There could be more tricks than treats this Halloween and Newtown Police are hoping to guard against that by being proactive. For adults celebrating, police urge precautions including to designate a driver before consuming alcohol. Officers will be out in force conducting roadside safety checks, roving patrols, and additional officers will be assigned to Main Street. Anyone who sees suspicious activity should call 911.
Danbury Police are offering some safety reminders this Halloween, including for trick-or-treaters to wear bright, light-colored or reflective costumes so that motorists see them.
Kids and their parents should also be alert for objects or toys in the walkway or on the porch, and for any hazards on sidewalks. Trick-or-treaters are encouraged to avoid taking shortcuts through yards and to stay with your group.
Trick-or-treaters should never enter anyone's house or car for a treat. Parents should inspect all treats collected by their children and dispose of any items that appear to be unsafe for consumption, such as unwrapped, partially opened, discolored or out-of-the-ordinary treats.
Parents are urged to check the Connecticut Sex Offender Registry prior to Halloween night so they can map out their trick-or-treating routes.
People staying home to distribute candy should keep pets away from children and use battery-operated lights instead of candles on the front porch.
Motorist are being urged to drive cautiously, obey all traffic laws and be aware of children who may be running from house to house.
Local artists and graphic designers are being called on by Danbury officials to submit draft proposals for consideration in the City's "Traffic Box Art Program". One or more artists will be selected to design art that will be printed on vinyl wrapping and placed on traffic control boxes throughout the city center. The submission process will be open until January 8th. Selected artists will then be assigned one or more traffic box locations throughout downtown Danbury. The City is currently developing a budget, in partnership with CityCenter Danbury. Officials say the amount of taxpayer dollars will depend on the amount of sponsorships obtained.
The Ridgefield Police Department is hosting the Annual Children’s Halloween Party tonight for kids under 12 years old. It's at The Lounsbury House on Main Street from 5 to 9pm. Ridgefield Police say some teens have helped plan the event which will feature "trunk or treat" out front, a balloon twister and a gypsy fortuneteller. The event is free with the support of the Prospector Theater, the Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield, the Ridgefield Youth Commission and Ridgefield Parks and Recreation among others.
Kent Park and Recreation and the Kent Lions Club are teaming up with the Kent Resident State Trooper for the annual Kent Halloween Safety Campaign, featuring distribution of "glow-in-the dark" necklaces. The necklaces will be handed out starting at 5pm on a first come, first serve basis while supply lasts. The distribution is on North Main Street, adjacent to the Kent Memorial Library.
New Fairfield Trunk or Treat will be held at 6pm at a new location. The event this Halloween will be at Memorial Field and feature a hay ride and a bouncy house. People just trick or treating need to park in the upper lot of Memorial Field.
Ridgefield Schools are closed today due to continued damage from the storm, roads that remain closed, tree limbs and branches in roads and driveways, and power outages throughout the town. Ridgefield Schools Central Office will be open regular time. Eversource reportedly only has one truck in Ridgefield and just 30 crews in western Connecticut. Ridgefield's Emergency Manager told the Ridgefield Press that the rest of the utility crews are in the eastern part of the state or away working in hurricane damaged areas. First Selectman Rudy Marconi has asked Eversource for more crews and a better response.
As of Monday afternoon, 27 roads were totally or partially blocked in Newtown with downed wires or trees. According to the Eversource spokesperson, additional outages are caused by wind gusts and the process of clearing wires and trees. Eversource crews and Newtown public works crews are on site in many locations, performing damage assessments and planning recovery. The first order of business is to Make Safe, the highest priority being to address all dangerous conditions.
Sunday night’s powerful wind storm brought down numerous trees and power lines in Bethel. Town officials say Eversource is unable to give any restoration estimates, but based on damage assessments, some homes could remain without power for several days. There are still multiple power lines on the ground in various locations around Bethel. For homes that remain without power into this morning, Bethel Town Hall’s showers and locker rooms will be available for public use beginning at 9am.
A tree fell on Rockwell Road in Bethel yesterday knocking out power to Berry School and Bethel High School. Eversource was able to move a crew onto that restoration project meaning classes could be held today. If your road is closed, Bethel school officials ask that you walk your child to the nearest safe intersection. Buses may have to reroute due to road closures causing delays. The Transportation Depot for Bethel's school buses is without power and likely will be for a few days. They are working out of Central Office. Anyone with a bus related issue is asked to call 203-794-8071 or 203-794-8604.
People are reminded that each wire should be treated as if it's electrified and could pose a danger. Generators should be properly connected to the home's electrical system by a licensed electrician, not directly into the system without a properly installed transfer switch to isolate the home from the power grid. Without proper installation, officials say the generator could “back feed” the wires in the area and accidentally injure or kill a line worker.
Redding Democratic incumbent First Selectman Julia Pemberton has been cross-endorsed by the Republican Town Committee. One of the items that has long been on the agenda of Redding leaders is the redevelopment of the former Gilbert & Bennett Wire Mill site.
The court is currently helping to negotiate a proposed settlement to present to Redding voters in which all parties can recover portions of what they're owed, over time, and the property could be marketed for sale and developed. But Pemberton says that would require the town to share sale proceeds and tax revenue for decades. She says both the town and the creditors each have the power to prevent anyone from recovering any money. If the creditors release their debts in exchange for a share of future development income the town can also recoup taxes and sewer costs going forward.
Pemberton says the town would also control what gets built, subject to planning and zoning and other regulatory bodies, and avoid years of litigation and appeals. That would also enable the development to access $5.6 million in a state grant for the last two pieces of infrastructure--the river wall rebuild and intersection improvements on Route 7 in Wilton by the Nissan dealer.
In the proposed structure, Pemberton says the court would give the title to the town and Fire District through foreclosure. All other liens would be extinguished and all appeals and further litigation waived. She says the town would then solicit bids with creditor input and the town would select a developer. The purchase price and subsequent tax revenue would be divided between town and creditors, proportionate to what each is owed, over a 30 to 50 year period, to be determined by the voters. The Fire District would be paid a discounted lump sum from the purchase price only.
Pemberton says sharing proceeds would involve the town's creation of the Tax Increment Finance District. In October 2015, the state made changes to its previous existing TIF legislation and the new law allows towns to share increased tax revenue to encourage development, requires voter approval of a plan to share collected taxes, and the TIF district can exist for no longer than 15 years. It’s a district that must be created by the municipality, not something that can be created for this purpose by the taxing district, so Pemberton says the town would control it.
Connecticut residents who are eligible to vote can register online via the Secretary of the State’s Office until 11:59pm today, can hand deliver their applications to local registrars by 8pm or can mail-in applications postmarked by today. Registrars of voters across the state will be in their offices today from 9am to 8pm.
Secretary Merrill encourages voters to see if they are registered and look up where their polling place is located at myvote.ct.gov/lookup.
Polls will be open from 6am until 8pm on November 7 for municipal elections. Sample ballots for every municipality have been posted to the Secretary of the State's website.
If you miss today’s deadline to register in advance, there is Election Day Registration.
EDR does not take place at polling locations. EDR is only available in designated locations in each town beginning at 6am and ending at 8pm. Most Election Day Registration locations are found within local town halls. But Merrill cautions that there will likely be long lines. You will need to provide proof of identity and residency.
The New Milford Mayoral Debate has been rescheduled to this Friday. Democratic incumbent David Gronbach is being challenged by Republican Pete Bass. The debate, sponsored by the Greater New Milford Chamber of Commerce, will be held at the Sarah Noble Intermediate School Friday at 7pm. The forum was originally scheduled for last Thursday, but Bass was unable to attend after being hospitalized overnight as a precaution. He said it was because of a bad reaction to new medication. Bass is battling thyroid cancer and now back to the old medication and feeling better.
There were dozens of roads that were blocked in the Greater Danbury area overnight after trees, wires and utility poles fell in the heavy rain and wind. Drivers were urged to slow down on local roads in case they come across these issues, or police barricades. Today some schools were closed after concerns of buses or students walking and being able to navigate around downed trees and wires. There were also about 150,000 power outages statewide reported by Eversource this morning.
Bethel's Emergency Operations Director says there are a number of roads block or partially blocked after this storm. South Street will be a long duration closure, of a day or more. There are at least four utility poles down or snapped. Two or three trees have also fallen on South Street.
Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi asked that residents keep travel to a minimum to give the Highway Department and Eversource time and space to clean up. If your power is out, he suggests battery powered lights, not candles--and to make sure generators are hooked up according to manufacturer instructions. Generators should be run outside and away from windows and fan intakes.
It was six years ago yesterday that October snow storm dumped nearly a foot of snow on the Greater Danbury area. Five years ago, Superstorm Sandy blew through the region.
Easton firefighters are remembering Russ Neary, who went out on a call during Sandy and died in the line of duty. Neary had been president of the fire Easton Volunteer Fire Company.
The Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company has loaned one of their ambulances to the Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Company in Bethel. Stony Hill's ambulance is in for routine maintenance. Brookfield officials say this type of cooperation between companies is the cornerstone of mutual aid and neighbors helping neighbors. Brookfield still has 2 fully equipped ambulances.
Bethel's Emergency Operations Director says there are a number of problems from the storm. South Street will be a long duration closure, of a day or more. There are at least four utility poles down or snapped. Two or three trees have also fallen on South Street.
Road Closures as of 3:45am 10/30/17 in Bethel:
South St from Nashville to Depot Pl. CLOSED- multiple poles & wires down
84 Hoyts Hill Rd- CLOSED btwn Governors & Fawn Rd Tree & wires down
70 Wolfpits Rd- CLOSED btwn Sunset Hill & Codfish HIll wires down
Linda La @ Taylor Rd- CLOSED- tree on wires road blocked
Area of 35 Rockwell Rd- CLOSED btwn Plumtrees & Rte 302- wires down
Plumtrees Rd btwn BPD & Maple Ave Ext (house service wire across road)
200 Old Halweyville Rd @ Clearview Ave- tree & wires down (Eversource on scene @ 2am)
Codfish Hill Rd @ Rte 302- CLOSED tree across road
Katrina Circle- one lane open but passable- large tree down
The rate of rain coupled with the wind gusts means thousands of people in the Greater Danbury area are without power. The lack of rain in the recent past also weaken tree limbs, causing them to fall and damage power equipment. Eversource Spokeswoman Tricia Modifica says one of the challenges in a storm like this is that crews can't work in bucket trucks to fix the lines when the winds are blowing at a high speed. She also cautioned people to stay away from downed lines because they could be energized.
Eversource reported more than 150,000 Connecticut customers without power around 2 am.
Due to a mudslide and related signal power problems on the Danbury branch, Metro North service is currently suspended. Tickets will be cross-honored on the Harlem Line. The New Canaan Branch is temporarily suspended due to a tree fouling overhead wires. New Haven Line Customers should anticipate Westbound delays of 5 to 10 minutes due to circuit issues in the vicinity of West Haven.
Current Road Closures in Brookfield:
Whisconier Rd by WMS
Oak Grove Rd
Old Turnpike Rd at Evergreen Dr
Hillandale Rd at Farview Rd
Road closures in Danbury:
Hawthorne Cove / Shore
Area of 153 kohanza
Wildman / Triangle
Jeanette to Hayestown Heights
Myrtle between Fairlawn and Shannon Ridge
Road status at 5 am in Redding:
Mohawk Trail is closed due to tree and wires and a small fire from live wires. Fire Department remains on scene until Eversource arrives. (No ETA)
Near #12 Old Redding Road, tree and wires partially blocking roadway, but passable. Eversource notified (No ETA)
Sanford Town Road open, however large amount of sediment washed into roadway. Town Highway currently working on scene with bucket loader and should have it cleaned before 5am.
59a Limekiln Road, Large tree leaning on power lines, passable underneath.
3 Dalia Lane, tree leaning on secondary power line, passable
154 Sunset Hill Road, Tree leaning on wires.
Redding First Selectman Julia Pemberton says daylight will likely bring more reports.
The following roads are closed in Wilton due to trees or wires down:
Ridgefield RD near # 73,
Hurlbutt St at Crosswicks Rd
Linden Tree by Carriage
Scribner Hill Rd
Signal Hill Rd
Long Meadow RD
St Johns RD
Sugar Bush Ct
There are numerous branches and debris on all roadways and possible low hanging wires. Use caution while driving.
New Milford Democratic incumbent Mayor David Gronbach is seeking reelection. He is being challenged by Republican Town Councilman Pete Bass.
Gronbach says there’s more that he wants to accomplish in a second term. He says the projects brought to fruition in the past two years, which were on the books for years, are the tip of what he wants to accomplish. Examples he cited include completion of the Young’s Field Riverwalk along the Housatonic, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the Green and renovations to Lynne Deming Park. Native Meadows Preserve and Hidden Treasure Park are both being cleaned up and ready to open.
Bass has been a Town Council member for six terms. He believes New Milford is going in a different direction than where he thinks the town should go. One of his top goals is road safety. He thinks New Milford needs to work on getting roads repaired and restructured.
Gronbach is looking to put solar panels on a number of municipal buildings including the newly opened Pettibone Community Center. As for solar elsewhere, there is a proposal form a developer to build a solar farm on Candlewood Mountain. Gronbach says he knows there are a lot of concerns from residents. He acknowledged that there are issues with the proposal and will advocate before the Siting Council on the town’s best interests.
The Candlewood Mountain solar proposal was first given to the Town Council and Bass says there were some issues on how it was going to be retrofitted into the mountain. He says more information has come to light about the runoff of water, the light that would hit the actual solar panels and could be reflected into the air and other issues. He is concerned about the project and how it will impact the environment.
Bass says the intention of the newly opened John Pettibone Community Center is a great one, but in his opinion it wasn't done correctly. Under the previous administration, the Town Council was setting up a wide-ranging subcommittee to get input of the type of community center, how it would look and how it would be. The committee was going to get costs, plans and specifications. New numbers from the consultant hired by Gronbach is in the millions of dollars, when Bass says they were initially told it would be $100,000 - $200,000. Bass says now is the time to press pause, form a new committee and get the new costs.
New Milford was the only town of its size and population without a Town Planner. Gronbach says the man he hired is on the Farmland Preservation Committee, so is looking out for both preservation and development. He believes they’ll be able to achieve a good balance.
Bass is a proponent of conservation and development. The Town Council set up the Farmland Preservation Committee and Commission, which working on saving farmland as part of New Milford’s heritage and history. But he says that needs to be done in tandem with have Economic Development to help offset taxes paid to the town and to the state.
When it comes to the state’s fiscal problems and the impact on New Milford, Gronbach says the town does have contingencies in place. He says the town is in a good financial standing with a healthy bottom line. But he stressed that there’s a big difference between a $1 million cut and a $10 million cut. Gronbach says New Milford’s state delegation has been working on behalf of the town to say that some of the cuts of funding elimination aren’t fair.
Bass says one of the reasons he didn't vote for the municipal budget this time was that he believes that cities and towns have to be very proactive because of the state budget crisis. He called for a hiring freeze and wanted to talk to all the local department heads and look at ways to cost save. He says that’s especially important because New Milford is planning for a library expansion and says they are looking at improvements needed at the senior center. Bass also wants to look at all of the town assets and buildings and see how they can be run as economically as possible. One of the ways to do that according to Bass is to possibly do an energy retrofit.
Gronbach wants to follow through on the library expansion, plans for which are in the design phase. If reelection, he wants to be able to authorize construction or see the work started. He also wants to continue selling surplus properties.
Bass says there was some discussion under the previous administration of looking at how to mitigate flooding along the Housatonic, but he noted that the surrounding land is in the hundred year flood plain. Bass says unfortunately with climate change more frequent flooding is coming. He would make it a priority to look at, without changing the river, what opportunities there are to help with the flooding.
When it comes to traffic and safety issues along Route 7, Bass says he has a good relationship with New Milford’s state Representative and Senator. He wants to work with them to figure out ways to ease traffic on Route 7, Grove Street and through the downtown. Bass notes that one of the things that can be done easily would be to make sure the traffic lights work in tandem in the area of the bridge and that would be a quick fix for the congestion there.
Several Greater Danbury area police departments are participating in the DEA National Drug Take Back Initiative. The event is from 10am to 2pm, though some hours may vary. The unused drugs will be picked up by a DEA Agent to make sure they are disposed of properly. The Danbury and Newtown Police stations, Easton Library parking lot and Putnam Hospital Center in Carmel are among the drop off locations.
The Northwest Corner Prevention Network is working with the Kent Resident State Trooper to host a Prescription Drug Take-Back day today at Kent Town Hall. Prevention Network representatives will also hand out free lockbags designed to safeguard prescription medications in homes.
The Ridgefield Prevention Council and the Ridgefield Police Department are participating in a prescription drug take-back initiative today to promote the proper disposal of medications. The collection is at Rite Aid on Danbury Road. The dangerous, unused and unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications will be taken to an incineration facility by Ridgefield Officers for destruction.
Prescription drugs that languish in medicine cabinets create a public health and safety concern because they are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse continue to increase in the United States and studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, to include the family medicine cabinet.
There is a prescription drug take-back box located in the front lobby of Police Headquarters, available to the public 24 hours a day/365 days of the year and is also completely anonymous.
Dozens of Putnam County employees participated in Purple Thursday recently, to draw attention to domestic violence issues. The county employees raised $620 for the nonprofit Putnam/Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and purple is the color that represents domestic violence awareness. The Putnam Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center provides advocacy, education and services to the community to create a safe, supportive environment that eliminates violence against women and children and promotes gender equality.
There is a light bulb exchange in Bethel today. Residents can swap up to 5 incandescent bulbs for energy efficient LEDs, free of charge. The event is possible because of a Bright Idea Grant. Light bulbs to exchange a proof of residency is required from 9am to 2pm at the Municipal Center.
A letter was sent home yesterday to Wilton parents about another anti-semitic message being found at Middlebrook Middle School. A 6th grader found the sticky note in her locker that read “Jews will burn.”
School officials called an assembly to address students about the incident and the destructive power of hate speech. Students were informed that if the perpetrator is caught, they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and subject to suspension and expulsion.
Swastikas were found in the school twice in the past few weeks.
The school district will be holding a follow-up meeting with parents in the Middlebrook auditorium at 7pm Monday.
Superintendent Kevin Smith says Wilton is a community built on love, tolerance and respect. Working together, recognizing that everyone has a role to play in teaching children, Smith said he is confident Wilton will emerge a stronger and better community.
The Lee Farm office building in Danbury sold yesterday for $31.75 million. Fairfield-based Summit Development and The Grossman Cos. sold the property it bought nearly 5 years ago for $16.9 million to CT Property Realty. The 5 story building was at 65-percent occupancy then, but after a more than $1 million renovation, it's completely full.
Ridgefield officials have submitted an application to the state Department of Transportation for a LOTCIP grant. It would be for the Farmingville Road and Ligi Way Combined Use Sidewalk project. The $1.53 million project proposes to construct an 8-foot wide combined use path from Danbury Road (Rt. 35) to South Street and includes a pedestrian bridge over a watercourse and boardwalk along Ligi Way adjacent to the Great Swamp. The trail is planned to ultimately connect to the Ridgefield Rail Trail.
Brookfield incumbent Democratic First Selectman Steve Dunn is seeking election to second term. He is being challenged by Republican Harry Shaker.
Dunn notes that there were a lot of challenges in his first term in office, including a multi-million dollar accounting discrepancy. He says that’s been cleared up, there are new accounting processes in place and the Boards of Selectmen, Finance and Education are all now working together.
For 23 years, Harry Shaker has been involved with coaching and officiating youth in the Brookfield area and helped 3,000 youth. He’s been on the Board of Education for 14 years and served on many different subcommittees, including the negotiation subcommittee where he’s worked with all 5 bargaining units. Shaker is also a small businessman.
Dunn wants to get the ball rolling on several infrastructure improvement projects including building a new library, constructing a new police station and continuing the streetscaping in the Four Corners area. Phase I of the project is almost completed and two thirds of Phase II is being fully funded with grant money.
The needs of police departments have changed over the last 30 years since the station was built. Dunn would like to be able to have officers out of the basement, with the proper amount of space.
Shaker says there are three Capital Improvements that are being looked at, and the first he’s like to tackle is improvements to Huckleberry Elementary School. The other two being discussed are a new library and the police station. But Shaker says Brookfield needs to start to pay down debt, noting that there is $13 million in capital spending done more than two years ago that they are paying interest on. The Board of Ed has hired a firm to do a study, on all four buildings, on immediate and future needs. Shaker says he’s in favor of all three projects, it’s just a matter of when they get done.
Dunn says other improvements will make doing business in town easier. The Zoning Board is overhauling the entire code for the town and simplifying the laws. In a couple of weeks people will be able to apply for permits online. Instead of running the town on spreadsheets, Dunn says the $65 million budget is now being run with stricter controls. He added that project accounts are now closed out for the firs time when a project is completed.
When it comes to the Four Corners area, Shaker says it’s something that the town can embrace and enjoy. When builders come into Brookfield, he hopes they conform to zoning regulations. But he says the town will continue to take a firm stance against 8-30g housing. When it’s time to apply to renew the moratorium, Shaker says he’d pursue that. He wants more small businesses come in, including a breakfast place, a pharmacy and a dining/entertainment business to increase nightlife.
Another accounting change that Dunn has continued is to have the town spend more cash than bonding on road paving. Each year the amount of cash is upped by about $100,000, and will be until Brookfield is paying everything there with cash.
Dunn wants to do more to protect water quality of Candlewood Lake. The Authority overseeing operations is currently looking for a new director. He says research has to be done about combating blue green algae. Dunn commended the sterile grass carp program for cutting down on the amount of invasive Eurasian Milfoil in the lake, but he says that’s a long-term solution. Other invasive species are a concern. He would like the state to deploy the town-owned boat washing station at the Danbury launch. Brookfield issues about 80 boating permits a year, but Danbury is where a lot of the big bass boat tournaments launch from, with boats coming in from New York, Massachusetts and elsewhere. But the problem is, there are no laws that require inspections or washing before launching.
Shaker says he’s worked very closely with former selectman Jerry Murphy who is on the Candlewood Lake Authority. He supports the grass carp program to help control the milfoil problem. He says there’s so control over who is using the lake because there are so many different boat launches. He wants to continue efforts to keep zebra mussels out of the lake.
Shaker says any cuts that Brookfield would have faced from Hartford would likely be able to be faced internally through savings, rather than cutting programs from the schools or having to go to the taxpayers for more money.
Dunn says they are making some difficult decisions, putting some things off and belt-tightening in an effort to compensate for state funding cuts. Brookfield is slated to receive $1.8 million in Education Cost Sharing grants under the Governor’s executive order. But he says they’ve taken steps so the local education budget won’t suffer because of the state’s fiscal woes.
Shaker says there’s been a lack of oversight and accountability in the last few years. He wants to set a new direction and change how Brookfield does business. He says there will not be unilateral decisions made without consultation of different boards and commissions and advisors. He wants to see a more collaborative and open work environment. Shaker says he will not be making unilateral decisions if he is elected, decisions based on what he thinks is right, but rather decisions made through coordination and collaboration with different boards and offices. He gave an example of $300,000 to put electric at the Four Corners that he says was made without the collaboration of the Board of Finance or the Economic Development Committee. Eversource will reimburse part of the money. He says another example is to fire the town controller, which lowered the bond rating.
Connecticut lawmakers have passed what they called an "historic" bipartisan state budget nearly four months into a new fiscal year. The House moved swiftly to approve the bipartisan budget deal yesterday, after about two-and-a-half hours of debate. It garnered a veto proof majority of 126-23. One of the votes in opposition came from Deputy House Speaker Bob Godfrey of Danbury. The budget was approved early Thursday morning by the Senate on a vote of 33-3.
Danbury Representative Michael Ferguson says government worked Thursday the way it should have for the people of Connecticut. He says the budget compromise protects the state’s most in-need citizens as well as the taxpayers of Danbury. While acknowledging that the budget doesn’t solve all of Connecticut’s problems, Ferguson believes that the bipartisan agreement is a first step to restore the state’s economy.
New Fairfield Representative Richard Smith says there was a real threat of towns having to significantly raise property taxes just to keep schools open if lawmakers didn't reach a bipartisan compromise. Smith says the budget contains certain things he is not in favor of, but the positives outweighed the negatives and was accomplished without any of the income or sales tax increases proposed in earlier versions of a tax and spending plan.
Brookfield Representative Stephen Harding says he is relieved that the long standing budget impasses has concluded. He says residents deserved a budget months ago and that lawmakers were failing their constituents each day something was not adopted. Harding touted the measure for requiring legislative approval of all collectively bargained agreements. He says those provisions will set the state on a sustainable, fiscally responsible path moving forward.
Bethel Representative Will Duff touted the budget for preventing a proposal to shift part of the teachers’ pension cost on to the cities and towns. He also pointed to the phasing out of Social Security and pension tax to provide relief to seniors, especially those living on fixed incomes.
State Representative JP Sredzinski says it was a difficult decision for him to vote for the budget, but did so because the good outweighed the bad. He notes that the budget approved by the General Assembly is almost a full restoration of funding for Newtown and Monroe, 95-percent this year and 75-percent next year. Sredzinski says when faced with two choices of the Governor's executive order or the bipartisan budget, the choice was clear to him. He calls the fixes needed in Connecticut a marathon, noting that yesterday was not the finish line, just a hurdle.
Danbury state Representative David Arconti says the budget approved by the House yesterday helps to ensure Danbury remains among the nation’s most livable cities and helps the residents by avoiding the draconian cuts included in Governor Malloy's executive order. Funding is preserved for higher education – which he says bodes well for Western Connecticut State University. Firefighters receive funding for cancer healthcare while also placing Connecticut on a new frugal spending path.
But the Governor's office says it's identified a flaw in hospital tax language of budget, calling it an egregious error. House Minority Leader Themis Klaredis says if there is a problem, they will fix it. She says the one group that has protected the hospitals year after year is the legislature. The House Speaker says they are still technically in Special Session, so they can emergency certify another piece of legislation.
It remains unclear whether Governor Malloy will sign the bill into law. He was still reviewing the budget documents late yesterday.
The Bethel Registrar of Voters is hosting an in-person voter registration session next week. The session is on Halloween. October 31st is the final day to register for the November 7th election. The special session in Bethel is from 9am to 8pm.
October 31st is deadline to register to participate in the November 7th election.
The Kent Registrars of Voters will also be holding a voter registration session on Halloween. The Kent office will be open from 9am to 8pm next Tuesday.
Residents can also register at any DMV or State Social Service office.
Anyone who turns 18, becomes a citizen, or moves into town after October 31st may register in person at the Kent Registrar’s office between on Monday November 6th. Recently discharged and former members of the armed forces also may register at that time.
Members of the Connecticut Congressional delegation asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions this week why federal law enforcement grant money has not been distributed yet. The Connecticut Mirror reports that they suggest the delay is because of immigration policies and Sessions threatening to withhold funding. But state officials received a letter earlier this month that there was no evidence of so-called sanctuary policies. The grants were due at the end of the federal fiscal year September 30th. Several towns received this kind of grant funding last year, including Danbury.
5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty has introduced a resolution calling for the preservation of the state and local tax deduction in the current effort to overhaul the nation’s tax code. 41% of filers in Connecticut claimed the state and local tax deduction in 2015, with an average deduction of about 19-thousand dollars.
The budget plan passed by the Senate this week would pave the way for a vote on approval of a tax package potentially eliminating of the state and local deduction.
Esty says Connecticut already sends more to the federal government than it receives in dollar-for-dollar terms. Esty says preserving this tax benefit for middle-class workers is about fairness for all Americans.
The Western Connecticut State University Career Success Center has moved to the Westside campus. University officials say the center has also upgraded its services as part of a rebranding effort to better serve students and alumni. A new job board called “WESTCONN Works” can be used by students and alumni to view job postings from employers in the regional community and nationally.
The Connecticut Senate has overwhelmingly passed a two-year bipartisan state budget crafted by legislative leaders.
The Senate voted 33-3 in favor of the roughly $41 billion plan early Thursday morning. The House of Representatives was scheduled to vote later in the day on the same package. The budget bill was expected to clear the House.
For town funding totals, click here.
Danbury state Senator Mike McLachlan says the agreement doesn't make everyone happy, but could finally end the long budget stalemate and help address some of Connecticut's long-standing financial problems. Mclachlan says this should turn off the heat from Wall Street for the towns affected by an announcement by credit rating agency Moody's. Among the municipalities assigned negative outlooks because of state aid vulnerability is New Fairfield, New Milford and Oxford.
This budget includes a new Education Cost Sharing Formula that takes into account factors regarding the CCJEF court decision, enrollment, poverty, wealth and number of English Language Learners, among other factors. Wealthier towns with shrinking populations will see small decreases in aid and poorer towns with growing populations will see gradual increases in aid over time. For charter schools, per pupil grants are increased by $250 and funding is provided to allow for grade growth.
The budget bill will not redistribute the state’s teacher’s pension obligation to local governments. The budget exempts Social Security from the income tax, phases out the income tax on pensions and funds mental health and addiction services.
The budget implements a bipartisan “Passport to Parks” program dedicating a $10 biennial fee increase on motor vehicle registrations to fund parks and in exchange would allow free entrance to all state parks with a Connecticut license plate.
The credit against the personal income tax for local property taxes would be narrowed to two select groups of people. In the budget, only the elderly and taxpayers with dependent children will be able to claim a credit of up to $200.
Senator Toni Boucher says the budget restores funding to municipalities cut by the Governor’s executive order. Under the new budget, towns she represents will receive:
Bethel – $7,855,050 more
Redding – $311,103 more
Ridgefield – $717,094 more
Weston – $327,459 more
Wilton – $573,531 more
Connecticut has been without a budget in place since the fiscal year began July 1.
It remains uncertain whether Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will sign the budget agreement into law. Malloy received the details late in the day. Malloy has been running the state using his limited executive spending authority.
The Senate had planned to meet at 8 p.m. Wednesday, but the bill had to be redrafted when a mistaken calculation was found at about 9:30. The Senate session didn’t start until 11 p.m.
New Fairfield incumbent Republican First Selectman Susan Chapman is seeking election to a third term. She is being challenged by Inland and Wetland Commission member Pat Del Monaco. Del Monaco has been chairman of the Wetlands Commission for 15 years and decided to run after seeing changes in the town.
Chapman says there are some infrastructure projects she would like to see through to completion, including sidewalk installation and road paving. She also wants make sure capital items and town buildings and equipment is maintained. Chapman wants to make sure downtown is more walkable. New Fairfield is partnering with Danbury to create a walking path along Marjorie Reservoir.
Del Monaco wants to have a more responsive and open town government, bring back small businesses and rebuild the town center. She also wants to work cooperatively with the Candlewood Lake Authority. She says Candlewood and Ball Pond are important to her. She opposes uses chemicals in the lake. There is now a new ordinance in New Fairfield requiring a town vote on the idea in the future. Del Monaco says buffer gardens are helpful in keeping nutrients out of the lake, which can lead to blue green algae and milfoil. She supports the sterile grass carp program and the drawdown program.
Chapman is concerned about the water running into Candlewood Lake. She wants to do more education about the watershed and products people are putting on their lawn, even if they’re not shoreline residents. Chapman says the sterile grass carp program has been successful in controlling invasive Eurasian Milfoil. She believes it’s important to deal with blue green algae and other toxic blooms that can form on the water.
Chapman wants to continue pushing the legislature to change the walk-in policy for state parks, specifically Squantz Pond. She believes walk-ins should be banned because it defeats the purpose of having a car limit in the parking lot as a way to reduce overcrowding. The parking limit was put in place after several years marred by drownings.
Del Monaco called Squantz Pond an asset, but a shared responsibility. Now that there have been some changes made, she wants to sit down with the Park Ranger and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to see if there’s a way to increase the number of cars allowed to park there. Right now residents have to squeeze by on Route 39 because of the cars parked on the shoulder of the road. She also suggested budgeting for police overtime on weekends to better control traffic.
Del Monaco would like to make the town center more walkable. She says residents have expressed interest in more walking trails.
An added challenge for municipal leaders this year has been the state budget stalemate. Chapman notes that New Fairfield sends a lot of money to Hartford, but the Governor thinks municipal aid is a gift. She calls it a return on what is sent to the state.
When it comes to dealing with potential funding cuts from the state, Del Monaco says the Board of Finance has done a good job in preparing for the worst. If elected, she would look at the town budget to make sure resident’s concerns are addressed.
There are no big infrastructure projects on the horizon for New Fairfield. But Chapman does say they’ve been thinking about renovating the high school auditorium or building a separate performing arts facility at the high school.
Drivers passing through the Stony Hill area may have seen some activity at a vacant lot on the corner of Route 6 and Benedict Road. The land is being used by Eversource Energy as a staging area for work being done on overhead transmission lines between the Bethel and Brookfield substations. Crews are expected to be on the property for about a year. There is no commercial building happening at the site.
Redding's Police Chief is among the law enforcement officers and community members presented with Community Policing Awards from the United States Attorney’s Office yesterday.
Redding Chief Douglas Fuchs and and two of his colleagues were recognized for helping to develop and implement the "Breaking Barriers Program" in an effort to foster improved communications between law enforcement and motorists during a traffic stop.
Breaking Barriers is aimed at improving interactions between the police and the public during traffic stops, with the ultimate goal of making everyone safer during this police encounter. Police in Connecticut conduct in excess of 700,000 motor vehicle stops each year.
By working with Driver’s Education and community based programs, police officers across Connecticut have become a part of the learning process for new drivers.
An Eagle Scout candidate in New Milford is proposing a Disc Golf Course at Clatter Valley Park. The sport combines Frisbee and Golf.
Greg Winklestern has been working on the proposal for a number of months and presented it to the New Milford Town Council this week. Officials said they hope the project can be completed by the Spring.
The Danbury City Council was approached in 2015 about putting a course in at the Farrington Woods open space property. Danbury Disc Golf, along with non-profit WeDGE are building a multi-hole course at no charge to the city. The course at the city-owned park on the New York/Connecticut border would be maintained by volunteers.
There are no disc golf courses within 20 miles of Danbury.
A winterizing road project in Bethel will have to be completed on a second day. The application of an anti-skid coating to the newly realigned curve on Walnut Hill Road was supposed to be done Saturday, but due to the contractor's equipment breaking down was put off to yesterday. A second road closure at Hoyt Road will need to be scheduled to complete the application. Advanced notice will be given, and school bus runs will not be affected.
The Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company responded to several fire calls last night, including two incidents which they say were preventable. An occupant in Stony Hill Village left a frying pan unattended causing a cooking fire and a resident on Route 25 placed groceries on the gas range and inadvertently turned on the burner causing the home to fill with gas. Fire officials say cooking-related fires are one of the leading causes of residential structure fires.
The Danbury Public Schools Readiness Program has received a new, five-year term of national accreditation.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children bases the accreditation on a documentation that ultimately show that the program meets 10 criteria. The criteria are: relationships, curriculum, teaching, assessment of child progress, health, teachers, families, community relationships, physical environment, and leadership and management.
The Danbury program received a nearly perfect score in nine criteria; an 81 was the lowest score for curriculum because the program requires more science and social studies. The program will focus more on professional development, hold science presentations for parents, include “I am moving” physical activities, and plant a community garden.
The Danbury program is located at 10 Cottage Street. There are three classroom with five teachers and four teaching assistants who instruct 56 three- to five-year-olds between 7am and 6pm.
A proclamation was made at this week's New Milford Town Council meeting honoring Veronica "Ronnie" Bradley. The 94-year old was the WWII Marine Corps Poster Girl. She enlisted in 1943 and was one of the first females in the U.S. Marine Corps, and placed in aviation repair. Over the years Bradley was active with the Marine Corps League, volunteering for Toys for Tots and Food for the Hungry.
(Photo: Facebook, Mayor Gronbach)
After four and a half years of planning, the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation says the Newtown Planning and Zoning Commission has granted all necessary approvals to begin construction on their animal sanctuary. Architects have provided their services pro bono to the foundation formed in memory of one of the children killed on 12-14. The foundation says they are one step closer to manifesting Catherine's dream.
The New Milford Town Council has approved forming a 15 member committee to bolster the existing library modernization committee. The proposed expansion and renovation is projected to cost $7.5million. Plans call for a second floor on the existing 1977 addition, with an outdoor terrace, additional meeting rooms, a self-serve cafe, and a new facade to match the surrounding historic buildings. ADA compliance upgrades are also planned. The Town Council approved $435,000 from the Waste Management Fund for construction documents.
Mayor Mark Boughton is seeking reelection in Danbury to a ninth term. While he has been in office for 16 years, Boughton says there are still some projects he would like to see through. That includes opening the new high school Freshman Academy, making infrastructure imprvements and setting Danbury up for the state’s new economic reality. One proposal included in the draft state budget is elimination of the car tax. Boughton says he’s in favor of getting rid of taxes, but without a mechanism to replace the funding, municipalities will be forced to raise property taxes.
Democratic challenger Al Almeida got into the race because he wants to see a better return on investment for property tax payers. He says taxes have been on the rise the last several years while at the same time services have decreased. He cited Friday closures of City Hall as an example. Almeida also suggested having some Saturday hours at City Hall. He is also concerned about development, saying that senior housing has been needed since the Plan of Conservation and Development was drafted a decade ago.
Quality of life issues remain one of the biggest concerns for residents, behind finances. The City budgeted for two new basketball courts last year. Boughton says they are scouting locations and hope to have an announcement by the Spring. In the meantime, he wants to improve the City’s relationship with PAL, where there could be no-fee open gym nights. When asked about the former Boughton Street YMCA, the Mayor says work has started and the Boys & Girls Club is in talks with the Connecticut Institute for Communities. If it doesn’t work out, he says other organizations may be interested in filling the space.
When it comes to quality of life issues, Almeida says people have expressed an interest in more picnic areas, somewhere to swim other than Candlewood Lake and a bike trail or path. He wants to bring more youth programs in the City. Almeida wants to redevelop the downtown area. He says a boutique hotel might be needed in the area so that parents of WCSU and NVCC students can stay closer to the campuses. Almeida says that would spur business at other places downtown. He also wants to look at clearing the way for a fastfood restaurant to come to downtown or bringing in something to improve nightlife.
Another quality of life issue is panhandling and homelessness. Boughton says the good news is that the chronic homeless population has continued to drop. The City is beefing up the Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team, adding a police officer and a firefighter. Boughton says they will be stepping up inspections of illegal apartments. He notes that there are certain neighborhoods where they have specific problems. Notices are sent out about inspections. Boughton says if someone doesn’t comply, they could be put into a commercial tax category and they’ll be taxed significantly more because they’re running a rooming house. Someone from the Police Department would be reassigned to UNIT, mainly for code enforcement.
Almeida is calling or an intensive citywide traffic evaluation. He suggested turning some streets into one-way streets. Almeida says that could also reduce pollution from vehicles sitting in traffic.
The Zoning Commission recently approved a text amendment clearing the way for off track betting to become an accessory use in a restaurant. Boughton hasn’t offered an opinion in favor or against OTB, saying it will be a decision of the City Council, not him. Boughton called it an added amenity that people could chose to utilize or not, describing it both as not being the savior for downtown some people have called it nor the horrible thing others have said.
Danbury is completing initial designs of renovations to the Waste Water Treatment Plant, which Boughton says is needed regardless of an EPA decision on phosphorous removal regulations, which adds $20 million to $30 million to the project.
Almeida wants to address overcrowding in the schools among other education-related issues. He cited statistics like 77-percent graduation rates, Danbury ranking 77th of 116 municipalities in per pupil spending. He opposes the idea included in the General Assembly proposed budget to have teachers contribute more to their pensions.
Four of the City’s elementary schools were expanded two years ago. There is a bulge of students in grades 4 and 5. Boughton doesn’t anticipate any more additions. He says the temporary classrooms are easily movable and not what they were 30 years ago. He notes that they are air conditioned and the staff likes them. Boughton added that they can move with that bulge of students or the City can be strategic with redistricting.
Almeida wants to work with local businesses to increase internship programs for kids so that when they graduate from high school, they’ll have job skills. He says that’s especially important for families who can’t afford college.
Boughton is exploring a run for statewide office in 2018. He won’t make a decision on whether he’s running for that position until January. A number of factors will be considered including fundraising success, the field of candidates and his health issues. Boughton is recovering from a successful brain surgery to have a cyst removed. He expects to be back to 10-percent by Christmas.
Almeida says the Mayor’s Office should not be a consolation prize for someone who may try to take a third bite of the gubernatorial apple.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) There was evidence the Newtown school shooter had an interest in children that could be categorized as pedophilia, but there was no proof he acted on it, according to FBI documents released Tuesday.
The records were among more than 1,500 pages of documents released by the FBI in connection with its investigation of the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where the gunman killed 20 first-graders and six educators before killing himself as police arrived.
The records also say there was evidence he began contemplating the attack as early as March 2011.
"The shooter did not 'snap,' but instead engaged in careful, methodical planning and preparation," the FBI's behavioral analysis unit wrote. "The shooter was fascinated with past shootings and researched them thoroughly. The shooter shared many similar characteristics and behaviors with other active shooters."
The behavioral analysis unit document did not say what evidence there was that the gunman had a pedophilic interest in children. But another document says an unidentified woman told the FBI that he said adult-child sexual relationships could be "possibly beneficial to both parties."
The woman, who said she had an "online relationship" with the shooter for more than two years before the school shooting, said he did acknowledge that adult-child sexual relationships could be "unhealthy" and did not express any personal sexual interest in children. She said the gunman believed he might be asexual.
She also told the FBI that the shooter compiled a spreadsheet that meticulously documented hundreds of mass murders and spree killings, but she didn't believe he would carry out a mass killing. She said he believed mass murders were a symptom of a broken society and may have believed he was "saving" children from the "harmful influences" of adults during the school shooting.
The documents include reports by FBI agents who interviewed people about the man. Portions of many of the documents were redacted, including the people's names.
The documents offer a window into the early days of the investigation, as agents chased false leads and gathered evidence of his isolation.
A year after the massacre, state police released a final investigative document that concluded the gunman was obsessed with firearms, death and mass shootings but his motive may never be known.
That report also mentioned pedophilia. In it, state investigators said they found on his computer a file they described as "advocating pedophiles' rights and the liberation of children." They also said they found a screenplay describing a relationship between a 10-year-old boy and a 30-year-old man.
One person told an FBI agent that the gunman's mother had become concerned about him a month before the shooting because he had become a "shut in" who hadn't gone anywhere in three months. He shot his mother to death in their home before going to the school on Dec. 14, 2012.
The person also told the FBI agent he never accepted he had Asperger's syndrome, a condition on the autism spectrum, and never took medication he was prescribed.
A report by the Connecticut child advocate in 2014 concluded autism spectrum disorder and other psychiatric problems didn't cause or lead directly to the massacre. The report said his mother rejected psychologists' recommendations her son be medicated and undergo rigorous treatment as a child for anxiety and other conditions. It said he, his parents and his educators contributed to his social isolation by not confronting his problems.
Another person told the FBI that the shooter essentially had become a "recluse" who played video games all day. The person said he had no friends, was computer savvy and became very interested in firearms.
He shot the children and educators with an AR-15-style rifle legally purchased by his mother, who took him to shooting ranges, authorities have said.
A Newtown resident told the FBI that his mother said her son once hacked into a government computer system and federal authorities showed up at their door.
The gunman's mother told the person she had to convince the agents he was just very intelligent and was challenging himself to see if he could hack into a government system. She said agents told her if he was that smart he could get a job with their agency someday.
Part of the proposed state budget being reconsidered is taking about $27 million in ratepayer funds from the Connecticut Green Bank. Officials say that would effectively shut down the operation. The funding comes mostly from a longstanding fee on electric bills while some comes from proceeds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
For every dollar brought in, it's leverage into $8 of private capital.
Among the beneficiaries of the Connecticut Green Bank is Newtown -based Curtis Packaging. Vice President of Operations Kerry Brown says they've been able to convert their operation to alternative energy sources and are now carbon neutral.
5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty has proposed a bill to create a national Green Bank to fund clean energy and energy efficient projects. It's based on a model in Connecticut, which just marked 5 years in existence. She says it's not a choice between protecting the environment or protecting jobs, it can be both.
The Senate companion bill, introduced by Chris Murphy, would help fund clean energy and energy efficient projects.
The parent company of the state's lone off track betting operator is up for sale. Sportech Venues operates 16 OTB facilities and has been authorized by the state to open 8 more.
The Danbury Zoning Commission recently voted to change ordinances to allow OTB in the City. The City Council has not yet been presented with a proposed location to vote on.
The state Department of Consumer Protection told the New London Day that Sportech Venues’ new parent company would be subject to the terms of the existing contract, which extends indefinitely.
London-based Sportech PLC has decided to seek offers for the company to maximize value for shareholders.
The state legislature passed a gaming-expansion bill this year that increased the number of OTB facilities Sportech Venues is authorized to open from 18 to 24. The DCP Gaming Division's website. says off-track betting contributed more than $3.6 million in taxes to the state’s General Fund in the 2015 fiscal year.
Amazon received 238 proposals from cities and regions hoping to be the home of the company's second headquarters. One of the proposals was submitted by the City of Danbury.
The online retailer kicked off its hunt for a second headquarters in September, promising to bring 50,000 new jobs and spend up to $5 billion. Proposals from cities, states and regions were due last week.
Amazon made clear that tax breaks and grants would be a big deciding factor on where it chooses to land. Since Connecticut decided to go in a different direction, it's unclear if there were state tax breaks in Danbury's proposal. Connecticut officials decided to submit a proposal suggesting Stamford or Hartford as potential locations. The state Department of Economic and Community Development included an incentive package.
Amazon.com has said the second headquarters will be a full equal to its Seattle home. The company says it will announce a decision sometime next year.
Congregation Adath Israel of Newtown is hosting a celebrity impersonation show on Saturday November 4th. “The Edwards Twins” will perform at 7pm at Masuk High School in Monroe. Proceeds will be used to support the future of Congregation Adath Israel and its community programs, education and outreach to the greater Newtown area. Eddie Edwards has an identical twin and he got his impersonation break at La Cage aux Follies and later traveled around the world with the group impersonating Barbara Streisand and Bette Midler. Individual tickets are priced in advance at $35 for adults, $25 for seniors and students. Tickets are also available at the door.
A 90 day trial is under way in Brookfield and New Milford of a "Cooperative Ambulance". The vehicle has been placed into service to cover back up calls in both neighboring towns. The so-called "Tac-car" is staffed from Monday through Friday from 10am to 6pm, during high incidence hours in Brookfield and New Milford. Fire Department officials say it rotates week to week depending on which station is manned. A staging area on Danbury Road will also be used when the neighboring community has a call. Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company and New Milford Community Ambulance says sharing the asset allows both towns to have a staffed back up ambulance at half the cost.
Bethel incumbent Democratic First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker is being challenged this November by Board of Finance member Cynthia McCorkindale as he seeks a fifth term. McCorkindale is the former chair of the Bethel Action Committee and has been crossed endorsed by the Republicans.
She is a past Board of Education member. McCorkindale says the town is going in a good direction, but could go in a better direction.
Knickerbocker says he’s been able to accomplish a lot in the last few years, specifically addressing infrastructure needs. He cited construction of the police station currently under way, a vote to renovate two schools in the district and adding a solar farm, which is coming online soon. Knickerbocker touted town employees for bringing in projects on time or early in recent years, and on budget. The Whittlesey Bridge replacement was completed four months early.
Knickerbocker wants the focus the next two years on finding savings in town government to make Bethel as efficient as possible. He says that’s more important now because of the state’s fiscal woes and officials there passing down cuts to municipalities. Knickerbocker says they’ve switched pension plans for new employees and renegotiated health care packages, resulting in significant savings. The one outstanding union on the old pension plan has agreed to switch to the new plan when their contract is up.
McCorkindale wants to control taxes and the mill rate. She wants to press pause, take stock in all of the projects going on and focus on cost savings. McCorkindale says there are places where the town can save money, including looking at purchasing options and reducing overheads. She believes the town should focus on needs, not wants.
Knickerbocker believes the state will not be very generous in the next few years at the General Assembly looks to erase year after year of deficits. Town hall, which was constructed in 1939 as a school became the municipal center 20 years ago. Knickerbocker says they ran out of money for the repurposing and there is a lot of space that can be used for recreation programs or as an emergency shelter. That plan was put on hold when the state budget impasse started. Plans to put in a turf field were also put on hold.
McCorkindale says commercial development should drive Bethel’s efforts. She wants to see more destination shops or boutiques downtown and larger corporations coming to Clarke Park.
Bethel is currently taking on a Transit Oriented Development study. McCorkindale says the area around the train station should be built up, but it’s how it’s built up that matters. She doesn’t think Bethel needs a new zone or expanded downtown.
Knickerbocker says the Planning and Zoning Commission has control over the TOD. He supports the plan, as does the business community. The Commission is finalizing the necessary zone changes. Bethel also has a grant application in to the DOT to construct a pedestrian bridge over the Metro North tracks, which will connect in the Diamond Avenue area.
McCorkindale is concern about a lack of affordable housing, noting that the Bishop Curtis homes were bought up by the same owner as the new Copper Square development in Stony Hill. She says Stony Hill lends itself to bigger developments than the downtown area. She would like to see more affordable options for retirees and seniors on fixed incomes.
McCorkindale is proposing a senior tax abatement. Another goal is to increase transparency. She wants to implement an Open The Books process so taxpayers can see every check that’s written, every revenue coming in and every vendor hired.
Knickerbocker says the 750,000-gallon tank on Long Ridge Road was instrumental in saving the historic building that burned in July. He says without the water pressure and volume that came from that tank, the suppression operation may have been hampered. He notes that the new Social Service Director and Community Services Director had a gathering with the displaced families. Gift cards were passed out, purchased with donations raised to support the families. 65 qualified applicants applied to be Bethel’s Social Service Director when the former leader of the agency resigned. The new director is filling the role full time.
The Democratic Mayoral candidate in Danbury is proposing a comprehensive traffic study and plan for major city road improvements. Al Almeida says traffic congestion is beleaguering the City. He wants to employ traffic experts to collect data, conduct an impact analysis, outline mitigation measures, and provide travel forecasting.
Republican incumbent Mayor Mark Boughton says the City doesn't have unlimited money and spending needs to be prioritized.
Almeida's plan includes a comprehensive look at the impact Interstate-84 poses on local roads when an incident occurs on the highway.
Boughton says a lot of the traffic right now on local roads is because of the North Street construction project and a gas pipeline being installed.
Almeida is calling for a review of signalization, public transit enhancement opportunities, the development of bicycle paths, and a plan to convert, where possible, the city fleet of vehicles and school buses to electric vehicles.
A week of “Say Something” activities has kicked off at Rogers Park Middle School in Danbury in support of the anti-violence campaign founded by Sandy Hook Promise. Today, students will arrive at school to find kind words posted on all of the lockers. Student volunteers have written more than 925 Post-it notes. Tomorrow is “International Say Something” day. During lunch, students can have their photo taken in front of a green screen with a message of kindness, support and inclusion for students around the world. “Black Out Bullying” day and “Break the Silence” will be Thursday.
A committee in New Milford is looking into repairs and restoration of Old Boardman Bridge. They met recently to talk about the current status of the dilapidated structure. It was closed to traffic in 1984, when New Milford spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to make it a pedestrian bridge. The structure remains owned by the town. A study was conducted in 2015 about what needs to be done to reopen the bridge to pedestrian and bicycle traffic.
There was a public hearing in Ridgefield last night about the town's annual controlled deer hunt, which has happened every year since 2005. The plan calls for hunting on 12 parcels previously used and 6 new properties.
The Deer Management Implementation Committee says the town's archery hunt season started on the 10th and continues through January 31st. Firearms hunting is from November 15th through December 5th and Muzzleloader season is from December 6th through December 30th.
Deer Hunt Properties
1. Levy Park (archery, shotgun and muzzleloader only) (AM only) 46acres
2. Shadow Lake (archery, shotgun and muzzleloader) 40 acres
3. Laurel Lane (archery, shotgun and muzzleloader) 50 acres
4. Linden Lane (archery) 26 acres
5. Between Old Trolley and Shadow Lake (archery only) 20 acres
6. Ridgefield Municipal Golf Course (archery with limited muzzleloader) 166 acres
7. Reed Park (archery, shotgun and muzzleloader) 27 acres
8. Keeler Court (archery only) 26 acres
9. Ledges property (archery & firearm) 26 acres
10. Stonecrest (archery, shotgun) 34 acres
11. Ridgebury Farms (archery) 94 acres
12. Silvermine Ridge (archery only) 14 acres
13. Kiah’s Brook (archery) – new 53 acres
14. Sarah Bishop (archery, firearm) – new 39 acres
15. Bobby’s Court (archery) – new 34 acres
16. West Mountain McManus (archery) – new 28 acres
17. Colonial Heights (archery) – new 19 acres
18. Peaceable Refuge (archery) – new 16 acres
Aquarion will clean water mains throughout Bethel during the week, continuing through Monday. The work will be done between 8am and 5pm. Customers may notice some discoloration in the water due to the disturbance of naturally occurring minerals in the mains. Residents should store water for drinking and cooking and avoid doing laundry if their water is discolored.
Today, Aquarion will conduct work on Adams Drive, Benedict Road., Budd Drive, Cedar Drive, Colonial Drive, Hillcrest Road, Hilldale Lane, Millbrook Road, Old Field Drive, Ridgedale Road and Woodlawn Drive.
Mains will be cleaned Wednesday on Chimney Drive, Fox Den Road, Hearthstone Drive, N Hearthstone Drive, Ridgedale Road, Sky Edge Dr, Sky Edge Lane and Westview Drive.
Aquarion will clean mains Thursday on Benedict Road, Far Horizons Drive, Green Pasture Road, Quaker Ridge Road, Walnut Hill Road and Wine Sap Run.
Residents should expect the work on Brookview Court, Buff Lane, Copper Square Drive, Meckauer Circle, Partridge Drive, Payne Road, Sky Edge Drive and Stony Hill Road Friday.
Mains on Berkshire Boulevard, Park Lane, Park Lawn Drive, Park Ridge Road, Parkwood Drive, Research Drive, Riverview Drive and Vale Road will be the last to be cleaned on Monday.
Work being done in Bethel to get the future police station site ready for construction has turned up some unexpected challenges. The remains of an old barn that burnt down in the late 70s was found buried on the parcel off Whittlesey Drive. The barn is on the part of the land where the firing range is planned and the area had to be back filled after removal. Crews also found old cement columns had been illegally dumped on the site and buried. They were from when the middle school was built nearly 30 years ago. The removal of the debris cost about $175,000 and comes from the project's contingency account.
The Newtown school district is facing the potential of a $500,000 shortfall. The Newtown Bee reports that the Board of Education has recommended a 25 percent hold on principals’ budgets until more details are discussed. 23 special education students moved into the district after the budget was set so several paraprofessionals had to be added. A federal tax credit for the use of alternative fuel was in place when the budget was approved, but it wasn't extended by the federal government. The propane bill is adding to the projected shortfall.
On Friday morning, Rogers Park Middle School students in Danbury gathered outside to “Spread Kindness” by holding hands and making a human chain. Students then turned to their neighbors to say something kind.
The movement kicked off a week of “Say Something” activities at Rogers Park in support of the anti-violence campaign founded by Sandy Hook Promise. Other schools in the district will also sponsor activities throughout the school year.
“Say Something” instructs students in grades six through 12 how to look for warning signs, particularly in social media, from someone who may be threatening to hurt themselves or others, and to say something to a trusted adult to get help.
Rogers Park started today with a Unity Day, where students were encouraged to wear something orange, followed by a "mix-it-up lunch", where students’ lunch seats are changed to encourage making friends outside their normal social circle.
Saturday's resurfacing of Walnut Hill Road in Bethel was cancelled due to the contractor's equipment breaking down. The anti-skid treatment application on the hill near the Hoyt Road intersection is rescheduled for today.
The road will be closed after the morning school bus runs. Drivers are asked to avoid the area while the winterizing work is being done.
A portion of Shelter Rock Road in Bethel will be closed, starting today from the area of Walnut Hill Road to Payne Road for storm drain installation. Residents and school buses will be allowed on Shelter Rock during the closures.
The work is being done from 8am to 4pm and is expected to last through the end of the month.
There will be two debates happening tomorrow among people looking to lead area towns. One of the debates will be in Brookfield and feature Democratic incumbent Steve Dunn and Republican challenger Harry Shaker.
Dunn is seeking a 2nd term, Shaker is a long time Board of Ed member. The debate at Whisconier Middle School is from 7 to 9pm.
In Newtown, the three people vying to be First Selectman will weigh in on issues tomorrow. Incumbent Pat Llodra has decided not to seek reelection.
Democrat Dan Rosenthal, Republican Will Rodgers and petitioning candidate Andrew Clure will answer questions sent to the Newtown Bee at the Edmond Town Hall theater from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.
The Brookfield Police Department is purchasing a new vehicle for the K9 Patrol Unit. The 2018 Ford Police Interceptor Utility and associated set-up gear costs $71,333. The money is coming from the PD Outside Services Fund. The move was approved by the Boards of Selectmen and Finance.
Police Chief Jay Purcell says these vehicles last longer than normal patrol cars because its a single user. He notes that it's not unusual for small departments to have multiple K9 officers, several other area police departments, including Newtown and New Milford, have multiple K9 officers.
Purcell says the cost seems high, but it's a full patrol vehicle. It is the 11th vehicle in the fleet. The vehicle will include a radio, computer, in car cameras, console, sirens, lights, cage and the K9 equipment. It also includes something called a K9 hot pop system. If the officer is out of the vehicle and has an immediate need for back up from his partner, the officer has a panic button-type device that pops the door open and the dog can come out.
The vehicle is atmosphere controlled. The officer has telemetry. A device on their phone can tell what the temperature is inside the vehicle, and if it goes above a certain level, an alarm will go off.
Five out of 21 shifts a week have a K9 officer on patrol. The second K9 means almost half of any given week will be covered by a K9. The K9 officer is used for narcotic detection, search and rescue, patrol and tracking Alzheimer's patients or other wanderers.
Senator Bernie Sanders has come out with a health-care plan that would have the government provide coverage for all, creating a federal "single-payer" health care system. Under the bill, every resident of the United States would receive health insurance through an expanded Medicare program.
Sanders says his plan would be funded in part by higher taxes on the wealthy and a 6.2 percent income-based health care premium paid by employers.
Senator Richard Blumenthal is co-sponsoring the bill.
4th District Congressman Jim Himes says he'd want more details about any health care overhaul plan. He called Medicare a great program that's easy to expand. But he cautioned that it's also financially unstable with a substantial unfunded liability. Himes wants to make sure any plan will not make that worse and make sure that the premiums would not make the problem worse.
Himes also wants to look at states that have rejected single-payer systems. Vermont tried and California recently shelved debate on a proposal.
Sanders says this is what Americans want. But polling shows that support for the idea has grown only to about 50 percent. Support for the idea drops in polling when people are asked to consider the costs.
There were a lot of people in Kent this weekend and they were all there with a common interest. The 2nd annual Gilmore Girls fan festival was held for 1,500 people. The show was based in a small Connecticut town and featured a single mother and her teenage daughter. A four-episode revival was released last November on Netflix. The three day event included panels with members of the cast and crew, screenings of some episodes and activities inspired by the show at local businesses. The event last year was held in the town that inspired the show--Washington Depot, but moved to a larger space this year.
Annual Enrollment for Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage Plans got under way this week, and ends December 7th. Brookfield Senior Center officials say letters have gone out and they should be studied carefully to learn about premium and co-pay changes, as well as any changes to the medications the plan may cover. The center has volunteer experts on hand to help eligible residents find out if there is a better plan for 2018 that can save money.
The Danbury High School Marching Band will host the 2017 Danbury Marching Band Jamboree tonight. The event is typically held at the High School, but was moved this year because of the ongoing construction project of the Freshman Academy.
Tonight's jamboree is 6pm to 10pm at the Western Connecticut State University Westside Campus Western Athletic Complex.
Bands from the region scheduled to compete include Bethel, Brookfield, Newtown, New Fairfield, New Milford, Norwalk, and Shelton, plus bands from Garden City and Port Chester, NY. The Danbury Drum Corps will be giving a featured exhibition performance, and the Danbury High School Marching Band will perform their 2017 program, “A Heart’s Journey,” in exhibition.
New Milford Hospital has launch an Eatingwell program to provide Diebold Family Cancer Center patients with the nutritional benefits of Plow to Plate eating, free of charge.
The healthy meals program for cancer patients is being paid for through support from the community. $34,000 must be raised annually for the program to continue.
The program promotes local foods and agriculture. The Eatingwell program will serve 350 meals each month to patients receiving cancer care.
New Milford Hospital doctors say nutrition is an important part of cancer treatment which can be associated with side effects that make eating well challenging. They say maintaining good nutrition can help cancer patients feel better and stay stronger.
New Fairfield upgraded its 911 system this week. It was done as part of a statewide project that enhances the equipment of all public safety answering points across Connecticut. The new system should provide better inter-operability between towns when transferring calls, a better mapping system, enhanced GPS tracking, and automatic reroute in the unlikely event that the Town system goes down. New Fairfield officials say all of the dispatchers have received formal training on the new system. The cost of the training is reimbursable by the state. The cost of the upgrade to the Town was minimal with the State picking up the bulk of cost.
For the second year in a row, the Danbury Police Explorer team won 1st Place overall at the annual Cadet SWAT Challenge. The nine member Explorer SWAT team competed at the event held this past weekend in Fairfield. Explorer Cadets compete individually and in teams through SWAT challenge stations. The team was trained by Sergeant John Krupinsky and Special Agent Brianna McNally of the US State Department's Diplomatic Security Service. Three 1st Place finishes for Danbury came in Rapid Deployment, High Risk Stop, and Drug Warrant Execution. Individual and team ranks of 2nd place in the Officer Down event and 3rd place in the Sniper Challenge were also awarded for Danbury.
Bethel Police are cautioning residents to a phone scam. Some people have reported receiving calls from someone claiming to be from Eversource, saying payment is past due and electricity is about to be shut off. The caller ID even displays the name Eversource. Bethel Police advise residents receiving such a call to hang up and call the customer service phone number on your bill. The scam was discussed at the Bethel Police Commission meeting this week. The caller has said they have so-called supervisors standing by if needed. They also tell their potential victims that it's too late to pay by credit card, asks them to purchase gift cards and read the number over the phone.
5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty has raised the most money last quarter, among Connecticut's incumbent Representatives. According to filings with the Federal Election Commission, Esty raised $295,746 in total contributions last quarter.
She has one challenger for the contest a little more than a year away, Craig Diangelo of New Britain. He raised about $7,500 this year and has loaned his campaign another $5,000.
According to filings with the Federal Election Commission, 4th District Congressman Jim Himes raised $157,395 last quarter. Himes has no opponent for his 2018 reelection race. Himes has the largest bank of Connecticut House members at nearly $2.3 million.
State lawmakers are being briefed over the next few days on details of a tentative bipartisan state budget plan, with a vote possible sometime next week. Lawmakers have been at odds over how to balance a roughly two-year budget that's projected to be $3.5 billion in deficit.
Brookfield Representative Steve Harding says municipalities haven't been able to plan for next year, because they've been focused on the current year. He acknowledged that changes to the education cost sharing formula are needed, but opposed the deep cuts and funding eliminations in Governor Malloy's executive order.
Lawmakers and staff confirmed the following highlights of proposal, stressing they could still change.
- Property taxes on vehicles: The state would continue capping the tax rate that cities and towns can charge on vehicles in local property taxes in the first year of the two-year budget and then entirely scrap the tax in the second year. Lawmakers have not yet decided how to make up the lost revenue to cities and towns, but stressed they would be somehow compensated.
Betsy Gara, executive director of the Connecticut Council of Small Towns, said her organization worries the proposal "will simply shift more of the property tax burden to homeowners and businesses, discouraging investment in real estate and undermining our local economies."
- Taxes: Connecticut's cigarette tax would increase by 45 cents in the first year, to a total of $4.35 a pack. Currently, the budget package does not include higher income taxes or sales taxes. Earlier ideas, such as a proposed state property tax on seasonal homes, a 25-cent fee on ride-hailing services and a cellphone surcharge are not part of the tentative agreement.
As it stands, the plan would limit the state's $200 property tax credit against the personal income tax to only seniors and people with dependent children.
- Teacher pension: The blueprint does not shift the cost of funding the state teacher pension plan to cities and towns, as proposed by Malloy. However, it requires teachers to contribute 1 percent more of their income to the fund starting in January 2018. They currently pay 6 percent. The compromise maintains a 25 percent personal income tax exemption for teacher retirement pay. The state's largest teacher union, the Connecticut Education Association, opposes the proposal, calling it tax increase.
The state Board of Regents for Higher Education has approved a plan to allow West Conn students from New York and New Jersey to pay in-state tuition. This applies to both current and new students and will be reviewed in two years.
West Conn has seen a drop in enrollment over the last few years and previously extended in-state tuition rates to Putnam County residents. That pilot program included six other nearby counties and increased the number of New York students at West Conn more than 200-percent.
In-state students pay $10,418 in annual tuition at Western, while out-of state students pay $23,107.
Connecticut State Colleges and Universities President Mark Ojakian also presented his plan at the meeting for consolidating the state’s 12 community colleges into one institution. He plans to hold three briefings around the state on the proposal and wants feedback by November 20th.
Danbury firefighters responded to Scuppo Road this morning on a report of a dryer fire. When they arrived, firefighters found smoke coming from the home. Flames were contained to the machine. Firefighters determined that some clothing got into parts of the dryer causing a malfunction. While this wasn't the case, Danbury fire officials say the leading cause of home clothes dryer fires is failure to clean them. An estimated 2,900 home dryer fires happen every year, causing 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss.
Winterizing work is being done on Walnut Hill Road in Bethel on Saturday. An anti-skid treatment is being applied to the road surface on the hill near the Hoyt Road intersection. The road was recently repaved. Drivers are asked to avoid Walnut Hill on Saturday from 8am to 4pm.
Danbury-based FuelCell Energy has signed a power purchase agreement with the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative to supply power to the U.S. Navy Submarine Base in Groton.
Cooperative CEO Drew Rankin says the project will ensure the U.S. Navy has long-term, cost effective power delivered on the Base for critical infrastructure.
Captain Paul Whitescarver, the commanding officer of the submarine base, says energy expenses are the single largest cost for Navy installations. It's about 28 percent of Navy's shore budget. The fuel cell plant is part of a multifaceted plan to provide new power resources and support the Department of Defense's request to add resiliency and grid independence to key military installations.
The Women's Center of Greater Danbury will hold the 1st annual "Candlelight Vigil of Remembrance" tonight. The vigil will feature the Silent Witness exhibit, a collection of statues that represent those who have lost their lives to domestic violence. It's being held at the Danbury Library plaza from 6:30 to 7:30 pm.
Local victims of domestic violence will be honored as their names are read aloud. The Women's Center asked that people wear purple or purple ribbons to honor victims experiencing domestic violence, celebrate those who have survived and remember those who lost their lives to domestic violence.
The Putnam/Northern Westchester Women's Resource Center is marking October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Purple t-shirts were sold to County employees through department representatives, with proceeds benefitting the Center. A group photo was taken on the steps of the Historic County Courthouse this afternoon to draw attention to the subject of domestic violence in Putnam.
The Putnam Northern Westchester Women's Resource Center provides advocacy, education and services to the community to create a safe, supportive environment that eliminates violence against women and children and promotes gender equality.
The City of Danbury has started a transit-oriented development study to in an effort to revitalize the Downtown area. Residents are being asked for their input in creating recommendations on how to grow and strengthen Downtown Danbury. City officials are looking to turn the area into a more welcoming, vibrant place to live, work, and learn.
The study started in February. It's estimated to take a year to complete.
Planning Director Sharon Calitro says they want to hear from people what they like about downtown, how they get downtown and what's missing downtown. She says the end goal is to have a more walkable, inviting area while also incentivizing private investment.
The presentation and input session tonight is from 6 to 8pm at Danbury City Hall. The proposal will have to be approved by the City Council.
A tribute to the 26 children and educators killed on 12-14 is being moved out of Newtown.
Rock of Angels was donated in 2013 and has been located behind St John’s Episcopal Church, but the church has closed and the property is being sold. The Newtown Bee reports that the the several-ton granite memorial is headed for Shepard Meadows Therapeutic Riding Center horse farm in Bristol, located on diocesan property.
None of the 26 families were consulted on the design of the Rock of Angels, created by Florida resident Richard Gray with the help of craftsmen in Maine. They are involved with the Permanent Memorial Commission.
The Board of Selectmen affirmed at a meeting this year that they are committed to having one memorial, approved through the commission.
Another public hearing will be scheduled in Ridgefield on a proposed bed and breakfast on Circle Drive. There was a hearing before the Planning and Zoning Commission this week on the couple's request. They says there will be no adverse impact on safety, traffic, water, sewer or home values. Neighbors oppose the plan and say it would put the area's safety at risk and lower property values. The second hearing on the proposal was scheduled for November 8th.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The appeal of a decision to dismiss a wrongful death lawsuit against the maker of the rifle used in the 2012 Newtown school shooting is headed to Connecticut's highest court next month.
The state Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments Nov. 14 in the civil case brought against North Carolina-based Remington Arms by some of the Newtown victims' families.
A Superior Court judge dismissed the case last year. At issue were exceptions to a federal ban on most lawsuits against gun makers. The judge rejected the families' argument that the suit is allowed under the exceptions.
Newtown shooter Adam Lanza used a Remington-made, AR-15-style rifle to kill 20 children and six educators.
Lawyers for Remington have said the rifle was made, distributed and sold legally.
The Easton Police Department has received a few complaints about a phone scam. A resident reported receiving a call from the “Fairfield County Sheriff's Office” stating they had a warrant for her arrest due to missing jury duty. In another phone call, a resident reported receiving a phone call from the “Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office” stating there is an arrest warrant out for him and his wife. Easton Police say if a call is received like these, or from someone claiming to be from a municipal or government agency, do not give any personal information on the phone. There used to be an agency by this name, but not anymore.
A ‘Town-Wide Diaper Drive’ hosted by some Greater Danbury area lawmakers is being touted as a success, collecting thousands of diapers for low income families. State Representatives Will Duff, Michael Ferguson, Stephen Harding, Richard Smith and Adam Dunsby recently learned that diapers are not covered by Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, SNAP, benefits.
The donations to Hopeline will be distributed in the region.
The lawmakers say a majority of licensed day care centers do not accept cloth diapers, most coin-operated laundromats do not allow customers to wash cloth diapers for health and sanitary reasons, and families using SNAP benefits can't afford memberships at discount warehouse clubs.
According to state statistics, a month’s supply of diapers can cost over $100.
The junction of Route 110 Route 111 in Monroe will be will be paved into a T-intersection before the end of the month. Route 110 will be controlled by a stop sign and will remain a T-intersection through winter. Monroe Police say additional street lighting will be brought in to illuminate the changed intersection. The temporary winter pavement on Route 111 will be east of the current location, closer to fireman's field. The Route 110 intersection will be a little north of the old roadway. Construction will continue as long as weather permits, with most winter work occurring in the area of the old roadway.
A house fire in Danbury was quickly extinguished last night. The fire was reported at a home on Stadley Rough Road shortly after 5:30pm. Firefighters found smoke coming from the house when they arrived, and called in additional units. All occupants made it out safely and firefighters helped them locate and remove all of their pets. The home is uninhabitable, until repairs are made. The Danbury Fire Marshals office is investigating.
With about 22-percent voter turnout, Bethel residents narrowly approved a $65 million school renovation project. The vote was 1,477 to 1,265.
45-percent of eligible costs, about $23 million, could be reimbursed by the state. The Rockwell and Johnson project could add $269 a year in taxes to the average home.
Bethel officials have estimated that the cost of not renovating the buildings is almost as high as the net cost of both projects, due to the age and condition of the two facilities.
Board of Ed chairman Larry Craybas says only making repairs would leave the town with two obsolete buildings, unable to meet the needs of 21st century education. Craybas says the buildings lack adequate space, are far out of date with building and safety codes and the roofs are near the end of their life spans.
The way Bethel's charter is written, a referendum had to be held before November 15th, to show resident-backing of the project, in order to get on the state priority list.
One of the Putnam County Sheriff’s patrol canines, “Lex”, will receive a bullet and stab protective vest. The equipment is being donated by Vested Interest in K9s. The funds for this vest were raised and donated by Girl Scout Troop 12524 of North Hampton, New Hampshire.
Delivery is expected within 8 to 10 weeks.
The Massachusetts-based charity provides bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the country. The non-profit has provided over 2,600 protective vests, valued at over $2.1 million, since it was founded in 2009.
The organization estimates that there are 30,000 law enforcement K9s in service throughout the United States. To be eligible, dogs must be certified as trained and be at least 20 months of age.
A Western Connecticut State University LGBTQ+ roundtable discussion was held Monday. October is LGBTQ+ History Month. 5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty joined students and faculty members to discuss the climate on campus. She says faculty advisers do take these matters seriously and credited the Gay Straight Alliance with creating an inclusive atmosphere.
She shared a story about when her brother first came out, and her mother asked him not to tell their father. Esty noted that in the 1970s, AIDS was prevalent and families would disavow their kids. She says this country should be about freedom and dignity, with people proving their worth based on what they do, not how they identify.
One of the big issues that the students discusses was the amount of hate on social media. Esty says people should have to identify themselves by name because words have meaning. She believes everyone should be willing to stand behind their words.
One student shared a story of her brother being in the Marines, and received support from his comrades . Esty was encouraged by how many people in the administration urged the President to reconsider the ban on transgender people in the military.
On Monday, the VH1 Save The Music Foundation and SpreadMusicNow will present donations at Park Avenue School to support music education in Danbury. With the support of a $50,000 gift from SpreadMusicNow, VH1 Save The Music donated new instruments, equipment, professional development and program support all valued at $180,000 to this fall’s music programs at Morris Street, Park Avenue and South Street schools. A performance will be held at 9:30am, followed by a presentation of the donation. There are 115 Danbury elementary school students who will directly benefit from the program.
Moody's Investor Service announced it has placed 26 Connecticut municipalities and three regional school districts under review for a possible downgrade.
Another 25 cities and towns and three regional school districts were assigned negative outlooks. Among those listed is two bonds in New Fairfield , three held by New Milford and four in Oxford. Moody's notes how the state has historically provided cities and towns with significant amounts of funding, largely education grants. The rating agency cited the state's budget impasse and the vulnerability of state aid to municipalities.
Last week, Standard & Poor's Global Ratings downgraded its outlook for the state's general obligation bonds to "negative," while keeping the rating at A-plus.
The Connecticut Conference of Small Towns is still unhappy with Governor Malloy's latest budget offering, calling it "a swing and a miss" for shifting teacher pension costs to municipalities "in a way that will overwhelm property taxpayers."
The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities says Moody's action will have a devastating impact.
A referendum is being held in Bethel today on school renovations.
School officials are applying to the state Department of Administrative Services for space standard waivers for Rockwell and Johnson schools. The proposed renovation projects could be partially reimbursed by the state. Superintendent Christine Carver says the waiver for Rockwell could mean another $2 million in savings down the road. State officials asked the town to look at the proposed square footage of the Johnson project. Some design modifications were made to reduce common area spaces.
The state verbally agreed to a space standard waiver there as well.
Carver says they are now formally requesting those waivers, while submitting paperwork to get on the school construction funding priority list. In the past, the state reimbursed all eligible projects. Due to the massive deficits in recent years, the criteria for funding has changed.
The way Bethel's charter is written, a referendum has to be held before November 15th, to show resident-backing of the project, in order to get on the state priority list.
Governor Dannel Malloy has released a new budget proposal as the impasse with lawmakers continues. His new fourth proposal works off the Democratic majority budget plan, which was not the one the General Assembly approved. It gets rid of the Transportation Board, which would have had the authority to impose electronic tolls.
Malloy updated his Education Cost Sharing formula, still focusing on the 30 Alliance Districts, but phasing in cuts more gradually elsewhere. Redding and Ridgefield would be zeroed out in Fiscal Year 2018 and 2019.
It strips away taxes, substituting cuts in spending. He is not recommending a cell phone surcharge, a property tax on seasonal homes, a fee for auto trade-ins or fee on ridesharing services. He would not authorize daily fantasy sports contests.
The plan does include a "Municipal Accountability Review Board" to oversee city of Hartford.
Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano thanked the Democratic governor for releasing another retooled, two-year, $41.25 billion budget on Monday. But he says ``it's obvious'' the plan will not pass in its current form. Fasano says it includes ``devastating cuts to certain core services'' and shifts state expenses onto municipalities.
Fasano and his fellow top Republican and Democratic leaders are continuing nearly two weeks of closed-door budget talks in hopes of reaching a bipartisan agreement. The lawmakers say they'll review Malloy's revised budget, which he calls ``bare bones'' and includes ideas from both parties.
The Danbury Fire Department is hiring Entry Level Firefighters. Fire Chief TJ Wiedl says they are looking for people who have a commitment to community and an interest in being part of that mission to apply. He says firefighters are tasked with protecting the life, property, and environment of all residents in the most efficient and safe manner possible through emergency management, training, and education. Department members not only provide fire suppression, but also public education, emergency medical response, rescue and more. Applicants will be asked to take written, oral, psychological, and physical exams. Applications are being accepted through November 6th.
Western Connecticut Health Network and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center have announced a new cancer care collaboration that will integrate MSK medical and radiation oncologists and care practices with the existing cancer program at the Norwalk Hospital.
This is the first time Memorial Sloan Kettering doctors will be leading cancer services within another hospital's cancer program outside of New York State. Hospital officials say residents of Fairfield County will have accelerated access to the newest cancer treatment options, including clinical trials.
All six of Norwalk Hospital's current medical and radiation oncologists have joined MSK’s medical staff. Each year, 700 patients are newly diagnosed at Norwalk Hospital with cancer.
Current patient of Norwalk Hospital/Western Connecticut Medical Group will continue to receive two bills where applicable; one bill for the physician’s professional services (including MSK physicians) and one bill for clinical services (lab, radiology, chemotherapy).
Bethel school officials are applying to the state Department of Administrative Services for space standard waivers for Rockwell and Johnson schools. A Town Meeting was held last night about the cost of proposed renovation projects, which could be partially reimbursed by the state.
Superintendent Christine Carver says the waiver for Rockwell could mean another $2 million in savings down the road. State officials asked the town to look at the proposed square footage of the Johnson project. Some design modifications were made to reduce common area spaces. The state verbally agreed to a space standard waiver there as well.
Carver says they are now formally requesting those waivers, while submitting paperwork to get on the school construction funding priority list.
In the past, the state reimbursed all eligible projects. Due to the massive deficits in recent years, the criteria for funding has changed. The way Bethel's charter is written, a referendum has to be held before November 15th, to show resident-backing of the project, in order to get on the state priority list.
New Fairfield has dedicated a new 9/11 park with a ceremony Sunday. A walkway, bench and flagpole sits next to the senior center on Route 37. A plaque commemorating the three resident's lives lost on 9/11 was donated by anonymous New Fairfield residents and the New Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department. The memorial also features a piece of steel on loan from the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. It's from the south tower where Siller is believed to have perished. He was the cousin of former First Selectman John Hodge. The Lion's Club donated the bench at the site in honor of the organization's 100th anniversary.
The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is cautioning boaters still on the water who use the Lattins Cove launch on Candlewood Lake should take extra care. The launch ramp is damaged, with the bottom of the ramp broken up and a large drop off. Plans for repairs are in process and a sign is being posted to mark the end of the ramp surface. Backing down beyond that sign is not recommended. The lake level is also down close to the minimum “summer” level, at which launching of trailered boats, especially larger boats, becomes more difficult at Lattins Cove. The Squantz Cove state launch is fully functional.
The Wilton Domestic Violence Task Force has partnered with the Wilton Chamber of Commerce for an initiative during this Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Today has been dubbed Wilton Cares Day and coincides with Wilton's Fall Restaurant Week. Participating restaurants and retailers will be donating a portion of their proceeds on Wilton Cares Day to The Domestic Violence Crisis Center. The agency serves 7 communities in the Wilton and Weston areas. According to the DVCC, per capita the number of clients who use their services from Wilton is proportionate to clients served from larger cities such as Norwalk and Stamford. The agency helps people navigate the legal system, address financial concerns and with housing needs. Over the last two years, the Center has provided service to 75 households in Wilton.
The Redding League of Women Voters will host a debate tomorrow. Candidates from the Board of Finance, Redding Board of Education and Region 9 Board of Education will participate. The debate is from 7 to 9 pm at the Redding Community Center. Two candidates will be elected to serve a full term on the Board of Finance and there is one vacancy to be filled. Four candidates will be elected for the Redding Board of Education. Two candidates will be elected for the Region 9 Board of Education.
The Brookfield Water Pollution Control Authority is looking to buy a $500,000 facility on Commerce Road. A town meeting on the request is being held tonight. The Planning and Zoning Commission and Board of Selectmen approved the purchase, but the Board of Finance had rejected it.
Since the Authority is funded through user fees, the decision on the 3,000-square-foot space can be decided by Town Meeting.
Six employees are now working out of a 285-square-foot office in Town Hall. The bigger office space would include room for storage. The Authority was previously asked by the Board of Finance about renting a place, but a 1,000-square foot facility in the Town Center District would have cost the same as the proposed mortgage.
Tonight's town meeting is at 7pm in Brookfield Town Hall.
Memorial Park in Danbury has been dedicated in memory of 7 members of the police department and 10 from the fire department killed in the line of duty. The pocket park is next to the police station at 357 Main Street.
The park was built as a place of remembrance and reflection. The landlocked property had an old home on it that the City demolished to make way for the park. The land was bought for $120,000.
The son of one of the fallen officers played TAPS during the ceremony. Family members of the 17 memorialized were also recognized during the event.
Officer Florence Sullivan
Officer Robert Keating
Constable Frederick Ellis
Officer Steven Michalko
Captain Dennis Cooney
Officer Donald Hassiak
Detective William Hull
Assistant Chief Richard Fitzsimmons
Firefighter Walter Gebert
Firefighter Arthur McCormack
Captain Charles Rush
Firefighter Joseph Kuba
Lieutenant Paul Kraiger
Firefighter Joseph Halas
Lieutenant Martin "Butch" Melody
Assistant Chief Thomas Morris
Firefighter Thomas Burke
The 2017 Walk of Honor Warrior Award recipient is U.S. Army Specialist Daniel Hayes Jr. He was presented with the award Sunday at the 10th annual Walk of Honor.
Hayes served during Operation Desert Storm and was awarded the Bronze Star for Meritorious Achievement. While maneuvering behind enemy lines, Hayes’ unit faced friendly fire while enemy infantry as all around their position. They were ordered to prepare foxholes, but as his team began to dig in they realized in 120-degree heat and full Army kit they may not make it in time. Hayes, at his own peril, removed all of his own protective gear and began digging foxholes one at a time while his fellow soldiers covered him with protective fire.
Hayes continued his heroism after he returned to the states. He rescued a woman from a burning vehicle after coming upon a motor vehicle accident. Hayes also serves as director of the Danbury War Memorial and Director of Veteran Affairs for Danbury.
A poetry contest was added this year. 4th and 5th graders from King Street Intermediate School wrote poems entitled “What is a Veteran”. Medals were awarded to the top poems in each grade.
A one-mile walk followed the ceremony.
The Danbury College and Vocational Fair, sponsored by the Danbury High School Guidance Department, is back again.
Representatives from more than 220 two-year and four-year colleges, nursing schools, business schools, and trade schools will participate in the annual event which will be held on Monday at the Danbury Mall. Officers and enlisted personnel from the various branches of the military services will also be on hand to discuss the military's enlistment and education programs such as R.O.T.C., the military academies and the GI Bill.
The information is free and comprehensive and will save parents and students a great deal of time and effort.
The representatives will discuss school settings, majors, registration process, specific courses, entrance requirements, athletics, scholarships, and extracurricular activities among other topics. Adults who are considering further education or a change in their careers are also encouraged to attend. Students and parents will be able to set up college interviews, pick up literature and learn about the various financial aid programs available.
The event Monday is from 5pm to 8:30.
Senator Chris Murphy is touring the 72-acre former Century Brass property in New Milford this afternoon. State and federal Brownfields Program are working together to clean up and redevelop the abandoned property. Murphy, who is author of the CLEAN UP Act to incentivize the redevelopment of old industrial sites, plans to highlight federal brownfields remediation resources and his efforts to secure more federal funds to help transform these under-used industrial sites and boost Connecticut’s local economies.
After working with Newtown-based engineering company Wind Hardware to combat trade fraud and grow business opportunities for Connecticut companies, Senator Chris Murphy visits this afternoon. He will host an employee town hall to discuss his continued focus on strengthening business opportunities and protecting other Connecticut companies from fraudulent trade activity.
Senator Chris Murphy presented a Broadview Middle School student in Danbury yesterday with a proclamation for winning last year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. essay contest. He read the last paragraph of Caroline D’Angelo's essay where she focused on King’s taking a stand for what was right and about speaking up even when it’s difficult. Murphy’s office received thousands of entries for the first year of the statewide contest.
Each year, the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut recognizes outstanding philanthropic giving and volunteerism that support arts and culture. The awards were presented during their 11th Annual "Business Supports the Arts" breakfast yesterday. The Business Supports the Arts Award was presented to Branson Ultrasonics Corporation. Branson has maintained a long-standing relationship with Western Connecticut State University and in 2003, made a substantial investment in the university's new Visual and Performing Arts Center. The building's central lobby is named for Branson. Celebrating over 70 years as a corporate citizen of Danbury, Branson also underwrites student scholarships and contributes to a program that permanently exhibits student artwork in the company's Danbury headquarters.
Ridgefield residents voted at a town meeting Wednesday that the town should take ownership of Ridgebury Cemetery. Some of the graves are pre-American Revolution. Robert Keeler Reynolds managed the cemetery for over 72 years, but has decided to step down. The cemetery is the final resting place of many Keelers, who were among the early settlers of Ridgefield. A more than $300,000 endowment for upkeep of the 3-acre site will be turned over to the town. There are still open plots in the cemetery.
Connecticut law allows ammunition magazines with only 10 round capacity, the national standard from 1994 to 2004. 5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty has introduced Americans Safe Act to bring national law in line with the state. She says large-capacity magazines have played a significant role in mass shootings, from Las Vegas to Sandy Hook.
Esty's bill was endorsed by leading law enforcement organizations like the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the veterans’ organization VoteVets, the gun owners’ group American Coalition for Responsible Gun Ownership, as well as major gun violence prevention organizations throughout the country.
Esty says every second a shooter spends reloading, and not firing, is a second that a potential victim has to escape. She added that there is no good reason why sportsmen and women need more than ten rounds in a magazine. Esty called it shameful that deer are better protected than people.
Connecticut was identified in a May 2016 report by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General as having so-called sanctuary policies that may violate a federal law. The Justice department has since found no evidence that Connecticut is currently out of compliance with that federal law.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions commended Connecticut for a commitment to comply. He added that jurisdictions that adopt so-called ‘sanctuary policies’ also adopt the view that the protection of criminal aliens is more important than the protection of law-abiding citizens and of the rule of law.
The Department threatened in July to withhold Byrne Justice Assistance Grants to places with sanctuary policies. It's the main source of federal law enforcement funding. Last year, Danbury received nearly $16,000 in Byrne JAG grant money.
The New Milford Substance Abuse Prevention Council has presented findings of an Attitudes and Behaviours Survey. It was conducted among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders. The report can be found here.
Bethel's new handicapped accessible van was delivered to the Senior Center yesterday. It was paid for with a state Department of Transportation grant. This is the first year that Bethel's senior center is offering van service to residents. The van will go into service next week.
Redding officials say someone dumped a lot of household items into a stream off George Hull Hill Road this weekend. Anyone with information about the owner of the the chairs, seat cushions and other items is asked to contact Redding Police. First Selectman Julia Pemberton speculated that it may have been someone hired to make a dump run, but kept the cash and illegally disposed of the items along a scenic road.
The New Milford Town Council has accepted a donation at their meeting this week for two benches to be installed at the Young’s Field River Walk. The Rotary Club donated $1,500, which was matched by the District Rotary. The Council also authorized $250 in funding at the request of the "Hate Has No Home Here" Group for lawn signs. The signs in English, Spanish, and Arabic say “No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor”. They will be distributed through various religious and community groups. Donations to fund future events and materials are being accepted by the Town.
The Brookfield Library Board of Trustees will host a Public Information Session at 7 pm at the Brookfield High School auditorium, along with their consultants from Doyle Coffin Architecture, LLC of Ridgefield. The information session will provide a project overview and history along with a visual presentation about the proposed new library design and site. The project is estimated to cost $14.7 million.
There will be opportunity for public comment and questions.
Library officials say the existing facility is too small to accommodate new services, and no longer meets the needs of the community. They want to provide dedicated space for children and teens, quiet study space, expanded meeting space, improved accessibility for handicapped patrons, enhanced technology access, and ample parking.
More than half of all Brookfield residents have a library card. Approximately 100,000 people visit the library each year.
Brookfield received approval for a $1 million state grant to offset the costs of the new library, but the grant approval expires in March. A Referendum could be held in early 2018 about the proposed 35,000-square foot project at Brookfield's Municipal Town Hall campus.
An artist rendering of proposed renovations to the Richter House in Danbury will be on display this weekend. The 1920 Richter House is listed on the Connecticut Register of Historic Places. A $1 million state grant was awarded for the work in 2016, which will be combined with $500,000 in city funds to renovate the first floor. The public is invited on Sunday to see the house as it stands now.
The open house is from 2 to 5pm. State Representative David Arconti and former Representative Jan Geigler will be in attendance. Musicals at Richter will be performing throughout the afternoon.
A three phase plan for renovations and remodeling will make improvements to the heat, the plumbing and handicap accessibility. The phases have been broken up in a way that they are self-contained, and they won't have to worry about having unfinished areas of the building. The second floor will be turned into a meeting room, but a lot of utility work is needed there. Plans also called for a ticket kiosk for people that are attending the outdoor musicals during the summer.
Betty Bontempi of the Richter Association for the Arts told the City Council when the grant was awarded last year that between the time they put up the thermostat and the first puff of heat is felt, it's two hours. Bontempi also noted that they can't plug in two coffee urns in the same room, let alone the same outlet.
For most of one season, they didn't have any hot water because something was wrong with the pipes. They had to heat water on the stove in order to wash hands and dishes.
The front path has uneven stones, which makes it difficult for handicap people to get to the door. There is also no railing for people to hold when trying to negotiate the two steps into the house.
The New Milford Town Council has approved a request for Young's Field Riverwalk Park to be dedicated to the New Milford Parks and Recreation Commission. Parks and Rec Director Daniel Calhoun took questions from members at their most recent meeting.
He was asked about the porous asphalt and maintenance of plantings. Calhoun responded that he will still need some training or information about how to take care of permeable surface.
He was also asked about whether he had a machine that could trim the grass on the steep embankment, without going into the water. Calhoun says they will probably need the assistance of the Public Works Department and their roadside mower.
A row of trees and weeds were removed to make way for the trail, which can now be used for biking, walking and running. Plans for the quarter-mile stretch of walkway started about a decade ago, and the park could eventually become part of the 13-mile New Milford River Trail. Work included stabilizing the eroding riverbank and constructing a paved 10-foot trail, a kayak launch and a fishing dock.
Beyond the Danbury Citywide PTO candidate forum, there will not be a debate between Republican incumbent Mayor Mark Boughton and Democratic challenger Al Almeida. The Greater Danbury NAACP and the League of Women Voters have said that there is no available time in the Mayor's schedule. Almeida questioned whether that's because of Boughton's effort to also seek the GOP nomination for governor in 2018 while campaigning for reelection. Boughton is also recovering from surgery, where a lemon-sized cyst was removed from his brain. He noted that the pair will be participating in a forum with the Volunteer Fireman’s Association. During the PTO forum, both mayoral candidates along with those running for the Board of Education took questions from the audience about education in Danbury.
Danbury is holding a ribbon cutting ceremony for City Hall's Heritage Plaza next week. The plaza is meant to serve as a center point in Danbury where various cultural communities can celebrate their heritage. Reinstalled Lebanese and Italian monuments stand in the plaza with 8 additional footings in place for future monuments celebrating different cultural communities. 3 more footings have been added in the additional plaza extension along Deer Hill Avenue. The ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony is set for Tuesday at 5pm.
At a special town meeting in Bethel last night, it was decided to hold a referendum on the 17th about a proposed school renovation project. Superintendent Christine Carver says this would make the district eligible to apply for state reimbursement on some parts of the Rockwell and Johnson project, because a vote has to be held in order to get on the funding priority list.
Rockwell was built in 1971 and Johnson in 1980.
With the state budget stalemate, there are some concerns about moving forward. State school construction funding is different than the Education Cost Sharing Grant money. Bethel and 84 other municipalities will have their ECS money eliminated under Governor Malloy's executive order, which is being used to run the state while there is no budget signed into law.
Bethel's referendum resolution could be written so that the project is contingent on state funding approval.
Danbury has decided to submit a response to Amazon’s Request for Proposal, despite the state backing other municipalities. Danbury officials say the City is the strongest location to serve as Amazon’s second North American headquarters, noting that there is an available 100-acre site in direct proximity to rail, air, and vehicular modes of transportation. Officials are eyeing the Matrix property.
If Danbury is selected, City officials said they would partner with the State and the Greater Danbury area to ensure the needs of the corporation are met in full.
City officials also cite a recently formed cooperative partnership with Putnam County, which increases access to talented workers and resources that transcends state boundaries.
Connecticut's bid for Amazon's second headquarters will include sites in the Stamford and Hartford regions. Catherine Smith, commissioner of the state Department of Economic and Community Development, said those locations meet Amazon's criteria.
The Seattle company says it will spend more than $5 billion to build a second headquarters in North America with as many as 50,000 jobs. It says it's looking at metropolitan areas with populations of more than a million that have the potential to attract top technical talent.
As Governor Malloy continues to run the state by executive order, that means Brookfield stands to lose $1.8 million in state funding. First Selectman Steve Dunn says they are going to continue to operate as if that money won't come. But he's confident that Brookfield can meet the cut without having to issue a supplemental tax bill.
Dunn cautioned that it will require shared sacrifice . He notes that the schools have put together a complete plan on what they could save, and what it would cost in terms of educating children. As of right now, Dunn doesn't believe they'll ask the schools to make a big contribution to make up the difference.
The decision however will be made once a state budget is finally signed into law.
The town has implemented a capital spending freeze and a hiring freeze, leaving three positions open. Dunn has asked department heads to stop whatever spending isn't absolutely necessary and to see what spending could be delayed.
A town meeting is being held in Ridgefield tonight about the town taking ownership of Ridgebury Cemetery. A more than 300-thousand dollar endowment for upkeep of the 3-acre site would also be turned over to the town if approved. Some of the graves are pre-American Revolution. There are still open plots in the cemetery. Tonight's meeting is at 7:30pm.
There are 52 veterans of various wars buried in the cemetery including 16 from the Revolutionary War. The soldiers served in King George's War (1744-48) throughthe Korean War.
The oldest deed on file is dated from February 1870.
The cemetery is the final resting place of many Keelers, who were among the early settlers of Ridgefield. The first burial, based on an inventory of gravestones in 1960, was that of Ruth Smith Keeler in 1734. An inventory in 1993 however could find none older than that of a Timothy Benedict in 1757. Ruth Smith Keeler was the second wife of Jonah Keeler, who built the famous "Pink House" in Ridgebury in 1717. The house was continuously occupied by Keelers until the death of Nehemiah Keeler in 2005. The house was torn down in 2009 by the neighbor who purchased the property.
New Milford has issued a request for proposals for a town-owned property on Church Street. The surplus property sub-committee recommended it be posted for sale. When the first notice didn't generate the response town officials were hoping for, a second was sent out. Town Councilman Frank Wargo was the only bidder, at $50,000. New Milford's Mayor is recommending that the property be listed by a commercial broker, because he believes the offer is too low. David Gronbach says while Wargo's desire to restore the property is commendable, his prior votes as a Councilman may preclude his offer to purchase.
Wilton and Easton Police are reporting that some residents have found flyers in their yards titled White Lives Matter. The flyers say they are anti-antifa, anti-sharia, ant-communist and include the hashtag MAGA for Make America Great Again. The Easton Courier says they also talk about monuments coming down, a new phoenix of Patriots coming out of the shadows and cautioning to QUOTE "Expect us". Easton Police say it doesn't appear specific households have been targeted and that they're distributed at random. Anyone with information about the flyers is asked to contact police. Easton Police says the flyers were reported on Freeborn, Woodland, Norton and Wyldewood roads. Wilton Police say the flyers were found along Old Belden Hill Road, Belden Hill Road and Kent Road.
Bethel school officials say the State office of School Construction remains supportive of two renovations projects which could get some state reimbursement. The school construction money is different than the Education Cost Sharing Grant money, which Governor Malloy has cancelled for 85 municipalities, including Bethel.
Superintendent Christine Carver told the Board of Finance at their meeting last week that they are still aiming for an October referendum since a vote has to be held before November 15th in order to be eligible for the priority list.
The $65 million renovations to Rockwell Elementary and Johnson School will be discussed at a Special Town Meeting tonight at 7pm at Bethel High School. A referendum date will also be set.
Rockwell was built in 1971 and Johnson in 1980.
The resolution for a referendum could be written in a way that says going forward with the project is contingent on the state funding. There would be an "out clause" so the town wouldn't be responsible for the full $68 million if the state funding doesn't come through.
A local lawmaker sees some movement on budget negotiations. When the General Assembly-approved budget was compared to the proposal from majority Democrats, the revenue numbers were the same. Both plans estimated the same amount of money the state would take in over the next two years.
Brookfield Representative Steve Harding says there's a difference of opinion on where to spend that money and how it's raised. But he says they could act just on a revenue plan so that Governor Malloy has more revenue to operate with than he currently does.
But Harding says the problem is if the revenue is left without spending direction, Malloy may not send it to school districts like Brookfield and Bethel. He says there needs to be a package passed where funding to municipalities is clear and out of the Governor's hands.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is calling on the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to review and evaluate aftermarket trigger activation devices such as bump stocks. The Newtown-based gun industry trade association says it should be determined whether regulations are needed after the device was used by the Las Vegas gunman to kill 58 and injured more than 500. NSSF says if bump stocks have no other purpose than to convert a conventional firearm into an automatic firearm, they could be regulated. The group stopped short of calling for a ban.
Eversource Energy has completed moving its wires over new poles in the Four Corners area of Brookfield as the town continues a streetscape project. Charter is scheduled to move its cable off the old poles to the new, followed by Frontier.
The granite curbing and new driveway aprons have been installed on the east side of Federal Road from the Shell Gas Station to the northern boundary of Phase 1. Work has started on Station Road, Superior Service and the Mobil Gas Station north to the Agora Restaurant.
Construction has reached the west side of Federal Road, with the project on time and under budget. Phase I should be completed by the middle of November.
Phase II could start next summer and is fully funded with $865,000 in grant money. $475,000 in town money has been budgeted for this phase.
The state Department of Transportation held a meeting in New Milford late last week about repairs that will be made to Veteran's Bridge in the summer of 2019.
The repairs include to the bridge truss, floorbeams, cleaning the bearings and patching the concrete deck panel. New expansion joints will be installed, the railing will be upgraded and it will be repaved.
New Milford residents were concerned about traffic because of the repairs, asked about the possibility of more lanes across the bridge and if easements were needed. The state DOT says the bridge would only be closed for work during the overnights.
New Milford officials have asked for additional lighting along the bridge.
5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty is urging Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry to release the remaining funds of a $15 million grant the Department awarded the Danbury-based FuelCell Energy back in 2015. FuelCell received the financial commitment to develop a technology that reduces emissions from coal- and gas-powered plants. To date, the Department of Energy has released only $3 million of their $15 million commitment. The Congressional delegation emphasized that completion of FuelCell's technology would directly support American manufacturing jobs and help protect the environment, but that the project cannot be completed without the remainder of the grant.
Ridgefield Police officials are reminding residents to have all dogs over the age of six months licensed. There are about 300 dogs in Ridgefield that are still unlicensed. A valid rabies certificate, signed by a licensed veterinarian, must be presented to the Town Clerk before a license will be issued. If the dog has been spayed or neutered, written proof must also be presented. Licenses expire June 30th and new licenses must be obtained on or before that date. A penalty of $1 per month is imposed by state law for late registration.
Wilton Police are cautioning that there will be traffic tomorrow around Wilton Center and some road closures. The Circle of Care 5k road race starts at about 8:30am tomorrow on Old Ridgefield Road. Traffic will be permitted to flow southbound through Wilton Center.
A detour will be in effect that directs traffic around the road closure.
The race will begin by traveling south on Old Ridgefield Road to River Road to the Horseshoe Rd cul-de-sac before looping around Horseshoe Pond into Horseshoe Park and traveling back north through Wilton Center. The race will continue into Merwin Meadows via the trails accessible from Wilton Center before looping around again to finish on Old Ridgefield Road in front of Village Market.
The northbound lane of the above roads will be closed to traffic.
For the duration of the race traffic will not be permitted to enter Horseshoe Rd from Wolfpit Rd (Rt. 106). This traffic will be detoured around to enter Wilton Center from the north side, either Old Ridgefield Rd or Center St. It is anticipated that the roads will be opened up by 9:30am.
The annual Fire Safety Day in Danbury is being held today at the Home Depot. Members of the Danbury Fire Department will be doing a fire sprinkler demonstration. Two identical side by side rooms have been constructed and will be lit on fire to show how quickly a fire can be extinguished by a sprinkler and how quickly smoke alarms will sound. The event is 9am to 1pm.
A windmill has been constructed at the newly renovated Tilly Foster Farm in Southeast as part of an Eagle Scout project. Michael O’Brien of Brewster took on the windmill project at the suggestion of County Executive MaryEllen Odell to add to the scenic beauty and character of the historic farm. The windmill could also serve as an exhibit to demonstrate wind power as an alternative energy source. Tilly Foster offers a wide array of attractions, activities, and entertainment.
The brush fire on the Terre Haute property in Bethel has been extinguished after burning 6 acres over 3 days. Firefighters spent yesterday soaking the perimeter of the burnt areas as well as hitting hot spots. State Department of Energy & Environmental Protection crews were on site today to make sure no areas flared up overnight. Stony Hill and Bethel fire officials say the steep and rocky terrain made it difficult to access the fire and provided areas for it to smolder in between rocks.
During breast cancer awareness month, people wear pink ribbons to honor survivors, remember those lost to breast cancer and to support the progress the American Cancer Society is making to defeat the disease.
New Milford police Chief Shawn Boyne and the New Milford Police Department Union have teamed up to support this message by authorizing members to accent their uniform with pink during the month of October.
Bethel Police cruisers are getting some new detailing. A logo in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is being added to cruisers for October.
More than 100 Danbury students from Pembroke and Morris Street elementary schools learned about the environment through outdoor lessons and activities along the banks of the Still River recently. They learned about the 22-mile waterway's history and the organisms that live in the river.
5 stations were set up along the Still River Greenway, a one-mile wooded trail at the edge of Corporate Drive in one of the city’s largest corporate areas open to the public. The Greenway was established by the Still River Alliance Commission more than 10 years ago.
The first station was manned by volunteers of the Candlewood Lake Authority who talked about water pollution. At a second station, director of the Danbury Museum & Historical Society Brigid Guertin talked about the history of the river. The Housatonic Valley Association set up water samples for students at a third station while the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection explained about aquatic life.
At the last station, WCSU biology professor Dr. Dora Pinou explained about stream flow and water volume.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Easton Police Department along with the Center For Family Justice has scheduled a Domestic Violence Vigil on Wednesday at 6pm at the Easton Community Center Gazebo. The community is invited to stand together for unity to combat domestic violence. Violence survivors will share their journey, and Easton town officials will talk about their commitment toward dealing with the impact of domestic violence.
Memorial Park in Danbury will be dedicated next weekend. The pocket park next to the police station at 357 Main Street will be dedicated by the Police and Fire Departments along with City officials at 10am. The ceremony is open to the public. The park was built as a place of remembrance and reflection. It's meant to provide an opportunity for people to gather and remember the first responders who made the ultimate sacrifice while in the line of duty.
The park will be dedicated in memory of 7 members of the police department and 10 from the fire department.
Officer Florence Sullivan
Officer Robert Keating
Constable Frederick Ellis
Officer Steven Michalko
Captain Dennis Cooney
Officer Donald Hassiak
Detective William Hull
Assistant Chief Richard Fitzsimmons
Firefighter Walter Gebert
Firefighter Arthur McCormack
Captain Charles Rush
Firefighter Joseph Kuba
Lieutenant Paul Kraiger
Firefighter Joseph Halas
Lieutenant Martin "Butch" Melody
Assistant Chief Thomas Morris
Firefighter Thomas Burke
Western Connecticut State University and Ridgefield’s Health Department are again working together to reduce Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. They received a new $25,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency. The local collaboration was one of 11 projects selected from 70 submissions.
The project, “Spray Safe, Play Safe” will provide community education about chemical spraying for tick management. Officials say pesticide sprays are one of the most effective methods for reducing tick populations, but many homeowners have concerns about pesticides.
Fairfield County is consistently among the highest reporters of Lyme disease in the country. Children are of special concern because Lyme disease incidence is highest in children under age 10.
Associate professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences Dr. Neeta Connally says some people spray too often or in the wrong locations in the yard, which can have negative environmental impacts. Others may choose to spray an ineffective product. She says this grant project will help them empower homeowners, particularly families with young children, to make informed decisions about pesticide use in their backyards.
In 2016, Connally received a four-year, $1.6 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aimed at determining better ways to reduce tick-borne disease in residential settings.
Connally is a Ridgefield resident and the current scientific advisor to the BLAST Tick-borne Disease Prevention Program. The health education initiative of the Ridgefield Health Department that seeks to reduce tick-borne diseases in the region.
BLAST is a series of steps: Bathe after outdoor activity; Look for ticks on one’s body and children; Apply insect repellent; Spray the yard; and Treat one’s pets.
BLAST program educators engage in conversations about tick-borne disease prevention strategies, including yard spray, at more than 30 scheduled programs, health fairs and community events each year. They have found that homeowners are interested in learning best practices for reducing ticks and preventing Lyme disease near homes, but that many still engage in practices that either increase pesticide exposure risk to themselves or the environment, or are ineffective at reducing ticks.
Greater Danbury area lawmakers gathered at Danbury City Hall Thursday morning to call on their colleagues to compromise and come to an agreement that won't devastate schools, social services and municipal aid. The lawmakers stood with hospital representatives, realtors and nonprofit service providers, who would also be affected by Governor Malloy's executive order.
Under that temporary order, Danbury schools would lose $6.7 million, Bethel loses $8.5 million, New Fairfield is reduced $4.6 million and Sherman loses all of the little funding the town receives from the state for education.
Danbury state Senator Mike McLachlan says the budget approved by the General Assembly wasn't perfect, but it's the best plan that's available. He says it can be fine tuned over the next two years.
2nd Annual Spirit of Danbury 5K Trail Run/Walk at Tarrywile Park is being held on Saturday. Danbury Youth Services changed the event from a road race to one that takes place within Tarrywile Park, on moderate terrain that ranges from wide grassy paths to narrow dirt trails. Music, pumpkin decorating, face painting and crafts will also be part of the family friendly day.
The race starts at 8am with a kids run at 9:30. The festival will continue until 11am and also feature food trucks.
The nonprofit DYS is the youth services bureau for the City and offers several positive youth-development programs as well as a licensed psychiatric clinic.
Online registration is live at danburyyouthservices.org with race-day registration beginning at 7 am. 5K sponsors include Fairfield County Bank, drug-prevention advocacy group Stand Together Make a Difference; Wells Fargo; Praxair; ShurShot Gunite Pools; Lion’s Paw & Co.; and Ericson Insurance.
First Student bus company is hosting a Stuff A Bus event in Ridgefield to help with hurricane relief efforts for Puerto Rico. First Student will be paying the shipping costs for what ever is collected on Saturday. They are looking for supplies such as water, cleaning supplies, socks, trash bags and more. The collection is at East Ridge Middle School Saturday from 9am to 2pm. Other supplies accepted include shampoo, diapers, hand sanitizer, non-perishable food items, hygine wipes, body wash, towels and clothing.
Additional volunteer fire crews from area towns were called in yesterday to help the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection put out new flare ups of a brush fire in Bethel. Crews from Danbury were working on the City side of the Terre Haute property. Very steep and rocky terrain has made containment difficult.
Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Company added thanked West Redding Volunteer Fire Department , Redding Fire & EMS Company #1 , Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company, Phoenix Hose Company Inc. Engine 8 Danbury, CT, Wooster Hose Co No 5, Mill Plain Independent Hose Company, #12, and Miry Brook Volunteer Fire Company Engine 13 for their assistance.
Both Brookfield fire companies have been operating at a brush fire in Bethel on the Terre Haute property. The fire, which is approximately 6 acres in size, has been burning since Tuesday. Brookfield firefighters will continue to assist the Bethel Fire Department along with other area departments to help get the fire under control.
Firefighters from Redding came to Bethel to help put out a brush fire near Clarke Park. Numerous members worked at the dangerously steep terrain, shuttling in over 1,000 gallons of water. They helped establish a water supply to the fire scene, moved hundreds of feet of hose, and assisted with the evacuation of an injured firefighter.
The fire danger has been HIGH for the past two days. Redding firefighters urged people to take the warning seriously and to be extremely careful not to burn outside.
The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission has received a registration for intent to submit a design from over 20 individuals or group designers. They were from as close as the tri-state area, and from as far away as Hawaii. Firms submitted designs from Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Minnesota, Virginia, South Carolina, Arizona and Washington. Digital designs will be accepted until December 15th.
The 2017 Walk of Honor Warrior Award recipient is U.S. Army Specialist Daniel Hayes Jr.
Hayes served during Operation Desert Storm and was awarded the Bronze Star for Meritorious Achievement. While maneuvering behind enemy lines, Hayes’ unit faced friendly fire while enemy infantry as all around their position. They were ordered to prepare foxholes, but as his team began to dig in they realized in 120-degree heat and full Army kit they may not make it in time. Hayes, at his own peril, removed all of his own protective gear and began digging foxholes one at a time while his fellow soldiers covered him with protective fire.
Hayes continued his heroism after he returned to the states. He rescued a woman from a burning vehicle after coming upon a motor vehicle accident. Hayes also serves as director of the Danbury War Memorial and Director of Veteran Affairs for Danbury.
A poetry contest was added this year. 4th and 5th graders from King Street Intermediate School wrote poems entitled “What is a Veteran”. Medals will be awarded to the top poems in each grade.
Presentations will take place at the 10th Annual Walk of Honor on Sunday October 15th at the Danbury War Memorial at noon. A one-mile walk will follow the ceremony.
Connecticut continues to have no consensus on a tax and spending plan. New Milford Senator Craig Miner says the process didn't begin a month ago, but one that's been going on for months.
He acknowledged that the budget vetoed by the Governor wasn't perfect. But he says that's because the deficit is a big one, and continues to grow. Miner says a floor from which lawmakers could move forward was needed.
Miner says they intended not to have a ripple effect of a significant change at the state level become an uncontrollable problem at the municipal level. He says there will have to be small changes made to organized labor and teacher pensions.
With Connecticut's budget still unsettled, tolls could still make a come back. Governor Malloy has threatened to veto the legislatively-approved Republican-backed budget plan. The Democrat's proposal included creation of a Transportation Authority, which has the power to establish electronic highway tolls. Wilton Senator Toni Boucher has been an outspoken opponent of tolls. She says this circumvents the legislative process, allows them to set costs and outsource it to a provider.
The Transportation Committee was told earlier this year that declining gas tax revenue will place the Transportation Fund in deficit by 2019-2020. Municipal leaders testified during the regular General Assembly session on a proposed toll bill, which didn't get enough support for a vote.
Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi says the state can't cut its way out of the deficit. He supports border tolls, but doesn't believe that should be the only place they be located. In particular, Marconi suggested north of Newtown by the Housatonic.
Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says many people he's talked with distrustful that if a discount was able to be offered that it would remain in place long term. He called tolls a matter of fairness and equality.
Boucher, a committee co-chair, calls tolls "just another tax on drivers". Among her biggest concerns is that drivers trying to avoid tolls will increase congestion and wear-and-tear on local roads. Boucher is also concerned with the bills because the funds are not guaranteed to be spent on transportation. She also noted that tolls don't guarantee a reduction or elimination of the gas tax.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) An advocacy group formed after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School is holding a rally for the Las Vegas mass shooting victims outside the National Shooting Sports Foundation in Connecticut.
The Newtown Action Alliance says in a Facebook post that Wednesday evening's rally will be against the gun industry's efforts to ``weaken our gun laws'' and to demand action from the president and Congress.
The 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook in Newtown left six adults and 20 children dead.
The group previously held a vigil and rally outside the gun association's headquarters after the mass shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub.
Fifty-nine people were killed and more than 500 injured during the shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas Sunday. Several remain hospitalized in critical condition.
A task force will be formed in Newtown to look at school bus routes. Some parents expressed concerns about the reconfigured transportation system. Parents, teachers, school leaders, Board of Education members, and All-Star Transportation staff, will be part of the task force. Newtown just changed school start times and the group will look at the length of bus rides, wait times for buses at dismissal time and other timeliness issues.
The annual Western Connecticut Police K9 Challenge is being held in Newtown on Saturday at the 2nd Company Governor's Horse Guard facility. The K9s will compete for prizes this weekend in the challenge organized by the Newtown Kennel Club and the Friends of the Second Company Governor’s Horse Guard. The event from 10am to 3pm is open to the public and will also feature kid-friendly activities. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Friends of the Second Company Governor’s Horse Guard.
Newtown's Police Chief has given the Board of Selectmen an update on planning for a new police station. Chief James Viadero says four firms are interested in designing a new facility. A presentation to a six-member ad hoc town committee is set for today.
Viadero says they're looking to build on up to 28-thousand square feet at the Fairfield Hills campus. Specifically, a new police station could be located at the much larger Cochran House, which was built in 1956. The site is adjacent to the town's Emergency Operations Center. But that is a preliminary proposal.
During the budget referendum in April, residents approved $300,000 in bonding for planning for a new building.
The police station now is on the upper level of the Main Street building, with town offices on the lower level. Viadero says the current facility is cramped and has inadequate parking, among other issues--and because of that, it limits their efficiency.
Viadero says each architect will explain why they're the most qualified and take questions from the committee, which will then make a decision on the firm to provide an artist rendering. Their work is for a design and schematics only, not a recommendation on a location. It will be up to committee where a new facility should be located. Once that happens, the firms will be able to make a determination on suitability of the proposed site for their proposal.
A large brush fire has been brought under control by Stony Hill firefighters. The blaze broke out yesterday afternoon in Terre Haute off Clarke Park at the end of Trowbridge Drive. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection will continue to monitor the situation.
Residents were cautioned that the smell of smoke may linger into this morning anywhere near Route 53/Grassy Plain and Reservoir Street area. Fire offiials and DEEP are aware. Officials say there is no hazard at this time.
Firefighters exited the woods shortly before 8pm because operating at night is too dangerous. The Fairfield County Brush Fire Task Force was activated bringing in mutual aid from Redding, West Redding, Danbury, Stevenson, Monroe, Trumbull, Shelton and DEEP.
Governor Dannel Malloy has called his counterpart in Nevada and also reached out to the Mayor of Las Vegas to offer any assistance Connecticut can provide in the wake of Sunday night's mass shooting. Malloy expressed any support and willingness to help as they work through the tragedy in the coming days and months. When asked what help Connecticut could provide, Malloy said there was a lot.
After the shootings at Sandy Hook School, people from Colorado and others reached out to help the state find its way through managing the situation in the short run and over a longer basis. A number of his colleagues have had to respond to mass shootings and he cautions them to take care of themselves and the first responders who appear at the scene and have to deal with the carnage.
Malloy says he's proud of the progress made in Connecticut after 12/14. In the last 4 years, the state has seen the largest decline in violent crime of any state in the nation, by a substantial percentage. The crime rate mirrors that of the 1960s. Malloy says that's due in part to limiting access to the types of weapons used in Las Vegas.
Malloy says unfortunately, Connecticut has a fair amount of experience on the psychological support basis, reaching out to families and social work efforts.
The Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce has new leadership. JoAnn Cueva is now acting President of the group. Board of Directors Chairman Jim Arconti says the change was made on Friday. Cueva is also a member of the Chamber's Women's Business Council Steering Committee. In that capacity she has organized several events promoting women in business, including seminars on leadership. One of the Council's signature events is called "Conversations with Extraordinary Women" which this year featured Gretchen Carlson.
The Ridgefield Board of Selectmen is looking for people to serve on a 7-member Charter Revision Commission. Applicants should be familiar with the current Town Charter and have the time to commit to a 16-month timeline. Commission members will have to take in comments from various departments and hold several public hearings. They will submit changes to the Board of Selectmen. Anyone interested in serving in this capacity is asked to contact the First Selectman's office at (203) 431-2774 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Danbury Police Department has received an increase in complaints from local companies receiving phone calls from someone purporting to be from Eversource Electric. The callers inform the companies that they will shut off their electricity immediately if they do not make an payment over the phone. Eversource representatives never ask for instant payment in person or over the phone. Eversource does not require the use of prepaid debit cards. Customers who are scheduled for disconnection due to nonpayment receive written notice via the U.S. mail which includes the actions they can take to maintain service.
Several municipal leaders are calling on state lawmakers to get together and override Governor Malloy's budget veto.
Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says there seems to be a feeling at the Capitol that certain "wealthy towns" would be able to easily absorb massive cuts in state aid. Bethel has $8.1 million in Education Cost Sharing funding at risk, and the town is not able to absorb that. He says it would result in a property tax increase, cut in service or a combination of both.
Bethel has a town meeting form of government so every budget vote is a referendum. Knickerbocker says Bethel has a very engaged population so budgets are often hotly contest so the town tries to justify every penny that goes into the budget.
When he hears state officials saying towns can find creative ways to make up the cuts, Knickerbocker says it's wrong and disrespectful to small towns.
He urged lawmakers to override the budget veto.
Knickerbocker says there are some series flaws in the tax and spending plan approved by lawmakers. He wants them to stick with the budget that passed and then fix the problems.
The Connecticut Council of Small Towns doesn't view it as a Republican or bipartisan budget, but simply as the budget that lawfully passed the House and Senate. Knickerbocker called on lawmakers to override the veto so municipal leaders can get back to work with some confidence that bond ratings and taxpayers won't be hit hard by the impasse.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) -- Several families who lost loved ones in the 2012 mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut took to social media Monday to express everything from empathy to anger following Sunday night's shooting in Las Vegas.
Donna Soto's daughter Vicki, a first-grade teacher, was among 26 people killed at the Newtown school. She tweeted : "When will it end" with the hashtags #sandyhook and #lasvegas.
Cristina Hassinger, whose mother was Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung, reacted to President Donald Trump's comments on the Las Vegas shooting with a broken-heart emoji.
"Trump said 'We cannot fathom their pain, we cannot imagine their loss,'" she tweeted . "Well, I can. And so can far too many other Americans."
Nelba Marquez-Greene, whose 6-year-old daughter Ana Grace was among the Sandy Hook victims, sent a series of tweets about the shooting and the conversations surrounding gun violence, including race and public outrage.
"As a mom who had to bury a child- I could care less about perp color," wrote Marquez-Greene. "But how come we never talk about angry White men w/guns? How come we only want to talk when it fits our own narrative? Please. Help mothers keep children safe from gunviolence."
Marquez-Greene also expressed anger and frustration with Congress.
"Every day, I am stunned by the level of trauma (direct or vicarious) congress is willing to make us suffer through," she wrote. "Their lack of courage and/or ability to take meaningful action on issues that most matter: healthcare, violence, climate, etc is outrageous."
Flags have been directed to be lowered to honor the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas. U.S. and state flags in Connecticut will fly at half-staff beginning immediately until sunset on Friday. All other flags--including municipal, corporate, or otherwise – should also be lowered during this time as well.
4th District Congressman Jim Himes says the families destroyed, lives disrupted and violence rained down on a peaceful music festival are the stuff of nightmares. He expressed gratitude to the first responders who mitigated the loss of life and rushed into harm’s way.
But Himes says once again, Congress will retreat into grief and silence. Himes staged a walk out during a moment of silence held in honor of the shooting victims at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando last year, saying he refused to stand in silence doing nothing while his fellow Americans were being slaughtered. Until Congress takes action, Himes says this terrible story will play out again and again and again and again.
5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty released a statement saying that her heart aches after another day marred by senseless violence. She called for a way forward, with responsible gun owners at the table, to find a solution. She says a message needs to be sent that, when it comes to gun violence, there is more that unites Americans than divides. Esty is a vice chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.
“If you think what happened today was acceptable; if you think hundreds of Americans gunned down at a country music festival by a single man with an arsenal in his hotel room is fine, then do nothing."
Senator Richard Blumenthal says while many details of the mass shooting in Las Vegas remain unclear, one thing is certain: another community is torn apart by a gunman. He says thousands more have been lost to the daily, ruthless toll of gun violence, yet Congress hasn't taken any action.
Senator Chris Murphy says his heart goes out to the victims, their families and first responders in Las Vegas. But he continued to say that horrific large-scale mass shootings are now happening with a degree of regularity. He called it infuriating that his colleagues are ignoring public policy responses to what he called an epidemic. Murphy called the thoughts and prayers of politicians 'cruelly hollow' if they are paired with legislative indifference.
Aquarion Water Company will be cleaning water mains in New Milford from today through October 19th. The work will be done between 8am and 5pm. During the maintenance, customers may notice some water discoloration because naturally occurring minerals are stirred up which had settled in water mains. If the water is discolored, delay washing clothes until it is clear. Aquarion customers are urged to store tap water in the refrigerator ahead of time for drinking and cooking.
First Week’s Schedule (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
Monday, October 2 - Arrowhead Pl., Danbury Rd., Erickson Rd., Federal Rd., Indian Ridge Rd., Lanesville Rd., Larson Rd., Pumpkin Hill Rd., Still River Dr., Sullivan Ct., Sullivan Farm .,Sullivan Rd., Wampum Dr.
Tuesday, October 3 - Aspetuck Ave., Canterbury Arms., Canterbury Ct., Canterbury Rd., Circle Dr., Elkington Farm Rd., Heacock Crossbrook Rd., Hickory Hearth Ln., Maple St., Marwick Mnr., Poplar St., Summit St., Taylor St., Taylor Ter., Terrace Pl Ext., Treadwell Ave., Wellsville Ave.
Wednesday, October 4 - Aspen Way., Blue Bonnett Knls., Cannon Ln., Danbury Rd., Dodd Rd., Fenway Dr., Lone Oak Dr., Old State Rd., Old Town Park Rd., Park Lane Rd., S End Plz., Willow Ln., Willow Spgs., Wynwood Dr.
Thursday, October 5 - Birchwood Dr., Bradbury Rd., Bradley Ln., Brookview Ln., Cherry Hill Ln., Crawford Rd., Elkington Farm Rd., Heacock Crossbrook Rd., Heacock Ln., Howland Rd., Old Orchard Ln., Old Park Ln Rd., Park Ln., Park Ln W., Santa Ln., Weantinock Dr.
Friday, October 6 - Anderson Ave., Beard Dr., Fordyce Hts., Fordyce Rd., Gabriel Cir., Grove St., Malletts Ln., Mill Ln., Old Grove St., Prospect Hill Rd., Prospect Pl., Prospect St., Valley Dr.
Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell ordered the county's Row of Honor in Carmel set up this weekend. She also held a demonstration yesterday called "Stand Up For America" where the National Anthem played and residents stood together in unity for America.
Odell said it wasn't about race, but about respect for Veterans and standing with those who have sacrificed themselves to protect the safety of others.
Putnam County Veteran Service Agency Director Karl Rohde said he believes the U.S. Supreme Court was wrong when they ruled a few years ago that burning the American Flag was free speech. He says the disrespect that some NFL players are displaying is "as vile as the burning of the American Flag" and disputes their claims that they do not mean to disrespect Veterans.
Several members of the Connecticut Council of Small Towns, COST, are speaking out about the budget stalemate.
Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi highlighted a proposal to have municipalities contribute to teacher pensions. He called it a serious concern especially when it's coupled with towns getting their education aid eliminated. He added that it will destroy education in the suburban and rural areas. Marconi called Governor Dannel Malloy a "supposed proponent" of education and called on him to take stock of what's happening.
The teacher pension obligation bond specifically states that "municipalities do not provide contributions to the fund" and Marconi says that would be a violation of the bond. He says municipal contributions would also prompt litigation.
Standard and Poors released a report that found Connecticut's ongoing stalemate is causing fiscal pressure on local governments that could lead to downgrades if the impasse persists. S&P plans to assign a negative outlook on a large group of municipalities.
Marconi responded to comments from state officials earlier in the process about municipal leaders whining and complaining about cuts. He says the executive order will have dire consequences on their financial status. Marconi called the state a mess and urged lawmakers and Malloy not to pass it down to municipalities.
The Ball Pond Area Paving Project in New Fairfield will begin this week. The roads that will be paved are the ones involved with the water system upgrade project. Town officials says drivers can expect traffic delays.
There was just one vote in opposition to a bill which took effect on Sunday that allows a municipality to provide a property tax exemption to any parent or surviving spouse of a service member killed in action while active duty. Representative Adam Dunsby, who is First Selectman of Easton, was the only no vote. Under the law, a municipality may exempt up to $20,000 or 10% of the property's assessed value.
To be eligible for the exemption, the income of the Gold Star parent or surviving spouse cannot exceed the state's income limit for a single person for other veterans' property tax exemptions annually set by the Office of Policy and Management.
The Gold Star exemption is in addition to any property tax exemption to which the applicant is entitled. But an applicant cannot receive more than one additional municipal property tax exemption for veterans or their family members.
A new law sponsored by Ridgefield state Representative John Frey took effect on Sunday. It was inspired by a case that happened in Ridgefield and was seen across the country, involving children left in hot vehicles. Under certain circumstances, the new law provides a defense against civil damages or criminal penalties for entering another person's car, including forcibly, to remove a child. It covers the person's actions if they reasonably believe that it's necessary in order to keep the child from imminent danger of serious bodily injury. The entry must be reported to law enforcement. A person may still be liable for civil damages if he or she attempts to provide aid to the child in addition to the actions the act authorizes.
Several Greater Danbury area lawmakers sponsored a bill which became law on Sunday. Representatives Steve Harding of Brookfield, Danbury Bob Godfrey and Will Duff of Bethel were among those who backed the legislation about harrassment of a guide dog. The bill makes it a class C misdemeanor to intentionally interfere with a blind, deaf, or mobility impaired person's use of a guide or assistance dog. The punishable actions include intentionally harassing or annoying the person or the dog accompanying the person. The law also extends to the person training a dog as a guide or assistance dog.
Law Enforcement can track cell phone activity under a new law in Connecticut took effect Sunday. Standards for surveillance using a “cell site simulator device” have been set in order to obtain geo-location data.