The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation is hosting an inaugural event in Bethel this weekend. Sunday's 5k is in memory of a firefighter, who ran with 60 pounds of his gear through a closed Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the World Trade Center on September 11th. The event at Bethel High School is at 8:30am. Siller is a cousin of former New Fairfield First Selectman John Hodge. The foundation raises money to build smart homes for catastrophically injured service members, and aids families of fallen police and firefighters.
This is graduation season and the Putnam County Sheriff is cautioning that it's also seen by some as a rite of passage to engage in underage drinking at celebrations. Robert Langley says while some parent's don't see a problem in hosting parties where alcohol is served, but there is a Social Host Liability Law. The local laws passed by every town in Putnam County make it a misdemeanor to organize or allow a party, gathering or event where three or more minors are present and alcohol is being consumed by a minor. Those who violate the law face up to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine.
The New Milford Board of Education has revised the budget for the coming fiscal year now that residents have approved a spending plan. $1.26 million was cut, which prompted members to adopt so-called Pay to Play for student athletes. It will cost $125 for each sport, with a $500 per family cap. Student parking fees were increased from $150 to $225. 10 positions are being eliminated across the district. Spending for textbooks and other supplies is being delayed.
The United Way of Western Connecticut has hosted their annual Day of Action. More than 210 corporate volunteers representing 18 companies completed service projects in the Greater Danbury and New Milford areas. Service projects were also carried out at seven nonprofit agencies across the region.
Volunteers gathered on the Danbury Green to pack more than 200 literacy kits for second graders at Hayestown Avenue Elementary School in Danbvury and hill and Plain School in New Milford. Volunteers also assembled snack packs for food insecure households.
End Hunger Connecticut participated in a Summer Meals Blitz in downtown Danbury to raise awareness of the free summer meal locations available to area children this summer.
In the afternoon, there was a community block party, featuring resources to make for a healthy and safe summer.
United Way CEO Kimberly Morgan says volunteers are making an active change in the community and praised the companies for sharing in the agency's values of volunteerism and community investment. United Way's Day of Action launched in 2008 and participation has grown each year. This year's national focus was on summer learning and nutrition.
Six municipalities and organizations, including New Milford, are being awarded a total $1 million in state grants that will help the entities remediate and redevelop clusters of blighted properties – also known as “brownfields” – and put them back into productive use. New Milford will use a $170,000 grant to develop a master plan to assess remediation needs along the Housatonic River Corridor. The project will focus on reuse of town-owned and private properties to help restore public access to the river and serve as a catalyst for economic development within walking distance of downtown.
A public hearing was held recently in Brookfield about a proposal by the Regional YMCA of Western Connecticut for their support campaign. The YMCA applied to be part of the state-run Neighborhood Assistance Act Program. Proposals are eligible to receive donations from various people and businesses. Contributors will then receive a tax credit they normally wouldn't receive. The YMCA will receive $150,000 in state funding for their proposal. Brookfield Human Resource Development oversees the local program, which requires a public hearing. The Board of Selectmen approved the proposal. First Selectman Steve Dunn cleared up some confusion among residents saying there is no town funding being allocated. The YMCA is the only Brookfield municipal or tax exempt organization to apply each year, and have done so for several years.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Members of Connecticut's congressional delegation are traveling to Texas to meet with migrant families being held in detention facilities.
Democratic U.S. Reps. Joe Courtney, Rosa DeLauro, Jim Himes and Elizabeth Esty announced Thursday they will join more than 20 other members of Congress making the trip. The group plans to speak with children and parents affected by a White House policy that had separated more than 2,300 children from their parents over the past several weeks.
The practice set off an outcry. President Donald Trump signed an order Wednesday to stop the separations, but a host of unanswered questions remain.
Lawmakers on Saturday will tour the McAllen Border Patrol Station and the Centralized Processing Center in McAllen, Texas, before visiting the Port Isabel ICE Detention Center in Los Fresnos.
Squantz Pond State Park has reopened to swimming. The beach area was closed Wednesday due to indicator bacteria, but was retested and the levels are now appropriate. The weekly water quality tests are done by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
At last week's New Fairfield Board of Selectmen meeting, members voted unanimously to extend curbside pick up to private roads.
New Fairfield has prepared a request for proposals for that brush removal, in accordance with FEMA guidelines. The Board has selected a debris management company and recommended an expenditure to the Board of Finance for the removal of storm debris. Residents will be asked to sign off on funding for the proposal.
Details on a pick up schedule and what, if any, restrictions may apply will be released after the Town Meeting on June 28th.
The Candlewood Lake Authority Marine Patrol is offering some safety reminders in light of the fatal accident this week in New Fairfield. The daytime speed limit on the lake is 45-miles an hour and the nighttime speed limit is 25 miles an hour. All boaters must comply with state regulations, and may be subject to safety inspections. This includes having enough life jackets for all people on board and working lights and navigation systems.
Caution should be taken for underwater hazards, most of which are located more than 100 feet from shore. While they are marked by buoys, some may have been damaged or moved by last month's macroburst.
The Patrol is authorized to ticket boaters who have equipment violations, are boating under the influence or are operating recklessly.
Some of the stars of the 1973 film Jesus Christ Superstar will be at the Palace Danbury Friday night. Ted Neeley, who starred in the title role, will participate in the sing-along screening of the musical. The digitally restored and remastered film was shot on location in Israel so the cast could walk in the footsteps of the biblical figures they portrayed.
Neeley was the original Broadway understudy for the role in the Tim Rice/Andrew Lloyd Webber project.
He will be discussing the making of the film before the screening and will be on hand for a post-film meet and greet. Bob Bingham, the actor who played Caiaphas and Kurt Yaghjian, the actor who played Annas, will also be in attendance.
The screening starts at 7pm. General Admission $20 advance/ $25 Day of show tickets or VIP Experience tickets are available. Tickets may be purchased by phone at 203-794-9944, online, or at the box office starting one hour before showtime. The Palace Danbury is located at 165 Main Street, in Danbury.
The Rogers Park pond area in Danbury was recently cleaned and had other improvements to the area made. Councilman Duane Perkins says while there are plenty of playgrounds and playscapes where children can play, there aren't a lot of other outdoor recreation opportunities in the City. An outdoor fitness area was just added to Roger Park. Perkins noted that the area will help people who can't physically play softball, tennis or other outdoor games, but can stretch, do sit-ups and the like. Last year's $300,000 renovation included a new walking path and a fountain for the pond. Trees in the area were trimmed, bridges refinished and new park furniture installed.
A Special Town Meeting is being held in Brookfield tonight about setting a referendum date about funding capital items next fiscal year. Brookfield officials are looking at August 7th as a referendum date on the $2.1 million.
The plan includes money for road paving, generators for the high school and Center fire Company, improvements to the Parks and Rec maintenance building and vehicle replacements for various departments. Some of the money will be used for truck replacements, a street sweeper, mower, aerator, police cruisers and other vehicles for the Public Works, Police, Land Use, Health and Parks and Rec departments.
The improvements to the Parks and Rec maintenance building include roof, window and door replacements and a sewer connection. A canopy for the Public Works fueling station, command vehicles for Center and Candlewood Fire companies and renovation of a locker room at BHS would also be paid for. Funding for a new time and attendance system for the school district, window design and engineering costs and ADA compliance improvement at the library and architectural designs for improvements to various schools is also planned.
Tonight's Special Town Meeting is at 7pm at Brookfield Town Hall.
Squantz Pond State Park is closed for swimming due to indicator bacteria. The beach areas have been retested, and results are due back to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection this afternoon. Samples are collected weekly in the summer. Last year was the first year that the state conducted testing in the middle of the week rather than the beginning so results are more current when decisions are made about weekend beach closures. It’s not uncommon to close Squantz Pond’s swimming area for high bacteria.
Danbury State Representative Michael Ferguson has been recognized by Fairfield County Business Journal's annual 40-Under-Forty list. Ferguson currently teaches history and political science at Post University and works at the Danbury Hospital Information Desk. He just completed his first term in the state legislature representing Danbury, New Fairfield and Ridgefield. Ferguson touted his work to promote better recruitment of minority educators in Connecticut and fighting against bringing back tolls to Connecticut roadways.
New Milford continues debris pickup from the May 15th storm, but Mayor Pete Bass is asking that residents not dump brush at the Century Brass property. Century Brass is the staging area for the Public Works Department to bring debris from department work on storm clean up. The site is being monitored by FEMA. Bass says in order for reimbursement, records must be kept tracking the source of brush so it can be certified as actual storm debris.
It took three votes, but New Milford residents have approved a budget for the coming fiscal year. There was about 18-percent turn out yesterday. Some 1,700 residents voted in favor of the spending plan compared to about 1,200 votes cast in opposition. The $39-million for New Milford and $63-million for the schools will result in a 3.3 percent tax rate increase. The Town Council originally kept school funding level in the second plan, but finally cut $300,000 from the proposal.
The repaving of Route 6 in Carmel from Reed Memorial Library to Route 312 is complete. The $1.8 million project, which took less than three weeks to complete, was done mostly in the overnights to keep the Carmel business corridor open. The five-mile project area is one of the most heavily traveled in Putnam County by commuters, school buses, and local businesses. The repairing and resurfacing of Route 6, from the Putnam Trailway hub to the intersection of Route 301 in Carmel, is expected to begin in the late summer or early fall. A majority of the work on the $1.7 million project will be done during the overnight hours as well.
An informational meeting is being held in Brookfield tonight about the next phase of the Town Center/Four Corners revitalization project. The streetscaping project will connect the Still River Greenway to the southern end of the first phase. Sidewalks, a bike path, lighting and other features will be added. Two thirds of the cost is being paid for with a federal grant and the town is required to pay 450-thousand dollars. The informational meeting is at 7pm in Brookfield Town Hall.
There was a brush fire in Redding yesterday afternoon. The West Redding Volunteer Fire Department responded to the area of John Read Middle School around 2:30pm. Arriving firefighters saw smoke in the wooded area. Mutual aid was requested from Redding Fire & EMS, Georgetown, Bethel and Stony Hill firefighters. An area approximately 50-square feet was burning. Yesterday's forest fire danger level was high, which means even people with burn permits were not allowed to burn brush on their properties. Today's danger level is moderate.
In recognition of Flag Day, Newtown state Representative Mitch Bolinsky coordinated a worn Flag drop-off event. The flags were collected at VFW Post 308 and will be disposed of in an appropriate military ceremony. Bolinsky says the VFW makes a flag drop-off box accessible year round at their facility on Tinkerfield Road in Newtown.
Danbury Police are continuing to raise money for kids battling cancer and other serious illnesses to be able to attend The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. During an event earlier this month, team members completed over 10,000 push ups in one hour, raising a pledged $2,500. Danbury Police say there's still time for people to donate, to help then reach their $5,000 fundraising goal. In total, this year's Push Against Cancer event raised nearly $150,000.
A bill providing incentives for firearm manufacturers and consumers to develop and purchase so-called smart gun technology has been introduced by 4th District Congressman Jim Himes. He says the technology includes biometric or fingerprint locks and radio-frequency identification. The Start Advancing Firearms Enhancements and Technology Act or SAFETY Act, provides incentives in the form of research and development tax credits.
With the first extremely hot day in the books this summer, the Putnam County Sheriff's office is offering a seasonal reminder. It’s estimated that hundreds of cats and dogs die each year from being left in hot cars, while even more become seriously ill. Sheriff Robert Langley says some of the common responses they've heard when grieving pet owners return to find their cat or dog has died of heat stroke include that 'they cracked a window', 'it was just a few minutes' and 'it wasn't that hot' among others.
The third budget vote in New Milford is being held today. Residents are being asked to approve the $39-million municipal budget and a $63-million Board of Education budget. The 3.3 percent tax increase is higher than the last rejected proposal because less money would be used from the undesignated fund. New state revenue is also now covering capital items instead of operating expenses. Some $300,000 was cut from the education budget in this revision after being kept the same in the first two proposals.
The Ridgefield Planning and Zoning Commission is holding a public hearing tonight about a proposal for a contractor's yard on Ethan Allen Highway. The three acre site would house infrastructure for excavation, grading, filling and earth processing activities. Larry Leary Development told the Commission that proposal was identical to one previously approved by the group in 2015.
The earlier approval was overturned by the courts last year because the decision violated yard setback regulations. The setbacks were then amended in January.
The Ridgefield Press reports that Commission Vice Chairman Joe Fossi will again recuse himself because he had done business with Leary as a builder. New Commission member Charles Robbins will also recuse himself because he lives in The Regency complex, which filed suit over the 2015 ruling.
Tonight's meeting is at 7:30 at Town Hall Annex.
In an effort to discourage Squantz Pond visitors from parking along Shortwoods Road in New Fairfield, signs were put up for the weekend saying that the road is closed to through traffic. There is still storm debris along Shortwoods Road, so parking along the street could have created a safety hazard. The road remained open to local traffic. Signs were placed at the intersection with Beaver Bog Road.
Danbury firefighters helped a couple with a flat tire earlier this week. A crew was returning to the station when they came across a couple who got off the highway with a blown tire. The couple tried to jack the car up, but the jack failed and broke and the car dropped. A firefighter used their lift stabilizer, changed the tire and sent the couple on their way.
The town of Redding is facing higher legal bills than budget for. The Board of Finance discussed the situation Wednesday. Appeals for recent appraisals, along with attorney bills for an investigation into the Police Chief exceeded the $200,000 legal budget. The Newstimes reports that the investigation has cost $150,000. Chief Douglas Fuchs has been on administrative leave since last fall when the town was sued over the department's handling of a suicide case. In order to make up the $116,000 difference, Redding will implement a hiring freeze through the end of the fiscal year. Roadwork that isn't bonded, highway department overtime and purchases will not go through until after June 30.
Students in the Danbury Early College Opportunity program at Danbury High School have participated in an Internship Exposition. Students shared their internship projects while others received awards for their academic performance in the program, which gives students an opportunity to earn an Associate Degree simultaneously with their high school diploma. The degree program is offered by Naugatuck Valley Community College. Students begin accelerating their high school requirements so that by sophomore or junior year they can begin incorporating college-level courses. They can expect to complete the Associate Degree in four, five or six years. Some courses may take place at NVCC’s Danbury campus.
There's a potable water issue at John Read Middle School in Redding. During Tuesday's Board of Selectmen meeting, it was mentioned that comments on social media have linked the lack of potable water to inadequate funding, but that's been rebuked. According to meeting minutes, funding has not been sought as solutions are explored. Three wells have been dug over the years due to longstanding issues with the water. The current well in use at John Read has sodium levels that are too high for drinking water.
Two votes cast at last month's Democratic 5th Congressional District nominating convention have been nullified. Officials say the votes were cast by members of the New Britain delegation, but did not change the outcome. Mary Glassman remains the endorsed candidate. Jahana Hayes only lost by two votes and will be on the primary ballot. The panel of Democratic State Central Committee members recommends that the party work to design a better process for recording votes at conventions and reconsider whether to offer a vote change option. Democrat Shannon Kula is seeking to petition her way onto the ballot.
A streetscape lighting repair project in Bethel is underway. The lighting on Durant Avenue near the municipal center has not been working since Friday due to repairs on light poles in the area. Power to those poles will be out until further notice.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The creator of a school shooting video game that was protested by parents of slain children says it's up and running again after being removed by a website host.
Acid Software says two websites for the "Active Shooter" game were shut down Tuesday night by Bluehost, a Burlington, Massachusetts, company. An Acid representative says the websites were running again Wednesday using Russian servers.
Bluehost was urged to remove the sites by Sandy Hook Promise, an anti-gun violence group formed by parents whose children were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.
The game lets players participate in simulated school shootings. It was removed from the webpages of two online platforms after complaints by parents of children killed in the Newtown and Parkland, Florida, school shootings.
Some pets have been left at the doors of animal shelters in the Greater Danbury area, according to Ridgefield Police. When an animal is left at the door of a shelter, there is no confirmation of valid rabies inoculations or other diseases and defects the animal may have. The unknown animals can cause risk to employees and other animals.
Police are reminding people that leaving a pet at the shelter is considered abandonment and is not legal.
If you can no longer care for a pet, contact Ridgefield Animal Control at 203-431-2711 and they will put you in touch with someone that will be able to assist in the surrendering of your pet.
New Milford is looking to honor the men and women who have received a Purple Heart and make New Milford a “Purple Heart Town”. The Military Order of the Purple Heart is seeking Purple Heart recipients, Gold Star Families and relatives of any resident who has received a Purple Heart to get the process started. There will be an informal meet and greet next Thursday at 6pm at New Milford Town Hall. Officials will be gathering stories to incorporate into the New Milford's Purple Heart Town Designation celebration, which will be held at a later date.
A Putnam County-wide Shared Services Panel, tasked with finding ways to increase government efficiency and reducing spending, met this week. The panel is looking into improving service delivery across Putnam County.
This week's meeting included roundtable discussions focusing on Public Works, Personnel Services, Dog Control and Shelters, Information Technology, and Tax Assessment. These discussions included the school district and local public works administrators, and focused on ways to increase inter-governmental cooperation throughout the County.
A municipal planning and consulting firm has been hired to draft the County-wide Shared Services Plan by August. It will then be reviewed by the County Legislature and be put up for a public hearing.
The third time was the charm in Brookfield for getting a budget passed. Overall spending was increased about 2.8 percent and will result in a 3.85 percent property tax rate increase. The $23.9 million municipal budget was approved by about 500 votes while the $42.7 million school plan passed with a margin of about 300 votes.
Part of the spending increase was due to $485,000 for elderly tax relief accidentally removed from the budget last year. Much of the increase was due to a rise in special education costs and a cut in state aide.
Overall the budget proposal was reduced about $600,000 since it was first rejected last month. On the municipal side, $102,000 in capital projects were removed and the town is ending a recycling event that had strong participation. The Board of Ed will leave a secretary position vacant, rely on tutors in place of a second ESL teacher and put off upgrades to a computer lab.
Brookfield has started cleaning up debris from town right-of-ways. First Selectman Steve Dunn says crews will be working for about four weeks, Sundays through Fridays, from 7am to 7pm on Brookfield streets. The brush yard will only be open to residents only on Saturdays from 8:30am to 4pm. The brush yard must be closed while the crews clear roads because it's considered a "work zone," and therefore unsafe.
The Ridgefield Board of Ed has named an interim Superintendent. Former New Milford Superintendent JeanAnn Paddyfote will lead the school district until a permanent Superintendent has been named. Ridgefield Director of Technology Robert Miller has been acting Superintendent since Karen Baldwin resigned earlier this year. Paddyfote, who most recently has been serving as acting Superintendent in Avon, will start on July 1st and serve in the position until March 1st. She led the New Milford school district for more than a decade.
Danbury has named a new assistant principal for Rogers Park Middle School. Dana Perez started in Danbury as a school counselor at Rogers Park before serving as a counselor at Westside Middle School Academy. Superintendent Dr Sal Pascarella says choosing Perez to be assistant principal reflects a commitment to the social and emotional development of students. Perez is fluent in Spanish and an active participant in a variety of community activities in the Danbury area.
The Danbury Zoning Board of Appeals will be holding a hearing this week about Dorothy Day Hospitality House and their Spring Street facility. There are several variances that will be discussed for grocery market, office space, emergency homeless shelter, and soup kitchen. They include reducing the front, side and rear yard setbacks, reducing the driveway width, cutting down parking to 16 spaces, and reducing minimum square footage. Waivers from certain zoning laws will be discussed. The meeting Thursday is set for 7pm at Danbury City Hall in Council chambers.
Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty is introducing initiatives today aimed at curbing the opioid epidemic. One bill would open up funding for police forensic labs and medical examiner offices to pay for staff, equipment and overtime. Connecticut's Chief Medical Examiner says there were more than a thousand overdose deaths in the state last year. Police Departments could also use the funding for additional field testing equipment. Another measure Esty introduced last week would bolster current drug prevention programs to allow schools, communities, and youth athletic associations to provide evidence-based prevention programming to reduce the risk of opioid addiction and overdose among students and student athletes.
Four Republicans hoping to be the next governor of Connecticut have participated in a debate hosted by The Connecticut Association of Realtors and WTNH-TV. There weren't many differences between the candidates. Those appearing on the debate stage were endorsed candidate Mark Boughton and two who automatically qualified for the primary: Tim Herbst and Steve Obsitnik. Petitioning candidate David Stemerman was able to prove his signature collection would get him on the ballot and was invited to participate.
All four opposed tolls and sanctuary cities. They also agreed that pension reform should be a priority. One area of difference was about a private company opening a casino in Bridgeport. Boughton and Herbst appeared tepid on the idea while Obsitnik and Stemerman said they would support the idea.
Petitioning candidates businessman Bob Stefanowski and Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti received invitations, but declined in order to focus on petition drives. Signatures are due to the Secretary of the State's Office by today.
Brookfield Police K9 Major has received a bullet and stab protective vest from non-profit Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. The vest was sponsored by Reimer and Bevis Families of Middletown. It's embroidered with the sentiment “Born to Love - Trained to Serve - Loyal Always”.
Major's handler, Officer Kyek thanked the families for providing his partner with the vital piece of equipment. He said it's reassuring to know that Major is further protected by this body armor.
The non-profit was established in 2009 and has provided over 2,900 protective vests in 50 states, through private and corporate donations, at a value of $5.7 million dollars.
(Photo: Brookfield Police)
The Danbury Planning Commission is considering a gas station and convenience store for a long vacant building. Representatives from Cumberland Farms made a presentation to the Commission last week for the 106 Federal Road property.
The space previously housed Bennigan's Grill and Tavern, but that was more than a decade ago. The building would be demolished to clear the way for a 5,300-square-foot convenience store, two 20,000-gallon underground gas storage tanks and six double-sided gas pumps.
The intersection with International Drive would be turned into a four-way traffic signal, with the driveway realigned. A special exception is needed. The facility is expected to generate over 500 vehicle trips per day.
The commission will take up the application June 20th.
FEMA will be in Brookfield today to look at damage from the May 15th macroburst. 5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty will join officials from FEMA and Brookfield on their tour.
During the immediate aftermath of the storm, 91% of Brookfield residents were left without power. Some were without power for up to ten days. Esty and Senator Richard Blumenthal previously surveyed the storm damage last month.
Brookfield officials have expanded the storm damage submission form to now allow residents to send up to 10 pictures. Residents can now also give best estimates of insured and uninsured property loss. Anyone who has already submitted a report can resend the forms to include the additional information. Brookfield officials are asking that residents only send information about personal property as the town has all of the information needed for town-owned property, including rights-of-way, parks and open spaces.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut may have passed wide-ranging gun control legislation after the Sandy Hook mass shooting, but that doesn't mean the battle over gun control in this state is over.
It's expected the issue could influence the state's hotly contested race for governor.
Greenwich businessman and endorsed Democratic candidate Ned Lamont calls the debate "very passionate" on both sides of the issue. He's proposed banning so-called ghost guns, which are firearms parts that can be assembled to make untraceable weapons.
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, the endorsed Republican candidate, is struggling to win the support the gun rights enthusiasts who question his level of support.
Boughton says his positions have been misunderstood and he doesn't believe new gun laws are needed.
The president of pro-gun rights group The Connecticut Citizens Defense League is skeptical.
A Brookfield Republican is seeking an unaffiliated run for Congress. John Pistone has decided not to pursue a primary run for the 5th District seat, but rather petition his way on to the November ballot as an unaffiliated candidate. Pistone says the Connecticut Republican Party believes he is too conservative and that the party is moving further left. He calls himself an outsider, not part of the political establishment and not content with the status quo.
Broadview Middle School in Danbury has officially dedicated its “Schoolyard Habitat” garden, with the help of a 3-thousand dollar grant. Broadview was chosen last fall as one of two schools in Connecticut for the Audubon Society Schoolyard Habitat Program. Students involved in the school’s Roots & Shoots afterschool program care for the gardens. The entire sixth grade has used the gardens to learn ecology, starting with a nature walk as a unit introduction.
For the past three years, students and teachers dedicated two areas around the school to gardens that grow native plants and vegetables and encourage good environmental practice for the community.
The gardens were established as a grassroots effort without any resources, which led to the grant funding. A Peace Garden in the front of the school is home to native species. 13 raised beds on the side of the school are used to grow herbs and vegetables, such as cucumbers and peppers.
The raised beds were built by students from the Alternative Center for Excellence and teacher John Webber. Science teacher Dallas Moore and reading teacher Sue Mills led the project with help from school social worker Christine Miller and ESL teacher Val Anderson.
A welcome home ceremony is being held today for Bravo company of the 411th Civil Affairs Battalion. The ceremony at 11am at the Danbury Armed Forces Reserve Center. Councilman Tom Saadi says the 35 members returned home a few months ago from a nearly year deployment to Africa, and are back training with their battalion. Awards and recognitions will be presented. Saadi says the community has been very supportive of the 411th Civil Affairs Battalion. The group has a new commander coming in this summer. The public is invited to attend the ceremony. There is some security precautions at the training center. People will have to check in when they arrive. People wishing to attend the ceremony should contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 203-797-1797.
New Milford has received a donation of two high performance GPS K9 tracking devices for their two canine officers. They were obtained, in part, through a grant from the Hometown Foundation, which matches needs of municipal organizations with local donors.
With town budgets tight over the last few years, and the equipment fairly expensive, Police Lieutenant Jeffrey Covello thanked the Town Council for accepting the donation.
The collars have a unit that stays with the handler. Covello says the K9s were sent out recently looking for a missing child, and noted that New Milford is the largest town geographically in Connecticut. Once police exhausted the day's work, he had to print off map and go through with handler exactly which areas were already searched so they didn't cover the same area when the search picked up the next day.
The GPS unit archives exactly where the dog has roamed.
The 14th annual Connecticut Open House Day is today.
The Bethel Historical Society will be taking part. Town Historian Patrick Wild will be hosting a game to test people's knowledge of Bethel's history. Contestants are going to answer multiple choice questions using the touch screen of their cell phones. Results for each round of the game will be immediately scored, tabulated, and projected on a large screen to provide up-to-the-minute player standings. Prizes will be awarded for the game's top three contestants. There is no fee for the event, but donations to the Bethel Historical Society are encouraged.
People who registered for the event will face off in the lower room of Bethel Congregational Church at 1pm. A number of tourist destinations are offering special discounts and promotions.
Brookfield Museum & Historical Society is holding free admission from noon to 4pm. In Danbury, the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut and Workspace Collective will have open gallery hours from 11am to 6pm. The Connecticut Antique Machinery Association Museum in Kent is open 10am to 4pm and will give a free Connecticut mineral specimen from the Mining Museum.
Ridgefield Police have received some calls about a fawn possibly being abandoned. The Animal Control Officer says young deer are often left hidden and alone for hours while their mothers forage for food. It's advised to leave the fawn alone for at least 48 hours to determine if the mother is returning for feedings. A truly orphaned fawn may show signs of distress by walking around aimlessly and calling out for several hours.
Several Greater Danbury Police Departments are participating in the Special Olympics Torch Run tomorrow. Brookfield officers will be taking the torch from New Milford at Faith Church and heading south on Federal Road to Harley-Davidson, approximately 6.5 miles. There are runners will be on the road beginning at approximately 8:30am.
Danbury Police will be jogging toward Bethel, starting at 9:50am.
Before starting their portion of the Torch Run, Bethel Police will host a Tip-A-Cop event at the Dunkin Donuts on Grassy Plain St from 7am-10am. Bethel Police will then take over around 10:50am from Timber Oak condos along Routes 53 and 302 to Newtown.
Newtown Police will take the torch from Bethel officers in the area of Dodgintown Market. They, along with officers from Garner Correctional will travel along Route 302 toward Queen Street and Church Hill Road. The torch will be passed to State Police Troop A at the Blue Colony Diner.
The event is a way to raise awareness and funds for Special Olympics of Connecticut. The Newtown Police Department has raised over $4,500 for Special Olympics through an adopt a mile program.
Administrators and teachers at Pembroke Elementary School in Danbury are campaigning for a new playground with equipment to accomodate students with special needs or disabilities. Pembroke has one classroom at each grade level devoted to children with special needs. The school has set up a go fund me page for donations.
Teacher Leigh Viviano has spearheaded the project to rebuild the playground at a cost of $150,000. That figure includes the cost of new equipment and its installation, removing the old equipment, grading and drainage. The play area fills with water sometimes, to the point where teachers set out cones and yellow caution tape to keep students away.
A playground with Childscapes in Massachusetts will include a sensory garden, similar to an existing model at Rogers Park playground. It would also include a safety rock-climbing wall and spinners, in addition to newer playscapes. The new playground design includes platforms that are wheelchair-accessible. T
he closest accessible playgrounds are at Ballard Park in Ridgefield and one in Brookfield, so this playground would be open to anyone after school and on the weekends. The school has set up a website, www.pembrokeplayground.com, for tax-deductible donations, and a GoFundMe page.
There is a giant Uncle Sam statue in Lake George, which once was featured at the Danbury Fair. Mayor Mark Boughton plans to ask the City Council next month to authorize bringing Uncle Sam back to Danbury and setting him up in a prominent location. The statue is 40 feet tall and considered the largest in the world. Boughton says he's been negotiating with a seller for several months, but did not disclose the estimated price. He plans to set up a Go Fund Me page and a related 501(c)(3) nonprofit to accept contributions toward the cost.
(Photo: Mayor Boughton)
The State Board of Education has authorized waivers for Ridgefield and Danbury to the mandate of having 180 days of schools, but that approval comes with a caveat. Danbury will be granted two different waivers.
Hayestown and Pembroke Elementary and Broadview Middle schools will fall two days short of the requirement, so next school year will have to be 182 days long. The other schools in the Danubry District will go 181 days next year.
Ridgefield will only have 179 this school years and therefore the High School must hold 181 days of classes next school year. The Superintendent considered holding classes on Memorial Day for 10th through 12th graders, who are the only ones not meeting the 180 rule, but there were concerns about buses transporting students on a parade day so it was not a viable option as a makeup day. There also was not likely enough staff available to safely supervise students on Memorial Day.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has agreed to perform a preliminary damage assessment in Connecticut. State officials requested FEMA to come in an look at damage from multiple tornadoes and other severe weather last month. Completion of the assessment is the next step in submitting a formal request for a disaster declaration. Senator Richard Blumenthal says after seeing firsthand the extreme destruction in Brookfield and New Fairfield last month, he can say with certainty that Connecticut has a strong case for federal aid. Blumenthal remains in touch with local, state and federal leaders about the state’s request.
Donation of half an acre of open space land in Ridgefield is up for a public hearing tonight.
The wetlands parcel off Lakeside Drive borders nearly 6 acres of town-owned open space. The Planning and Zoning Commission and the Conservation Commission both have recommended accepting the land.
It's assessed at about $140,000, but there's about $40,000 in outstanding taxes and interest owed. If the land is accepted, it will become tax exempt. According to the Ridgefield Press, the owner's daughter said Orlando Romero stopped paying taxes in 2009 after offering the land as a donation and believed that he no longer owned it.
Tonight's hearing is at 7:30pm at Ridgefield Town Hall. A town meeting will then be scheduled for June 20th at 7:30pm.
While the New Fairfield Drop Off Center will continue to accept brush from storm damage at no charge through Saturday, the facility is nearing capacity for storage. First Selectman Pat Del Monaco says they have to keep the brush piles in tact until they have been inspected by FEMA. The Drop Off Center will no longer be accepting large volume of brush. Town officials are reaching out to contractors about doing roadside pick up, but the process has to be done within federal procurement guidelines in order to be eligible for FEMA reimbursement, if aid becomes available.
The milling and repaving of Route 6 in Carmel have begun. The first phase will repair Route 6 from Reed Library to Route 312. The second phase will repair Route 6 at Willow Road to Route 52 at Route 301. The work will be done in sections, with the first phase expected to take two to three weeks to complete. The second phase of the repaving project is expected to begin in the late summer or early fall. Brewster officials are cautioning drivers to be prepared for some traffic inconveniences, loud noises, dust and dirt.
Members of the Danbury Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team have cleaned up several areas of the City which were overrun with litter and illegally dumped bulky debris. Volunteers who needed community service hours along with participants in the Clean Start Program cleaned up construction debris on a hill side on Mill Plain Road, and dozens of bags of litter on Newtown Road, Lake Avenue and the Broad Street cul de sac.
The New Milford tax and spending plan will go back to the Town Council for further revisions. During yesterday's referendum, residents narrowly voted for the municipal funding, but rejected the school plan. That sent the $101.5 million package back to the drawing board. Mayor Pete Bass will be calling a special Town Council meeting tomorrow at 6:30pm. When the budget failed the first time, the Town Council decided to leave school spending in tact, in part because the state budget ended up including more funding than anticipated. Some Council members were concerned that the state aid could still be revoked.
Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company is postponing their Annual Fund Drive Campaign from this coming Sunday and Monday, to the fall. It will be held September 16th and 17th. Department leaders says after a grueling few weeks of storm cleanup, emergency responses, and assisting members and neighbors with disaster needs, they need time to rest and recover.
The clean up effort is continuing in Brookfield.
The firefighters have thanked residents for their support and generosity during the macroburst.
Chief Wayne Gravius and President Paul Corsak say the storm initiated the largest single-event emergency response in Connecticut’s history. 68 Brookfield fire and EMS volunteers and 74 Connecticut Fire Departments responded to an unprecedented number calls for emergency assistance. Brookfield volunteers logged 2,934 hours in response.
The Department of Transportation is hosting a public information meeting tonight in Wilton about a proposal to improve safety and on Route 106 at Belden Hill Road. The concept calls for replacing the existing all-way stop with a roundabout, and widening of the roadway at the four approaches. A design presentation followed by a question and answer session will be held at 7pm at the Trackside Teen Center. Plans of the proposed project will be on display for public review, and are also available at Wilton Town Hall in the Town Clerk’s Office.
The Bethel Police Department will be holding a Car Seat Clinic on Sunday. The department has 4 Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians. They will work with parents and caregivers to ensure car seats are installed and used properly. The Clinic will be held, by appointment only, at the Stony Hill Fire Department.
New Milford residents are voting for the second time on a budget proposal for the coming fiscal year. The Town Council reduced the municipal portion of the tax and spending plan, keeping the education funding in tact. $492,000 from the unassigned fund will be used for tax relief. The new proposed budget will raise taxes 2.6 percent, down from a proposed 3.87 percent tax rate hike.
New Milford was awarded $1.5 million more than anticipated in state aid for the schools.
The Fire Department Capital budget was reduced by $ 25,000, the Sullivan Farm expense for the Youth Agency was dropped by $20,000 and $40,000 was cut from the New Milford VNA. Youth Agency materials and supply line item was cut by $2,500 while the Maxx self sustaining line was reduced $10,000.
The Region 12 school budget goes back to voters in Bridgewater, Roxbury and Washington today. The budget was revised downward by about $165,000 to $21.8 million. The proposed plan is nearly 2-percent higher than current spending. Residents in Bridgewater and Washington approved the first budget, but more Roxbury residents voted in opposition causing the plan to fail by about 30 ballots. The main drivers of school budgets across the region are health insurance premiums, special education funding and personnel, coupled with a decline in state aid.
The Alternative Center for Excellence in Danbury is getting a new principal. John Webber will begin in the role starting July 1st. Webber began his 14-year teaching career as a biology teacher at ACE, and was the District’s Teacher of the Year for the 2016-17 school year. Webber is a Danbury High School graduate who earned his bachelor degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, a master’s degree from the University of Bridgeport, and a sixth-year degree in Education Administration from Sacred Heart University.
An overhaul of the Danbury Library parking lot is complete. There are now more spaces and an improved traffic flow. Library Director Katie Pearson says the work will not only allow more patrons to park at the facility, but to get around in a safer way.
There is now only a single entrance from Bank Street into the parking lot. The old parking configuration featured three entrances; one for the Book Drop and staff parking, one for main parking, and a third for overflow patron parking with the second half of that lot reserved for staff.
There are still some finishing touches left to do like planting trees and putting up signs, but the lot is open and available for use. The outside book drops have not been moved back to the parking lot and remain on the front plaza.
(Photo: Danbury Library)
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