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Local Headlines Archives for 2016-11

Congresswoman touts measures being voted on this week by U.S. House

5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty is touting the decision to revise the final 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.  A provision has been eliminated that would have expressly permitted federal contractors subsidized by U.S. taxpayers to engage in workplace discrimination against LGBTQ people.  Esty, a member of the LGBT Equality Caucus, was one of 89 House Democrats to write to leaders of the House Armed Services Committee calling for the language to be removed. A vote on a revised bill is expected in the House on Friday.


Esty is touting the inclusion of initiatives for central and northwest Connecticut in the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act.  The comprehensive health care package will be voted on today by the House.  Esty says the grant programs authorized in this agreement will help cities and towns prevent more people from succumbing to opioid addiction.  She says they will also help families get the assistance they need to recover, move forward, and put their lives back together. 


The final agreement authorizes a new account within the Department of Health and Human Services to make grants to states to fight opioid addiction. The agreement authorizes $1 billion in funding over a period of 10 years.


The agreement includes several measures to improve research, development, and administration of life-saving drugs and medical treatments. Esty co-sponsored three pieces of legislation included in the measure.  The Advancing Research and Neurological Diseases Act is aimed at improving federal data collection on the incidence and prevalence of neurological diseases, such as Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s.  The Tick-Borne Disease Research Accountability and Transparency Act calls on federal agencies, medical professionals, and patient advocates to collaborate on a plan of action to improve treatments for Lyme disease. 


Portions of the Ensuring Children’s Access to Specialty Care Act would expand access to childhood mental health resources by incentivizing doctors, through student loan reimbursements, to enter the pediatric mental health subspecialty.

State agency approves permit for new transfer station in Danbury over objections

A new solid waste facility proposed for Danbury has cleared one hurdle, but local officials oppose the project.


The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has issued a permit allowing for the construction and operation of a solid waste facility at 14 Plumtrees Road in Danbury.  A Hearing Officer found last year that the proposed facility will have only minor impacts on traffic and no impact on the health of those living nearby.


MSW Associates, LLC, and Joseph Putnam proposed replacing the existing auto-body shop on the 2.5 acre property.


A permit application was sent to DEEP in 2011.  The application was seeking a permit for accepting up to 800 tons per day of household waste, recyclables and construction or demolition debris. That material would be consolidated and processed on site before being taken away.  It's estimated that there would be 260 round trips by trucks, and 28 by employees.


The Danbury Planning Commission issued a denial in 2007 to construct a smaller waste transfer station at that site.


The Hearing Officer determined there is sufficient room for vehicles waiting to deliver waste to the proposed facility to queue on-site and off the traveled portion of Plumtrees Road.  Some modifications were made to the proposal, including that trucks can not arrive at the facility before 6:45am.


Councilmen Tom Saadi and John Esposito have issued a joint statement with State Representative David Arconti condemning DEEP approval.  In the statement, the local and state officials said they were disappointed with the decision to approve a state permit for MSW LLC's proposed transfer station on Plumtrees Road. 


They believe the decision is wrong on the facts and wrong on the law, and plan to continue this fight in the courts and before the City's land use commissions. 


The men say the project, proposed nine years ago, is not about just one neighborhood.  The elected officials say it's also about the right of Danbury to uphold reasonable land use laws that balance the interests of neighborhoods and responsible businesses and the right not to have such onerous and irresponsible projects as this forced on our City.

Bethel seeks bids of downtown sidewalk repairs

Bethel is looking to make improvements to the sidewalks on Greenwood Avenue.  Bethel is seeking requests for repairs and improvement of the bricks and masonry of downtown sidewalks.  Bids are due December 6th.  The work includes installing Handicapped ramps at crosswalks, putting in larger mulch beds around tree roots to ensure health of trees and resetting paver walkways on Greenwood Avenue.  The scope of the job starts at Depot Place and spans to Rector Street.  Location 2 starts at the cross walk and bench in front of the library up to P.T. Barnum Square.

Public hearing tonight in Bethel on proposed water rates

A public hearing is being held in Bethel tonight about water rates.  The Board of Selectmen will take public comments on proposed increases in the water rates for Fiscal Year 2017 through Fiscal Year 2021.  The public hearing tonight will be held in Meeting Room A of the Bethel Municipal Center at 7:30pm.  A copy of the existing water rates are available in the First Selectman's office.  Proposed rates and variables are below. 


Putnam Community Action Partnership Annual Toy Drive underway

The 2016 Putnam Community Action Partnership Annual Toy Drive is now under way.  Teenagers in the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office Cadet Program are helping to gather donated toys and other gifts for needy children in Putnam County.  The Cadets help sort donated items for delivery to underprivileged youths during the Christmas and Hanukkah holidays. 


Putnam County Sheriff Donald Smith says the program is seeking donations of new, unwrapped toys or gifts for children ranging from newborns to teens in high school.  Donors can drop off items at the Sheriff’s Office on Fair Street in Carmel, at the Community Action Partnership Headquarters located at 121 Main Street in Brewster, the Mahopac Chamber Of Commerce, or at any of the number of banks and businesses participating in the Toys-for-Tots Program sponsored by the Marine Corps League. 


Donations should be dropped off before December 16th to insure delivery in time for the holidays. Distribution of gifts to the youth will start on December 20th at the Putnam CAP office.

Last year, CAP was able to provide toys and gifts to 556 children, with each receiving three presents and two stocking-stuffer items each. “Last year’s gift-giving amounted to 1,668 presents and 1,112 stocking-stuffers being distributed.

Brookfield Police to reinstate child safety seat inspections

The Brookfield Police Department is reintroducing their Child Safety Seat Installation Program.  Brookfield Police say 3 out of 4 child car seats are installed improperly, and the program is being reinstated in an effort to protect and saves the lives of children.  Three Brookfield Police officers have been sent for installation certification and two others are awaiting certification.  The free service will be provided on a monthly basis, beginning December 14th, at the Police Department.  Technicians will work a rotating schedule, with walk-ins accepted when a technician is on duty.

Danbury volunteer fire companies presented with pet oxygen mask donation

The Danbury Volunteer Firemen’s Council has been given a donation of 12 sets of specially designed pet oxygen masks.  The masks are designed to help pets when they are victims of smoke inhalation in home fires. 


Wilton-based Canine Company donated one set for each volunteer fire company in Danbury.  The oxygen masks were presented to the chiefs of the 12 Danbury Volunteer Fire Companies Monday night at Beaver Brook Fire Company.


The reusable masks come in three sizes designed to fit small mammals to large breed dogs.  They connect to standard oxygen tanks the rescue teams carry.  Human oxygen masks don’t fit over an animal’s snout; but the cone-shaped pet masks make it possible to deliver life-saving oxygen on the scene. 


Canine Company also donated 500 “Pets Inside” decals for the fire companies to distribute to families with pets in their service region. 

Congresswoman helps veteran recoup bonus rescinded by National Guard

Danbury resident David Vieira was one of nearly 10,000 American veterans to have their bonuses rescinded following the conclusion of their service, as publicized in October by the Los Angeles Times.  The Pentagon had determined the National Guard had no right to issue these bonuses, and as part of the National Guard’s efforts to reclaim lost monies, began issuing debt notices to Guard members.  The Department of Defense eventually suspended its efforts to recoup the bonuses, but he was among the veterans whose bonuses were already recouped over the last decade.


Vieira joined the Connecticut National Guard in 2007, and then transferred to the California National Guard in August 2008.  He served in Afghanistan from 2010-2011, and was honorably discharged in 2013.  As an incentive for enrolling in the National Guard, Vieira was issued a Student Loan Replacement Program incentive.


In 2012, within a year of returning home from Afghanistan, Vieira received a notice of debt to the National Guard, which insisted he repay his SLRP incentive bonus.  Hundreds of dollars were deducted each week from his VA pension until this debt was paid off.


Earlier this year, Vieira reached out to 5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty for assistance in resolving this issue.

Esty worked with the California State Military Reserve, California National Guard, and National Guard Bureau to ensure all of Vieira’s bonus repayments would be refunded.  Esty received word in November that Vieira’s case had been settled and he would be repaid in full. 


She also wrote to the U.S. House leadership urging Congress to remain vigilant and work with Department of Defense to find a solution to end unfair bonus recoupments.  Esty says for the government to demand that veterans return the compensation that was promised to them after they served was immoral and un-American.  She added that it imposed an unfair financial hardship on thousands of American families.


Residents in central and northwest Connecticut who are having difficulty with veterans’ services or their benefits are encouraged to call Esty’s office at 860-223-8412.

Service organizations hope 'Giving Tuesday' catches on

Charity and service organizations are hoping people will remember Thanksgiving through all of the shopping days that followed.  With recent days of the holiday weekend dubbed Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, they're hoping Giving Tuesday will catch on more widely.  The global day is dedicated to giving back to communities and to celebrate generosity.  The Regional YMCA of Western Connecticut is among the organizations hoping for a bump to their bottom line through donations on Giving Tuesday.  They focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

Inn key to room where Marilyn Monroe stayed sells for $131

NEW MILFORD, Conn. (AP) - The key to a room at the Connecticut inn where Marilyn Monroe stayed in 1956 while dating playwright Arthur Miller has sold for $131.

Antiques dealer Loretta Kretchko says the key from the Homestead Inn in New Milford sold Friday on eBay to a woman who lives in the town.

Kretchko runs Bob Kretchko Antiques with her husband, Bob. They bought the inn's keys two years ago when the property changed hands.

Loretta Kretchko said Monday there were multiple keys for other rooms but only one for Monroe's favorite - No. 22.

The Kretchkos put the key up for sale after seeing the interest generated by the recent auction of a dress Monroe wore as she famously sang "Happy Birthday" to President John Kennedy. The dress sold for $4.8 million.

Redding Selectman steps down as he moves to Bethel

Redding Selectman Leon Karvelis has sat in on his last Board of Selectmen meeting.  The Democrat is moving to Bethel and stepped down last month.  He said the move was prompted by a family health issue.  He will be replaced by Board of Finance member Peg O'Donnell.  Karvelis said at the meeting that he's gotten more out of the service than he has given and thanked the town for their support over the last few years.

Candlelight vigil to be held in Danbury for unity

A candlelight vigil is being held in Danbury Thursday night.  The Danbury Area Vigil for Unity and Justice is being held at the Danbury Library Plaza.  Organizers say it's an effort to create dialogue and cooperation in response to the divisive times that have left some feeling marginalized and unwelcomed.  Speakers from various Danbury area communities will discuss how the region can be a welcoming place for all residents, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, and immigration status.  December 1st is National Rosa Parks Day, World Peace Day, and Arts Day.  The vigil is from 5pm to 6:30pm.

New animal control facility planned in Danbury

A new animal control facility is planned in Danbury.


$950,000 in bond money approved earlier this month for the construction of a new dog pound will help Danbury be in compliance with state standards.  Animal Control officials say a new facility is desperately needed. Since last July several improvements were made to the City's current building to bring it up to date with state regulations, but the facility is still sub-standard to pounds of today.  The building was constructed in the early 70's, is antiquated and in need of many major updates. 


Mayor Mark Boughton says the current facility doesn't have heat or air conditioning, and there's no room to quarantine animals if they're sick.  He says the building has lived past its lifetime.  Boughton notes that a new building will give them a humane area to hold dogs before they're adopted.


A new facility would create a less stressful and more comfortable environment for the animals.  Animal Control officials say a new building would benefit not only the animals that pass through the doors, but the employees and volunteer as well.  


Boughton hopes construction can start by the summer.  It's expected to take about six months to complete a new building.

Danbury reporting high retail sales

With Small Business Saturday in the books, some shoppers are turning their attention to Cyber Monday, but one Danbury official doesn't think online shopping is affecting brick and mortar stores in the City.


Danbury is the retail mecca of Connecticut.  Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce President Steve Bull says the City reports the highest retail sales year after year, and that's not by accident.  He notes that Danbury is at the crossroads of three of the most affluent counties off I-84.  Bull adds that the City's retail mix is exceptional.  Between the Danbury Mall and the Newtown Road/Federal Road shopping plazas, he says shoppers are hard pressed to not find a store or retailer they're looking for.


Bull says there's some pent up "back-buying" from people who put off big shopping trips in the past few years.  Danbury has seen many new stores opening up in the last three or four years.  He says that is the opposite of a national retail trend to shoppers moving online.  Bull says Danbury's strategic location helps attract retailers to an affluent marketplace.


Danbury has seen some new car dealerships open, an exponential growth in restaurants and new offerings on Newtown Road.  The mall is constantly adding new stores.  Bull says it's hard to go a week without having a grand opening ceremony, which isn't seen in most other areas of the state.

Library officials seek input from Newtown residents about next Director

The C.H. Booth Library Board of Trustees has formed a Search Committee to find a new Library Director. Newtown's current Library Director will be leaving at the end of the year for a new job opportunity.  The search committee includes members from the Board of Trustees, the Library staff and from the community.  The Committee is hosting a meeting next week for the public to share ideas on the personal attributes and professional skills important in the next Library Director.  The gathering on Wednesday the 30th is from 7 to 8pm in the Genealogy Room.

Danbury Music Centre's 'Nutcracker Ballet' tickets on sale

Tickets for the Danbury Music Centre’s 49th Annual Nutcracker Ballet are now on sale.  This Danbury tradition features over 200 dancers, accompanied by the Danbury Symphony Orchestra who play Tchaikovsky’s score, live.


Tickets tend to sell out quickly.  Tickets can be purchased in person at 256 Main Street, Danbury CT, 06810 or online.


The Nutcracker performance dates are December 9th at 7:30 pm, December 10th at 2:30 and 6:30 pm, and December 11th at 3:00 pm. All performances of the Nutcracker will be at the Danbury High School Auditorium, located on Clapboard Ridge Road.

Newtown schools to mark 12/14 with teaching, learning

For the second year since the shootings at Sandy Hook School, the anniversary falls on a school day.  Newtown Superintendent of Schools Dr Joseph Erardi sent an email to parents ahead of December 14th to say that the district will mark the occasion with teaching an learning. 


Erardi wrote that many will find private space for personal reflection as the community continues to recover from the unconscionable act of violence.  The schools will provide talking points for parents if requested. 


Last year was the first year that 12-14 was a school day, and Erardi says they plan to follow a similar day.  There will be a moment of silence and age appropriate messages for older students.

Danbury, Ridgefield polling locations selected at random for election audits

Voting precincts have been selected to have primary results audited following the November 8th presidential election.  Five percent of the polling places that use optical scan machines are subject to the audit. Those hand counted ballots will be matched against vote totals from optical scan machines. 


Secretary of the State Denise Merrill says Connecticut has some of the most stringent audit laws in the country. 


38 primary and 31 alternate locations were selected for an audit, which will be analyzed by UConn, the Secretary of the State’s Office and the State Elections Enforcement Commission.  The offices subject to audit are President / Vice President, US Senate, and Representative in Congress.  Among the polling locations selected at random are two in Danbury (War Memorial Gym and Westside Middle School)  and two in Ridgefield (Academy, and East Ridge Middle School and Yanity Gym).

Connecticut US attorney urges vigilance for hate crimes

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - The top federal law enforcement official in Connecticut is urging people to be vigilant against hate crimes.

U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly says people should report incidents to the police or FBI and make video recordings that can be used for investigations.

Daly says in a Thanksgiving message that the country's bedrock values, including commitment to tolerance and cultural understanding, increasingly have been giving way to hatred and bigotry in Connecticut and around the country.

She noted recent alarming incidents including swastikas painted on a Danbury house, Nazi pictures sent to a Ridgefield synagogue and a video of an individual in Ku Klux Klan garb at a bonfire in East Windsor.

She said her office is training local law enforcement officers about hate crimes laws and cultural competency.

Local police urge Black Friday shoppers to use caution and remain aware

Big shopping days can be a prime time for thieves to strike, and not just those looking to steal your identity.  Customers are distracted, are are filled with packages and Black Friday sales happen during the early morning hours.  Area police departments are urging people to use caution and to be aware of surroundings while shopping.  Danbury Police say you shouldn't carry so may bags out to your vehicle that you become an easy target to someone who may want to assault or rob you. Keep at least one hand free at all times.


If you're going to several shopping plazas, keep parked vehicles locked and remove all items of value so that they cannot be seen from the exterior of the vehicle.  Several Greater Danbury area towns have reported an increase in thefts from unlocked motor vehicles in recent months.


Pay attention to exiting and entering your vehicles at these shopping areas.  If you see someone who looks suspicious, do not park by that person and inform security and/or Police of their presence.


Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen or misused.  Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.

Danbury, Putnam County explore interlocal agreements

Officials from Danbury and Putnam County have met about a proposal to allow for the City's sewage treatment plant to accept waste from the Brewster area.  It's part of a larger proposal being made to boost cooperation across state lines. 


Mayor Mark Boughton met with a committee of the City Council earlier this month, and invited Putnam County Executive Mary Ellen Odell to join the discussion.  A task force could be set up as early as next month to look into the sharing of certain services including parks, transportation, law enforcement and economic development. 


Both Boughton and Odell cited the recent agreement by the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education allowing Western Connecticut State University to offer in-state tuition rates to Putnam County residents.  Danbury and Putnam County do already work together, but in an informal capacity.


Odell says New York City watershed regulations make it a challenge to grow infrastructure in order to support any future development in the Southeast area.


The City does have excess capacity. 


Boughton reminded the committee that the City recently beefed up the west side sewer intercept, a project from 1977.  He says that recently completed work makes this project a lot easier.  Boughton says adding more users to the waste water treatment plant could spread out the estimated $90 million cost of upgrades and phosphorous removal improvements.

Metro North train schedule changes for Thanksgiving weekend

Metro North trains are operating with off peak fares today.  If you’re leaving New York City after the parade, customers must show a ticket before boarding trains at Grand Central or Harlem-125th Street Station.  MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan says on this day last year, about 30,000 customers departed Grand Central between 10 am and 2 pm.


Donovan says Metro North has this policy in place on days when there is an expected surge in train riders.  Gate collection is also on place in the early morning New Year's Day for people who were at the ball drop in Times Square.  He says this is done to make sure customers are getting on the right trains before departing Grand Central.


Unlike New Year's, there is no alcohol ban Thanksgiving weekend.


Even though Friday will be a Saturday schedule on Metro North, the railroad will have some additional morning inbound service to Grand Center.  Donovan says they know not everyone has off on Friday so they will make sure all commuters are taken care of.

Danbury Police participate in 'No Shave November'

The Danbury Police Department is taking part in a unique way to grow cancer awareness. Officers are participating in "No-Shave November", a month long journey during which participants forgo shaving and grooming in order to evoke conversation and raise cancer awareness.


As of Wednesday afternoon, the Officers have raised $1,900 of their $2,500 goal.


This is the first time that the Danbury Police Department has partaken in such an event, and there are 31 participants.



The Danbury Police Department currently has a strict facial hair policy which only allows neatly trimmed mustaches, not exceeding 1/4 inch beyond the corners of the mouth and not covering any portion of the the upper lip-line.  Sgt. Larry Frinton presented the proposal to Chief Ridenhour, who is allowing members of the police department to participate in the month log awareness program.  One stipulation was that officers must maintain a professional appearance, so some grooming was necessary.


Each member of the Danbury Police Department has had their lives affected by cancer.  In 2009 Danbury Police Officer Robert Dinardo, a highly decorated officer who worked for several years as the community police officer at Broadview Middle School, succumbed to cancer.


Those who are interested in donating to their cause or who want more information can go to:

Newtown Board of Ed continues discussion on declining enrollment

Declining student enrollment in Newtown has the Board of Education considering a school closure.  During their meeting last week, the group discussed whether to close Newtown Middle School and change the district grade level configuration. 


The Board of Ed previously decided not to close an elementary school in town. 


The Newtown Bee reports that the Future Forecast Committee proposed having elementary schools be kindergarten through 4th grade buildings, and Reed Intermediate School host 5th through 7th graders.  Newtown High School would then add 8th graders to the building. 


The published report says that one scenario would mean selling the Newtown Middle School building and repaying the state for the roof project.  The other scenario was to pay maintenance costs of the building, while not operated as a school.  The next Board of Education meeting is December 6th.

Ground broken for Brookfield Village project

Ground has been broken for the Brookfield Village downtown project.  The Four Corners area would be turned into a new Town Center District.  During the ground breaking earlier this month, State Representative Stephen Harding said the revitalization plan to create a downtown area will benefit residents and businesses.  Plans call for new sidewalks, widening the street, new lighting and landscaping.  Harding hopes that will lead to an economic revitalization for retail and food services, medical officers, salons and workplaces.  The project is expected to be complete by mid-to-late 2017.

New Milford Zoning Commission hearing continued to December

A parcel of land in New Milford currently zoned as restricted industrial was up for a continued public hearing last night by the Zoning Commission.  The landowner, who hasn't disclosed the buyer, is seeking to have the nearly 40 acres changed. 


The land off Route 7 near the Windmill Diner, is suspected of being eyed for a Walmart Supercenter.  But the man working as an engineer for the landowner, Town Councilman Paul Szymanski, has only said there are several other possibilities for the property besides retail if the zoning is changed. 


The revised proposal discussed last night would reduce the acreage to about 31.6 and a three lane entrance from Route 7. 


The public hearing will continue December 13th at 7pm in New Milford Town Hall.

Boughton files paperwork for 2017 mayoral reelection, 2018 statewide office

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton is seeking a 9th term in that office. 


As he filed paperwork setting up his reelection committee, Boughton also filed to form an exploratory committee for statewide office in the 2018 election.  Boughton says it was important to be honest with residents on his intentions to seek reelection as Mayor in 2017, and potentially higher office mid-term. 


Boughton says the filing doesn't mean he's in the race for a statewide office, it's just a committee to gauge potential support.


He has done this in the past, so it's not unprecedented.  Boughton was the Lt. Governor running mate of Tom Foley in 2010, but the pair lost in the closest governor's race in Connecticut in more than 55 years.  He attempted another run in 2014 amid a crowded GOP field.  Foley was again the gubernatorial nominee that year.

Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary to host winter 'Settling In' event

A community event is planned on Sunday at the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary in Newtown.  "Settling In" is aimed at getting the animals ready for winter.  The sanctuary is named for one of the children killed at Sandy Hook School. 


Catherine's mother, Jenny, says some of the entertainment for the day includes a nature walk, art lesson, live waterfowl exhibition and hayrides.  Hubbard says participants can build bird feeders and brush caves for rabbits among other events. 


The day's activities are free, but the Foundation is seeking donations of grass hay, bird feeders, bird food and salt licks for the sanctuary.  Hubbard says they are on the way to building the first phase of the sanctuary.  The Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary is located at the end of Old Farm Road.  The property is 34 acres. 


The event is from noon to 3pm.

Danbury fire officials issue Thanksgiving cooking safety reminders

Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires.  Danbury Fire Marshall Jim Russell says kitchen fires are the number one reason for fires in single-and-two family homes across the country.  He says they are mostly due to unattended cooking and called on residents to never leave the kitchen if the stove is turned on.


Russell says deep frying turkeys is a popular cooking method, but it's dangerous.  He says too often people try this in their garage, but it really should be done far from the house and not on a wooden deck.  If the fryer does tip over, the fire will not spread to the house if it's kept far away.  Grease is also a scalding issue if it splashes out of the fryer.


The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.  Adults should make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids.  Residents are also reminded to keep knives out of the reach of children.


Make sure your smoke alarms are working.  Russell says that's like having a  full time firefighter in your house to alert you to a fire.

Newtown school leader named 'Superintendent of the Year'

The Connecticut Association of Boards of Education and Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents have named Newtown school leader Dr Joseph Erardi Superintendent of the Year for 2017.  The announcement was made at the groups annual conference, held on Friday.  The organizations say Erardi is now eligible to receive the award on the national level.  Erardi said in a written statement that he's been blessed for the last 4 decades to work with exceptional Boards of Education, administrators , staff and parents.  He continued by saying that in receiving the award, he represents everyone who has made a difference in the life of a child, one student at a time.

Danbury Mayor files exploratory committee paperwork for 2018 gubernatorial run

A third try for Governor is in the works for Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton.  The Republican announced today on social media that he has filed the creation of an exploratory committee for statewide office in the 2018 election. 


Boughton was the Lt. Governor running mate of Tom Foley in 2010, but the pair lost in the closest governor's race in Connecticut in more than 55 years.  He attempted another run in 2014 amid a crowded GOP field.  Foley was again the gubernatorial nominee that year. 


A former high school teacher and state representative, Boughton has been mayor of Danbury since 2001.


Boughton said he can no longer sit idly by while Connecticut loses thousands of jobs month after month.  He says state residents are paying more in  taxes, electric rates, utilities, and fees while getting less and less service.  He also questioned where the money cut from hospitals and schools is going. 


The Connecticut Democratic party were quick to criticize the longtime Republican mayor.  The party issued a statement in response to the announcement by saying that Boughton has been the embodiment of hypocrisy. Citing Boughton standing with Governor Malloy when he extended an aid package to keep Praxair in Danbury, but criticizing other similar deals.  The Democrats said that Boughton's track record is one of flippant changes to positions.


Conn. Siting Council grants initial approval to Eversource for transmission line expansion

A Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need has been granted by the Connecticut Siting Council to Eversourcce Energy.  The Siting Council did request some additional details about construction for another review.


It's for the utility's Southwest Connecticut Reliability Project in Bethel, Danbury, and Brookfield.  Construction, maintenance and operation of a new 115-kV overhead electric transmission line would be entirely within existing Eversource right-of-ways.  The proposed line extends 3.4 miles between Eversource’s existing Plumtree Substation in the Bethel to its existing Brookfield Junction. 


Eversource also plans to reconfigure two existing 115-kV double-circuit electric transmission lines at Eversource’s existing Stony Hill Substation in Brookfield, along with related substation modifications. 



A planned access road off Deer Trail Drive in Brookfield was taken off the table, and the utility will instead use an existing access road off of Stony Hill Road instead. 


Tree removal was one of the main concerns cited during public hearings.


The estimated cost of the project is $24.4 million.  The transmission line accounts for $18.9 million, while the substation modifications account for $5.5 million.  The Siting Council ruling says that Connecticut ratepayers will pay about 25% of the total cost of the project.

Contractor hired to string Christmas lights across Main Street in Danbury

Danbury will once again string lights across Main Street to emulate how it was decorated for Christmas in the 1950s.  Mayor Mark Boughton told the City Council earlier this month that there was an issue that had to be resolved.  The issue was whether City employees would hang the lights, or if a contractor would be hired.  It was decided to hire a contractor to string the lights from buildings on one side of Main Street, across to the other.


The City purchased the lights last year for a cost of $65,000.  Boughton previously said the LED lights will save the City money because they will be on a timer system.


Danbury's annual Light the Lights event at Library Plaza is scheduled for December 3rd at 5:30pm.

Greater Danbury area towns to host 'Turkey Trot' events

The annual Turkey Trot originated in 2007 by the Immaculate High School cross country teams and Coach Brian Hayes is taking place this week in Danbury.  Mayor Mark Boughton says proceeds of the Turkey Trot all go towards scholarships for current Immaculate High students.


The Donald Hassiak Memorial Turkey Trot takes place Thursday at Tarrywile Park.


A scholarship fund to honor Donald Hassiak, a 16-year-old veteran of the Danbury Police Department, was established by Hayes, also a Danbury Police Officer.  Hassiak was killed by a drunk driver in a tragic hit and run car accident when reporting to duty in 2010.


The 7th Annual Newtown Turkey Trot 5K road race is also taking place Thursday morning to support the C.H. Booth Library.  The Newtown Turkey Trot is part of the Newtown Road Race Series, including the Rooster Run in June, and the Newtown Road Race in September.

Metro North train schedule changes for Thanksgiving weekend

Metro-North Railroad will provide extra early afternoon train service on Wednesday to help travelers get an easier start to the holiday.  Off-peak fares will be in effect on Thanksgiving Day through Sunday. 


Historically, the day before Thanksgiving is the heaviest travel day of the year for Metro-North customers.  18 early getaway trains will depart Grand Central Terminal during the mid-day.  The extra service includes three additional trains on the Harlem Line between 2:18pm and 3:34pm, and ten extra trains on the New Haven Line between 12:58pm and 4pm. 


Metro-North will provide additional inbound morning service for customers heading to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which kicks off at 9am.  There is also expanded outbound service starting in the late morning and continuing through mid-afternoon. 


On Friday, Metro-North will operate on a Saturday schedule with some additional inbound service to accommodate commuters.

Bethel official provides update on drought conditions

The Bethel Water Department has not experienced a severe impact to the main aquifer that supplies downtown Bethel due to drought conditions.  The Stony Hill neighborhood is served by Aquarion Water Company. 


Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker said in a statement that ground water levels in the aquifer have decreased, but not to the emergency stage.  The town's two reservoirs, Eureka and Chestnut Ridge, are below normal, but the new high capacity pumping stations that have been installed over the past three years are capable of shifting well water to other areas of town to even out supply. 


Knickerbocker says the new Eureka tank that recently went into service is also providing a buffer that evens out pressure and supply. 


While the impact is less severe than the surrounding area, he encouraged residents to conserve whenever possible.

State Police to step up enforcement this Thanksgiving weekend

A Thanksgiving holiday traffic enforcement effort will be conducted by New York State Police from Wednesday through Sunday, in an effort to prevent tragedies caused by impaired, distracted, aggressive or reckless driving. 


During this enforcement period, Troopers will be highly visible, and drivers can expect a number of sobriety checkpoints and additional DWI patrols.  Drivers are asked to remember to put away your smartphones, follow posted speed limits, make certain that all occupants are buckled up, and move over when you see emergency and highway maintenance vehicles on the side of the road.


During last Thanksgiving's enforcement campaign, New York State Police troopers arrested 218 drivers for DWI, issued 5,910 speeding tickets, 732 tickets for distracted driving, and 204 tickets for the move over law.

Police in NY take part in counter-terrorism patrols

Holiday security checks will be taking place this weekend by the Putnam County Sheriff's department.  New York State is divided into sixteen counter-terrorism zones, Putnam County is part of Counter-Terrorism Zone 3, which will be taking part in Operation Safeguard. 


The effort is aimed at educating, promoting and reminding residents the continued vigilance by the public, business sectors and law enforcement is essential for the public’s safety.  Periodic security checks will be conducted of religious facilities, train stations, commuter parking lots, bus routes, shopping malls, and public parks where holiday events may be held. 


Sheriff Donald Smith says the increased uniform presence is not because there is a renewed threat to safety; it is simply part of their counter-terrorism strategy of continued vigilance. 


As you celebrate this holiday season, Smith asks that you be mindful of behavior that does not match the usual pattern of activity found within our daily lives. If you observe suspicious activity, do not confront the individuals, record as many details as possible and call 911.

Danbury Police launch 'Click it or Ticket' enforcement campaign

The Danbury Police Department will be conducting a Click It or Ticket Campaign beginning today.  The increased enforcement will take place through the 28th.  The Danbury Police Department has increased up patrolling and will be on the lookout for seat belt violations. 


The Thanksgiving holiday is one of the busiest travel times of the year, and more vehicles on the roadways means more potential for more crashes and more fatalities.  Danbury Police spokesman Lt Christian Carroccio says wearing a seat belt is the single most effective way to save your life and the lives of others on the roads while traveling this Thanksgiving. 


AAA expects more than 2.1 million New Englanders, a 2.4% increase, will travel this Thanksgiving.  AAA Northeast says that's due in part to stable gas prices.  The statewide average for a gallon of gas is $2.31, a nickel more than last Thanksgiving.  In 2008, Thanksgiving Day prices were around $2.03.

Interim Director named for C. H. Booth Library in Newtown

The Executive Committee of the C.H. Booth Library Board of Trustees announces that Assistant Library Director Beryl Harrison will assume the responsibilities of Interim Director, effective December 17.  The President of the Board of Trustees said in a statement that the board is very appreciative and delighted that Beryl has agreed to assume this important responsibility while searching for a new Director. The search process, which is now underway, is expected to be completed in early 2017.


Shallow drawdown ordered for Candlewood Lake due to discovery of zebra mussels

FirstLight has altered the drawdown scheduled for the winter. All parties have agreed that a shallower drawdown than was previously scheduled will reduce the amount of water required to refill the lake in the spring, which will in turn reduce the likelihood that zebra mussels will be pumped into the lake. 


With the recent finding of adult zebra mussels in the Housatonic River in the area of the pumping station, there is now an increased risk in pumping adult zebra mussels up into Candlewood.  Drought conditions and the current low water levels on Candlewood Lake necessitate pumping from the Housatonic River to return the lake to a usable level prior to the start of the fishing and recreational seasons in 2017.


While zebra mussels have been observed in the river and in Lakes Lillinonah and Zoar since 2009, this is the first time adults were found attached to the Rocky River Station where water is pumped up to refill Candlewood Lake. For the past 5 years FirstLight has voluntarily restricted pumping water into Candlewood during times when zebra mussels reproduce to prevent the spread of the baby zebra mussels, which can float downstream from adult populations.

Richter Park performance ticket kiosk to be built with bond money

Some of the bond money approved by Danbury residents during the election last week will go toward Richter Park golf course improvements and renovations to the Richter House mansion.  The improvements to the 1920s building would cover structural, environmental, utility and code related issues. 


A $1 grant has been approved by the state.  Richter House is listed on the Connecticut Register of Historic Places. 


The phases have been broken up in a way that they are self-contained, and they won't have to worry about having unfinished areas of the building. The City will have to go out and look for funding for Phase Two and Phase Three.  The second floor will be turned into a meeting room, but Mayor Mark Boughton says a lot of utility work is needed there.


The money will also be used to build a ticket kiosk for people that are attending the outdoor musicals during the summer.  Boughton says this will preserve a City asset to protect it from going the way of Hearthstone Castle.  The Mayor referring to the ruins at Tarrywile Park.  The City acquired Hearthstone Castle in the 1980s when the land was purchased for a park, and the structure has been neglected since that time.  The roof collapsed into the basement.


Betty Bontempi of the Richter Association for the Arts told the City Council that between the time they put up the thermostat and the first puff of heat is felt, it's two hours. Performers have been so cold, volunteers make them hot chocolate just to hold. For most of one season, they didn't have any hot water because something was wrong with the pipes. They had to heat water on the stove in order to wash hands and dishes.  She called the upstairs plumbing a disaster. The bathrooms upstairs have broken floor tiles, the public can't walk upstairs and they can't have art shows. Bontempi also noted that they can't plug in two coffee pots in the same room, let alone the same outlet. 


Bontempi says handicap people have a hard time on the uneven stones of the front path. If they do manage to get to the door, she says there is no railing for them to hold when they try to negotiate the two steps into the house. She says they had to have two strong men lift a young woman in a wheelchair down the three steps into the salon so she could perform her poetry program. Bontempi added that most handicap people don't come to Richter anymore.

Danbury sidewalk inspector to start issuing citations for unmaintained sidewalks

About $1 million in bonding for sidewalk repair and replacement in the downtown Danbury area was approved by voters last week.  But the exact sidewalks to be repaired hasn't been decided yet by City officials.  Mayor Mark Boughton says mapping and engineering work is now underway. 


Boughton says the only area that the City is responsible for the upkeep is in the Downtown Revitalization Zone.  The rest of the sidewalks are the responsibility of individual property owners. 


The City's sidewalk inspector will be going out over the next several weeks to begin issuing citations for people who have not maintained their sidewalk or where a trip hazard has developed.  Boughton notes that if someone falls outside a home or business, the liability is on the property owner. 


The inspector will encourage property owners to fix the sidewalk, because in many places they have not been maintained.

Art storage building being constructed at Maurice Sendak's former Ridgefield home

Construction of the Maurice Sendak Museum has begun at his Chestnut Hill Road home.  The longtime Ridgefield resident died in 2012.  The Maurice Sendak Foundation told the Ridgefield Press that the art storage building will allow for guided tours to small groups, by appointment only, to see the work of the artist and author. 


The Foundation is working to make the house a permanent repository for Sendak's work, and his collection of work by other artists.  Public display of art isn’t contemplated at the site because it was never intended as an exhibition space. 


The Foundation says a large part of Sendak's original art collection is still at his Ridgefield home. 


A portion of Route 7 was dedicated to Maurice Sendak this summer.  The mile-long portion of the road stretches from the intersection of Route 35, to the Danbury and Ridgefield Town line. 


His June 10th birthday was declared Maurice Sendak Day in Connecticut at the suggestion of the Town of Ridgefield.  A proclamation issued by Governor Dannel Malloy said that Maurice Sendak's legacy lives on through the countless lives that he has touched through his tremendous contributions to the arts.


Sendak earned a multitude of awards and accolades for his work, including the 1964 Caldecott Medal for ‘the most distinguished American picture book for children,’ the Hans Christian Andersen Award for children’s book illustration, and the National Medal of Arts in recognition of his contributions to the arts in America.

CCM annual conference expanded to two days

The annual convention of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities will take place over two days this year.  This is the first time it's been more than just one day.  The organization is gathering Monday at Foxwoods. 


CCM President Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart will be leading a social media seminar during the gathering. 


Boughton says they plan to follow up with Project BEST planning.  Project BEST stands for Bringing Every Stakeholder Together.  CCM, the Connecticut Business and Industry Association and the Connecticut AFL-CIO are often at odds with each other in terms of priorities, but they have been brainstorming ways to move Connecticut's economic future forward. 


The second day of the CCM annual conference will feature keynote speeches by Governor Dannel Malloy and U.S Senator Richard Blumenthal.

Bethel voters unanimously approve brew pub lease at Town Meeting

Bethel residents have approved a lease for the town owned building at 5 Depot Place.  The lease is with Broken Symmetry Gastro Brewery.  The owner of La Zingara in Bethel, the Green Grunion food truck in Danbury and a brewer are the forces behind the brew pub.  30 to 40 voters unanimously approved the lease, which was signed immediately and handed to the owners.  The lease means the owners are free to begin alterations to get the inside ready for brewing.


First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says they will now also use the lease to apply for federal and state licenses to brew beer.  Because they are brewer not just a seller, they have to get a federal license to create a controlled substance.  They can then apply to the state Liquor Control Commission for a license to sell their product.  It could take a few months to get through the permitting process.


Knickerbocker says this proposal came at the best possible time.  Market research done as part of the Bethel Forward project last year asked residents what would be a good addition for the downtown area.  He says one of the items on the top of the list was a brew pub.


The former Bethel Train Station location was most recently leased to Bethel Cycle.  The space was used as a train station from 1899 through 1996.

Mobile food vendor ordinance up for a vote in Ridgefield

A Special Town Meeting is being held in Ridgefield on Wednesday about changes to the Ridgefield Code of Ordinance dealing with mobile food vendors.  The meeting is at 7:30pm the Town Hall Large Conference Room.


The purpose of this is to promote greater public safety and welfare and to inhibit and deter potential consumer fraud.  The provisions don't apply to groups or individual residents of the Town acting on behalf of any recognized charitable, civic or religious organization, or on behalf of any organization that has been approved by the Town, sales by farmers and gardeners of the produce of their farms and gardens, food delivery services and mobile food service operations for parties held on private property.


Permits can not be transferred without the consent of the Board of Selectmen.


Permits must contain a passport-size photo of the vendor, state the expiration date of the permit, and include hours of operation for the permit.  The permit may specify the area or areas within the Town for which the permit is valid.  Applicants will go through a full background check.  The Selectmen may, within their discretion, limit the hours of operation for which a permit may be issued.  The Board of Selectmen may require proof of insurance.


Any person peddling or soliciting without a valid written permit could be fined $50.

Conn. seeks bid to reopen rest area buildings 24-7

Bids are being sought by the state Department of Transportation for companies to pay to keep highway rest areas open 24-hours a day.  At the end of September, several of the rest area buildings were closed except for 7:30am to 2:30pm, including the one off exit 2 of I-84 eastbound in Danbury. 


Portable toilets were set up in the parking lots of the seven rest areas, in a move meant to save millions of dollars in state employee costs.  But a Hartford Courant report last month said motorists found overflowing portable toilets with no toilet paper. 


Bids are being accepted through November 22nd for corporate sponsors.  DOT spokesman Kevin Nursik told the Courant that it would be like 'adopt-a-highway' sponsors.  In exchange for the funding, a sign would be put up in advance of the location and two others would be placed at the building. 


The rest areas with currently limited building operation were created after a federal law took effect that prevents commercial development--such as a gas station, restaurant or convenience store--to otherwise financially sustain them.

Panda Power plant proposal on Town Council agenda Monday

When the New Milford Town Council meets on Monday, their agenda includes discussion of the Panda Power plant proposal.  Mayor David Gronbach says they are looking to create a bi-partisan committee to address various issues and provide an opportunity for constructive input.  The committee will evaluate the available environmental, financial, social issues and community concerns.  The committee will also create a forum for the community and Panda and to make recommendations for Town Council and Town Referendum. The 9-member Committee, with three alternates will report back in three months and include members of those in opposition to the Panda proposal.

Brush fire near New Fairfield/Danbury line

There is a large brush fire along Ball Pond Road near the New Fairfield-Danbury line.  The fire scorched about four acres.  Firefighters from New Fairfield , Danbury, Sherman and Putnam Lake all worked to extinguish the flames.  The fire is mostly out, there were still some hotspots as of 3pm Friday. There was some traffic in the area of Milltown Road because of the response.

Ridgefield resident, actor Robert Vaughn dead at 83

Oscar-nominated actor Robert Vaughn, the debonair crime-fighter of television’s “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” in the 1960s, has died.

Vaughn died this morning after a brief battle with acute leukemia. The Ridgefield resident was 83. 

Vaughn’s “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” character teamed with a soft-spoken, Russian-born agent played by Scottish actor David McCallum. U.N.C.L.E. stood for United Network Command for Law and Enforcement.

Earlier, Vaughn was nominated for an Oscar for the 1959 film “The Young Philadelphians.” He also was in the classic Western “The Magnificent Seven.”

Esty recovers 10,000,000th dollar for constituents

5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty has announced that she recovered the 10,000,000th dollar in federal and state refunds for residents in the District over her four years in office.  Esty says it's all overdue government payments.


That figure includes approximately $6.1 million in Social Security benefits, $2 million in veterans’ benefits, $750,000 in Medicare payments, and $425,000 in payments from the Internal Revenue Service. 


Esty says sometimes resolving these problems is as simple as calling the Social Security Administration or the VA and asking what the hold-up is.  Other times, it's cutting through red tape.  She says helping neighbors resolve problems is one of the most important parts of her job.

BHS Marching Band win to be celebrated with parade

Students, teachers and parents in Bethel are celebrating a 1st place win today.  The Bethel High School Marching Wildcats competed at the US Bands National Championships last Saturday and won.  Principal Chris Troetti says the group beat out 23 other bands to bring home an impressive 11 foot tall 1st place trophy. 


To celebrate this achievement, a parade will be held throughout the school campus in honor of the Wildcat Marching Band and Color-guard.  The parade will begin at Bethel High School at 1:30pm and proceed down Whittlesey Drive to Rockwell, Johnson, and Bethel Middle School and back up Whittlesey culminating at Berry Elementary.


Students will line the parade route at their respective schools.


Parents and friends who would like to view the parade and help us celebrate are asked to park in the junior lot across from the BHS Stadium. Once the junior lot is filled parents may park in the upper senior lot. The parade can be viewed in any location along Whittlesey Drive that covers the parade route.

News-Times building in Danbury up for sale

The News-Times building in Danbury is up for sale.  333 Main Street is 50,000 square feet of commercial real estate. 


Hearst Connecticut Media Group Publisher Paul Barbetta says the building is four-times larger than their current needs, and noted that reporters and sales staff would be staying in Danbury.  The company is looking for a more modern facility to better meet their needs.


There used to be a production plant in the building, but the presses have long since been removed.  The company consolidated printing plants so now it's just a vacant space.  Barbetta says the goal is to get into another space in Danbury.


A representative of Cushman & Wakefield Global Real Estate Solutions says the selling price is $2 million.  The lot size is 3.3 acres.  The sale listing was last updated about a week ago.

Sherman First Selectman reflects on Congressional campaign

The Republican 5th Congressional District candidate is weighing in on his loss, saying that he is richer for the experience. 


Sherman First Selectman Clay Cope called it an incredible honor to carry the Republican banner in this election.  He thanked everyone involved in his campaign for their generous support and encouragement. 


While he did not achieve his goal, Cope says Donald Trump won the White House and that would not have been possible without the support of a broad coalition of voters.  Cope says he and President-elect Trump are aligned on a broad range of issues, and he knows the country will now embark on a new and better direction.  Cope supported the GOP candidate from the time he won the Presidential primary in Connecticut.

Bethel to host Veterans Day events

Bethel has planned a few events to honor veterans on Veterans Day.  A ceremony is planned in the morning at Bethel High School for Blue Star Families, parents whose children have served in the military will be in attendance.  The town's annual ceremony is set for 11am outside of the Municipal Center.  A ceremony will also be held in PT Barnum Square at 11:45am to rededicate the refurbished 'Spirit of the American Doughboy' statue.

Danbury to host Veterans Day ceremony

Greater Danbury area municipalities are marking Veterans Day today with ceremonies.  They all take place at 11am.  In Danbury, the ceremony is at the War Memorial.


The ceremony is intended to honor and thank all who served in the United States Armed Forces.  They are held at 11am to mark when the World War I armistice went into effect--on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.


The observance of Veterans Day on November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.


The legal holiday, a day also to be dedicated to the cause of world peace, was started in 1938.  Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day in 1954.  The Uniform Holiday Bill of 1968, intended to ensure three-day weekends for Federal employees, moved 4 national holidays to Mondays.  The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on October 25, 1971.  The annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, was restored in 1978.  Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls.

Danbury Fire Lt. promoted to Captain

A new Captain has been sworn in for the Danbury Fire Department.  Lt. Jaime Schiller’s promotion to Captain was approved by the City Council last Wednesday, and he was sworn in as Captain the following day.  Schiller's family, friends and colleagues were on hand for the event. 



Schiller is a 17 year veteran of the Danbury Fire Department.  He was hired in 1999 and promoted to Lieutenant in November of 2007.  He will begin his new role as Captain on “C group”, replacing retired Captain Dave Easter. 


Schiller is an active member of the community, volunteering as an after school program mentor and teaching CPR at Danbury Hospital.

Public hearings on proposed natural gas powered plan in New Milford

There are two public hearings today in New Milford about a proposed development at the former Century Brass mill site.  72 acres of industrially zoned property along the Housatonic Railroad are being eyed by Texas-based Panda Power company for a 550-megawatt natural gas powered plant. 


Mayor David Gronbach says the proposed sale price of the property is $2.8 million, would bring 300-500 construction jobs, and then 30 full time jobs to operate the plant.  Gronbach says the Tax Assessor's preliminary estimated yearly revenue is between $6 million and $10 million. 


There is an online petition against the proposal.  It had more than 1,200 supporters as of Wednesday night. 


The hearings are at 1pm at Town Hall and at 7pm at Sarah Noble school.

Town meeting in Bethel on proposed microbrewery lease

A town meeting is being held tonight about a lease for a microbrewery in Bethel.  Residents are being called on to weigh in on a lease for the former Bethel Train Station location at 5 Depot Place.  The lease is with Broken Symmetry Gastro Brewery.  The town owned building was most recently leased to Bethel Cycle.  The space was used as a train station from 1899 through 1996.  The owner of La Zingara in Bethel, the Green Grunion food truck in Danbury and a brewer are the forces behind the brew pub.  The town meeting and vote is set for 7pm at the Bethel Municipal Center.

Newtown to stage reunification exercise for parents, students

A two hour exercise is planned for Newtown school students and their parents next week.  Newtown school officials and the Newtown Police Department are planning a parent-student reunification exercise.  The plan will simulate an emergency, and then have parents and students go through a drill where adults are able to pick up their children.  The exercise is planned at the Newtown Youth Academy next Wednesday.  Newtown High School administrators are looking for students willing to participate in the two-hour exercise.

Danbury to spend $75k for a new flagpole

Danbury is going to spend $75,000 on a new flagpole.  The City Council approved the funding at their meeting last week.  The appropriation is being bolstered by a $25,000 donation from a local bank.  The flagpole at the corner of West and Main Streets would be replaced.  The City funding comes from the contingency account.  Some of the money will be used to redesign the park where the current flag flies.  Mayor Mark Boughton says the new flagpole and the park will serve as a focal point for the City.  Danbury officials intent to hold a ribbon cutting next July 4th.


Boughton says the current flagpole is rusted out and some of the bolts are rusted.  He says it's in rough shape.  He noted that the new flagpole will be taller than the current one.  He is open to negotiation with the Public Works Department and City Planner, but he wants it to be 'huge'.


The Public Works Department has done some repairs to the flagpole in the recent past.


Councilman Tom Saadi pointed out that 2017 will be the 80th anniversary of when the Grand Army of the Republic dedicated the current flagpole.  Plans are to also clean up the monument in the park and sandblast it so it looks like it did when it was dedicated.  Boughton says a large community event will be planned for the dedication, similar to what was done in 1937.


Boughton says other donations will be presented to the City Council for approval, including one from a company which has volunteered to do the lighting.  Another has offered the City equipment to use to dig down for the flagpole installation.  Boughton called it a real community project.

Democratic Rep. Esty wins 3rd term in US House

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Voters in northwest Connecticut are sending U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty back to the House for a third term.


The Democrat on Tuesday defeated three-term Sherman First Selectman Clay Cope, a Republican.


Gun control was an issue that often divided the candidates in the 5th Congressional District, which includes Newtown. While Esty has pushed for background checks and other gun control measures, Cope has been skeptical about the need for additional laws.


Esty, who lives in Cheshire, said Cope is "woefully ill-informed" about gun violence and the victims who have died since the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.


Esty raised far more money for her campaign than her opponent. As of Oct. 19, she had $1 million cash on hand compared to Cope's $23,546.

Bond requests approved by Danbury voters

Danbury residents have approved two bond requests, each by a 3-to-1 margin.  One is $10 million for the planning and design of improvements, upgrades, and rehabilitation to the wastewater treatment plant and facilities system.  The other is a $10 million lump sum appropriation for various public improvements. 


The largest project is $4.3 million for street paving, drainage and bridge repairs.  That money would also go to guardrail replacement, lighting, sprinkler installation along medians and other beautification of City streets, parking lots and bridges. 


There is a separate proposed allocation of $1.1 million for sidewalk repair and replacement in the downtown area. 


Another $1 million would be set aside for recreation improvements to select playing fields and courts, including Westerner's Baseball Field and Rogers Park Tennis Courts among others. 


$1.6 million would go directly to improvements at Tarrywile Park, specifically design and construction plans for a walled garden at Hearthstone Castle, removal of contaminated debris there and stone removal and stabilization of adjacent rock retaining walls. 


Two $950,000 allocations are also included in the bond money.  One is for Richter Park golf course improvements and renovations to the Richter House mansion.  That would cover structural, environmental, utility and code related issues.  The second proposal is funding for planning, design and construction of a new Animal Control Facility.

Newtown Charter revisions approved

Newtown residents overwhelmingly approve Charter revisions. 


Approval of Question #1 limits the number of members of the Board of Education from one political party to four.  This changes the maximum from five to four.


Approval of Question #2 accepts the rest of proposed changes in their entirety, comprised of organizational, non-substantive, and substantive changes made to the document including but not limited to:


a) It adds eleven existing Boards and Commissions to the Charter; Water and Sewer Authority; Lake Lillinonah Authority; Lake Zoar Authority; and Newtown Health District Board, Commission on Aging, Economic Development Commission, Inland Wetlands Commission, Pension Commission, Public Safely Commission, Self-funded Health Insurance Fund Commission, Sustainable Energy Commission. It gives each Board or Commission a definition and gives a method for filling vacancies.


b) It specifically spells out the advisory roles played by the Board of Finance.


c) It revises the language of the advisory question provision set forth in Section 6-14(a) of the present Charter. 


d) It eliminates the Town Meeting and changes the annual appropriation authority of the Legislative Council from $500,000 to $1,500,000, with a maximum aggregate authority of 1 mil (currently about $3,000,000).  Appropriations equal to or in excess of $1.5 million shall be voted on in a referendum.


e) It replaces the Town Meeting for disposing of real property with a multi-board approval process. It also removes the use of sealed bid as a method of sale.

Election Day Registration popular in Greater Danbury area

Voter registration topped 2.1 million people, a record.  Nearly 30,000 people took advantage of the state's new same-day voter registration law.  In Bethel, 185 people signed up to vote on Tuesday.  Brookfield Town Hall saw more than 200 people sign up to vote on Election Day.  In Newtown, 238 people registered to vote and cast a ballot on the same day.

Election Night Greater Danbury results

Election Night Greater Danbury 2016

BOLD = winner

* = incumbent


Town/District/Position Candidate/Party



24th Senate: Danbury, Bethel, Michael McLachlan* (R)


                         and New Fairfield Ken Gucker (D) 18,301  
26th Senate: Bethel, Redding, Toni Boucher* (R) 34,169
                   Ridgefield, Wilton Carolanne Curry (D) 22,586
28th Senate: (portion of Newtown) Tony Hwang* (R) 32,087
  Philip Dwyer (D) 21,752
30th Senate: New Milford, Brookfield Craig Miner (R) 23,407
  David Lawson (D) 18,415  
2nd House: Danbury, Bethel, William Duff (R) 5,960  
                      Redding, Newtown Raghib Allie-Brennan (D) 5,668  
67th House: New Milford William Buckbee (R) 6,495  
  Mary Jane Lundgren (D) 4,491  
69th House: Southbury Arthur O'Neill* (R)    
106th House: Newtown Mitch Bolinsky* (R) 7,169  
  Eva Zimmerman (D) 5,302  
107th House: Brookfield, Bethel Steve Harding* (R)    
108th House: New Fairfield, Danbury, New Milford Richard Smith* (R)    
109th House: Danbury David Arconti* (D) 5,201  
  Veasna Roeun (R) 2,731  
110th House: Danbury Bob Godfrey* (D) 3,398  
  Emanuela Palmares (R) 2,039  
111th House: Ridgefield John Frey* (R) 8,435  
  Joseph Dowdell (D) 4,990  
112th House: Newtown, Monroe JP Sredzinski* (R)    
135th House: Redding Adam Dunsby (R) 7,168  
  Bonnie Troy (Green, D) 6,271  
138th House: Danbury, New Fairfield, Michael Ferguson (R) 5,335  
                         Ridgefield Jeff Tomchik (D) 4,382  
143rd House: Wilton

Gail Lavielle* (R)

Northern Fairfield County Probate Court Daniel O'Grady (R)    
                        Judge Sharon Wicks Dornfeld (D)    
5th Congressional District Elizabeth Esty* (D) 174,309  
  Clay Cope (R) 129,251  
4th Congressional District Jim Himes* (D) 133,630  
  John Shaban (R) 101,053  
U.S. Senate Richard Blumenthal* (D) 910,828  
  Dan Carter (R) 513,343  


Voting sees 2012 level turnout in Greater Danbury

Danbury's Republican Mayor, Mark Boughton, says as a moderate he had a difficult time deciding who to vote for in the presidential race.

On Tuesday, Boughton tweeted a picture of his dog, Ellie Mae, saying he planned to vote for her and ``Make The Dog Pound Great Again.''

Boughton, considered a leading contender for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2018, said he was just trying to bring a little levity into what has been a contentious campaign for president.

When asked who he actually voted for, Boughton said he ``voted for Mike Pence to be vice president of the United States.''

Greater Danbury Election Primer

Residents in the region have a lot to decide on Election Day.  In addition to President/Vice President, there are federal offices and General Assembly seats that need filling.  Ballots for every town in Connecticut are now available for viewing onlineVoters can check their registration status online and find the location of their polling place.


The U.S. Senate race features incumbent Democrat Richard Blumenthal and Republican challenger, Bethel State Representative Dan Carter.


Two Congressional Districts represent the Greater Danbury area.  To the north, Democratic incumbent Elizabeth Esty is being challenged by Republican Sherman First Selectman Clay Cope for the 5th District seat.  Lower Fairfield County 4th District Congressman Jim Himes, a Democrat, is being challenged by Redding state Representative John Shaban, a Republican.


Danbury residents will be voting on two bond questions.  Newtown residents are deciding on Charter revisions.  Most towns in the region also have Registrar of Voters races on the ballots as well.


Residents in Bethel, Newtown, Redding and Ridgefield will be voting for a new Judge for the Northern Fairfield County Probate Court.  Bethel Town Treasurer, former Bethel Probate Court Judge Daniel O'Grady is the Republican candidate. Democrat Sharon Wicks Dornfeld has practiced law in Danbury since 1983.


The full list of write-in candidates in Connecticut has been released.  Secretary of the State Denise Merrill says there are 20 candidates each for president and vice-president, two for U.S. Senate, 10 for U.S. Representative as well as a number of people vying for state offices.


General Assembly races


The 24th state Senate District includes Danbury, Bethel, New Fairfield and Sherman. Republican incumbent Mike McLachlan is seeking a 5th term in office. He is being challenged by small business owner Democrat Ken Gucker. 


The race in the state Senate's 26th District features the same match up as 2012. The District includes Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport and Wilton. Republican State Senator Toni Boucher is seeking a 5th term and is being challenged by Democrat Carolanne Curry.


The chairman of the Fairfield Board of Education is looking to unseat the incumbent Republican state Senator in the 28th District, which includes Newtown.  State Senator Tony Hwang faces a challenge from Democrat Philip Dwyer, who served the community through the YMCA and three different elected offices.


One of only two open State Senate seats is for the 30th District, which includes New Milford.  Clark Chapin opted not to seek reelection.  Republican Craig Miner is currently serving his 8th term as state Representative for Bethlehem, Litchfield, Morris, Warren and Woodbury. In the legislature, he is a member of the Appropriations, Environment, Labor & Public Employees, and Public Safety committee.  Democrat David Lawson teaches in Dover Plains, New York. He lives in New Milford with his wife, and that's where they raised their children. He is serving his fourth term on the Board of Education and is currently the chairman.


A political newcomer and a former Selectman are vying to fill an empty legislative seat in Bethel. The 2nd State House District seat is being vacated by Dan Carter, and covers parts of Bethel, Danbury, Newtown and Redding. Democrat Raghib Allie-Brennan and Republican Will Duff are each seeking to be the area's next legislator. 


There is an open state House seat in the 67th District of New Milford. The position is being vacated by Republican Cecilia Buck-Taylor, who is retiring after two terms. The race to succeed her features a Democratic Town Council member, Mary Jane Lundgren, and a Republican youth sports coach, William Buckbee.


A two term Republican incumbent is being challenged by a community organizer to represent the 106th District of Newtown.   Republican incumbent Mitch Bolinsky faces off against Democrat Eva Zimmerman, who works with the Connecticut Public Interest Research Group.


Republican Stephen Harding is running unopposed for reelection to the state House's 107th District of Brookfield and parts of Bethel and Danbury.


A three-term incumbent is not being challenged as he seeks another two years representing New Fairfield, Sherman and parts of New Milford and Danbury in the state House. Richard Smith will serve a 4th term representing the 108th District starting in January.


A political newcomer is looking to unseat a two term incumbent in Danbury's 109th State House District.  Democrat David Arconti Jr. is being challenged by Republican Veasna Roeun, a veteran who worked for the state Labor Department.


A 26-year incumbent is being challenged for the state House seat representing the 110th District in Danbury.  Democrat Bob Godfrey is seeking a 14th term. Republican Emanuela Palmares is looking to unseat the Deputy House Speaker.  This is probably one of the most controversial race in the region.  Palmares released a web video and radio commercial featuring Godfrey's words during a candidate forum, calling the downtown area a “dumping ground” for poor people and ethnic minorities.  She says that kind of thinking that deters downtown from its full potential.  Palmares noted that the asset of Danbury's downtown is its diversity, not what's holding it back.  Godfrey said the words were taken out of context.  He was citing The Business Council of Fairfield County's Connecticut Economic Competitive Diagnostic, which included revitalizing the urban cores of Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven, Norwalk, Stamford and Waterbury.  Danbury was not mentioned.  He says more needs to be invested in cities, as he has done for Danbury.


A political newcomer is challenging a Ridgefield state Representative, who is seeking his 10th term in office. Incumbent Republican Representative John Frey has served 18 years in the 111th District.  Democrat Joseph Dowdell is an engineer in the high voltage industry. 


A freshman lawmaker is unopposed in his bid for a second term. Monroe state Representative JP Sredzinski will again serve the 112th District, which also includes Newtown.


With John Shaban running for Congress, there is an open seat in the state House 135th District to represent Redding, Easton and Weston.  Bonnie Troy is a Green Party candidate, cross-endorsed by the Democratic Party.  Adam Dunsby is the Republican First Selectman of Easton.


There is an open state House seat in the 138th District, which includes parts of Danbury, New Fairfield and Ridgefield. The position is being vacated by Republican Jan Giegler, who is now the Danbury Town Clerk. The two men competing for the job are a community college professor and a City firefighter.  Republican Michael Ferguson serves on the Danbury Board of Education, is an adjunct professor at Naugatuck Valley Community College and works at the Information Desk at Danbury Hospital.  A Danbury firefighter and Marine Corps veteran, Democrat Jeff Tomchik also serves as president of the Danbury Professional Fire Fighters, Local 801.

Polling location moderators could become 'fashion police' on Election Day

In addition to President, U.S. Senate and Congressional races are to be decided.  There are General Assembly seats to be voted on tomorrow, as well as Registrar of Voter races.  Each municipality is required to have a Democrat and Republican registrar, and many of the races in the Greater Danbury area are uncontested.  Registrars are tasked with maintaining voter rolls, overseeing elections and assisting in recounts and certifying the results.


So-called ballot selfies are not illegal in Connecticut, but picture taking in a polling place can not be disruptive and must not be of other people.  Secretary of the State Denise Merrill is reminding voters that moderators will routinely be checking for campaign literature, and in general, items with the mascots of the two major political parties. 


Political discussion or persuasion must be conducted at least 75 feet from the entrance to a polling location.  Anyone who attempts to intimidate, threaten, or coerce someone at the polling location is subject to a fine or jail time under federal law.


Moderators at polling locations in Connecticut could also become fashion police tomorrow.  The Journal Inquirer reports that voters are being asked to be mindful of their attire when going to the polls to make sure they're not wearing anything political in nature--that includes Make America Great Again baseball caps or Nasty Women Vote t-shirts.  Merrill says it is up to moderator interpretation whether code words or slogans will be disruptive and not allowed in a polling location.  She told the publication that the moderators are urged to use their best judgement.

People magazine names Newtowner one of '25 Women Changing the World'

People magazine has named their "25 Women Changing the World", and a Greater Danbury area woman has made the list.  Nicole Hockley is the founder of Sandy Hook Promise.  Her son Dylan was among the 20 children killed on 12-14. 


Hockley says in the feature that her son is with her every day in her heart.  But the more she learns about his death, she recognized the warning signs in the man who took Dylan's life and that there were many opportunities for intervention. 


Sandy Hook Promise, in part, develops and delivers mental health & wellness programs that identify, intervene and help at-risk individuals.  The nonprofit also touts gun safety practices that ensure firearms are kept safe and secure.

Blumenthal re-election proves to be a low-key Senate matchup

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — It's been hard to tell there's a race this year for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut.

Facing re-election to a second term, Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal has run a series of TV ads touting his record of "fighting for" various groups, including veterans, women and consumers. But for the most part, it's been business-as-usual for the senator: federal grant announcements, calls for congressional action and public appearances as the state's senior senator, not as a candidate.

Meanwhile, his Republican challenger, Bethel state Rep. Dan Carter, has struggled to attract attention to his critiques of Blumenthal or his calls for a stronger military, replacement of the federal health care law and a fairer tax code. Vastly out-matched in fundraising — coupled with being a late entry in the race — Carter had hoped debates with Blumenthal would help get his message out. But ultimately, the incumbent only agreed to one televised match-up.

At the same time, much of the state's attention has been focused on the hotly contested presidential election.

"I really wanted this to be a different kind of race," said Carter, who has been running online ads and campaigning at fairs, festivals and commuter rail platforms across the state. However, Carter said "the air got sucked out of the room by the top of the ticket," allowing "somebody like Blumenthal to hide" behind a large war chest.

A campaign spokeswoman contends Blumenthal hasn't been hiding.

"Senator Blumenthal is focused on doing his job for the people of Connecticut and they know that because they see him every day in their workplaces, their schools and their community centers. He is out there listening to people and letting them know where he stands," said Marla Romash in an email. She also insisted Blumenthal runs every campaign, including this one, "as if he is 20-points back."

Blumenthal hasn't left Carter, a former U.S. Air Force officer and pilot, entirely unchallenged. During the debate, he criticized his opponent for voting in 2013 against Connecticut's wide-ranging gun control legislation following the Sandy Hook School shooting in Newtown, a town Carter represents.

"He has received an honors grade from the NRA," Blumenthal said, referring to the National Rifle Association. "I think the NRA and the gun lobby have enough friends already in Washington."

Carter, however, insisted he voted against the bill because it didn't address the underlying issues that lead to the mass killing. He said Connecticut and Washington should focus on stopping illegal gun trafficking and helping people with mental illness.

"That bill that I voted against in 2013 would have done nothing to prevent Sandy Hook from happening," Carter said.

Unlike Connecticut's last few Senate races, starting in 2006 with former Sen. Joe Lieberman's tough re-election victory, there has been little national interest in this year's election. Former Republican wrestling executive Linda McMahon garnered a lot of attention for spending roughly $100 million over two races against Blumenthal in 2010 and now-Sen. Chris Murphy in 2012. All three Senate elections attracted big-name surrogates to Connecticut and led voters to be deluged with TV ads and mailings.

This time, Blumenthal, the state's former attorney general, is the big-spender in this year's race. Federal records show he has raised at least $8.6 million compared to the $361,934 raised by Carter. The state representative said many establishment Republicans who typically give money to Connecticut candidates have sat out this year's election because of their opposition to Donald Trump, the GOP's presidential nominee.

Even Quinnipiac University wasn't moved by Connecticut's Senate race. It conducted only one poll in June, before it was known Carter would win his party's backing at the state Republican convention. In the survey of 1,330 registered voters, Blumenthal led Carter by a 60 percent to 30 percent margin. The poll had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

Bond questions on the ballot in Danbury

Danbury residents will be voting on two bond requests when they go to the polls on Election Day.  One is a $10 million lump sum appropriation for various public improvements.  The other is $10 million for the planning and design of improvements, upgrades, and rehabilitation to the wastewater treatment plant and facilities system.


EXPLANATION OF Q 1:  Six public improvement projects


The largest project is $4.3 million for street paving, drainage and bridge repairs.  That money would also go to guardrail replacement, lighting, sprinkler installation along medians and other beautification of City streets, parking lots and bridges. 


There is a separate proposed allocation of $1.1 million for sidewalk repair and replacement in the downtown area. 


Another $1 million would be set aside for recreation improvements to select playing fields and courts, including Westerner's Baseball Field and Rogers Park Tennis Courts among others. 


$1.6 million would go directly to improvements at Tarrywile Park, specifically design and construction plans for a walled garden at Hearthstone Castle, removal of contaminated debris there and stone removal and stabilization of adjacent rock retaining walls. 


Two $950,000 allocations are also included in the bond money.  One is for Richter Park golf course improvements and renovations to the Richter House mansion.  That would cover structural, environmental, utility and code related issues.  The second proposal is funding for planning, design and construction of a new Animal Control Facility.

Incumbent lawmaker to represent 108th state House district for another term

A 3-term incumbent is not being challenged as he seeks another two years representing New Fairfield, Sherman and parts of New Milford and Danbury in the state House.  Richard Smith will serve a 4th term representing the 108th District starting in January.


Smith is a practicing attorney.   He says his priorities remain the same for the next term.  He wants to bring the economy back to where it should be by reducing spending, lowering taxes and allowing businesses to grow and stay in Connecticut.


The biggest problem with transportation in the state, according to Smith is that the Special Transportation Fund keeps getting raided.  Smith says that money should be used to fix infrastructure.  He says that will go a long way to bring business to the state.  He is opposed to tolling, calling it another tax.


He opposed many of the economic policies set forth by Governor Malloy’s administration, including the two recent tax increases.  He says the state is the number one employer in Connecticut, but would prefer to see a smaller government.  He wants the state to reduce waste, restructure employee pensions and see the state living within its means.


Smith wants to protect the water quality of Candlewood Lake.  He says keeping invasive species out of Candlewood that have been found in other water bodies in the stats is also a priority for him.  He wants to control the milfoil in the lake, but says the drawdowns are a hit or miss way to tackle that.  He says more resources needed to be put toward Candlewood Lake water quality.


Smith says when the state cuts programs, it’s the wrong ones on the chopping block.  He says a few areas that do need to be focused on include mental health services and fighting the opioid addiction in the state.

Freshman legislator running unopposed in 112th House District

A freshman lawmaker is unopposed in his bid for a second term.  Monroe state Representative JP Sredzinski will be entering his second term in January for the 112th District, which also includes Newtown. He had three goals for his first term: to improve the economy, to make Connecticut more business friendly, and improve the overall quality of life of Connecticut residents. He says those continue to be his goal for the new term.

Sredzinski had a perfect voting record in the 2016 session. He serves on the Public Safety Committee, Commerce Committee and Internship Committee. He was a legislative intern while in college, and called that work important to him.

Sredzinski says a lot of the stress has been taken out of campaigning, but he made a promise to residents on both sides of the aisle and unaffiliated voters. He wants them to know that he's accessible so he continues to knock on doors to talk with constituents. Sredzinski was a Councilman in Monroe prior to being elected to the legislature. He says a lot of people have told him they like the job he is doing in Hartford for the district. He credits a strong outreach program for that feedback.

Sredzinski says he looks forward to getting back to work with a full slate of issues to take on.

He most recently fought against rail fare increases. He stood with commuters saying they don't have an alternative for getting to work so they are forced to go along with whatever the DOT imposes on them. He wants the DOT to reprioritize the agency's budget so that commuters don't have to shoulder yet another fee increase.

Sredzinski co-sponsored a bill recently signed into law by Governor Malloy. The bill includes provisions to increase protections for victims of human trafficking, while also imposing stronger penalties against perpetrators. He also co-sponsored legislation to address Connecticut's opioid addiction epidemic. The bill requires municipalities to train and equip first responders on how to administer naloxone, an overdose reversing drug. The bill limits the opioid prescriptions to a 7-day supply.

Fundraiser for slain veteran's children to be held in Danbury

A slain Marine Corps veteran is being remembered tomorrow during a fundraiser to benefit his two children.  34-year old Adam Sismour was found shot in his car in Newark on September 18th.  The Danbury High School graduate recently moved to New Jersey for a job.  He leaves behind a 3-year old daughter and 7-year old son. 


Adam Sismour served two tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan with the  Marine Corps before returning to Danbury.


Adam's father Richard Sismour says they have felt tremendous support during this difficult time.  This will be an annual event, which they hope to expand out to help veteran organizations, including Project Warrior.  He says to have to lose a child, it's not supposed to work that way.  Richard Sismour says they would not be able to get through that if it wasn't for their Catholic faith, friends, relatives and this benefit.


The fundraising event is being held at Molly Darcy’s from 2 to 5 pm Sunday.  Admission is $20.

Reservoir water levels remain low in Danbury

Reservoirs in Danbury are about 62-percent full, that's still 15-percent below normal.  But Public Utilities Supervisor David Day says the rain in recent days has helped a bit.  In the past month, the reservoirs dropped 4-percent.  To compare, water levels from September to the beginning of October dropped 10-percent.  Day says the City improved in dropping less.  This past week, water levels stayed steady and didn't drop at all. 


A 30-day public water supply emergency was declared by the state for the City on October 25th.  Danbury can apply for additional 30 day extensions, up to a maximum of 150 days.  The order means that Danbury can tap Lake Kenosia to bolster the water supply. 


Day says that's a result of the rain events coupled with the use of water from Lake Kenosia and resident's conservation efforts. 


Danbury also provides water to certain portions of Bethel and Ridgefield.


Governor Malloy recently announced that six of the state's eight counties are under a drought watch which includes a voluntary 15 percent drop in usage of water in the affected counties.  Malloy says unlike a Storm Watch issued ahead of potential bad weather, a Drought Watch means that the state is already experiencing moderate to severe drought conditions.

State Police confident in Narcan device despite voluntary recall notice

There is a voluntary recall order for the device used to administer Narcan, which is used in the event of a suspected opioid overdose.  State Police say Troopers have used the recalled device to administer Narcan 33 times, all successful and saved lives.  


Troopers started using Narcan in October 2014, and there have been 128 calls for service/medical distress assists. Of those, 120 survived after receiving Narcan. 


State Police Spokesman Tyler Weerden says they are confident in the device, but out of an abundance of caution the agency is taking steps to mitigate the risks associated with the recall.  The products affected by the recall may be less effective, but are not harmful to use. 


State Police are receiving 700 replacement devices to swap the recalled devices with.  In the meantime. they will be sending two troopers to each suspected opioid overdose in the event that the dispensing mechanism on the device fails.

Two local veterans posthumously awarded military medals

Two Danbury veterans whose unclaimed remains were in the possession of Green Funeral Home have been honored by the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs.  Naval Clerk Jack Andrew Lunich and Airman 3rd Class George Duefield were both posthumously awarded the Connecticut Wartime Service Medal. 


They were then honored with a full military burial at the State Veterans Cemetery. 


VA Commissioner Sean Connolly says these two men served their country and the ceremony today epitomizes how no veteran will be forgotten in life, or in death.  Prior to the interment ceremony, a public service was held at the Green Funeral Home in Danbury for the Service members. 


Jack Andrew Lunich, of Danbury, was born in Campbell, Ohio on October 13, 1931. He enlisted in the United States Navy on November 14, 1950 and served as a stock clerk in support of the famous VP-24, Patrol Squadron, affectionately known as “The Batmen”. Their mission was to perform patrol, anti-submarine warfare, and rescue operations across the eastern seaboard. Following a successful tour of duty, Lunich was honorably discharged on 10 September 1954 after completing nearly four years of active duty. His awards include the National Defense Service Medal.

George Louis Duefield, of Danbury, was born in Oxford, Massachusetts on February 28, 1938. He enlisted in the United States Air Force on April 15, 1955 and served as an airman with the 124th Support Squadron, Strategic Air Command, Larson Air Force Base at Moses Lake, Washington. Their Cold War mission was one of deterrence throughout the northern Pacific. After two years of active duty, Airman 3rd Class Duefield was honorably discharged on March 23, 1957. His awards include the National Defense Service Medal.

Candlewood Lake Authority conducts resident boat count

Every year, the Candlewood Lake Authority conducts a resident boat count, in order to get an accurate picture of how many boats are on the shores of Candlewood Lake.  The count includes private residences, community docks and commercial marinas. 


The different types of boats are categorized in order to get an understanding of possible trends in what kinds of boats are populating the lake. 


There are 283 more boats on the lake this year than there were last year for a total about about 6,500.  The number of registered boats is down about two dozen from last year.  Unregistered boats are up about 300 from the previous year.  Unregistered boats include paddle craft such as kayaks and canoes, plus other boats not requiring a registration.

FuelCell energy launches new project at Pfizer's Groton site

A Danbury company has announced a new project associated with Pfizer's 160 acre research and development facility in Groton. 


FuelCell Energy has completed construction of a previously announced 5.6 megawatt fuel cell project.  A dedication event was held at the installation yesterday, attended by local, State and Federal legislative officials. 


FuelCell Energy delivered a complete turn-key solution. Pfizer purchases the power and heat generated by the ultra-clean fuel cells as it is produced under a twenty year power purchase agreement.  This project was engineered, manufactured and commissioned all within 2016, which the company says demonstrates their ability to rapidly install clean and affordable power generation where the power is needed.

Northern Fairfield County Probate Court Judge vote on Tuesday

Residents in Bethel, Newtown, Redding and Ridgefield will be voting Tuesday for a new Probate Court Judge.  Northern Fairfield County Probate Court Judge Joseph Egan has left office because he reached the mandated retirement age of 70.  The Court serves about 80,000 people.  Each town used to have their own probate court, but the state did consolidations in 2010 in a cost saving move.  The Northern Fairfield County Probate Court is located in Bethel.


Bethel Town Treasurer, former Bethel Probate Court Judge Daniel O'Grady is the Republican candidate.  Democrat Sharon Wicks Dornfeld has practiced law in Danbury since 1983.


O'Grady served 20 years as a probate court judge prior to the regionalization.  He says his campaign is one of experience , and notes that he's ready to step in for the retiring judge on day one.  He's been an attorney since 1985.  O'Grady says he enjoys working with people and helping them through difficult situations.


Dornfeld has focused her practice on representing people who need protection, and are unable to protect themselves.  A lot of that has been representing kids in probate matters involving their guardianship , or in the juvenile court with neglect abuse, contested custody matters in family courts, and victims in criminal courts.  She has also worked with the elderly in terms of conservatorships, or people who have been preyed upon.


The power of attorney law has been changed and clarified.  There are more forms for people to fill out, which O'Grady says can be confusing for people.  He says there are a number of matters brought before the court, and it's an informal setting where everyone sits around a table to talk about the situation . After listening and asking questions, O'Grady says the judge will lay out steps that can be taken to resolve the particular issue.


Dornfeld says she'd enjoyed her work, and it's work that is mainly handled in the probate court.  It has typically been a part time position, but because of the increase in the population served by the court, Dornfeld said she would give up her practice.  Dornfeld has run a self-funded campaign.  She says that was important to her in order to appear nonpartisan and independent.

Two local veterans to be buried with military honors

Two local veterans will be laid to rest with help from Green Funeral Home and Cemetery, and the Missing in America Project.  Green Funeral Home is a member of the Dignity Memorial network of providers.  Dignity Memorial has several initiatives to honor and support our nation’s veterans and active military.  


George Duefield, who served in the United States Air Force, died in 2008 at the age of 70.  Jack Lunich, who served in the United States Navy during the Korean War, died in 2005 at the age of 74.


A burial service featuring full military honors will be provided by the State of Connecticut Department of Veteran Affairs.  The Veterans will be honored with a public service at 11 am at Green Funeral Home on Main Street in Danbury.  There will be a procession to a ceremony and burial scheduled for 1 pm at the State Veterans Cemetery located in Middletown.  Connecticut's Commissioner of Veteran Affairs and the Lt. Governor will participate in the ceremony.


Green Funeral Home manager John Falkowski says the two veterans are a  true testament to the sacrifice our service men and women make for our country.  He says they are honored to work with the Missing in America Project to provide Duefield and Lunich with the dignified military service they deserve.


Green Funeral Home is a founding member and proud recipients of a Level 4 Community Partner status with their “We Honor Veterans” program. The We Honor Veterans program is a part of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs.


Dignity Memorial has several initiatives to honor and support our nation’s veterans and active military. The initiatives and programs include the Veterans Planning Guide, the Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program, educational Veteran seminars and special pricing for members of Veterans service organizations.

Zebra mussels found in Candlewood Lake

An invasive species was recently found in Candlewood Lake.  Zebra mussels were found attached to the foundation of the Rocky River power station.  This is the first time they have been found in Candlewood Lake.  Zebra mussels were found in recent years in Lake Lillinonah, Lake Zoar and the Housatonic River. 


First Light Power Resources, which owns the Lake, said in a press release that their consultant believes any pumping will likely spread the zebra mussels because there is no technology to stop the spread from the power station through pipe that transfers water between the Housatonic River and Candlewood Lake. 


An educational campaign encouraging boaters to clean, drain and dry boats before entering the water has been in place for a few boating seasons to try to stop the spread from other bodies of water into Candlewood.

Danbury Police tout successful Halloween event with PAL

For the first time this Halloween, Danbury Police invited kids to come trick-or-treating at the police station.  The Department worked with the Police Athletic League for the community event.  Over 50 families showed up, received some candy, hot chocolate and pencils.  Danbury Police Chief Patrick Ridenhour says it was a fun event for local youth and a great opportunity to share information about PAL programs.  The Department plans to have more collaborative events between PAL and Danbury Police in the near future.  PAL currently offers 13 different youth development programs for boys and girls ages 5-18.

Public forum in Newtown on proposed Charter revision ballot questions

Newtown residents are going to be voting on two Charter revision questions on Tuesday when they go to the polls on Election Day.  There is one final public forum on the proposed changes.  Charter Revision Commission member Judy DeStefano says they are holding this forum in the hopes that residents will have all of the information they need to make an informed vote.  The proposed changes were approved by the Legislative Council last year.  Voter approval is the final step in the process. 


Tonight's forum is at 7pm at Booth Library.  The Commission encouraged people with questions who can not attend tonight's forum to reach out with any questions via email,, or on Facebook: Newtown CT Charter Revision.


On the Town's web page, people can find links to the existing and proposed charters, as well as an informational presentation.  Explanatory text will be posted at polling places and was sent out with absentee ballots.



Approval of Question #1 limits the number of members of the Board of Education from one political party to four.  This changes the maximum from five to four.


Approval of Question #2 accepts the rest of proposed changes in their entirety, comprised of organizational, non-substantive, and substantive changes made to the document including but not limited to:


a) It adds eleven existing Boards and Commissions to the Charter; Water and Sewer Authority; Lake Lillinonah Authority; Lake Zoar Authority; and Newtown Health District Board, Commission on Aging, Economic Development Commission, Inland Wetlands Commission, Pension Commission, Public Safely Commission, Self-funded Health Insurance Fund Commission, Sustainable Energy Commission. It gives each Board or Commission a definition and gives a method for filling vacancies.


b) It specifically spells out the advisory roles played by the Board of Finance.


c) It revises the language of the advisory question provision set forth in Section 6-14(a) of the present Charter. 


d) It eliminates the Town Meeting and changes the annual appropriation authority of the Legislative Council from $500,000 to $1,500,000, with a maximum aggregate authority of 1 mil (currently about $3,000,000).  Appropriations equal to or in excess of $1.5 million shall be voted on in a referendum.


e) It replaces the Town Meeting for disposing of real property with a multi-board approval process. It also removes the use of sealed bid as a method of sale.

Freshman lawmaker running unopposed in 107th House District

Republican Stephen Harding is running unopposed for reelection to the state House's 107th District of Brookfield and parts of Bethel and Danbury.  The 28-year old is an attorney and a member of the Brookfield Board of Education.

Harding says one bill he's proud to have helped pass last session is one that requires the Office of Fiscal Analysis provide information to legislators of the impact that certain legislation would have on small businesses. He says a lot of regulations and mandates are onerous and costly to a small business and that does not help foster a positive business environment. Another bill he touted includes reforms to affordable housing laws to have some senior housing count a municipality's 10% allotment.  He called it a step in the right direction to modify 8-30g laws.  Harding wants to continue to make changes to give local zoning boards and commissions more of a say in what projects are approved.

Harding says the state hasn't done enough to address the fiscal crisis facing Connecticut. He says the state has created collectively bargained agreements with state employee unions which are not in the best interests of Connecticut residents.

Changes to the Education Cost Sharing formula are likely coming.  Harding called it an arbitrary formula, which makes very little sense. He is in full support of changes to the ECS formula that make it more transparent.

Harding opposes tolls. He says there would be a large negative impact on residents in his district.  He instead wants to see the state make cuts to wasteful spending and allocate that funding to transportation infrastructure improvements.  Harding called for more upgrades along the Metro North Danbury branch.

He is a member of the Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committee. Harding would like to continue on that panel in order to make changes to how Connecticut creates a budget. He says it makes very little sense that there are two committees dealing with budgeting. Harding notes that the Appropriations Committee basically creates a wish list, calculates a number and then asks the Finance Committee to find a way to pay for it. He wants to see procedural changes giving the Finance Committee first say in what the state can afford, and then have the Appropriations Committee decide how that money is spent.

Petition started by group opposed to Panda Power plant proposal in New Milford

A petition on has been started in opposition to a proposal from Panda Power Company to build a plant in New Milford at the site of the old Century Brass Mill.  The online petition was started by a group called Parents Opposing Panda. 


The Texas-based company is looking to build a 550-megawatt natural gas powered plant. 


Some of the concerns listed on the petition page include added noise and light pollution and possible harm to the environment. 


Proponents of the project, including New Milford Mayor David Gronbach say the project would put the property back on the tax rolls and add jobs in New Milford.  Gronbach says the Panda Power project will add 300 to 500 construction jobs, 30 full-time jobs and tax revenue estimated between $6 million and $10 million per year.  He notes that Panda will still have to meet state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, federal Environmental Protection Agency and Connecticut Siting Council requirements.


There are public hearings scheduled for November 9th at 7pm at Sarah Noble School and on the 10th at 1pm at Town Hall.  

Bethel Town Clerk to hold Saturday hours for absentee balloting

The deadline for Connecticut residents to register to vote in person, online and by mail was last night.  One of Bethel's Registrars of Voters said the final numbers for this registration period saw 129 new voters added to the town's rolls.  27 current voters updated their addresses after moving within the town. 


The Bethel Town Clerk’s office will be open from 9 am to noon on Saturday for absentee ballot voting. 


Residents who are active members of the armed forces, unable to vote on Election Day because of religious or health reasons, or who will be out of town on Election Day can vote via absentee ballot.  Residents cannot pick up a ballot for someone else.  Absentee ballots must be mailed directly to the voter or picked up on Saturday to vote in person.


Town Clerk Lisa Berg says they have received 650 absentee ballots so far. 


There is same day voter registration in Connecticut, but Secretary of the State Denise Merrill cautioned people that there will likely be long lines on Election Day Tuesday for that option.  Registration and casting a ballot is done all in one place, local town halls.

Danbury Fire Department seeks to apply for FEMA grant

The Danbury Fire Department is looking to apply to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a grant to purchase equipment.  FEMA's share of the request is 90-percent, $180,000.  The City Council is being asked to approve the application and approve chipping in the balance, $20,000. 


Fire Chief TJ Wiedl says the department budget will be reviewed  for availability of funds to be used toward the City match. 


Assistance to Firefighter Grant funding priorities and evaluation criteria were developed from recommendations to FEMA.  The applications are ranked based on the substance of the application, relative to the established funding priorities.

USDA Rural Energy for America grant awarded to Easton farm

Four USDA Rural Energy for America grants have been awarded for renewable energy and energy efficiency investments at farms in Connecticut. 


Gilberties Herb Garden in Easton received $75,825 to provide energy efficient improvements, including LED lighting and a heating system upgrade.  The upgrades will provide savings of 171,836 kwh annually, equivalent to powering 15 households. 


Meadow Ridge Farm in Litchfield received a $39,509 for a solar PV system that will offset 100 percent of the needs of their farm. The energy is equivalent to powering four homes. 


Senator Chris Murphy says Connecticut's small farms drive local economies and support good jobs. Murphy says the federal delegation is working to make it easier for Connecticut farmers to grow their businesses.

Rematch of 2012 race in the state Senate's 26th District

The race in the state Senate's 26th District features the same match up as 2012.  The District includes Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport and Wilton.  Republican State Senator Toni Boucher is seeking a 5th term and is being challenged by Democrat Carolanne Curry.


Boucher serves as a Deputy Minority Leader, is a ranking member of the Education Committee and Higher Education Committee, and the General Assembly's Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committee. She is ranking member of the sub committee for Transportation Bonding. Boucher says people are looking for someone who is engaged and will bring constituent positions forward, not their own position. She served on the Wilton Board of Education, the Wilton Board of Selectmen and the state Board of Education prior to 12 years in the State House. She's a businesswoman with an MBA and a broker's license.


Curry has been a Department Director of several municipal agencies overseeing large numbers of staff, annual budgets in the millions, program development, streamlining agencies and programs while enhancing productivity of governmental operations and maximizing staff functions. She previously served as New Haven's Director of Welfare and then in the same role in Bridgeport. Curry most recently helped to establish the Citi-Stat program in Bridgeport, modeled on the successfully implemented program in Baltimore, Maryland, where the end results were a more cost-effective delivery of services and programs, more productive employees and a more efficient use of taxpayer money.


During a recent Ridgefield League of Women Voters debate, the candidates addressed a question about the minimum wage. Curry says $15 an hour is not a livable wage. She would look to phase in a higher amount to be more on par with the cost of living in Connecticut. She says the current wage is unacceptable.


Boucher has never voted in favor of one minimum wage increase. She says there's an education gap that results in an income gap. Boucher says a minimum wage job is to help train people to be able to get higher paying jobs. Boucher says increasing the minimum wage increases the amount a company has to sell their product. She instead called for more resources put in education, and allow the business sector to conduct their business.


When it comes to addressing the opioid overdose epidemic, Curry says her focus would be on the suppliers. She says there are more than enough resources to address the affects of opiates. But she says the state hasn't done enough to enforce and crack down on suppliers.


Boucher agreed with cracking down on drugs as a way to deal with the opioid overdose epidemic. She fought proposals to relax laws around illicit drug uses and the sale of drugs. She says one proposal was to reduce drug-free zones around schools. Boucher says the over-prescription of opioids is also a problem.


Curry says the history of GE moved from a product driven company to a finance company. She says the jobs lost were because of their change in business. As to the incentive package for Sikorsky, she is cynical of the deal. Curry says the current General Assembly favors special interest groups. She says the state is not legislating for Connecticut's future. She says there are policies being carried out by the Governor that she disagrees with, but processes in the General Assembly that she believes gives into the governor.


A vocal critic of Governor Malloy, Boucher says saving Sikorsky jobs was purely a defensive move. She says a more hospitable climate needs to be created for all businesses so the state doesn't have to incentivize them to stay. She called for lower taxes, a reduction of wasteful spending, and creation of a pro-taxpayer policy.


Transportation infrastructure improvements have been called for. Curry says the gas tax funding has been abused. She agreed that they money needs to be directed to transportation. She noted that if there were someone in the Democratic caucus room, she would be able to deliver that message. She says she would be strong in her opposition to pulling money unnecessarily from the Transportation Fund.


Boucher says the Special Transportation Fund should be used for transportation. She says looking at what's bonded will free up bond money for transportation improvements. She opposed spending money to study the idea of a mileage tax when everyone is saying that the idea won't be implemented.

'Newtown' documentary to be screened in theaters across the country

"Newtown" will be screened in over 500 theaters across the country tonight.  The documentary will be followed by a live national panel/conversation moderated by CNN anchor Chris Cuomo.  Maria Cuomo Cole is the producer of the film, directed by Kim Snyder.


Nicole Hockley, whose don Dylan was killed on 12-14, says she doesn't want any other parent, family or community to face a devastating tragedy like the one that took her son.  She hopes this documentary will start important conversations about the impact of gun violence and how to prevent it.


She called it a compelling, raw and honest portrayal of how gun violence impacts a community.


Hockley will be part of the live-streamed town hall.  Mary Ann Jacobs, a surviving Sandy Hook School teacher, Danbury Hospital Emergency Room Dr. William Begg and Orlando's Chief of Police will also be on the panel.


Mark Barden, whose son Daniel was also killed on 12-14, asked that people not be afraid to watch this film because it's an important opportunity to spark conversation about the impact of gun violence.

Neighborhood Integrity Initiative proposed in Danbury

The Danbury City Council is being asked by Mayor Mark Boughton to consider, before the end of the year, a Neighborhood Integrity Initiative.  Boughton says short term rentals and use of single and multi dwelling properties have created new sets of issues and problems for cities across the nation.  The City-wide improvement of residential rental properties and neighborhoods would be done through direct and joint collaboration and buy in from landlords, property owners and their tenants. 


Boughton says single families homes, which have been divided into two, three, or four family homes, could be reassessed as commercial unless landlords conform to City regulations.  He says the hope is to protect Danbury from overpopulation of houses that weren't designed to host that many people.


Boughton says this is a concept that will draw on the City's long standing vibrancy, positive and flourishing neighborhood life while concurrently establishing the safety and security that is sought for rental neighborhoods.


The City's attorneys will be providing the proposed legislation to an ad hoc committee of the Council for further consideration.


Boughton says the over density in these houses causes a hardship on neighborhoods by driving down property values for surrounding neighbors.


The Council committee will be asked to look at Air B&B.


The main problem, according to Boughton, is absentee landlords who don't know what's going on at their property and are simply looking to collect a rent check.  He says people are renting out individual bedrooms, basements or other parts of a single family home, basically creating a rooming house.  Boughton says that means four or five cars could be parked at one home that can really accommodate two.


'Newtown' documentary pulled from Cinemark Theaters

The "Newtown" documentary, which will be shown in many theaters Wednesday night, has been pulled from more than 100 Cinemark theaters.  According to a report in Deadline, that was done out of respect for victims of the 2012 Aurora, Colorado, mass shooting, who sued the chain.  The documentary chronicles the tragic events that unfolded on 12-14. 


The Aurora suit alleges Cinemark didn't do enough to keep patrons safe from a gunman there.  Cinemark called for hundreds of thousands of dollars from the plaintiffs to cover its legal fees and a boycott protest began. 


Mark Barden, whose son Daniel was killed, said people will see the very real consequences of gun violence in this documentary, along with the work that's being done to prevent it.  He said 12-14 was every parent's worse nightmare and it can be tough to put into words, but this documentary is a window into his world.  It's also about the neighbors and friends in Newtown who have been affected by preventable gun violence. 


Barden noted that the community immediately wrapped their family in love and support.

9-term incumbent being challenged by political newcomer in 111th House district

A political newcomer is challenging a Ridgefield state Representative seeking his 10th term in office.  Incumbent Republican Representative John Frey has served 18 years in the 111th District. He says he's been an advocate for the community, is a businessman in Ridgefield and has a pulse on the needs of the community.


Democrat Joseph Dowdell grew up in Minnesota, was active in Boy Scouts and earned the Eagle Award.  He has a degree in electrical engineering and is currently an engineer in the high voltage industry. He believes Connecticut is at a cross roads and needs new and innovative ideas. He says it's time to bring progress to the state.


The education funding fairness judicial ruling, will likely have implications for the next General Assembly. Frey called it a large issue, that can't be tackled in only 180 days. He says the education funding formula is very complicated, and needs to be reformed. But he disagreed with other parts of the ruling. Frey says part of the decision sounds to him like some special education students would be denied services. The judge also called for a program to evaluate teachers and superintendents. Frey says that was implemented in 2014, is phasing in now and hasn't had a chance to work. He says Ridgefield lost 50% of funding in ECS last year.


Dowdell says there are some issues with the ECS formula. Regardless of the court outcome, education benefits everyone and should be made as best as possible. Dowdell says the workforce needs to be bolstered with an educated population. He says he will fight to bring money back to the district, whether it's for education or for small business assistance or helping seniors stay in their homes.


The opioid overdose epidemic is being addressed on the state level with some legislation implemented in the last session. Frey says the state is doing what it can in terms of funding, train first responders and provide treatment centers. He says during a visit to a rehab facility in Danbury, one client told him that she thought the state sent the wrong message about drug use and abuse with the decriminalization of marijuana. He says the state needs to play a role in a community response.


Dowdell says overdose deaths is a growing problem, on par with motor vehicle deaths. He says it's easy to fall into the opioid abuse cycle. He agrees with keeping an eye on the amount of prescriptions written.


Frey says the state is already in the middle of a phase-in of a higher minimum wage. He says what gets lost in the conversation is the decision facing small businesses; do they not hire people or let people go. Frey says talk of another hike is premature.


Dowdell supports an increase in the minimum wage. He says research is needed, with the input of business, about what that wage should be. But he says he would shoot for a $15 minimum wage. Dowdell says good paying jobs come from having good education. He says training local talent who will stay in Connecticut is key.


Frey says he is unpredictable on gun bills. He had an A rating from the NRA and voted for the bill that followed 12-14, which resulted in an F rating. When it comes to a bill on confiscating guns from people who are the subject of a temporary restraining order, he voted against it. He says this bill is likely to give victims a false sense of security. Frey says when there is a gun permit, police remove firearms from the home immediately when someone calls 911 about a violent situation. Frey called the restraining order bill a poorly written one, which intended to do good things but was flawed.


Dowdell says people in domestic violence situations are 5 times more likely to be killed when there is a gun present. He would support future legislation like it.


Frey was an outspoken critic of state measures he says forced GE to move. He says the corporation left Fairfield because of the state's unpredictable tax policy. He cited retroactive tax increases specifically. He called for long term planning and tax stability. Frey says there have only been bandaid budget deficit fixes following two of the biggest tax increases in the state's history. He said emphatically that the Democratic majority would raise taxes if they keep their majority.


Dowdell says a budget challenge is revenue instability because of a reliance on the financial sector. He says a program set up to set aside tax revenue to be put into the budget reserve fund is one step. He wants to look at incorporating long term planning into budgeting, limit the governor's bonding authority on non-economic development-related plans and move away from the current property tax system.


As for transportation funding, Frey says additional revenue isn't needed. He believes the special Transportation Fund needs to be used for transportation. He says border tolls are a non-starter. Frey opposed a mileage tax. He says the gas tax is supposed to fund infrastructure, and that's where it should go.


Dowdell says when he hears the word 'infrastructure'; he doesn't just think transportation. He also thinks high-speed internet, upgrading the power grid and renewable energy. He says upgrading these things is good for business, will create jobs, is good for the environment and will reduce energy costs.

Blighted property in Danbury, owned by veteran, cleaned up by volunteers

A blighted property on Saddle Rock Road, in deteriorating condition for an extended period of time, has been cleaned up.  Trees and overgrowth overran the property, a rotted back porch collapsed and detached from the house and the siding and gutters were in poor condition. 




The property owner is an elderly resident who is also a Vietnam veteran. His age and limited income made it hard to maintain the property.  UNIT officials say more was needed than simply sending out orders with the threat of fines. 


The City’s Welfare department and the Danbury Veterans Council helped UNIT explore what benefits he may be entitled to through veterans services. Veterans Affairs Director Danny Hayes identified a company out of Bethel, Com Net, which provided a crew of volunteers, along with the necessary tools, to clean up the property.


Trees, stumps, roots and overgrowth were all cleared away.  The rotted porch was removed.  UNIT says there is still some work to be done, but the homeowner now is at a point where routine and general exterior upkeep of the yard will be much easier. 



UNIT says Com Net is to be commended for their willingness to selflessly serve a veteran in need.

Ribbon cut on Greater Danbury Community Health Center building on Main Street

The new Connecticut Institute for Communities Greater Danbury Community Health Center at 120 Main Street in Danbury has been officially dedicated.  The property is the site of the old Danbury Police Station.  Construction cost about $15 million.  The land was purchased for about $1 million. 



The 37,000 square foot, four-story structure will house several services.  They include pediatric and adolescent medical and behavioral health services; comprehensive women's health services; an on-site blood sample suite; full service pharmacy; patient intake, enrollment and insurance assistance. and headquarters for the CIFC. 


The federally qualified health center serves all people regardless of income or insurance.  The facility should be fully operational by the end of the year.  Some services will be moving from the  Greater Danbury Community Health Center's 70 Main Street facility, which will then be dedicated primarily to Adult Medicine and Family Dentistry.



The new building will bring approximately 60 new jobs to downtown Danbury with a total annual payroll of more than $6 million.  The building was designed by Quicquaro Architects and Quisenberry-Arcari Architects.  The building was constructed by Verdi Construction Company of Bethel, and involved about 100 full and part-time jobs. 



The financing for the building involved a mix of public and private funding.  The state provided a $4 million grant. Private mortgage financing totalled about $6 million.  Private investment through the Federal New Market Tax Credit program were provided to the tune of about $5 million. 


CIFC President & CEO Jim Maloney says the new facility significantly expands pediatric and women's health services, as well as add entirely new services such as phlebotomy and a pharmacy, onsite.  This is the only teaching health center in the state.  A formal program of teaching residents who will specialize in internal medicine is run by CIFC.  Danbury Hospital is a partner in three other residency programs.



Governor Dannel Malloy says the state has been a proud partner in this project to both enhance community health care in the Danbury area and provide a major economic boost to the city's downtown.  Malloy, the son of a nurse, says having access to care is extremely important.  He says this is in keeping with what the state has been working on to provide health care closer to home.  Malloy says the system the state is trying to build cares for people who need support, outreach and care. 



Mayor Mark Boughton says the Institute's new building means the location of new, permanent jobs to downtown Danbury.  He says many of them are high-paying positions such as physicians and advanced practice nurses.  He says all of this activity is a major benefit to the economic prosperity of the downtown and the City as a whole.  Boughton says in Danbury, they come together on a bipartisan basis to get things done for the community.


Senator Richard Blumenthal says this kind of investment that pays off for everyone.  He says the opening of the building represents an investment in behavioral health services and women's health care.  He says mental health care is the great ignored challenge of the time.  Blumenthal says women's health care is too often shortchanged, but that's not the case in Danbury.  He says the center is a cutting-edge institution which looks forward.



Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty says the innovative new health center is a welcome addition to the community.  She said she is proud of the progress being made to ensure more Connecticut residents have access to comprehensive health care.  Esty says teaching health centers are the future of medicine.  She says Danbury is leading the way in community-based health care.  30,000 people in the area were identified as not otherwise having dental care.  The Greater Danbury Community Health Center receives a $350,000 recurring annual grant for dental health care.


UNIT may have lead on vandal suspect in Danbury

The Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team in Danbury was kept busy last month.  In a monthly report to the City Council for their meeting this week, the UNIT director addressed a vandalism incident at the bus station at Pulse Point.  UNIT officials say they work hard to ensure the city is kept clean of unwanted vandalism, and to catch the individuals that do it.  In many cases, the person does not get caught, however, in this rare case the UNIT may have some detail that will lead to an arrest for the graffiti.  Police Officer Ken Utter is investigating with the hopes of closing out this case.  In the meantime, the bus company has incurred the expense of cleaning it all up.


Safety situation on Danbury street resolved by UNIT

Neighbor complaints about vehicles congesting an already narrow road and making it unsafe has led to changes on one Danbury street.  The Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team found that most of these vehicles on Morgan Avenue were either unregistered, inoperable or both. 


A nearby repair shop was using the road to store the overflow of their vehicles.  UNIT issued a 24 hour notice to remove all of the vehicles, or else they would be towed away, and explained how vehicles can not be parked at this location. Over the course the next week, UNIT monitored the location and found that vehicles continued to be parked there. 


Danbury Police, the Highway Department and UNIT put up "No Parking signs".  UNIT continues to monitor the area, and with the exception of some tickets written, there's been a dramatic improvement with vehicles not being parked there.


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