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Local Headlines Archives for 2017-11

Danbury Democrat files paperwork to run for state Senate seat

More candidates are filing paperwork with the State Election Enforcement Commission for legislative and statewide races next November. 


Among them is Danbury Democrat Ken Gucker, who is looking to make another run for the 24th State Senate District.  The seat is held by Republican Mike McLachlan.  It would be a rematch of the 2016 race.  


Peter Lumaj has filed papers moving from an exploratory committee to being a declared candidate for the Republican nomination for governor in 2018.  He has twice run unsuccessfully for statewide office, once against Secretary of the State Denise Merrill in 2014 and then for the GOP Senate nomination in 2012.  The lawyer and businessman lives Fairfield. 


There are at least 8 other declared Republican candidates for governor.

Bridge replacement project in Ridgefield to be completed by Spring

Work on the Route 35 bridge replacement project in Ridgefield is coming to an end.  The state Department of Transportation $3.2 million project in the area of the Fox Hill condos has been going on for more than two years.  There will be some periodic alternating one-way traffic this winter, but DOT officials say they will be minimal.  The temporary bridge constructed near the pond to allow for a second lane of traffic during months long lane closures will be town down.  The project is slated to wrap up this Spring with drainage, curb, sidewalk and landscaping installation.

Ridgefield Board of Ed grappling with projected $1 million deficit

At the Ridgefield Board of Education meeting this week, Superintendent Karen Baldwin reported that he district is expected to end the year with a more than million dollar deficit.  She suggested asking the town to make a one-time appropriation to cover the gap because the district must not end the year in the red.  94.5-percent of the Ridgefield school budget has been spent and a spending freeze on controllable accounts has been implemented.  Another look at the matter will be taken up early next year.  Baldwin previously said special education costs are higher due to families moving into the district after the budget was set.

Brookfield Republican Town Committee seeks new members

The Brookfield Republican Town Committee is seeking candidates interested in serving in the group for the 2018-2020 term.  At its January caucus, Republicans will elect 25 regular and 10 alternate members.  Registered Republicans interested in applying for these positions should contact BRTC Vacancy Committee chairman Robert Belden at 203-775- 5737, by December 15th.

Danbury Board of Ed looks to fill vacancy

There is a vacancy on the Danbury Board of Education and applications are being accepted to fill the role. The term of office is through the November 2019 municipal election. 


The only requirements are that a resident be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen.  Applications should be submitted as soon as possible. 


The opening stems from the election earlier this month when Democrat Jeanne Grandieri won a seat, but didn't know that employees of the school district can't serve on the Board.  Democratic leaders say they didn't know that she accepted a behavioral therapist position with the Danbury school district last month.  With her election, majority power shifted to Democrats, still a 6-5 balance. 


Danbury residents interested in applying for this vacancy should send a letter of application to: Kathleen Molinaro, Secretary Danbury Board of Education 63 Beaver Brook Road Danbury, CT 06810.

Newtown Police recover stolen items, hold public viewing

If you live in Newtown and had items stolen from your car between November 10th and 13th, you may be in luck.  Newtown Police are holding three public viewing sessions of seized property.  Two juveniles were arrested by Newtown Police November 13th for stealing motor vehicles and stealing property out of cars. A large number of items were recovered. 


The public viewings are Saturday from 4:30pm to 5:30, Monday from 5:30pm to 6:30 and Wednesday from 2:30pm to 3:30pm.

At this time it is known that items were taken from vehicles on the following roads:
Baldwin Rd., Juniper Rd., Oak Ridge Rd., Edmond Rd., Sugar St., Sleepy Hollow Rd., Lincoln Rd., Oakview Rd., Turkey Hill Rd., Elm Dr., Adams Hill Rd., Black Walnut Dr., Mile Hill Rd., and Nearbrook Dr.

Other areas of Town may also have been experienced thefts of items from motor vehicles from November 10 through November 13 that have not been reported.


If you cannot come to any of the public viewings please contact Detective Frank (203-426- 5841). Provide telephone number, address the property was taken from, and a description of the property.

Greater Danbury area projects receive state bond money

The panel that doles out state capital funding has finally met after a five-month hiatus. And there's a long list of projects that got financed yesterday.  The Commission did not meet while state lawmakers grappled with how to reach a state budget agreement. 


Funding has been approved by the state Bond Commission for projects in Bridgewater and in Kent.  Under the Department of Housing requests were made to provide grants-in-aid under the Main Street Investment Fund program.  Bridgewater will use $25,000 to reconfigure Center Street for better traffic flow, parking, accessibility.  Kent has been awarded half a million dollars for implementation of their Main Street Streetscape project.  The Commission did not meet while state lawmakers grappled with how to reach a state budget agreement. 


The state Bond Commission met yesterday for the firs time in several months, taking time off while state lawmakers worked to get a tax and spending plan approved.  At their meeting, the Commission considered grants-in-aid for capital improvements to emergency shelter facilities in several communities.  A total of $7 million will be split between Danbury, Fairfield, and 6 other municipalities.


One of the projects awaiting state bond funds that had piled up was funding for body cameras for 14 police departments.  Western Connecticut State University Police will receive $26,733 for the equipment while the Wilton Police Department is slated to get $153,732.


Municipalities were granted money to help with the the cleanup and redevelopment of blighted properties known as brownfields. It was previously announced that Danbury would use funding to clean up the former Mallory Hat Factory site on Rose Hill Avenue.


Grants in aid to Alliance District schools was also approved.  The money is meant to help ni paying for general improvements to school buildings.  Danbury is slated to receive little more than $1 million.  State Representative David Arconti says they money will be used to repair, maintain or replace floors, lighting, cabinets and plumbing at more than a dozen schools in Danbury.



$500,000 for phase 2 of a retaining wall project at Danbury Superior Court and $100,000 for electric switchgear replacement at the White Street facility were also approved.

Newtown legislator takes ride-along with police officer

Newtown State Representative Mitch Bolinsky participated in a ride-along with the Newtown Police Department recently.  He attended an afternoon briefing on outstanding issues, warrants and the status of on-going investigations. After roll-call, he was fitted with a Kevlar vest and hit the road, patrolling Newtown’s Northeast section.  While on the three hour tour of duty there were no tickets issued, but help was rendered to about a dozen people.  He gave one example of the officer calling and helping a lost, elderly, out-of-town driver, searching for the Booth Library.  Several routine traffic stops were made and Bolinsky says the officer pointed out subtle things that were not quite ‘right’.   Bolinsky says the department is well-trained and proactive in following-up on potentially active past and possible leads on criminal activity.

Danbury area lawmakers achieve perfect voting records

Brookfield State Representative Stephen Harding achieved a 100-percent voting record after the just completed regular and special sessions in the General Assembly.  There were a total of 417 votes cast in the House of Representatives during the legislative sessions, which did not end until November 15th.  Harding says he is working to do what he can for the Brookfield and Bethel communities.  He says being there to vote is one of the most critical aspect of the job as a state representative.  The next regular session of the legislature will convene in February of 2018.  Will Duff of Bethel and Michael Ferguson of Danbury also achieved perfect voting records.  They are each serving their first year in the General Assembly.

Salvation Army reinstates Putnam County Advisory Council

Putnam County Executive Mary Ellen Odell is alerting residents that the Salvation Army is once again active in Putnam.  During an event yesterday to raise awareness, Odell noted that there are seniors, families and individuals who have fallen on tough times and need help.  By partnering with the Salvation Army, Odell says the county is able to meet its social responsibility while being mindful of the fiduciary duties to the taxpayers.  The Salvation Army, which first began serving Putnam County back in 1886, recently reinstated its Putnam Advisory Council to meet the needs of the County’s most vulnerable community members.

Ridgefield officials to hold hearing on grants fro Branchville projects

The Ridgefield Board of Selectmen is slated to hold a public hearing and town meeting tonight on two grants for improvements in the Branchville area.  A $4.8 million grant would go toward reconstruction of the Portland Avenue bridge at the south end of the train station.  Ridgefield's share of the project cost would be about $208,000. 


The other grant is for $2 million, with a town share of $410,000, for pedestrian connectivity.  The work would include adding sidewalks and street lamps on the west side of Route 7, from the Wilton town line north past Route 102.  A pedestrian bridge would also be added near Route 102. 


The work on the Portland Avenue bridge is a bigger overall project.  Plans call for adding a traffic light on Route 7, addings a turning lane and closing the Depot Road railroad crossing at the north end of the train station.  The Portland Avenue intersection would be reconfigured to accommodate trucks. 


The meeting is at 7:30pm at Ridgefield Town Hall.

Shaban to run for state Attorney General

Former Redding state Representative John Shaban plans to seek the GOP nomination for state Attorney General.  He served three terms in the House and will file paperwork with the State Elections Enforcement Commission about his plans.  Shaban has a degree in environmental law.  The position of Attorney General requires 10-years of active practice in Connecticut.  He has been practicing law for 25 years as a commercial litigator.  Shaban is a partner at a Greenwich law firm and previously practiced at a firm based in New York and Stamford.  He ran twice, unsuccessfully, for Congress against Democratic incumbent Jim Himes. 

Outgoing New Milford Mayor gets 65 appoints approved days before leaving office

Outgoing New Milford Mayor David Gronbach had 65 proposed appointments approved by the Town Council at a special meeting last night.  The Town Attorney determined that 2 of the 67 nominees had switched parties shortly after the municipal election earlier this month and couldn't be appointed because they were not with their current registration for the 3 month minimum.  Some people attending the meeting spoke during the public comment period about wanting to continue to serve, but not being considered for reappointment.  The Council decided to vote board by board for all 23 boards on the agenda.  

Funding approved for storage container for Brookfield Police Department

Funding has been approved in Brookfield for the Police Department to purchase an 12-foot by 24-foot storage container.  The $8,250 from the PD Outside Services Fund will also cover the associate site work and electrical wiring to put power into the structure. 


It will be located at the police station and house traffic cones, traffic barricades, generators and spare car parts when they put in the prisoner containment units.  They have to take out the seats and store them somewhere, but there's no room at the town garage.  The seats have to be stored in bulk evidence or the police garage because the seats have to be put back in the cars when the town sells the vehicles at the end of their life cycles. 


It's a portable building that can be moved if and when the town moves forward with a police station expansion.  But Chief Jay Purcell says it's needed so they can function in the current building, where the department will be for the foreseeable future.


In keeping with the look of the surrounding buildings, the storage facility is a barnyard-style rather than a metal corrugated storage container.


When the parking lot was redone, they put in power capabilities on the far side of the lot.  That means there can be lights and power outlets if officers have to do work out there.  That means they can also keep batteries in the generators charged.

Bethel Commission to hold hearing on proposed affordable housing development

The Bethel Planning and Zoning Commission is holding a public hearing tonight about a proposed affordable housing complex on Taylor Avenue.  The original plan was rejected over safety concerns and engineering questions.  The developer, Tim Draper, changed the plan to add 18 one-bedroom units on the one acre lot under the state's 8-30g law.  He was asked to extend the sewer and water lines beneath the road adding to the cost so he proposed a higher density, but also straightened and widened the road.  The Public Utilities Commission paid for some materials because other homes on the road can connect to the sewer in the future.  The public hearing is at 7 pm.

Bethel still has LED bulbs to distribute to residents

Bethel residents looking to save some money by switching to LED light bulbs can still exchange incandescents .  The Bethel First Selectman's office still has some LEDs from the Light Bulb Exchange held last month.  Residents can swap up to 5 incandescent bulbs for energy efficient LEDs, free of charge.  A Bright Idea Grant facilitated the program.

Local nonprofits mark 'Giving Tuesday'

Small Business Saturday popped up in response to Black Friday and then Cyber Monday was a way for online retailers to get a piece of the holiday shopping pie.  Non-profits are hoping people still have some money left on what's been dubbed Giving Tuesday. 


The City of Danbury recently declared today as Giving Tuesday. During the ceremony, Mayor Boughton presented Housatonic Habitat for Humanity with a proclamation, recognizing the global day of giving, now in its fifth year.  Boughton called the day a celebration of philanthropy and volunteerism. 


Among those issuing a reminder about the "reason for the season' is Danbury Youth Services.  The organization is highlighting a success story today, Danbury High School Freshman Brian Morquecho.  He enrolled in the DYS Earn-A-Bike program at age 11, refurbishing a secondhand bike for his own use.  He went on to help DYS form a riding group called Come-up, which works to plan rides in the community and create a calendar of volunteer events to participate. Last year, Brian participated in the Chili-Cook off at the Danbury Sports Dome, helping to raise $200.00 for the DYS EAB program, worked to help restore 12 bicycles to give away to families through the Wheels-for-Kids Project, and participated in Cyclefest 2016, riding 53 miles in support of the EAB program. 


Giving Tuesday is being highlighted by the Women's Center of Greater Danbury as a day for giving back.  A survivor and advocate against child sexual abuse has shared her story and submitted it to the My Giving Story contest on behalf of the Women's Center.  The nonprofit has the potential to be gifted up to $10,000 if her story wins. 

NY officials join opioid litigation

Putnam County is looking to battle the opioid crisis.


County Executive MaryEllen Odell urged the Legislature to allow the government to join various states and counties across the country in filing lawsuits against both pharmaceutical companies and distributors over fraudulent and negligent marketing and distribution of opioid pain medications.  Odell is president of the New York Association of Counties and says it's imperative to learn from the tobacco lawsuits of the 90s and collectively go after the source of the prescription opioid epidemic.


The legislature voted to have a law firm represent Putnam County's interests in the New York Opioid Cost Recovery litigation.  The goal of the proposed litigation would be to fully compensate Putnam County for unnecessary cost incurred as a result of prescription opioid abuse, including workplace costs relative to loss of productivity, healthcare costs such as abuse treatment and criminal justice costs.

The county has been working with law enforcement agencies and many not-for-profit organizations to raise awareness, educate and enforce laws.

Special Town Council meeting in New Milford about appointments

There will be a special Town Council meeting in New Milford tonight.  At the last regular meeting, outgoing Mayor David Gronbach tried to fill more than 100 appointments to various boards and commissions, but there was a 3-3 tie after a lot of public comment.  Gronbach's last day in office is Thursday.  Tonight's special Town Council meeting is on 67 appointments. 


Five names listed for alternate seats on three boards lost election to those boards during this month's municipal election.


Gronbach has dropped the most contentious nomination, no longer calling for the appointment of his wife Vanessa to the Ethics Commission. She would have been an “unaffiliated” appointee even though she was registered as a Democrat until recently.  Gronbach is also no longer proposing himself for the Library Modernization and Construction Committee.


Tonight's meeting is set for 7:30pm at New Milford Town Hall.

Danbury, Putnam County partner on taxpayer saving initiatives

Danbury and Putnam County are cooperating on areas of shared interest.  County Executive MaryEllen Odell recently hosted Mayor Mark Boughton for an event with community leaders and officials.  The administrations have been in talks on how and where to partner on social and economic issues.  The two communities are working to extend the Danbury sewer line into Southeast along the Route 6 corridor.  Odell says boundaries cannot prevent progress and by crossing the New York-Connecticut state line, they can work to improve both communities.  Boughton says being able to collaborate with New York has ignited new ideas on how to better serve residents while saving taxpayers money.

Redding deer culling period underway

Redding's annual deer culling period began September 15th. 


The town hunt to manage the deer population runs through January 31st.  First Selectman Julia Pemberton reported that the Deer Management Plan has 56 registered hunters for bow hunting on 14 parcels.  Last year, 44 hunters were registered and most have returned this year.  But Pemberton noted that only about half of that group ended up hunting. 


The first year 23 deer were culled.  Last year 46 deer were taken.  She says the town hunt has been successful, with no incidents. 


In order to register to participate in the town hunt, people must fill out an application, have two references, submit their hunter license and call police dispatch when they're going to be bow hunting.  They can use tree stands, but must be 20 yards or more away from any marked trail. 


Not all of Redding's open space parcels are available for hunting.


Streetscape project started in Bethel, trees to be removed

Construction will be occurring over the next few weeks in Bethel starting today.  School Street may be reduced to one lane of traffic at times. 


This is a follow up of a streetscape project launched two decades ago.  First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says phase one was on Greenwood Avenue and School Street was the next phase, but never completed. 


A state economic assistance grant is paying for decorative street lighting on both sides of School Street and to add a sidewalk along the south side of the street, where no sidewalk exists now. 


Knickerbocker notes that the work does require the removal of several trees in order to install underground utility lines.  The aging maple tree on the town hall lawn across from the School Street entrance to the library will need to be removed, due to numerous dead sections and disease. 


But he says replacements can be planted at the conclusion of the project.

Brookfield firefighters kept busy Thanksgiving weekend

There was a large brush fire in Brookfield Saturday night between houses on South Lake Shore Drive in the Candlewood Shores Neighborhood.  Brookfield's volunteer fire companies were dispatched to the area and were on the scene for about an hour. 


Smoke filled a Brookfield home yesterday morning, and firefighters also found elevated levels of carbon monoxide.  Firefighters responded to a Powder Horn Hill Road home and traced the problem to an issue with the oil burner. The structure was ventilated and metered.  They were on scene for about an hour.


Shortly after midnight yesterday Brookfield firefighters responded to a smoky condition in a Christian Lane home.  Arriving units found a moderate smoke condition on the first floor which was traced to a problem with the furnace. The structure was ventilated and metered. 


Fire officials say these incidents demonstrate the importance of having functioning smoke alarms and Carbon Monoxide alarms.

Danbury school extends Unified Sports team through end of school year

Rogers Park Middle School students in Danbury had the opportunity to participate in Unified Sports Soccer this season.  Due to the overwhelming support, the program will continue at least through the end of this school year. 


The school will next offer basketball followed by track and field. This season there were 11 student athletes on two teams.  The athletes will present to seventh- and eighth-grade school assemblies and share their experience. 


Unified Sports is a registered program of Special Olympics that combines approximately equal numbers of athletes with and without an intellectual disability on sports teams for training and competition, matched by sport skill ability. 


Broadview Middle School has participated in Unified Sports for the past 17 years, and last year was named the Unified Sports Michael’s Cup Middle School of the Year.

Connecticut Christmas tree growers opening for season

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Many of Connecticut's 500 Christmas tree growers are opening for the holiday season.

The state Department of Agriculture says the Christmas tree industry has grown significantly in recent years and contributes about $10 million in annual economic activity. Nearly 4,000 acres of farmland across Connecticut is planted with Christmas trees.

Christopher Martin, the state forester, says locally grown trees benefit both the local economy and environment. He says up to three new trees are planted for every one cut, adding how "Connecticut residents can have a direct influence on keeping forests as forests and farms as farms" by purchasing locally grown trees and holiday greens.

He says tree farms also help provide drinking water protection and habitat to wildlife.


A listing of growers on the Department's website includes ones in Bethel, Easton, New Milford and Newtown.

Uptick in motor vehicle thefts, items stolen from cars in Brewster area

New York State Police from the Brewster barracks are investigating an increased amount of stolen vehicle complaints and reports of valuables stolen from vehicles.  Troopers say the incidents are happening in residential neighborhoods and, in some cases, residents have left their car keys and valuables unsecured inside of their cars. 


Police are asking for the public's help in investigating the crimes and that anyone with information contact New York State Police in Brewster by calling (845) 677-7300. 


Over the past several days, vehicles have been reported stolen from Haviland Drive in Brewster and Ridgeview Road in Patterson. In addition, members of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation from Somers are also investigating the theft of a vehicle from Lakeside Drive in the Town of Lewisboro.

State panel to dole out bond funds after 5-month hiatus

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The panel that doles out state capital funding is finally meeting after a five-month hiatus. And there's a long list of projects to finance.

The items include $40 million worth of improvements to the XL Center in Hartford and $94.5 million to help rebuild an aging railroad bridge on the New Haven Line in Norwalk. Also included are millions of dollars for grants to municipalities, improvements to state facilities, economic development assistance to businesses and body cameras for 14 police departments.  Western Connecticut State University Police will receive $26,733 for the equipment while the Wilton Police Department is slated to get $153,732.

Chaired by Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, the State Bond Commission did not meet while state lawmakers grappled with how to reach a state budget agreement. That's meant numerous projects awaiting state bond funds have piled up.

The commission is scheduled to meet Wednesday.

Brookfield Police raising awareness against drunk driving

Brookfield Police Officers are joining officers across the country in an effort to reduce tragedies related to drunk driving. Nationwide, Police increased their traffic enforcement before, during and after Thanksgiving. Mothers Against Drunk Driving Connecticut chapter gifted Brookfield Police with magnets for their cruisers to increase awareness.  Police are encouraging adults to drink responsibly and to designate a driver.

Annual tree lighting in New Milford tonight

The Greater New Milford Chamber of Commerce will sponsor the annual tree lighting ceremony tonight at 5:30pm on the Village Green.  Highlights of the evening include the lighting of the trees and visits with Santa.  The trees are put up by the United Methodist Men of the New Milford United Methodist Church.  This is the 51st year of trees on the green.  This is Small Business Saturday.  The New Milford Chamber of Commerce is encouraging people to shop locally and support the small businesses in the region.  The organization encourages people to visit downtown merchants before the annual tree lighting ceremony.

Sherman scout troop raising funds for backpacking trip

In 2018, leaders and scouts from Troop 48 in Sherman will be traveling to the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico to participate in a high adventure backpacking trip. To help raise money to offset the cost of this experience there will be a Pancake Breakfast held at Charter Hall in the Sherman Emergency Services Facility on Sunday from 7:30am through 11am, The cost is $10 for adults, $5 for children with a maximum of $25 per family.

Bethel Schools to host parent workshop with Special Education Parent Advisory Council

Bethel Public Schools and the Special Education Parent Advisory Council are hosting a parent workshop next month.  A representative of the Connecticut Psychiatric and Wellness Center will lead discussions about social anxiety and how it impacts your child, strategies to support your child at home and ways to partner with your child's school team.  The workshop on December 5th in the Board of Education Conference Room on the 3rd floor of the Municipal Center is from 7 to 8:30pm.

Brookfield firefighter clear smoke from house Thanksgiving Day

The Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company and Candlewood Company responded to Oak Grove Road yesterday on a report of a possible house fire.  The house was filled with smoke and the residents had self-evacuated.  Firefighters discovered the source of the problem in the basement  and determined there was no fire.  It was a furnace problem.  Firefighters helped ventilate the house of smoke before placing the incident under control. There were no reported injuries.

Easton Police collecting donations for Toys for Tots

The Easton Police Department is an official collection center for Toys for Tots.  Over 97% of donations to the charity go to their mission of providing toys, books, and other gifts to less fortunate children.  From now until December 10th, new, unwrapped toys or other gifts can be brought to the Easton Police Department lobby for donation.

8th annual Hassiak Memorial 5K held yesterday in Danbury

The 8th Annual Officer Donald J Hassiak Memorial 5K was held yesterday.  A scholarship fund was established at Immaculate High School to honor Hassiak, a 1987 graduate, after the 16-year veteran of the Danbury Police Department was killed by a drunk driver in a  hit and run crash in 2010.  Coach Brian Hayes, also a Danbury Police Officer,  agreed to have the proceeds donated to the fund from the Turkey Trot, which he started in 2007 with the Cross Country team.

Monroe first responders keep busy on the roads Thanksgiving Day

Fire companies in Monroe responded to a rollover accident yesterday morning on East Village Road.  Crews found the vehicle on its roof.  The driver was able to get out of the car and only sustained minor injuries.  Monroe firefighters along with EMS and police responded to a single car crash into a pole on Turkey Roost Road yesterday as well. There were no injuries, but significant arcing of the power lines and a fluid spill to clean up.

Putnam County offers training on response to active shooter incidents

The Putnam County Sheriff's Office is offering training to residents about how to respond to active shooter incidents.  The nationally devised instruction model would add to an existing initiative called Operation Safe Putnam, a program designed to empower citizens with strategies for deterring violent crimes. 


The new training course is available to anyone who lives, works or worships in Putnam County. 


Several members of the Putnam County Sheriff's Office recently earned certifications as instructors for the program, enabling them to provide the training locally.  Training topics include a review of the history and prevalence of active shooter events, recommended civilian response options, medical issues and guidance for conducting preparedness drills. 


Federal grant funding means the training can be offered free of charge, and can be customized to meet the needs of any organization, including office buildings, retail stores, medical facilities, and places of worship.


For more information about CRASE, or to schedule an on-site consultation and safety assessment, interested persons may send an email to or call (845) 808-4325.

Esty calls for bipartisan work to end opioid crisis

5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty is calling on her colleagues to address the opioid crisis in a bipartisan manner.  A hearing on the topic was held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee recently. 


Esty called it an epidemic that affects families across the country regardless of age, race, gender, or socioeconomic status.  She says the stakes are high, and if vital treatment centers are forced to close their doors, or if access to them is limited, people will die.  Over the past five years, Connecticut has experienced a spike in the number of opioid-related deaths.


According to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, deaths rose from 357 in 2012 to 917 in 2017.  Autopsies have increased 70 percent since 2010, mostly because of drug overdose deaths.  The state is on pace to experience more than 1,000 overdose deaths this year, meaning Connecticut would have the 3rd highest rate in the country.

Danbury Police offer tips for safety during holiday shopping

Big shopping days can be a prime time for thieves to strike, and not just those looking to steal your identity.  If you plan to take advantage of late night or early morning shopping this holiday weekend, Danbury Police are reminding you not to carry so may bags that you become an easy target for someone who may want to assault or rob you.  Police stress keeping parked vehicles locked and removing all valuables because several area towns have reported an increase in thefts from unlocked motor vehicles in recent months.  Area police departments are urging people to use caution and to be aware of surroundings while shopping. 

Local fire departments urge caution while cooking this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires. Danbury Fire officials say kitchen fires are the number one reason for fires in single-and-two family homes across the country.  They are mostly due to unattended cooking.  Danbury Fire officials say deep frying turkeys is a popular cooking method on Thanksgiving, but it's dangerous.  Too often people try this in their garage, but it they say it should be done far from the house, and not on a wooden deck.  That's so if the fryer does tip over, the fire will not spread to the house. Grease is also a scalding issue if it splashes out of the fryer.

State Police ramp up patrols over long holiday weekend

State Police ramped up their efforts as of late Tuesday night to keep highways safe during the holiday rush.  Additional Troopers will be on patrol throughout the long Thanksgiving weekend, focusing on aggressive drivers, unsafe drivers, and drunk drivers.  Preventive enforcement initiatives such as roving DUI patrols will be in effect.  State Police are calling on residents to remind all young people, especially college students returning home for the holiday weekend, of the laws about alcohol consumption and drinking and driving.  Traditional and non-traditional patrol cars will be used to observe traffic and issue tickets to reckless and distracted drivers during stepped up patrols through Sunday.

Metro North train service changed for Thanksgiving holiday

Metro-North is stuffed with service for the Thanksgiving holiday. Off-peak fares will be in effect through Sunday.  Gate-ticket collection is in place on days when there is an expected surge in train riders. This is done to make sure customers are getting on the right trains before departing Grand Central. 

Swastika found at Ridgefield High School

A swastika was reportedly found drawn on a classroom door at Ridgefield High School yesterday.  The Ridgefield Press reports that this is the second incident this school year, and the 5th finding since this time last year.  A swastika was found etched into a table in September.  The Principal says a full investigation has just been completed and reported to the Ridgefield Police School Resource Officer.  The vandalism was discussed by First Selectman Rudy Marconi at last night's Board of Finance meeting. 

Danbury to pay $100,000 over alleged sewage dumping in waterways

The Danbury City Council has signed off on a legal settlement over alleged dumping of untreated sewage into the Limekiln Brook and Still River. 


The City will pay a $100,000 penalty to the United States and has agreed to report all sewage discharges to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. 


A system-wide program to inspect, clean, and maintain the wastewater collection system must also be developed and implemented.  Danbury must also create and enforce a regulatory program to stop restaurant and food establishment discharges of Fats, Oils, and Grease which lead to sewage blockages and spills.


The settlement stems from a complaint filed by the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, Rivers Alliance of Connecticut, and Friends of the Lake.  The allegation is that sewage was discharged into Beaver Brook and Padanaram Brook, polluting the waterways with disease-causing bacteria.  

Bethel officials warn of upcoming construction

Construction will be occurring in Bethel over the next few weeks on School Street.  The road may be reduced to one lane of traffic at times.  Officials say efforts will be made to limit disruption to businesses along School Street.

Danbury diner offering free meal, ACE gives back and firefighters caution about Thanksgiving cooking

A local restaurant is holding a community event tomorrow so that no one has to spend Thanksgiving alone.  Three Brothers Diner in Danbury is offering free dinner from 1pm to 4pm tomorrow as a way to give back and say thanks to the community.  The White Street restaurant is accepting food pantry donations, though a donation is not required.


A 40th annual Thanksgiving event took place at a Danbury school yesterday.  Students from the Alternative Center for Excellence in Danbury spent most of the day serving up a traditional Thanksgiving meal to members of the community as a way showing their appreciation.


Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company are reminding people to cook with care.  Thanksgiving historically is one of the busiest days for Fire and EMS calls.  Although they say they love to see the community, firefighters would prefer it be during Kids Day in June rather than in the middle of a smoky kitchen on Thanksgiving.

Former New Fairfield First Selectman forms exploratory committee

Former New Fairfield First Selectman Susan Chapman has filed exploratory committee paperwork with the State Elections Enforcement Commission.  Chapman's term ended yesterday.  She plans to focus on the 2018 Lt Governor race, but is open to looking at other positions as well.  Chapman said in a statement that the current administration hasn't advocated for municipal needs.  She also cited the two highest tax increases, businesses leaving the state and unfunded mandates pushed onto cities and towns.  In addition to First Selectman, Chapman served on the New Fairfield Planning Commission and in a leadership role in the Western Connecticut Council of Governments regional planning agency. 

Consumer Protection officials urge medicine cabinet clean out before Thanksgiving

The state Department of Consumer Protection and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services are calling on families to check their medicine cabinets before Thanksgiving tomorrow in order to dispose of unneeded medication, and secure the medication they need. 


The officials say emptying medicine cabinets is one small, but important way to make sure guests have a safe holiday. 


DMHAS Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon says the majority of people misusing prescription medications get them from family and friends.  Local drug collection boxes to dispose of unneeded medication include ones at the Danbury, Bethel, Brookfield, Newtown, Ridgefield and Redding police stations.  State Police Troop A in Southbury also hosts a collection box.

Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission receives over 100 designer registrations

The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission has cancelled their planned December meeting.  As of their last gathering, the group received 146 registrations from people who want to submit a memorial design.  The registrations are from 17 states and about a quarter coming from 18 different countries.  About half of the domestic registrations are from Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts.  Approximately 100 guided site walks have been led by the Commission for registered designers.  A drone video and digital walking tour are posted on the Commission's website.

Algonquin makes donation to Danbury Fire Department for Utility Terrain Vehicle

Enbridge-Algonquin Gas Transmission has donated $32,000 to the Danbury Fire Department for their Utility Terrain Vehicle project. 


The money will be used to purchase a UTV which can provide a wide variety of uses and applications.  It can be used for search and rescue operations for lost persons in rugged terrain, emergency medical evacuation from remote locations and wildland firefighting. 


Mayor Mark Boughton joked that it's a token from the company, considering they are putting in a 70-foot wide pipe through the middle of the City.  Much of the project is replacing existing pipeline with one larger in diameter. 


Algonquin started the work at the Southeast Compressor Station and has extended into Danbury. The new pipeline crosses near the Still River, a railroad line, and Mill Plain Road. The replacement segment would end at their existing compressor site east of Clapboard Ridge Road.

Danbury Fire Department adding thermal imaging camera to drone

The Danbury Fire Department has received a donation of $10,000 to fund the drone project.  The donor asked the department to remain anonymous, but it was made in memory of the late Michael Kallas. 


The donation will be used to equip the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle with a thermal imaging camera.  Drones have a number of uses in the fire service with the ability to provide situational awareness such as live aerial feeds of fires or large scale incidents, pre-planning information and to search for lost persons in rugged terrain. 


Councilman Warren Levy says Kallas had top secret clearance and was a team leader on the first spy satellite that came out of PerkinElmer.


Kallas was active in the raising of funds to obtain a thermal imagining camera presented to the Danbury Fire Department on behalf of the Danbury Lions Club.


He was a member of the Friends of the Danbury Museum and Historical Society and was a past board member, Danbury Hospital Development Fund, Danbury Downtown Council and a former corporator of the Union Savings Bank.

State grant awarded to Danbury to clean brownfield site for Women's Center

The City of Danbury has been awarded a $1.3 million state grant to demolish and remediate the former Mallory Hat Factory on Rose Hill Avenue.  The 3.7-acre site will be given to the Women's Center of Greater Danbury for $1.  The organization will turn the property into a residential facility for women and children in transition. 


The Women's Center hired an environmental engineer to assess the property, and it was determined that the clean up will cost $700,00 to $800,000.  Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola will oversee and manage the clean up. Once it's certified for use, and the City Council gives the ok, the City can transfer the property to the Women's Center.


The Women's Center raised $4 million in capital fund to build the transitional housing.  The group has provided a safe haven to victims of domestic and sexual violence since its founding in 1975. The Center serves 20,000 people in northern Fairfield and southern Litchfield Counties each year.


Governor Dannel Malloy says brownfield sites have been vacant for decades and cause blight in neighborhoods, drain local resources, and have a negative impact on municipalities.  For every dollar the state has invested in brownfield redevelopment, non-state partners have invested or will invest $11.41. Since 2012, the State of Connecticut has invested more than $220 million in brownfield redevelopment, resulting in the creation of more than 3,000 permanent jobs and over 15,000 construction jobs in the state.


Mayor Mark Boughton believes a viaduct under the property is near 100 years old.  He says no business is likely to be interested in the land because they wouldn't be able to build over that structure. The viaduct limits the build-ability to about 2.5 acres. Danbury issued several requests for proposals from businesses over the years, but there weren't any takers. At one point, the owner of nearby Fairfield Processing asked the City to hold off on looking into bids because they were thinking about expanding. Those plans have since changed because their business changed. 

New Milford Town Council considers over 100 appointments

The New Milford Town Council was set to take up more than 100 appointments to boards and commissions at their meeting last night.  But there were three Republicans and three Democrats in attendance leading to a deadlock.  Outgoing Democratic Mayor David Gronbach was replacing people whose terms are expiring next week or filling vacancies.  Five of the more than 100 nominations lost positions in the municipal election, but the Newstimes reports that the most contentious was the proposed appointment of Gronbach's wife Vanessa to the Ethics Commission.  She would be an “unaffiliated” appointee even though she was registered as a Democrat until recently.  The published report notes that former Republican Mayor Pat Murphy made 124 appointments in her last two meetings before Gronbach took office.

Delegation touts bipartisan support for gun-related bill

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Several members of Connecticut's all-Democratic congressional delegation are optimistic that bipartisan support for background check system legislation may be a sign of future cooperation on anti-gun violence legislation.

U.S. Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal and U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty all said Monday they're pleased to have Republicans from other states where mass shootings have occurred co-sponsor the Fix NICS Act. Murphy introduced it in the Senate to fill gaps in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Murphy says he doesn't know if it's a turning point, but it is significant.

The bill creates incentives for states to submit relevant criminal history information to the database, including extra points toward receiving Department of Justice grants. It creates penalties for federal entities that don't submit data, such as the military.

Newtown First Selectman sworn in for first term

The oath of office was taken yesterday by the new First Selectman of Newtown.  Democrat Dan Rosenthal was sworn in at Edmond Town Hall. 


Rosenthal believes the local budget planning process has to start early, with a focus on controlling spending. He doesn't think Newtown has the luxury of hiking taxes any further.


With state funding, he says the expectation should be that Connecticut is not going to kick in additional revenue.  Rosenthal says the goal should be, over time, to create autonomy from the state. Rosenthal says the several-month long impasse should be used as a warning shot over the bow to try to wean Newtown off of state aid.


Rosenthal wants to bring business planning to other capital projects, examining how many people each one would reach and what's the potential revenue. He doesn’t believe the town has the luxury for “wants” and building things in the hopes that people come.

North Street expansion project to be completed in the Spring

After more than two years, the state Department of Transportation project to expand North Street in Danbury is coming to an end point, though it's still several months away.  New stoplights will be turned on soon and work will end for the winter.  Final alignment of the new lanes should be completed before the shut down.  Paving crews won’t be able to put the final layer of asphalt down until the Spring.  Part of the delay on the project was  a large sewer line under North Street that had to be moved so a new retaining wall could be built.  Project manager John Dunham says there was also a lot of utility work needed. 

Newtown firefighters collecting donations for FAITH Food Pantry

Newtown firefighters will be accepting donations for FAITH Food Pantry on Saturday.  This annual event helps put food on the table for Thanksgiving for Food Pantry clients served by the nonecumenical organization located at 31 Pecks Lane.  Food items and financial donations will all be accepted, and delivered to the food pantry that afternoon.  Members of all five of Newtown's volunteer fire companies will be participating by taking collections outside Big Y on Queen Street and Stop & Shop on South Main Street tomorrow from 9am to 2pm.

Trail run to be held at Green Chimneys tomorrow

A Conquer the Forest Trail Run is being held tomorrow by a non-profit in New York.  Green Chimneys is a non-profit specializing in animal-assisted therapy and educational activities for children with special needs.  The first community trail run challenge will wind through Green Chimneys’ scenic Clearpool Campus in Carmel.  The 5-mile run will take place through open terrain and forest trails of various skill levels.  A 1-mile “fun run” for kids and families will also be held.  

Informational session in Danbury on food code changes

The Danbury Health and Human Services Department is hosting an informational session tonight about some rule changes. The new FDA food code means some changes for Danbury restaurants, caterers, school cafeterias, nursing homes and others. Tonight’s food regulation informational session is from 7 to 8pm at City Hall.


One change is that a Qualified Food Operator will now be known as a Certified Food Protection Manager. Hot and cold holding temperatures will be changing.  A new inspection form will be used to better align with the FDA Food Code.


Starting next July, restaurants cannot be issued a permit to operate a food establishment unless the applicant has registered with the Connecticut Department of Public Health in addition to the Danbury Department of Health. 


Another session will be held on December 6th.

Bethel officials recount close races for Boards of Finance, Education

Bethel did a hand recount on a couple of close municipal races.  On Election Day, Claudia Stephan and Bill Slifkin were only separated by 13 votes for a two-year seat on the Board of Finance.  After the recount, Stephan came out 8 votes ahead and one the position.  There was also a recanvass of four Bethel Board of Education seats.  The winners were Democrats Jen Larsen and Jen Ackerman and Republicans Melanie O'Brien and Nicholas Hoffman.

Public comment being accepted on State Water Plan

The state Department of Public Health is accepting public comment through Monday on the State Water Plan.  A presentation was made recently to the Western Connecticut Council of Governments about the State Water Plan. The Public Health’s Drinking Water Section was presented to the regional planning agency for cities and towns from Sherman down to Stamford.


The draft report found that while Connecticut leads the nation in protections of drinking water quality, the state lags in its water conservation ethic. It says the key to preserving the integrity of that quality is to have e an increased awareness among consumers about its value and vulnerability.  


The draft report found that climate change is likely to have a significant effect on potential flooding in Connecticut and could also result in drier summers in the next 25 years.

High court to hear appeal in Newtown gun maker lawsuit

The state Supreme Court will hear arguments today in the appeal of a decision to dismiss a wrongful death lawsuit.  The suit was filed by some families of those killed at Sandy Hook School against the maker of the rifle used by the gunman.


A Superior Court judge dismissed the civil 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.


Lawyers for Remington have said the rifle was made, distributed and sold legally. The NRA and the Newtown-based National Shooting Sports Foundation have filed briefs on behalf of Remington.


The Brady Center against Gun Violence and the state’s attorney generals office have filed briefs on behalf of the families. 


Only three sitting full-time justices and a senior justice will hear the case. 3 appellate court judges will join them. Chief Justice Chase Rogers is unavailable today and Gregory D’Auria has recused himself. Two recently retired judges haven’t been replaced yet.

Brookfield residents approve Charter revisions

Brookfield residents have approved three revisions to the town's Charter.  Three questions were presented to voters during last week's municipal election. 


One change was to require a 10-day minimum waiting period from the date of the vacancy to the appointment of a replacement.  The change was made to allow all residents the time to be notified of the vacancy and put their name forward for consideration on the Board of Education, The Planning Commission and the Board of Finance.  The revision passed on a 2878-672 vote.


Another change was to increase the maximum amount for special appropriations under certain conditions from 10% or $20,000, whichever is greater, to 10% or $40,000, whichever is greater.  The new monetary level for special appropriations was recommended because of the growth in the town budget over the years.  That revision was approved on a 1881-1618 vote.


The last proposed change on the ballot was to clarify the powers and duties of the Board of Ethics, and voters overwhelmingly supported the amendments.  The language clarifies that the Board of Ethics will review alleged ethics violations in accordance with state statutes and the Charter. 


The role of the Board of Selectmen in reviewing recommendations from the Board of Ethics was clarified when acting as a temporary Board of Ethics to review complaints filed against Ethics Board members.  The role of the Town Attorney or the retention of special counsel in advising the Board of Ethics was also made more clear.  These changes were approved on a vote of 3158-421.

Aquarion to clean water mains in Redding

Aquarion Water Company is continuing maintenance on their infrastructure.  Water mains in Redding will be cleaned today. 


Aquarion cautioned that customers may notice some discoloration in their water because the process stirs up naturally occurring minerals that settle in water mains.  Aquarion recommends customers refrain from washing laundry if water is discolored.  Before using water again, customers should run their cold faucets until the water appears clear.  Several streets will be affected during the cleaning.


Church Street, Georgetown Road, Highland Avenue, Main Street, Meadow Ridge, Old Mill Road, Portland Avenue, Redding Road, Smith Street, Weston Road and Woods Way will be affected during the cleaning.

Veterans Day ceremonies to be held in Greater Danbury area

Danbury will hold the City's annual Veterans Day Ceremony.  Mayor Mark Boughton says it's hosted by the Danbury Council of Veterans at the War Memorial.  It's the final day for the Danbury Museum and Historical Society exhibit focusing on Danbury's contributions at home and abroad during World War I.


The town of Kent is holding a Veterans Day Service today at the Kent Veterans Memorial.  The Monument is located at the intersection of Route 341 and Swift Lane.  The ceremony is at 11am.


Due to the predicted strong winds and cold temperatures the Monroe Veterans Day Ceremony today will be moved in doors.  The ceremony will be held at the Baptist Church across from the Stepney Green at 11am in the newly remodeled Chapel.


The New Fairfield Veterans Association will hold their annual Veterans Day Ceremony at the Green on Route 37 at 11am.  The anniversary of the signing of the armistice that took place at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, to end the war of all wars, will be marked.


VFW Post 308 in Newtown will also host its annual Veterans Day ceremony at 11 am. Post 308 is on Tinkerfield Road, off Mile Hill South. The public is encouraged to attend the program honoring veterans of the American armed forces.


The Danbury Railway Museum will honor all past and present military personnel, and their families, with free Railyard Local train rides tomorrow.  The short train ride is in a 1920's passenger coach or a vintage caboose pulled by a vintage, first-generation diesel-electric locomotive and takes visitors through the historic rail yard and past over 60 vintage railroad cars and locomotives.

Mental health training sessions offered at New Milford Library

Mental Health Connecticut is offering free Mental Health First Aid in New Milford.  The program offers tools and answers questions, like "what do I do" and "where can someone find help?". Training is being offered Sunday and on the 19th at New Milford Public Library.  The program helps trainees identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness and substance abuse disorder.  Registration is required.

Brookfield firefighters urge caution with winter heating instruments

Brookfield firefighters are reminding people to take some cold weather precautions and make sure a home furnace, fireplace, hot water heater and wood/pellet stove are serviced.  They recommend yearly service on any fuel burning appliance in order to prevent carbon monoxide discharge and fires.  Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless so if the CO alarm does go off, leave windows closed so the source of the leak can be located and then leave the house.

Students in afterschool club raise funds for African school

An afterschool club at the Academy of International Studies in Danbury are raising $1,000 to help a school in Zambia, Africa.  The 38 4th and 5th graders in the Bridges of Peace & Hope Club at the Danbury magnet school are paying for playground equipment.  Gaga is a softer form of dodge ball that is played in an octagonal pit generally constructed from wood.  AIS has had a relationship with the African school for five years and has shared in pen pal letter writing and video exchanges. Past fundraisers have helped add two more grades to the school that now includes eighth and ninth graders.

Danbury teachers gather to learn about expanding interest in music education

50 music teachers gathered at Broadview Middle School in Danbury on Tuesday during a professional development day to learn how to get students even more excited about music class. The day of instruction was part of a grant to bring Little Kids Rock into the Danbury schools. A few teachers from other districts were also invited to participate.  Over the past year, Little Kids Rock has trained and equipped six Danbury schools music teachers with $24,000 worth of guitars, keyboards, drums and technology, and recently provided an additional $80,000 worth of instruments.

Danbury City Council members honor Seabury at monthly meeting

During last night's Danbury City Council meeting, members spoke about the late Gregg Seabury, an at-large Councilman who died on Saturday.  He was 67.



Councilman Fred Visconti served 14 years on the legislative body with Seabury.  He says they were able to do a lot of good work and called Seabury a person who cared a great deal for the City of Danbury.


Council President Joe Cavo says he learned a tremendous amount from Seabury about providing public service and says he had a great spirit and will be sorely missed.


Council Minority Leader Tom Saadi said for him, the measure of Gregg Seabury was how devoted he was to his family and the pleasure he took in his grandchildren.  Saadi also said that Seabury was someone whose public service transcended party and politics to make good policy.


Councilman Joe Scozzafava noted that this is the time of year when Council members retire or leave because they've lost an election, but that this is the first time in his memory they've lost a person in this way. Scozzafava says he's heart broken.


Councilman Andrew Wetmore had Seabury as a teacher when he was a student at Danbury High School.  Wetmore says he probably wouldn't be a college graduate without Seabury.


Councilman Vinny DiGilio's wife had Seabury as a teacher.  DiGilio says he was honored to get to know Seabury over the last two years when they worked together in leadership and said what he missed most was not seeing his truck parked terribly out back of City Hall.


Councilman Phil Curran says Seabury was a popular teacher at Broadview Middle School, Rogers Park Middle School and Danbury High School.  He noted that Seabury worked with a lot ot troubled kids who were proud to tell him they made it because of him.

State to reimburse Brookfield for old school roof repair

The state will reimburse Brookfield for an emergency repair to the high school auditorium roof, which happened a few years ago.  The roof developed leaks during storms.  The state has a fund for these kinds of repairs, but Brookfield never received reimbursement.  First Selectman Steve Dunn and state Representative Steve Harding met with the Department of Administrative Services, which then agreed to the $300,000 reimbursement.  The funding was included in the recently approved state budget.

NY couple donates 2 dogs to Putnam County Sheriff K9 Unit

A Patterson family has donated two pure-bred German Shepherds to the Putnam County Sheriff's Department.  The Stilwells have also paid to have Lex and Kato flown from Holland, along with their obedience trainer.  The donation included money to train the dogs and their handlers in narcotics detection, tracking and patrol. 


In addition, the donation included funds for replacement of two unserviceable police vehicles with two new K-9 equipped vehicles and for the purchase of bullet-proof vests for the dogs.  The overall donation is estimated to be about $120,000. 


Lex is assigned to Deputy Sheriff Vincent Dalo and Kato’s partner is Deputy Sheriff Christopher Irwin. 


Ms. Stilwell told the Sheriff that she emigrated years ago from her native Poland to the United States and that she never takes the freedoms and the safety of this country for granted. She went on to say that her family was making the donation for the K-9 Unit because they wanted to give something back in gratitude for and in support of community safety.

Danbury looks to reduce flooding on West Street

Danbury is looking to reduce the flooding on West Street near the existing overhead railroad bridge.  The City has hired a consultant to prepare plans and submit the required permits.  The project will involve removing sediment from the channel and under the bridge.  Protecting the channel embankment from further deterioration will also be looked at.

Ridgefield hearing on proposed bed & breakfast continued to next week

The Ridgefield Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a third public hearing next week on a couple's plan to turn part of their home into a bed and breakfast.  The two-hour hearing Wednesday drew a lot of opposition from Circle Drive neighbors.  Catherine and Thomas Savoca submitted plans over the summer to turn two rooms in a four-bedroom home into a bed and breakfast.  Their immediate neighbor supported the proposal saying it will be a nice addition when relatives come for a visit.  Others in support say the couple will likely vet guests because their teenage daughter will be in the home.  The opposition included concern over traffic problems, lower property values and safety issues.

Report: Connecticut police stopping minorities at high rates

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A new report on Connecticut police traffic stops singles out six local departments and a state police troop for pulling over minorities at higher rates than whites.

The report released Thursday by Central Connecticut State University analysts looked at data from October 2015 to September 2016 that all police departments were required to submit.

Analysts said Troop B state police in North Canaan and departments in Berlin, Monroe, Newtown, Norwich, Ridgefield and Darien had ``statistically significant'' disparities in traffic stops of minorities compared with stops of whites. They say those agencies will be analyzed further.

Police officials say they will be looking further into the findings. Some questioned the analysts' methodology.

The report says stops of minority drivers statewide were more likely to happen during daylight hours when their race and ethnicity are more visible.

Automatic recount triggered in Bethel Board of Finance race

An automatic recount has been triggered in Bethel because of close votes Tuesday.  The Registrar's Office say the recount of ballots will be held this coming Tuesday at 10am for the Board of Finance position to fill a vacancy for two years.  The Board of Education to fill 4 seats will also be hand counted.  In the Board of Finance race Claudia Stephan garnered just 13 more votes than Bill Slifkin, according to the optical scan machine count of ballots.  Stephan received 2,257 votes to Slifkin's 2,244.

Funeral services announced for Danbury City Councilman Gregg Seabury

Funeral arrangements for longtime Danbury City Councilman Gregg Seabury have been announced.  The 67-year old died on Saturday.  Calling hourswere held last night at Jowdy-Kane Funeral Home on Granville Avenue in Danbury. 


A funeral service will take place this morning at 10am at St. Thomas Episcopal Church on Greenwood Avenue in Bethel. 


Seabury was a popular teacher at Broadview Middle School, Rogers Park Middle School and Danbury High School.  He is survived by his wife Barbara and four children.  In lieu of flowers, Seabury's family asked that memorial contributions be made to the Wounded Warrior Project or to the Danbury High School Basketball Scholarship Fund.

Newtown First Selectman reflects on nearly a decade in office

Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra will be leaving office at the end of this term, after nearly a decade leading the town.


As she looks back on the eight years, she is awed at the passage of time and how significant it’s been in her own personal life, and an incredibly impactful period of time for the town. Llodra says if she’s been helpful, she is thankful for the wonderful opportunity to do some work that she has loved.


When Llodra took office in December 2009, Newtown was beginning to feel the full impact of the recession. Under her leadership, there have been two increases in bond rating. Newtown is AAA rated, which allows the town to sell bonds at favorable rates, which in turn allows Newtown to continue to invest in big capital projects.


The first time Llodra was elected, she won a four-way race for the open position. In 2011, she had an opponent, but the next two terms Llodra went unchallenged. She says she has felt privileged that Newtown residents have trusted her with their future to the extent that she can help create a positive environment in the town. 

Bone Marrow Donor Registry Drive to be held at WCSU today

A Bone Marrow Donor Registry Drive is being held at Western Connecticut State University this afternoon.  ‘Be the Match’ Registry is hosting the event from noon to 2pm at the midtown campus student center.  ‘Be the Match’ says a small amount of paperwork and a couple of swabs inside the mouth are all that's required to join the registry and possibly save a life.  Individuals between the ages of 18 and 44 are eligible.


Danbury State Representatives Michael Ferguson, Will Duff and Stephen Harding say by increasing the size of the national donor database, the chances of cancer survival is increased. 


The General Assembly passed a law in 2011 which increased the number of people tested and added to the donor list, decreasing the amount of time patients are on the list before transplant.  The bill addressed significant barriers to bone marrow testing which is the cost to a potential donor.  The legislation reduced the cost of the medical treatment that would otherwise be covered by insurance as medically necessary in lieu of transplantation.


According to the ‘Be the Match Registry’ every three minutes someone is diagnosed with cancer like leukemia or lymphoma. For many of those patients the best hope for a cure is a marrow or stem cell transplant.  Bone marrow transplant is an effective treatment for more than 70 life threatening diseases, including Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, Leukemia and other cancers. 

New Milford officials agree to move Probate Court out of Town Hall

The New Milford Town Council at their meeting Monday unanimously approved an agreement to move the Housatonic Probate Court from Town Hall to Bridge Street, the former home of the Parks and Rec Commission which moved to the Pettibone Community Center.  The Probate Court had been pushing for more space to conduct proceedings with the privacy required for confidentiality.  There will also be added security measures in place at the Bridge Street location.

Election Night Greater Danbury results 2017

Election Night Greater Danbury 2017


BOLD = winner

* = incumbent

Municipality/Positon Affiliation Candidate
Danbury Mayor Republican Mark Boughton* (7769)
  Democrat Al Almeida (4449)
Bethel First Selectman Democrat

Matt Knickerbocker* (2,942)

  Republican Cynthia McCorkindale (1,819)
Bridgewater First Selectman Democrat

Curtis Read* (475)

  Republican Nancy Hawley (373)
Brookfield First Selectman Democrat Steve Dunn* (2,773)
  Republican Harry Shaker (1,605)
Easton First Selectman Republican Adam Dunsby*
Monroe First Selectman Democrat Daniel Hunsberger (1,564)
  Republican Ken Kellogg (2,806)
  Unaffiliated Francis Bennett (110)
New Fairfield First Selectman Republican Susan Chapman* (1,521)

Pat Del Monaco (2,018)

New Milford Mayor Democrat David Gronbach* (3,294)
  Republican  Pete Bass (3,720)
Newtown First Selectman Democrat Dan Rosenthal (3,872)
  Republican Will Rodgers (2,471)
  Petitioning Andy Clure (192)
Redding First Selectman Democrat Julia Pemberton* (1,691)
Sherman First Selectman Republican Clay Cope* (636)
  Democrat Don Lowe (726)
Weston First Selectman Republican

Nina Daniel*(905)

  Democrat Chris Spaulding (2,103)
Danbury City Council (two per Ward)    
Ward 1 Republican Irving Fox* (1185)
  Republican John Priola* (1146)
  Democrat Dennis Perkins Jr. (908)
  Democrat Paul Sutherland (786)
Ward 2 Republican Elmer Palma* (1001)
  Republican Vinny DiGilio* (940)
  Democrat Frederick Karrat (668)
  Democrat Helena Abrantes (765)
Ward 3 Republican Joe Cavo* (1322)
  Republican Christopher Arconti* (1428)


Dicel Ith (616)


Jessica Ellul (741)

Ward 4 Democrat Tom Saadi* (909)
  Democrat John Esposito III* (868)
  Republican Erin Domenech (319)

Bunna Roeun (293)

Ward 5 Democrat Fred Visconti* (736)
  Democrat Duane Perkins* (777)
  Republican Geoffrey Herald (435)

Perry Price (436)

Ward 6 Democrat Ben Chianese* (865)
  Democrat Paul Rotello* (871)
  Republican Theresa R. Keeler (625)

Joseph Schleis (559)

Ward 7 Republican

Nancy Cammisa* (811)


Joseph Scozzafava* (827)

  Democrat Timothy Gaburungyi (582)

Richard Molinaro (742)

Danbury City Council At Large Republican Christina Chieffalo* (5945)
(7 members from either party) Republican Philip Curran* (5730)
  Republican Michael Esposito* (6366)
  Republican Warren Levy* (5982)
  Republican Gregg Seabury* (5046)
  Republican Colleen Stanley* (5805)
  Republican Andrew Wetmore* (5741)
  Democrat Roberto Alves (4979)
  Democrat Joseph Britton (4365)
  Democrat William H. Katzing (4647)
  Democrat Richard Kovacs (5171)
  Democrat William Love Jr. (4936)
  Democrat Gregory Sabo (4947)

Robert Taborsak (5364)




Danbury GOP Mayor gets 9th term, Dems pick up one City Council seat

Election Day results are in.  Danbury Republican incumbent Mayor Mark Boughton has won an unprecedented ninth term. 


Danbury Republicans kept control of the 21-seat City Council, winning the 14 of the 15 seats held by incumbents.  Democrats held onto their six seats on the City Council and added one at-large member.  Former Board of Education member Robert Taborsak was the highest vote getter of the remaining candidates to fill the 7 positions. 


There was a legal question raised yesterday for the at-large Council seats.  Longtime Republican Councilman Gregg Seabury died on Saturday and his name remained on the ballot.  Danbury Democratic Town Committee chairman Gene Eriquez believed the vacancy was in the nomination, not in the position.  Had Seabury garnered more votes than any Democrat, Eriquez said legal action could follow.


Incumbent Treasurer Dan Jowdy and incumbent Town Clerk Jan Giegler each won reelection.


Constable positions went to Michael Halas, Michael Safranek and Louise McMahon.


The Board of Education positions will be filled by Richard Janelli, Jeanne Grandieri, Farley Santos, Amy Spallino, Rachel Chaleski and Kathleen Molinaro.


The Zoning Commission positions went to Richard Jowdy, Andrea Gartner, Ted Haddad Jr., James Kelly, Milan David, Angela Hylenski, Luis Bautista, Rob Melillo and Sally Estefan.  Zoning Alternates will be Zachary Eriquez, Thomas Nejames and Michael Masi.

Some change in party power, some incumbents reelected in Greater Danbury

Election Day results are in.  Several incumbents were reelected, while there were some upsets in the Greater Danbury area as well. 


Democratic incumbents returned to office are the leaders of Bethel and Brookfield. 


Democratic challenger Pat Del Monaco beat out incumbent New Fairfield First Selectman Susan Chapman while New Milford incumbent Mayor David Gronbach was ousted by Republican Town Councilman Pete Bass.


A man with a family history of leading Newtown has won election as the next First Selectman. Democrat Dan Rosenthal defeated two others yesterday.  Rosenthal's father and grandfather also held the position.


Three people were vying for the open Monroe First Selectman seat with incumbent Steve Vavrek not seeking reelection.  Republican Ken Kellogg beat out Democrat Dan Hunsberger and unaffiliated candidate Frank Bennett.  Kellogg is a Town Council Member and current chair of that group's Strategic Planning Committee and chair of the EMS Facility Workgroup.  He has over a dozen years of Public / Non-Profit Sector Experience and more than 15 years of Corporate/Business Experience.


Redding Democratic First Selectman Julia Pemberton was cross-endorsed by the Republican party for another term in office.  In Ridgefield, the position of First Selectman is a four-year term and was not on the ballot Tuesday.


Incumbent Bridgewater First Selectman Curtis Read was re-elected to a second 4-year term.  the Democrat garnered about 100 more votes than Republican challenger Nancy Hawley in a rematch.   Before winning the 2013 election, Read served 26 years on the Conservation & Inland Wetlands Commission, the last few as the chairman.  Read’s running mate, Alan Brown, and Hawley’s running mate, Laszlo Pinter, will round out the Board of Selectmen.  Brown is the vice chair of the regional Board of Education.  Pinter is Danbury’s deputy corporation counsel.


Democratic Selectman Don Lowe has unseated Sherman incumbent First Selectman Clay Cope.  They faced off in 2015 with Cope beating Lowe by about 80 votes.  This year, Lowe won by 90 votes.  Lowe is a musician and adjunct professor of English.  He served two terms as selectman, from 2004 to 2008, before again becoming a selectman in 2015.

Two public hearings in Ridgefield tonight

There are two public hearings in Ridgefield tonight.  The Planning and Zoning Commission will pick back up discussion about a proposal for a bed and breakfast on Circle Drive.  A couple wants to turn some rooms in their home into a bed and breakfast. 


Neighbors oppose the idea saying it would negatively impact the neighborhood.  The hearing will be held in the Town Hall Annex at 7:30pm. 


There will also be a public hearing at 7:30 before the Board of Selectmen meeting about a revised so-called horse ordinance.  The proposal has been drafted to include all hoofed animals, including horses, and dictates needed acreage to keep the animals on residential properties. 


The new draft also removes poultry from the existing regulations.

Danbury's Amazon pitch featured during HBO show segment on HQ2

The same bad joke.  That's how "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" described Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton's pitch for Amazon's second global headquarters.  At least two other mayors also asked Alexa where Amazon should open its new facility.  Oliver featured the Danbury clip in a montage of similar pitches highlighting some of the things governments are doing to grab Amazon's attention.

State Police dog gets donation of body armour

A Connecticut State Police dog has received a donation of body armour.  K9 Texas, who is assigned to Troop A in Southbury, received a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from the non-profit organization, Vested Interest in K9s.  The 2-and-a-half year old bloodhound has been assigned to Trooper First Class Edward Anuszewski since August 2016.  Texas is trained to locate lost/missing people, suspects and deceased persons.


New Milford to hold Veteran's Day ceremony Saturday

On Saturday, the annual Veteran’s Day Ceremony will be held at the All Wars Memorial on the New Milford Town Green.  Immediately following the 11am Ceremony, New Milford will hold the unveiling of a new monument in front of Town Hall.  The monument recognizes the dedication of Peter Orenski who was best known as “The Flag Man”. Peter’s love for flags led him to help organize “An Open Flag Design Competition” to all residents of New Milford in 1994. This competition was responsible for the creation of the New Milford Flag designed by Jeanne Price, a teacher at the Fashion Institute of Technology and Design in New York City and New Milford resident.

Connecticut universities join suit against ending DACA

The Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system along with UConn have joined a lawsuit against the ending of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.  The schools argue that ending DACA would force students to leave who were protected from deportation because they were minors when brought to the country illegally by their parents.  CSCU president Mark Ojakian says public education institutions are meant to foster learning and community to any student willing to put in the work to learn and achieve.  It's estimated that there are 10,000 DACA recipients in Connecticut.

Residents heading to the polls for municipal elections

Polls are open for the the 2017 municipal election.  In Danbury, eight-term incumbent Republican Mayor Mark Boughton is being challenged by Democrat Al Almeida.  Members of the City Council, Treasurer, Town Clerk, Board of Education, Zoning Commission and Constables are also on the ballot.


Danbury City Councilman Gregg Seabury, who passed away over the weekend will still appear on the ballot.  The Danbury Republican Town Committee said it was too late to find a replacement for the at-large City Council nomination.  State statute dictates that a blank sticker be affixed, but then the ballots would have to be hand counted.  The Secretary of the State's Office said the name could be cross out instead.  The GOP says it was too late to black out his name on the ballot.  


If Seabury wins, the party will name a replacement for the vacancy.  Democratic Town Committee chairman Gene Eriquez believes that plan violates the law. 


A state legislative committee considered a bill this past session to update the law to account for optical scan machines and new voting technology, but the legislation was never taken up by the General Assembly.  The proposal would have allowed a deceased candidate's name on the ballot if he or she died within 42 days of the election, and in the event of victory, the vacancy would be filled according to the town charter.


Click here for Danbury’s sample ballots.


Bethel incumbent Democratic First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker is being challenged by Republican-endorsed candidate Cynthia McCorkindale as he seeks a fifth term.


Click here for Bethel’s sample ballot.


In Brookfield, Democratic incumbent First Selectman Steve Dunn is seeking a second term as Republican Harry Shaker looks to unseat him.


Click here for Brookfield’s sample ballot.


New Fairfield Republican First Selectman Susan Chapman is seeking a third term, and facing a challenge from Wetlands Commission chair Pat Del Monaco.


Click here for New Fairfield’s sample ballot.


Republican New Milford Town Councilman Pete Bass is looking to unseat first term Democratic Mayor David Gronbach as he seeks reelection to another two-years in office.


Click here for New Milford’s sample ballot.


There is a three-way race for First Selectman in Newtown, where the incumbent has opted not to seek reelection.  Residents will be deciding between Democrat Dan Rosenthal, Republican Will Rodgers and petitioning candidate Andy Clure.


Click here for Newtown’s sample ballot.


Redding Democratic First Selectman Julia Pemberton has been cross endorsed by the Republican party for reelection.  The incumbent Town Clerk, Treasurer and Tax Collector have also all been cross-endorsed.  Residents will have to decide on Selectman, Boards of Finance, Education and Assessment Appeals and Planning and Zoning Commissions members.  Zoning Board of Appeals and Constables are also on the ballot.


Click here for Redding’s sample ballot.


Ridgefield residents will be electing members to the Boards of Finance, Education and Assessment Appeals, the Planning and Zoning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals and Police Commissioners.  First Selectman in Ridgefield is a four year term and not on the ballot during this municipal election.


Click here for Ridgefield’s sample ballot.


It’s a rematch in Sherman of the 2015 race for First Selectman.  Republican incumbent Clay Cope is looking for a fourth term.  Democratic Selectman Don Lowe lost to Cope in 2015 by about 80 votes.  He is again seeking the town’s top spot.


Click here for Sherman’s sample ballot.

Redding officials ask that resident 'vonate' to help food pantry

The Redding Town Clerk and Registrar of Voters are working together to re-stock the Redding Food Pantry. This is the time of year when the food pantry supplies are low and they are asking people who go to Town Hall to register to vote and those going to the Community Center to vote, consider bringing an item to donate. 


The Food Pantry needs:

Ground coffee
Cooking Oil (Canola, Vegetable, Olive)
Pasta Sauce
Fruit Cups
Apple sauce
Box Milk
Diapers (baby & adult)
Dish Soap (Dawn, etc.)
Laundry Detergent
Household Cleaners
Paper Towels
Toilet Paper
Snacks (individual for student lunches - such as potato chips, goldfish, etc.)

Gift cards welcome from grocery stores

There is also a large freezer at the Community Center and they will accept donations of frozen fruit and vegetables and individually packaged pieces of frozen chicken, beef, fish, etc.

Fire breaks out in industrial tank at Danbury business

A fire inside an industrial tank at Bedoukian Research on Finance Drive broke out early Monday morning.  Firefighters brought the blaze under control.  The exterior “scrubbing” tank was filled with carbon so officials say opening it would provide oxygen to fuel the flames.  Firefighters used water to keep the tank cool, but the tank is not meant to hold water.  A specialty response company was brought in.  Air samples were taken and officials say there is no danger to the community.

Ground broken in Newtown for Community Center, Senior Center

Ground has been broken in Newtown for the Community Center and Senior Center.  Construction managers Caldwell & Walsh put shovels in the ground yesterday for the project at the Fairfield Hills Campus on Simpson Street, across from the Municipal Center. 


First Selectman Pat Llodra says the project represents more than two years of planning to create space that will serve as a multi-generational hub for Newtown's residents.  After the shootings at Sandy Hook School, GE donated $10 million towards construction as well as an additional $5 million towards operational costs, to be spread across five years.  The Town is putting $5 million towards the construction.  Residents approved another $3 million to build a Senior Center as an additional wing to the Community Center.


As a result of months of research and resident input, the new 45,860 square foot building will include separate community center and senior center areas.


The 35,210 square feet community center will include a dedicated arts & craft room, 6 multi-purpose activity rooms to accommodate activities ranging from music to group gatherings, along with a full-size kitchen, an approximately 5,000 square foot banquet room, a 6-lane 25-yard pool, a zero-entry activity pool, and outdoor connections to the surrounding area of the Fairfield Hills’ campus.


The separate 9,450 square feet senior center allows the seniors to move out of their current space in Sandy Hook.


A search for the director launched last month. Oversight for the Community Center will be at the direction of a new Community Center Commission.

State offers guidance on Danbury ballots with passing of Council-at-large candidate

Danbury City Councilman Gregg Seabury passed away over the weekend.  The retired science teacher is on the ballot for tomorrow's election as a Republican seeking an at-large City Council seat.  He was City Council Majority Leader and served more than a decade on the Council.  Seabury was 67 years old.  


Seabury served on various boards and commissions before being elected to the Council in 2003. He taught at Rogers Park Middle School, Broadview Middle School, and Danbury High School, and was a coach. 


Seabury is survived by his wife Barbara and his four children.  Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.


Withhis passing, there are questions about how tomorrow's vote will move forward in Danbury.


State law says that if a nominee dies within 24 days, but prior to 24 hours before the opening of the polls, the vacancy may be filled by 2pm on the day before the election. 


Since filling the vacancy is an option and not a requirement, statute dictates that a blank sticker must be affixed to the ballot over the candidate's name.  The ballots will have to be hand counted because they won't be read by the optical scan machines.


The Secretary of the State's Office has offered guidance to the Danbury Registrars of Voters that they can instead cross out the name rather than affix a sticker so the ballots could be read by the optical scan machines.

Brookfield Police change car seat installations to Saturdays

Brookfield Police have changed car seat installation days to Saturdays to better accommodate parents.  Technicians had been hosting installations and inspections on the first and third Wednesday of each month, but a number of parents were unavailable on week day mornings.  Beginning on the 18th, Brookfield Police car seat inspection and installations days will be hosted on the first and third Saturday of the month.  The installations and inspections are by appointment only.

Sherman First Selectman race is a rematch of 2015 contest

The Sherman First Selectman race is a rematch of the 2015 contest.  Republican incumbent Clay Cope is being challenged again by Democratic Selectman Don Lowe.  There was just 80 votes difference between the pair two years ago.  Cope is seeking a fourth term tomorrow.  Both he and Lowe say one of their goals is to help seniors age in place.  Each say they would be the best on fiscal issues.  Cope touts the reduction of town debt while completing an emergency services facility and renovations to the senior center, library and public works building.  Lowe says he wants to save taxpayer dollars and ending budget increases.

Danbury City Councilman Gregg Seabury passes away

Danbury City Councilman Gregg Seabury passed away over the weekend.  The retired science teacher is on the ballot for tomorrow's election as a Republican seeking an at-large City Council seat.  He was City Council Majority Leader and served more than a decade on the Council.  Seabury was 67 years old.  


Seabury served on various boards and commissions before being elected to the Council in 2003. He taught at Rogers Park Middle School, Broadview Middle School, and Danbury High School, and was a coach. 


Seabury is survived by his wife Barbara and his four children.  Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.

Polls open at 6am tomorrow for municipal elections

Election Day is tomorrow.  In Danbury, eight-term incumbent Republican Mayor Mark Boughton is being challenged by Democrat Al Almeida.  Members of the City Council, Treasurer, Town Clerk, Board of Education, Zoning Commission and Constables are also on the ballot.


Click here for Danbury’s sample ballots.


Bethel incumbent Democratic First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker is being challenged by Republican-endorsed candidate Cynthia McCorkindale as he seeks a fifth term.


Click here for Bethel’s sample ballot.


In Brookfield, Democratic incumbent First Selectman Steve Dunn is seeking a second term as Republican Harry Shaker looks to unseat him.


Click here for Brookfield’s sample ballot.


New Fairfield Republican First Selectman Susan Chapman is seeking a third term, and facing a challenge from Wetlands Commission chair Pat Del Monaco.


Click here for New Fairfield’s sample ballot.


Republican New Milford Town Councilman Pete Bass is looking to unseat first term Democratic Mayor David Gronbach as he seeks reelection to another two-years in office.


Click here for New Milford’s sample ballot.


There is a three-way race for First Selectman in Newtown, where the incumbent has opted not to seek reelection.  Residents will be deciding between Democrat Dan Rosenthal, Republican Will Rodgers and petitioning candidate Andy Clure.


Click here for Newtown’s sample ballot.


Redding Democratic First Selectman Julia Pemberton has been cross endorsed by the Republican party for reelection.  The incumbent Town Clerk, Treasurer and Tax Collector have also all been cross-endorsed.  Residents will have to decide on Selectman, Boards of Finance, Education and Assessment Appeals and Planning and Zoning Commissions members.  Zoning Board of Appeals and Constables are also on the ballot.


Click here for Redding’s sample ballot.


Ridgefield residents will be electing members to the Boards of Finance, Education and Assessment Appeals, the Planning and Zoning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals and Police Commissioners.  First Selectman in Ridgefield is a four year term and not on the ballot during this municipal election.


Click here for Ridgefield’s sample ballot.


It’s a rematch in Sherman of the 2015 race for First Selectman.  Republican incumbent Clay Cope is looking for a fourth term.  Democratic Selectman Don Lowe lost to Cope in 2015 by about 80 votes.  He is again seeking the town’s top spot.


Click here for Sherman’s sample ballot.

Secretary of the State discusses vote security, fraud and hacking

There's a lot of talk about meddling in elections, hacking and voter fraud recently.  Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill is trying to put some concerns at ease ahead of tomorrow's municipal election. 


None of the technology used by residents to cast ballots is connected to the internet.  Merrill says the only new technology is the way information is transmitted to her office by Town Clerks and local Registrars of Voters, but it's still input by hand. 


With the spotlight on data hacks of Equifax, Yahoo and others, Merrill says a concern she's also hearing from residents is whether their registration information is secure.  All Secretaries of the State were asked by the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to turn over names, party affiliations, addresses, date of birth, the last four digits of Social Security numbers and voting histories back to 2006.  The Commission was formed to root out alleged voter fraud in the 2016 presidential election.  Merrill decided not to turn over the information saying there was no mention of how the COmmission would protect the data.


Voters' names, addresses, dates of birth, party affiliations and when and where people voted is publicly available under the state's Freedom of Information laws.


Merrill says Connecticut does a good job of protecting the information in the database.  There was a hacking attempt, but the firewall prevented any information from being transmitted.

New Milford man appointed as State Director of USDA Farm Service Agency

A New Milford man has been named by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to be Farm Service Agency state Director.  Clark Chapin will be the State Director for Connecticut and help implement USDA policies in planning, organizing, and administering Farm Service Agency programs. 


The appointment announcement said Chapin earned the respect of the agriculture community through his 16 years as a state legislator before becoming Project Director for Working Lands Alliance, a project of American Farmland Trust. 


The Agriculture Secretary notes that these individuals are the initial points of contact for millions of our USDA customers.


Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy issued a statement about the appointment.  They say Chapin is a highly qualified and capable individual and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the key position.  The Senators say they look forward to working closely together to advance the needs of Connecticut’s diverse and growing agricultural sector and rural communities.

Still River Greenway parking lot to close in Brookfield

The Still River Greenway parking lot in Brookfield will be closed for construction starting on Friday.  The owner of the lot on the north end of the greenway has allowed the town to use the area for parking for the past year.  But the town has highlighted four parking options.  The Greenway's main entrance on Silvermine Road next to the Police Department, public parking spots at the Police Department upper lot, the Municipal Center and the parking area on Pocono Road located between the Municipal Center and the Fire Department.

Lawyers argue against tossing Sandy Hook parents' lawsuit

DANBURY, Conn. (AP) - Lawyers for the parents of two children killed in the 2012 Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting massacre argue a judge should not toss the families' wrongful-death lawsuit against the town and its school district.

The lawsuit accuses Newtown of having inadequate security measures. The plaintiffs are the parents of Jesse Lewis and Noah Pozner, who were among 20 first-graders killed along with six educators.

Newtown's attorneys in July asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit. Among their arguments are no one could've foreseen the violence that took place that day at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The plaintiffs' lawyers said in documents filed in Danbury last week they have "fair reason" to blame the defendants and the case must go to trial.

An offer by the families to settle the lawsuit for $11 million last year was rejected.

Fifth annual 5K honors Sandy Hook shooting victim

STRATFORD, Conn. (AP) - More than 4,000 runners and walkers took part in an annual 5K race in Stratford, Connecticut, to honor a first-grade teacher killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting.

The crowd sang happy birthday to Vicki Soto, a Stratford native who would have turned 32 years old on Saturday.

She was killed along with five other educators and 20 first-grade students in Newtown on Dec. 14, 2012.

The family began the race the next fall to raise money for students pursuing careers in education. Five hundred runners showed up for the first race.

Organizers say the first four races raised an estimated $100,000 for scholarships.

Danbury fall leaf pick-up program in progress

Danbury's Fall Leaf Pick Up program is under way.  The collection will continue through December 1st. 


Only leaves bagged in paper leaf bags with no tape will be picked up curbside Monday mornings by the city's Highway Department. 


Branches will be picked up separately.  Limbs must be shorter than 4 feet and no larger than 4 inches in diameter.  Branches must be bundled with twine and no heavier than 35 pounds. 


No plastic bags, large debris, rocks, garbage brush or tree stumps will be collected. 


The Leaf Pickup Program is divided by I-84; Section A is south of I-84 in zip code 06810 and Section B is north of I-84 in zip code 06811.  Section A will be collected next week, section B the following week and continuing on an alternating basis through December 1st.

Musical salute to veterans to be held in Brookfield

A Musical Salute to Veterans will be held in Brookfield Sunday.  Musician Billy Michael will perform at a free concert to honor local Brookfield and area veterans at Brookfield Library at 2pm.  Two wartime area veterans will be honored for their military service.  The event is part of the Community’s 14th annual Veteran’s program, sponsored by the Brookfield Historical Society and the Brookfield Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10201. 

Newtown Forest Association seeks volunteers

Newtown Forest Association, the oldest private land trust in Connecticut, is looking for volunteers to help with annual inspections.  The organization owns and protects more than 1,300 acres.  Field inspections include walking a property, filing photos and a form about the land.  Newtown Forest Association is hosting a training session on Saturday at 11:30 am at NFA headquarters, Holcombe Hill Preserve, 65 Great Hill Road.

Kent Santa Fund information now available

The Kent Santa Fund assists town children under the age of 16 who otherwise might not have presents under the tree.  Any one needing a helping hand, knows a family that can use help this holiday season or who want to shop for children from wish lists can contact the Kent Administrative Assistant at 860-927-4627.

Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day in Danbury

Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority is facilitating the annual Danbury Household Hazardous Waste event, which also serves the towns of Bethel, Newtown, New Fairfield, Redding and Ridgefield.  Residents in other towns eligible to use the event but must pre-register are those in Bridgewater, Brookfield, Kent, New Milford and Sherman.  


Marrow donor driver to be held at WCSU next week

A Marrow Donor Drive is being held at Western Connecticut State University next week.  ‘Be the Match’ Registry is hosting the event on November 9th.  ‘Be the Match’ Registry is the the largest and most diverse registry in the world.  A small amount of paperwork and a couple of swabs inside the mouth are all that's required to join the registry and possibly save a life. Individuals between the ages of 18 and 44 are eligible.

Local lawmakers react to elements of state budget plan

New Milford state Representative Bill Buckbee says the budget signed by Governor Malloy this week retains several of the structural changes he believes are sorely needed.  That includes a state spending cap and a state bonding cap and that all union contracts receive legislative support before the state enters into the labor agreements. 


While there is less than 1% increase of new fees and tax revenues in this budget, Buckbee wants to push for reforms that do not rely on additional tax revenues to balance future state budgets.


Ridgefield State Representative John Frey says when he considers where budget talks started at the beginning of the year and then where they ended up, the compromise budget represents the best possible deal for Ridgefield. 


Frey says the budget contained certain elements that he wasn’t comfortable with and doesn’t address Connecticut’s unfunded pension liabilities, but there is time for that substantial work to be done.  He notes that if Governor Malloy's proposal to have municipalities contribute towards teacher pension liabilities, it would have cost Ridgefield $4 million. 

Conn. Congressional delegation reacts to unveiled tax proposal

5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty is upset that the proposal to reduce the state and local tax deduction claimed by middle-class families was included in the legislation to overhaul the nation’s tax code.  She says 41-percent of Connecticut filers claimed the deduction in 2015, with an average deduction of $19,664.  Esty says families in Connecticut already pay more to the federal government in taxes than they get back in federal support. 


She doesn't believes that preserving the deduction for property taxes but not state income taxes is a compromise.  She said there’s a reason the SALT deduction is as old as the tax code itself: it’s central to the idea of fairness as Americans.


4th District Congressman Jim Himes says the country is in need of a modern tax code that supports middle-class families, fosters business development and is globally competitive.  But he says the plan unveiled yesterday will explode the national debt by trillions of dollars.  He says the plan eliminates key deductions like the state and local income tax deduction, medical and student loan expense deduction, and capping property tax deductions.


Senator Richard Blumenthal says the tax reform plan unveiled yesterday is reform in name only.  He also says it's based on wildly unrealistic predictions of economic growth and job creation.  Blumenthal called it a massive giveaway to special interests and the wealthiest, shifting the burden to the backs of the middle class.

Danbury residents to elect Mayor, Council, Board of Ed among others

Election Day is Tuesday.  In Danbury, the Democratic ticket is led by Al Almeida, who is looking to unseat eight-term incumbent Republican Mark Boughton.
The  Democratic Town Committee has nominated 43 candidates for positions this election.  Chairman Gene Eriquez they are proud of the team that’s been assembled, representing incumbents, veterans and people who are newer to the political process.  He called it a ticket of people that represent the mosaic that makes up the city of Danbury. 
The  Republican Town Committee has a number of incumbents running for reelection in November.  Chairman Jack Knapp says the ticket includes Dan Jowdy for treasurer, who Knapp says has maintained fiscal responsibility.  Jan Giegler is running as Town Clerk again. 
Democrats have nominated Frank Salvatore Jr. for treasurer and Joan Bielizna for town clerk.
All of the incumbent City Council members have opted to seek reelection.  Each resident selects two Council members for their specific ward plus seven at-large members.  Click on the links below for sample ballots for each district.

Firefighters hold training drill at Danbury Airport

The Danbury Fire Department held a training session at Danbury Municipal Airport yesterday afternoon.  They responded to mock aircraft emergencies and crash scenarios on one of the runways to make the situations as realistic as possible. 


The Danbury Municipal Airport Administration secured an aircraft fuselage along with all the permissions necessary to operate directly on the airport property.  Firefighters worked in concert with Danbury Police, Emergency Medical Services, Airport Administration and the Airport Tower Control personnel during an aircraft emergency incident training. 



The scenarios included a mock accident with no injuries, a scenario where the plane landed safely but the pilot was combative and refusing to cooperate, and an after-hours aircraft accident drill.  The final training situation was a mock aircraft accident.  A fire and mock victims were staged to completing the training.

Aquarion warns of telephone scam

Aquarion Water Company is warning customers about a phone call scam, where an imposter is identifying themselves as Aquarion Water Company. The imposter leaves a phone number for the customer to call back to make a water bill payment or pay a fine for tampering with their water meter.  Any customers that receive a similar call should immediately contact their local police department.  Aquarion also advises people to call the Customer Service Center number on their bill if they have questions or want to confirm their account status.

Local lawmaker upset with Public affairs network ending coverage

Connecticut's cable TV and online public affairs network is ending its coverage of the state government at 5pm after severe budget cuts.


The network has provided gavel-to-gavel coverage of executive, legislative, and judicial branch hearings and meetings since 1999.  Danbury State Representative Bob Godfrey was the lead proponent in creating the network.


The Connecticut Public Affairs Network, which operates CT-N, is blaming a "drastic reduction" in funding and an increasing effort by lawmakers to control the network's coverage.  The executive and judicial branch coverage would be curtailed.

The contract is $2.4 million annually, but lawmakers budgeted just $1.6 million. 


Godfrey told CT News Junkie that the new contract turns it from a news medium into “an in-house propaganda machine for the legislature.”  While it would allow gavel-to-gavel coverage, but not the press conference afterwards.


The budget also cancels bonding to install new high definition cameras to replace stationary video cameras in the legislative hearing rooms, which have been there since the network was created.  18 new cameras were bought two years ago, but the funding to have them installed hasn't been released.

Agriscience-STEM academy funding included in state budget

With Governor Malloy's signature on the state budget this week, funding for the Region 12 Agriscience-STEM academy came to fruition.  About 80-percent of the nearly $30 million cost will be reimbursed by the state.  The academy is aimed at increasing enrollment from outside of Bridgewater, Roxbury and Washington.  The agriculture-related field subjects will be taught out of an expanded Shepaug Valley School.  There was opposition to the project from people who don't believe it will draw in students and is too expensive.  The project would go out to bid this Spring with construction slated for the summer for a September 2019 opening.

United Way announces 'Hometown Heroes'

The United Way of Western Connecticut has announce the people who will be honored as Hometown Heroes at its 4th Annual Hometown Heroes Benefit Dinner on December 2nd.  New this year are Emerging Hero Awards, which will be awarded to area high school-aged youth who demonstrate strong leadership in volunteerism and community service.  Nominees were selected based on several criteria, including achievement, action, commitment, impact and initiative.

Bethel: Mary Korin
Bridgewater: Wendy and Richard Jones
Brookfield: Julie Osborne Blick
Danbury: Celia Bacelar-Palmares, Emanuela Palmares, Angela Barbosa (Tribuna Newspaper and The New American Dream Foundation)
New Fairfield: Noah Alviti
Newtown: Dorrie Carolan
New Milford: Dawn Hammacott
Ridgefield: Ridgefield Thrift Shop Volunteers
Roxbury: Stuart Daly, Alice Daly, Cindy Winton-Bunting, Little Britches Therapeutic Riding
Sherman: Ted Hollander
Washington: Mary Anne Greene

Alexandra Schulman (Bethel High School)
Ahjeetha Shankar of Brookfield (High School)
Kendra Dascano (Immaculate High School)
Jeremy Perillo (New Fairfield High School)
Gabriel Locke of Newtown (Henry Abbott Technical High School)
Rajinder Kandhari (New Milford High School)
Lucia Gorman of Redding (Joel Barlow High School)
Zoe Butchen (Ridgefield High School)
Avery Putnam of Sherman (New Fairfield High School)

Arts and Economic Prosperity study discussed in Danbury

An Arts and Economic Prosperity study conducted by Americans for the Arts was discussed during a forum held in Danbury recently.  The report showed that the arts industry generates 235-million dollars annually in economic development for Fairfield County. 


In Fairfield County, the arts industry supports 6,789 full-time equivalent jobs, generates $142.3 million in household income to local residents, and delivers $20.6 million in local and state government revenue. 


The discussion was sponsored by the Cultural Commission of Western Connecticut. 


WCSU School of Visual and Performing Arts dean Brian Vernon said that many aspects of art are valuable beyond financial rewards.  He noted that music can transform people and that value can't be measured.  Vernon said that education and experience in the arts don’t always lead to jobs in the arts, citing the example of his sister who danced with the Dance Theatre of Harlem, and later became a physical therapist. 


Danbury Music Centre director Mary Larew noted that every week hundreds of people travel to downtown Danbury for rehearsals and performances, calling the organization one of the catalysts of the local economy.

Rogers Park Pond beautification project completed in Danbury

The Rogers Park Pond beautification project in Danbury has been completed.  Superintendent of Public Services Timothy Nolan says the renovations included the trimming back of dead trees and brush to establish healthier foliage and re-finishing the two existing pond bridges.  The City treated the current algae population by applying algaecide and installing four underwater Aerators and one Aerating fountain in an effort to maintain a health aquatic environment.  Rogers Park is a 56 acre site featuring sports fields, courts, a playground and a spray park.

Praxair to offer grants to universities for 3D printing courses, projects

Danbury-based Praxair will be offering in-kind grants to some universities in the form of material and engineering assistance to support metal 3D printing courses and projects. The process uses design data to create 3D objects by building up layers of material.   


The grants will provide metal powder, which is designed specifically for additive manufacturing applications.  Material testing and consultation from Praxair’s team will also be provided. 


Grant applications will be accepted through December 31st, and winners will be notified by February 28th. 


Praxair Surface Technologies currently supplies cobalt, copper, iron, nickel and titanium based alloys and also offers the associated industrial gases to the additive manufacturing industry.

Easton Police K9 TJ greets children as 'big bad wolf' on Halloween

Easton Police officers, dispatchers and staff participated in Halloween activities Tuesday.  They brought a spooky police car to the annual Trunk or Treat celebration.  K9 TJ got into the act playing the "big, bad wolf" with K9 officer Tamra French.  Easton Police made a special noted that TJ really isn't bad or a wolf, and, everyone who met him had fun.



(Photos: Easton Police, Facebook)

New Milford Police participate in 'No Shave November' in honor of former Officer

The New Milford Police Department will be participating in the ‘No Shave November’ cause to raise awareness about cancer.  The goal of No-Shave November is to grow awareness by embracing hair, which many cancer patients lose.  Money the officers typically spend on shaving and grooming is donated to educate about cancer prevention and aid those fighting the battle. 


New Milford Police say they are coming together in support of former Officer Edward Delisle and all those affected by cancer. 


Delisle passed away October 24th at the age of 69.  Delisle was hired as a police officer in Ridgefield in 1969.  He was very involved in the Ridgefield Patrolmen's Benevolent Association and was a past president of the police union. He completed 25 years with the department and retired as a Sergeant.  In 1995, Delisle was hired as a full-time police officer with the New Milford Police Department.  He was frequently recognized by M.A.D.D. for his efforts in apprehending D.W.I. violators. He also received "Medal of Bravery" award after saving a civilian from a flaming car wreck. 


His family asked that donations be made in his memory to the Brain Metastasis Research Fund, at the Yale Cancer Center.

Wilton Police launch handicap parking enforcement and education campaign

The Wilton Police Department has launched an enforcement and education effort focusing on handicap parking.  There will be a stepped up enforcement of violations through the 19th. 


Officers will also be educating local property owners on the proper marking of handicap spaces.  Handicap placards and vehicles with special license plates may not use a handicap space unless the vehicle is being driven by or carrying a passenger to whom the placard or plate were issued. 


It's a $150 fine for the first offense, $250 for a subsequent offense and the third or subsequent offenses will result in a vehicle being towed and impounded until payment of any fines. 


The use of a handicap placard or a special license plate issued to a person that is deceased is punishable by a $500 fine.

Ridgefield residents electing Boards of Finance, Education and Assessment Appeal among others

While there are some positions in Ridgefield up for election on November 7, the role of First Selectman is not one of them. The position is a four-year term.  Ridgefield residents will be electing members to the Boards of Finance, Education and Assessment Appeals, the Planning and Zoning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals and Police Commissioners.


First Selectman Rudy Marconi says there are a number of things he’d like to work on in during the remainder of his term.


Marconi says one of the big projects is the milling and paving of Main Street.  He notes that a couple of through lanes to allow a better flow of traffic should eliminate times when there are massive tie ups. The project is slated to go out to bid next year with construction scheduled for 2019.


The phone system for the schools was upgraded this year. A new library and a new Boys & Girls Club are now up and running. Marconi also touted the Prospector Theater for the work that the non-profit is doing. The facility is fully accessible to those with physical disabilities and has a mission of providing meaningful employment to people with disabilities.


The expansion of the Central Business District is being discussed right now because of a proposed expansion of the Boys & Girls Club. Marconi says there is some concern because East Ridge is a residential street, which could open the neighborhood to retail if the facility moves.


In terms of assisted living, there’s nothing on the horizon, though there has been some talk on the Pond’s Edge property and some other areas of town. A proposal making its way through the Planning and Zoning process, there’s an 85-unit memory care facility on Old Quarry Road.


The state’s budget problems could have an impact on Ridgefield. The proposal calls for an elimination of Education Cost Sharing money. Marconi noted that while it’s a substantial number, the town has adjusted to it. He says Ridgefield doesn’t really get any money from the state of Connecticut so when cuts are made, it’s not felt as deeply as some of their neighboring towns and regional school districts.


Marconi has told the Governor that to penalize the towns because they have been good managers, generally speaking, is the wrong approach to take. He says the state legislature and the Governor are not leading by example when it comes to finances.  Speaking 115 days into the fiscal year and just before it was revealed that the car property tax would not in fact be eliminated in 2018-2019, Marconi said it’s a shame that towns can’t predict anything that the legislature or Governor will do.

Danbury emergency responders to hold drill at Airport today

A mock airplane emergency training scenario will be held in Danbury today. The mock drill will include simulated smoke and foam application in the general vicinity of The Danbury Municipal Airport Runway 35 on Miry Brook Road. 


The drill will be carried out by the Fire Department, Airport Administration, Airport Control Tower personnel, Police Department, Emergency Medical Services, and Western Connecticut 911 Center.  The training will focus on familiarization of Danbury Municipal Airport, along with strategies, tactics, communications and unified command.  


Fire Department Training Officer Steven Rogers says they want firefighting personnel ready to safely respond to aircraft emergencies with a focus on the safety of the traveling public, airport personnel, stabilizing the emergency, property preservation and protecting the environment. 


Danbury Fire Department has traditionally trained at Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts, practicing on engine fires, engine debris fires and ground pit fires, with temperatures exceeding 1200 degrees.

Two Astros players, Conn. natives, celebrate World Series win

Two Connecticut natives are especially pleased with the World Series outcome.  Redding native Charlie Morton earned the save for his performance out of the Astros bullpen. New Britain native and former UConn star George Springer was named World Series MVP, as the Houston Astros dominated Game 7 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, to earn the franchise its first-ever title.  Sports Illustrated boldly predicted the win on a 2014 cover - after Houston had lost more than 100 games for three straight years - proclaiming: "Your 2017 World Series Champs." It featured a picture of George Springer in a bright Astros jersey.

Danbury Fire Marshal: Change smoke detector battery for Daylight Saving Time

The Danbury Fire Marshal’s office is reminding residents to replace the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms this weekend.  Sunday is when we turn the clocks back an hour for daylight saving time.  The Fire Marshal's Office says the number one cause of smoke detectors failing to alert occupants in a fire is dead or removed batteries.  They are also launching another safety campaign, urging people to  “Close your door when you snore”. Keeping the bedroom door closed will help slow the spread of smoke and fire and possibly give more time to get out of the house.

Stew Leonard's launches delivery service

Stew Leonard's is getting into the food delivery business.  The grocery store is launching "Stew's Fresh Delivery", powered by Instacart for anyone within a 20-30 minute drive of one of their stores.  The service allows customers to pick a delivery window within one hour, two hours, or up to seven days in advance.  

Newtown launches search for Community Center Director

Newtown is looking to hire a full-time community center director for the yet to be built facility.  The town employee would be $80,000 to $83,000 and will be responsible for implementing a business plan, creating policies, developing fundraising opportunities, program development and overseeing daily operations.  A donation from GE after the shooting at Sandy Hook School is paying for design and construction of the community center.  Part of the money was earmarked to operate the center for 5 years.

Candlewood Lake Authority reminds residents not to rake leaves into the water

The foliage season came late and with the recent storm and winds, many more leaves have now fallen.  The Candlewood Lake Authority is reminding residents who are busy cleaning and raking up leaves, to rake and blow them away from the Lake.  The CLA says the vast majority of waterfront owners are careful, but every year some leaves get dumped into Candlewood.  Leaves that enter the water will decompose and become a source of excessive nutrients that could increase the likelihood of future algae blooms.  They could also accelerate the natural "filling in" process of a lake and deplete necessary oxygen as they decompose.

Three candidates seek to be next Newtown First Selectman

There are three men vying for the position of Newtown First Selectman.  Incumbent Pat Llodra decided not to seek reelection to a fifth term.  Republican Selectman Will Rodgers, Democrat Dan Rosenthal and petitioning candidate Andy Clure are looking to fill the role.


Rodgers has been involved in local politics for 20 years in some volunteer capacities, was on the Legislative Council for 12 years—6 as the chair. 


Rosenthal is a member of the Police Commission, served on the Legislative Council and on Planning and Zoning.  He is also on the board for Newtown Rotary and a member of the Board for Newtown Lacrosse.  The bulk of Rosenthal’s career has been spent in financial services doing marketing, investor relations and business development for hedge funds.  He recently pressed pause on his career, but wants to bring that business focus to town government. 


Clure has coached his children’s sports teams, was on the Edmond Town Hall Board of Managers and was Chair of the Community Center Commission.  In 2015 Clure was elected to the Board of Education.  He notes that the education budget is a little more than two-thirds of the town's budget.


Rosenthal says one of the first things that’s needed is a strategic planning process that involves all segments of the community: individuals, families, seniors, and the business community.  He wants to shrink the priority list to help lower taxes and focus on economic development.  Rosenthal wants to find new ways to try to reach people and engage the public in idea sharing and the decisions the town makes.


Clure wants to see if there’s a way to lower the mill rate.  He says one of those ways could be to fill some vacant space in town.  He’d like to see a small business incubator space come to Newtown.  Small businesses having a tough time either finding space or being able to afford space that need a conference room could benefit from such an incubator.  Clure says whether it's discounted or maybe the town having a percentage of the business could be beneficial.  Clure also suggested a Film Commission.  He says in addition to showing off Newtown, people involved with the films would be patronizing local businesses.  If elected, Clure says he wants to have an open door policy with expanded hours.


If elected, Rodgers wants to continue solid fiscal practices, preserve the fund balance and tighten up spending procedures.  He wants to develop a plan to maintain roads in a prospective manner and active economic development efforts to engage businesses in coming to vacant spaces, where it's appropriate.


Rosenthal says one of the first things that’s needed is a strategic planning process that involves all segments of the community: individuals, families, seniors, and the business community.  He wants to shrink the priority list to help lower taxes and focus on economic development.  Rosenthal wants to find new ways to try to reach people and engage the public in idea sharing and the decisions the town makes.


Rodgers says the election is being cast as a change for change sake, but this is a time for experience because of declining state But he notes that there's always room for improvement, especially in communication and community involvement.


Rodgers says he’d like to continue to see the Fairfield Hills campus readied in for development, other than municipal development.  He says the economy has recovered sufficiently to market Fairfield Hills, now that the town has done some of the groundwork by bringing in utilities and putting them underground. Some streetscape projects were state finance so Rodgers is hopeful that Newtown will see a pick up in development.


A streetscape project was recently completed at the Fairfield Hills campus.  Clure would like to see more people using it as a park.  The 45,000-square foot community center will be located on the campus.  Several outreach programs created after 12-14 have located to buildings on the campus that have been renovated.  Clure would like to see a restaurant or an outdoor theater located there as well.  He called it a crown jewel of the town.


Rosenthal favors mixed use of the Fairfield Hills campus.  But he says with a 20-year lease structure, it’s difficult to get somebody to invest in a building there and sink millions into an upgrade.  The town has to own the land according to the deal with the state, but if a business wanted a 100-year lease, they would effectively own the building.  Rosenthal would not want to see free-standing homes on the property, but believes some level of apartment housing above retail shops would be ok.


The referendum approving the design and use of a $15 million grant from GE for a Community Center was approved in April 2016.  The building will also house an aquatic center and the senior center.  


If elected, Rosenthal says his goal would be to make sure that the Community Center is managed well.  He wants to think beyond Newtown’s borders to try to drive as much usage as possible to the aquatics portion of the center and make sure it’s not a drain on the town.  As for the police station, he wants the planning process done in the public forum, show residents a few designs and possible locations along with the pros and cons for each.  Rosenthal wants to bring business planning to other capital projects examining how many people each one would reach and what's the potential revenue.  He doesn’t believe the town has the luxury for “wants” and building things in the hopes that people come.


The police station is probably the next big project for Newtown.  Clure says right now the police have to go to other town’s facilities for training, which is expensive.  He could envision the station located on the Fairfield Hills campus.  Clure would like to see a difference to approval than how the community center was done.  He suggested a mock-up be available for people to see before a bonding referendum.  When it comes to the Capital Improvement Plan, Clure says he wants to press pause for a year, with the exception of road maintenance to help lower the mill rate.


Rodgers says the Community Center is moving forward with the planning process.  But he says because the senior center is part of that, the seniors are somewhat held hostage to the overall progress.  Rodgers says the police station is going out to bid.  He notes that it is a more straightforward project than the community center because of the donation from GE.


Rodgers says the state budget is by no means a final solution and municipalities are looking at declining state aid over the next few years.  Rodgers says he would combat that by pursuing economic development, thinking outside the box and significant cost-cutting efforts.  He says that would include regionalization of services, privatization of services where appropriate and other standard cost-cutting measures like expanding the collective purchasing program.


As for state budget cuts and the possibility of Connecticut sending less funding back to the towns, Clure says municipal leaders will have to rethink almost everything from the ground up and prioritize needs over wants.  He says the cuts should not come from education because that’s something that a town is built around.


Rosenthal believes the local budget planning process has to start early, with a focus on controlling spending.  He doesn't think Newtown has the luxury of hiking taxes any further.  With state funding, the cuts in the two-year budget are management.  He says the expectation should be that the state is not going to kick in additional revenue and the goal should be, over time, to create autonomy from the state.  Rosenthal says this four-month impasse should be used as a warning shot over the bow to try to wean Newtown off of state aid over time.


One unique challenge in Newtown is the path forward after the shooting at Sandy Hook School.


Clure says there are many great groups in town helping people with the short and long-term effects of 12-14.  He wants to have a grant writer on staff that could always be looking out for new forms of financial support.


Rodgers is involved in the Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation.  When they were involved in collecting information to create that foundation, they were told by other municipalities which went through disasters, that there would need to be a long term stream of money.  He says they were also told that a time will come when other sources of funding fall off and the town will be faced with a dramatic or abrupt drop in services.  His number one priority is to guard against the drop off so there can be a tailing off.  His general concern is the community healing and moving on.  He hopes that can be advanced by the creation of a permanent memorial, for which the town has allocated money.


Rosenthal was not surprised when the community came together to support one another after 12-14.  He says community wellness is important.  Rosenthal is on the Center for Support and Wellness, which originally oversaw federal grant money.  He’d like to have a person running that who can help identify gaps in services and try to find community programming to fill that gap.


The Board of Education evaluated closing a school because of declining enrollment, but at the elementary level, enrollment is trending above the projects that were used.  Rosenthal believes that should be refreshed continuously as a matter of good fiscal policy.  He says the Board of Ed is looking at the extra space at the High School to see how that could be used if it’s not direct classrooms.

Southbury considering firearm ban at town events, on town property

Southbury officials are considering whether to have an ordinance written that would ban firearms at town events and on town-owned property.  The Board of Selectmen is holding a public hearing on the idea tomorrow at Pomperaug High School at 7pm.  Similar ordinances are in place in Ansonia, Meriden and Naugatuck.  The Newstimes reports that there are concerns from gun rights supporters that the ban could be expanded to town-owned roads meaning that people wouldn't be able to leave their home while armed.  Connecticut gun permits allow concealed or open carry, except on school grounds.

Siting Council holds hearing about solar farm proposed in New Milford

The Connecticut Siting Council has held a hearing about the proposed Candlewood Mountain solar farm.  Ameresco wants to install a 20-megawatt solar farm in New Milford, a smaller proposal that originally submitted.  Having higher wattage panels means less are needed according to Ameresco.  There are concerns about wetlands, erosion and fire suppression.  The Siting Council will hold another hearing on the proposal November 14th at their offices in New Britain.


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