical procedure.  This spares patients from some of the trauma of traditional open-heart surgery because it's about 90 minutes compared to a 4-hour procedure.


With this less invasive process, Warshofsky says doctors are able to access the aortic valve through a cut in the groin or a very small opening in the upper chest. It's designed for patients deemed too risky to undergo traditional open heart surgery.


The Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory says TAVR only requires a three-day hospitalization, with a much quicker recovery.

Blumenthal, Oxford family proposes restraining order loophole

Senator Richard Blumenthal, family members of Lori Jackson, and domestic violence prevention advocates are meeting this morning to highlight new legislation authored by Blumenthal to close loopholes that leave domestic violence victims vulnerable to gun violence following the issuance of a temporary restraining order.


On May 7, Scott Gellatly shot and killed his wife Lori Jackson and wounded his mother-in-law Merry Jackson in Merry’s Oxford home.  Both Lori and Merry Jackson had obtained restraining orders prohibiting Gellatly from coming near them. He was still able to legally possess firearms.


Blumenthal says the presence of a gun in domestic violence situations increases the risk of homicide for women by 500 percent.  In 2010, of all the women killed by a firearm in the United States, almost two-thirds of them were killed by an intimate partner.


The Lori Jackson Domestic Violence Survivor Protection Act would establish consistent, nationwide protections prohibiting the purchase or possession of guns and ammunition by those subject to a temporary restraining order.


Blumenthal says when domestic abusers are most dangerous, at the height of their rage, current law is weakest in protecting victims like Lori Jackson from gun violence.   When a domestic violence survivor first asks for protection from an abuser, the court can issue a temporary restraining order to immediately protect him or her during the few days or weeks until the court can issue a permanent restraining order.  Current federal law protects domestic violence survivors from gun violence by preventing their abusers from purchasing or possessing a firearm, but only once the court has issued a permanent restraining order.

Danbury Hospital opens 11-story Tower addition

Danbury Hospital has opened the doors to its largest addition in the facility's nearly 130 year history.  The celebration Friday night, complete with a fire works display, marked Western Connecticut Health Network raising  $71-million from nearly 8,000 donors.  Peter Buck, the founder of Subway sandwich shops, donated $10 million, but challenged WCHN to raise $50 million.  Since they met that goal, Buck added $20 million dollars to his original donation.  Buck hoped to inspire others to help advance access to exceptional healthcare in the region.


The 11-story tower is named for Buck and his late wife Carmen Lúcia.  Their $30 million donation set a record for WCHN.  The Danbury resident says he made the sizeable donation to express his sincere appreciation for the superior care he and his family have received at Danbury Hospital over the years.


WCHN President and CEO Dr. John Murphy says as healthcare funding declines and the industry faces unprecedented financial challenges, innovation and advancements in patient care are more dependent than ever on philanthropic donations.  He added that the generosity of donors to help WCHN fulfill its mission: to improve the health and wellness of the communities we serve. I can’t think of a more worthy investment than health.


The new 316,000 square foot Peter and Carmen Lúcia Buck Pavilion at Danbury Hospital includes a 35-bed medical/surgical patient-care floor, a 30-bed state-of-the-art Critical Care Unit, patient amenities and other improvements. The private patient rooms are larger, to accommodate family members who wish to spend the night with the patient.


The new Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Emergency Department, is a 40,000 square foot Emergency Department.  Double the size of the former Emergency Department, it includes a streamlined triage area, all private patient rooms equipped with state-of-the-art technology, an express care area for less acute patients and a dedicated imaging center so patients can be diagnosed and treated more rapidly.  There is also a specialized pediatric unit and a direct-access heliport to expand the Hospital's capacities as a Level II Trauma Center.

More screening for guns among Newtown proposals

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Mental health suitability screenings for gun owners and sellers, and consolidating smaller emergency management dispatch centers are among the proposals being considered by members of a state commission crafting public policy recommendations in light of the 2012 Newtown school shooting.

The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, created by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, was meeting Friday to review possible recommendations by working groups focused on law enforcement, school safety and mental health. The commission, created in January 2013, hopes to soon submit its final report to the governor.

The school safety working group recommended an ``all hazards'' approach to risk management instead of focusing on preventing an active shooter event, as occurred in Newtown.

Some commission members expressed dismay about the spate of shootings that have occurred since Newtown.

Danbury Billionaire donates 10 Million to Hospital

Danbury billionaire, Dr. Peter Buck, the co-founder of  the world’s largest restaurant chain, Subway, has donated a record setting 10 million to support the new Pavillion at Danbury hospital.


At an historic ribbon-cutting celebration , Danbury Hospital will open the doors to its largest addition ever: The Peter and Carmen Lúcia Buck Pavilion. The 11-story, state-of-the-art building is named for Dr. Peter Buck and his late wife.

Along with his donation he issued an innovative challenge. While remaining unidentified, he promised that if, with the help of community donations Danbury Hospital met its $50 million campaign goal, he would contribute yet another $20 million. Results of Dr. Buck’s challenge and whether or not Danbury Hospital will receive the additional $20 million gift will be revealed at 7 p.m. today.

Dr. Buck says the reason for his gift and challenge is based on his great appreciation for the superior care he and his family have received at Danbury Hospital over the years, and his desire to help provide our region with world-class health care that rivals the best academic medical centers in the country.

The event kick off begins with the Pavilion’s official name unveiling and a ribbon-cutting ceremony, led by Dr. Buck and Dr. John Murphy, CEO of Western Connecticut Health Network.


The evening ends with a fireworks show that can be enjoyed by the surrounding community.

New Milford school to close

In New Milford ... John Pettibone Elementary School will be closed at the end of the 2014-15 school year.

In a 5-4 vote , the New Milford Board of Education approved closing Pettibone School, reconfiguring grades, redistricting the town, and creating a subcommittee to assess the use of the  Pettibone property.

Danbury Mayor drops out of Gov race

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton says he is throwing his full support behind Republican candidate Tom Foley and suspending his run for Governor. The Mayor says he is grateful to Danbury residents for their support of him during his campaign for Governor. Boughton hopes to pursue more dreams for the city. He says the campaign was tough on his family and is disappointed for himself and his supporters and campaign workers. He hasn't ruled out future runs runs for higher office but can't offer any more than that right now.

Boughtons Press releases said he knows all Republicans should unite behind the endorsed candidates, Tom Foley and Penny Bacchiochi.

The Mayor garnered enough support at the recent Republican convention to wage a primary against Foley. But Boughton needed to pool his campaign funds with a running mate in order to qualify for public financing and it has become questionable in recent days whether that could happen.

Boughton's original running mate decided to run alone in the lieutenant governor primary. Boughton's second pick, Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, needed to submit 8,190 signatures to petition his way onto the GOP primary ballot. But there was a strong possibility that not enough qualified signatures were submitted.

Senate Minority Leader John McKinney is also running for the GOP nomination in the August GOP Primary.

Newtown gets 7.1 million dollar grant after tragedy

US Representative Elizabeth Esty and US Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy announced on June 17 a $7.1 million grant from the US Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime to support victims, family members, first responders, and community members in Newtown in the aftermath of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The grant will be used to support victim services with a portion reserved for school safety efforts. The funding will support new mental health services, specifically longer-term counseling for families, law enforcement, and first responders. It will also help reimburse ongoing services for those affected by 12/14.

Rep. Esty says " this grant will provide much-needed relief and support for Newtown to help this brave community heal. The community of Newtown has faced unimaginable tragedy with incredible strength and resiliency. Survivors, families, law enforcement, and first responders deserve sustained counseling services and enhanced school safety resources, and I’m grateful to the Department of Justice for responding with continued support.”

She said the leadership shown by First Selectman Pat Llodra, town officials, the families, and community activists inspire her, Rep Esty’s colleagues and the nation.

Large crowd at medical marijuana hearing in Bethel

There was a long hearing in Bethel that was packed with some 100 residents ..the Zoning Board of Appeals meeting was held at the Bethel Municipal center.

Philip Lombino and a neighbor, Michael Moore, filed an appeal of the zoning approval granted to D&B Wellness, Inc., in May to open a medical marijuana dispensary at 4 Garella Road.

The News times reports that Lombino said he  never imagined he would  be  arguing against a medical marijuana dispensary at the end of his street on Maple Row when he moved here from Stamford.

Bethel Zoning Enforcement Officer Steven Palmer approved the application on May 13...

His attorney argued that all members of the general public could one day become afflicted with an illness which qualifies for medical marijuana use, and as such, the business is open to the general public.

No decision has been announced yet by  the appeals board.


Jack Marcus of Marcus Dairy dies at 97

In Danbury ..Jack Marcus, who grew up on a farm that blossomed into Marcus Dairy, one of the city's well known businesses, died Monday at age 97.

Marcus' son Neil said his father suffered a stroke in March and had been living at his home  until the night before his death at Danbury Hospital.

The Marcus Dairy Bar provided teenagers and adults with one of its liveliest meeting places. Jack Marcus was also was one of the city's most  generous philanthropists.

Among its  many contributions, the Marcus family created and endowed Danbury Hospitals  cardiac rehabilitation center, which is named after Jack Marcus and his wife, Pearl.

Mayor Mark Boughton said Marcus wasn't one who wanted attention for his support of the city....but he was always there to help.

MCCA leader selected for posts on two new Boards

The leader of a Danbury-based outpatient clinic has been selected to join the boards of two new foundations.  Joe Sullivan, the head of Midwestern Connecticut Council of Alcoholism has been chosen to serve on the board of the Hartford-based Behavioral Health Partnership Oversight Council.  That group advises the Departments of Children and Families and Mental Health and Addiction Services, and Social Services on the planning and implementation of the statutory Behavioral Health Partnership. 


Sullivan will also serve on the Danbury-based Good Samaritan Mission.  The new group was formed by the Jericho Partnership and Christian Community Outreach Ministries to serve the homeless.


Sullivan became CEO of MCCA in 1980 and helped grow the organization from an outpatient facility in Danbury to the current seven outpatient clinics and three residential treatment centers in Western Connecticut.  Sullivan has been a leader in the substance abuse and behavioral health field in Connecticut for almost 40 years.

Area lawmaker fights for transportation safety funding

An area lawmaker has offered an amendment to bolster the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle safety enforcement program.  5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty took to the House floor this week to share the story of a woman from Fairfield County who was driving one of the recalled vehicle models down the highway.


The woman wound up under a freight dump truck, with airbags that failed to deploy.  Esty says nine months and two surgeries later, that woman still suffers from post-concussion syndrome.  She added that thousands of Connecticut car owners – and millions across the country – have been affected by recent recalls.


Esty called safety a bipartisan issue and said more must be done for families.


The transportation bill included about $18-million less than the National Highway traffic Safety Administration requested.

Another Congressman speaking out about gun violence

Another member of the Connecticut Congressional delegation is speaking out about inaction in Washington on gun control reforms.  Congressman John Larson took to the House floor recently to say that the time is now to vote on background checks for all gun purchases.


Larson says in a body where many people pride themselves on the Right to Life, why would those same people not rise to protect the lives of school children.


Larson says the nation's parents want to know when Congress will act, no matter what side members come down on.  He expressed frustration with the failed vote on universal background checks legislation in the wake of the shootigns at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Connecticut lawmakers seek broader gun coalition

Members of Connecticut's congressional delegation are urging national retailers to voluntarily take steps to reduce gun violence by barring guns from their establishments.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Chris Murphy and Rep. Elizabeth Esty said Friday they also hope the retail industry will become part of a coalition that will put pressure on Congress to pass gun control legislation originally proposed after the 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The failed proposal included expanded criminal background checks for firearms sales and a ban on illegal trafficking. It fell five votes short in the Senate.

The lawmakers, who sent a letter to the National Retail Federation, said the industry has strong influence in Washington.

A federation spokesman said the industry is committed to ensuring gun sales laws are followed and enforced.


They were joined by Carlee Soto.  Her sister Victoria was one of six educators killed on December 14th.

19 NY explosive sniffing canine cops graduate

Nineteen canine police officers in the Class of 2014 graduated from MTA Police explosives detection and anti-terrorism training Friday morning in a ceremony at Grand Central Terminal. 


Twelve of the dogs will now join their human partners in active duty inspecting unattended or suspicious packages and patrolling the trains, stations, tracks and facilities of the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad and Staten Island Railway, a 5,000-square-mile territory across 14 counties in two states. 


Seven of the canines who graduated today will join sister agencies who are among the regional partners of the MTA in law enforcement: the NYPD, Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, and the police departments of Brewster and Warwick, N.Y.



The MTA Police Department has one of the largest canine explosives detection forces in the country, with approximately 50 dogs in service at any time. Last year, the canine teams responded to 27,900 requests for assistance, and inspected and cleared 2,619 unattended packages.


The canines are named after military service members, police officers and firefighters who have given their lives in service to their country.  Joining the MTA Police today are Augie, Chief, Daehan, Foxy, Geo, Holland, Joey, Mac, Patriot, Sentry, T.J. and Vinny.  Joining the MTA’s sister agencies are Blue, Boomer, Dante, Falco, Nox, Sentinel and Tank.

Joel Barlow roof replacement could be delayed

A special Region 9 Board of Education meeting is being held on Tuesday about a technical error that could delay the roof restoration project at Joel Barlow High School.  The Redding Pilot reports that there was a problem with the public notification.  The referendum date was set at a meeting four days after notice was given of the meeting, not five days as required. 


The $1.4 million project would have started in late July, but could now be pushed back to August. 


The Region 9 district could hold a Town Meeting to borrow some of the money for the project and hold a July 22nd referendum to authorize the balance.  The other option is to hold a referendum on the same amount on July 22nd.

New Fairfield moves to extend 'no wake zone' on Candlewood

The no-wake zone on Candlewood Lake has been extended at Squantz Cove in New Fairfield by an additional 1,000 feet.  A Town Meeting was held Thursday night to consider a petition to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection that within the area of Squantz Cove, from the causeway south 2,500 feet, would be a slow no wake area. 


The zone will be noted with one marker near the state boat launch, visible to all watercraft leaving the launch.  There will also be a marker placed at the end of the no-wake zone visible to watercraft entering Squantz Cove. 


DEEP still needs to study the proposal and approve it.

Bethel rejects town budget again

Bethel voters defeated the nearly 27 million proposed municipal budget by a larger margin than last month's referendum.

This second proposal was $230,000 less than the first town budget..

Nearly 300 more "no" votes were cast this time.

The turnout of about 24 percent was slightly higher than the 22 percent turnout on May 15.

First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says he is upset and extremely disappointed...he says the small turnout of voters has harmed the ability of the town to provide the services the town needs."

Billy Michael of the Bethel Action Committee says he is not surprised at the rejection given the economy in Ct. 

Michael claims some bethel residents are just fed up with town issues such as the amount of time it took to open the Walnut Hill Bridge and the medical marijuana dispensary that will be located in the Stony Hill section of town.

Texting ban enforcement campaign ends with hundreds of citations

Another round of texting ban enforcement has come to an end in Danbury.  After 7 days of a crackdown on drivers using their cell phones behind the wheel, Danbury Police are reporting a significant number of citations issues.  Several police departments in the Greater Danbury area participated in the texting ban enforcement program.


Police spokesman Lt Christian Carroccio says in the week of ramped up enforcement from June 5th through Wednesday, more than 655 tickets were issued.  368 were for cell phone use and 103 were issued for texting infractions.


The fine for cell phone and texting violations start at $150 for a first offense, $300 for a second citation and $500 for each subsequent violation.


Six people received speeding tickets, two drivers were caught with drugs in the vehicle and 120 other traffic violations were cited.  There were five seat belt violations, one person was cited for improper child retrains and one was arrested for having a suspended license.  


Four motorists failed to stop at stop signs, nine didn't obey other traffic signals, 13 people had unregistered motor vehicles and there were 23 uninsured motorists who were pulled over.

9 roads designated as 'scenic' in Ridgefield

Ridgefield has nine new scenic roads in town.  At a meeting last night, residents moved to make the designation official for the Ridgefield Lakes roads.  The adoption was made by a voice vote. 


All nine roads make up less than three miles of lanes.  They are: Clearview Drive, Clearview Terrace, Lake Road, Lakeside Drive, Lakeside Drive Extension, Mountain Road, Shady Lane, Rainbow Drive, Woody Place.


The roads are more narrow than those in town and the scenic designation means that they will not have to be widened to bring them up to standards of other roads in Ridgefield.  The previously private roads, which received some plowing, paving and maintenance, will now be maintained by the town with regular paving. 


Transportation funding a political battle in Conn.

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A broken railroad bridge that has snarled the commutes of hundreds of thousands of Connecticut commuters has become the latest flashpoint in a political fight over transportation funding.

Wilton State Sen. Toni Boucher, the ranking Republican senator on the legislature's Transportation Committee, says Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's administration has transferred $184 million from the special transportation fund since the Democrat took office in 2011.

Malloy's office disputes Boucher. Although the administration removed $76.5 million in 2014, it deposited nearly $381 million the same year. The governor's office said it has steadily increased funding from gas tax revenue, from $10.5 million in 2004 to $379 million this year.

Rep. Tony Guerrera, co-chairman of the Transportation Committee, said the argument is almost moot. He says the fund is insufficient to fix Connecticut's many transportation problems.

Newtown union leader speaks at teachers memorial

The leader of the Newtown, Connecticut, teachers' union attended the dedication of the Memorial to Fallen Educators in Emporia, Kansas Thursday.

Tom Kuroski, president of the Newtown Federation of Teachers, participated in the event at Emporia State University. The ceremony included a wreath-laying and reading of the names to be inscribed on a granite memorial.

The memorial was created by the National Teachers Hall of Fame. It will honor more than 100 American educators who lost their lives while fulfilling their educational duties, including the six Sandy Hook School educators, three educators who died on Sept. 11, 2001 and others. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan attend.


“In Newtown, the violence that ripped through Sandy Hook not only cost us the precious lives of students, colleagues and friends, but it also cost us our sense of security.  For many of us, when we returned to our schools and classrooms, we felt insecure about fulfilling our most sacred duty: teaching and nurturing our students while keeping them safe.  More than half of the fallen educators included in this memorial died during the past 14 years" said Kuroski. 


He continued, “My hope and my prayer is that this memorial will help to inspire local, state and national leaders to make school safety a top priority—and ensure that no other community, no other school, no other teacher, no other school support personnel, no other administrator, no other student, no other parent, has to go through what we went through on Dec. 14, 2012, and continue to go through each and every day. We are all Newtown.”

Hearing held about Schlumberger land sale

The Ridgefield Board of Selectmen have held the first of three hearings about how to move forward with a 10 acre parcel of the Schlumberger land.  The property was going to be sold to a developer for 30 luxury condos, but the vote failed during the recent budget referendum.  The proposed sale to Toll Brothers was for $4 million. 


During the hearing last night, many residents called for more planning. 


During the meeting, the Newstimes reports that First Selectman Rudy Marconi revealed more details about a 12 acre parcel of the 40 acres.  The plan is to lease the land, and some of the buildings, to an art collector for $250,000 a year.  It's not an outright sale because of environmental remediation that needs to be done.  The art dealer could buy the leased parcel for $3.4 million and use the Philip Johnson building for a museum.


The town was authorized during a vote in 2011 to buy the land for $7 million to avoid overdevelopment.  So far, five acres has been sold to developer Stephen Zemo for office space and a hotel for $1.25 million.

Cancer Survivors Celebration being held by New Milford Hosptial

A Cancer Survivors Celebration is being held today by The Diebold Family Cancer Center at New Milford Hospital.  Oncologist Dr Joseph Bargellini says every year in June, there's a national movement to recognize people who have had cancer touch their lives.


Bargellini says cancer survivors face many challenges throughout the diagnosis and treatment cycles, but despite the difficulties, they can and do live active and productive lives.  He says everyone's experience is different, but there's a lot of camaraderie.  He adds that it's reassuring for newly diagnosed patients or those just starting treatment, to see that people can and do survive.  


About 100 people usually attend the event for cancer survivors and their guests.  It will be at The Maxx on Railroad Street from 4 to 6pm.  The celebratory event will start with light refreshments, followed by welcome remarks, special introductions and entertainment.

Second referendum in Bethel on town budget

Polls are open in Bethel for residents to vote on a municipal budget.  About $230,000was cut from the proposed tax and spending plan by the Bethel Board of Finance, putting it at $26.979 million.  A recount determined that residents rejected the town budget by seven votes.  That budget was for $27.2 million.


The Board of Finance has proposed cutting the Employee Benefits Hospitalization account by $77,000 and the Transfer Station's budget by $20,000.  They have also proposed cutting the Bethel Fire Department's capital equipment account by $40,000 and the pension by $50,000, the library's budget by $4,100, the Police Department's capital equipment budget by $9,800 and their overtime budget by $10,000 and the Highway Department's road construction budget by $3,800 among other changes.


The education budget will stand, as approved at $42 million and will not be voted on again.  There's also just over $2 million in capital expenses that were approved. 


Polls are open until 8pm.

Walnut Hill bridge open to traffic

The long anticipated opening of the Walnut Hill bridge in Bethel is here.  With little fanfare, the barricades were lifted a just before 3pm Wednesday.  First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says the only thing left to do is paint the center line on the road.  That will take about two more weeks because the asphalt has to cure and some of the oils have to dry up.  Then the reflective paint will be put on the road.


The barriers have been lifted, the detour signs are being covered up with black cloth and will be taken down over the course of the next week. 


Knickerbocker did caution drivers to obey the speed limit and pay attention because there are some families with small children who live there and have gotten use to having no cars coming through.  There will be police presence because it's a smooth, wide road now.

Boughton, Lauretti deliver petition signatures

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Gubernatorial candidate and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton is now waiting to learn whether enough legitimate signatures from Republican voters have been submitted to successfully petition his running mate, Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, onto the primary ballot for lieutenant governor.

Boughton's campaign spokesman, Heath Fahle, said more than the required 8,190 signatures were ultimately submitted to registrars of voters in about 90 towns by Tuesday's 4 p.m. deadline.

Those registrars now have a week to determine whether the signatures are from legitimate GOP voters. Fahle said he's ``cautiously optimistic'' the campaign will have enough.

If Lauretti qualifies for the Aug. 15 GOP primary, he and Boughton plan to pool their campaign funds to qualify as a ticket for public campaign financing for the primary.

No concerns raised during meeting about regional fire trining school

A public hearing has been held in Danbury about turning the Fire Training Facility on Plumtrees Road into a regional fire training school.  Chief Geoff Herald says there were no concerns voiced by residents who attended the meeting Monday night.  


Area department supervisors shared their visions of the school.  Herald says this will be positive for departments in the region, most of which already train at the facility. 


The next step to have the facility designated as a regional training school is to send the plan for review to the state Commission on Fire Prevention and Control.

Public hearing to be held about Redding cell tower proposal

A public hearing will be held next month in Redding about a proposed cell tower at the Redding Ridge Fire House.  The Redding Planning Commission has met to discuss the proposed cell tower, which would be about 150 feet tall.  AT&T would be the service provider of the proposed facility along Black Rock Turnpike. 


The Connecticut Siting Council applications says there are 10 existing communications facilities within four miles, but none can provide reliable service to the area.  In 2007 a higher pole was going to be installed but due to the recession the carrier backed out. 


The Siting Council wrote a letter to Redding’s First Selectman at the end of May saying that comments from the town about the tower are due by the 18th.


The public hearing scheduled on last night's agenda is for July 29th at 3pm.

State Rep. calls for all candidates to stand up for Conn. gun reforms

A woman running for the 28th State Senate seat is challenging candidates running for all offices to not back peddle on the gun safety reforms enacted last year.  The district includes Newtown and the seat has been left open by Senate Minority Leader John McKinney's retirement.  Democratic state Representative Kim Fawcett is seeking higher office.  She is a parent with three school age children--two about to go off to college.


Republican state Representative Tony Hwang is also seeking in the running for the 28th Senate District.  Retired GE executive Nelson Gonzalez is collecting petition signatures to force a GOP primary.


Fawcett says she's heard some disturbing comments from various candidates about bending to the pro-gun lobby.  She specifically pointed to comments from GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley recently that he would veto future gun control restrictions if he is elected governor. 


Fawcett says Connecticut has a national responsibility to maintain and advocate for the strongest common sense gun safety legislation possible.  She continued that leaders running for office, certainly those hoping to represent Newtown, need to clearly communicate their strong support and not continue to hedge their positions for political gain.

Kent woman honored as 'Environmental Champion'

A Kent woman has been awarded an environmental grant by Aquarion Water Company.  Their 4th annual Environmental Champion Awards were given on Saturday during a ceremony featuring the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner. 


Laurie Doss of Kent was presented with $2,500 for an environmental non-profit of her choice.  She chairs the science department at Marvelwood School in Kent and was selected for volunteering over the span of 25 years to improve water quality, wildlife habitats, outdoor recreation and other environmental causes.  At Marvelwood, Laurie and her high school-aged students have helped with the conservation and stewardship of the Skiff Mountain Preserve and Public Lands, a 700-acre forest in Kent and Sharon that surrounds the school property.


Laurie conducted much of the original fieldwork and mapping which led to the forest’s conservation and the required funding. Within this outdoor laboratory, Laurie has engaged her students in the necessary fieldwork, documentation and even construction of an award-winning trail.


Laurie also conducts scientific research on other properties throughout the community.


She also manages an international exchange program she founded. Twice a year, it brings Marvelwood students together with underserved children in eastern Panama to research and learn about bird migrations, macro-invertebrate biology, and cross-cultural conservation techniques.

Gov. signs Conn. adoption bill

Governor Malloy has signed a  bill into law that will make certain records available to some adoptive children in Connecticut.  The new law  allows the Department of Public Health to give individuals at least 18 years old, whose adoptions were finalized on or after October 1st 1983, copies of their original birth certificate.  Their adult children or grandchildren could also obtain them.


The change would take effect on July 1, 2015. 


Malloy said he supports the legislation because it affects a pool of people who were made aware their information might be shared with the children they gave up for adoption.


But Wilton state Senator Toni Boucher called it "morally wrong'' for the legislature to change the rules later, saying some birth parents might not want their information revealed. 


Claire Wilkes of Easton submitted testimony in favor of the bill saying her husband was adopted and has been able to find out very little about his biological parents because of Connecticut's laws.

Public hearings coming up in Ridgefield on land sale

Since there was no clear mandate on a controversial plan to sell and develop about 10 acres of the Schlumberger site, 3 public hearings will be held about how to move forward.  First Selectman Rudy Marconi says the plan was to sell the land  for $4 million to Toll Brothers for 30 luxury condos, but went down by seven votes.


He says some people didn't understand the proposal, others were told to vote no and more said they want something different.  The Board set three public hearing dates this month about what residents want to see happen with the land.


The hearings are set for Wednesday at 6:30 at Town Hall, Saturday at 10am at Town Hall and the 25th at 6:30.

Conn. officials want safety info from gun industry

Last week, Governor Dannel Malloy joined a Request for Information to the gun industry to get a clear sense what companies are doing to improve public safety.  He weighed in again saying time after time there have been horrific results from inaction.  He says now is the time that states and municipalities use the power of the purse to move the market in ways that will improve public safety. 


Malloy says gun makers can do a lot more to make things safer.


The Request For Information seeks information on what companies are doing to embrace smart gun technologies that would make the weapon inoperable in the wrong hands and also make ballistic tracing by law enforcement easier.


Connecticut's Commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection said that Connecticut’s laws require every sale and purchase of firearms to be subject to a background check verified by the State Police, which means investigators will be better able to trace the origin of firearms that ended up in the hands of criminals and irresponsible gun owners.

Politicians make moves to get on ballots

There are fewer people planning to run for Governor in the Republican primary, and more in the general election.  Tom Foley, the GOP endorsed candidate will still face Senate Minority Leader John McKinney and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton. 


But former West Hartford Town Councilman Joe Visconti says he is trading in his petition run for the primary ballot, for the November ballot.  Visconti needs to collect 7,500 signatures by August in order to be the second minority party candidate on the ballot.  Democrat Jonathan Pelto is also collecting petition signatures.  Pelto announced Thursday that a Hartford educator, Ebony Murphy, will be his running mate on the newly created Education and Democracy Party ticket. She is currently teaching middle school at the Calhoun School in New York City.


Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, a one time GOP gubernatorial hopeful, must collect more than 8,000 signatures by Tuesday afternoon to qualify for a run for Lt Governor as Boughton's running mate.

Eastern College Athletic Conference to move from Mass. to Danbury

The Eastern College Athletic Conference plans to move from Massachusetts to Danbury.  The state Department of Economic and Community Development finalized the deal yesterday with the country's largest intercollegiate athletic conference.  ECAC will bring about 20 jobs to Danbury by next month when it relocates to the Matrix Center. 


Governor Dannel Malloy says this brings the possibility of more conference events to the state.  The state will provide the ECAC with 400-thousand dollars from the Small Business Express Program to help with the move, and a 100-thousand dollar matching grant to create 5 jobs. 


Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton says both the business and sports communities are anxious to welcome the ECAC, which has more than 300 member institutions in 12 states. 


ECAC says the Matrix is a central location for their headquarters and accessible to its entire membership--which will allow for more frequent meetings.  Westchester County in New York and Bergen County in New Jersey were also considered.


ECAC Commissioner Kevin McGinniss, a Greater Danbury area resident, said relocating the ECAC headquarters to The Matrix Corporate Center will better enable the organization to service the entire membership at the highest levels.

8 grants to benefit children at Regional YMCA of Western Connecticut

Eight grants totalling nearly a quarter of a million dollars have been awarded to the Regional YMCA of Western Connecticut for youth development and education programming.  Among the grants is $165,491 from the Grossman Family Foundations to enroll low-income Danbury students at the Y's Children's Center in Bethel for before and after school programs. 


Many of the grants will go to the Y's Escape to the Arts Center. 


General Mills recently named the Y as one of 50 nationwide Champions for Healthy Kids grant recipients.  The Students Can Run and Move (SCRAM) fitness nutrition program will be expanded from four Danbury elementary Schools to a fifth school.


The Perrin Family Foundation has awarded $25,000 to support the youth development activities at the Regional YMCA’s ESCAPE to the Arts center in downtown Danbury. ESCAPE’s three core programs – After School, Achievers and Youth & Government – help underprivileged teens develop the personal and leadership skills they need for prosperous futures. The funds will be used to support leadership building activities and art projects that will draw attention to student-identified societal issues during the 2014-2015 school year.


Fairfield County Community Foundation, the George A. and Grace L. Long Foundation, and the Lily Palmer Fry Foundation have awarded $20,000, $2500 and $4000 respectively to the Regional YMCA to help disadvantaged children attend summer camp programs.  Thanks to these funds, dozens of children will be able to spend their summer vacations laughing, learning and exploring at Camp Greenknoll and ESCAPE to the Arts.


Pitney Bowes has granted $5000 to support the ESCAPE After School and Summer Camp programs. 


People’s United Bank has awarded $3000 to the Achievers program at ESCAPE to the Arts.  Achievers help underprivileged high school students pursue higher education and career goals through individual mentoring and personal/leadership development workshops.


WCSU business school names new Dean

David Martin has been appointed as the next Dean of the Ancell School of Business at Western Connecticut State University.  He will fill the role starting next month. 


Martin comes to West Conn from St. John Fisher College School of Business in Rochester, New York.  While there he helped develop two new majors in marketing and human resource management.  He also created a joint doctor of Pharmacy and Master of Business Administration program. 


West Conn President James Schmotter says Martin has demonstrated his ability to lead faculty in developing academic programs that meet the needs of business stakeholders.

Danbury Fire Chief to retire, Communications Coordinator named

Danbury Fire Chief Geoff Herald is planning to retire.  He's given word to the Mayor that he will be leaving the Department as of mid-July.  A Danbury Fire Department Dispatcher has also been promoted to Communications Coordinator.  Mayor Mark Boughton said at the City Council meeting Tuesday that Steven Rogers job will be changing as the 911 Center moves to civilianization.


Rogers was commended for rolling out a complex integration of a new software system and the new NexGen Dispatch program.


Rogers is an Emergency Telecommunicator and a state Fire Instructor.  He will be responsible for the radios, computers and inter department communications.  He'll also be handling social media sites and public information details.


Rogers started his career on October 4, 1999 as a Firefighter and was promoted to Dispatcher in January 2011.

Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics

The annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics takes place this morning in the Greater Danbury area.  There are several legs being run throughout the state and drivers are urged to use caution as police officers are escorted by local and state police vehicles. 


The Law Enforcement Torch Run wraps up year long fundraising and awareness efforts by police of Special Olympics Connecticut. 


In the Greater Danbury area, police will leave New Milford shortly before 8am from Town Hall.  They will run down Route 202-Route 7 through Brookfield, continuing along Federal Road into Danbury, where the run will go through White, Main and South Streets into Bethel. 


Route 302 into Newtown will be the next leg of the Torch Run.

Joel Barlow turf field completed

The field at Joel Barlow High School is completed.  Easton and Redding students will soon be able to use it for games, now that a partial certificate of observation has been granted.  Work started last fall to turn the grass field to turf. 


The Redding Pilot reports that there is still some work that needs to be done at the stadium. 


The ends of the field, shaped like Ds, are being sprayed with a layer of foam and painted to match the track color.  The Region 9 Board of Education recently approved more than $27,000 for that work, which some say is unnecessary.  Others say it will make the track safer.

Conn. Trails Weekend, Lyme Disease prevention urged

Area residents are being urged to use caution if participating in Connecticut Trails Weekend.  Lyme Disease is a tick-borne illness diagnosed in an estimated 300,000 people nationally each year.  Western Connecticut Health Network Lyme Disease Registry research associate Amber Butler says the symptoms can be very common and non-specific.  They include fever, joint stiffness and feeling tired.  She compared it to having the flu in summer.  There could also be a rash that looks like a bullseye.  Butler says the rash will always grow over time.


Lyme Disease prevention is key.  She urges people to use the BLAST Method of detection and prevention.  Bathe or shower within two hours of being outdoors, Look all over for ticks, Apply repellant to clothing, Spray your yard with a pesticide and Treat your pets. 


If you do find a tick on your body, the recommended removal is by getting as close to your skin as possible with a tweezer and pulling it out. 


Danbury Hospital is looking for patients who have been diagnosed in the past for a few studies related to the disease.  Interested participants can call the Lyme Disease Registry at 203-739-8383.



The following are all hikes unless otherwise noted:


Sunday, June 8. 1:15 PM to 4:00 PM.

Franc Property and Bruno Preserve. Discover the woods and open fields of Bethel’s Franc Property and the adjacent Newtown Bruno Preserve. Several different trail routes will be available. The hike length will be modified to the desires of group. Boots and water are recommended. Call the leader or see for meeting place details and other notices. Sponsored by Bethel Land Trust. Rain cancels. Pre-registration is APPRECIATED. Questions and to register: contact leader John O’Neill, (203) 748-3801,


Saturday, June 7. 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM.

Williams Park. Join us for a guided hike through this 20-acre park in the heart of Brookfield. The journey will begin at the park entrance and encompass both wooded areas and open fields with views. The total distance: 3 miles. Meet leader Jeff Bronn at the park entrance across from The Brookfield Library (on Route 25/Whisconier Road). Sponsored by Brookfield Conservation Commission ( Rain postpones June 8, 12:00 PM. Pre-registration is REQUIRED. Questions and to register: contact Jeff,


Saturday, June 7. 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM.

Birch Rocks Nature Sanctuary. There is no place like it! Join us for a 1- to 2-mile hike at this 101-acre sanctuary of mixed hardwood and hemlock forest. The Yellow Trail follows a gentle slope to Lake Lillinonah. The Red Trail is a rugged 1-mile loop to an ancient oak tree.  A stream through the sanctuary flows into the lake. Thick stands of trees filter outside noise and a sense of isolation is sure to be enjoyed. Park at the parking area on Merwin Brook Road, approximately 1/8 mile from the trailhead (look for parking attendent). Meet leaders Kathy Wandelmaier and John Miller at the large boulder, sign, and kiosk at the trailhead (between #40 and 42 on Obtuse Road North). Limited parking for 1-2 vehicles is available across the street. Sponsored by Brookfield Open Space Legacy Inc. (  Rain postpones to June 8, 10:00 AM; see for change notices. Pre-registration is REQUIRED. Questions, rain plan, and to register: contact Kathy, (203) 740-8335,


Saturday, June 7. 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

Bear Mountain Reservation in Danbury. Come enjoy two fun-filled family hikes. An “I Spy Scavenger Hunt” is planned for families with children age 6 and over. Follow each clue and stamp your answer sheet as you discover interesting facts about nature. For younger children, there will be a “Book Walk” with pages of the book located along the meadow trail. The total distance: 1.5 miles. Meet leaders Linda Murray and Kim Botelho at The Red Trail by the JFK Hiking Trails sign. Sponsored by Danbury Conservation Commission. Rain cancels. Pre-registration is NOT NECESSARY. Questions: contact Linda,


Saturday, June 7. 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM.

Old Quarry Nature Center. Choose from two hour-long guided hikes for adventurers of all ages. Hike leaders Elyse Jasensky and Ed Moore will take the time to observe varied ecosystems and wildlife as well as visit to the quarry site, remains of the dynamite shack, a giant stone fireplace, and a stone chair. The Field House will be open with live animal exhibits, educational displays, and hands-on activities for young people. The total distance: 2 miles. Park at the grassy parking area just inside the Maple Lane entrance (off of Mountainville Road) and then meet at the amphitheater on the left, just beyond the parking area. Sponsored by Danbury Conservation Commission. Rain cancels. Pre-registration is APPRECIATED. Questions and to register: contact Elyse, (203) 417-3914,


Trail Maintenance

Saturday, June 7. 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM.

Tarrywile Park. Join us, as we work on a trail maintenance project in celebration of National Trails Day. Water, a light snack, and all tools will be provided. Please wear steady shoes and bring work gloves. Park in the lower parking lot at Tarrywile Park (70 Southern Boulevard) and then proceed to meet leaders Becky Petro and Sam Crews at the Red Barn Environmental Center. Sponsored by Tarrywile Park and Mansion ( Rain cancels. Pre-registration is REQUIRED. Questions and to register: contact Becky, (203) 744-3130,


Educational Walk

Sunday, June 8. 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM.

Westside Nature Preserve. This will be an easy 2-mile hike for all ages. Join Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) biology professor Frank Dye, Ph.D. for a journey that will traverse two trails to observe the wetlands, uplands, brook, wildflowers, and invasive, aromatic, and nonflowering plants found on this WCSU property. There will be an optional quiz with prizes. Meet by the tennis courts on the Westside Campus; see website with interactive map, Sponsored by Westside Nature Preserve. Rain or shine. Pre-registration is APPRECIATED. Questions and to register: contact Frank,


Saturday, June 7. 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM.

Webb Mountain Park. Join Monroe’s park ranger and tree warden, Dave Solek, for a hike with commentary on the trees and plant life en route. This will be a moderate-level 1-mile hike to an elevated lookout that affords a panoramic view of the Housatonic River Valley. The route is adjacent to the Paugussett Trail. Meet at the parking lot on Old Fishhouse Road off Webb Circle. Sponsored by Monroe Land Trust and Tree Conservancy. Rain or shine. Pre-registration is REQUIRED. Questions and to register: contact co-leader Marven Moss, (203) 268-2961,


Nature Walk

Saturday, June 7. 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM.

Pratt Nature Center. Come discover this 205-acre wildlife preserve and environmental education center. The land is diverse—with a mountain, meadows, woods, wildlife, gardens, farm animals, a stream, a pond, and wetlands, providing wonderful opportunities for outdoor fun, discovery and adventure! On this nature walk, we will explore the property trails, looking and listening for as many birds as we can find! Meet leaders Haley Neddermann and Diane Swanson at the front of the main building (163 Papermill Road). Sponsored by Pratt Nature Center ( Rain or shine. Pre-registration is APPRECIATED. Questions and to register: contact Haley, (860) 355-3137,


Educational Walk

Saturday, June 7. 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM.

Pratt Nature Center. Explore the trails of this beautiful wildlife preserve under the light of the half moon. We will keep our eyes and ears open for owls, bats, and other nighttime creatures, and talk about the summer stars. Meet leader Haley Neddermann at the front of the main building (163 Papermill Road). Sponsored by Pratt Nature Center ( Rain or shine. Pre-registration is APPRECIATED. Questions and to register: contact Haley, (860) 355-3137,


Saturday, June 7. 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM.

Brunot Preserve. This parcel of land is unique in many ways. From the beautiful open meadows to cedar forests and rolling hills of oak and pine. It was once the home of James Brunot (July 1902 - October 1984)—a game designer known as the developer of Scrabble. There will be three hike options on this outing: 1) an easy stroll into the meadow on the white-blazed trail; 2) a longer perimeter hike on the yellow-blazed trail; 3) a geocache hike, Scrabble-themed to decipher the coordinates of the next hidden prize! Meet leader Aaron Coopersmith at the NFA sign/parking area on the west side of Taunton Hill Road (between #118 and #128 Taunton Hill Road). Sponsored by Newtown Forest Association (NFA, Rain cancels. Pre-registration is APPRECIATED. Questions and to register: contact Aaron,


Saturday, June 7. 9:15 AM to 12:30 PM.

Little River North Trail and Samuel E. Hill Little River Preserve. Hike the Little River Watershed where we will look for sandy scour beyond the banks as evidence of past flooding and discuss the fact that 87% of Redding lies within existing water supply watersheds. Expect several wet trail sections. The total distance: 4.8 miles. Meet leader Stuart Green at the Palus Trail trailhead near #15 Long Wall Road (a cul-de-sac off of Newtown Turnpike) to spot cars and carpool to the Little River North Trail by #61 Pheasant Ridge Road (a cul-de-sac off of Sunset Hill) to begin the hike. Sponsored by Redding Conservation Commission ( Rain or shine. Pre-registration is RECOMMENDED. Questions and to register: contact Stuart, (203) 216-9584,



Saturday, June 7. 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM.

Bennett’s Pond State Park. Come discover the basics of geocaching, a treasure hunt in the woods using a handheld GPS. Fun for the whole family! Bring a GPS enabled phone or device if you have one, but not necessary. Expect a 2-mile adventure and bring water. Trails could be muddy; please wear appropriate footwear. Meet leaders Allison Archambault and Mendy Polchinski at the parking lot on Bennett’s Farm Road (marked with a sign), which is about 0.75 miles from the stop light on Route 7. Sponsored by The Discovery Center at Ridgefield( Rain postpones to June 8, 2:00 PM. Pre-registration is RECOMMENDED. Questions and to register: contact Allison, 203) 240-7897,


Educational Walk

Sunday, June 8. 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM.

Hemlock Hills. Enjoy a delightful hike concerned with fungi and mushrooms. By immersing ourselves into the world of more intimate details on Earth, you may not realize this walk being the slowest hike of the weekend. Join the Connecticut-Westchester Mycological Association(COMA) with the support of the Ridgefield Conservation Commission for this extraordinary expedition. The total distance: 1.5 max miles. Meet leader Zaac Chaves at the North Shore Drive entrance. Please consider carpooling or bicycling. Sponsored by COMA ( Rain or shine. Pre-registration is NOT NECESSARY. Questions and to offer/request carpools: contact Zaac, (203) 571-8866,

Cell tower proposal for Richter Park delayed

The controversial request to build a cell tower at the Richter Park Golf Course in Danbury has been delayed.  At the City Council meeting Tuesday night, members decided to not take action on a committee report in order to allow for more research. 


The Committee recommended allowing the Richter Park Authority to go through the necessary steps to put a tower on their land. 


A deed restriction waiver was granted by the heir of the woman who donated the land to the City that would have bypassed the "recreational use only" wording in the deed.  But there is now a question of if the City Council is actually the entity that can grant the waiver.

Ridgefield officials to meet Fri. to name new Fire Chief

The Ridgefield Board of Selectmen will meet Friday to name the town's new Fire Chief.  The Board will act as the Fire Commission at 9am on Friday to make the announcement.  First Selectman Rudy Marconi says it will be an internal hire. 


Heather Burford left the post in December to take a job in Florida.  She led the department for seven years. 


Kevin Tappe has been the interim chief since the start of the new year.  There were three finalists interviewed for the job.

United Way 'Day of Action' held in Greater Danbury

Nearly 600 volunteers are taking part in over 100 projects for the United Way of Western Connecticut's annual Day of Action.  25 companies are participating in the event benefitting more than 30 non-profit agencies. 


The projects are taking care of maintenance projects that would otherwise cost the charities thousands of dollars to do.  Other companies are reading to children leading financial literacy courses and supplying groups with materials to support Day of Action projects.  


Cartus, Praxair and Boehringer Ingelhem are among the companies helping out.  Ability Beyond Disability, the Women's Center and Danbury's Emergency Shelter are among those benefitting.


A complete list can be viewed here.

Railroad crossings to close to traffic for maintenance

Work on Metro North's Danbury branch continues to try to fix the signal system issues.  


The state Department of Transportation says the railroad crossing on Greenwood Avenue in Bethel will be closed to traffic from Friday the 13th through Thursday the 19th.  The crossing at Taylor Avenue in Bethel will be closed from the 27th through July 2nd. 


No cars will be allowed to cross during the shutdowns to try to restore normal railroad crossing gate operations.

Bethel sets second referendum date

The new proposed municipal budget in Bethel for the coming fiscal year is $26.9 million.  Residents will be back at the polls on Thursday June 12th.  The Board of Finance has proposed cutting about $230,000 from the budget that failed by 7 votes last month. 


The cuts are proposed across the board--some from the Bethel Police and Fire Departments, the library, the highway department and elsewhere. 


The education budget will stand, as approved at $42 million and will not be voted on again.  There's also just over $2 million in capital expenses that were approved.

Gov. signs e-book bill into law

A bill designed to boost the use and availability of e-books at libraries across Connecticut has been signed into law by the Governor.  For a startup cost of about $2 million for computerization and purchase of books, the state Library Board will create and maintain a platform for distributing e-books to libraries.  The board would negotiate purchases with publishers, hopefully ending problems individual libraries have had in that regard. 


Bethel Representative Dan Carter says libraries would benefit big time because the use of e-books has exploded in recent years.  Carter says by keeping up with technology, the state is keeping libraries vibrant and this will help encourage reading among people of all ages and backgrounds.


He called this a step in the right direction to keep libraries outfitted with relevant and useful resources.


Studies show that e-books are now the preferred book format for many readers. Between 2002 and 2012, e-book share of trade publishing revenue increased from 0.05 percent to roughly 23 percent. In 2012, nearly 80 percent of libraries reported that they experienced a dramatic increase in the demand for e-books during the previous year.

Sen. Murphy calls Congress complicit in gun violence

Many state officials are speaking out again against gun violence.


Senator Chris Murphy says Congress has essentially become complicit in these growing mass murders.  He says when Congress sits back and does nothing, despite support for background checks, they send a message to shooters that there is tacit approval.  Murphy called it ridiculous and unconscionable that Congress won't do anything on stronger gun laws or a stronger mental health system. 


Governor Dannel Malloy Monday has joined a bipartisan list of leaders who have signed on to a Request for Information to the gun industry.  They want to get a sense of what companies are doing to improve public safety.  


The community group Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut held a roundtable discussion last night about gun violence.  CONECT is a community organization made up of 27 churches, synagogues, and mosques from New Haven and Fairfield Counties, representing more than 15,000 people from different races, ethnic groups, faith backgrounds, and both cities and suburbs, that have joined together to take action on issues of mutual concern for the common good.


"For a generation, we’ve been hearing that it’s not guns that kill people, it’s people that kill people.  If that’s the case, then the gun industry has an obligation to tell us what they’re doing to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them” said Governor Malloy.


Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra has signed on to to a Request for Information.


The daughter of a woman killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School is speaking out about controversial comments made last week by the man known as Joe the Plumber.  Following the shootings in California, he said "Your dead kids don’t trump my constitutional rights".  Erica Lafferty--the daughter of Principal Dawn Hochsprung--called him out of touch and says none of the solutions being discussed threaten the second amendment. 


She called on responsible gun owners to stand up and say enough is enough.  "If prioritizing guns over dead kids makes you angry, stand up and drown his words out with action."

Metro North, inter-county transit discussed in Danbury

There are a lot of transportation issues of particular interest to people in the Greater Danbury area.  There was a public hearing last night at City Hall about what's working, what's not working and what needs to be added.  State official Frederick Riese says there's been a lot of talk about Metro North.  The Danbury branch signal system problem is disappointing.  Potential improvements to the branch have been studied for several years by the railroad.


Housatonic Railroad has proposed passenger service from Danbury north to Pittsfield, Massachusetts.  There were suggestions of enhanced regional bus service connecting Waterbury and Danbury campuses of Naugatuck Valley Community College.  There's also a market for connecting Danbury and lower Fairfield County, specifically Stamford and Norwalk.  HART bus service and other topics of interest were discussed. 


The Commission will be making a report to the Governor, the DOT and the General Assembly with information from the Danbury hearing and others held around the state.

Hazard mitigation plan public meeting in Bethel

A planning meeting in Bethel tonight about hazard mitigation is open to the public.


With the start of a new Hurricane Season now underway, Bethel officials are looking to put together an action plan of what can be done to minimize property damage, risk of life, and the costs that are shared by all when it comes to natural disasters.  Thoughts of Tropical Storm Irene, October snowstorm Alfred, and Superstorm Sandy have prompted Bethel officials want to prepare in case another storm that results in a Federal Disaster Declaration blows through. 


The plan will take into account the possibility of floods, winter storms, hurricanes, wildfires and dam failure. 


The public is invited to the informational meeting to give their input on the planning process.  The meeting is at 6pm at the Bethel Municipal Center meeting room A.

Playground replacements slated for the summer in Ridgefield

The Ridgefield Board of Education has approved funding for three playground upgrades.  The Ridgefield Press reports that $125,000 of the $176,000 cost will be paid for by the Board.  The balance will come from the PTA, private donors and the Parks and Recreation department. 


There will be playground construction this summer at Farmingville, Veterans Park and Branchville schools. 


The Press reports that originally the work would have been done next year, but there is a surplus in the health benefits budget.  That will allow the work to be completed before the school year starts in the fall.

Gov. defends Conn. gun law, court ruling

Nearly two dozen states have sign on in support of an appeal to a federal court decision that ruled Connecticut's new gun control law, adopted after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary, is constitutional.  Attorneys General from 23 states agree with gun rights advocates that Connecticut's law is unconstitutional because it tramples the 2nd amendment right to bear arms by banning assault weapons and putting in other restrictions. 


Speaking in defense of the law, Governor Dannel Malloy says the officials should examine their position.


Malloy says those states have higher crime rates, homicide rates and assaults with a weapon rates that Connecticut.  He adds that if they want to defined their way of life, that's up to them.

State transportation hearing to be held in Danbury

The Connecticut Public Transportation Commission is holding a public hearing in Danbury tonight about public transit, dial-a-ride and other services.  The group is looking to gather information from both public transit users and from service providers about what's working, what's not working and suggestions about service. 


State official Frederick Riese says they will use the information gathered to make recommendations in their annual report to the Governor, the Commissioner of Transportation and the legislature's transportation committee.  Riese says the Commission will likely hear about the signal issues with Metro North's Danbury branch.


The public hearing is tonight in Danbury City Hall at 7:30pm.


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