Local Headlines Archives for 2018-05

New Milford Mayor seeks to clarify salary line item in budget proposal

New Milford Mayor Pete Bass has taken to Facebook to clear up what he called misinformation about his salary circulating on social media.  Bass says the Mayor's salary is the same as the two previous chief elected officials, but appears different in the budget line item because he isn't taking a pension. 
 
The money instead was added to the salary line item, whereas the former mayor chose a lump sum payment.   Bass says the former finance director did not document that in the salary line item. 
 
Bass also noted that the last Town Council approved a raise to nearly $98,000, but he chose not to take the increase and be paid the base salary of $85,000. The Mayor has the option of receiving a pension or an in lieu of pension salary equal to 5% of the salary.

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New Fairfield Library seeks teen volunteers for summer reading program

The New Fairfield Library summer reading program starts on June 25th.  The Library is looking for 10 to 20 high school volunteers to operate the summer reading desk.  The volunteers will receive community service time, but must attend training session, which start tomorrow.  Students need to commit to a minimum of six hours over the course of the six-week program.  Applications are available on the New Fairfield Library’s website.

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Brookfield firefighters cancel Kids Day this weekend

The Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company is reminding residents  that Kids Day, which was scheduled for this weekend, has been postponed to a later date as the town continues storm recovery.  The annual open house event offering fire prevention and safety tips and demonstrations will be held in the fall.

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Danbury Library expands digital service offerings

Danbury Library is offering a new on-demand film streaming service to library card holders.  Kanopy allows patrons to stream up to 10 films per month for free.  Digital Services Librarian Amanda Gilbertie says the service was requested by several patrons and found that the site was easy to use and offered unique films.  

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Former Newtown attorney admits to stealing $1.3 million from clients, friends

A former Newtown man has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $1.3 million from nearly two dozen victims.  According to court documents, 62-year old Thomas Murtha stole the money from more than 20 law clients, friends and family members.  More than half a million of that came from a person with mental health issues. 

 

The money was reportedly stolen through forged documents and charges on the victim's credit cards.  Murtha used some of the stolen funds to purchase a house in Michigan, where he now lives. 

 

He resigned from the bar in 2016 after three grievance complaints were filed against him.  He was arrested last April and an indictment was returned by a grand jury in August.  Murtha will be sentenced in September and faces up to 20 years in prison. 

 

He was ordered to pay restitution, forfeit his Michigan home and a 2 carat diamond engagement ring that the government seized.

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State Police arrest juvenile suspected of car thefts

A juvenile has been arrested following an investigation into vehicle break-ins and a stolen vehicle in Woodbury and Bethlehem that happened late last week.  A 16 year old boy, wanted on an active Arrest Warrant, was identified as a suspect.  The Warrant was for failure to appear in court on 12 felony burglary and larceny charges.

 

While searching for the teen on Tuesday, a vehicle reported stolen out of Westport earlier in the day was found parked in front of the his Waterbury home.  The teen fled on foot when he spotted the Troopers, who deployed a Taser, striking the juvenile suspect.

 

He was taken into custody without further incident.

 

During a search of the suspect’s home, evidence was recovered implicating him in other crimes, including the theft of a vehicle from Woodbury last Thursday. Additional arrests are expected.

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Greater Danbury area towns submit storm damage assessments to state

Greater Danbury area towns have submitted preliminary storm damage assessments to the state Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. 

 

The Department will compile the information and present it to the Governor, who will then prepare a formal request for a Disaster Declaration from the President.  That declaration would detail both the amount of aid, and the type of aid to be made available by FEMA.

 

A Town Meeting is being held in New Fairfield tonight about allocating money from the general fund for storm damage clean up.  The appropriation is up to $750,000.  Any money that New Fairfield receives from FEMA, if a federal declaration is made, would then go into the General Fund. 

 

Tonight's meeting is at 7:30 in the Community Room.  

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Low flying helicopters to inspect Eversource power lines for storm damage

On the heels of the destructive tornadoes and macroburst that hit western Connecticut earlier this month, Eversource is surveying high-voltage power lines in that area.  The utility will be checking for any damage done to the lines during the storm that may threaten electric reliability.  A low flying helicopter will also look for any tree limbs or branches that may have broken in the high winds and be in a position to potentially damage a line and cause a power outage.  The flights are scheduled through tomorrow, weather permitting, 8am to 5pm. 

 

Utility rights-of-way in Bethel, Bethlehem, Brookfield, Danbury, New Milford, Newtown, Redding, Ridgefield, Roxbury, Salisbury, Sharon,  Watertown, Weston, Wilton, and Woodbury are among the places to be assessed.

 

Aircraft Description:  A blue and gray helicopter, Tail # N1431W, a blue and white helicopter, Tail #N411DD and a blue and white helicopter, Tail # N206SF, will be used.

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Danbury officials consider IT property tax abatement

The Danbury Tax Assessor's Office asked the Danubry City Council in October 2016 to approve an ordinance allowing for abatement of personal property taxes on information technology.  An ad hoc committee was appointed at that time, but the group just met last Thursday May 24th.  State law allows for municipalities to abate up to 100-percent of IT personal property taxes, with no other guidelines.  The Danbury ordinance would abate 50-percent of the personal property taxes attributable to information technology personal property for use in a qualified data center.  
 
The proposal outlines certain deadlines and criteria.  It also establishes that there be a $15 million minimum value for the qualifying property.  The abatement would be for three years. 
 
Praxair asked for this kind of abatement, but the ordinance can't be tailored to Praxair.  Councilman Paul Rotello was concerned because there's a limited amount of industrial property in the City and he doesn't want a company to put up an empty building in order to get this abatement.  He referred to it as a turn-key server farm doing nothing else.
 
The Committee is recommending that the full City Council refer the proposal to a public hearing and adopt the ordinance.
 
A Praxair representative noted that after a nationwide search in 2015, the company decided to remain in Danbury and purchased a property on Riverview Drive.  At that time, they also purchased a property in upstate New York specifically zoned for data  centers.  The company says data centers are attractive investments, not because of the amount of jobs they bring to an area, but because they bring tangible property with little to no drain on local resources like water and electric.  There's also little impact on traffic.

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Brookfield officials revise budget proposal

The Brookfield Board of Finance will hold a meeting next week about allocating money from the general fund to pay for storm damage repairs.  At the June 6th meeting, they will also discuss the capital budget, which was rejected during a referendum on the day of the macroburst.  A second vote on the capital items could be held July 24th. 
 
Meanwhile, the Brookfield Board of Finance cut another $102,000 from the second failed budget proposal and will meet again Monday to make more revisions.  A third budget referendum could be held June 12th. 
 
Most of the hike in the education request is because the Brookfield school district this year had more than $1 million in unexpected special education costs to fund.

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DEEP weighs in on proposed Candlewood Inn deck replacement proposal

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has reviewed a proposal from the Candlewood Inn and Lake View Properties that would affect FirstLight land in Brookfield.  According to a filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee, Robert Hannon says the application appears to be straight forward with the replacement of an old, structurally unsound stone jetty and wooded deck. 

 

FirstLight is seeking approvals to waive the shoreline vegetative buffer requirement of the Shoreline Management Plan. 

 

The new structure would be less than half the size of the original structure and the intrusion into the lake would be reduced.  Hannon is concerned through about the new catwalk and viewing platform because there's not enough information about how the concrete piers would be installed and the type of erosion and sedimentation control measures for the project. 

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New Milford to pick up storm debris

As the storm clean-up continues in the affected areas of New Milford, the Public Works Department has started picking up wood debris.  Residents were asked to make a neat pile on the shoulder of the road.  Crews will only make a pass once through the impacted area.  The collection started yesterday.  A list of roads can be found on New Milford's website.

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Still River Drive roundabout being paved

The Still River Drive roundabout in New Milford will be paved today.  Public Works officials say traffic will be flowing on the new pavement by next week towards Pickett District Road.  Drivers were asked for continued patience as the road work continues.

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New Milford Police continue to post info about people wanted on outstanding warrants

New Milford Police continue to post information about people wanted on outstanding warrants in an effort to have the subjects come forward on their own.  Police say the listings are for informational purposes only and they don't recommend citizens take action against anyone based on the posting.  Anyone who knows the whereabouts of the people listed are asked to contact New Milford Police. Information about an outstanding warrant are not listed if there is a reason to believe that it might endanger the safety of any person, or if the warrant was issued in a youthful offender proceeding.

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Five new Danbury firefighters start with the DFD

Five new probationary firefighters have been sworn in at a ceremony held at Danbury Fire Headquarters yesterday.  The members recently completed a 14 week recruit firefighter program at the Connecticut Fire Academy. The new firefighters started their first shift today. 

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Idaho sheriff ends search for 4 missing since river crash

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) Idaho law enforcement officials have called off the search for four hunters missing since their vehicle crashed into the fast-moving Selway River more than a week ago.

Idaho County Sheriff Doug Giddings told the Missoulian that searchers found a boot, but nothing more, despite the help of a fast-water diver, search dogs, a helicopter and float and ground teams from both Idaho and Montana.

Six men were in the sport utility vehicle when it flipped upside down into the frigid whitewater in a remote part of Idaho near the Montana border on May 21. Two of the men inside Jesse Gunin and Jason Lewis of Georgia were able to escape the vehicle and make it to shore.

The four missing men have been identified as 21-year-old Koby J. Clark of Bozeman, Montana; 22-year-old Reece L. Rollins of Terrebonne, Oregon; and brothers Raymond and Jesse Ferrieri, ages 24 and 21, of Mahopac Falls, New York. 

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Two Newtown Police members recognized by MADD

Two members of the Newtown Police Department have been recognized by an anti-drunk driving organization.   Sergeant Matt Wood and Police Officer Paula Wickman were honored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving earlier this month.  They each received the 2018 MADD Award, while Wood also received a Drug Recognition Expert Award for his work as one of four DRE instructors in the State.

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Three swastikas found at Ballard Park in Ridgefield

Ridgefield Police have found more spray painted swastikas in Ballard Park.  Three hate symbols were found on a wooden bench in the park last week, according to the Ridgefield Press.  The first swastikas were found in November 2016 spray painted on a playground wall at the park.  The anti-Semitic graffiti later spread to Ridgefield High School, the Aldrich Museum and the Masonic Lodge.  Surveillance cameras were added to Ballard Park last month.  The Anti-Defamation League has offered a $2,000 reward for information leading to the suspect who marked the Aldrich Museum and Masonic Lodge. 

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Two people sent to hospital after Brookfield dryer fire

Two people were sent to the hospital after a dryer fire in Brookfield last night. Brookfield firefighters responded to a Whisconier Road home and found moderate smoke conditions from an active fire.  They used extinguishers to prevent the fire from spreading and secured the power source.  Two people were transported to the hospital for evaluation for smoke inhalation.  The Brookfield Fire Marshal’s office was on scene investigating. 

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Brookfield residents reject budget proposal again

Brookfield residents have rejected the proposed budget for the coming fiscal year.  The $42.9 million school plan was rejected by about 300 votes while the $24.1 million municipal budget failed by about 100 ballots.  Both advisory questions were marked as "too high."  An earlier plan, which was about $400,000 more, was rejected on the day of the macroburst.  The Brookfield Board of Finance is meeting tonight to go over the budget results.  They will reconsider budget appropriations to send to residents June 12th.  Despite nearly flat spending on the town side, taxes would have gone up about 4-point-6 percent because of state education funding cuts and a rise in special education costs.  There will also be discussion tonight of the capital improvement plan for the coming fiscal year.

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Danbury seeks waiver for state 180-day school mandate

Danbury's state legislative delegation has written to the State Department of Education on behalf of the City.  Danbury has applied for a waiver from the 180-day school rule.  Three schools need a 2-day waiver while one school needs a 1-day waiver. 

 

The letter says that Danbury is being proactive to fulfill the 180-days, with a planned professional development day cancelled in favor of holding classes.  The District is still going until June 29th and will fall a day short of the requirement. 

 

Three of the schools were closed in April when a massive water main broke, leading to the request for a 2-day waiver.  The delegation says Danbury was presented with an extraordinarily difficult set of circumstances by the storm, including blocked roads, no electricity and unsafe bus routes.

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DOT to start milling, paving newly widened North St in Danbury

Potholes and manhole covers soon won't cause driver's problems on North Street in Danbury.  Milling and paving is under way. The state Department of Transportation is finally getting set to finish the widening project that started more than two years ago.  Final lane alignment and the new lanes were opened up in December, but at that point the asphalt plants closed. 

 

District Engineer John Dunham says they were unable to finish the top layer of pavement.  There will be about a week of milling work in the overnights, 8pm to 6am, and then two weeks of paving.  About a week later, Dunham says the contractor will do final line striping. 

 

A semi-final inspection will include a final review of signal timing to make sure traffic is flowing as well as it can through the area.

 

Construction started in April of 2015.  It was slated for completion last summer, but ran into several problems.  A water main, which wasn't on any schematics, was accidentally broken during the project.  The City also asked that a planned drainage pipe be moved from the original proposed location.  The $15 million project ran over budget.

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Illegal, stolen guns found during traffic stops in NY

A routine traffic stop led New York State Police Troopers to an illegal, loaded firearm.  Troopers pulled over 46-year old Esmelyn Hernandez of Danbury for an infraction on I-84 in Southeast last Tuesday.  While speaking with the man, Troopers discovered the gun.  Hernandez was arraigned and ordered held at Putnam County Jail on $20,000 bond.
 
Police stopping to help a driver with a disabled vehicle found drugs and a stolen gun.  New York State Police responded to I-84 in Southesat late on Saturday night to help 61-year old Richard Kaley.  Troopers could smell marijuana in the car and then discovered 8 grams of pot.  A loaded pistol that had been reported stolen in Ohio was also uncovered.  Kaley was charged with several possession counts and arraigned.  He was ordered held at Putnam County Jail on $3,000 bond.

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Man caught trespassing on Putnam County Sheriff's property gets DWI

The Putnam County Sheriff saw a person snooping around his yard earlier this month who was then arrested for assault and other charges. Sheriff Robert Langley Jr was at his Philipstown home on May 15th when he saw an unknown vehicle trespassing on his property. 

 

Langley said the man appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol and recklessly sped away when questioned. The man, later determined to be 33-year old Brant Carter of Oklahoma, led the Sheriff on a chase.  When he did pull over, Langley could smell alcohol on the man's breath and pot in the car.

 

Carter ignored requests to shut off the car, instead putting it in gear and almost striking Langley.  The Sheriff had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit.  Carter was boxed in by storm damage though and tried to run away.

 

After a brief struggle, in which Langley sustained injuries, Carter was subdued.  He failed sobriety tests.  Sheriff deputies seized several open containers of alcohol, marijuana and drug paraphernalia from the vehicle. 

 

Carter did not have identification on him and had to be identified through fingerprints.  He was charged with felony assault, reckless endangerment, resisting arrest, DWI, and other related charges.

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Southbury man, without pistol permit, kills bear in mother-in-laws backyard

A Southbury man has been arrested for killing a bear and not having a pistol permit.  State EnCon Police received a report of a man firing a gun at a bear Thursday evening.  43-year old Joshua Gendron told police that his mother-in-law called him about a bear in her yard, and he grabbed a rifle and pistol on his way over.  He shot the pistol several times in the direction of the bear to scare it away, but the animal did not move.  He then shot the bear with his rifle.  Gendron does not have a pistol permit.  Officers say there were a number bear attractants in the yard including bird feeders, open bird seed, bread crumbs and apples. Gendron was released on bond for a court appearance on June 5th.

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New Fairfield officials want to transfer money from General Fund for storm clean up

Money from the New Fairfield General Fund could be used for storm clean up.  The Board of Finance recommended that $750,000 be used to cover the costs of storm recovery, pending anticipated reimbursement from FEMA.   The New Fairfield Board of Selectmen will hold a Town Meeting on Thursday for voters to sign off on the transfer.  Once the money becomes available, brush removal can begin. Work is anticipated to start the week of June 4th.  New Fairfield officials will work with a contractor this week to determine what types of debris will be picked up and when crews will be in each area of town.

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Newtown Community Center Director named

A director has been named for the Newtown Community Center, which is currently under construction.  Matt Ariniello will be leaving his role at Newtown Youth & Family Services as operations and development director to begin the job next month. Ariniello has more than a decade of experience in marketing, fundraising, and community outreach.  
 
Ariniello is looking to do some community outreach to develop relationships for collaborations to better serve Newtown residents.  He plans to create an organizational structure to bring  programming to the Center which will serve all generations.  
 
Ariniello has served as a member of the United Way of Western Connecticut, the Newtown Prevention Council and organized the Newtown Road Race 5K.  He previously was membership service coordinator for the Regional YMCA of Western Connecticut in Brookfield.  At NYFS, Ariniello directed annual fundraising initiatives, and organized programs among other responsibilities.  The Director 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 five years.  Construction, which began earlier this year, is expected to be completed September 2019.  The community center will have a six-lane lap pool, a recreational pool and a kitchen.  Exercise rooms, classrooms and multipurpose rooms are also planned. 
 
An adjoining wing will feature a $3 million senior center.

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Brookfield budget vote today

Brookfield residents will be voting today on a revised budget proposal.  The plan calls for $42.9 million for the town and $24.1 million for the schools.  It raises taxes by 4.65 percent, about one percent lower than the first proposal.  Unexpected state aid and a stipend for the fire department make up for much of the cut.  The Board of Finance decided to start with small cuts because of limited ballots cast between 5pm and 8pm due to the macroburst.

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Conn. National Guard facilities to be named for Medal of Honor recipients

State lawmakers have approved a measure renaming two National Guard training facilities after Connecticut's only two National Guard members who received the medal of honor.  Camp Hartell, in the Bradley Airport area is already named for Lee Hartell of Danbury, but the bill makes it official.  Robert Nett will lend his name to Camp Niantic.  Governor Malloy signed the bill into law on Friday.
 
Hartell was postumously awarded the nation's highest military award for actions during the Korean War as a member of the 9th Infantry Regiment. 
 
 
His citation reads that Lt. Hartell distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action against an armed enemy of the United Nations.  When the enemy launched a ruthless attack against friendly positions on a rugged mountainous ridge, Hartell moved his radio to an exposed vantage to adjust defensive fires. He called for flares and directed crippling fire into the onrushing assailants. Hostile troops swarmed up the slope and came within 10 yards of Hartell's position. 
 
He sustained a severe hand wound, but maintained his stand until the company was protected by a close-in wall of withering fire, causing the foe to fall back momentarily.  Although mortally wounded, Hartell's actions contributed significantly to stemming the onslaught and enabled his company to maintain the strategic strongpoint.

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Police remove guns from home of suicidal person

Newtown Police responded to reports of a suicidal person Saturday night and seized a number of weapons from the home.  Police decided to activate the Danbury Regional Emergency Unit as a precaution for both area residents and this individual’s personal safety.  Shortly after the unit responded to help patrol officers, the individual was taken into protective custody and transported to a local hospital for an evaluation. No criminal charges will be filed.  

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Conn. to extend certain benefits to veterans with 'other than honorable' discharge

Many veterans with  "other than honorable discharge" status suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury, which can manifest as military misconduct.  Connecticut lawmakers have voted to extend them certain benefits.   
 
Kent Representative Brian Ohler says suicide rates are three times that of veterans with an honorable discharge or who don't suffer those conditions.  Ohler says these veterans have shed their blood for these treatments and benefits. 
 
Ohler, who served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, is the first post-9/11 veteran to be elected to the General Assembly.  
 
The bill awaits the governor's signature. 

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Route 53 in Danbury renamed to honor veterans

Part of Route 53 in Danbury has been renamed.  The stretch of Main Street between Interstate 84 and South Street is now known as "Danbury Veterans Memorial Highway."   

 

The bill to rename the state road was introduced by Danbury legislative delegation.  Senator Mike McLachlan says they requested this bill because Danbury takes great pride in its commitment to veterans and ensuring that current and future generations remember the sacrifices that veterans have made in protecting our freedoms.

 

McLachlan noted that Danbury Council of Veterans, made up of 6 veterans organizations, is very active in the city. 

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Putnam County celebrates veterans with Row of Honor

About 100 people recognized Armed Forces Day in Putnam County and celebrated the launch of the spring Row of Honor.  The Putnam County Joint Veterans Council recently held the event at the Carmel VFW Hall.  Twice a year, for Memorial Day and Veterans Day, over 300 flags with the names of Veterans line the shore of Lake Gleneida.  The flags will remain up through July 21st, when the inaugural Medal of Honor Parade will pass by them.

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Three men arrested on drug related charges in Danbury

A Danbury man is facing a number of drug related charges after a several weeks long investigation into neighbor complaints about him.  Police obtained a search warrant for 27-year old Orlando Ellis and his Starr Avenue home.  Investigators determined that the activity was consistent with drug trafficking and carried out the warrant on Thursday afternoon.  Two other men who bought drugs from Ellis that day were also charged. 

 

Ellis and 43-year old Raymond Newsome were found in possession of a substantial amount of illegal drugs and several thousand dollars in cash.  Newsome posted $100,000 bond while Ellis was held for a court appearance Friday.  The 3rd man, 24-year old Dylan Montana Griffing of New Milford, was charged with possession of a controlled substance and released on a written promise to appear in court at a later date.

 

    

(Ellis, Newsome, Griffing)

 

Ellis was charged with three counts of possession of a controlled substance, possession of cocaine with the intent  to sell, possession of a prescription medication with the intent to sell, three counts of possession of a controlled substance within 1500' of a school, three counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell within 1500' of a school, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of drug paraphernalia within 1500’ school and sale of a prescription narcotic.

 

Newsome was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell Rx narcotics, two counts of possession of a controlled substance within 1500' of a school, two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell within 1500' of a school and possession of paraphernalia.

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Candlewood Lake Authority urges caution in wake of storm damage

Due to the recent severe storms, which caused extensive damage to the trees, docks and properties surrounding areas on Candlewood Lake, the Candlewood Lake Authority is urging boaters and swimmers to use extra caution.  The Candlewood Lake Authority has been working to remove debris and hazards, however new and unknown submerged hazards such as logs, branches, boards or other debris may be pushed by wind or waves and float into boating lanes, creating a potentially hazardous situation for boaters, skiers and others recreating on Candlewood Lake. Docks and other structures which were damaged from the storm may move or break free from their current location and damaged trees along the shoreline may present a hazard.  If you spot a hazard on Candlewood Lake please call the CT DEEP 24-hour emergency dispatch number at 860-424-3333.

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Greater Danbury area towns to mark Memorial Day

Bridgewater Memorial Day Services
5/28 at 8:20am
Volunteer Firehouse to the Town Green
 
Brookfield Memorial Day Parade
*** CANCELED DUE TO STORM DAMAGE ***
 
Danbury Memorial Day Ceremonies
5/28at 6:30 a.m.
Wreath laying Steps-off from St. Joseph's Church, will follow church services, followed by the parade
 
Easton Memorial Day Parade
5/28 at 9:30am
Easton Firehouse on Center Road
 
Gaylordsville Village Memorial Day Parade
5/28 at 8:00am
The Field (along Route 7)
 
Goshen Memorial Day Parade
5/27 at 2:00pm
Goshen Center School
 
Kent Memorial Day Parade
5/28 at 9:30am
Main Street
 
Monroe Memorial Day Parade
5/27 at 2:00pm
Parade runs from Lower Elm Street and Route 111 to the New War Memorial located on the Town Hall Green
 
New Milford Memorial Day Parade
5/28 at 10:00am
New Milford Library
 
Redding Memorial Day Parade
5/26 at 12 Noon
Redding Elementary School Auditorium
 
Ridgefield Memorial Day Parade
5/28 at 11:00am
Steps off at from Jesse Lee United Methodist Church, goes up Main Street
 
Watertown Memorial Day Parade
5/28 at 10:00am
Route 63 to the Oakville Green
 
Wilton Memorial Day Parade
5/28 at 10:30am
River Road to Old Ridgefield Road to Hillside Cemetery
 
Woodbury Memorial Day Parade
5/27 at 2:00pm
Woodbury Middle School, parade will follow Route 6 and end on Cannon Green.

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NY Police to step up Memorial Day weekend patrols

New York State Police Putnam County Sheriff deputies and Carmel Police are participating in a special enforcement effort this weekend to crack down on impaired driving.  The statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown efforts started yesterday and will end on Tuesday.  The departments say highly visible, highly publicized efforts like the STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign aim to further reduce the incidence of drunk and impaired driving. 

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Newtown Police Officer's name added to state memorial

A Newtown Police officer's name was added to the Connecticut Police Memorial this week.  Officer Steven Ketchum responded to the World Trade Center on 9/11 to assist in the recovery efforts.  He developed a fatal lung cancer after inhaling toxic dust at Ground Zero.  Ketchum died in March of 2016.  His name is now listed on the memorial for officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

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Danbury High School expansion on time, on budget

The Danbury High School expansion project, creating the Freshman Academy, is on schedule and on budget. 

 

The DHS 2020 project includes construction of a theater, two music classrooms, a new entrance way and an expansion of the existing cafeteria.  Most work is completed, except on the theater.  The Newstimes reports that installation of seats, stage equipment and other furnishing will be done this summer. 

 

All Danbury Public Schools will start after Labor Day for the upcoming school year.  The High School will have 5 new teaching positions, two new special ed teachers, a nurse and three new custodians.  If the $53.3 million project is done under budget, the balance will reportedly be put toward other campus improvements like resurfacing the outdoor track.

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Bethel School officials give update on upcoming renovation projects

Bethel school Superintendent Christine Carver has detailed construction plans for the Rockwell and Johnson renovation projects.  The school calendar calls for an August 29th start, with the last day scheduled for June 7th.  The following year will start the Tuesday after Labor Day, in order to maximize the time students are not in the buildings during construction. 

 

Carver told parents at the meeting Tuesday night that deliveries will be timed to avoid recess and drop-off times.  The loudest work will also be done after school hours, on weekends and school vacations.  When work is being done on the Johnson School gym, students will take phys ed in their classrooms, the cafeteria or outdoors.  Some Rockwell elementary students will be moved into portable classroom. 

 

The $65.8 million project is expected to take two years to complete.  

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Bond Commission expected to approve money for Women's Center

The state Bond Commission is expected to approve money at their meeting next month for the Women's Center of Greater Danbury.  A nearly $1 million grant will be put toward renovations for upgrades and improvements to the Women's Center building.  The work includes a new roof and windows, masonry repairs and heating and cooling upgrades among other work.  The $991,056 allocation was requested by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

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Tree falls on power line, sparks fire in Brookfield

A tree fell on power lines in Brookfield Wednesday night and the lines started sparking and burning.  Brookfield Volunteer firefighters arrived at Merwin Brook Road and blocked the affected areas until Eversource arrived.  The tree was cleared form the primary lines and then the fire was extinguished.

 

(Photo: Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company)

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Danbury Fire Department conducts drone assessment of New Fairfield storm damage

Members of the Danbury Fire Department received a request for assistance yesterday from the Emergency Operations Center in New Fairfield.  The Fire Department drone was needed to conduct a damage assessment mission by the New Fairfield Fire Marshal's Office.  The drone was used to take aerial imaging of neighborhoods sustaining damage in last week's storm.

 

(Photo: DFD)

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Brookfield condos evacuated over gas odor Wednesday night

A report of gas odor at a Brookfield condo complex Wednesday night prompted a response from Brookfield volunteer firefighters.  Crews responded to an automatic alarm at Barnbeck condo complex on Candlewood Lake Road.  The building was evacuated until the source could be located.  Eversource, along with Brookfield police and firefighters searched floor by floor with gas meters.  No gas readings or smell was detected and no source found. 

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Woodbury Police investigating stolen vehicle, theft from car

Woodbury Police are seeking the public's help in identifying the suspect who stole a car and broke into another vehicle.  State Police responded to a report of a purse found along a Woodbury roadway. 

 

Troopers determined that it was stolen from a car registered a Scuppo Road woman, who said cash and credit cards were missing.  One of the stolen cards was used at a store in Thomaston.  While officers were speaking with the victim, another call came in from a resident on the same road, reporting their vehicle was stolen.  A purse with a number of credit cards was in the vehicle at the time. 

 

The car was later located in Bristol. 

 

Anyone with information about the break-ins, stolen vehicle or suspect is asked to contact the Woodbury Resident State Trooper's Office at 203-263-3400 or Connecticut State Police Troop L-Litchfield at 860-626-7971. All calls will be kept confidential.

 

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Danbury Housing Authority receives federal grant

The Danbury Housing Authority has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  The nearly $ 817,000 must be used for capital improvements to various properties.  The work can including building, repair, renovations or modernization.  Some examples of how the funding could be used are to complete large-scale improvements like replacing roofs or making energy-efficient upgrades to plumbing and electrical systems. 

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Brookfield Police release video of macroburst hitting their building

A regional response team moved street by street through Brookfield checking for injured people after last Tuesday's macroburst.  They then spray painted the word "checked" or "searched" on the pavement at the end of each road.  Brookfield Police Chief Jay Purcell says the destruction was extensive and many homes sustained damage.   

 

Police released video of the storm hitting the department, knocking over trees.

 

 

Purcell says the community has been outstanding, coming together to help neighbors.  He also thanked people for their generosity toward police and fire with food and monetary donations.

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New Fairfield Town Beach and Marina closed until further notice

The New Fairfield Town Beach and Marina will be closed until further notice for repairs from storm damage.  New Fairfield Public Works employees will be at the marina on Saturday from 9am to 2pm to help boat owners remove vessels from damaged slips.  The town is looking for a contractor from outside the immediate area to repair damage to the marina. A New Fairfield official will hold special listening hours after Memorial Day for residents who have questions or comments about the storm and response.  Selectman Khris Hall will hold the listening hours on Tuesday from 6pm to 7:30 in the Selectman conference room in Town Hall.

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Newtown seeks info about storm damage from residents, business owners

In an effort to streamline a process for Newtown residents whose property was devastated by the storm, municipal Departments created a one-sheet notice with answers to frequently asked questions.  There is information about the permit application from the building department, notes from the Health District about septic systems and wells, along with contact information for the Newtown Fire Marshal’s Office for questions about in ground oil tanks. 
 
Newtown officials asked for patience as each department will need time to review documents and sign off, but they say every effort will be made to review permits in a timely manner.  They are anticipating an overwhelming amount of applications.
 
Newtown will soon be applying for FEMA financial aid for storm damage sustained last week.  In order to substantiate the claims, town officials are asking residential and business property owners to submit pictures of damage to any structure, along with the address and a brief description of the extent of damage sustained. The information can be emailed to rob.sibley@newtown-ct.gov.  
 
The Transfer Station in Newtown will be open for extended hours Saturday from 7am to 6pm.

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Driver slumped over wheel of running car gets DWI

A driver found slumped over the wheel of a running car had a Blood Alcohol Content more than twice the legal limit.  Putnam County Sheriff deputies were dispatched to the Brewster Mobile on Route 22 early last Saturday and saw a man passed out in the drivers seat of his car.  24-year old Dante Frazer had his foot on the brake.  A deputy tried several times to wake the Mahopac man, and was eventually able to rouse Frazer.  He failed field sobriety tests and was charged with Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated.  Frazer was released without bail and is due in Southeast Justice Court on a future date.

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FuelCell Energy awarded federal grant for hydrogen production R&D

A grant has been awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Danbury-based FuelCell Energy.  The $1.5 million is for hydrogen production research and development, compatible with nuclear energy sources.  Connecticut's Congressional delegation says the grant is meant to help keep FuelCell on the forefront of innovation, while advancing an effort that supports Connecticut jobs and promote a cleaner, more energy-efficient future.  The research and development will be aimed at reducing the operating temperature of solid-oxide high-temperature electrolysis to levels more compatible with advanced nuclear energy heat sources.

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Postal Service collects 120,000lbs food for local food banks

More than 120,000 pounds of food was collected last weekend during the U.S. Postal Service annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive.  That was about 17,000 pounds less than last year.  All of the food collected in the Greater Danbury area is being distributed to local food banks.

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General Assembly signs off on Wilton revaluation deferment

The state General Assembly has approved a bill allowing the town of Wilton to delay for a year the revaluation, until October 1st.  This allows the town to defer the cost of the revaluation, estimated to be $54,000. It also defers any changes in assessments in Wilton as a result of revaluation. 
 
Wilton officials requested the bill to be introduced after the town's Assessor retired mid-revaluation.  It was determined that there was insufficient time for a new Assessor to accurately complete the revaluation within the statutory time requirements.  Wilton officials also expected a large number of appears, which also would not have likely been reviewed within the statutory time requirements.
 
The bill also validates certain votes taken at town meetings in the town of Monroe held last January and this February appropriating funds for various capital projects. 
 
The measure has no fiscal impact on the state.

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Suspect sought in armed robbery of Ridgefield Subway

Ridgefield Police are seeking the public help in identifying a man who robbed a Subway restaurant at knifepoint earlier this month.  The man was caught on surveillance video May 20th at the shop across from the Branchville train station.  The suspect fled on foot with more than $ 300 cash.  No one was injured during the incident.  Anyone with information is asked to call Ridgefield Police at 203-431-2794 or the anonymous tip line at 203-431-2345.

 

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New Fairfield town workers canvasing neighborhoods to document storm damage

New Fairfield town crews will be back canvasing neighborhoods today, documenting storm damage to homes and roads.  The employees are wearing bright colored New Fairfield vests and are using mobile devices to collect data and images.  This is being done to quality New Fairfield's public and private property for possible FEMA funding.
 
The Drop Off Center in New Fairfield will be open 4pm to 7 tonight and on Saturday from 8am to 3:45pm.  New Fairfield residents can dispose of brush, under 8-inches in diameter, free of charge.  The size of brush is limited by the size of the chipper.  New Fairfield officials say they are working on getting a larger machine, and may be able to accept bigger brush in the future. 
 
Contractors will be charged $10 for a pick-up truck of brush or $20 for a box truck.  Wood chips are free. 
 
Material should not be dumped on other town properties.  New Fairfield will pick up brush from curbsides, but a date has not yet been determined.

New Fairfield town crews will be back canvasing neighborhoods today, documenting storm damage to homes and roads.  The employees are wearing bright colored New Fairfield vests and are using mobile devices to collect data and images.  This is being done to quality New Fairfield's public and private property for possible FEMA funding.

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No decision yet on 180-day school law waivers

The Newtown School Superintendent will not be seeking a waiver from the state Board of Ed to reduce the number of days students are in class due to last week's closure.  Ridgefield has applied for a waiver from the 180-day rule, but a decision has not yet been made.  A spokesman for the state Department of Education says they have been in contact with Danbury, New Fairfield and Oxford as well, but those municipalities have not made a formal request.

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Danbury Fire Department to add 5 new members

Danbury fire officials attended the Connecticut Fire Academy Recruit graduation last night.  5 members of the class will be joining the Danbury Fire Department next week.  They went through a 14 week course to  prepare for the fire service.  In addition to Chief TJ Wiedl, Assistant Chief Mark Omasta and Deputy Chief Bernie Meehan  attending the ceremony, several mentor firefighters who will help the new recruits get oriented to the Danbury Fire Department were on hand.

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Bethel tracks damage from May 15 severe storms

Bethel Emergency Management officials have posted maps of damage from last week's severe weather.  The map of the Stony Hill section of town has several scattered red dots representing downed trees and debris that was in the road, which has since been cleaned up or is awaiting pick up.  There are 12 house icons representing structures that sustained damage from fallen trees. 

 

(Photos: Bethel Office of Emergency Management)

 

In downtown Bethel, several red dots are also marked on the map. 

 

 

The Town of Bethel has been working with regional agencies to use the new Damage Assessment mobile app to conduct damage assessment.

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Kettletown to reopen Friday, Squantz closed for Memorial Day weekend

Kettletown State Park in Southbury will reopen at Noon tomorrow, but portions will remain closed due to storm damage.  The campgrounds will be open for Memorial Day camping. 
 
In consultation with New Fairfield First Selectwoman Pat Del Monaco, DEEP has decided that Squantz Pond State Park and Candlewood Lake State Boat Launches in New Fairfield will remain closed through Memorial Day. Del Monaco says the town cannot safety accommodate additional traffic on town roads due to catastrophic storm damage.
 
Sleeping Giant remains closed indefinitely.

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Brewster man charged for residential burglaries

A Brewster man arrested on burglary charges previously gave New York State Police false information in an effort to avoid prosecution.  Troopers received a report of a residential burglary earlier this month.  An investigation determined that 21-year old Sergio Soto Miguel committed two burglaries in the Allview Avenue area, and stole over $8,000.  Police also determined that he was previously issued two traffic tickets.  Soto Miguel was arraigned and ordered held at Putnam County Jail for a future court appearance.

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Absentee ballots available in Brookfield for second budget vote

There's a quick turnaround in Brookfield on budget revisions and a second referendum.  The next vote is scheduled for May 29th. 

 

Absentee Ballots are now ready in the Town Clerk's office, which is open during usual hours the rest of the week.  The Brookfield Town clerk's office will also be open from 10am to noon on Saturday for those residents who need an absentee ballot and cannot get to the office during normal business hours. Absentee ballots for this referendum should be done in person and not via the mail. 

 

The Capital budget will require a separate referendum, though officials didn't release any further details.

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Family settles sexual abuse lawsuit with town

WILTON, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut family has withdrawn their lawsuit alleging school officials were negligent in allowing their daughter to be molested by a former staff member following an undisclosed settlement.

The Norwalk Hour reports Paul Slager, the attorney representing the family, filed to withdraw the lawsuit against the Town of Wilton and its Board of Education May 21, two days before it was scheduled to go to trial.

Slager declined to share the settlement amount, but he says it reflects the seriousness of what happened.

The family had previously offered to settle the case for $4.2 million.

The lawsuit alleged the school did not properly prevent the staff member from assaulting the 4-year-old or report it afterward. 

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Danbury seeks info about storm damage from residents, business owners

Several Danbury residents have called City Hall asking about possible reimbursement from FEMA for damage done to homes and property by the May 15th storm. There are now forms located on the City's website for individual homeowners, those in apartments and businesses to fill out with damage assessments.  The forms must be submitted by May 29th for the to consider requests.  Once deemed eligible, individuals will be able to apply directly to FEMA.  There is no guarantee for Federal Funding at this time.  This is a step the City of Danbury must take to apply for federal funding.
 

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Bethel to accept storm brush, New Milford waves open burn permit fee

Bethel will accept residential storm damage brush at the transfer station at no charge through June 2nd. All drop offs must have ID to verify residency. 
 
New Milford Mayor Pete Bass says they are waving the open burning permit fee for several months due to the storm, and debris left because of the storm.  The fee will be waved until September 4th.  Residents do still need to file an application for the permit.  The application can be found on the New Milford town website.  Any questions about open burning should be directed to the Fire Marshall's office.

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Brookfield Health Department warns of septic system damage concerns

Due to the uprooting or falling of many trees and tree limbs, combined with flooding from the storm, there is a concern about damage to septic systems.  They are magnified with the potential for vehicular traffic over septic systems for clean up.  The Brookfield Health Department says tree clean-up and removal workers should be well-informed of the locations of septic tanks, septic pump chambers and septic leaching fields before driving across properties.  Residents should take some time to inspect the areas where their septic tanks, pump chambers and leaching fields are buried on their properties to look for signs of bleed-out such as soft wet patches and odor, especially following laundry and showering. 

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Man banned from all Michaels craft stores caught shoplifting at Southeast location

A man previously banned from all locations of a craft store chain has been arrested by New York State Police for allegedly stealing merchandise from their Southeast location.  Police began an investigation into 55-year old Dennis Eisenberg in April for the alleged theft from Michaels. 

 

Troopers determined that the Bronx man was the subject of a cease and desist order banning him from all Michaels stores because of previous larceny arrests.  Eisenberg allegedly unlawfully entered the Southeast store and stole over $2,000 worth of merchandise. 

 

He was charged with felony burglary and larceny on Monday.  Eisenberg was arraigned and ordered held on bail for a court appearance on June 12th.

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Man sentenced on sex assault charges

A former Redding man was sentenced yesterday on sex assault charges.  Stephen Overby accepted a plea deal that calls for a 30-year prison sentence, suspended after 18 years.  As part of the investigation, former Region 9 Board of Education member Sara Sobel was charged for risk of injury, promoting a minor in an obscene performance and conspiracy to commit sexual assault. 
 
She and her husband were charged last spring for not complying with a state agency investigation into sexual assault allegations against Overby, a friend who lived in their home.  Sobel declined a plea deal last month. 
 
The Newstimes reports that Overby has granted her power of attorney over his affairs while he is in prison. Overby was arrested in 1995 for abusing his daughter, but served no prison time and failed to register as a sex offender.

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Families of Sandy Hook victims sue conspiracy theorist

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is facing another defamation lawsuit by families of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre for claiming the shooting was a hoax.

Relatives of six of the 26 victims and an FBI agent who responded to the school sued Jones in Bridgeport Superior Court in Connecticut on Wednesday. The families of two other victims filed similar lawsuits last month in Travis County, Texas, where Jones' company, Infowars, is based.  The families say Jones' comments have tormented them and subjected them to harassment and death threats.
 

The suit filed Wednesday also names the financial network that supports him, as well as Wolfgang Halbig.  The Florida man has repeatedly promoted the false claim that David Wheeler and FBI agent William Aldenberg are the same person, and that that person is a so-called “crisis actor.” 
 
The plaintiffs are the parents of four children killed at Sandy Hook — Jacqueline and Mark Barden, parents of Daniel; Nicole and Ian Hockley, parents of Dylan; Francine and David Wheeler, parents of Ben; and Jennifer Hensel and Jeremy Richman, parents of Avielle – as well as Donna Soto, Carlee Soto-Parisi, Carlos M. Soto and Jillian Soto, the mother and three siblings (respectively) of first-grade teacher Victoria Leigh Soto and Erica Lafferty-Garbatini, the daughter of Sandy Hook Elementary School Principal Dawn Hochsprung. William Aldenberg, an FBI agent and first responder to the scene, is also a plaintiff.
 
Jones has frequently promoted the theories of Halbig, who founded a now-defunct defamatory website.  Through that site and his social media channels, he regularly questions whether the Sandy Hook massacre actually took place and, more recently, has also begun to question whether the Pulse nightclub and Parkland shootings took place. He frequently solicits donations to help fund his efforts.

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New Fairfield seeks info about storm damage from residents, business owners

About 70 Eversource customers in New Fairfield remain without power as of 6am Wednesday morning.  55 of those outages are on Candlewood Isle, one of the hardest hit neighborhoods. 

 

The emergency shelter at New Fairfield High School will be open from 4:30pm until 7:45  for showers, but it will not serve meals.  The Senior Center is open 9am to 4pm, and will also not be serving meals. 

 

New Fairfield has started collecting damage assessment for submission to FEMA. To qualify for reimbursement, documentation of at least 3 million dollars in damage town wide must be submitted.  New Fairfield employees will be assessing damage throughout town, but residents are also asked to send photos and copies of repair estimates, including for tree removal. 

 

Information can be sent to nfstormdamage@newfairfield.org and include name, address, phone number, if the home is accessible, the cause of damage (tree,flooding, wind, etc), insurance and a detailed description of damage.

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A dozen homes in Newtown condemned due to storm damage

Newtown First Selectman Dan Rosenthal says a dozen homes have been condemned due to damage from last week’s storm.  10 homes in the Lakeview Terrace area were condemned, along with two in the Lake Zoar area.  Rosenthal says some of them may be reconstructed. 

 

 

In Newtown, a number of electric transformers were damaged.  In the case of transformer fluid leaks, Eversource is using environmental crews to clean up appropriately.  First Selectman Dan Rosenthal says some properties were spared, others were devastated and some are somewhere in between.  There are just scattered outages remaining a full week after the macroburst and tornadoes tore through the Greater Danbury area. 

 

As residents move forward to get their lives back on track, he is offering some useful municipal service reminders.  The Building Department can address structural questions, Newtown Social Services can discuss food, utility, home supplies and connection to other support services.

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Residents cautioned about 'storm chasers' looking to cash in on weather emergencies

The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection has received a few calls from residents about potential scams as they've looked to make repairs to their homes after storms.  The agency is encouraging consumers to be on the lookout for so-called “storm chasers” who prey on families after weather emergencies because they know they need repairs done quickly. 
 
Spokeswoman Lora Rae Anderson says some contractors take advantage of a situation that’s already stressful for families by offering to do home repairs at low cost, and not following through.
 
Consumers should always do their research before deciding who should do repairs on their home. All home improvement contractors are required to be registered with the Department of Consumer Protection.  Their registration numbers can be verified online at elicense.ct.gov.  Registration numbers need to be on all promotional material, including business cards.  But Anderson caution that someone could put a number on anything, and if you don't verify that it's real you still don't know for sure if the contractor is legitimate. 
 
When in doubt, Anderson says if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Consumers should not give in to pressure tactics, forego a contract, pay in cash, or pay in full up front.
 
Brookfield officials have received several reports of door-to-door solicitation offering tree services, often at extremely inflated prices. Residents are reminded to be wary of people trying to use the disaster as a means to profit.  In order to offer services, a business is required to first visit Town Hall and submit their identification to apply for a solicitation permit.  If someone comes to your door, and cannot or will not show that permit, report them to Brookfield Police using the non-emergency line at 203-775-2575.
 
The Brookfield Office of Emergency Management is cautioning people to be aware of a post-storm scam.  Some people are claiming to be Eversource representatives, offering discounts.  If you receive a call from someone purportedly from the utility, do not give out account information and do not provide any form of payment.  Residents are also urged to be leery about people showing up, going door to door, offering tree services, pest control services or any other service. 

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Brookfield schools reopen, some buses rerouted

Brookfield schools are open for the first time in a week.  Some alternative bus stops and bus routes have been set up for the rest of the week.  Friday will still be an early dismissal day in Brookfield for a professional development program. 
 
The Superintendent's Office says students not attending school due to uninhabitable homes or major road accessibility issues will be excused from school. 
 
Any parent concerned with the bus stop change and driving their child to school are asked to use caution and leave extra time for drop off.  School officials are encouraging carpooling to cut down on expected increased traffic volume. There will be a police presence at each Brookfield school during drop off and pick up to help alleviate traffic issues. 

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Conn. man suspected of selling drugs flees police

A Waterbury man suspected of drug sales in Danbury tossed crack cocaine as police closed in on him.  An investigation was started months ago into Aairon Thompson over activity consistent with drug trafficking.  Search warrants were issued earlier this month.  Police tried to carry out the warrant, but Thompson recklessly sped away.   

 

Investigators saw the 34-year old make a drug sale to a known drug user, who was stopped minutes later. The other person then dropped three pieces of crack cocaine and $50 from the sale. 

 

Thompson was taken into custody yesterday at Action Auto Rentals on Newtown Road, where he worked.  He tossed drugs to the ground and was placed under arrest.  Thompson was charged with Possession and sale of a controlled substance, possession and sale within 1,500 feet of a school and reckless driving.

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Danbury man arrested for child porn possession

A Danbury man has been arrested for possession of child pornography.  Danbury Police received a complaint in August about 49-year old Steven Randi.  The Special Victims Unit investigated and obtained an arrest warrant for Randi.  He turned himself in to Danbury Police on Thursday.  Randi was released on 100-thousand dollars bond for a court appearance, which is scheduled for tomorrow.

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Brookfield seeks info about storm damage from residents, business owners

In order for Brookfield and its residents to be eligible for FEMA funding, the Town, the State and President all must all declare Connecticut a disaster zone. The Town and the State have already made those declarations. 
 
In order to substantiate claims, Brookfield officials are asking residential and businesses property owners to submit pictures of damage to any structure, along with the address pictured, and a description of the extent of damage sustained. All submissions should be made via forms on the town's website.
 
Brookfield Building Department officials are currently going to the heavily affected areas assessing structural damages. Having entered recovery mode, many residents are hiring contractors. Eversource has engaged with some electrical contractors to assist with repairing the damage to electric service entrance cable and meter box on houses.  Residents should ask for identification.

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Police announce charges in Southbury standoff

A 38-year old man has been arrested after he refused to leave a home for 14 hours.  Troopers received a call shortly before 2 am Monday about a domestic violence incident in a Purchase Brook Road home from people who were in the house.  Joseph Michael Stotz eventually came out of the house, ending the standoff.  He hit a trooper while being arrested, but the officer was uninjured.  Stotz was evaluated at Waterbury Hospital and released.  He was charged with disorderly conduct, interfering with an officer and assault on an officer.  Stotz was held on $100,000 bond for arraignment today.

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Brookfield cancels Memorial Day Parade due to storm recovery

Due to the uncertainty of road conditions, the need for more tree line work, and at the request of Brookfield's Emergency Management Team, the Memorial Day Parade has been cancelled.  A Memorial event will be held at Williams Park as scheduled and the Library will be open and hosting family related events on its Lawn. The parade will be rescheduled at a time to be determined.

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Duff gets GOP endorsement to seek reelection

State Representative Will Duff has been endorsed by the Republican party to run for reelection in the 2nd state House District, of Bethel, Danbury, Redding and Newtown.  The freshman lawmaker's first bill was to eliminate the state income tax on Social Security and pensions, which was included in the bipartisan budget.

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Democrat to run for New Milford state House seat

A New Milford man is looking to challenge a freshman lawmaker for the 67th state House seat.  Democrat Tom O'Brien is seeking fill the role currently held by Republican Bill Buckbee.  O’Brien chaired the bike and trails committee and was influential in establishing the New Milford River Trail along the Housatonic River.

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Power restoration efforts continue, state parks remain closed

Brookfield, Danbury and New Fairfield continue to have several hundred residents without power from the severe weather that hit a week ago.  Scattered outages remain in the rest of the Greater Danbury area.  Eversource spokesman Mitch Gross says the rebuilding of the system continues.  But he says one of the delays is the extensive damage to homes and businesses.  Gross says it's unsafe for utility workers to make repairs until towns inspects those structures and gives the OK.  Eversource spokesman Mitch Gross says they're resetting 300 miles of wire.  It's the distance from Hartford to Washington D.C., if you unroll the wire and lay it out.
 
One of the areas of New Fairfield hit hardest by last week's severe storm is Candlewood Isle.  Residents there are not expected to  have power back until Thursday.  The emergency shelter at New Fairfield High School will be open again today, 8:30am to 8pm, with three meals available.  Showers and bathrooms are available all day.  
 
Today is the last day dumpsters will be available in Newtown for residents to dispose of spoiled food.  Due to schools being in session, the dumpster at Newtown High School will be moved to Sandy Hook Fire House for today.  
 
Brookfield Police are reminding people that any down wires that were dead days following the storm, may become re-energized during repair efforts. Now, is the time to be extra safe and avoid downed wires.  The Still River Greenway in Brookfield is closed and should not be used until crews can enter, clear the path and evaluate trees along the trail for safety.  The last day of school in Brookfield is now scheduled for June 29th. The Superintendent is requesting a onetime waiver from the state Department of Education excluding Brookfield from the 180 day requirement.  
 
Squantz Pond State Park has reopened.  Sleeping Giant and Wharton Brook will remain closed indefinitely.  A determination will be made today about whether Kettletown State Park can open for the Memorial Day weekend.

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Bethel, Newtown highway crews clearing roadside storm debris cut by municipalities

The Bethel Highway Department will be going around town over the next several weeks to clean up storm debris from the side of roads.  First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says in the aftermath of the storm, crews just cut trees and pushed them to the side.  They did this in an effort to get as many roads reopened as quickly as possible.  The Highway Department and tree care contractor will pick up debris and branches that they cleared.  But Knickerbocker asked for patience as there is more than 80 miles of road in Bethel to be cleared.  
 
As for the overall cost of the storm, he estimates between $10,000 to $30,000 to cover overtime work and outside contractors.  Bethel did not take the brunt of the storm and had to spend less than neighboring towns, like Brookfield and Newtown.
 
Newtown will pick up trees and brush that has fallen on the shoulder of the road, but First Selectman Dan Rosenthal asked residents not to drag brush from personal property to the roadside.  He says restoration efforts are paramount and accumulating brush on the side of the road will effect workers and potentially impact school buses. Brush, up to 3-inches in diameter, may be disposed of for free at the Newtown Transfer Station.  There is a $10 per cubic yard fee for anything in excess.

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Brookfield, New Milford officials make budget revisions

The Brookfield Board of Finance has revised the proposed budget down to $67 million.  The plan calls for $42.9 million for the town and $24.1 million for the schools.  It raises taxes by 4.65 percent, about one percent lower than the first proposal.  The second budget referendum in Brookfield will be held on the 29th.  Unexpected state aid and a stipend for the fire department make up for much of the cut.  The Board of Finance decided to start with small cuts because of the limited ballots cast between 5pm and 8pm due to the storm a week ago.
 
The New Milford Town Council has revised the proposed budget down after it failed during a referendum, which continued despite the severe storm.  The combined $101.5 million proposal would raise taxes 2.6 percent.  The original proposal would have hiked taxes by 3.87-percent.  Less money would be used from the undesignated fund in the new proposal.  The state is also granting more aid to the town than anticipated.  The second budget referendum in New Milford will be held on June 5th.

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Bethel School Superintendent to make presentation on proposed renovation projects

The planned renovations to Rockwell and Johnson schools in Bethel are moving forward.  An information session is planned by Bethel Superintendent Christine Carver tonight about what teachers, students and parents can expect during construction, which could begin as soon as December.  When all of the work is completed, Rockwell 3rd graders would be moved to Johnson, the current 4-5 school.  In making the pitch for local approval of the spending, school officials noted that both buildings are too small, need new roofs, are not handicap accessible and have old heating and cooling systems.  The Public Sites and Building Committee meeting is at 7pm.

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Esty, Blumenthal tour storm damage as they make aid case to FEMA

No official federal disaster declaration has been made yet to help municipalities, residents and businesses with the cost of clean up and repairs from Tuesday's severe weather.  But 5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty toured Brookfield and New Fairfield yesterday to take pictures, which should bolster the FEMA request.  See notes that the federal government needs to be a partner in this moment.  While Connecticut is not at the top of the list when thinking about tornadoes, Esty says that doesn't mean the district isn't dealing with their devastation right now.   
 
Brookfield First Selectman Steve Dunn estimated that by the time things return to normal, the cost could be more than $2-million.
 
Senator Richard Blumenthal also toured New Fairfield and Brookfield yesterday to view storm damage in an effort to make the case for a federal disaster declaration to be made.  He says FEMA assistance is given to the gulf coast and Oklahoma, now Connecticut needs the help.  Blumenthal says it's unlike anything seen in the country in the last several decades because the tornadoes and macroburst hit a heavily forested area.
 
Eversource says the damage to their system was worse than during Superstorm Sandy.

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Danbury Public Schools make calendar changes

The last day of school in Danbury is Friday, June 29th.  Superintendent Sal Pascarella says Tuesday, May 22, is now a full school day. Friday, May 25, is now a full day, and the previously-scheduled teacher professional development program is cancelled.  Alternate bus stops due to ongoing tree removal and pole repairs were set up for students who live on West King Street, Forty Acre Mountain Road, Palmer Road and Stadley Rough Road.

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New Milford Town Council to meet about budget revisions

The New Milford Town Council will meet tonight about budget revisions.  Residents rejected the tax and spending plan on Tuesday.  There were some calls for another referendum on the same plan because of the severe weather.  But the poll locations were all open and had power until 8pm so there is nothing in the town charter or state statute that would allow for a re-vote.  The Town Council will look at where to make changes, with public input, starting at 7pm in Town Hall.

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Brookfield officials to revise budget proposal

The Brookfield Board of Finance will meet tonight to discuss budget revisions.  The first tax and spending plan was rejected during a referendum Tuesday.  It included $43-million for the schools and $24.4 million for the municipality, along with $2.6 million in capital spending.  Tonight's meeting is at Brookfield High School at 8pm.

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Brookfield Police increase patrols of vacant, storm-damaged homes

Brookfield Police have increased patrols and encouraged residents to be aware of vacant homes in neighborhoods and to check on elderly neighbors.  Police Chief Jay Purcell says the 911 system was overwhelmed on the day of the storm.  People were calling on routine lines because they couldn't get through to 911.  They had to rely on backup from Litchfield County dispatch and others where 911 calls roll over to.  People were trapped in their cars between downed trees, others were concerned with trees through their homes. 
 

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Police stand off in Southbury

State police are involved in a standoff with a person in Southbury.  Troopers responded to a Purchase Brook Road home around 2am for the report of a disturbance.  A person in the home refused to come out and may have a gun.  Several roads in the area are closed while troopers try and resolve the situation.  No injuries have been reported and Police say there is no threat to the public.

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Eversource continues power restoration

More than 1,800 broken poles had to be replaced and nearly 300 miles of downed electric lines reinstalled.  That was more than had to replace after Superstorm Sandy.  
 
As of 3:30pm Sunday, Eversource found 317 broken poles in Brookfield.  There were 308 trees tangled with lines that had to be cleared, 50 miles of wire needing replacement and 162 transformers installed.  There were 33 blocked roads. 
 
Eversource found 172 broken poles in Danbury.  There were 310 trees tangled with lines that had to be cleared, nearly 22 miles of wire needing replacement and 57 transformers installed.  There were 46 blocked roads. 
 
Eversource found 317 broken poles in New Fairfield.  There were 427 trees tangled with lines that had to be cleared, 35 miles of wire needing replacement and 115 transformers installed.  There were 35 blocked roads. 
 
Eversource found 159 broken poles in Newtown.  There were 336 trees tangled with lines that had to be cleared, 33 miles of wire needing replacement and 63 transformers installed.  There were 52 blocked roads. 
 
Eversource found 177 broken poles in Oxford.  There were 370 trees tangled with lines that had to be cleared, 29 miles of wire needing replacement and 56 transformers installed.  There were 25 blocked roads. 
 
Eversource found 204 broken poles in Southbury.  There were 487 trees tangled with lines that had to be cleared, 33 miles of wire needing replacement and 78 transformers installed.  There were 32 blocked roads. 

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All roads in New Fairfield cleared of storm damage

110 Eversource crews were in New Fairfield yesterday and National Guard troops have been working to clear roads and check on residents.  In New Fairfield, there are 419 broken poles, 121 transformers and 44 miles of wire that must be replaced. 
 
First Selectman Pat Del Monaco says all roads are passable, an improvement from Tuesday night when 95% of roads were blocked by trees, poles and wires. The areas that sustained the most significant damage were the Baldwin Hill Area where 25 poles had to be replaced. 
 
About a dozen homes on Candlewood Isle sustained damage from fallen trees.  The Candlewood Lake Road area had 167 separate damage locations.  

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Greater Danbury area, Putnam County continue storm recovery operations

Brookfield officials are reviewing ways to remove some of the tree damage as a town. The Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance will be meeting today to discuss the matter.  The Town Brush Yard, located between town hall and the fire department, is open for Brookfield residents to drop off brush.  The Still River Greenway and the Gurski Homestead Property have been closed due to concern of downed trees.  Showers and charging stations are available at the Greenknoll YMCA during regular business hours. Water filling stations are available at the fire house, the Police Station and Brookfield High School.
 
Eversource has approximately 150 line and tree crews working  in Newtown.  The Municipal Center, located at Fairfield Hills will be open Monday from 8am to 8pm.  Dumpsters for Spoiled Food Disposal are available at Newtown High School, Hawleyville and Dodgingtown Fire Departments.
 
Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell continues to coordinate restoration efforts in Kent, Patterson and Putnam Lake.  As of yesterday, NYSEG was reporting about 6,000 outages in Putnam County.  
 
(Photo: Putnam County Executive)

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Fires reported in New Fairfield, Danbury

The New Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department responded Saturday afternoon on a report of a generator close to home on fire at on Llyod Avenue.  A firefighter that was at Ball Pond firehouse grabbed an extinguisher and saw that the fire was much worse. Most of the home was already fully involved.  Fire crews met some difficult issues with propane tanks leaking, down power lines and getting around the neighborhood due to the recent storm. 
 
(Photo: NFVFD)
 
All the occupants were out of the home before the fire department arrived.  Neighbors helped to drag fire hose, move cars and bring equipment.  Firefighters from New Fairfield, Putnam Lake, Sherman and Danbury provided mutual aid.  An investigation by the state fire marshal is ongoing for exact cause.
 
On Saturday, Danbury fire companies were dispatched to North Nabby Road for a reported shed fire.  Additional tankers were requested from the volunteer fire companies. Crews faced a lot of storm debris still remaining from Tuesday's severe weather. The fire was quickly extinguished and the Danbury Fire Marshals office is investigating the cause of the fire.

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Bridgewater official predicts months of clean up, repair work

Areas in southern Bridgewater were particularly hard hit by last week's severe weather, with some evidence that the microburst or tornado touched down across Iron Ore Hill Road. BRidgewater officials are seeking recognition as a FEMA disaster area in order to secure federal funds to help pay for the cleanup.  First Selectman Curtis Read says it could take months and a lot of resources to repair most of the damage.  The town lost some iconic trees like the willows by the Rec Pond and the Christmas tree on the Green.

 

 

(Photos: First Selectman Curtis Read, Facebook)

 

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Redding sets second budget referendum date

Redding will hold its second Budget Referendum on June 5th.  Voting will be held at the Redding Community Center.  Absentee Ballots will be available at the Town Clerk's Office starting tomorrow.  The Town Clerk will also be available on Saturday, May 26th from 9am to 11am to issue absentee ballots.

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Community fundraises for student critically injured in storm

DANBURY, Conn. (AP) - A community is fundraising to help a Connecticut boy injured when a piece of metal roof hit him during last week's storm.

Eighth-grade student Lloyd Thyne was attending freshman orientation at Henry Abbott Technical School in Danbury Tuesday when a gust of wind blew a piece of metal roofing that struck him.

Thyne sustained a broken femur, fractured skull, punctured lung and several other injuries. He was recently released from intensive care at Connecticut Children's Medical Center but remains hospitalized.

Family friend Veronica Gosling started a GoFundMe fundraiser to help the Thyne's, calling the student, "an amazing kid."

As of Sunday morning, the page shows Gosling has surpassed the $5,000 fundraising goal. 

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Danbury Fire Department shares drone footage of storm damage

The northern end of Danbury in the Candlewood Lake area took the brunt of the storm. Fire, Police, and EMS crews continue to work through the damage while also responding to multiple emergency calls throughout the city. The Fire Department and Danbury Hospital EMS responded to multiple fires, medical emergencies and service calls throughout the last 72 hours.

 

 

The Fire Department drone team responded to the Forty Acre Mountain Road area to assist in surveying where the most damage was reported. 

 


The Western Connecticut Dispatch Center received approximately 1000 emergency and non-emergency phone calls.   Fire and police units responded to over 200 emergencies in the immediate aftermath of the storm.  

 

 

(Photos: Danbury Fire Department)

 

 

Mutual aid resources from West Redding Fire Department and American Medical Response Ambulance Service responded to aid in the response efforts. Redding Fire Department supplied a crew with an all-terrain vehicle which was able to get manpower in to the areas were roads and neighborhoods were in-accessible.

 

 

As power restoration efforts continue, shelter operations are coming to a close. Area residents in need of NON- POTABLE water can stop into any career fire station and utilize our garden hose to fill up. 

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Eversource crews find additional storm damage in Bridgewater, New Milford

Eversource has discovered additional storm damage in Bridgewater and New Milford.  As a result, restoration estimates have been taken down.  The utility says restoration work is active and they will post updated information at a later time.  In total, Eversource has come across 1,300 broken poles and more than 200 miles of electric line needing replacement.

 

Eversource did bump up the expected restoration time for New Fairfield from Sunday at noon to Monday at 11:59pm.  As of 9am on Saturday, about 85-percent of the town is still in the dark.

 

Newtown remains as one of the more hard hit municipalities.  Eversource is still estimating that substantial restoration won't be completed until noon on Sunday.

 

 

  

 

Some 200 utility workers from the eastern part of the country and Canada arrived in Danbury Friday night and are being put up at a WCSU dorm on the Midtown campus.  100 utility trucks are parked in and around WestConn. University spokesman Paul Steinmetz says each utility worker will get a keycard so they can come and go as needed.  Commencement is tomorrow so the building is empty. Newbury Hall is normally a dorm for first-year students.

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Some hazard buoys on Candlewood broke free

The Candlewood Lake Authority and FirstLight is reminding shorelines residents of some safety information.

Electricity can energize the lake water. Falling branches and uprooted trees can become tangled with electrical wires and become energized.

 

Damaged structures should be inspected for safety before entry. Docks, debris and vessels should be secured to the shoreline where possible.  Trees and other debris have blown into the water and there could be new unknown submerged hazards.


Several hazard buoys have broken free or have moved, so boaters are asked to exercise extreme caution when navigating on the lake. The Candlewood Lake Authority is working to locate and replace the buoys and remove or secure the floating debris.

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Eversource makes progress restoring power in Danbiry

The Danbury War Memorial continues to be open as a shelter for residents who need a place to shower and charge electronics.  There are also some cots available.  Mayor Mark Boughton says there likely will be Eversource customers without power after their estimated restoration goal. 
 
There are 18 crews working in Danbury.  Boughton says there were some streets that look like they were destroyed by Tuesday's storm.
 
Danbury intends to reopen school on Monday.  The last day of class would be June 29.
 
The Sherman School is available as a shelter throughout this weekend. Showers are available 6am to 10pm.  Sherman Volunteer Fire Department is asking for volunteers to assist at the shelter. 

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Brookfield brush yard open

The Brookfield town brush yard, located between town hall and the fire department, is open for resident to drop off brush, but not logs.  Brush should not be placed on the roadside as Brookfield does not have the resources to do pick up.

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Bethel looking into waiver for 180-day in school rule

State law requires students to be in school 180 days. To be in compliance with that law, Bethel would need to be in session on June 25th and 26th.  District can appeal to the State Board of Education to go to less than 180 days, and Bethel is exploring that option. Superintendent Christine Carver says the most significant concern is the heat in the schools without air conditioning. 

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Household Hazardous Waste Day to go on as planned

Despite storm recovery efforts continuing, the Household Hazardous Waste Day is scheduled for today is still on.  The collection from 9am-2pm is at the Newtown Public Works Garage on Turkey Hill Road.  The event is for residents of Bethel, Danbury, New Fairfield, Newtown, Redding and Ridgefield.

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Danbury magnet school named Green Ribbon School

The Academy of International Studies in Danbury has been named as a 2018 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School.  The facility was recognized for its commitment to sustainable practices.  AIS was one of two magnets schools chosen nationwide.  The kindergarten through fifth-grade school is open to all Danbury students as well as students from area towns through a lottery system. 

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Bethel man to challenge freshman lawmaker for state House seat

A Bethel man has been endorsed by the Democratic party to challenge a freshman state lawmaker.  Raghib Allie-Brennan  was tapped to run in the 2nd state House district.  The seat is currently held by Republican Will Duff.  The district includes parts of Bethel, Danbury, Newtown and Redding.

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Some state parks remain closed, boat launches inaccessible

Damage to the Connecticut State Parks impacted by Tuesday’s storm continues. As of Friday four parks remain closed, Sleeping Giant, Kettletown, Wharton Brook, and Squantz Pond. 
 
Sleeping Giant, Kettletown and Wharton Brook have suffered extensive damage and will remain closed for several days. Squantz Park is expected to reopen early next week. Chatfield Hollow, which had been closed following the storm, reopened this morning.  EnCon officers have increased patrols of the closed parks, failure to obey the closures of these parks could result in an infraction or arrest for trespassing.
 
The Pond Brook State Boat Launch in Newtown, the Lake Zoar State Boat Launch in Southbury, and the Squantz Pond State Boat Launch in New Fairfield may not be accessible this weekend.
 
Nearby parks to Kettletown State Park include: Southford Falls in Oxford and Indian Well in Shelton.
 
Nearby parks to Squantz Pond State Park include: Putnam Memorial in Redding and Bennet’s Pond Ridgefield.

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Newtown Police share drone footage of severely damaged lakeside neighborhoods

As of yesterday afternoon, there were still more than four dozen roads blocked or partially blocked by downed trees and wires in Newtown.  There are 26 Eversource crews in Newtown. 
 
Data is being collected by the town's emergency response team as Newtown and others seek federal aid through FEMA.  State lawmakers are working to get waivers from the Department of Education for having fewer than 180 days of class.
 
Newtown Police say the lake side communities were completely destroyed by Tuesday's severe weather.
 
 
Police shared drone footage of the Lakeview Terrace neighborhood that is located off of Lake Zoar.
 
 
Emergency Management officials told the Newtown Bee that there were reports of small cottages in the area that were flattened or pancaked by the force of falling trees.  A boat was being used today to survey the more remote areas where those seasonal homes are located. 

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Shelters continue to be open for resident impacted by severe weather

Eversource is reporting that substantial restoration of service to much of Brookfield should be made by Sunday Afternoon, but town officials caution that some side roads and roads with significant damage may take longer to restore.  Town officials thanked the Volunteer and Career Fire Department, Law Enforcement and EMS personnel involved with the Regional Strike Teams that deployed to town to help with the aftermath of the storm. 
 
Brookfield High School shelter continues to be open and is accepting pets, for those needing it.  Water containers can be filled at the Police Station on Silvermine Road, at the Pocono Road Firehouse and at the Candlewood Company Firehouse on Bayview Drive in the Candlewood Shores.
 
A senior representative from Eversource has been working with the Newtown Emergency Response Team.  First Selectman Dan Rosenthal cautioned that 48 hours from the storm, this is the time when patience is low and accidents can happen. He urged caution when clearing properties and out driving.
 
Eversource appears to have made some significant progress in restoring  electricity to some Greater Danbury area towns.  Bethel and Ridgefield saw enough tree clearing and power coming back to reopen schools for the first time since Tuesday. 
 
Eversource estimates restoration in Bethel will be "substantially complete" by midnight tonight. However, some Bethel homes are supplied via a circuit that runs through Newtown, which suffered worse damage. First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says they have been advised that some homes may not be restored until Sunday.

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State Police investigate theft of cars from driveways in the Town of Washington

The theft of several vehicles in the Town of Washington is under investigation.  State Police say three unknown people stole a car from a driveway on Sunday.  The vehicle was unlocked and the key was left inside the vehicle.  Yesterday, a Mercedes was stolen from a driveway, but found abandoned a short distance away.  Two other vehicles , both unlocked with the keys accessible, were also taken from a driveway yesterday.  The thefts happened on Calhoun Street, Hinkle Road and Turner Road.  State Police are reminding residents not to leave valuables in the car, but if you must, lock them up and keep them out of sight. Anyone with information is asked to contact Troop L-Litchfield at 860-626-7900.

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Primary races to be held for GOP, Dems in 5th Congressional District

Ruby O'Neill has filed the required paperwork in order to run in the Republican primary for Congress in the 5th District.  Despite launching her campaign two weeks before the nominating convention, O'Neill received 41-percent of delegate votes.  The endorsed candidate, Manny Santos, also faces a primary challenge from Rich Dupont.
 
Jahana Hayes has officially decided to primary to be the Democratic candidate for Congress in the 5th District.  She secured the party's nomination on the second ballot, but narrowly lost to Mary Glassman after what Hayes says was some questionable vote switches out of New Britain.

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Fire officials warn of fire dangers from candle use in continued power outage

Greater Danbury area emergency responders are urging residents to use caution as power outages continue. That includes avoiding the use of candles due to the risk of fire if left unattended.  Outside cooking equipment should not be used inside and generators need to be kept at least 20 feet from the house. 

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New Fairfield continues to remain mostly without electricity from Tuesday's storm

Eversource appears to have made some significant progress in restoring electricity to some Greater Danbury area towns.  Bethel and Ridgefield saw enough tree clearing and power coming back to reopen schools for the first time since Tuesday. 
 
Redding is down to about 100 customers without power as of Friday morning.  Eversource work is expected to be substantially complete by this evening, with about a thousand outages remaining.  Sherman has about 300 outages reported with power expected to be back for most residents by tomorrow afternoon.
 
Eversource is still anticipating to have power substantially restored to the four hardest hit towns by noon on Sunday.  Those impacted towns are Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield and Newtown.  In Brookfield, about 74-percent of the town remains in the dark.  Newtown and Danbury each have more than 4,100 outages reported Friday morning. 
 
98-percent of New Fairfield is still without service.  One of the main roads in New Fairfield, Route 37, remains mostly blocked by downed trees and wires. 
 
 
In one case there was an electric wire propped up on a tree limb to lift it off the road.  Fallen electric poles, transmission lines and other infrastructure dots the sides of Route 37. 
 
 
There are detours off the detours in order to get from one side of town to the other.
 
 
 
RESTORATION ESTIMATES
 
BETHEL midnight Friday 
 
BROOKFIELD noon Sunday
 
DANBURY noon Sunday
 
MONROE  noon Sunday
 
NEW FAIRFIELD midnight Saturday
 
NEW MILFORD tonight
 
NEWTOWN noon Sunday
 
REDDING midnight Friday
 
RIDGEFIELD midnight Saturday
 
SHERMAN noon Saturday
 
SOUTHBURY noon Saturday

 

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4 Brookfield residents hospitalized with CO poisoning, chain saw accidents reported

A Brookfield family of four had to be hospitalized for treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning in what the office of emergency management is calling a near-tragic incident. A resident was running a generator inside their garage.  Three people are being treated at Danbury Hospital and one has been transferred for more advanced care to an out of state hospital.  Brookfield officials say there have been some chain saw accidents resulting in injuries.  Proper protective equipment should be worn when operating chain saws, and extreme caution used.

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Delay in getting Eversource liaison to New Fairfield due to car accident

Following Superstorm Sandy and Irene, Eversource made it a priority to have a representative available to work with each municipal official to coordinate power recovery.  Spokeswoman Tricia Modifica says the liaison assigned to New Fairfield was working with the town remotely and Wednesday night was asked to come to their storm room.  The liaison was in a car accident on the way yesterday so a new person had to be assigned and is now working with the first selectman on recovery efforts.

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Dumpsters available for Newtown residents to toss spoiled food

There will be dumpsters available in Newtown starting this morning for residents to throw away spoiled food.  They will be located at Newtown High School and the Hawleyville and Dodgingtown Fire Departments.  Bottled water is available at all five fire departments in Newtown, in addition to their exterior water faucets.  A senior representative from Eversource has been working with the Newtown Emergency Response Team.  First Selectman Dan Rosenthal cautioned that 48 hours from the storm, this is the time when patience is low and accidents can happen. He urged caution when clearing properties and out driving.

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Woman killed in Tuesday's storm in New Fairfield identified

A North Salem educator has been identified as the woman killed in New Fairfield Tuesday when a tree fell on her car.  Art teacher  Lauren Svendsen was pronounced dead at the scene.  Her 3-year old son was uninjured, but transported to the Hospital for evaluation.  Police have not yet identified the Danbury man who also died in the storm when a tree fell on his truck. 

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Redding officials trim budget to send back to referendum

The Redding Board of Education met last night and made budget cuts to send the spending plan back to residents for a second referendum.  The overall budget was reduced by about $60,000 and would result in a 2.31 percent tax increase.  The $14.7 million municipal budget and $21.2 million for Redding schools is coupled with the $13.4 million dollars of their share of the Region 9 budget.

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Road clearing, power restoration progress made in Ridgefield

Ridgefield has had 13 line crews working to restore electricity, but town officials are reminding residents that devastation along the path of the macroburst was extensive.  Parents are reminded to escort and stay with their children at the bus stops and to meet them on return.  First Selectman Rudy Marconi says intermittent power outages may occur during the restoration process.  The Ridgefield Parks & Rec facility has reopened this morning for showers, charging and WiFi.  Potable water is available at Parks & Rec.

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Black bear spotted in downtown Bethel

A black bear was spotting is downtown Bethel yesterday.  Bethel Animal Control says the bear was in the area of Greenwood Avenue to Parloa Park and on Nashville Road.  Animal control urged people to bring in bird feeders and secure garbage cans.  They say the bear posed no public safety threat and is easily scared by people.

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Eversource: Infrastructure needs to be rebuilt, not repaired

750 utility poles were damaged by Tuesday’s severe weather.  Eversource Regional Electric Ops President Craig Hallstrom says they are taking delivery of 1,000 new poles to install around the region.  He compared this storm to the recent nor’easters in March, which more typical for Connecticut.  Only about 50 poles were damaged during those storms.  The utility had a lot on hand, but they also reached out to their vendors and other utilities to expedite the repairs. 

 

Hallstrom says getting crews into the area hasn’t been the cause of delays; it’s been the lack of infrastructure.  Workers have come to Connecticut from as far as Michigan and Quebec.

 

 

Safety is one of the biggest concerns for Eversource.  There have been a number of people out with chainsaws cutting trees in the road, some of which have utility lines tangled in the branches.  Eversource is cautioning people to assume that all wires are live and dangerous.

 

Hallstrom was asked why, after Irene and Sandy, Eversource didn’t consider moving utility lines underground.  He says it’s not feasible and that would make problems harder to fix.  He noted that for every one overhead line, there has to be two underground transmission lines.  Hallstrom says another consideration is that there are also telephone, fiber and cable lines on the poles too.

 

Primary crews are working on high voltage lines and substations to get the backbone of the system back.  Hallstrom says low voltage crews are focused on services at the same time to shrink the restoration time as much as they can.

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Public Health Department cautions against CO poisoning from generator use

The state Department of Public Health is cautioning residents without power to take precautions to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.  Generators should be used properly, placed at least 20 feet from the house and never inside the home, enclosed porch or attached garage.

 

Improper use of portable generators have caused more than half of CO poisonings in Connecticut. 

 

Opening windows and doors, and operating fans is not sufficient to prevent buildup of CO in a home. Use of charcoal and gas grills or camping stoves should be done outdoors only. 

 

CO is an invisible, odorless gas that can cause loss of consciousness and death. The symptoms of CO poisoning can mimic those of the flu, including headache, fatigue, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, confusion, or loss of consciousness. People who are sleeping or unconscious can die from CO poisoning before they exhibit any symptoms.

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Man toss drugs, wallet out car window during traffic stop

While Southbury Police were conducting speed enforcement on Monday, a car was clocked travelling at a higher than normal rate.  Officers tried to stop the driver, who threw something from the car before pulling over.  Officers retrieved a large amount of drugs, drug paraphernalia and the operator's wallet, which contained his license.  34-year old David Warner of Roxbury was arrested on a number of charges and released on bond for a court appearance on the 30th.

 

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No budget referendum re-do in New Milford, revisions to be made

New Milford Mayor Pete Bass says he's heard from a number of people who are asking for a re-vote on the budget because the storm Tuesday prevent them from getting to the polling location after work.  But he says all of the locations were open for 10 to 14 hours before the microburst came through. 

 

The Town Attorney researched state statute and the New Milford Charter, as well as speaking with the Secretary of the State's Office.  There is nothing that would provide for a new referendum.  While he is sensitive to the issue, Bass says he agrees with the conclusion. 

 

He encouraged those upset with the outcome to attend the special Town Council Meeting on the 21st, at 7pm, when members reconsider budget allocations.  The municipal budget was approved, but school spending was rejected, sending the whole plan back for revision.

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Brookfield residents reject budget proposal

Brookfield residents turned out to the polls on Tuesday to vote on a budget, despite the severe weather, and overwhelmingly rejected the proposal.  The $43 million school budget and the $24.4 million municipal plan failed by about 500 votes each.  The capital budget was rejected by about 300 votes.  It would have been a 4.1-percent spending increase.  There were just a handful of voters who cast ballots after 5pm when the storm roared through.

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Redding Board of Ed meets about budget revisions

The Redding Board of Education is meeting tonight about budget revisions.  The combined $49.9 million plan was rejected earlier this month.  While the school spending proposal was less than the Board requested, it was about $800,000 more than this year.  Tonight's meeting is at 6:45pm.

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Newtown woman seeks Democratic endorsement for Lt. Gov.

A Newtown woman plans to run for Lt. Governor and is seeking the party's nomination at the convention this weekend.  Eva Bermudez Zimmerman will challenge Susan Bysiewicz for the position.  The former Secretary of the State dropped out of the gubernatorial race earlier this week to join Ned Lamont as a running mate.  Bermudez had formed an exploratory committee, which she ended this week to officially be in the running.  

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Danbury using drones to map road blocks as storm recovery response continues

Some areas around Candlewood Lake in Danbury have been devastated.  Several roads remain blocked by downed trees and wires.  
 
Eversource has 11 crews in the City.  Mayor Mark Boughton isn't as optimistic as the utility for having power restored by the end of the weekend.  He says some seniors are trapped in their homes because streets are blocked by trees.  He expects that most roads will be reopened soon.  Emergency responders have been using drones to survey the damage and come up with a plan for clearing the roads.  They're also using that information to determine where using boats or ATVs are needed to get to houses in case of emergency. 
 
Boughton says a few people have been using the shelter at the War Memorial and the regional functional needs shelter for people needing medical devices like oxygen or ventilators.
 
The public works department is working with Eversource to get the city in good enough shape to open schools tomorrow.  In some cases it's a matter of power, in others it's clearing the sidewalks for students who walk.  Clearing bus routes has also been an issue.  Boughton says the decision will also have to reflect what staff is going through.  Some live in Brookfield and other places that have been hard hit. Boughton noted that it's really up to Eversource, because the City can't remove trees that still have power lines tangled in them, even if the line isn't life. 
 
Boughton didn't have an update on the status of the teenager seriously injured when he was hit by the roof of a dugout on a baseball field at Henry Abbott Tech.

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Shelters continue to be open for resident impacted by severe weather

The Bethel municipal center and Stony Hill fire house will be available for showers again beginning this morning at 7am. Charging stations and wif-fi will be available at the municipal center and Bethel Public Library during normal business hours.
 
Brookfield High School is open as an emergency shelter and for charging.  
 
The Danbury War Memorial is open as a shelter.  There are showers and cots available for residents needing a place to stay.
 
The shelter at New Fairfield at High School will open at 8:30 this morning for breakfast, 12-2 for lunch and 5-7 for dinner. Water will be available.
 
The Maxx in New Milford will be open as a charging station until 8pm. Bottled water will be provided.  All Newtown Firehouses are providing water, but residents are asked to bring a container. Showers are available at Newtown High School and NYA. Charging stations are available at the municipal center and library.
 
A functional needs shelter has been opened in Danbury at the Gym on West Conn's mid-town campus on Osborne Street.  The shelter is limited to those area residents who are without power and need to use a medical device, such as oxygen and ventilators. The shelter will remain open until further notice.

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Eversource makes power restoration estimates

Eversource Energy crews are working to restore electricity in Connecticut.  Crews from New Hampshire and Massachusetts were called into service.  Governor Malloy says there were more than 1,800 reported Eversource infrastructure spots needing repair.
 
RESTORATION ESTIMATES
 
BETHEL midnight Friday 
 
BROOKFIELD noon Sunday
 
DANBURY noon Sunday
 
MONROE  noon Sunday
 
NEW FAIRFIELD midnight Saturday
 
NEW MILFORD tonight
 
NEWTOWN noon Sunday
 
REDDING midnight Friday
 
RIDGEFIELD midnight Saturday
 
SHERMAN noon Saturday
 
SOUTHBURY noon Saturday
 
 
 
AS of 6am Thursday May 17, Eversource is reporting the following outages:
 
BETHEL 18-percent of the town 
 
BROOKFIELD 91-percent 
 
DANBURY 17-percent 
 
MONROE 5-percent
 
NEW FAIRFIELD 93-percent 
 
NEW MILFORD 14-percent 
 
NEWTOWN 63--percent
 
REDDING 9-percent
 
RIDGEFIELD 14-percent
 
SHERMAN 50-percent
 
SOUTHBURY 76-percent
 
62,000 outages statewide reported by Eversource

 

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2 tornadoes touched down in Connecticut

The National Weather Service has confirmed that two tornadoes touched down in Connecticut Tuesday.

The weather service said Wednesday night that an EF1 tornado with estimated peak winds of 110 mph moved along a 9 .5 mile path between Beacon Falls and Hamden. A second EF1 tornado with peak winds of 100 mph moved along a 4 .5 mile path between Southbury and Oxford.

Two people in New Fairfield and Danbury were killed in separate accidents when trees fell on their trucks, including a woman whose 3-year-old child escaped injury.

The storms downed scores of trees and power lines. More than 120,000 homes and businesses lost electricity.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says he's signed an emergency order that will give state agencies flexibility in helping cities and towns recover.  

 

A preliminary survey by the National Weather Service of the Brookfield area found that a macroburst with maximum wind speeds of 100-110 mph impacted a swath of about two and a half miles in width and five miles in length.  Macrobursts can produce as much if not more damage as tornadoes due to the size and scope. 

 

The worst damage was from the Candlewood Shores area, extending east across Route 7, just north of Senior High School, to Lake Lillinonah. Numerous trees were uprooted and snapped.

 

It has been determined that an EF1 tornado with estimated peak winds of 100 mph moved through a discontinuous path of 75 yards in Patterson, New York.

 

The National Weather Service office also completed a preliminary storm survey for the area near Kent in Putnam County New York.  An EF2 tornado with estimated peak winds of 110 mph moved through a path of 100 yards in Kent, New York.

 

A microburst with estimated winds gusting to 80 mph occurred in North Salem, resulting in approximately 250 yards of downed trees.

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Gov. signs emergency order to help towns impacted by storm

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says the powerful storms that swept through Connecticut caused extensive damage, and power won't likely be restored to some locations for days.

Malloy surveyed damage Wednesday in several towns, including Brookfield, where about 85 percent of the nearly 8,400 homes and businesses are without power.

National Weather Service officials are trying to confirm whether any tornadoes touched down.

Tuesday's storms knocked down scores of trees and utility wires and were blamed for two deaths and more than 120,000 power outages in the state. About 88,500 outages remained Wednesday afternoon.

Authorities said a 41-year-old woman died in New Fairfield when a tree struck her vehicle. Her 3-year-old child was not injured. Officials said a man was killed in Danbury when a tree fell on his truck.  

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State of Emergency remains in Putnam County

Putnam County remains in a State of Emergency. With the exception of essential services and the Department of Motor Vehicles, County offices will remain closed today--and includes all public transportation. 

 

There are currently 128 road closures in Putnam County.  The State Police, Putnam County Sheriff’s and local police are providing traffic control at intersections where traffic signals are not working. 

 

The National Guard is onsite to assist throughout the County. 

 

During the storm and in the hours immediately after, Putnam 911 handled almost 2,000 calls in a 7 hour period. 

 

NYSEG will make dry ice and water available for customers without power,  Distribution locations are being established with local municipalities. Comfort stations have bathroom facilities and an area to recharge your electronic devices.  The comfort stations are at Putnam Valley Friendship Center, Patterson Recreation Center and Hudson Valley Cerebral Palsy Association in Brewster.

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Candlewood Lake Authority postpones annual Clean Up

The Candlewood Lake Authority has postponed its annual Lake Clean Up this weekend due to the storm.  The organization says their thoughts and prayers are with the many families in the area that have been severely impacted by the extreme weather.  Many are without power while others have incurred significant hardships--with repairing, rebuilding and cleaning-up personal property expected to take quite some time.  The Lake Authority encouraged all volunteers who would have lent a hand for cleaning up the water, to help with the on-land clean up and recovery.  No date has been selected for a rescheduled Lake Clean Up.

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Some state parks closed due to damage

There are several Connecticut state parks closed due to storm damage.  The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection  is urging residents to not visit the parks for their own safety,  The closed parks include Squantz Pond in New Fairfield, Kettletown in Southbury, and Sleeping Giant.  Those found trespassing at a closed park are subject to an infraction.  Commissioner Robert Klee says DEEP staff is working to clear the damage so that visitors can return to the parks that process is slowed down by curiosity seekers.  Sleeping Giant and Kettletown are expected to be closed for at least several days while Squantz Pond could reopen over the next couple of days. 

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Newtown Police to start towing cars abandoned in storm so clean up can continue

Newtown officials are asking any resident who had to abandon vehicles during the severe weather, to move those cars as soon as they are accessible.  The police will begin to have vehicles towed in order to allow work crews access for Make Safe and restoration efforts.  The Emergency Management Team will reconvene this morning. 

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Macroburst caused damage in Brookfield, tornadoes touched down in Putnam County

A preliminary survey by the National Weather Service of the Brookfield area found that a macroburst with maximum wind speeds of 100-110 mph impacted a swath of about two and a half miles in width and five miles in length.  Macrobursts can produce as much if not more damage as tornadoes due to the size and scope. 

 

The worst damage was from the Candlewood Shores area, extending east across Route 7, just north of Senior High School, to Lake Lillinonah. Numerous trees were uprooted and snapped.

 

It has been determined that an EF1 tornado with estimated peak winds of 100 mph moved through a discontinuous path of 75 yards in Patterson, New York.

 

The National Weather Service office also completed a preliminary storm survey for the area near Kent in Putnam County New York.  An EF2 tornado with estimated peak winds of 110 mph moved through a path of 100 yards in Kent, New York.

 

A microburst with estimated winds gusting to 80 mph occurred in North Salem, resulting in approximately 250 yards of downed trees.

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Newtown First Selectman declares state of emergency

Newtown First Selectman Rosenthal has declared a state of emergency.  Areas that are completely cut off by downed trees and wires include but are not limited to: Route 34 / Chestnut Hill Road, Lakeview Terrace, Black Bridge Road / Walnut Tree Hill Road, Lower Pootatuck Park /Edgelake, Currituck Road / Tunnel Road. 
 
Cell phone/electronic equipment charging
The Newtown Municipal Center, located at Fairfield Hills is open today Wed 7 am to 8 pm, Thurs and Friday from 7 am to 5 pm
Newtown Senior Center at 14 Riverside Rd, Sandy Hook, Mon thru Fri 8 am to 4:30 pm
Cyrenius Booth Library, 25 Main Street, Newtown.
Hours: Mon thru Thurs – 9:30 am to 8 pm, Fri – 11 am to 5 pm; Sat 9:30 am to 5 pm; Sun 12 to 5 pm
 
Showers
Newtown High School, 12 Berkshire Road, Sandy Hook Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 5 am to 10 pm. Enter at Main Entrance. Will update if/as necessary
NYA Sports and Fitness, 4 Primrose Street, located at Fairfield Hills, 5:30 am to 8 pm, check in at front desk
 
Water
The Fire houses in your neighborhood. Fill from a hose, bring your own containers.
Park & Rec Garage (across from Reed School). Fill from a hose, bring your own containers

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Some state parks closed due to damage, roads remain closed

In Danbury, there are about 150 calls for wires and trees down.  Fire and Police personnel are sorting through the calls and prioritizing the response.  Assistant Fire Chief Mark Omasta says the Candlewood Lake area is devastated and it will take time for the power to be restored.
 
Due the the Severity of yesterday’s storm, and the multiple road closures, New Milford officials are asking all residents and Town employees to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary. This will let emergency crews safely do their work and get roads clear in the fastest ways possible.
 
Area towns are stepping up to help those that were devastated by yesterday's storm. Ridgefield Police say Brookfield has requested temporary stop signs from the town.  Brookfield ran out from closing so many roads due to storm damage.  The Still River Greenway will be closed until further notice.
 
There is extensive storm damage to a number of Connecticut State Parks and Forests.  Squantz Pond in New Fairfield, Putnam Park in Redding, Southford Falls in Oxford and Kettletown in Southbury are among the parks that will remain closed until an assessment can be made of damage. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is urging the public to stay out of the parks until hazard mitigation can take place.
 
Newtown officials are reminding drivers not to drive around cones or barricades. They have been placed by first responders and Public Works crews for the safety of the public.

 

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Area towns open shelters for residents without power

Brookfield High School is open as an emergency shelter and for charging.  
 
The Bethel municipal center and Stony Hill fire headquarters are both open for use of showers and charging electronic devices now and will remain available until 8pm. Free wi-fi is also available at the municipal center.
 
A functional needs shelter has been opened in Danbury at the Gym on West Conn's mid-town campus on Osborne Street.  The shelter is limited to those area residents who are without power and need to use a medical device, such as oxygen and ventilators. The shelter will remain open until further notice.
 
The Maxx in New Milford is open for charging electronics. 
 
The Newtown Municipal Center at Fairfield Hills and the Newtown Senior Center at 14 Riverside Road in Sandy Hook will be available today to those who need to charge electronic devices, and as a place of comfort for those without power. Newtown Youth Academy will be available for showers, check in at front desk.
 
Ridgefield Parks & Recreation is open until 10PM for showers, WiFi and charging.
 
The Southbury Senior Center is open as an emergency shelter.

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Two dozen roads blocked in Bethel following severe weather event

As of 9:30am, approximately 1,935 Bethel homes and businesses remain without power.  First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says there are currently 25 major roadways blocked by downed trees and limbs. Most of these also involve power lines. Town highway crews are removing smaller debris.  Knickerbocker says contractors with bucket trucks and heavy lift equipment have been retained to move larger tree trunks and limbs.
 
Eversource crews are in the field conducting damage evaluations. Based on the extent of damage in the area, Knickerbocker expects restoration to take several days, at the least.
 
The Bethel municipal center and Stony Hill fire headquarters are both open for use of showers and charging electronic devices now and will remain available until 8pm. Free wi-fi is also available at the municipal center.
 
Residents are reminded not to approach downed wires of any kind. 

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Brookfield First Selectman: Storm response will be a multi-day event

Rescue teams came to Brookfield last night, including Urban Search and Rescue, ATVs and the State DOT.  Brookfield Police Chief Jay Purcell says 160 personnel from 20 agencies responded to assist Brookfield responders.  He notes that travel by ATV is the only way to get to some areas of Brookfield. 

 

 

 

The Fire Marshal and Building Department will be working together to assess damage.  Brookfield EMS checked on two families as a precaution. 

 

Purcell asked that if people don't have to be on the road, not to do so. 

 

Eversource is bringing in crews from New Hampshire and Massachusetts.  The Southern business district on the Danbury side of Federal Road has power.  The primary goal when it comes to tree clearing is to get roads cleared so emergency crews can get through. 

 

The National Weather Service will check storm damage today, particularly the towns of Brookfield, Danbury, New Milford, Newtown, Oxford, Ridgefield, Southbury, Winstead, Bethany, Hamden, Cheshire and Durham.  Official word on a tornado will come later tonight. 

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Two storm-related deaths, several injuries in Greater Danbury area

At least two storm related deaths have been reported in the Greater Danbury area.  One person was killed in New Fairfield and another in Danbury. 
 
A 41 year old woman was killed when a tree fell on her car on Brush Hill Road in New Fairfield and a 3 year old child was taken to Danbury Hospital for evaluation.
 
Mayor Mark Boughton says a man was killed when a tree fell on his truck Tuesday afternoon. Boughton also says a teenager suffered serious injuries when he was hit by the roof of a dugout on a baseball field at Henry Abbott Tech.  
 
Two Danbury firefighters were injured. The firefighters were injured during a response on Candlewood Lake.  First responders used a boat to cross the water to get to a man who was killed when a tree fell on his pickup truck.  Danbury Fire Department Spokesman Mark Omasta says they have been out all night working to "make safe" all the downed wires and trees while responding to multiple emergency calls. 
 
The force of the wind warped this billboard on Mill Plain Road.
 
 
Sandy Hook firefighters responded to 58 calls for trees through homes, trees and wires down and accident from 5pm to 11pm. Multiple roads are impassable.  The Newtown Municipal Center at Fairfield Hills and the Newtown Senior Center at 14 Riverside Road in Sandy Hook will be available today to those who need to charge electronic devices, and as a place of comfort for those without power.  Newtown Youth Academy will be available for showers, First Selectman Dan Rosenthal asked that people check in at front desk. 
 
Bethel's Emergency Management team has posted a list on their Facebook page of blocked and partially blocked roads.
 
 
  
(Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Company)
 
People are asked to shelter in place if possible and use the appropriate cautions when operating generators.  
 
A functional needs shelter has been opened in Danbury at the Gym on West Conn's mid-town campus on Osborne Street.  The shelter is limited to those area residents who are without power and need to use a medical device, such as oxygen and ventilators. The shelter will remain open until further notice.
 
The storms downed trees and power lines across the region. Roads in many towns were impassible and some schools canceled classes on Wednesday due to the damage.  Metro-North suspended some service because of downed trees on the tracks. 
 
In Redding, as of 8 am the following roads have been deemed CLOSED due to trees and wires down in the roadway:
- Drummer Lane
- Simpaug Turnpike @ Topledge
- Gallows Hill Rd (area of #23)
- Side Cut Rd
- Fire Hill Rd
- Picketts Ridge Rd (multiple locations)
- Route 58 @ Oldfield Ln
- Dorothy Rd @ Ledgewood
- Old Redding Rd (area of #37)
 
In addition to the closed roads there are additional roads in town that have trees on wires and/or wires down.
- Umpawaug Rd (area of #170)
- Pocahontas Rd (area of # 80)
- Mountain Rd (area of # 105)
- Chestnut Woods Rd
- Wayside Lane
- Newtown Turnpike (area of #50)
- Glen Hill Rd
- Lee Lane

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Likely tornado touches down in Brookfield

Brookfield First Selectman Steve Dunn has declared a town disaster.  This is bringing additional emergency resources and equipment.  Residents were asked to remain indoors last night, until  emergency responders could better assess damages this morning.  There are hundreds of downed trees, utility poles and electrical lines. Any down trees and utility poles should be avoided as they may still involve LIVE power lines. If you are using generators, use them outside and away from open windows.  Two people were hurt while walking on the Still River Greenway.

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Local state of emergency declared in New Milford

New Milford Mayor Pete Bass has declared a State of Emergency for the town due to the amount of damage from yesterday's storm.  He asked residents to stay away from hazardous areas, including downed electric lines.  Resources have been requested throughout the area.  Emergency responders are going door to door in the Candlewood Lake Road South area to the Brookfield town line.  New Milford Police and Public Works are out clearing roads and helping get the ambulance crew out to any emergency that comes up.

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Putnam County declares state of emergency due to storm damage

Putnam County has declared a State of Emergency in the wake of the storm.  Residents are asked to stay away from any lines that are down as they may be live, and should be considered extremely dangerous.  Motorists are reminded that if an intersection is "blacked out" and the traffic signal is not operational, the intersection is automatically a "four way" stop. In the event of closed or blocked roadways due to flooding, downed power lines or debris, motorists should use caution and obey all traffic signs or barricades in place, regardless of whether a roadway looks clear. 

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School budget in New Milford fails, sending whole plan back for revisions

New Milford officials will have to go back to the drawing board on the budget. the municipal plan was approved by fewer than 100 votes, but the school budget was rejected by about 200 ballots. There was light turn out and some people questioned whether there should be another referendum because of the storm.  There was about 18-percent turn out yesterday.  The next step in the budget process is to go back to the New Milford Town Council for their recommendations and then to the public for another vote.

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Ridgefield residents approve budget, capital items

Ridgefield residents approved a budget yesterday.  The $47.5 million municipal operation budget was approved by a significant margin.  The $95-million for the schools was approved by about 2-to-1, according to unofficial results.  Nearly $2 million for road repair and maintenance was approved, along with $4.3 million in other capital projects.  

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Watertown Republican says he'll run in 5th District primary

WATERTOWN, Conn. (AP) - Watertown Republican Rich Dupont says he will participate in the GOP's primary for the 5th congressional district seat.

The manufacturing consultant said Tuesday he's decided to challenge former Meriden Mayor Manny Santos after receiving sufficient delegate support at the May 12 convention. Retired university professor Ruby O'Neill of Southbury also received enough delegate support and has already said she plans to run in the Aug. 14 primary as well.

Democrats will also have a 5th District primary. While delegates endorsed former lieutenant governor candidate and former Simsbury First Selectman Mary Glassman on Monday night, Wolcott educator Jahana Hayes, a 2016 national teacher of the year winner, qualified to challenge Glassman.

They are all vying for a seat now held by Democratic U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, who is not seeking re-election.  

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Danbury resident put out kitchen fire with hose, treated for smoke inhalation

A kitchen fire in Danbury caused extensive damage to a home on Woodbury Drive near Hawley Road.  The resident used a garden hose to put out the flames.  Danbury Deputy Fire Chief Williams says the homeowner was lucky he didn't suffer more than mild smoke inhalation with the dangerous action.  While the damage was kept to the kitchen, it's not recommended action by fire safety experts.  The resident was transported to the ER for treatment.  The fire marshal is investigating the cause of the blaze.

 

(Photo: Danbury Fire Department)

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Crash closed New Fairfield road near town beach Monday night

A landscaping truck was involved in an accident in New Fairfield yesterday evening.  New Fairfield Fire and EMS responded to Ball Pond Road in front of the beach shortly before 6pm.  Two vehicles and the trailer were blocking both lanes of the road and one ended up crashing into a tree.  The crash also resulted in a snapped utility pole.  Three patients required medical attention and where transported to the hospital.  The road was blocked for about two and a half hours.

 

(New Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department)

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Public hearing in Carmel on mental health service needs in Putnam County

A public hearing is being held in Putnam County about the Local Government Plan for Mental Health Services. 

 

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell, Commissioner Michael Piazza and the Putnam Community Services Board will review the plan and discuss its objectives.  The county will also report on any additional needs and gaps in services raised in meetings with consumers and providers in order to establish the 2019 plan. 

 

Community members can give informal testimony and identity what needs and gaps in services for mental health, alcohol and substance abuse services and developmental disabilities exist in Putnam County.  The public hearing is set for 6pm at the Putnam County Department of Social Services Conference Room in Building 2 of the Donald B Smith Government Campus in Carmel.  

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New Milford Town Council hears presentation about affordable housing for Lillis Building

The New Milford Town Council has heard a presentation about turning the Lillis Building at 50 East Street into affordable housing.  The building currently is the school district's central office, but it's not ADA compliant.  The proposal from Dakota Partners includes building two structures behind the current facility and creating 75 apartments.  80-percent would be considered affordable and the developer would apply to the Planning and Zoning Commission under the state's 8-30g law.  New Milford officials would only be allowed to reject the proposal if it's deemed detrimental to health or safety.  The building was last appraised at $1.6 million.

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Route 35 bridge replacement work almost complete in Ridgefield

The Route 35 bridge construction project in Ridgefield will be wrapped up by summer.  The contractor performed site work this weekend for the final stage of the project which has caused massive traffic delays.  Frontier Communication also did some final work as well.  An inspection is scheduled for today.  Construction began in 2015, but stalled in 2016 when a it was discovered that a sewer line would have to be relocated.  The state Department of Transportation project is expected to be nearly a million dollars over budget when it's finished.

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4th Congressional District race set

Republicans have nominated a candidate to challenge 4th District Democratic Congressman Jim Himes as he seeks election to a 6th term.  Greenwich investment manager Harry Arora, who was born in India, was a vice president at Enron and founded an energy fund in 2006, after several years on Wall Street.  According to the latest Federal Election Commission filings, Himes has nearly $2.7 million in his campaign account.

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Armed robbery at Walmart in Danbury under investigation

An armed robbery at Walmart in Danbury is under investigation.  Police responded to the Newtown Road store around 10:30 Saturday night on a report of a man forcibly taking money from an employee. 
 
The customer service supervisor was collecting cash from the registers at the end of the night when the suspect hit her and pushed her to the floor.  The man had a knife and threatened the supervisor. 
 
The unshaven Latin male, approximately 40 years old, got into a car in the parking lot and drove away.  He was wearing dark clothing and a baseball cap at the time.  The man was seen in a silver color Buick with New York plates, which were expired.

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Ridgefield budget referendum being held today

Ridgefield residents will be participating in a budget referendum today.  The plan includes a $47.5 million municipal operation budget, $95-million for the schools and several  capital items. 

 

There will be 8 questions total on the budget ballot.  One is about nearly $2 million for road repair and maintenance.  Some of the capital items that could be bonded if approved are a 63-car parking lot near Bailey Avenue, a pumper tanker for the fire department, and various school improvements. 

 

Ridgefield officials are also seeking approval of half a million dollars for sidewalk work, three roof replacements and a study of the village storm drainage system.  Money to renovate the Venus Building for school offices is also on the ballot.  That renovation would make way for a proposed Ridgefield Playhouse expansion.

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New Milford residents voting on a budget today

A budget referendum is being held in New Milford today.  Residents are deciding on a $38.3 million municipal plan and $63.3 million for the school.  The combined $101.6 million plan is about half a million more in spending than the current year.  It would result in a 3.87 percent tax increase.  In an effort to offset some of a tax increase, some $1.2 million dollars will be used from the undesignated fund.  The fund would have about $16-million left in it after this allocation.

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Brookfield residents voting on budget today

Brookfield residents are voting on a tax and spending plan today.  The municipal budget is proposed at $24.4 million.  The schools are seeking approval of a $43 million budget.  It's a 4.1 percent increase in spending and will lead to a 5.6 percent tax rate increase.  Most of the spending increase has been attributed to contractual salary increases, a hike in special education spending and to cover a reduction in state aid. 

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Glassman ekes out Dem endorsement in 5th Congressional District race

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) - Former lieutenant governor candidate Mary Glassman has narrowly won the Connecticut Democratic endorsement for the congressional seat currently held by Democratic U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty in a nationally watched race.

Glassman edged 2016 national teacher of the year Jahana Hayes by a delegate vote of 173 to 167 Monday night at the Democratic 5th Congressional District convention in Waterbury. Hayes won the initial tally, but several delegates in New Britain, where Glassman grew up, changed their votes at the last minute and gave the nomination to Glassman.

Hayes automatically qualified to run against Glassman in the August primary.

Glassman won the 2006 Democratic primary for lieutenant governor but lost in the general election that year.

Esty announced last month that she wouldn't seek re-election amid criticism over her handling of sexual harassment complaints against her former chief of staff. 

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2 employees injured in chemical fire at research lab

MONROE, Conn. (AP) Authorities say a chemical fire at a research lab in Connecticut injured two lab employees.

The fire was reported Monday at Axel Plastics Research Laboratories in Monroe. A sprinkler system extinguished the flames before firefighters arrived.

Two employees were taken to a hospital for treatment. Their current conditions are unclear.

The cause of the fire is being investigated by the fire marshal's office and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. 

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Brookfield zoners approve medical marijuana dispensary rules

The Brookfield Zoning Commission has approved regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries.  In the unanimous decision, the Zoners agreed to limiting such a facility to the industrial district, and only up to 4,00 square feet.  There are no applications for a dispensary in Brookfield, but the state does plan to issue nearly a dozen new licenses. A moratorium in Brookfield had previously expired.    Even if the state law changes, the Brookfield zoning law would only allow a dispensary in town to sell medical marijuana to people with prescriptions.

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Newtown seeks volunteers to serve on boards, commissions

There are several vacancies on boards and commissions in Newtown.  First Selectman Dan Rosenthal is looking for residents to volunteer for the openings, which include a Democrat or unaffiliated voter of the Lake Lillinonah Authority and for the Design Advisory Board.  A Republican is needed for both the Board of Assessment Appeals and the Conservation Commission.  The Fairfield Hills Master Plan Review Committee has a number of openings.

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Bethel Water Department to start hydrant flushing program

The Bethel Water Department will begin its 2018 hydrant flushing program today.  It's expected to take four weeks to complete. Hydrant flushing is meant to improve water quality and fire protection throughout the system.  Hydrant flushing may cause temporary discolored water or pressure fluctuations.  Customers are advised to check the color of their water before using and avoid washing clothes or using their hot water during periods of temporary discolored water.  The list of streets to be flushed will be updated by Bethel officials weekly.  The first week hydrant flushing is taking place in the Maple Avenue, Plumtrees Road, Seeley Street and Greenwood Avenue area.

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Danbury to get state reimbursement for portable classerooms

As part of the school construction funding bill approved by state lawmakers in the final days of the legislative session, was money for Danbury.  The City is getting an 80-percent refund from the state for new portable classrooms at Westside Middle School.  The Danbury delegation says that's a nearly 14-percent increase in the normal refund rate, and the same reimbursement the City secured for the Danbury High School expansion.

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Danbury firefighters give repairman lift to St. Peters School roof

Members of the Danbury Fire Department helped a repairman get to the roof of St. Peters School over the weekend.  The Truck Company was to practicing accessing the buildings in the alley between the school and the Bishop Curtis Homes apartment building on Saturday.  There is no access to the roof from the interior of the school.  They were able to give the technician a lift to the roof to inspect the school bell that was placed there in 1887, but hasn't tolled in about 25 years.

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Record year for marine sewage removal

During last year's boating season, more than 1.3 million gallons of  recreational marine sewage was removed at pumpout facilities and through the pumpout vessel programs.  That's a record level and represents a 6.4 percent increase.  The sewage came from vessels on Candlewood Lake and Long Island Sound. To encourage proper disposal of sanitary waste from vessels, all Clean Vessel Act funded pumpout facilities in Connecticut are free to recreational boaters.

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Connecticut Republicans hold nominating convention, Boughton gets governor endorsement

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton has narrowly won the Republican endorsement for governor.  The endorsement came after three rounds of voting, numerous vote switches and a feisty debate over whether to close the ballot at Saturday's GOP state convention. 
 
The former high school teacher finally was pronounced the party's candidate after securing just over 50 percent of the vote. He was followed by former First Selectman Tim Herbst and Westport businessman Steve Obsitnik. All three qualified to participate in the Aug. 14 primary. 
 
Boughton has run for governor twice before, but this marks the first time he has received the party's endorsement.  
 
Connecticut Republicans have endorsed a local resident as candidate for Secretary of the State, hoping to break the longtime Democratic stronghold on the seat.  Delegates at Friday's state convention backed former New Fairfield First Selectman Susan Chapman.  She's challenging incumbent Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, who is seeking a third term.  
 
Attorney Susan Hatfield was nominated for attorney general, but she may face a primary. Former Redding state Representative John Shaban received enough delegate support to challenge Hatfield in the primary.
 
Connecticut Republicans have endorsed Southington state Senator Joe Markley as the party's lieutenant governor candidate, but he faces a likely August primary.   Both New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart and Darien First Selectman Jayme Stevenson received enough support to qualify for the primary. 
 
Republicans are backing a retired investment officer as the party's candidate for treasurer, following a close battle for the endorsement. Thaddeus Gray of Salisbury narrowly defeated state Senator Art Linares of Westbrook by roughly 20 delegate votes. Linares has enough support, however, to qualify for the primary. 
 
The GOP on Saturday backed Seymour First Selectman Kurt Miller for state comptroller, but Litchfield businessman Mark Greenberg received enough delegate support to participate in the primary. Miller says he hopes Greenberg, the 2014 5th congressional district candidate, will decide not to wage a primary challenge. 
 
Candidates also can petition their way onto the primary ballot.  

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5th Congressional District candidate nominations being made

Democrats in the 5th congressional district will endorse a candidate to replace retiring three-term Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty.  A convention is planned tonight at Crosby High School in Waterbury.  Esty recently announced she would not seek re-election following criticism of her handling of sexual harassment allegations involving her former Chief of Staff. 

 

The list of possible Democratic contender includes former Simsbury Mayor Mary Glassman, New Britain Alderman Manny Sanchez, 2016 National Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes of Wolcott, and Newtown Rabbi Shaul Praver. 

 

Republicans on Friday endorsed Manny Santos, an analyst with the United Health Care Group. But retired university professor Ruby O'Neill is planning to challenge Santos in the August 14th primary.  

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Democratic House leaders challenge Monroe Republican over budget comments

Congeniality started to wear thin during the last days of the General Assembly session as legislative leaders rushed to come to a budget adjustment agreement. 
 
House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz was asked about comments from Monroe Representative JP Sredzinski, whose district also includes Newtown.  The Republican said if Democratic leaders were so confident that none of their members would vote for a GOP budget proposal, Aresimowicz should call it to the floor, have a debate and see what happens.  
 
The House Speaker told reporters that Sredzinski should meet with him and tell him which proposed bills he'd like to see bumped from the docket in the final hours of the session.  House Majority Leader Matt Ritter then jumped in and noted that if there was no budget agreement reached, Governor Malloy's revisions become law.  The revisions include holding back Education Cost Sharing dollars.  
 
Aresimowicz also brought up that Sredzinski's wife, Emanuela Palmares, is a member of the Danbury Board of Education.  He said Danbury funding should be looked at under the Governor's proposal and if the district will have to lay off teachers.  
 
House Minority Leader Themis Klaredis says the comments from the leaders were unnecessary and unprofessional.  She  added that it shows they are more scared of the November election than she thought they were.
 
An 11th hour agreement on the budget was reached, approved with veto-proof majorities in the House and Senate.

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Independent gubernatorial ticket to hold its own convention

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) An independent team running for Connecticut governor and lieutenant governor is holding its own convention.

Republican Oz Griebel and his Democratic running mate Monte Frank are holding the ``Oz & Monte No Politics. No Parties. Just Solutions. Convention'' in Hartford's Infinity Hall on Tuesday night.

Organizers say the event will include national speakers, nomination speeches, live music and food. They say there will also be discussions about why an independent ticket makes sense for Connecticut this year.

The event comes days after the state Republican Party held its convention in Mashantucket. The Democrats will hold theirs next weekend in Hartford.

Griebel is the former head of the MetroHartford Alliance business organization and Frank is a Newtown attorney. They need to collect 7,500 signatures to appear on the November ballot. 

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Conn. man, under influence of heroin, fled two accidents

A Monroe man has been arrested on drug related charges following two car crashes in New York.  State Troopers responded to Route 312 in Southeast by the I-84 ramp last week on a report of a car off the roadway. 

 

An investigation determined that 44-year old Nuno Xavier hit another car on the highway, and later hit a guard rail.  He fled both accidents before going off the roadway.  It was determined that Xavier was under the influence of heroin and in possession of 3.6 grams of heroin. 

 

He was issued tickets to appear in court on the 29th.

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Deadline to switch parties, affiliate for August primaries

Kent officials are reminding residents that today is the last day to change parties with a party to be able to vote in primaries. Unaffiliated voters and new voters have until noon on August 13th to register or join a party. Connecticut does not have ‘Same Day Registration’ for Primaries.  Only registered Democrats and Republicans will be able to vote during the respective primaries. This includes anyone registered with the Independent Party.

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Downed branches cleared from Still River Greenway

Routine spring clean-up continues along the Still River Greenway in Brookfield.  The walkway is popular so the Parks and Rec Department has been trying to do the work at the least disruptive times.  A large tree was uprooted during a recent storm, but the clearing required closing a section of the trail for a short period of time.  That was done on May 1st.  Other sections were restricted or to clear and chip other branches.

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Feedback being reviewed by Brookfield Library Board on new facility

After the recent referendum in Brookfield when residents rejected plans for a new library, the Library Board has been reviewing feedback.  They are looking into cost, location and design to understand how to revise the project.  The Library Board plans to schedule information-gathering meetings in the coming months.

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Esty introduces Handgun Purchaser Licensing Act

Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty has introduced the Handgun Purchaser Licensing Act. The bill would incentivize states and local governments, through federal grants, to enact laws requiring individuals to obtain a license before purchasing a handgun.  It would also require that the individual be 21 years old and apply through a law enforcement agency.  Applicants would be required to provide fingerprints and photographs to law enforcement, as well as undergo a background check before receiving the purchasing license. 

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Brookfield adds 911 location signs to Still River Greenway

The Brookfield Police and Parks & Recreation Departments have posted 911 Location Signs every 600-700 feet along the Still River Greenway. The signs have a location code in large green letters on a white background. Brookfield officials are urging Greenway users to take note of the nearest sign and report that code to the the 911 Dispatcher in case of emergency. Non-emergency issues such as fallen trees and broken pavement can be reported, using the location code, to Parks & Recreation at 203-775-7310.  

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Putnam County reports low unemployment rate

The New York Department of Labor's monthly labor report showed that Putnam County had the lowest unemployment rate in the Hudson Valley region at 4.4 percent.  That's lower than the region's average of 4.7 percent.  Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell says the numbers are evidence of county's economic vitality. 

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Tenants, businesses moving into buildings in Four Corners area

Brookfield Village has received its certificate of occupancy for both buildings, which means residents and business owners are moving in.  Brookfield officials say most of the apartments in both buildings have rented. Businesses planning to open this spring include: Subway; an Italian restaurant; a women's clothing store; and Rich Farm Ice Cream.

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Congress approves bill creating Women in Aviation Advisory Board

The U.S. House has approved a bill sponsored by Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty to create a Women in Aviation Advisory Board.  The measure was included in the FAA Reauthorization Act.  The Board would promote organizations and programs that provide education, training, mentorship, outreach, and recruitment of women into the aviation industry.  Esty says only six percent of pilots are women, and women comprise just over a quarter of air traffic controllers.  She says women can bring new perspectives, skills, backgrounds, and problem solving skills to the table in the fields of aviation and aerospace.

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Annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive is Saturday

The 26th Annual Letter Carrier Food Drive is being held Saturday. The food drive takes place at this time of year because food banks are usually running low on items headed into the summer months after big donations around Thanksgiving.  Another factor is that schools will be out soon for the summer and students won't access to free or reduce priced meals. 

 

Non-perishable food items left in or near mailboxes Saturday will be picked up when mail is dropped off. Danbury, Bethel, Brookfield, New Fairfield, Ridgefield and Wilton are participating in the food drive. 

 

The Salvation Army and United Way will then deliver the items to local food banks. Last year, 137,000 pounds of food was collected locally.

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CT Republican Party nominating convention starts today

A couple of local residents will be hoping for a big win at Foxwoods this weekend. Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and former New Fairfield First Selectman Susan Chapman are among the candidates seeking the Republican party's nomination for statewide office.  
 
Chapman is the only GOP candidate for the Secretary of the State's position. Boughton is among 11 Republicans running for Governor.  
 
The two-day nominating convention will start this afternoon and include a number of elimination votes to narrow down the field.  
 
Rules Committee chairman, Ridgefield Representative John Frey, says in order to win the party's endorsement, the gubernatorial candidate will have to win a majority of delegate votes.  Any candidate receiving at least 15-percent support on any vote qualifies for a spot on an August primary ballot.
 
The 5th Congressional District only had one declared candidate before Democratic incumbent Elizabeth Esty opted not to seek re-election amid a controversy over her handling of a sexual harassment complaint in her office.  There are now at least 4 GOP candidates.  
 
Former Meriden Mayor Manny Santos declared his candidacy when Esty was still in the race.  Ruby O’Neill, the vice chair of the state Commission on Equity and Opportunity, and Rich DuPont, who was most recently director of the advanced manufacturing technology center at Housatonic Community College, are also in the race.  John Pistone of Brookfield, who ran in 2012, 2014 and 2016, is also pursuing the seat.
 
Delegates will hold five simultaneous gatherings to endorse candidates for Congress in all five districts,before coming together to endorse a candidate for U.S. Senate.

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Bethel residents approve budget for coming fiscal year

Bethel residents have approved a budget for the coming  year.  During yesterday's second referendum, resident voted in favor of the slightly lower municipal spending plan by about 100 votes.  The $29.53 million represents a 3-percent increase in spending, but will result in a decrease in the tax rate by .03-percent. The capital budget was reduced by more than $1 million, eliminating the purchase of a truck and creation of a turf field.  That part of the budget was approved by about 400 votes. The school spending was approved on the first vote.

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Brookfield teen seeks to restart Youth Commission

A Brookfield High School student has asked the Board of Selectmen to restart the Youth Commission.  At their meeting this week, Liam Enea told the Selectmen that there is interest among teens to get it started and he could likely find the adults needed to participate. 

 

According to the Brookfield Town Charter, five adults would need to be appointed to four-year terms.  The Youth Commission would also have five non-voting student members. 

 

Enea says the Youth Commission could promote various programs for teens to keep them away from drugs, while also encouraging them in civic engagement. 

 

The Youth Commission is still in the Charter even though interest in membership fell off in recent years, in part because other municipal groups are meeting the goals like planning youth activities.  First Selectman Steve Dunn said that unlike others who complain the younger generation is not getting involved, he finds the opposite to be true.  

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Newtown Planners approve water tank for Aquarion Water Co.

The Newtown Planning and Zoning Commission has approved an application by Aquarion Water Company to build a one million gallon water storage tank in a residential neighborhood.  The structure would take up about 3,000 square feet of the 5 acre property off Old Green Road. 

 

Aquiarion says the structure is needed to improve the reliability of the public water supply.  The concrete tank would stand 50 feet tall and be 62 feet wide. 

 

Some residents oppose the tank saying the aesthetics don't fit the neighborhood and are concerned that it would lead to property value decreases.  Aquarion plans to install fire hydrants in the area. 

 

Even though Old Green Road is not served by the company, homeowners could link to the water main at the residents' expense.

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WCSU holds tours of new midtown police station

A grand opening ceremony is planned for this morning at West Conn as the university opens the midtown campus police station.  The $6.45 million facility on Roberts Avenue officially opened in February.  Tours will be held for the public on Friday, following the 11am ceremony.  The West Conn Police Department was previously housed in a maintenance building 5 times smaller than the nearly 11,000 square foot facility they have moved into.  The new West Conn police station includes a reception area, interviewing and processing rooms, space for dispatch and detectives, along with a holding cell.

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Brookfield residents OK sale of town-owned home

Brookfield residents have approved the sale of a town-owned home on Junction Road. The 2.3 acres belonged to the former chairman of the Conservation Commission and proceeds could go toward preserving the Gurski Homestead. Paul Davis passed away 15 years ago and officials say stabilizing the farmhouse and restoring the barn on the historic site would be in keeping with his wishes.  The town rented out the one-bedroom home on the property, but the tenant has moved out.  The Gurski master plan, which was approved last year, was ordered by the state after Brookfield tore down some dilapidated buildings without the state’s permission.

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DEEP seeks interpretive guides for Putnam Park

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is looking to hire Interpretive Guides for Putnam Memorial State Park in Redding, to help thousands of visitors with guided tours or special programs.  The agency says the seasonal position is ideal for college students or recent graduates who are history buffs.  DEEP says experience as an educator or tour guide is preferred for the position.  Some of the work also involves research and maintaining collections.  DEEP is also looking to hire a number of people for summer work at Squantz Pond State Park in New Fairfield, ranging from a beach supervisor and lifeguards to ticket booth attendant and park ranger.

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Bethel residents take second vote on budget proposal

Bethel residents will be voting on a revised budget today.  The municipal budget is proposed at $29.53 million.  The municipal budget was only reduced by $325,000.  The capital budget was reduced by more than $1 million, eliminating the purchase of a truck and creation of a turf field.  The capital items to be funded are a streetsweeper, a fire engine and an HVAC system for the High School.  The school spending was approved on the first vote.

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Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission names new chairman

The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission has named a new chairman.  Daniel Krauss was chosen for the position last week.  He will lead the group's meeting tonight where members will discuss design selections and the next steps that will have to be taken to move forward. 

 

The Commission says community feedback was extremely varied, showing how difficult it is to narrow down the designs to just a handful.  They have informally decided on four projects, though each have issues. 

 

One of the 26 families' favorite designs included an island in a body of water on the project, but it would not support the growth of the proposed tree.  The pathways would also need to be simplified.  Another project the group likes has a water feature and presents a feeling of calmness.  Another project was selected because it was serene, but there are concerns about the maintenance of the plantings.  The other design being considered gives visitors the ability to come to the memorial, separate from a void that doesn't paper over the tragedy. 

 

New commission member, former First Selectman Pat Llodra, suggested the group including Planning and Zoning, think about the process for bidding and local approvals.

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Danbury High School names assistant principal

Danbury High School has a new assistant principal.  John DeRosa has been named to the position, beginning July 1st.  He started as a Danbury teacher in 2005 and has been serving as head of the science department since 2011.  La Rosa earned a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology from UConn and both his master’s degree in secondary science education and educational leadership certificate from the University of Bridgeport.

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Public hearing on proposed rehab facility in Kent

A public hearing will be held this morning by the state Department of Public Health about the proposal by Birch Hill Recovery Center, LLC to reopen the former property known as The Kent as a drug and alcohol rehab facility.  The hearing will take place at the Department's Hartford office at 9am.  Plans call for an 85-bed inpatient detoxification and intensive treatment facility offering Medication Assisted Treatment, but not IVs. It could transition to a Level 4 facility, with IV treatment, in a year. The Certificate of Need filing with the state says this would be a more affordable alternative to acute care hospitalization.  The property includes a 60,000-square-foot former skilled nursing facility on 11.5 acres off Maple Street.

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Former Newtown First Selectman rules out congressional campaign

There's one less person considering a run for Congress in Connecticut's 5th District.  Former Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra says the opportunity to speak out on national issues is tempting, but she is not coming out of retirement.  The Republican recently joined the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission and is spending more time with her family.  Democratic incumbent Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty opted not to seek reelection amid a controversy over her handling of a sexual harassment complaint involving her former chief of staff.

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3 more teens charged for fight at Bethel park

Bethel Police have charged three more teenagers for a fight at Overlook Park last week.  That brings the total to seven arrests and Bethel Police say at least one more is anticipated as the investigation continues. 

 

Three juveniles were treated for minor injuries and released the same night.

 

15 to 20 kids, mostly from BHS, took part in the planned fight between two groups of kids.  Police say there were no weapons used, other than one kid picking up a stick from the ground. 

 

Rumors of the fight started circulating on a Facebook forum Friday, and were later confirmed by Police.  Police say there was no evidence that the fight was gang-related.  

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Southbury teen cited for leading police on pursuit

State Police have arrested a Southbury teen for leading troopers on a pursuit Friday evening. 

 

18-year old Nicole Barrere was clocked driving 88 miles an hour on the highway by exit 16 Friday  night.  That's more than 20 miles an hour over the speed limit.  She got off the highway at exit 14 and Troopers say began driving aggressively on Route 172 so they called off the pursuit. 

 

Barrere was tracked through the car's registration and taken into custody without further incident.  She was released on bond for a May 18th court appearance. 

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Diabetic incident, foot slipping off brake cited in highway crashes

State Police have released details about the two accidents that caused heavy traffic on I-84 in Danbury yesterday afternoon. 

 

48-year old Juan Dedios Ortiz Junior of Oklahoma came from the right shoulder by exit 8, cut across two lanes and hit a driver in the left lane.  Ortiz then rear ended a trailer pulled by a second car.  Two vehicles had to be towed. 

 

Ortiz reported a diabetic issue and was transported to the hospital for evaluation.  He was cited for failure to maintain his lane and following too closely. 

 

While traffic was slowed because of that accident, a tractor trailer driver's foot slopped off the brake and rear ended a car.  46-year old Jehon Wright of Windsor, Connecticut was cited for following too closely. 

 

Neither vehicle involved in that second crash had to be towed.

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Democrat announces candidacy for 107th state House seat

There's a Democratic challenger in the 107th state House race in Brookfield and Bethel.  Daniel Pearson has announced his intention to run against incumbent Republican Stephen Harding.  Pearson, a Florida native, served two years with AmeriCorps, working on education and health inequities in low-income communities.  He works for a Norwalk-based nonprofit providing free summer and after-school programs for kids in need.

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Danbury company recognized for corporate responsibility

Danbury-based Praxair has been named to Corporate Responsibility Magazine's 100 Best Corporate Citizens List for 2018. This is the sixth consecutive year the company has been recognized and this year placed 17th on the list.  It recognizes leadership and achievements based on performance in seven categories: environmental, climate change, human rights, employee relations, corporate governance, philanthropy and financial performance.  In 2017, Praxair applications enabled its customers to avoid more than twice the greenhouse gases than were emitted in all of the company's operations and to provide safe drinking water to 145 million people.

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Overturned truck closed Brookfield road for hours

An overturned truck closed a Brookfield road for most of the day yesterday.  Brookfield Police responded to Laurel Hill Road shortly before 7:30 Tuesday morning.  The water truck was blocking both lanes of traffic, and snapped a utility pole as it rolled over.  The driver was transported to the hospital for treatment of injuries sustained in the accident.  While the truck got towed away and utilities fixed, the road remained closed by Laurel Hill Apartments.  The road was reopened shortly before 3pm.   

 

(Photos: Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company)

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Redding residents reject budget proposal

Preliminary number show the Redding budget failed in yesterday's vote.  There were reportedly not enough ballots printed so they all then had to be hand counted after the polls closed.  Unofficial results are that the $49.8 million municipal and school budget failed in a vote of 1,300 against, 800 in support.  The Region 9 budget, with Redding's share of $13.5 million, failed by similar numbers.  In Easton, the Region 9 share of the budget was approved, but it failed overall.  Easton residents also voted in favor of the $44-million municipal and lower school budget.  

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Ridgefield Police investigating car break ins

Ridgefield Police are investigating reports of money being stolen from park cars.  The incidents were reported from cars parked in an Old Sib Road driveway April 24th, overnight into the 25th.  The Ridgefield Press reports that a credit card and under $500 cash was taken from the three cars.  Police are reminding residents to lock their doors and remove the keys from their car, along with any valuables.

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Ridgefield residents send budget proposal to referendum

Ridgefield residents have approved sending a budget proposal to a referendum.  During the Annual Town Meeting on Monday, residents rejected  several motions to reduce line items within the budget.  The plan includes a $47.5 million municipal operation budget, $95-million for the schools and several capital items.  The 31 capital items, each under $100,000, were approved during the annual town meeting.  There will be 8 questions total on the budget ballot May 15th.

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Bethel Registrars update voter records

The Registrars of Voters has mailed letters to about 1,300 Bethel voters who either hadn't voted in four years, appear on the National Change of Address database, or appear on a national database as having registered to vote in another state.  The Registrars are receiving responses confirming their current residence.  Some have not moved, some have moved to a new address within Bethel, and some have moved out-of-town.  Some letters have been returned to the office as undeliverable. In April, the Bethel Registrars removed 141 people from the voter rolls, due to the Canvas, the Town Clerk's report of deaths, or DMV reports of drivers changing their address.

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UPDATED: Accidents, fuel spill cause delays on I-84 west in Danbury

There were a couple of accidents that caused delays on I-84 in Danbury between exits 7 and 6 this afternoon.  The first incident happened shortly before 10am.

 

There was a tractor trailer accident involving a fuel leak and a four vehicle crash in the same area.  A HazMAT team responded to the scene.  There are injuries reported in the crash.  Fire officials say at least one person needed to be extricated. 

 

At least the right lane was closed in the area of the accidents, but it has since been reopened.  As of noon, delays are backed up through Newtown, coming off Super 7 onto the highway, and on Route 6/Newtown Road from drivers looking to avoid the highway closure.

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Lawmaker caught on hot mic using derogatory language against colleague

A state lawmaker was caught on a hot mic calling a colleague a derogatory name during last night's House session.  The remark came from Republican Representative Sam Belsito as Danbury Democratic Representative Bob Godfrey, a Deputy Speaker, was presiding over the session. 
 
The Democratic House leaders tried to put some measures on a consent calendar, with just a day left in the session.  Majority Leader Matter Ritter said that if there was objection to a bill, it would not be on consent.  
 
Belsito said no bills should go on a consent calendar and called the idea ridiculous.  He continued by saying that "you're just trying to ram them down our throats" and that lawmakers are there to look at all of the bills.  Video of the incident was recorded by CT-N, which provides gavel to gavel coverage of the General Assembly, and tweeted by Governor Malloy's spokesman. 
 
*Disclaimer: Video contains language some may consider offensive*
 
Lawmakers were discussing a bill requiring an internal review of security procedures at courthouses.  The measure was approved with just two votes in dissent, including one from Belsito.

 

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State lawmakers seek to boost minority teacher recruitment

A local lawmaker is touting final legislative approval of a bill to increase the recruitment and retention of minority teachers.  Danbury Representative Michael Ferguson says as a former Board of Ed member, he understands the importance of students seeing themselves in the educators they look up to, especially in a community as diverse as Danbury. 

 

The bill requires the state Department of Education to take steps to identify, use and support a number of programs and practices to improve minority teacher recruitment. The bill previously cleared the Senate and now awaits Gov. Dannel Malloy's signature. 

 
The bill also changes teacher certification laws to make it easier to become certified, such as for people in certain professions, including veterans. 

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Saturn replica reported missing from Harrybrooke Park in New Milford

Saturn is missing.  New Milford Police are investigating the theft of part of an art installation.  For the past several years, a monument of the planet Saturn has been located in the northern portion of Harrybrooke Park as part of a replica solar system. 
 
 
 
New Milford High School students designed each planet in the monument.  The planets are placed throughout various locations in New Milford at a scaled distance from a replica Sun located at New Milford High School.
 
Saturn was stolen from Harrybrooke Park sometime between 10am on May 2nd and about 10am on May 3rd. 
 
Anyone with information is asked to please contact Officer Steven Palmer at 860-355-3133, or use the confidential tips tips@newmilfordpolice.org email.
 
 

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WCSU Ancell School of Business gains AACSB accreditation

West Conn's Ancell School of Business has been granted accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.  Dean David Martin says this recognition places West Conn among the top 5 percent of business schools in the world.  The organization says graduates of these accredited schools are more sought-after by employers and receive better salaries.  The Ancell School of Business offers bachelor’s degrees in Accounting, Finance, Management, Management Information Systems and Marketing, as well as a master’s degrees in Business Administration and Health Administration. The school was endowed in 1980 by Nathan Ancell, founder of Danbury-based Ethan Allen.

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Richter Park granted loan from Danbury to create driving range

The Richter Park Golf Course has gotten approval from the City of Danbury for help with its new driving range.  The City Council has approved a low-interest loan of up to $600,000, to be repaid in under 15 years.  The proposal could have two dozen bays for public use and another two to three bays for  teaching and professionals.  A 10th hole would need to be rebuilt.  Annual revenue estimates are between $ 125,000 to $228,000.  Expenses would be about $40,000, including loan repayment.  City Finance Director David St. Hilaire says his office would revise the terms of a 2015 loan to Richter Park, adding on the $600,000.  There is $ 1.3 million of the $1.5 million loan left to pay.

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Bethel to update Plan of Conservation and Development

Bethel officials are starting to update the town's Plan of Conservation and Development.  State law requires the plans to be updated every 10 years.  Bridging the gap between Bethel's last update in 2007 and now was the Bethel Forward Transit Oriented Development Master Plan, completed in 2016.  The Plan of Development includes a focus on revitalizing regional centers, expanding housing opportunities, concentrating development around transportation corridors, conserving the natural environment, protecting cultural and historic resources, and integrating planning across all levels of government.  The Bethel Planning and Zoning Commission has launched an online survey to gather input from the community to determine values and generate ideas to guide Bethel’s priorities over the next 10 years. 

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Redding residents to vote on budget today

The Redding budget referendum is being held today.  Residents will be deciding on a combined $36.3 million budget.  The municipal portion is $14.8 million while the schools are seeking $21.5 million.  It's less than the Board of Ed wanted, but more than this year's budget.  Redding, like other Greater Danbury area towns, is facing increased transportation and special education costs.  The Region 9 budget is proposed at a 3-percent increase.  Redding would pay more than Easton due to enrollment percentages at Joel Barlow High School.

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Bethel man sentenced for New Milford home invasion

A Bethel man accused of breaking into the home where his ex-girlfriend was staying last year has been sentenced.  46-year old Mark Benoit was ordered to 10-years in prison, followed by 10 years of parole, on a home invasion charge.  According to court documents, Benoit showed up at the New Milford house where his ex-girlfriend was staying with her new boyfriend.  He was reportedly wearing a ski mask, had a roll of duct tape, sip ties and a knife with him.  Benoit told police he had taken anti-anxiety and seizure medication and drank beer before the incident.  The victims sustained minor injuries.

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Woman ran from traffic stop, tossed drugs during pursuit

A New York woman who tried to run from a traffic stop, while tossing drugs along the way, has been arrested on drug related charges.  State Police pulled over 25-year old Samantha Lugo of the Bronx on April 22nd in North Salem for several violations.  She was determined to be driving under the influence of drugs. 

 

Troopers searched the vehicle and found crack cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and pills.  Her passenger, 50-year old Kenneth Vaishville of New York, was found in possession of drug paraphernalia and crack cocaine. 

 

 

The pair was arraigned and Lugo was ordered held without bail.  Vaishville was released. 

 

Lugo was also cited for multiple counts of felony Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance, Tampering with Physical Evidence, Criminal  Use of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of Hypodermic Needles, Obstruction of Governmental Administration, Resisting Arrest, Aggravated Unlicensed Operation, and Unlawful Possession of Marihuana. 

 

Vaishville was arrested for felony Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance and Criminal Use of Drug paraphernalia.

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Brookfield Police seek help identifying man for ongoing investigations

Brookfield Police are asking for the public's help in identifying a person involved in an ongoing criminal investigation.  Police posted two photos of the man along with a vehicle, which appears to be a blue Subaru.  Anyone with information about the man's identity is asked to contact Brookfield Police Cpl. Jason Fiege at 203-775-2575 or JFiege@BrookfieldCT.gov for emailed tips.  

 

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Danbury principal receives grant funding to continue STEM programs

A Danbury school principal has received grant funding to continue STEM education promotion.  Dr. Frank LaBanca of Westside Middle School Academy was selected as one of 50 advocate from 28 states by The Society for Science & The Public.  The advocates work with underrepresented students and create opportunities to participate in science research competitions.  Westside students have competed at the Connecticut Science Fair and the Connecticut Invention Convention in recent years.  Westside student Khushi Parikh, whose project involved a Lyme disease detection process that is 90 percent effective, has been invited to participate in the International Genius Olympiad to be held in New York this June. 

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Danbury lawmakers back FuelCell Energy in bid for DEEP contracts

Danbury State Representatives David Arconti and Bob Godfrey are lending their voices to support FuelCell Energy as they call on the General Assembly to increase the state's megawatt procurement from 4 or 6 percent.  The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection wants to broaden the generation and storage capacity of electricity with clean, reliable energy, but has not yet selected any proposals involving fuel cells.  Danbury-based FuelCell Energy employs some 450 people with another 2,800 related to the fuel cell industry.

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NY school bus driver allegedly sexually abused minor, sent explicit messages

A 22-year old Brewster man has been arrested for sexual abuse and disseminating indecent material to a minor.  Westchester County Police say Brayan Moscoso Arias had sexual contact with a minor and also sent sexually explicit text messages and images.  The bus driver in the Bedford Central School District was arraigned ordered to appear in court this Thursday.  Police were alerted that Arias was going to meet the girl Friday and detectives set up surveillance.  The Brewster man was then taken into custody without incident and the girl was not present.  The judge issued a temporary restraining order that bars Arias from having contact with the victim.

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4 teens charged for fight at Bethel park

Bethel Police have charged four teenagers for their roles in a fight at Overlook Park on Thursday afternoon.  More arrests are expected as the investigation continues. 
 
Rumors of the fight started circulating on a Facebook forum and were confirmed by a Bethel Police Captain.  Police say there was no evidence that the fight was gang-related. 
 
Three juveniles were treated at medical facilities and released the same night for treatment of minor injuries. 
 
15 to 20 kids, mostly from BHS, took part in the planned fight between two groups of kids.  Police say there were no weapons used, other than one kid picking up a stick from the ground. 
 
Bethel High School administrators also sent a letter to parents saying that Police brought the altercation to their attention. It came after school hours, but did involve students. The Principal asked parents that if their child has any information about the incident to let them know as the district is working with police. 
 
 

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Danbury Mayor responds to criticism over response to April water main break

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton is defending some of the decisions he made about an April water main break amid criticism.  
 
Some people chided City officials for not having the part on the shelf.  But Boughton says it's a one of a kind, handmade valve that was installed around 1975 and called it a rare break.
 
As for social media slams over waiting to send out a reverse 911 call, Boughton says it was a calculated choice not to make the call around 11:30pm April 23rd when officials learned how severe the break was.  The call didn't go out until late the following afternoon.  He noted that it wasn't sent out because only 50 percent of Danbury is on city water, and at that point people didn't have to boil their water to drink city water.  
 
Boughton says he was a little surprised by the amount of criticism about the water main break because during the winter there were two or three a week.  He admitted that the length of time to repair the problem was unusual and eventually impacted all city water users.
 

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Reservoir Street remains closed at Bethel-Danbury line for repairs

The Reservoir Street bridge in Danbury near the Bethel town line will remain closed through Wednesday and is scheduled, weather permitting, to reopen on Thursday.   During the rest of construction, which is expected to last three months total, traffic will be limited to one lane.  Detour signs are in place.  Electronic traffic message boards have also been set up to notify drivers of the closure.

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Annual Town Meeting on budget tonight in Ridgefield

The Annual Town Meeting in Ridgefield is scheduled for tonight. First Selectman Rudy Marconi will make a municipal budget presentation, the Chair of the Board of Education and the Acting Superintendent will make a presentation about the school funding request.  A presentation by the Ridgefield Board of Finance will also be made.  A vote on capital items under 100-thousand dollars will be held after a question and answer session.  Tonight's Town Meeting is scheduled for 7:30pm at East Ridge Middle School.

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New Fairfield residents approve budget

New Fairfield residents have approved a budget for the coming fiscal year.  The $12.1 million municipal plan was approved by a smaller majority than the $42.8 million school budget.  New Fairfield residents also approved a $1.4 million capital budget on Saturday.  The spending plans call for half a million dollars for road repairs and funding for school resource officers, along with a police presence at the lower grade schools.  The budget will lead to a 2.55 percent increase in taxes. 

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1 Killed, 3 Injured in Car Crash

KENT, Conn. (AP) - Authorities say a woman has died and three other people are seriously injured from a two-car collision in Connecticut.

Twenty-two-year-old Deanna Lynn Silvernail of Salisbury was a passenger in an SUV that collided with another Friday evening.

Police say Silvernail was thrown from the vehicle down a steep embankment and was pronounced dead at the scene. Both drivers and one passenger all suffered serious injuries and were taken to area hospitals.

Officials say both SUVs were in their respective lanes, and the cause of the crash is under investigation.  

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NY women found with car load of marijuana during traffic stop

Three New York women have been arrested on drug related charged following a traffic stop. 

 

State Police pulled over a car for traffic violations April 21st and found 196 grams of marijuana, 1,975 grams of consumable marijuana, 2,255 grams of marijuana wax jars, 644 grams of concentrated marijuana oil, 130 grams of marijuana cigarettes and cigars, 300mg of juice containing THC, more than $600 in cash and a flier containing a price list for all items. 

 

(Photo: NYSP)

 

27-year old Catherine Donohue of Somers, 22-year old Nicole Bravo of Brewster and Michelle Carbone of Buchanan were all charged.

 

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Clean City Danbury Day today

The annual Clean City Danbury Day is is today.  Volunteers helping with the beautification effort are tasked with picking up litter in a neighborhood, park or waterway.  Supplies of rash bags, safety vests, and gloves are provided.  Volunteers are also stationed at each dumpster location to assist residents in the drop-off process from 8am to noon. 

 

Free disposal of unwanted items is being provided to Danbury residents and property owners with the support of Winters Brothers.  But there is one less drop off location this year, the West Conn westside drop off will not be in service this year.  Dumpster locations are at Danbury City Hall, Rogers Park, the P.A.L. Building, & the Public Works Facility. 

 

No commercial vehicles or box trucks are allowed. Construction debris, grass clippings, yard debris, hazardous wastes, and electronics are not allowed.  Scrap metal, tires and white appliances containing Freon must be kept separate from other garbage. 

 

Paper shredding will once again be offered during Clean City Danbury Day at Winters Brothers Recycling Center on White Street.

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Sandy Hook firefighters respond to five incidents in one day

Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire Company responded to five incidents in one day to start off May.  During a 12-hour timeframe, the company assisted on a medical call, dispatched for a residential fire alarm, responded to a brush fire, and responded to a transformer issue.  The 5th call was for a single vehicle crash that sent the driver to the hospital.  The rollover happened on Berkshire Road at Jordan Hill Road.  The driver struck rocks, a tree and guardrail.  The woman was trapped inside the vehicle and had to be extricated.  The road was closed to through traffic during the incident.

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Bethel to hold Saturday hours for budget absentee ballot session

The Bethel Town Clerk's Office will be open Saturday from 10am to noon for absentee ballot voting for the upcoming May 10th Budget Referendum. This will be the only business conducted on Saturday.  

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6 acres burned in Topstone Park brush fire

There was a brush fire at Topstone Park in Redding  yesterday.  About 6 acres burned.  The forest fire danger level yesterday was high.  Fire company officials say firefighters worked through excessive heat to stop the spread of the fire.  Mutual aid units called Redding, Georgetown, Bethel, Miry Brook, Ridgefield and Wilton.  In an average year approximately 500 acres of Connecticut woodland are burned by forest fires. 

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Sandy Hook Ride on Washington Set To Roll on from Connecticut to the U.S. Capitol

SANDY HOOK, Conn., (AP) -- For the sixth consecutive year, 26 cyclists will ride approximately 400 miles in four days to honor the 20 first-grade children and six educators killed at the Sandy Hook School and all victims of gun violence, to raise awareness of the public health crisis of gun violence, and to support common sense measures to reduce it.

Team 26 will leave Sandy Hook, Ct on the morning of May 5 and arrive at the House Triangle on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol during the afternoon of May 8 - with 10 other stops along the way.

The men and women that comprise Team 26 include educators, high school and college students, veterans, medical professionals, and representatives from many states including Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Texas. Many riders have raced and won medals in the United States and internationally.

"Clearly, the U.S. Congress remains mired in gridlock and continues to defy the will of the American people," said Monte Frank, Team 26 leader. "However, what is clear from the recent marches and the incredible engagement of students is that people have had enough and are no longer willing to be sitting ducks because of a broken political system. Congress must act to prevent gun violence by passing common sense measures, including requiring a background check on all gun sales and limiting magazines to 10 rounds."

Team 26 will be delivering to Congress a petition signed by over 250,000 Americans to ban AR-15s and high capacity magazines. As is the case for each of their rides, Team 26 will be pressing for background checks on all gun sales, a measure supported by 97% of Americans according to the latest Quinnipiac poll.

The Team 26 rolling rally will be stopping for events at city halls and universities. Speakers will include federal and state lawmakers, mayors, activists, students, family members, survivors and others. 

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Brookfield Police detail April distracted driving crackdown

There was a crackdown on distracted drivers during the month of April.  Brookfield Police increased efforts to curb the dangerous practice and issued 178 infractions to motorists caught using their cell phone.  38 warnings were issued and one misdemeanor summons was issued to a motorist using their cell phone, driving while operation under suspension and failure to have insurance.

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Ridgefield theater company set to kick off inaugural season

A Ridgefield-based theater group has completed renovations of the former Schlumberger Theater and will begin holding shows there next month.  A Contemporary Theater of Connecticut plans to host summer camps, youth classes, workshops and other programming.  ACT's opening show will be Mamma Mia!, starting June 7th.  The 174-seat theater is part of a 30-acre property owned by Ridgefield and has a turntable stage.

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Danbury middle school names new principal

Rogers Park Middle School in Danbury has named a new principal.  Dr. Kristy Zaleta has served as the associate principal for instruction at the district's three middle schools for the past five years.  She became an earth science teacher at Rogers Park following a career as a research scientist in the private industry.  Zaleta is currently an adjunct professor at West Conn and has twice been named Teacher of the Year by the Danbury School District.

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Landscaper injured, stuck in tree in Bethel

A landscaper who was injured and stuck in a tree in Bethel was rescued by firefighters yesterday.  The man was cutting down a tree on Paul Street, near Grassy Plain, when he was injured.  Firefighters say the man was conscious and didn't have obvious signs of injury.  Rescuers used Bethel Volunteer Fire Department’s Tower 1 in their effort to remove the man from his harness, which was attached to the tree.  The man was then transported by ambulance to the hospital.

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Danbury FCI inmate charged for alleged weapon possession

An inmate at Danbury Federal Correctional Institution has been charged for allegedly possessing a weapon.  40-year old John Faucher was charged with possession of contraband in a federal prison.  The alleged incident happened on March 12th and involved a weapon or an object designed or intended to be used as a weapon. 

 

If convicted, Faucher faces a up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. 

 

The New Hampshire man was originally sent to Danbury FCI for attempting to rob a convenience store and robbing a bank in 2016.  He went into a 7-Eleven, ordered a pack of cigarettes and then pulled out a box-cutter.  The store clerk responded by brandishing a pizza cutter at Faucher, who fled the area without any money.  A few days later, he robbed a TD Bank branch by handing a note to a bank teller demanding money and claiming that he had a gun.  Faucher was apprehended a few blocks away. 

 

He was scheduled to be released from Danbury FCI in February 2020.

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New Milford Police issue reminder of 2004 cold case investigation

New Milford Police are reminding people of a cold case homicide which remains unsolved.  The state is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to a conviction in the homicide of Maria Laura Capon Bravo Rojas. 
 
The woman was founded dead on the floor of the business she operated with her husband in New Milford in mid-September of 2004.  Rojas was killed by multiple blows to the head and shoulder. The weapon has not been recovered. Despite an intensive investigation, authorities have not identified the person or persons responsible for the crime at David’s Flooring on Danbury Road in New Milford.
 
Anyone with information should contact the New Milford Police Department at (860) 355-2000 or the Office of the State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Litchfield at (860) 567-0871.
 

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New Milford launches online permitting

New Milford has launched the first phase of online permitting.  Residents will be able to apply for permits through the town's website after setting up an account.  The first phase involves all mechanical permits which includes plumbing, electrical, HVAC, gas, wood stoves, roofing, siding, decks, sheds and finished basement. Over the coming months Mayor Pete Bass says they will be looking to incorporate more permits. 
 

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Ridgefield Charter Revision Commission continues work

The Ridgefield Charter Revision Commission is moving closer to finding recommendations to submit to the Board of Selectmen.  During their meeting last month, the Commission did vote to advance the idea of splitting the Inland Wetlands Board from the Planning and Zoning Commission.  The Economic Development Commission would be rebranded as the Economic and Community Development Commission under another proposal being considered. 

 

The group is aiming to have recommendations submitted to and approved by the Selectmen in time to put questions on the November ballot. 

 

A number of proposals were rejected by the group.  The Charter Revision Commission opted not to recommend term limits, selectmen elected every two years instead of 4 years, eliminating the town treasurer and ideas on petition changes.

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Bethel residents approve $889,000 for police station construction cost overruns

A Special Town Meeting was held last night in Bethel where residents voted to allocate more money to finish construction of the police station project.
 
Bids for electrical, HVAC and plumbing work came in higher than anticipated and pushed the project over budget. Residents had approved $13.5 million to build a new police station by the High School. The original budget did not include plans to complete the firing range. Officials were optimistic that the overall construction would come in under budget, based off initial bids, allowing for the range to be completed with surplus funds.
 
There is approximately $197,000 in the contingency fund and the project is 70% complete. 
 
The Board of Selectmen, Public Site & Building Subcommittee, Police Chief Finch and representatives from Downes Construction Company recommend waiting until the project is closer to completion and using a percentage of the contingency money to complete the firing range.

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Deputy Danbury Fire Marshal promoted to Fire Lt.

Deputy Danbury Fire Marshal John DeJoseph has been promoted to Fire Lieutenant.  He joined the Danbury Fire Department in the 2007, and served a volunteer firefighter in Maryland while studying Criminal justice at University of Maryland.  he was also a member of the King Street Volunteer Fire Department in Danbury. In 2015 DeJoseph was promoted to Deputy Fire Marshal where he continued to serve the community in our Community Risk Reduction Division. DeJoseph also serves as the Fairfield County representative to the Connecticut Fair Plan for the Connecticut Fire Prevention Poster Contest.  He holds a Masters Degree from the University of New Haven in Fire Science with a concentration in Fire and Arson Investigation.

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Roadtrip Nation, Princeton Review make 'Best Fit College' tour stop in Redding

The Princeton Review and Roadtrip Nation have kicked off their Best Fit Colleges, Best Fit Careers Tour today.  
 
Representatives will be at Joel Barlow High School in Redding tonight.  The event for both students and parents will offer them expertise and advice about identifying best fit colleges, navigating the admissions process and researching unique career pathways.  Road Trip Nation is also relaunching their College Confidential initiative.  
 
The Princeton Review Editor in Chief Rob Franek says they focus on four areas for students to find their best fit.  They are academics, campus culture, career services and financial fit.
 
Roadtrip Nation co-founder Mike Marriner says they want students to start thinking about these ideas early.  Their goal is to help with career exploration.
 
The pair are participating in 10 events over four weeks along the Eastern seaboard.  The online college forum will have weekly content from The Princeton Review on the Test Prep and Admissions pages. 

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Danbury Hospital medical team removed 132-pound ovarian tumor

A woman had a 132-pound tumor removed in February at Danbury Hospital.  Medical staff say it was one of the largest known ovarian tumors.  The surgery took five hours and a team of 25.  The 38-year old woman, who was released from the hospital after two weeks, is expected to make a full recovery.  The patient came in malnourished and in a wheelchair because of the tumor's weight, which was estimated to have grown by 10 pounds a week over two months.  
 
The care team developed and practiced plans for five potential scenarios.  Her abdomen was reconstructed after the tumor was removed, and doctors were able to save her other ovary.
 
Danbury Hospital pathologists are currently conducting genetic tests on the tumor. They want to understand why the tumor grew so quickly in two months so the care team and patient can learn from this case.

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Man charged in connection with girlfriend's death

MERIDEN, Conn. (AP) Police in Connecticut have arrested a 20-year-old man in connection with the death of his girlfriend.

Meriden police say they responded to a city home at about 11 p.m. Wednesday for reports of an injured woman. Inside they found a 21-year-old woman suffering from a stab wound to the chest. She was treated at scene and taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Police later arrested the victim's boyfriend, Mateus Nasciento-Dacosta, of Danbury, who had turned himself in to Waterbury police.

He was charged with three counts of violating a protective order. He is being held on $1 million bond pending a court appearance Thursday. Police say more charges are possible.

The victim's name was not made public. 

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Man sentenced for distributing heroin to Seymour overdose victim

A Connecticut man has been sentenced for distributing heroin to a Seymour overdose victim. 

 

23-year old Richard Estaba of Bridgeport was sentenced to 1 day in jail, time served and 6 months home confinement, followed by 4 years of supervised release.  Seymour Police responded to a home last July on a report of an unconscious 29-year old.  The man was pronounced dead at the scene.  An investigation determined that the victim obtained heroin from Estaba. 

 

Authorities made a controlled purchase of 10 wax folds of heroin from Estaba, marked with the same brand stamp.  He was arrested in September and was found in possession of 40-0 folds of heroin and $1,300 cash. 

 

The Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that the victim’s death was caused by acute intoxication due to the combined effects of cocaine, etizolam, fentanyl, flubromazolam and heroin.

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Newtown Zoners consider changes to food truck laws

The Newtown Planning and Zoning Commission is holding public hearings tonight on several matters, including a change affecting food trucks.  The proposal would allow food trucks to operate at brewpubs and distilleries in Newtown.  The Commission approved regulations last year allowing those facilities as permitted land uses.  1 food truck would be allowed at a brewpub or distillery per day, Fridays through Sundays, with the permission of the facility owner and the Newtown Health Department.  Another hearing is being held on an application by Reverie Brewing Company for a special permit.  The company wants to convert an industrial building on Church Hill Road into a brewpub.

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3 men charged for being found in possession of load gun, pot plants

Three men have been arrested on weapons and drug charges following a  routine traffic stop.  New York State Troopers pulled over a pick up truck last week on I-84 in Southeast for several violations.  When speaking with the driver, 45-year old Fred Agyeman of Kentucky, Troopers could smell marijuana.  A search of the vehicle turned up marijuana plants, a loaded 9mm handgun, concentrated cannabis cartridges, multiple controlled opiate pills, and over $2,000 cash. 

 

 

His passengers, 69-year old  Joseph Sam of Rhode Island and Charles Carter of Kentucky, were also charged. 

 

 

They were arraigned and Agyeman and Carter were ordered held without bail, Sam was held on $30,000 bond.  All three will be in court on the 17th.

 

Agyeman was charged with Criminal Possession of a Firearm in the 2nd degree, a class C felony, Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 3rd degree with a prior conviction, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 5th degree, both class D felonies, Criminal Possession of a Firearm, a class E felony, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 7th degree, Unlawful Cannabis Growth, both class A misdemeanors, and Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs, an unclassified misdemeanor.  

 

Sam and Carter III were both arrested for Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 2nd degree, a class C felony, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 5th degree, a class D felony, and Criminal Possession of a Firearm, a class E felony.

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Not enough votes for Connecticut tolls

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz says it appears he doesn't have the votes to pass tolling legislation this session, but warns the issue is not over.

The Democrat says Wednesday he's willing to put his election "on the line over tolls" because it's the right thing to do. However, he says it appears there isn't enough support among his colleagues in the state House, or among legislative Republicans.

The legislative session ends at midnight on May 9, but it's doubtful a bill will be called up for a vote.

This year marks one of the strongest pushes yet for bringing tolls back to Connecticut for the first time in three decades. It comes as the state's transportation fund faces fiscal insolvency. 

 

Wilton Senator Toni Boucher says it's something she opposes because her constituents have told her it would be a commuter tax, a miles-driven tax and another fee for owning a car.  She says Connecticut residents have been taxed too much and they have had enough.  Boucher acknowledged there were tolls once before in Connecticut, but said that was before the income tax.
 
Boucher says other states that do have tolls also have a lower gas tax, and don't have a car property tax, a tax on social security and on pensions.  She notes that other states that do have an income tax, residents can deduct expenses whereas in Connecticut, residents here can't.
 
Danbury Representative Bob Godfrey opposed tolling based on constituent feedback.  He says residents will have the chance to chime in in November with the lockbox amendment which will be on the ballot.  He sees that as a referendum on tolls. 
 
Newtown Representative Mitch Bolinsky says it's more like a colander because it does not effectively lock-in the funds.  Bolinsky says the guarantees are weak funding won't be raided at the detriment to infrastructure maintenance, improvements, expansions and safety upgrades.

 

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Funding for Ives Authority included in Danbury budget despite opposition

The Danbury City Council decided to give more than $52,000 in funding to Ives Authority for the Performing Arts in the coming year's budget, despite a committee recommending that the money be held until some answers about financials are provided.  The City Council plans to form a different committee at their meeting next month to talk with the Authority about their fiscal situation.  
 
Councilman Ben Chianese was concerned with a financial report, over 15 months, showing a loss of $100,000.  West Conn Professor and Ives Authority Chairman Frank Herbert says they have a small positive cash flow because they have reduced expenses.  West Conn is now providing some equipment they previously rented.
 
Executive Director Phyllis Cortese works at West Conn and was ill with norovirus during budget negotiations. Mayor Mark Boughton said Tuesday night that stripping the funding, even temporarily, would have effectively shut down the concert park.  
 
In the 90s, Ives would take on the liability for a big act, including if it rained, causing financial trouble.  Boughton says promoters have backed away because they are now the ones taking on the liability.  He added that musicians are not making as much from album sales and downloads so their appearance fees have also gone up.  He says Ives then changed the mission to be more community-based.
 
The money is about 10 percent of the organization’s annual budget. Danbury created the Ives Authority 14 years ago, bolstering the operation with $125,000 in seed money, in order to make it self-sufficient.  But the approximate $50,000 contribution each year has been allocated.

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Blumenthal meets with Danbury High School students

Senator Richard Blumenthal held a roundtable discussion yesterday with Danbury High School students.  About 30 students attended the discussion to talk about gun safety legislation, immigration reform and other federal issues.  Blumenthal says the students interest in various matters and their mobilization reminds him of what he saw during the civil rights and anti-war movements.  About a thousand students participated in a walk out in March to call for action on gun control reforms.  He says social change movements are often driven by young people.  Blumenthal also encouraged the teenagers who are old enough to vote to exercise that right.

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Judge dismisses lawsuit alleging scoutmaster abused 19 kids

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America by 17 men and two women who say a scoutmaster sexually abused them when they were children in the 1960s and 1970s.

Judge Charles Lee ruled the lawsuit was barred by a statute of limitations that prohibits child sexual abuse lawsuits from being filed more than 30 years after a plaintiff turned 18. Lee ruled April 20.

The lawsuit claimed scouting leaders knew or should have known that Ridgefield Scoutmaster Donald Dennis was a danger to children and didn't protect them. Dennis died in 2013.

The plaintiffs said they couldn't file the lawsuit within the statute of limitations because scouting officials concealed their knowledge of Dennis' alleged actions, but the judge ruled they didn't prove that.  

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Danbury Library to offer mental health first aid training

Danbury Library is offering a free mental health first aid program.  The two-day, 8-hour training course teaches people a 5-step plan to help others to cope with mental health or substance use problems.  Similar to traditional First Aid and CPR, officials say  "Mental Health First Aid" is help provided to a person developing a mental health problem or experiencing a crisis until professional treatment is obtained or the crisis resolves.  Project Aware has provided a grant to make the training available for free on the 14th and 15th at the library.  Registration is required.

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Fairfield Hills Authority considers building lease for brewpub

The Fairfield Hills Authority has advanced a proposal for a lease of Stratford Hall for a brewpub.  The terms of the lease have not yet been made public.  The proposal was forwarded to the Newtown Board of Selectmen.  The lease was requested by Mark Tambascio of My Place Restaurant and Dave Kingsley.  They are also looking to create an outdoor pizza oven, a fire pit and a patio.  The pair also want to have food trucks on site and allow for food from off-site to be brought in.

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New Milford starts Spring road paving season

The New Milford Public Works Department is getting set to start the road paving season.  Among the roads slated for paving are Stephanie Drive, Great Brook, Blue Bonnet, Sega and Roadside Court.  Work on Long Mountain and Squire Hill will go out to bid by the end of the month for a June opening of bids and July beginning of construction. Additional road work is under design for Young's Field and Railroad Street.

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Danbury City Council approved budget plan

The Danbury City Council has signed off on a budget for the coming fiscal year.  The party line vote of 13 to 7 had all Democratic members voicing opposition.  Several Council members said they would have liked more money allocated for the schools, but noted that the state is underfunding the district.  Mayor Mark Mayor Mark Boughton included sewer and water rate increases, in part to help finance a planned renovation to the City's wastewater treatment plant. 

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Bethel residents to vote on additional police station construction funding

A vote is being held tomorrow night in Bethel on appropriating more money for police station construction.  Residents are being called on by the Boards of Selectmen and Finance to approve $889,000 to finish the project after HVAC, plumbing and electrical work put construction over budget.  Bethel officials have said that if money isn't allocated by May 15th, delays will start and that will add to the cost overruns.  The special town meeting is at 7 pm tomorrow in the Bethel municipal center.

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Sandy Hook firefighters mourn passing of 24-year old member

A Sandy Hook Volunteer firefighter is being mourned by the Department.  24-year old Tyler Alden Hoffman died unexpectedly on Saturday. Hoffman was employed as a mechanic for Brookside Auto Salvage of Waterbury and was an apprentice Free Mason.  Calling hours will be held at Honan Funeral Home in Newtown on Thursday from 4pm to 8pm.  A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Rose of Lima Church on Friday at 10:30am.  In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to Sandy Hook Volunteer  Fire and Rescue.  A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Tyler's family with funeral expenses.

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Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission selects project finalists

The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission has narrowed down the number of project designs to 4.  They received nearly 200 submissions and named 15 semi-finalists.  The Commission then got feedback from the 26 families.  Among the features of the finalists' projects are a sacred sycamore in a reflecting pool, fountains, many trees and benches. The Commission's next meeting is scheduled for May 10th.  The 4 designs will be discussed in more detail, including information about technical features and feasibility.  None of the architects names have been made public, with each of the 188 submissions assigned an identifying number.

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Former Newtown First Selectman asked to consider congressional campaign

Former Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra has been asked to consider a run for the Republican nomination for the 5th Congressional District seat.  Llodra told the Newtown Bee that she is intrigued and won't rule anything out.  But the 75-year old retired last year to spend more time with her grandchildren.  The congressional race is wide open following Democratic incumbent Elizabeth Esty announcing that she would not seek reelection amid the controversy over her handling of a harassment complaint involving her former chief of staff.

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Brookfield Police seek help identifying people for ongoing investigations

Brookfield Police say they've been able to get more photos of a woman and a vehicle they are looking for.  Police last month asked for the public's help in identifying the woman.  Now they're asking for help in identifying two men as part of an ongoing investigation.  They were last seen in a black Lincoln Town Car.

 

 

Anyone recognizing the men is asked to contact Cpl. Jason Fiege at 203-775-2575 or JFiege@BrookfieldCT.Gov to email. 

 

 

Anyone recognizing the woman or the vehicle, is asked to contact Ofc. Sullivan at 203-740-4133 or KSullivan@BrookfieldCT.gov via email.

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Aquarion seeks approval for water storage tank in Newtown

Aquiarion Water Company has proposed a million gallon storage tank off Old Green Road in Newtown.  The Newtown Planning and Zoning Commission has held two public hearings on the proposal, which the company says is needed to improve the reliability of the public water supply.  The concrete tank would stand 50 feet tall and be 62 feet wide. A special zoning permit and a site development plan are required for approval.  Aquarion intends to buy the 5 acre lot if approval is given.

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Mock car crash held at Joel Barlow

A mock car crash demonstration was held at Joel Barlow High School in Redding yesterday.  The Redding and Easton fire and police departments revealed two damaged cars, after playing sounds of the crash on loudspeakers.  Students played different roles in the mock crash, including failing sobriety tests, to show their peers about the results of different choices.

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Bethel students get hands on EMT training

The Bethel High School EMT class recently trained for opportunities beyond their usual curriculum.  They participated in motor vehicle accident training with instructors from Bethel Fire and EMS.  Department officials say the training is invaluable and gives the students on hand knowledge and confidence in a controlled environment of what these scenes can be like.

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Man pleads guilty to opening credit cards with stolen IDs of Wilton residents

A man accused of stealing the identities of Wilton residents and opening credit cards in their names has pleaded guilty.  28-year old Elijah Chin of Washington State entered the plea yesterday in federal court.  Chin was involved in the scene from December 2016 through the following February.  After credit cards were issued using personal identifying information, Chin took the cards directly from the victim's mailboxes.  He used the cards to purchase nearly 64-thousand dollars worth of item from stores in Connecticut.  Wilton Police arrested Chin on related state charges.  He will be sentenced July 23rd.

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Brookfield town meeting tonight about budget referendum

The annual Town Meeting in Brookfield on the budget is set for tonight.  Residents will be voting to set a referendum date of May 15th.  The municipal budget is proposed at $24.4 million.  The schools are seeking approval of $43 million.  It's a 4.1 percent increase in spending and will lead to a 5.6 percent tax rate increase.  The annual town meeting will be held in the Brookfield High School auditorium at 7pm.

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Danbury City Council to vote on budget proposal

The Danbury City Council will be voting tonight on a budget proposal for the coming fiscal year.  The $257 million plan includes a slight decrease in the property tax rate.  Council members went over each line item in the budget and are mostly recommending that it be approved as is.  There was one recommendation they will discuss further. 

 

That's the $52,634 for the Ives Authority for the Performing Arts.  Councilman Ben Chianese proposed that the funding be moved to the contingency account until they get more information from the Authority on how they plan to use the money.  He is concerned with what is being received in return for the monies. 

 

Chianese noted that they haven't gotten financial statements from the Authority, but Finance Director David St. Hilaire responded that the group changed their fiscal year so the reports aren't in yet. 

 

Councilman Phil Curran said he's always had a problem with the Authority,  He says they don't account for anything, yet the City keeps giving them money. 

 

$132 million is proposed for the school district, a $4-million increase, but less than school officials requested to help deal with a continued growing enrollment. 

 

The proposal does include a 2.75 percent increase in water rates and sewer rates by 2.95 percent.  There are no new initiatives included in the plan.   While a hiring freeze will continue, there are no plans for new department layoffs.

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New Milford workshop set for Complete Streets Program

New Milford officials are holding a workshop tonight about the Complete Streets Program.  The initiative is designed to have streets be safe for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities.  New Milford is also offering an online survey on the program.  Tuesday's meeting will be held at the Pettibone Community Center cafeteria at 7pm.  A Master Plan will be developed with input from residents  of goals to help New Milford administrators when apply for grants.

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Danbury firefighters respond to HazMat incident, determine substance was ant killer

The Danbury Fire Department detailed in a report for the City Council tonight a HazMat scare that happened recently.  Crews were called about an unknown substance at the Danbury Housing Authority office on Mill Ridge Road. The white powder found in a bathroom was not emitting a gas nor registering on meters being used to investigate.  Employees told firefighters that one employee possibly spread ant killer due to a complaint of ants. The Director then confirmed with video footage of ant killer being brought into the bathroom.  Firefighters were able to confirm that, with sampling from two HazMat Technicians.

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