New Fairfield officials have dropped plans to add herbicides to a section of Candlewood Lake. The Newstimes reports that more than 200 people packed a town hall meeting last night and most voted for an ordinance that would require a townwide vote whenever officials want to use chemicals on the lake. A group called Candlewood Voices pushed for the ordinance. New Fairfield officials will no longer apply for a permit from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to add Diquat to about 10 acres of the Shelter Harbor Cove area of Candlewood. Residents of that part of the lake reportedly approved of adding the herbicides.
Brookfield Police were called recently about a report of a sick fox. It turned out that the fox was not sick or abandoned. Brookfield Police say the young pup was left by its mother in what she believed to be a safe place. Wildlife officials say without human intervention, the mother will return for the fox. It's normal at this time of year for many animals to leave their young alone for long periods of time, likely watching nearby.
Danbury State Senator Mike McLachlan says the bipartisan agreement reached in the Senate to close the $317 million deficit in the current fiscal year shows that they an fund vital programs without shortchanging municipalities and those with disabilities.
The proposal restores $1 million for employment opportunities and day services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
McLachlan says with a tied chamber, the only way to accomplish meaningful legislation that serves the best interests of our state and taxpayers is through cooperation.
State Senator Tony Hwang, whose district includes Newtown, praised passage of the plan. He said this is the kind of collaborative leadership that needs to continue in the biennial budget deficit negotiations. He also called for a budget process that address fundamental and structural changes to state government that creates predictability, sustainability and transparency.
A tractor-trailer truck crash closed Route 22 in Patterson this morning. The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office says the rollover happened around 11am when the driver of a southbound truck hauling a flatbed loaded with concrete blocks lost of control and ran off the shoulder near Havilland Hollow Road.
The truck smashed through a guardrail and overturned down an embankment. The truck driver, who complained of head and neck pain, was transported to Danbury Hospital for evaluation.
The load of concrete blocks was flung from the truck and at least one of the truck fuel tanks was ruptured, spilling diesel fuel onto the ground. Officials from the New York State Department Environmental Conservation responded to the scene to coordinate a cleanup of the diesel fuel spill, which was estimated at about 125 gallons.
The Danbury Police Department has launched a recruitment campaign and is aiming to hire nearly a dozen entry level officers. In an effort to entice candidates, an informational video was released by the Department. They wanted to have fun with the recruitment campaign, touting the different positions within the police department such as the K9 Unit, SWAT team and detective bureau—while emphasizing the dedication of officers to the Danbury community.
The video includes important application deadlines, informational session dates and requirements that candidates must meet.
The new hiring video, which takes a light-hearted approach, was produced by RMediA, a full-service video production company based in Danbury. The video featured Lt. Vinny Daniello, along with members of the Community Services Division.
Chief Patrick Ridenhour told a crowd of potential applicants that being a police officer is more than just a job. They want people who are ready to not only protect, but engage with the community. Ridenhour says it’s a stressful job, but they try to have fun. He noted that there are times when it gets serious, so applicants have to be on their A game.
Applications will be accepted June 12 through July 31. More information can be found online on the Danbury Police Department website, and through PoliceApp.
The Department is looking to give the test in September.
Informational sessions will be held June 19 and July 8.
Usually the state police academy hosts a small class, but other departments have satellite academies so Danbury could hire 5 to 8 officers at a time.
Ridenhour says it’s in everyone’s best interests to have a department reflective of the community that it serves. There are certain benefits for bilingual officers and those who are veterans.
A Newtown resident who owns an architecture and land survey firm has given an update to the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission about the site selected for a future memorial. Jim Ryan provided the Commission with a site survey, which resulted in a map that can be distributed to prospective designers. He is a member of the Newtown Conservation Commission and offered to have the wetlands flagged at the SAC field site. The analysis included property lines, easements, topography, trees over 8 feet, and existing and proposed trails. Concept drawings for possible access and parking layouts were also included.
There are some changes being made to parking restrictions in New Milford. The Traffic Authority has changed the three hour parking limitation in the downtown area. It's now effective from 8am to 8pm daily.
Mayor David Gronbach says that means any driver who parks at 5pm or later will not be subject to three hour parking as the three hours will expire after the end of the enforcement period. Gronbach says the change was made in response to complains about people wanting to go to dinner and a movie, but having to move their car in between.
He says this should help retain turn over of spots during daytime hours and will enable residents to spend more time downtown in the evening. This rule change only applies to areas that did not already have other restrictions in place.
Bethel officials are alerting drivers to a partial road closure this week as part of an intersection realignment and bridge replacement project. Today through Thursday, the right lane of Plumtrees Road between the police station driveway and the new Whittlesey intersection will be paved. Traffic will be reduced to one lane during the work. Drivers should expect delays and are asked to use an alternate route if possible.
A bill to improve the appeals process at the Department of Veterans Affairs co-authored by 5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty passed the House unanimously. The measure is aimed at cutting down on the claims backlog and reduce delays.
Under the current system, veterans must often wait five years or longer for their appeals to be resolved. The bill would require the Secretary to submit periodic reports to Congress, including information on how many appeals are pending in both the modernized system and the legacy system.
Esty noted that claims appeals are backing up and veterans are waiting too long for benefits they have rightfully earned.
Given that there are 470,000 pending appeals nationwide, Esty says this legislation is well overdue and would offer much needed relief for veterans. Esty said the House moved one step closer to providing all veterans with the timely compensation they deserve for the injuries they sustained in service to this country.
The Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 would create three “lanes” for veterans’ appeals, including the “Local Higher Level Review Lane” in which an adjudicator reviews the same evidence considered by the original claims processor; the “New Evidence Lane,” in which the veteran could submit new evidence for review and have a hearing; and the “Board Lane,” in which jurisdiction for the appeal would transfer immediately to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.
Esty is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs. Should the legislation becomes law, it will mark the first significant update to the VA appeals process in 30 years. Esty said she was pleased to bring this news back to veterans over Memorial Day weekend, a time to honor service men and women who gave their lives when they answered the call to service.
With limited financial resources, the General Assembly is grappling with how to meet Connecticut's state constitutional obligation to provide all students with adequate education. Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton says the legislature has this session to fix some of the things pointed out by a judge, or run the risk of having the decision upheld by the Connecticut Supreme Court.
The legislative session ends June 7th.
In September, the judge ordered Connecticut officials to develop plans to revamp the Education Cost Sharing grant, saying a huge gap in test scores between students in rich and poor communities shows parts of the system are unconstitutional. Lawmakers were given six months to overhaul the 28-year-old formula, among other recommendations.
Some people believe the lower court ruling was an overreach by the judge, but Boughton thinks there will be aspects upheld.
The ruling stemmed from an 11-year-old lawsuit filed against the state by the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding, a nonprofit group that includes cities, towns, local school boards, parents groups and public school students.
Boughton says there is a historic irrationality to how schools have been funded.
The decision is currently on appeal to the Connecticut Supreme Court.
As boating season gets underway this Memorial Day weekend, the Candlewood Lake Authority is reminding people to stay safe out on the lake. The top five boating violations as reported by the CLA Marine Patrol last year were:
1) Bow Riding: Allowing any persons on bow of decked-over vessel without handrail while underway
2) Operating a PWC in excess of slow-no-wake withing 200 feet of shore/dock/pier/float/anchored/moored vessel
3) Failure to display prescribed lights when underway
4) Insufficient personal flotation devices
5) Operating in excess of slow-no-wake within 100 feet of shore/dock/pier/float/anchored/moored vessel
As part of the Candlewood Lake Authority's ongoing Sterile Grass Carp Program, the CLA will be stocking an additional 4,450 grass carp in June. The carp are being used lakewide to help control the invasive Eurasian watermilfoil. This helps reached the target goal of 15 sterile grass carp per vegetated acre of milfoil.
Some of the sterile grass carp have transmitters so their movements can be tracked by Western Connecticut State University researchers. Squantz Pond will also receive 585 fish from the Town of New Fairfield, which will arrive with the delivery of the Candlewood fish.
Given time to grow to adults, and become bigger and better eaters, CLA officials say they are optimistic for the promise that this milfoil control program holds.
A Danbury middle school student has been named a finalist in a state essay contest. Megan Quinn, a sixth-grader at Broadview Middle School, wrote about her math teacher's dedication to helping students who struggle with math. The essay was one of ten finalists in the Connecticut Great Teachers Essay Contest, sponsored by the Connecticut State Department of Education. The first annual contest was an opportunity for students to let their teachers know how valued they are. Megan will receive a certificate from the state Department for being a finalist.
Three recent Western Connecticut State University graduates and two current students were awarded "Art at Ives" scholarships. The alumni and students displayed their work alongside professional artists during the second annual Art at Ives, Juried Fine Art & Crafts Show this Memorial Day Weekend at Ives Concert Park in Danbury.
Jasmine Bailey, of Torrington, displayed her senior capstone project, the animated short film “Star Story.” Bailey also will have ink drawings, mixed media illustrations and paintings on display and for sale. Killian Bradbury, of Bethel, displayed her illustrations; and Taylor Dalton, of Colebrook, presented her ceramic endeavors.
The three graduated from WestConn on May 21st.
Nghiep Luu, of Danbury, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration in Supervisory Management, displayed his origami creations and give demonstrations on the ancient art of folding during the three-day event. Brian McCarley, also of Danbury, who is pursuing a Master of Science in Counselor Education - Clinical Mental Health, displayed his ceramic and leather workmanship.
Eight artists will install eight sculptures on Danbury sidewalks and green areas for a new Urban Sculpture Park on Main Street. The sculptures will remain on display for one year. The Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut says the sculptures fit into a larger plan to attract visitors to enjoy Main Street’s many amenities. A ribbon cutting to officially open the exhibit will be held by CityCenter on Friday at 4:30pm.
A state Environmental Conservation Officer has been presented with the Shikar-Safari Officer of the Year Award. Shikar-Safari Club International promotes wildlife conservation and protection, recognizes an EnCon officer each year who has shown exemplary performance of their duties in the protection of wildlife, enforcement of game laws and implementation of conservation programs.
EnCon Officer Erin Flockhart joined the Division in October of 2005, and throughout her career has been assigned to the Western District.
Over the past year Officer Flockhart’s case load has been very diverse.
Flockhart is a member of the Division’s K-9 Unit as well as being a member of the Connecticut State Police K-9 search and rescue team. Over the past year she and her K-9 partner responded to over fifteen calls for service, with the majority being for missing persons and suicidal individuals. The most noteworthy case consisted of her assistance with the investigation of a missing Easton couple, whose bodies were ultimately recovered.
While patrolling in the town of Kent, off River Road and National Park Service Property, on December 8, 2015, Officer Flockhart observed a vehicle parked suspiciously. She and her K-9 partner, tracked from the vehicle into the adjacent wood line. K-9 Ellie tracked up to an individual who was carrying an unloaded shotgun. Flockhart and Ellie then performed a search of the area for evidence and located two shotgun shells that were consistent with what was on the individual. The convicted felon later admitted to throwing out the shotgun shells that were in his weapon when he heard officers approaching. That person was charged and indicted in federal court.
Flockhart also conducted a lengthy illegal deer hunting investigation on the Kent Land Trust Property, by an individual with several aliases and a lengthy criminal history. The investigation included the use of Social Media, video recordings, and networking with local police departments. The investigation concluded with Flockhart obtaining an arrest warrant for the New York resident.
Danbury-based Praxair confirmed that it has reached agreement in principle on the terms of a merger with Linde AG. The companies would form a new holding company through an all-stock transaction, consistent with the one they announced in December. The agreement is subject to approval by the Board of Directors of Praxair and the Executive Board and Supervisory Board of Linde. In a news release, Praxair cautioned that there is no assurance that Board approvals will be obtained.
The Observer has released it's mid-year Top 10 list of best jazz albums out this year, and one of those showcased is from a professor at Western Connecticut State University. Jimmy Greene's album Flowers: Beautiful Life, Volume 2 made the list.
Observer said Greene continues to be a beacon of strength as he channels his grief of losing a child to gun violence into some of the most vibrant, lyrical jazz coming out of America today. The album is a tribute to 6-year-old Ana Marquez-Greene, who was killed on 12-14.
Greene's quartet and his Love In Action provide the music that he says inspired his daughter to dance. Greene previously said of his first album tribute to Ana that it helps to keep the vibrancy of her beautiful, young spirit alive.
New York Times best selling author Jane Green is coming out with a new book, and it's set in Fairfield County. Those who read The Sunshine Sisters will recognize some spots featured in the new novel. Green will also be hosting some local events to promote the release of the novel next month.
Ronni Sunshine left London for Hollywood in the sixties to become a charming starlette. But at home, she was a disinterested mother who alienated her three daughters. When Ronni discovers she has a serious illness, she calls her now-adult girls home to fulfill her final wishes. The estranged sisters, who are going through crises of their own, are forced to confront old jealousies and secret fears. In the end, they discover that blood might be thicker than water.
On June 3rd, Green will be hosting a book launch, birthday bash, and benefit with a farm-to-table dinner at Gilbertie's Farm in Easton. In addition to dinner and conversation with the author, attendees will receive a signed copy of The Sunshine Sisters. Proceeds will benefit Pink Aid, based in Westport. Pink Aid’s mission is to help underserved local women survive breast cancer treatment with support and dignity. The organization's grants support programs that provide services including free breast cancer screening and help covering non-medical expenses such as food cards, household bills, wigs, recovery garments and transportation for patients undergoing treatment.
On June 7th, Green will be at Norwalk Public Library for an Author Luncheon. The event is at noon.
The Brookfield Board of Selectmen has approved a measure allowing the Land Use Office to charge a $25 processing fee for Wetlands permit transfer applications. There's a processing that has to take place when there's a change in ownership and a permit is still outstanding.
The board also approved a new ordinance that would establish additional Land Use fees. The ordinance delegates back to the land use agencies the ability to set their fees without going through an ordinance change every time.
The ordinance allows the Inland Wetlands Commission, Planning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals and Zoning Commission to set and collect fees for the processing of permits, design review approvals, subdivisions and resubdivisions of land, and petitions for variances, appeals and site plans, and more.
The Memorial Day parade hosted by the Danbury Council of Veterans has been cancelled. A service at St. Joseph's Church is still planned.
Weston officials will make a decision about their annual Memorial Day parade at 7am.
New Milford will remember those who died serving in our country's armed forces with a Memorial Day Ceremony at 10am. In case of inclement weather, the parade will be cancelled, but the ceremony will be held at the VFW hall on Avery Road.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Immigrant students without legal status in the United States are making a last-ditch pitch for legislation that would make them eligible for institutional financial assistance at state-run colleges and universities in Connecticut.
A coalition of higher education institutions, labor groups, faith leaders and community organizations is scheduled to appear with students Wednesday at a state Capitol news conference to urge the General Assembly to pass the bill before this year's legislative session adjourns on June 7.
This marks the fourth year that advocates have pushed for the bill.
Danbury High School graduate Camila Bortolletto, campaign manager for the group Connecticut Students for a Dream, says "it's resoundingly clear" the state supports the proposal. She says students "can wait no longer."
Two version of the bill are awaiting action in the House of Representatives and Senate.
A ceremony at Redding Elementary School auditorium begins at noon Saturday, with parade step-off at 12:15.
The Annual Strawberry Festival in Brookfield will take place Sunday between 12:30 and 3pm outside the Brookfield Museum. The festival, located at the intersection of Routes 25 and 133 in Brookfield Center, follows the Town's Memorial Day parade.
The Monore Memorial Day Parade is scheduled for Sunday and will begin at 2pm. The parade will travel north on Monroe Turnpike up to the Town Green, where a Memorial Service and Wreath Laying Ceremony will take place. The roads surrounding the parade route will be closed at 1:45pm. All side streets and shopping plazas will also be blocked preventing vehicles from entering onto the parade route.
The Danbury Council of Veterans is hosting today's Memorial Day Parade. The morning starts with a service at St. Joseph's Church. Wreath layings followed the church service. In Danbury, the parade steps off at 9:30. The theme is “Remembering Our Deceased Veterans, Honoring the Men and Women who served Our Country and displaying the American Flag”. Honoring the sacrifices of the men and women who served in the Armed Forces of this nation, the Skydiving Demo Team of the Blue Sky Ranch will be parachuting into Rogers Park at the baseball field adjacent to the Junior High School and behind the Memorial Parade reviewing Stand at approximately 10:45am.
The Easton Memorial Day parade is at 9:30am. Parade marchers assemble at the Easton Fire House. The parade will proceed to Easton Town Hall, after which a ceremony will be held at town hall. TheEaston Exchange Club will be hosting its eighth annual Memorial Day Mile road race today. It will kick off from the Easton firehouse at 8:30 am. This will give runners ample time to regroup and be able to participate in the Memorial Day parade.
Weston will also celebrate Memorial Day with a fair at Hurlbutt Elementary School. The fair offers carnival rides and games for all ages as well as fair food, and live entertainment. Fair hours today are noon to 4pm. The Weston Memorial Day parade is set for 10am.
New Milford will remember those who died serving in our country's armed forces with a Memorial Day Ceremony and Parade today. The ceremony is slated for 10am in front of the Library. The parade will begin after the ceremony, heading south on Main St., turning right on Bridge St., down to Railroad St., right on Bennitt St. and right on Main St. to the War Memorial on the Green. In the event of rain, the Parade will be cancelled and the Ceremony will be held at The VFW on Avery Road. Drivers are cautioned to expect minor delays due to road closures for the parade route.
Ridgefield's annual Memorial Day Parade is scheduled to start at 11:30 am from the Jesse Lee Memorial Church, marching down Main Street ending in Ballard Park where a closing ceremony will be held. 8 bands, some floats and about 2,000 participants are being featured. Participants are urged to arrive at the Church between 10am and 11am. King Lane will be a one-way street from 9:30 am until the end of the parade.
This past weekend, Candlewood Company of the Brookfield volunteer fire department participated in the 17th annual Candlewood Lake Clean Up, hosted by the Candlewood Lake Authority. Volunteers have participated in this event several times in the past and encouraged the public to help keep the lake clean of debris and garbage when either boating or spending time at the local beaches and picnic areas. In total, over 150 volunteers helped clean up the shores of Candlewood Lake.
50 students who participated in this year's pilot Student Boating Safety Ambassador Program were recognized yesterday. It was part of National Safe Boating Week. Students are in grades 5 through 12 will receive credit for their project as either a community service project, senior project or extra credit. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection awarded the students Certificates of Appreciation.
New Milford State Representative Bill Buckbee voted in favor of legislation allowing veterans in Connecticut to obtain the designated veteran’s driver’s license, with the American Flag on it, at no additional fee prior to the renewal date. The bill effectively erases the previously imposed $30 fee on the veteran indicator plate on duplicate identification card or driver’s license.
The bill garnered unanimous support when it was considered in both committees of cognizance, Veterans’ Affairs and Finance.
There are approximately 217,000 veterans across the state.
While there is no additional cost for veterans to receive the veteran's driver's license when obtaining a license or renewing a license, Buckbee says this legislation will provide a mechanism for veterans who would like an updated license to indicate their veteran status if it is not yet due for renewal. After being passed in the House of Representatives, with no dissenting votes, the legislation now awaits further action in the Senate.
The Candlewood Lake Authority dedicated a new Patrol Boat this morning for the CLA Marine Patrol. The boat is replacing a 2002 vessel which had to be taken out of service due to hull issues. 60% of the cost of the boat was paid for through a Connecticut Intertown Grant Equipment grant. Sherman First Selectman Clay Cope helped secure the grant with the support of elected officials from New Milford, Danbury, Brookfield and New Fairfield. The dedication ceremony was held at Sherman Town Park near the boat launch.
Ridgefield's acting fire chief has been chosen to officially lead the department. Jerry Myers was selected by the Fire Commission Wednesday night in a unanimous vote. The Board of Selectmen is expected to approve the recommendation at their meeting on June 7th.
Myers is a 36-year veteran of the Ridgefield Fire Department. He stepped in to the acting role about six months ago when former Chief Kevin Tappe retired after town officials completed an investigation into unspecified “policy violations”.
A document, released by the town in response to Freedom of Information requests, suggested that Tappe showed up to a fire scene intoxicated.
Work is under way on the new Bethel police headquarters. Crews cleared the site to prepare for foundation excavation. The driveway for the new facility would be on Judd Avenue with an emergency entrance on Route 302. The project will more than double the size of the current police station, built in 1974.
Connecticut lawmakers want to ensure the Department of Transportation does not decide on its own to contribute to a multi-state study into the possibility of taxing motorists based on the amount of miles they drive.
The Senate voted unanimously yesterday in favor of legislation requiring the agency to seek approval from the General Assembly before spending any state money on studies and other activities looking into a mileage-based user fee.
The bill now awaits action in the House of Representatives.
Wilton Senator Toni Boucher says the legislation officially puts an end to this debate. She said the state doesn’t need to study something that Connecticut taxpayers are against.
Connecticut was awarded a federal grant to launch a pilot mileage tax program so long as the state invested a matching $300,000. Boucher called it disturbing that, as a co-chair the Transportation Committee, she learned about this grant from an article in the Washington Post and not from the DOT or the administration.
To add insult to injury, Boucher pointed out that it ignored the Transportation committee's rejection of the 2015 Governor’s Transportation Finance Task Force's mileage driven proposal.
Because such a tax would involve some way of monitoring driving activity, Boucher says it not only represented another tax on an already over-taxed public, it represented a government intrusion into their lives.
She called for House passage, saying that Connecticut can not become the first state in the nation to monitor taxpayers’ every move and tax them on every mile they drive.
Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra will not seek re-election in November after the 75-year-old Republican finishes her fourth term.
Governor Dannel Malloy says Llodra will be remembered as a remarkable leader who brought stability, peace and unity to her community in its darkest hours. Llodra was a key figure in coordinating the town's response to the shooting at Sandy Hook School.
She later testified before the legislature about lessons learned in dealing with things such as the mental-health needs of the community, the massive influx of donations, and the overwhelming media coverage of the shooting.
Governor Malloy said, “Pat Llodra is a remarkable leader who puts the needs of her constituents and neighbors above everything else. During the town’s darkest hours, Pat worked day in and day out to bring stability, peace, and unity when her community needed it most. Having spent many hours with her in the weeks and months that followed, she became a true and trusted friend, and I thank her for her partnership during those trying times. There’s no doubt that her service to the Town of Newtown will forever be regarded as courageous, compassionate, and resilient.”
Lt. Governor Wyman said, “I want to thank Pat for her service to the people of Newtown, particularly her tirelessness and empathy when tragedy struck the community. She is a true public servant and excellent civic leader. I wish her only the best.”
Several area police departments are looking to hire. The application deadline for the Brookfield Police Department is June 5th. The deadline for Ridgefield is July 25th. Testing will begin in August 2017. The department is anticipating one opening and creating an eligibility list. The Danbury Police Department is holding a Recruiting Campaign Kick-Off Event. It will take place on the 30th at 2pm in the Danbury Police Department Community Room.
The U.S. Census Bureau is out with new population data. Danbury was one of just 4 of the state's large cities to gain residents from 2015 to 2016. Danbury added 756 residents, a .90-percent gain. The Census defines large cities as having populations higher than 50,000.
Of towns under that threshold, Bethel had the second largest increase in the state.
Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says there's several factors for the growth which he called a slow, steady and manageable growth. He first cited the school system, which is gaining in reputation as it's recognized regionally and nationally in several hours. He called Bethel a close knit town with a lot of amenities that people are seeking. The town is close to the highway, along the rail line, has a downtown shopping districts and a variety of restaurants.
Knickerbocker noted that compared to other Fairfield County municipalities, Bethel is the most affordable small town on this side of the state. While there's been a lot of new housing development in Bethel, Knickerbocker says it's also families turning over existing homes. He says empty-nesters are selling their homes to new families, which makes for a vibrant community.
Nationally, Connecticut is third for population losses, and ranks 29th in the country for total population.
Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra has announced that she will not be seeking reelection. Llodra told the Newtown Bee that after her four terms, she is ready to end her career as her community's top elected official. Llodra was first elected in a four-way race in 2009 and plans to spend more time with her family.
She told the Bee about the progress that she's helped usher in over the last eight years. Llodra talked about Hawleyville sewer installation, renovations at the Fairfield Hills campus and creation of a skate park. She also presided over the demolition and rebuilding of Sandy Hook Elementary School. Llodra also discussed in the published report construction of the Sandy Hook Fire & Rescue substation, and the new Hook & Ladder headquarters, the new volunteer ambulance station, the dog park and animal control facility, Eichler’s Cove recreational area, and streetscape improvements.
Llodra also talked about the lessons learned from devastating storms that have hit the region in recent years. During her time leading the town, Newtown's bond rating was increased to AAA status.
State, local and federal law enforcement officers came together yesterday for the 29th annual Connecticut Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony held at the Connecticut Police Academy. The names of two fallen officers are being added to the memorial, including Detective William E. Hull Sr. of the Danbury Police Department.
(Danbury Police delegation)
Law enforcement officers from across the state honored the 140 Connecticut state, local and federal law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty.
(Photos: Conn. State Police)
Yesterday's ceremony also honored the family members of the fallen who were in attendance.
5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty has issued a statement about the Congressional Budget Office report on Affordable Care Act replacement passed with only GOP support. Esty said she heard from constituents concerned that it would risk their loved ones’ health and ruin them financially. She says the CBO report confirms their worst fears. Esty says it was completely irresponsible for the House to pass this bill without a full understanding of the effect it would have on American families. She previously acknowledged that the Affordable Care Act has problems, but called on her colleagues to work together to fix that measure.
A new 100-foot flagpole has been raised in Danbury. It stands on a large traffic island between Danbury Library and the new Naugatuck Valley Community College building. The Civil War monument on the green was recently refurbished as well.
Engineers lowered the new pole into a 12-foot hole with the help of a crane yesterday.
(Photo: Mayor Boughton)
The old flagpole was rusted out and some of the bolts were also rusted.
Mayor Mark Boughton says a large community event will be planned for the dedication, similar to what was done in 1937. The dedication ceremony will be held on Flag Day. The city plans to fly the flag until Memorial Day and then take it down until the June 14th ceremony.
Councilman Tom Saadi pointed out that 2017 will be the 80th anniversary of when the Grand Army of the Republic dedicated that flagpole.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The state Senate passed a bill early Wednesday allowing a new satellite casino to be built by two Native American tribes in East Windsor, but it's doubtful it will clear the House. Majority Leader Matt Ritter confirmed Wednesday that the bill cannot pass the House in its current form.
Some lawmakers want to create a competitive process for a potentially lucrative state casino license that would allow other entities to develop a casino. Others oppose expanded gambling in general. And there are legislators who want some assurances that off-track betting facilities in their districts will be protected with the prospect of increased competition.
MGM is suing Connecticut over the current process, claiming it's unfair to outside casino developers to grant exclusive casino rights to the two tribes. The company has expressed interest in opening a casino in southwestern Connecticut to capture the New York City market.
On Wednesday, the Kent-based Schaghticoke Tribal Nation, which wants to open its own casino, announced it "will have no alternative" but to sue the state if the legislation allowing the two federally recognized tribes to open the $200 million-to-$300 million East Windsor facility prevails.
Governor Dannel Malloy, who has not pushed for casino expansion, has said he's now inclined to support the tribal casino bill over an open bidding process.
The Brookfield Board of Selectmen has signed off on an application for a state matching grant program for elderly and demand response transportation. The yearly program provides funds for transportation of seniors and persons with disabilities to each municipality based on the land area and population of those over age 60.
Selectman Marty Flynn asked if the town is picking up part of the cost since the grant pays for half. First Selectman Steve Dunn says this is for programs already in place. The town is not planning to expand the program at this time.
Dunn noted that Brookfield has the largest percentage of elderly people in the state by population.
He says sometimes municipalities will get an accessible van to help with transportation, but that it's not currently needed. At some point Dunn says the town may need to get an accessible van, but noted that it would ramp up expenses because of drivers and other related costs.
The New Milford Zoning Commission met Tuesday night to discuss changes to the former John Pettibone School as town officials look to convert the building into a community center. Parks and Recreation, Social Services and the Youth Agency could be housed in the facility.
The changes were to the parking area, raising the total number of spots to 120. Sidewalks and landscaping were outlined.
The next Zoning Commission meeting is set for June 13th.
The Newstimes reports that the heads of the departments slated to move in spoke in favor of the idea at Tuesday's meeting. They said that their current facilities are too small for staff and program participants, they lack technology and aren't air conditioned.
The New Milford Sewer Commission has tabled a discussion on a proposed sewer rate increase.
The Newstimes reports that the Water Pollution Control Authority Superintendent threatened to quit Monday night if the town doesn't cap the amount of waste taken into the treatment plant because it will violate state permits if the volume continues on the current pace.
The cap was eventually approved Monday. The published report says Superintendent Michael Finoia could lose his license and be criminally charged if he knowingly allows the facility to accept more septic waste than permitted.
The Sewer Commission has a massive debt owed to the town from the 2012 plant upgrade.
The Newtown Inland Wetlands Commission is holding a public hearing tonight about the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation's proposal to build an animal sanctuary off Old Farm Road. The foundation, named for a girl killed on 12-14, is looking to develop the 34 acre property at Fairfield Hills.
Plans call for a water course crossing via a driveway, altering about 750-feet of wetlands. Tonight's presentation and discussion is set for 7:30pm at the Newtown Municipal Center.
An environmental review is being conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The sanctuary would includes a community garden, with a farm-to-table cafe. Hiking and dog walking trails would also be included at the site. Two barns, paddocks, an amphitheater and educational facilities have also been proposed. The project also includes a veterinary center.
Easton Library is holding a Grand Opening event for their new Innovation Space. The center is being called Easton Library's new do-it-yourself space. Demonstrations will be held tonight during the event of the craft space, the technology can be explored by patrons and residents can learn about all things STEM--science, technology, math and science. Easton Library officials say they are starting on a small scale and hope the space becomes a destination for people to create, collaborate and share. The Innovation Space grand opening is set for 6:30 tonight.
Members of Connecticut's Congressional delegation are reacting to President Trump's budget proposal.
5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty is calling on her colleagues to start from scratch on a budget plan. Esty says the goal should be to expand economic opportunity in Connecticut and across the country, protect air and water, supports children and seniors, and makes the country safer.
4th District Congressman Jim Himes chairs the New Democrat Coalition.
He says the budget proposal should be a visionary document or how to create good paying jobs, promote opportunity for all, and keep America safe. He says the proposal spends billions on defense while ransacking investments in jobs, education, clean energy and lifesaving medical research. Himes says New Democrats believe any budget document should put the country's finances on a sustainable trajectory. He says the budget proposal is full of reckless and radical cuts that damage this country's ability to advance and protect America's interests in the world.
State lawmakers are moving closer toward changing Connecticut's constitution to allow people to cast their ballots before Election Day. The House voted 78-70 in favor of the proposed constitutional amendment. It now awaits action in the Senate.
The bill needed 114 votes Tuesday for the question to automatically appear on the 2019 ballot. Voters will be asked in 2020 to approve such a change if both chambers pass the bill again next year by a simple majority
New Milford Representative Bill Buckbee voiced concern that it could be confusing and lead to voting mistakes. Some lawmakers said that added voting days would put financial strain on towns.
While the bill allows the General Assembly to determine the details of early voting, it provides an overall framework, such as limits on when the voting can occur.
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill says Connecticut will join the majority of other states if it ultimately allows early voting.
The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission is moving on to the next phases of planning now that a land deed has been signed and filed.
According to minutes of their meeting earlier this month, the group is starting to talk about what needs to be included in a request for proposals. First Selectman Pat Llodra brought three templates with her to the meeting for members to look at. She suggested that outlining what the memorial is about is important because it will give designers background on what the Commission is looking for.
Some money donated to Newtown after 12-14 was specifically earmarked for a memorial. In order to pay for the balance of the project, there are some options. The Commission discussed having it be either town funded or donor funded, with a third possibility of partnering with the town while also raising donations.
The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission will next meet on June 8th.
The state Senate took a big step in expanding gambling approving a new satellite casino to be built by the two federally recognized Native American tribes.
The measure passed 24 to 12 after debate, and still requires approval by the House. Governor Dannel Malloy says this bill is the only casino measure he would consider signing.
Supporters of the bill say it would create more than 1,200 permanent jobs, while opponents say the state is risking a legal problem by granting a monopoly on gambling to Native American tribes on nontribal land.
Senators crossed party lines to vote for the measure, with both Democrats and Republicans voting in support of the bill.
Danbury state Senator Mike McLachlan reluctantly voted in favor of the bill. He said he would give it a chance' despite having reservations about the casino. But he cautioned that his support was because of the location. McLachlan noted that he does not want to be back in three or four years to find people saying a casino is needed in Danbury. He also asked his colleagues when the state is going to stop chasing easy money like this.
Among those voting against the bill were Wilton Senator Toni Boucher; Craig Miner, whose district includes New Milford; Tony Hwang, whose district includes Newtown; and Eric Berthel, whose district includes Southbury.
A bill that would expand protections for pregnant women in the workplace was approved by the state House yesterday.
Under the bill, employers would be required to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers, such as allowing them to sit while working or take more frequent breaks. The bill also prohibits employers from limiting or segregating a pregnant employee in a way that would deny her employment opportunities.
Wilton Representative Tom O'Dea opposed the bill. He says the intent is laudable, but predicted it will lead to lawsuits. O'Dea, a lawyer, says this will make it harder for small businesses to make money and survive.
New Fairfield Representative Richard Smith, also a lawyer, says this bill is good for the lawyers but it's not good for small businesses.
The bill passed on a 130 to 20 vote. It now moves to the Senate for further action.
Danbury has been trying to buy street lights from Eversource Energy so they can be converted to LEDs.
Currently, if bulbs are broken, the city still pays energy costs for them. With the LED bulbs, the city would only pay for the energy it used.
Eversource hasn't yet told the City how many street lights there are. The utility wants to go out at night to count the ones that are lit. City Finance Director David St. Hilaire says it could be late summer by the time the street lights are counted. The current street light replacement program is budgeted at $200,000.
During the replacement, technology could be installed to create free WiFi zones for access by students at Naugatuck Valley Community College and WestConn, library patrons and downtown businesses. The WiFi initiative, dubbed ConnectHatCity, was proposed by Mayor Mark Boughton during his state of the city address in December 2014.
Boughton previously estimated it would cost $3 million to buy the light poles from Eversource.
The New Milford Public Works Director gave an update to the Town Council last night about the clean up of the former Century Brass mill site. Lead paint, PCBs and asbestos have been found at the site, which New Milford started cleaning up nearly two decades ago. The town acquired the land off Housatonic Avenue in 1999.
Town officials say they're optimistic that remediation will be completed by the 2020 deadline.
The Newstimes reports that demolition began in October, but the town is waiting for approval from the Environmental Protection Agency to remove steel from the site.
Michael Zarba told the Council that their biggest obstacle will be determining if contaminants are in the nearby river and how to address them.
A pre-hearing conference was held this morning by the Connecticut Siting Council about an application for a telecommunications facility on Morehouse Road in Easton. Homeland Towers LLC and Verizon Wireless have filed for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need. The 157-foot tower would be a faux branch top tower. A public hearing will be held in Easton next month on the proposal.
A program has been launched in Danbury that will allow 150 residents served by a private well system to have their drinking water analyzed free of charge. In Connecticut, private well owners are responsible for testing the quality of their own drinking water and maintaining their own wells, but the City's Department of Health & Human Services is looking to give residents the best access to resources for their wellbeing.
The well water analysis will be performed at a licensed State Certified Laboratory and will test for: total coliform, nitrate, nitrite, pH level, odor, chloride, hardness, apparent color, sulfate, turbidity, iron, and manganese. Residents also have the option to add a test for lead for a fee from the laboratory.
Residents can request this service by contacting the Department of Health & Human services at 203-797- 4625.
Following this program, the City will begin subsidizing the cost of private well water analyses.
The winners of the 2017 Congressional Art Competition for Connecticut's Fifth District have been selected. A sophomore at Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury took the top prize. Shannon Rupar made a watercolor painting titled “Farmer’s Market.”
Rupar's piece will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. for the next year and she will have the opportunity to fly to Washington, D.C., for the national reception in June honoring winners from districts across the country.
Molly Humphreys, a senior at Nonnewaug, received Honorable Mention for her piece, “Stage-Lights in a New Light,” a charcoal piece on paper. Her piece will remain on display at the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury. Humphreys was the 2016 Fifth Congressional District Art Competition winner.
A total of 115 pieces of artwork were submitted this year in the 5th District, with students' submissions coming from 13 different schools. Winners were chosen by a panel of local judges. Since its inception in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students nationwide have participated in the annual Congressional Art Competition.
This is the fifth consecutive year in which Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty has organized the local competition.
A record amount of donations came in during the Postal Service's annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive held last week. Coordinator Dennis Sideropolous says With 137,000 pounds of non-perishable items collected, Coordinator Dennis Sideropolous says local food banks will benefit greatly.
The United Way and Salvation Army are processing the items for distribution. Last year, approximately 121,000 pounds of food was collected in the Greater Danbury area.
Sideropolous says the timing of the food drive is important because food banks are running low on items donated during Thanksgiving and Christmas, at the same time that schools are dismissing and children won't have access to free or reduced price meals.
In a speech on the House floor, 5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty called on her colleagues to come together and pass a bipartisan plan to rebuild America's crumbling infrastructure. The Vice Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said at the end of the day, infrastructure is about jobs. But more importantly, she said infrastructure improvement is about getting people to work safely and on time.
Esty spoke about specific areas of improvement that need to be made, including to roads, bridges, rail, airports, clean water, wastewater, and internet connectivity.
Esty said looking into public and private partnerships could be a viable way to make improvements, but added that the job can't be outsourced to financiers. If that were the case. Esty said the private sector would have already made the improvements.
Danbury could donate the Mallory Hat site to the Women's Center for a new transitional housing center. A City Council Committee met Monday night to review the donation of city owned property at 89 Rose Hill Avenue.
Mayor Mark Boughton says the property does contain a level of environmental contamination, but wants the City to work with the Women's Center to seek grants and other funding opportunities to make the project happen.
The Women's Center hired an environmental engineer to assess the property, and it was determined that the clean up will cost $700,00 to $800,000. Boughton told them that the City doesn't have that kind of money on hand, and that it wouldn't be appropriate for the City to foot the bill for a non-profit. He noted that if the City did that for one, they would have to do it for all. But if the Women's Center can get the property cleaned up, Boughton says it would be appropriate for Danbury to sell the land to the Women's Center for $1.
The Women's Center hired a lobbyist who has spoken with Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, and others at the Office of Policy and Management, about a special grant fund they have to clean properties. They don't have a final committment yet, but Boughton says if a grant can be secured Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola will oversee and manage the clean up. Once it's certified for use, and the City Council gives the ok, they can transfer the property to the Women's Center.
Another challenge is that there is a viaduct under the property, which Boughton believes is near 100 years old. He says no business is likely to be interested in the land because they wouldn't be able to build over that structure. The viaduct limits the build-ability to about 2.5 acres. Danbury issued several requests for proposals from businesses over the years, but there weren't any takers. At one point, the owner of nearby Fairfield Processing asked the City to hold off on looking into bids because they were thinking about expanding. Those plans have since changed because their business changed.
The Women's Center raised $4 million in capital fund to build the transitional housing.
The Women's Center has provided a safe haven to victims of domestic and sexual violence since its founding in 1975. The Center serves 20,000 people in northern Fairfield and southern Litchfield Counties each year.
Danbury-based FuelCell Energy is entering into a power purchase agreement with Trinity College in Hartford. FuelCell will install a 1.4 megawatt fuel cell power plant, projected to save the college approximately 30 percent in annual energy costs.
The combined heat and power fuel cell plant will be located adjacent to the school’s athletic center, and will generate a continuous supply of on-site electricity and steam for the campus. This installation could lead to future implementation of a micro-grid for the campus.
Trinity College will pay for power as it is produced, avoiding a capital investment in power generation. Minimizing use of boilers for steam reduces operating costs for the College as well as reducing associated emissions from the combustion-based heating process.
A Danbury company was featured yesterday by Senator Chris Murphy for his so-called Monday Manufacturer. RK Manufacturing is a family-owned company that was founded in 1978. They design and manufacture machine tools and medical devices.
The Danbury manufacturer provides custom tooling and fixtures, and works with established medical companies and life science startups to provide sterile and nonsterile sutures, bone anchors, spinal implants, and other innovative medical devices. All of RK Manufacturing’s medical devices are produced in a specialized cleanroom with a controlled environment.
RK Manufacturing employs 120 Connecticut workers out of their 57,000 square foot facility. Over the last six years, they have experienced an average continued growth of 30 percent, and increased the capacity of their cleanroom by 35 percent.
Connecticut's 4,600 manufacturers account for 10% of the state’s jobs and 87% of the state’s total exports. In order to protect and grow manufacturing jobs in Connecticut, Murphy has introduced two pieces of legislation that aim to strengthen existing standards and prioritize the purchase of American-made goods, the 21st Century Buy American Act and the American Jobs Matter Act.
A bill setting standards for school officials searching student cell phones and other electronic devices has been approved by the state House. One opponent suggested that students not bring a phone to school or to leave it in a locker. Danbury Representative Bob Godfrey told the Courant that the thinking is an outdated approach to technology. He said smart phones, iPads and other devices are sometimes used for legitimate purposes during the day. The bill prevents school officials from taking a personal electronic device unless they have reasonable suspicion the student violated school policy. The bill also limits any subsequent search. The measure now moves to the Senate.
Blue-green algae blooms are likely this summer. That warning from the Lake Zoar Authority. Exposure in high levels is a suspected cause of illness as severe as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The authority says the neurodegenerative disease can be fatal to pets and livestock. Runoff from fertilizer, chemicals and waste elevates the blooms. They float on the surface of the water and look like green paint. A dry season intensifies the toxicity whereas a rainy climate dilutes the presence of the bacteria-like growth.
About 200 acres of Schaghticoke Mountain burned in a brush fire last week before firefighters were able to extinguish the flames. 17 departments helped keep the blaze contained in a remote area near the Appalachian Trail in Kent.
The fire, which broke out Wednesday, disturbed the dens of the Timber rattlers, and well over a dozen snakes were spotted fleeing the heat, including one that slithered between the legs of a firefighter.
Now that the fire is out, wildlife experts will go in looking to rescue any injured snakes.
Graduation ceremonies were this weekend for a number of higher education institutions in Connecticut, including for Western Connecticut State University students.
The 119th Commencement was held at the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport on Sunday. More than 1,200 undergraduates, 112 masters and 8 doctoral degrees were awarded. This is the third consecutive year that the ceremony will take place at the Fairfield County venue.
Graduating senior Madiha Khan, of Danbury, delivered the Keynote Address. During the ceremony, Khan received a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry, Biochemistry option. She is one of two WCSU students to receive this year’s Connecticut State Colleges and Universities Henry Barnard Distinguished Student Award.
Presidential Medals were awarded to WCSU alumnus Attorney Robert Yamin and Danbury Probate Judge Dianne Yamin.
The Danbury Police Department will be conducting a Click It or Ticket Campaign heading into the summer driving season. The increased enforcement will take place starting today and continuing through June 4th.
The Danbury Police Department will ramp up patrolling and be on the lookout for seat belt violations. With Memorial Day weekend approaching, the department intends to promote safe driving and increase protection for motorists.
With more vehicles on the roadway, Spokesman Lt. Christian Carroccio says this means more potential for more crashes and more fatalities. He says wearing a seat belt is the single most effective way to save your life while on the road.
Manufacturing & Technology Day was held at the State Capitol this week.
Bethel state Representative Will Duff met with pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim. BI has three business areas; human pharmaceuticals, animal health and biopharmaceutical contract manufacturing. Duff called Boehringer Ingelheim an essential economic engine in the Greater Danbury region, providing over 2000 jobs and indirect employment to thousands more.
New Milford Representative Bill Buckbee met with several businesses and organizations related to state manufacturing. He discussed the industry and its role in the state's economy. Buckbee said manufacturers face a unique set of issues, stifling regulation and off-shore competition. He wants to offer more incentives for locally manufactured products to be used in state projects relating to aerospace, defense, and infrastructure.
More than forty Connecticut manufacturers exhibited their products and services at the State Capitol as part of a Manufacturing & Technology Day celebration. According to the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, more than one-half of the top 100 companies headquartered in Connecticut are manufacturing firms.
Newtown Youth and Family Services held an open house event this week showcasing recent renovations to the facility. State Representative Mitch Bolinsky visited and noted that the community depends on the services and programs offered at NYFS.
He touted the organization for coordinating with other community resources and outside-the-box therapy disciplines, in addition to their regularly-scheduled preventative interpersonal and safety programs.
(Photo: Bolinsky speaks with Matt Ariniello, NYFS Operations and Development)
The recent renovations will provide more space for NYFS to administer the programs and services. NYFS is a licensed, non-profit, mental health clinic and youth services bureau dedicated to helping children and families by providing programs, services, activities, counseling, support groups and education throughout the Greater Newtown area.
Danbury Day was held at the state Capitol this week. Legislators set up a reincarnation of the Danbury State Fair to celebrate the Hat City's history. Freshman lawmaker Michael Ferguson volunteered to organize the annual event that in addition to featuring fair food, honored four community members and the principals of Danbury's schools of distinction.
Representative Bob Godfrey presented General Assembly citations to Danbury NAACP President Glenda Armstrong and Danbury Nurses Union President Mary Consoli for their lifelong dedication to the improvement of Danbury. Senator Mike McLachlan presented General Assembly citations to CityCenter Danbury founder Frank Capiello and Rizzo Companies founder and CEO Anthony Rizzo Sr. for their years of service to the city and its residents.
Representative David Arconti said he hopes those who attended the event will be motivated to visit and learn more about Danbury. Attending his first Danbury Day at the Capitol, Representative Will Duff said the event was an opportunity to showcase the positive aspects Connecticut’s seventh largest city and celebrate its diverse culture Representative Stephen Harding touted Danbury for its rich history, culture, and economy.
Representative Richard Smith said he hopes that having six city schools named as Schools of Distinction will show businesses that Danbury is committed to education and can provide the workforce they need. The schools and principals honored are Ellsworth Avenue School with Dr. Anna Rocco, Hayestown Avenue School with Stephanie Furman, Mill Ridge Primary School with Dr. Mary Cronin, Morris Street School with Bill Santarsiero, and South Street School with Heather Pellicone. A sixth school, Park Avenue School with principal David Krafick was not present to accept a citation.
A Danbury student has been selected to receive the 8th Grade Excellence in Citizenship Award from Secretary of the State Denise Merrill. Broadview Middle Schooler Charlie Wimer was chosen for his volunteer service to the community, involvement in citizenship or character building organizations, good scholastic record, and leadership ability to motivate others to act to benefit the community.
One eighth-grade student from each participating school is selected who demonstrates the qualities of active participation in civic or community activities, good scholarship and school involvement.
School officials say Wimer has been a leader the Unified Sports program where he exemplifies the qualities of acceptance, kindness and inclusion. He has prepared and presented schoolwide events and grade-level assemblies for the programs of the Sandy Hook Promise. He was a key organizer for the Danbury Middle School Leadership Conference. He is also a straight-A student.
Following a minor Metro North train derailment on the New Haven line yesterday, officials are renewing their calls for implementation of Positive Train Control.
A dozen people were injured when 5 of the train cars left the tracks around 5:15pm in Rye, New York as the passengers traveled to Connecticut. Four people were hospitalized for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. Eight others refused medical attention.
Senator Richard Blumenthal says it's been nearly a full decade since Congress first mandated the basic technology. He called on Metro North to investigate if PTC could have prevented or mitigated this latest incident. Blumenthal also wants Metro North to explain how a train in a low-speed area jumped the tracks, injured passengers, and triggered delays throughout the system. The railroad is facing a December 2018 deadline to install the technology.
PTC was first urged by the National Transportation Safety Board in 1970 after a train collision in Darien. It's a GPS-based system designed to prevent certain types of train accidents caused by human factors. In 2008, Congress mandated railroads install PTC by the end of 2015; however, Congress extended the deadline to 2020 last year.
A Stranger Danger class is being held in Monroe elementary schools following an incident earlier this week in which a Stepney School student just getting off the bus was approached by a couple in a minivan. Monroe Police say a Stranger Danger class was held this past fall. The next round will begin next week. The Detective Division continues to investigate leads in the case while the patrol division remains on the lookout for the couple. Monroe Police are reminding residents to talk with their child about strangers.
The 2017 Mothers Against Drunk Driving awards have been presented. This is the 2nd year in a row that Monroe Officer Michael Johnson has been a recipient for his efforts to keep drunk and drugged drivers off the roads. Redding Officer Michael Livingston was honored for his DWI enforcement activities during the midnight shift.
Homelessness in Danbury has dropped 12-percent over the past year. The result was part of a report by the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness on their annual Point in Time Count. 110 people were determined to be homeless in January during the the count. This is the third year in a row that homelessness has gone down in Danbury.
Coalition Executive Director Lisa Tepper-Bates says a separate count of homeless youth in Connecticut was also conducted. 4,396 people under the age of 25 are homeless, or facing severe housing instability. She noted that the practice of couch surfing is very dangerous, and this is an issue they hope to address soon.
Tepper-Bates says coordinating resources and ending duplicated efforts by municipalities and non-profits has led to the overall decline.
New Fairfield officials have scheduled a special town meeting to decided on a proposed ordinance aimed at stopping a plan to use herbicides in Candlewood Lake. The meeting is set for 7pm on May 30th.
The group Candlewood Voices filed two petitions calling for a townwide vote whenever chemicals were proposed to go into the lake. The Board of Selectmen met yesterday on the revised petition, after calling the first one unlawful and not subject to an ordinance that would have triggered a special town meeting.
New Fairfield scaled back its plans to only add a milfoil-killing herbicide to 10 acres at Shelter Harbor Cove, down from a proposed 60 acres.
Candlewood Voices co-founder Carolyn Rowan says even that plan sets a bad precedent for use of chemicals in the lake.
A brush fire is still burning in Kent. The blaze broke out Wednesday in a remote location near the Appalachian Trail on Schaghticoke Mountain. The fire consumed more than 60 acres by yesterday afternoon.
The fire had spread to some rattlesnake habitats and officials say the displaced snakes made for a challenge to an already difficult response. Firefighters have to carry in water to try to contain the flames. The timber rattlesnakes are venomous, but there have not been any reports of bites.
Four firefighters have been injured while fighting the blaze.
The cause of the fire remains unknown at this time.
The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has recognized several Environmental Conservation Police Officers and others for their work in protecting residents and the environment.
A Unit Citation was awarded in recognition of the collective effort by members of a district. EnCon Officers Edward Yescott, Erin Flockhart, K9 Ellie, and Sergeant Tate Begley received the recognition for the response to an incident in Kent. The Western District EnCon officers apprehended a convicted felon in possession of a firearm as part of a long term investigation into illegal poaching activity occurring on National Parks Service property.
A medal for outstanding service was presented to Sergeant Tate Begley for his response to a report of a possible missing female hiker on the Appalachian Trail in Kent. The response turned into a drug bust of a disheveled male hiker.
When Begley approached, the man dropped his gear and jumped off a cliff into the Housatonic River. Begley apprehended him on the opposite side of the river. During the foot pursuit the man dumped a container believed to contain heroin in the river. The suspect, Justin Kyle Hoffman, was subsequently arrested for an incident involving unwanted sexual advances of teenage girls at a private school not far from his camp.
Among the awards was the Boating Officer of the Year.
Officer Joseph Ruggiero, a 22-year veteran of the Environmental Conservation Police force, was this year's recipient. Officer Ruggiero has conducted patrols on Connecticut’s busiest waters during that time, including the Housatonic Rivers, and many lakes, ponds and most of Long Island Sound. He was originally assigned in his earlier years to the Western Marine sector. DEEP officials say his dedication to conservation law enforcement and the public’s boating safety continues to be outstanding.
5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty has released a statement about the appointment of a Special Counsel in the investigation into possible Russian interference in the election.
Esty says the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller is an immensely positive step toward determining the facts and preventing future attacks on our democratic institutions. She added that the American people deserve to know the full scope of Russia’s activities, including who within the United States may have participated.
4th District Congressman Jim Himes has also released a statement.
Himes said Mueller brings with him two vital factors: a reputation as a man of the highest integrity, honesty and fairness and the widespread respect of the entire FBI. Himes said he's optimistic that under this new leadership the FBI will be able to carry on its vital work.
Himes added that during the House Intelligence Committee's investigation into Russian interference in the election and possible links to the Trump campaign, the concurrent FBI investigation brought needed manpower and resources.
A light bulb swap is being held at Danbury City Hall on Saturday. Residents can bring incandescent light bulbs and exchange them for new, LED bulbs, free of charge. Proof of city residency will be required.
Residents can bring up to five incandescent light bulbs in any condition and exchange them for the energy-efficient bulbs, while supplies last. Energy experts from Eversource will be on-hand to answer questions and provide information on how to save energy at home.
The light bulb swap Saturday is from 10am to 2pm.
Danbury has been a Clean Energy Community through Energize Connecticut since 2014. Eversource is working with Danbury to help the City reduce municipal building energy consumption by 20 percent by 2018.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The Connecticut State Colleges and Universities leader is warning that campuses may close if the system's budget is cut to the degree suggested by the governor and state lawmakers.
CSCU President Mark Ojakian said Wednesday that recently revised budget proposals from Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Republican and Democratic lawmakers include cuts ranging from an additional $5.4 million to the state universities and $19 million to the community colleges to upward of $90 million to the overall system.
Malloy and legislative leaders, who began budget talks Wednesday, updated their respective budget proposals to accommodate a larger-than-expected deficit for next fiscal year. It has grown from $1.7 billion to $2.3 billion.
Besides closing campuses, Ojakian says CSCU may have to eliminate certain student services and make significant workforce reductions.
It's now a waiting game for a group of lake advocates to see if a second petition will change New Fairfield official's minds about adding herbicides to Candlewood Lake. A group calling itself “Candlewood Voices” wants a townwide vote whenever officials want to use chemicals in the lake.
According to New Fairfield's ordinances, a petition garnering more than 20 signatures from registered voters must be discussed in a special meeting of the Board of Selectmen. But that only happens if it's for a lawful purpose. The Selectmen got a legal opinion stating that having votes on using chemicals in the lake could frustrate existing state regulations and infringe on the health director's authority.
Candlewood Voices Co-founder Carolyn Rowan says a revised petition was started to overcome the legal objection.
New Fairfield scaled back its plans to only add a milfoil-killing herbicide to 10 acres at Shelter Harbor Cove. The original proposal called for adding herbicides to 60 acres and to use copper sulfate in 160 acres. That would have been an effort to treat blue-green algae.
Rowan says adding herbicides to a small portion of the lake is a dangerous precedent, noting that the company's goal is to show that the lake needs chemicals.
Western Connecticut State University has earned accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Theatre. The NAST Commission on Accreditation notification of the university’s acceptance marks the completion of a process that began in the fall 2014.
The peer review of the university and its theatre program represented the first time that Western has sought NAST accreditation. WestConn is just the second Connecticut higher education institution to be granted accreditation by NAST.
Officials say the opening of the Visual and Performing Arts Center in fall 2014 provided the necessary teaching and performance facilities to achieve NAST accreditation.
There is a large brush fire on Schaghticoke Mountain in Kent. 10 fire departments have responded to the scene.
Officials with the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection say the fire is in a remote location along the Appalachian Trail. The statewide forest fire danger is moderate today, and there are some high wind gusts.
(Photo: Litchfield County 911, Twitter)
Firefighters from Bantam, Kent, Goshen, Harwinton, Lakeville, Norfolk, Sherman, Sharon, and Warren, along with a crew from Dover Plains, New York, have all responded to the fire.
The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is being called a big success in the Greater Danbury area. Postal Service food drive coordinator Dennis Sideropolous says food is still coming in. The United Way and Salvation Army are processing the donations to distribute to local food banks. Sideropolous says there was a great participation in Bethel and Ridgefield this year. Last year, approximately 121-thousand pounds of food was collected locally.
5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty has released a statement about recent reports about goings on in Washington . Esty says if true, President Trump's conduct has raised very serious and concerning questions that demand full and independent investigation.
Esty is referring to reports of classified national security information being shared with Russian officials and a possible effort to end an FBI investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. She called for subpoenas of any recordings that exist of relevant conversations.
Esty added that now is the moment for representatives to find the courage to put the good of the country before loyalty to party.
More progress was made yesterday on the Plumtrees Road bridge replacement and intersection realignment project in Bethel. The new section of Whittlesey Drive, which will make a 4-way intersection with Plumtrees and Walnut Hill roads, was paved yesterday. Plans call for activating the traffic light at the new intersection today and the new road opened tomorrow. The project is about 4 months ahead of schedule and could be wrapped up by June.
Westport Police have arrested a Danbury man twice in one week on drunk driving charges. Police stopped a car last Tuesday evening after the driver was seen swerving. 50-year old Bradford Brown failed field sobriety tests. Last Friday, Brown was stopped for driving a car he took from a Westport resident without permission. He refused to take field sobriety tests. Brown is due in court today on the first DUI and next week on the second DUI.
Southbury Police are looking for the public's help in solving a shop lifting incident that happened earlier this month at Stop & Shop. Several cases of Red Bull were reported stolen by a woman May 11th from the Stop & Shop located on Main St. North in Southbury.
The white female with blonde hair left the store without paying and entered a silver Jeep Cherokee that had a plaid blanket hanging in what appeared to be a broken rear window. The Jeep was driven by a white male.
Anyone with any information is asked to call Southbury Police Department at 203-264-5912. All calls/texts will be kept confidential.
The Brookfield budget passed on the first vote yesterday. The town and school plans passed by about a 2 to 1 margin.
A number of capital projects are planned at the schools. At the High School, the old gym floor will be refinished, a wireless clock system will be maintained and two bathrooms will be renovated. At the middle school, the stage floor will be refinished, cafeteria tables and chairs will be replaced and some flooring will also be replaced. Corridor ceiling tiles will be replaced at Huckleberry, while Center School will see clapboard siding replaced.
Unofficial numbers show the school budget passed on a vote of 1,221 to 645, with the town budget approved in a 1,263 to 589 vote.
By slim margins, New Milford residents approved a budget. The $38.2 million municipal plan was approved on a vote of 1,469 to 1,279. The $62.8 million school budget was approved 1,403 to 1,342, just 61 votes.
Voter turnout was nearly 17-percent.
The budget is about 1.2 percent more in spending over the current year.
The New Milford Superintendent of Schools has outlined where certain cuts would have to be made because the Board of Finance approved a budget smaller than they requested. There are also some unknowns when it comes to state education aid. The proposed school budget is still $1.1 million more than the current fiscal year.
The first place cuts will be made are to insurance and workmen's comp. The next year would be to put off new initiatives, including the purchase of a digital fingerprint scanner. Cuts will then be made to sports gear, field trips and personnel.
A public information meeting was held in Danbury last night by the state Department of Transportation. It was about the upcoming construction of Route 37 intersection improvements at Stacey Road and Barnum Road. The design of these projects is nearly complete and the public information meeting is being held to talk go over the construction and schedule.
The existing Stacey Road intersection is a “Y” type, controlled by two stop signs at both Stacey Road approaches to Route 37. This project will realign Stacey Road to form a signalized “T” type intersection with Route 37. Stacey Road will have a two-lane approach to Route 37. Route 37 will be realigned to have a gentler curve through the intersection and an exclusive southbound left-turn lane. Left-turn lanes will also be added. The estimated total cost of this project is approximately $5,100,000.
The existing Barnum Road intersection has a stop sign control at the approach to Route 37. Route 37's northbound shoulder will be widened to allow vehicles to pass those waiting to make a left turn onto Barnum Road. The Barnum Road southbound shoulder will be widened at its Route 37 intersection to allow right-turning traffic to pass vehicles waiting to make a left turn onto Route 37. No additional signalization is proposed. The estimated total cost of this project is approximately $1,500,000.
The sidewalk fronting the Stetson Place property will be extended north to the intersection at Barnum Road.
Construction is anticipated to begin in April and last 20 months. Route 37 will be temporarily widened to accommodate two lanes of through traffic during construction. Access to all driveways will be maintained at all times.
There are right-of-way impacts associated with these improvements including partial acquisition, permanent easements, temporary construction easements, and rights.
A presentation was made last night by Redding First Selectman Julia Pemberton about options to resolve financial problems with the former Gilbert and Bennett wire mill site. The property is owned by Georgetown Land Development Company.
Redding is owed $3.5 million in back taxes and $2.2 million sewer costs, with the fire district being owed $180,000.
The Newstimes reports that two options start with having the town and fire district assume control of the 55-acres through foreclosure and then either sell it to a private developer or maintain the land for public use. The last option discussed is reportedly to have the town assume ownership and all of the junior holders could write off their debts in exchange for part of the sale and future tax revenues.
Two Danbury High School students have accepted official appointments to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point. Joseph Waldron and Michael Halas were presented with their appointments at last week's Board of Education meeting by Major Nancy Bates.
West Point has an eight percent acceptance rate. Major Bates said it's extremely unusual for any school in the nation to have two students appointed in the same year. She called it a testament to the quality of the education and leadership that Danbury High School provides its students.
Waldron said he knew as a freshman that he wanted to go to West Point. Halas was scouted for attendance. Both men had grandparents in the service.
Each cadet receives a fully funded four-year scholarship that includes uniforms, health coverage, monthly salary, tuition, development opportunities, and room and board. Each cadet commits to five years’ service as a second lieutenant upon graduation followed by three years in the reserves.
A Danbury student has won first place in a statewide Martin Luther King, Jr. essay contest sponsored by Senator Chris Murphy. Broadview Middle School sixth-grader Caroline D’Angelo wrote essay her as an assignment for her social studies class.
D'Angelo wrote about the changes she believes would make a better world for everyone.
Murphy launched the essay contest this year to encourage young people to commit to making Dr. King’s dream and the dreams of their own a reality. Murphy’s office said it received thousands of entries for the statewide contest.
D'Angelo says justice and equality come to my mind whenever she sees people not being treated respectfully.
Over the last few weeks Water Witch Hose Company in New Milford says they have seen a spike in Carbon Monoxide Alarms. CO Detectors have a fuel cell or life span of five to seven years. Fire officials are calling on residents to check batteries regularly and if the system is hard wired--give the company a call to see if it's time for a swap. If the CO defector goes off, evacuate the house, but keep all windows and doors closed so firefighters can monitor and see if there are carbon monoxide levels in the home.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has released a revised two-year state budget that reduces aid by another $362 million in the first year to many Connecticut cities and towns while boosting funds for poorer communities, including Hartford.
The new proposal unveiled Monday also eliminates the state sales tax exemption on nonprescription drugs and increases the real estate conveyance tax rate on properties valued at more than $800,000.
Malloy revisited the two-year $40.6 billion budget he released in February after anticipated income tax revenues dropped sharply. It will be the basis for budget negotiations with legislators.
It comes after the projected deficit for the fiscal year starting July 1 jumped from $1.7 billion to $2.3 billion.
Malloy's plan still relies on $700 million in state employee concessions, which remain unsettled.
All funding is pulled for state-owned real property in Bethel, Bethlehem, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Easton, Kent, Monroe, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Redding, Ridgefield, Roxbury, Sherman, Southbury, Washington, Weston and Wilton.
Danbury is unchanged, but for colleges and hospitals Danbury received 1.25 million this year. Over the next two years, there is no funding allocated. In this category, New Milford received $89,000 but would be zeroed out over the next two years.
Town aid road grants remain the same under the Governor's original proposed budget for the next two years and his revised plan. Cities and towns will not be paid the state's share of slot machine revenues at the two tribal casinos under the revised plan.
Local Capital Improvement funding and adult education money proposals have not been changed in the latest budget revision.
Municipal Revenue Sharing Grants have been pulled.
The Education Cost Share program was overhauled. Special education is a separate allocation.
Bethel received $8,087,732 this year. The town was proposed to receive $4,209,487 in each of the next two fiscal years, but will now get $2,598,334. Special education funding each year under the revised plan is $1,447,507.
Brookfield received $1,417,583 this year. The town is proposed to receive no funding in each of the next two fiscal years.
Danbury received $31,290,480 this year. The town was proposed to receive $33,594,209 in each of the next two fiscal years, but will now get $31,442,996. Special education funding each year under the revised plan is $11,122,110.
New Fairfield received $4,338,569 this year. The town was proposed to receive $543,196 in each of the next two fiscal years, but will now not receive funding. Special education funding was also cancelled out.
New Milford received $11,832,806 this year. The town was proposed to receive $4,557,577 in each of the next two fiscal years, but will now get $2,126,347. Special education funding each year under the revised plan is $891,544.
Newtown received $4,893,944 this year. The town was proposed to receive $969,688 in each of the next two fiscal years, but will now not receive funding. Special education funding was also cancelled out.
Redding received $180,135 this year. The town was proposed to receive $16,000 in each of the next two fiscal years, and that is still the proposal under the revised plan. There is no special education funding being allocated.
Ridgefield received $571,648 this year. The town is proposed to receive no funding in each of the next two fiscal years.
Joel Barlow High School reopened today following a plumbing issue yesterday. The regional high school in Redding was closed yesterday because of a lack of water pressure when a pipe broke. That led to flooding in the water treatment system. The water supply issue has since been resolved.
Brookfield residents are voting on a budget today. The $40.8 million proposed school spending plan is coupled with an $18.6 million municipal budget proposal. Taxes will increase 1.8 percent under the plan.
The contingency fund includes about $700,000 for the schools, in case the legislature passes the governor's proposed cuts to aid. If Brookfield gets more state aid than anticipated, the contingency fund money will be placed into the general fund.
A number of capital projects are funded in the budget. They include vehicle replacement for the police department, road paving and improvements to Candlewood Fire and Center Fire stations.
New Milford residents are voting on a budget today. The municipal proposed budget is $38.2 million. The schools are asking for $62.8 million.
The New Milford Board of Finance rejected a plan approved by the Town Council which included $1.2 million in revenue from the sale of town properties and increasing the Sewer Commission's payments to the town. The Board of Finance also cut $1.5 million from the municipal budget because of a miscalculation, which double counted some revenue.
The New Milford Superintendent of Schools has outlined where certain cuts would have to be made because the Board of Finance approved a budget smaller than they requested. There are also some unknowns when it comes to state education aid. The proposed school budget is still $1.1 million more than the current fiscal year.
The first place cuts will be made are to insurance and workmen's comp. The next year would be to put off new initiatives , including the purchase of a digital fingerprint scanner. Cuts will then be made to sports gear, field trips and personnel.
Bethel is looking for some volunteers to work at the upcoming household hazardous waste drop-off day. Each participating town is required to send a few volunteers to help provide information, check IDs and direct cars to the drop off points. The collection day is May 20th, and will be held at the Newtown transfer station. Volunteers do not handle or touch any hazardous materials; only the employees of the waste disposal contractor perform that task. Bethel volunteers are asked to contact Kathy Galbis in the Department of Public Works office by calling 203-794-8549.
Brookfield firefighters responded to two back-to-back incidents late Saturday into the early morning hours yesterday. There was a utility pole fire near the "Graffiti Bridge" at the intersection of Junction Road and Stony Hill Road. The power was shut off by Eversource and the fire was extinguished quickly. Firefighters then were called to North Mountain Road on a report of a rollover accident. The single-car crash was called in around 1am.
A simulated Mass Casualty Drill was held this weekend in New Milford. Members of Water Witch Hose company, Gaylordsville fire department, and New Milford Ambulance participated. Officials say the simulated explosion, with multiple victims, allowed the departments to train and prepare. Members of New Milford's CERT team acted as the victims. Fire and EMS thanked Kimberly Clark for their hospitality during the event.
Joel Barlow High School in Redding is closed today because of a plumbing issue. All other schools in the district are open as usual. According to a post on the school's website, there is a broken pipe in the water treatment system. There is no water pressure in the Joel Barlow building.
Aquarion Water Company is starting a water main cleaning program today in Brookfield. The work will continue through Friday. The water main cleaning is scheduled between 8am and 5pm.
During that time, Aquarion customers may notice some discoloration in their water. This discoloration results from the temporary disturbance of the water flow, which stirs up naturally-occurring minerals that settle in water mains. Customers are encouraged to store tap water in the refrigerator ahead of time for drinking and cooking. If the water is discolored, customers should delay washing clothes until the water is clear.
Monday, May 15
Candlewood Lake Rd., Clover Ct., Dean Rd., Del Mar Dr., Federal Rd., Laurel Hill Rd., Meadow Brook Rd., N Mountain Rd., Oak Meadows Dr., Orchard St., Pocono Rd., Sandy Ln., Silvermine Rd., Station Rd.
Tuesday, May 16
Blackwood Rd., Deer Run Rd., Flax Hill Rd., Gereg Glenn Rd., Huckleberry Hill, Marilyn Rd., N Mountain Rd., Nature Ln., Oak Crest Dr., Old Hemlock Rd., Tommys Ln., Valley View Rd., Woodcreek Rd.
Wednesday, May 17
Boxwood Dr., Douglas Dr., Eastview Dr., Federal Rd., Knollcrest Dr., Ledgewood Dr., Pocono Rd., Pond View Dr., Production Dr., Silvermine Manor, Silvermine Rd., Stillwater Cir., Westview Ln., Whisconier Rd.
Thursday, May 18
Allen Rd., Bayberry Dr., Beech Tree Rd., Carriage Dr., Coach Dr., Deer Run Rd., Drover Rd., Els Hollow Rd., Greenridge Dr., Jackson Dr., Main Dr., Meadow Dr., Mist Hill Dr., Patricia Dr., Shirley Ct., Sulky Dr., Surrey Dr., Vista Dr.
State bond money has been approved for improvements at Henry Abbot Technical High School in Danbury. Nearly $243,000 will be used for the construction of a six-bay garage and the installation of a panic button. Transportation is one of the seven career clusters offered by the school, with instruction in automotive repair and collision repair and refinishing.
State Representative David Arconti says the new garage will be an asset to the school, instructors and students as young people are trained for skilled, good paying jobs.
Representative Bob Godfrey says technical high schools play an important role in preparing students for skilled careers in high demand industries. He added that expanding the facilities at Henry Abbott will allow the school to provide high quality instruction to more students.
Abbott Tech serves over 600 students from 18 different towns.
New Fairfield residents have approved a budget for the coming fiscal year. The $10.9 million town budget passed by a vote of 648 to 244, and the $40.9 million school budget passed by a vote of 640 to 254.
While there is no increase in spending, First Selectman Susan Chapman says taxes will be going up slightly because of projected cuts in state aid. She says it's not even a status quo budget, because they had to take out a lot of money for road repair. Chapman says New Fairfield has a good road repair program, and she would hate to see it fall behind.
Chapman says they will get through this year, but won't be able to maintain this kind of budget going forward
Town officials did not take into account Governor Malloy's proposal to move a third of teacher pension costs off onto municipalities. They did plan for covering 100-percent of the resident state trooper costs among other changes proposed by the state.
Virtually all of the money Brookfield paid Eversource Energy to analyze the possibility of relocating utility lines underground in the Four Corners area, will be put to another use now that Brookfield has dropped the idea of burying the lines.
First Selectman Steve Dunn says Eversource officials have informed him that the approximately $220,000 will be applied by Eversource toward moving telephone poles. Dunn says Brookfield would have had to move the poles anyway, so money wasn't wasted in studying the underground utility line idea.
Brookfield dropped the plan because it would have been upwards of $15 million.
Dunn says moving nine poles will be a lot work, because Eversource has to secure aerial easements from every property owner, noting that they just got sidewalks easements.
Vet-Scan has been launched by Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell to bring military service memories and photos from veterans into the digital age. It's a co-operative project with the Putnam County Veterans Service Agency, Historian’s Office, Southeast Museum and other volunteers.
Veterans Service Agency Director Karl Rohde says securing military memories of the past for future generations is part and parcel to the work of the Putnam County Veterans Museum and the Putnam County Joint Veterans Council. Local families with a military story are being invited to take advantage of a free offer to have old letters, photos and assorted military memories scanned so families do not lose their loved one’s story of service.
Veterans and qualifying participants in Vet-Scan will be able to make appointments through the County Historian's Office and with other volunteers throughout the community to have their photos and items scanned and recorded which will then be stored on a memory device such as a USB or burned to a disk, free of charge.
For more information on Vet-Scan, contact the Putnam County Historian’s office at 845-808-1420 or email email@example.com.
New Fairfield residents are voting on a budget today.
The municipal budget proposal is $10.9 million with the Board of Ed asking that voters approve a $40.9 million spending plan.
There are no big projects being funded by the proposed plan. The town will be doing some road repair work. The Board of Ed is moving forward with some initiatives as well. But First Selectman Susan Chapman says it's not the budget they would like to put forward.
The spending plans were cut in order to work with anticipated reductions in state aide for the municipality and the school. Among other things, Governor Malloy has proposed that municipalities cover 100-percent of the costs for the Resident State Trooper Program.
The Easton Police Department is now offering the Kids Identification Data System and is an official SafeKids Child Safety Seat inspection station. The K.I.D.S program is sponsored by Yale New Haven Health, and provides emergency information of a child passenger. Stickers are placed in the back window of a vehicle. Easton Police say this gives emergency personnel vital information in the event the driver of the vehicle is unable to communicate.
The Women’s Center of Greater Danbury is looking for volunteers to perform crisis intervention at the center during business hours or from home when the center is closed. The spring 2017 dual domestic violence and sexual assault certification program is a 48-hour class.
The Women's Center is now accepting applications for the day and evening classes, which begin May 30th. They are held through mid-June. Applications are due by May 18.
The Women's Center says they responded to more than 2,000 sexual assault and domestic violence hotline calls last fiscal year.
Applicants must be at least 18 years old. Male and bilingual volunteers are encouraged to apply. There is a $50 fee to help defray the cost of the manual, with waivers available for qualified candidates. A background check will be conducted.
The Westville Avenue Bridge over the East Aspetuck River in New Milford will be rehabilitated soon. Mayor David Gronbach says a $1.1 million contract has been awarded to NJR Construction and is being for paid for with a LOCIP state grant. A road closure will begin in June. It's anticipated that the construction will be completed by the end of winter. Abutments and the super structure have to be replaced. The work is part of ongoing efforts to repair aging infrastructure in New Milford.
A second petition has been filed in opposition to herbicides being used in Candlewood Lake in New Fairfield. The Newstimes reports that a group calling itself “Candlewood Voices” wants a townwide vote whenever officials want to use chemicals in the lake.
According to New Fairfield's ordinances, a petition garnering more than 20 signatures from registered voters must be discussed in a special meeting of the Board of Selectmen. But that only happens if it's for a lawful purpose.
The published report says that the Selectmen got a legal opinion stating that having votes on using chemicals in the lake could frustrate existing state regulations and infringe on the health director's authority.
The proposal in New Fairfield to use herbicides in Candlewood Lake to control invasive species has prompted two members of the Inlands and Wetlands Conservation Commission to run for higher office.
The Newstimes reports that Commission chairman Pat Del Monaco plans to run for First Selectman, with Commission member Khris Hall running as Selectman. The New Fairfield Democratic Town Committee has endorsed the candidacies.
Del Monaco said in the published report that she is concerned over small businesses leaving town. They are looking to improve the downtown shopping area. She is a chemical engineer who previously worked at Unilever US. Hall is an environmental lawyer who worked at IBM for three decades.
A new filing has been sent to the Connecticut Supreme Court in the lawsuit brought by 10 families of Sandy Hook victims against Remington. The gun maker is seeking to have the court deny an appeal by the families.
A trial court judge dismissed the wrongful death suit in October.
Federal law shields the gun industry from most lawsuits over criminal use of their products. Remington disagrees with negligent entrustment arguments.
Remington argues that the Sandy Hook families are trying to hold the gun maker liable for actions of a criminal, but note that the manufacturing, distribution and sale of the AR-15-style rifle used on 12-14 were all lawful.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Legislation creating rules for ride-hailing services for the first time in Connecticut has cleared the House of Representatives.
The bill passed Thursday on a 103-99 vote. It now moves to the Senate.
Both Uber and Lyft, which now operate unregulated in Connecticut, praised the bill which requires criminal background checks for drivers and $1 million in liability insurance coverage once a passenger gets in the vehicle.
If the bill clears the Senate and ultimately becomes law, Lyft says Connecticut will be the 43rd state to enact ride-sharing legislation.
Guilford Rep. Sean Scanlon, a Democrat, says the bill puts in place "some consumer protections I believe will keep Connecticut residents safe."
New Fairfield Rep. Richard Smith, a Republican, opposed the bill because of a $50,000 state registration fee for ride-hailing companies.
There's been a lot of interest in a walking trail along Marjorie Reservoir in Danbury and New Fairfield, and now the project is taking shape. A walking trail along the reservoir side of Route 37 from Bear Mountain in Danbury to Saw Mill in New Fairfield is being studied.
First Selectman Susan Chapman says this will promote a healthy lifestyle and be a win for both communities.
The path would not be on reservoir property, but on state property along Route 37.
The state Department of Transportation's Community Connectivity Program seeks to improve accommodations for bicyclists and pedestrians in urban, suburban and rural community centers. New Fairfield and Danbury were recently accepted into the Road Safety Audit program. The process will identify safety issues and counter-measures to help improve safety.
A field audit was conducted recently.
The next step is a post-audit meeting. Once that is completed, the municipalities will be provided with a report detailing the results and recommendations.
The 25th annual Letter Carrier Food Drive is being held Saturday.
The Stamp Out Hunger food drive takes place each year on the second Saturday of May because food banks are usually low headed into the summer season. Most food drives are held around Thanksgiving so supplies are depleted. Schools will also be out for the year soon and students won't have access to free or reduce priced meals.
Food drive coordinator Dennis Sideropoulous says 121,000 pounds of food was collected locally last year.
Non-perishable food items left in or near mailboxes Saturday will be picked up when mail is dropped off. Bags were delivered to homes during the week for the collection.
Danbury, Bethel, Brookfield, New Fairfield, New Milford, Ridgefield, Redding and Wilton are among the area towns participating in the food drive.
Even though this is a national effort, all of the food collected locally gets distributed to local food banks.
The state Senate has approved a bill to overhaul graduation requirements, including to increase credits from 20 to 25, and the bill is now headed to the House. Danbury state Representative Michael Ferguson, an adjunct professor at Naugatuck Valley Community College, says a lack of funding makes implementation of the requirements unrealistic.
He says the educational advancements behind the Race to the Top program were well-intended, but without proper state funding it would further stress school districts finances.
The changes to graduation requirements were ordered as part of a broad ruling by a judge in a funding fairness lawsuit. That suit is being appealed to the state Supreme Court.
The Danbury Zoning Commission has approved a zone change to allow for an off track betting facility on the 2nd floor of Two Steps. The panel decided on a vote of 6-3 that OTB can be an accessory use in a restaurant. Commissioners Haddad, James Kelly, and Angela Hylenski voted in opposition.
Only 18 OTB licenses are allowed statewide. Sportech Venues has exclusive licensing rights in Connecticut and would provide 1.6 percent of gross revenue to City Center.
The Danbury Planning Commission previously issued a positive recommendation. The specific site proposal now moves to the City Council. The state Department of Consumer Protection Gaming Division must also inspect and approve the facility before operations can begin.
Zoning Commission Chairman Rob Melillo says there were only two determining factors that they needed to consider before voting. One was whether or not this would be consistent with land use policies in the Plan of Conservation and Development. The other was whether or not this use would detrimentally impact the health, safety, and welfare of the public.
Commissioner Ted Haddad Junior was concerned that the state government would be too involved and could dictate any changes to OTB. He says Sportech has a monopoly and therefore an unfair advantage over every other restaurant in Danbury. Haddad noted that he would have the same issue with a monopoly on something besides gambling.
If the state were to decide in the future to allow Sportech or other venues to introduce slot machines, Melillo says applicants would have to apply for another text change.
Ground has been broken on a new police station in Bethel.
(Photo: Bethel PD)
First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says even though it's near the school complex, construction won't impact the end of the year. The site is adjacent to the upper parking lot of Bethel High School. Knickerbocker says just one adjustment had to be made. The cross country course was rerouted around the site.
The driveway for the new facility would be on Judd Avenue with an emergency entrance on Route 302.
The project will more than double the size of the current police station, built in 1974. The building will feature a bigger lobby, a shooting range, and a training room.
It's expected to take 14 to 18 months to complete construction.
Democratic and Republican legislative leaders are voicing opposing views on the issue of bringing back tolls to Connecticut highways. Democratic leaders say tolls are inevitable and not as unpopular with the public as critics claim.
Wilton Senator Toni Boucher says there's no evidence they'll generate revenue for the state's transportation needs. She called them just another tax on the already overburdened taxpayer. Boucher says the toll tax would impact 70-percent more of the Connecticut public than those coming through the state.
All 18 Republican Senators oppose a return to tolls, exactly half the Senate.
Democratic House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz says he believes tolls ``are inevitable at some point'' and will come up during budget negotiations.
The Ridgefield Board of Selectmen will consider an ordinance tonight about the proper care of horses. A public hearing on the proposal is set for tonight. It calls for a minimum land requirement of 1.5 acres for one horse, and a half an acre more for each additional horse. Enclosures, fencing and distance from neighboring properties are also outlined in the draft ordinance. The Ridgefield Press reports that the ordinance stemmed from neighbor complaints on Lewis Drive and Manor Road about three horses in a residential area on Manor Road.
New Milford Mayor David Gronbach says the Town has been issued a check for $58,492. It's a rebate from prescription drug insurance coverage. He expects this rebate to increase next year because New Milford officials negotiated more favorable terms for prescription coverage going forward.
The Ridgefield municipal and school budgets along with all of the capital items on the ballot were approved yesterday. First Selectman Rudy Marconi says he anticipates a state grant will cover all expenditures for the Branchville transit infrastructure improvement appropriation.
There was a 13-percent voter turnout yesterday. Marconi says when it comes to the local budget vote, where it directly impacts the level of taxes, there's poor voter turnout. During state and municipal elections it's about 45-to-55 percent participation and jumps to 80-percent for federal elections.
Money for fuel tank replacement was approved. The state ordered the tanks replaced in March, bumping up the town's plans from next year to this year. The price tag includes about 77,000 for a temporary fueling system. During a monthly check, as the depot reached its life expectancy, it was that there was no spillage from underground fuel tanks.
A decision has been made on the complaint against several Bethel officials to the State Elections Enforcement Commission. The agency found that the First Selectmen, two selectmen and two Public Utilities Commissioners violated state law when they sent out a letter encouraging residents to approve funding for water system upgrades. First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker told the Newstimes that money from the Public Utilities Commission--supported by water system customers--was used for the mailer about the recent water system upgrade referendum.
The SEEC did not fine the officials.
Bethel Action Committee members Cynthia McCorkindale and Billy Michael filed the complaint last fall. McCorkindale told the publication that she requested in her complaint that the commission not fine the officials in order to protect taxpayers.
Knickerbocker responded to resident questions on Facebook about the ruling. He gave background about the water system upgrades saying that toxic chemicals had been found in some parts of the Bethel water system and a temporary fix was put in place to ensure clean water.
Without the upgrades, Knickerbocker says Bethel water would not always meet state health standards. He also cited the Flint, Michigan debacle as prompting enormous concern. The utility department obtained a state low-interest loan for the upgrades, at no cost to taxpayers. Due to the way Bethel's Charter is written, a full referendum was required to accept the loan.
The letter which was the subject of the SEEC filing said that "...voters will be asked to approve..." borrowing the funds. The SEEC ruling said that the funds used to pay for the mailing are still considered public funds because the water department is owned by the town.
Knickerbocker believes the expanded definition ill make it harder in the future for the utilities commission to communicate to Bethel voters in cases like this.
A coalition of community partners is taking part in a “Walking School Bus” today for students at two Danbury schools, to highlight the benefits of walking to school.
Children, parents, and volunteers will gather at 7:30 am at Danbury City Hall to make the approximately one-mile walk to their schools, picking up other children at stops along the way and carrying a banner that promotes school pride at the event.
The event has expanded to include South Street Elementary School, whose students will join the event with their peers from Park Avenue School.
The United Way's Strong Start Neighborhood Initiative at Park Avenue School provides support and funding for playgroups, workshops, an outreach worker, and other activities that promote school readiness and success in the early elementary grades. The regular walking school bus routes are part of this initiative.
The state's newest millionaire is a New Milford woman, and the event was predicted by her psychic. Carolyn O’Brien won the $3,000,000 Royale from the Connecticut Lottery and opted to take the lump sum.
O'Brien says she didn't know what to think of the fortune telling years ago, and as she was almost out the door the psychic suddenly grabbed her arm. The psychic saw her with a check in her hand cheering ‘I did it!’
When she picked up the check, O'Brien told the Connecticut Lottery that the pressure is off to pay her kids' college tuitions and the mortgage. As she left, she smiled and shouted, “BEST DAY EVER—I DID IT!”
For selling the winning ticket, AARI Foods Inc. on New Milford Turnpike in New Preston will receive a $30,000 check from the Connecticut Lottery.
Nearly a dozen people have applied to be the next Ridgefield Fire Chief. A joint meeting of the Selectmen and FIre Commission is being held tomorrow night to look at the applications. The Ridgefield Press reports that 10 were received. Chief Kevin Tappe retired this year after a document, released by the town in response to Freedom of Information requests, suggested that he showed up to a fire scene intoxicated.
A key legislative committee advanced a bill yesterday that would allow the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes to build a third casino. The bill now moves to the Senate for further action. An alternative proposal being considered would create a competitive bidding process, and is supported by the Kent-based Schaghticoke Tribal Nation.
Chief Richard Velky says a fair and open process is needed.
The Schaghticokes are not federally recognized and want to open a commercial casino on non-tribal land. If they were federally recognized, like the Mashantuckets and the Mohegans, the Schaghticokes would be able to have a federally regulated tribal casino on their Kent reservation.
Ridgefield residents are deciding on seven items in a referendum vote today. The municipal budget is proposed at $47 million. The proposed Education budget is $92.6 million. Capital improvement projects are also being decided. The budget represents a 1.92 mill rate increase.
First Selectman Rudy Marconi is encouraging people to vote today. If residents don't have a ride to the polls, he asked that they call town hall so one can be arranged.
Residents are being asked to approve $1.84 million for road and infrastructure improvement.
$900,000 for Branchville transit infrastructure improvements will be decided. It's anticipated that state grants will cover all expenditures under the appropriation. Marconi says this money will not be spent if the grant is not received.
Funding for public works items are on the ballot. That resolution includes $182,882 for a highway Mack Truck, $170,805 for a John Deere loader, $235,000 for an Ambulance and $400,000 for the replacement fuel tanks.
Ridgefield officials are also seeking approval for $950,000 to repair water and structural damage to the Recreation Center.
The last item on the ballot deals with items for the schools. $378,770 for school energy conservation measures, which is expected to result in $78,857 of incentive savings. Marconi says this is the third phase of the project with Eversource. Once this part of the work is done, the town will receive a check for $250,000. The question also deals with $550,000 for a school phone system upgrade and $106,000 for school sidewalk and curbing repairs are being considered.
The Danbury School District is warning parents about the so-called Blue Whale Challenge on social media. Daily tasks are assigned over 50 days, gradually getting more extreme. The challenges range from watching horror movies to self-harming. On the 50th day, students are reportedly instructed to commit suicide.
Superintendent Dr. Sal Pascarella sent a letter home warning about the meme or game that students in other countries have been exposed to since last year, saying when it comes to the well-being of children they can never be too careful. The Blue Whale Challenge is now showing up on computers at schools in the region.
Danbury school officials haven't been informed of any students who have taken their life because of this challenge. Faculty and staff are checking school computers and speaking with students to make sure they are not involved or influenced.
Pascarella asked parents that if they have additional information about the game or know of any students who may be involved, to contact the school counselors so that they can offer help.
Danbury-based FuelCell Energy has received a letter of intent from the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative, on behalf of its municipal owners, for a long-term supply of 7.4 megawatts of power.
FuelCell officials say this will provide market-based on-site power for a strategic U.S. military facility served by Groton Utilities, a CMEEC owner. FuelCell says this project structure enables CMEEC to serve the U.S. Submarine Base with clean and predictable on-site power that enhances resiliency, while avoiding a capital investment in the power plant through the use of a power purchase agreement.
Contract execution is expected by summer 2017.
CMEEC is owned by six municipal utilities: Groton Utilities, Norwich Public Utilities, Jewett City Department of Public Utilities, Bozrah Light and Power, South Norwalk Electric and Water and Norwalk Third Taxing District.
As Team 26 arrived in Newtown from their bike ride up from Washington DC, Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty was in Bethel for a Town Hall forum. The annual ride honors the 26 killed at Sandy Hook School and all other gun violence victims.
She was asked about gun violence prevention legislation. She said it's not about whether there's overwhelming public support for measures like universal background checks, it's about the party in control. Esty notes that the majority party gets to decide what bills are called for a vote.
A number of other topics were covered. Esty said this country can't build a 21st century economy on mid-20th century infrastructure, and she's hoping to make progress on getting funding to make improvements.
Esty also said it's looking favorable for getting brownfields legislation approved this session.
The Connecticut Police Chief's Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation will be adding Danbury Police Detective William Hull Sr. to their Memorial for his line-of-duty related death. Hull joined the Danbury Police Department in December 1969 and was made Detective in June 1979. He retired from the Danbury Police Department in 1986. Hull passed away on September 8, 2015 as a direct result of an injury sustained while on duty.
Officer Hull was on motor patrol duty one day in August 1978 when he was flagged down by a man, who was bleeding heavily, on Beaver Brook Road. The man was outside a house that had flames shooting out from it. Hull called the fire department and an ambulance. He then administered first aid to the injured 18-year old. They tried to retrieve a dog from the house, but were hit with heavy black smoke.
Neighbors helped move the man's car away from the house. Officer Hull ran through the smoke again so he could meet responding fire and ambulance units. When Officer Hull began coughing heavily and felt pressure in his chest, he was given first aid on the scene. He then drove himself to Danbury Hospital where he received additional treatment for smoke inhalation.
He was out of work for several days before returning to his regular duties. Detective Hull eventually retired due to ongoing health injuries related to this incident.
Detective William Hull will be honored as a Connecticut Line of Duty Death at the Foundation's Dinner at the Aqua Turf tonight.
On May 23rd, Detective Hull will be remembered for the first time since he passed away in 2015 at the Danbury Police Department Memorial and Awards Day. Detective Hull will be memorialized for the first time and his name added to the Connecticut Law Enforcement Memorial during Connecticut Law Enforcement Memorial Day at the CT Police Academy May 24th.
The Ridgefield Police Department is now an e-commerce safe zone. Police officials are inviting anyone looking for a neutral location to conduct e-commerce transactions to use the front parking lot of police headquarters or the front lobby. Law enforcement agencies across the country are establishing safe trading zones as a way to allow for safer transactions for local residents.
Members of the Bethel Registrar's office met with Bethel High School Seniors Friday to talk about registering to vote and how to obtain an absentee ballot when they are away at college or in the service. They also outlined the voting cycles for federal, state and municipal elections along with the budget referendum, party affiliation deadlines and primaries. In the past three weeks the Registrar's Office has approved 36 new voter registrations and updated about a dozen voter registration data for residents who moved to Bethel, changed their name and or made other changes.
A group for Danbury-area professionals looking to create a positive impact in the community has been formed by CityCenter Danbury. Their mission is to promote the economic, cultural, and social vitality of Downtown Danbury.
As their kick-off event, Get Downtown volunteered during Clean City Danbury Day over the weekend. The group volunteered to pick up litter throughout the Still River area.
(Photo: CityCenter Director PJ Prunty)
Get Downtown aims to bring a broad cross-section of collaboration from the many agencies and organizations throughout the greater Danbury area to benefit Downtown Danbury. It is led by members of CityCenter Danbury, downtown business owners, residents of Downtown Danbury and various members of the community ranging from lawyers, real estate agents, insurance agents, State representatives, marketing professionals, and small business owners.
The Danbury Health and Human Services Department has started a program that allows residents to submit ticks to the Health Department for identification and testing for Lyme Disease.
City Health Director Lisa Michelle Morrissey says an alarming number of residents in the state suffer from the effects of tick-borne Lyme Disease each year.
Ticks will only be accepted from Danbury residents. The state Agricultural Experiment Station is authorized to test ticks submitted by local health departments. All results will be communicated in writing to the submitter. Morrissey says this is mostly for peace of mind for the resident, not necessarily to track where the tick is found and put up warnings.
Morrissey says they've considered collecting location data of what part of the City they are found. But she noted that it would be part of a much larger program, implemented at a later date.
There will be a small fee to defray the administrative cost of the program. That fee is $5, which will also cover the repackaging of the tick to send to the state.
The Agricultural Experiment Station doesn't currently charge a fee, but Morrissey cautioned that they may change the policy because of the state's fiscal problems. If the Agricultural Experiment Station does start charging for the program, Morrissey would not have to come back to the Council for approval of a higher fee charged by Danbury to cove that cost because of the way approval was written.
Senator Richard Blumenthal held a town hall meeting in Danbury over the weekend. Wide ranging topics were covered, but most prominent were health care and immigration. Blumenthal says federal immigration officials are no longer focusing on deporting just undocumented immigrants with criminal records. He gave the example of two Connecticut residents with paperwork issues.
Blumenthal says it's unacceptable to move forward in a partisan way on health care. He says the House bill is dead on arrival in the Senate, based on reaction of his Republican colleagues.
Some senators cite concerns about potential higher costs for older people and those with pre-existing conditions, along with cuts to Medicaid.
Bethel First Selectman Matthew Knickerbocker and Selectman Richard Straiton have announced their intention to run for reelection in November. Both were elected to their current positions in 2009 and are completing their fourth term of office. In making the announcement, the pair pointed to several recent accomplishments including replacing the police station, securing approval to install the area's first municipal solar farm and renovations to the town's aging water system.
Sherman residents are voting on a budget today. The proposed $14.7 million budget is a less than 1-percent increase over the current year. The school portion is flat, while municipal spending is up. That's to anticipate costs from having to pay 100-percent of the Resident State Trooper program.
First Selectman Clay Cope says that cost-shift alone added $45,140 or an increase of 25.6% to that line in the budget.
Cope says even though there is a spending increase, property taxes won't go up because of grand list growth and renegotiated bonds resulting in a debt-costs savings.
The Board of Selectmen agreed to fund the Sherman Volunteer Fire Department’s entire request for additional funds for equipment, supplies, education, and radios. An increase of 5% or $7,500 was made to the Sherman Library. The Candlewood Lake Authority was funded at their full request of $77,800, or an increase of 1.3%.
A Bridgewater girl is headed to the National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Expo next month. Burnham School 3rd grader Giselle Bazos won the regional invention competition at Western Connecticut State University and went on to be named a state finalist for her idea. It's a wristband to carry a retainer, when not in use. The national event June 1st through 3rd is being held at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
The Danbury City Council approved a budget this week for the coming fiscal year. While he called it a balanced budget with only incremental tax and spending increases, Council Minority Leader Tom Saadi voted against it. He said budgeting is not done year by year, but something that must be looked at with long term goals in mind. Saadi raised concerns over the years with new positions, department restructuring, new offices and certain policies. He also questioned mid-year raises and some savings that were stated would occur over time. He did express appreciation to his fellow Council members, who are all volunteers, for the many hours put into reviewing the budget plan.
A Law Enforcement Memory Garden has been unveiled at Western Connecticut State University. Justice and Law Society students voted to create a law enforcement memory garden for the area they adopted as part of the university’s adopt-a-spot program.
The garden will have a small law enforcement memorial flag in place for each law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty. The garden also features a marble stone with an inscription, and landscaping with flowers.
The memorial garden is at the Alumni Clock outside the Classroom Building on the university’s Westside campus in Danbury. Police departments from the university, Ridgefield and Danbury attended the unveiling ceremony this week.
A Trumbull EMS employee, who also worked for the Danbury-Newtown EMS, has been arrested for stealing a piece of equipment. Trumbull Patch reports that 32-year old George Previs was only on the job a short time and accused of the theft in February. Trumbull Police say Previs used the equipment with the EMS service which doesn't carry that tool. It was found in his home and Patch reports that he told police he accidentally brought it home. Previs was charged last week and due in court Monday on a larceny charge.
The Ridgefield Police Department collected more than 30 pounds of unused, unwanted medications during Saturday's National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. Ridgefield Police have a collection box at the police station, accessible 24 hours a day, and the Ridgefield Press reports that 221 pounds have been collected this year. After weighing and reporting to the DEA, Ridgefield Police send the medications to a facility for incineration.
A Danbury school nurse has been recognized by the Association of School Nurses of Connecticut. Ellen Calle, nurse at Great Plain Elementary School, was named a Peer Leader and will be honored at the group's spring meeting next week. The meeting is May 10th, which is also National School Nurses Day. Prior to becoming a school nurse, Calle worked in medical surgery, and labor and delivery before staying home to raise her three children. She's been a school nurse for 20 years. She serves as president of the nurse’s union.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman says she's organizing a bipartisan working group to examine how the Republican health care bill that cleared the U.S. House of Representatives could affect Connecticut. Wyman says 800,000 residents on Medicaid and 100,000 using the exchange could be affected by the federal legislation, which now moves to the U.S. Senate. She says Connecticut, which is grappling with budget deficits, could lose $1 billion a year in federal funds under the bill.
4th District Congressman Jim Himes has voted against the American Health Care Act. He was critical of the tax cut for the wealthiest Americans included in the bill. Himes believes the measure also makes getting insurance harder, or even impossible, for poor or sick individuals or families. He plans to put forward policy suggestions that will benefit the health of families--saying he will take his sadness and turn it into action.
5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty reacted to House passage of a new health care bill. She says people who are struggling with addiction or mental illness will likely not get the vital care they need under this bill. Esty acknowledged that the Affordable Care Act had problems, but had been urging Congress to work together to fix it. She called the new health care bill a moral and economic disgrace.
Ground will be broken in Bethel next Wednesday for the new police station. Construction will begin May 15th. The project is expected to wrap up by next summer.
The current police station was constructed in 1974. The driveway for the new facility would be on Judd Avenue with an emergency entrance on Route 302.
The project will more than double the size of the current police station on Plumtrees Road and include a bigger lobby, a shooting range, a community room, and a training room. The two story building also will house locker rooms, a physical therapy room, six holding cells and rooms for processing arrestees. The main floor could include the dispatch center, records department, a classroom and offices.
Residents approved $13.5 million for the project.
First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says the Building Committee and Police personnel who were in charge of the planning process did a very thorough job. He noted that they visited other police stations designed by the architect to ask if there was anything they would have done differently and if the layout worked like they thought it would.
Knickerbocker says adjustments were made during the planning process, which should save costs because there aren't any change orders anticipated.
Part of Kenosia Avenue will be closed Monday as the City gets ready for a bridge replacement project. Alternating one-way traffic will start Tuesday. The alternate traffic flow will be controlled by a signal system. Officials hope to allow alternating one way traffic on weekends.
One side of the bridge will be repaired at a time in order to avoid a project-long closure. But Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola cautioned that, during certain times, the bridge will be completely closed to traffic to safely perform the replacement work.
The repair project will take about four months.
Delays should be expected during the construction period. City officials are urging people to avoid Kenosia Avenue during the work.
5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty has introduced legislation to overhaul the current appeals process at the Department of Veterans Affairs. She says nearly half a million veterans are in limbo because of the VA's existing backlog. The legislation creates three separate paths for veterans to choose when seeking redress from a decision by the Veterans Benefits Administration on their claims for VA benefits. Esty is calling for dramatically shortening the average wait time for an appeal from five years to 125 days.
Danbury is the 4th most diverse small city in the country. Wallethub has once again ranked cities based on socioeconomic, cultural, economic, household and religious diversity. Danbury was 13th overall among the 500 cities studied.
Western Connecticut State University seniors Evelin Garcia and Madiha Khan were chosen as winners of this year's Henry Barnard Distinguished Student Award. Twelve Barnard Awards are given annually to students from Western, Central, Eastern and Southern Connecticut state universities. Both students are Danbury residents and the children of immigrant parents.
The Ridgefield Planning and Zoning Commission and Inland and Wetlands Board have given the go ahead for development of a five acre parcel of the former Schlumberger land. After a second public hearing Tuesday night, developer Steve Zemo's application was approved.
Zemo, who is also a Selectman, plans to use one acre for a self-storage business, with eight two-bedroom apartments on the second floor. The other four acres will be for an 85-room assisted-living facility. Solana Ridgefield will be developed by Formation Development Group. About 30 percent of the facility will be for people with memory disorders.
Charter Group Partners is developing age-restricted townhouses and condos, for people 55 years and older, on another 10 acres of the town-owned land.
BassamFellows, a luxury furniture and design firm, plans to move into the Philip Johnson building on the former Schlumberger site. ACT, a local theater group, will occupy the neighboring auditorium.
Brookfield has received more grant money than anticipated for Phase 2 of the Four Corners Streetscape project. The town put up $475,000 and asked for matching grant funding. First Selectman Steve Dunn told his fellow Selectmen at their meeting Monday that $875,000 has actually been granted. Phase 2 is now completely paid for. The town does not have to match the higher than expected grant amount.
The state Department of Transportation has hired outside engineers to provide additional help. The town has started to put together the Request for Proposals. Phase 2 is from the end of Phase 1, the corner of the funeral home, south to The Hearth restaurant. The project includes lights, benches, parking spaces, curbing, and garbage cans.
Brookfield officials are working with the DOT, which is requiring a cross walk from the Still River Greenway to the west side of the road.
Dunn says a developer is looking to build a grocery store and a Starbucks next to the Greenway, across from the Hearth. The developer has already gotten approval from the DOT for a cut on Federal Road. The DOT is recommending that it's directly across from Laurel Hill. They suggest putting a stop light there, with the cross walk.
Dunn says the plan right now is to put in a cross walk at the north end of the Greenway, but that may change.
The Annual Town Meeting in New Fairfield was held Wednesday night. Residents set a budget referendum date of May 13th. The municipal budget proposal is $10.9 million with the Board of Ed asking that voters approve a $40.9 million spending plan.
There are no big projects being funded by the proposed plan. The town will be doing some road repair work. The Board of Ed is moving forward with some initiatives as well. But First Selectman Susan Chapman says it's not the budget they would like to put forward.
The spending plans were cut in order to work with anticipated reductions in state aide for the municipality and the school.
During the month of April, the Bethel Police Department participated in the Statewide Distracted Driving High Visibility Campaign. Throughout the month, Bethel Officers actively enforced laws restricting the use of handheld electronic devices, texting while driving, and distracted driving.
65 people were fined for using their cell phones while behind the wheel. 34 drivers were caught texting. Three tickets were issued for distracted driving.
Other enforcement was made when drivers were pulled over, including citing one motorist for not wearing a seatbelt, three people for having suspended licenses, and finding one driver in possession of drugs. One person wanted on an outstanding warrant was also stopped during the enforcement effort.
This is The National Day of Prayer. Danbury is holding a ceremony at 11am at City Hall. Mayor Mark Boughton says it's a time to bring together faith communities and he's inviting everyone to join in prayer honoring the unity of the community.
Ridgefield is marking the occasion at Keeler Tavern Garden House on Main Street tonight. That event is from 7 to 8pm.
The National Day of Prayer is meant to foster harmony for America. Days of prayer have been called for since 1775. Officially, the National Day of Prayer was established as an annual event by an act of Congress in 1952.
The Brookfield Board of Selectmen has voted to send a $91,000 request from the Police Department to the Board of Finance. The money would be used for radio antenna system components, 40 dress uniforms and 30 Tasers. The money is in a police account for capital projects paid for by outside services.
Brookfield is the only department in the area without a Class A uniform. Chief Jay Purcell says they are looking to form an honor guard. That unit could march in parades, attend police memorial services, graduations and various other ceremonies and formal occassions.
The radio antenna system components would be installed on a new cell tower being built off Pocono Road, and installed for free by the cell tower company. Most systems can handle both analog and digital, but Purcell says they expect to upgrade emergency radio equipment in the next few years. By installing the components now, the town could save $20,000.
Switching from analog to digital is estimated to cost about $3 million. The equipment can be used by the Police Department, Fire Department, Public Works and the Board of Education. Purcell said the Board of Ed would use emergency radio equipment to tie in all schools and central office to a command post for any incident that might arise involving the schools.
The Connecticut Science Teachers Association is recognizing a Danbury educator. Harry Rosvally has been named the winner of this year's Connecticut Science Educator Fellow Award. He is in charge of the Danbury school district's science and math curriculum. According to the organization, this is the highest award given to a veteran science educator who has previously been recognized for science teaching excellence and service.
Senator Richard Blumenthal is hosting a Town Hall meeting in Danbury on Saturday.
He plans to discuss immigration, healthcare and other issues. The town hall meeting Saturday is on West Conn's midtown campus at Ives Concert Hall in White Hall. The event is from 11:30am to 1pm.
5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty is hosting a town hall meeting in Bethel on Sunday.
She is calling on constituents to attend and questions concerning the community, current legislative issues, and her work in Congress. The gathering is being held in the Bethel Municipal Center general purpose room, Sunday from 3 to 4:30pm.
The Region 12 school budget passed overall, with Roxbury and Washington voting yes. Bridgewater voted no. The $21.4 million budget calls for merging some grades at the Burnham School due to declining enrollment. Grades k through 2 would be in one class with grades 3 to 5 in the other. Burnham is the only elementary school in Bridgewater.
A status quo budget has been approved by the Danbury City Council. The party line vote was 15-6, with all Democrats on the Council opposing the overall budget. The Council votes on each of the five sections of the budget, and then on the overall plan. Members voted unanimously for the public works portion of the budget.
The school budget is $2.6 million more than this fiscal year. City spending is up 2.6 percent. That's statutorily under the new state spending cap of 2.5 percent because some state spending doesn’t count toward the cap. The mill rate is going up .24, a less than one percent increase. The average household’s property tax bill will go up about $50 for the entire year.
Boughton included funding to create two new basketball courts and to expand the Library parking lot.
There will be no increase in sewer and water rates because the City is waiting to see if the new EPA reduces phosphorus removal mandates.
Spending is going up, because a new wing of the high school, the Freshman Academy, is opening up this fall. Staffing the new academy is the biggest driver in the budget. 12 vacant municipal positions will be filled at a later date saving the city $500,000.
With the exception of $3 million in notes, all capital spending—roads, bridges, roof repairs—is pay as you go. Boughton says that way taxpayers can know that the City is not racking up a long term debt for future generations.
$1.3 million will be used for continued clean up of the Still River in order to mitigate flooding in the downtown area cause by trees, debris, and brush. $450,000 for storm sewer system improvements, $750,000 for the school roof replacement program and $200,000 for the school HVAC replacement program will be set aside. The balance of the funding will be used to replace highway department and HVAC replacement at city buildings.
Redding residents have approved a $48.2 million budget on a vote of 659 to 237. First Selectman Julia Pemberton says town officials faced a daunting task of putting together a budget based on unknown state funding.
Pemberton says it's still not known if municipalities would be forced to pay a third of teacher pension costs, currently covered entirely by the state.
The Region 9 school budget passed in both Easton (473-202) and Redding (654-242).
5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty made some suggestions for the CEO of United Airlines when he appeared before House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Tuesday. Esty is the Vice Ranking Member.
She suggested that paying customers not be bumped off a flight in order to move a crew, telling Oscar Munoz instead to charter a plane for that crew. Esty said bumping paying customers for employees is the ultimate indication that United hasn’t managed its system well, and is asking customers to pay for that management failure.
She shared stories from her constituents, recalling cases in which Connecticut residents were stranded on a tarmac or at a gate for hours.
Esty also admonished Munoz for his slow response to the violent incident, saying that it needed to be more than just a belated press release, it has to be a change in policies, practices and priorities.
She noted that four airlines control 85 percent of air traffic, not leaving customers a lot of choices. Esty asked that Munoz come to the table to figure out what standards need to be put in place in order to hold airlines accountable.
A retired Marine discussed his new book in Brookfield last night. Michael Zacchea recently published the book "The Ragged Edge: A US Marine’s Account of Leading the Iraqi Army Fifth Battalion".
Zacchea is the Director and founder of UConn’s Entrepreneur Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities. He is also the founder of the Connecticut Veterans Chamber of Commerce. Last night at the Brookfield Museum, he provided insight into the current challenges that face the US Military in the war against ISIS.
He was seriously wounded in the second battle to overtake the rebel stronghold of Fallujah and received a Purple Heart and two Bronze Star for Valor. Zacchea is the only American soldier to receive the Order of the Lion of Babylon valor award from the President of Iraq.
There was no spillage from underground fuel tanks in Ridgefield. First Selectman Rudy Marconi told the Ridgefield Press that the fuel depot was checked monthly as they reached their life expectancy. The state ordered the tanks replaced in March, bumping up the town's plans from next year to this year. When residents vote in a referendum next week, one of the capital items on the ballot will be $400,000 to do the job. The Press reports that the price tag includes about $77,000 for a temporary fueling system.
Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra has been recognized by the Connecticut Bar Association. She was presented with the 2017 Distinguished Public Service Award. The honor was presented to Llodra by Sandy Hook residents and CBA President Monte Frank at the organization's annual Celebrate with the Stars event last month.
The Newtown Bee reports that Llodra was selected for the award because of her meaningful relationship to Connecticut, how she has distinguished herself in her profession, and the significant contribution she has made to society in addition to or outside of her area of endeavor.
The event recognizes judges, lawyers, and professionals who make a difference through their work.
Members of the Danbury Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team participated in a massive cleanup along the embankment on Mill Plain Road between the exits 1 and 2 commuter parking lots. UNIT officials say vandals have dumped large items down the hillside, including construction debris, couches, mattresses, house siding, pool equipment, and televisions.
A work crew from the City's Clean Start program worked for two days to remove the garbage.
The program is a joint effort with Jericho Partnership to offer help to the city's homeless population. It puts people on a pathway to employment through beautification projects in exchange for gift cards and community services.
There is a budget referendum in Redding today. Residents are being asked to vote on a total $48.2 million. That includes an approximately $14.8 million municipal proposal, $20.8 million for the Redding Board of Education and $12.7 million for Redding's share of the Region 9 school budget.
The overall budget is about a 1-percent increase over the current fiscal year. Redding's share of the Region 9 budget also includes an increase because of higher enrollment at Joel Barlow High School.
Health insurance costs were one of the biggest increases in the municipal budget.
First Selectman Julia Pemberton says there is concern on the part of all area municipalities about the impact from a proposed reduction in state aide. School funding from the state is also up in the air.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The Connecticut Board of Regents has approved a plan allowing students in the state university system, including Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, access to bathrooms and locker rooms that match their chosen gender identity.
The move is designed to comply with an executive order issued by Gov. Dannel Malloy in February that labeled those bathrooms and locker rooms places of public accommodation, making discrimination based on sex or gender identity expression there illegal under Connecticut law.
The board also approved a policy that allows students in the 17 universities and community colleges to use whatever first name they wish on all unofficial documents and records, including student identification cards.
Mark Ojakian, the president of the CSCU system, says the policy is designed to make sure transgender students feel "valued and empowered to pursue their education."
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - Hundreds of workers, business owners and families have rallied in five Connecticut cities to support immigrants' rights.
Monday's "Day Without Immigrants" event in Stamford, Danbury, Bridgeport and New Haven was among similar demonstrations held across the country to mark May Day, a traditional day for workers' rights demonstrations.
Some immigrant-owned businesses shut down for the day as part of the protest.
Politicians and hundreds of Connecticut residents attended a "Here to Stay" immigrants' rights rally in Hartford on Saturday. Gov. Dannel Malloy, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and U.S. Rep. John Larson were among the attendees and speakers.
President Donald Trump has aggressively pursued immigration enforcement, and the government has threatened to withhold funding from so-called sanctuary cities that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The list of people who want to be Connecticut's next governor appears to be growing by the day.
Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced last month that he will not seek a third term in 2018. Since then, several of his fellow Democrats have stepped forward in recent days to express interest in the state's top job. Comptroller Kevin Lembo, Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, former prosecutor Chris Mattei and former Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan Harris all announced they've formed exploratory committees.
Seven Democrats and eight Republicans, including Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, have formed exploratory committees for unnamed statewide offices and some have said publicly they're interested in running for governor.
Three Democrats and five Republicans have declared their candidacies for governor.
Danbury officials are waiting to see if the new leaders at the Environmental Protection Administration reduce phosphorus removal mandates. Mayor Mark Boughton says infrastructure improvements still need to be made at the waste water treatment plant because of the state permit Danbury holds. The upgrades likely won't be as expensive if some of the federal regulations get rolled back. Funding for the rehab work will be put before voters in November.
The last renovation of the plant was done in the early nineties.
The project requires about $30 million in new spending. Boughton notes that the City is rolling off debt on the sewer fund, so they can handle it without impacting rates. If the phosphorous mandates aren't changed, that price tag will double or possibly triple.
The big funding decision will have to be made in 2018.
Steady progress is being made on intersection improvements at Whittlesey Drive in Bethel. The new section of the realigned intersection is taking shape as construction resumes at Plumtrees Bridge. Sidewalk and pedestrian signals are now in place.
Officials say Lynn Deming Park in New Milford is closed until further notice due to ongoing vandalism. Drivers have destroyed the hydro seeding work and New Milford Police are investigating. It was previously announced that Lynn Deming Park would be closed to the public this week for Grading and Paving.
The annual Town Meeting in Ridgefield will be held at the Ridgefield Playhouse at 7:30pm tonight. Ridgefield residents will be asked to approve 7 items to send to a referendum vote on May 9th. The municipal budget is proposed at $47 million. The proposed Education budget is $92.6 million.
Capital Items to be Presented at the Annual Town Meeting: