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Local Headlines Archives for 2018-07

New Milford looks into fencing, gates at Lynn Deming

New Milford officials are looking into new ways to stop people from illegally entering Lynn Deming Park without a permit.  Mayor Pete Bass says the town is getting estimates for a fence on the northern side of the  park.  An enhanced gate system at the Guard Shack is also being looked into.  Police will continue enhanced Patrols of Lynn Deming, as well as Addis Park, to ensure park rules are followed.  

Danbury Officer claims civilian 911 dispatch caused response delays to his ambush

A Danbury Police Officer who was ambushed and beaten in 2016 has filed a lawsuit against the private company responsible for the City's 911 dispatch center.  According to the Newstimes, the court records show 363 complaints were filed in Danbury against IXP in the first five months of operations in 2015. 


Officer Joe Pooler claims in the suit that the complaint illustrate a pattern of behavior that caused him to be hurt even more.  At the time of the incident, department officials reported that dispatchers assigned Pooler to respond his own assault and had location issues in getting information to other officers.


The New Jersey company was hired in a money saving move, with civilians manning the 911 system so officers could get back on the street. 


According to the filing in the lawsuit, the company knew of a number of issues and failed to properly train staff to fix them.  Pooler's attorney told the Newstimes that the volume of complaints elevates the issue from negligence to reckless indifference.

GOP candidates for the 5th Congressional District debate

There was a debate last night between the three Republicans on the primary ballot for the 5th Congressional District. 
The candidates were asked if they agree with the gun reforms enacted in Connecticut in response to the shootings at Sandy Hook School. GOP endorsed candidate Manny Santos said he is not in favor of them.  Rich Dupont did not agree with the laws passed by the General Assembly.  Ruby Corby O'Neill, who is a developmental psychologist, said it was good that passage of the reforms started a conversation about mental health, school safety, and gun trafficking.  But she says those are the only three things that should remain.  
All three said it's not about the guns, it's about the people.
One topic was the tax cuts approved by Congress.  Santos says he understands why some people don't like the cap on state and local deductions.  He added that the legislature should work on reducing the cost of living in Connecticut.  Corby O'Neill says the bill will help people on a fixed-income because it gave 75 utility companies have the ability to cut their rates.  Dupont, who works in the energy industry, countered that it may apply in other parts of the country but not in Connecticut or the 5th District.
Santos said he would have voted for having work requirements for Medicaid.  He said getting training or showing an active job search would have also been good.  Corby O'Neill agreed and went further saying income thresholds should be examined.  Dupont said programs that incentivize people to stay home by taking care of them need to change.

Dump truck strikes utility lines, overturns

A dump truck overturned in Danbury, closing Plumtrees Road for a  while.  Police responded to the accident around 10am yesterday.  A dump truck exiting a business, with its dump bed extended, struck the overhead power lines.  A utility pole broke, bringing down the lines and causing the truck to tip over.  The driver was transported to the hospital for treatment of injuries sustained in the accident.  A passenger was checked by EMS at the scene.  


New Assistant Fire Chief appointed in Ridgefield

The Ridgefield Fire Department has a new Assistant Chief.  Mickey Grasso has been named to the position.  Ridgefield Professional Firefighters say they are extremely confident that his many years of service to the department will serve him well.  They added that members are looking forward to working with him to strengthen the department for Ridgefield residents.

Bethel registrars to hold voter sign up session today

The Bethel Registrar of Voters will conduct a Registration and Party Enrollment Session today.  Voter Registration applications now available in the Registrar or Town Clerk's office.  This Session will be held in the Registrar's office from 2pm to 4pm. 
The cut-off date for mail in registration and Party enrollment before the Primary is August 9th.  The cut-off date for conducting business in-person is noon on August 13th.  There is no same-day registration for primaries, only general elections in November. 
Connecticut has a closed primary system, meaning only registered Democrats can vote for Democrats and registered Republicans can vote for Republican candidates.  Online Voter Registration can be found at

Praxair reports progress on merger, Danbury approves tax abatement ordinance

Danbury-based Praxair is reporting progress on a proposed merger with Linde AG.  Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steve Angel says they gained additional regulatory approvals.  Praxair has agreed to sell the majority of their European business in an efforts to gain approval. 


Meanwhile, the Danbury City Council this month approved an ordinance that would abate 50-percent personal property taxes for information technology in a qualified data center for three years.  Praxair asked for this kind of abatement, but the ordinance can't be tailored to the company.  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.

Brookfield firefighters caution residents about solicitation phone scam

Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company is warning residents of a fundraising scam.  It's been brought to their attention that there is a  group or groups soliciting donations via phone in the area.  The Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company does not ask for donations by phone or email.  Every year 3 to 4 mailings are sent out on Company letterhead, with a return addressed envelope enclosed.  Firefighters do go door to door the second weekend of June, which was delayed until September this year due to the may severe weather. Residents and business owners are advised not to give out any personal or financial information over the phone.

New Milford officials tout successful Village Fair Days, despite rain

Village Fair Days in New Milford had to be closed for about an hour on Friday due to a rain storm with high winds.   Mayor Pete Bass opened Town Hall for people to wait out the storm.  The two day event put on by the Chamber of Commerce included a road race, car show, and pie eating contest among other features.
Danbury Railroad Museum and Housatonic Railroad were featured during New Milford Village Fair Days over the weekend.  They brought the car known as Bud to the Chapin Railroad Station, Gallery 25. 
Bass says it was great to see a commuter rail car in New Milford as the town continues to explore bringing passenger rail back to New Milford.

Democratic 5th Congressional District hopefuls debate in Newtown

Another town hall forum has been held between the two women seeking to be the Democratic nominee in the 5th Congressional District in November.  Endorsed candidate Mary Glassman and primary challenge Johanna Hayes were Edmond Town Hall in Newtown yesterday.  There was a standing room only crowd in attendance as the pair answered questions on marriage equality, health care, gun reforms and education.  The primary is on August 14th.  There are also three Republicans squaring off in a primary for the seat being vacated by Elizabeth Esty.  She opted not to seek reelection amid a controversy over her handling of a sexual assault case involving her former Chief of Staff.

Registration open for new Danbury public school students

Danbury Public Schools Central Registration Office is now open for new students to register for school.  The office on Osborne Street is open late on Wednesdays, until 6:30pm, and is also open on the second Saturday of each month.  All students new to the Danbury district should register by August 17th in order to be able to start the first day of school on the 31st.

Another rescue made at Lynn Deming Park

There was another rescue made at Lynn Deming Park in New Milford.  A lifeguard saved a 17-year old who got tired while swimming back from the dock yesterday afternoon.  There have been about half a dozen rescues made at the town park so far this season.  That prompted some safety changes, including stepped up patrols of the wooded area to prevent people from walking in.

Bethel officials sign contract renewal for ambulance service

Western Connecticut Health Network has proposed services for the Bethel paramedic program.  The Board of Selectmen has authorized the Town Attorney to negotiate a three year renewal agreement.  Bethel is currently subsidizing the paramedic program at a cost of $275,000.  Emergency Medical Services Commission member Tom Galliford gave some more details to the Board.  
Galliford says 2017 was a record year, with over a 1,000 calls.
He noted that the bid from Danbury Ambulance did not include a backup paramedic, only one dedicated paramedic 24/7 365 days a year.  Bethel currently has a back up paramedic.  Galliford said that is an important consideration because Bethel works with Redding.  The Danbury Ambulance bid did have an option for regional response, but it was $100,000 more.  
Selectman Paul Szatkowski raised a concern about the arrangement with the neighboring town.  First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker noted that there is an update to the agreement.  He says Redding officials have agreed, in writing, to share a prorated cost of the three vehicles and the cost for maintenance, fuel and insurance.  Call volume for Redding was about 22-percent and Redding will be invoiced yearly for their share.

Firefighter grants awarded to Danbury, New Milford volunteer companies

Two area volunteer fire departments are receiving federal funding.  Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty announced the FEMA Assistance to Firefighter Grants for new trucks.  Padanaram Hose Company in Danbury was awarded $125,000 for a pumper truck.  Water Witch Hose Company in New Milford is receiving $909,000 for a tower ladder truck.  Esty says the equipment will help firefighters do their jobs safely and effectively.  

Ridgefield to allow food trucks at breweries, wineries

The Ridgefield Board of Selectmen has signed off on an ordinance approved at a town meeting to allow mobile food vendors to park for extended periods at breweries and wineries.  The proposal was requested by Nod Hill Brewery, which circulated a petition to allow mobile food vendors at their Route 7 location.  The exception would require the food truck to be on the same property as the brewery or winery and that it operate in the same “general hours” as the business.  Other food trucks can only park in one spot in Ridgefield for 15 minutes.

New Milford Mayor gives update on road projects

New Milford Mayor Pete Bass has given an update on the Still River Rotary.  The concrete testing passed and the contractor will be back out, weather permitting, to finish up on the current work side of the rotary.  The contractor will then switch the traffic flow to work on the opposite side of the Rotary and begin that work. New Milford Public Works will be involved in traffic coordination prior to the switch.  The Bid for the Long Mountain and Squire Hill Road projects have been awarded. Signs for construction will be placed on the roads this week. The anticipated Long Mountain ground breaking is estimated for August.  Bass says a more definitive timeline will be given after the initial construction meeting, being held in the next few weeks. 

Annual Brewster Fire Department parade held this week

The annual Brewster Fire Department Parade was held this week.  Members of the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office participated in the parade of local and regional first responders.  Squantz Engine Company of the New Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department took home the gold from the Parade for Best Pumper 10 years or younger.  Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Department was awarded the 2nd Best Out of State Trophy.

Brookfield Selectmen hold coffee hours today

A Meet the Selectmen Coffee has been scheduled in Brookfield.  First Selectman Steve Dunn and Selectman Harry Shaker will be available this morning from 9 - 10:30am. at Jesters Coffee on Federal Road.  Residents can stop by with any questions, comments or concerns. 

Road projects in Monroe postponed to next week due to rain

Weather conditions did not allow for paving that the state had planned this week on Route 111 in Monroe. The Department of Transportation bumped the work to next week, starting Tuesday.  Work is planned from 7am-5pm each day.   Drivers are cautioned to expect delays and lane closures on Route 111 from the area of the roundabout to Masuk High School.  Due to the uncertain weather forecast next week, schedules are subject to change.
The state Department of Transportation is going to replace two culverts in Monroe and raise the road on Route 25.  The contractor will conduct a complete closure, currently scheduled from August 3rd at 8pm through Monday August 6th at 6am. 
While traffic will be detoured onto Pepper Street and Old Newtown Road, truck traffic will not be permitted on local roads.  Trucks will be detoured to Routes 111 and 34.  This is the first of three  weekend closures planned this year. Additional dates have not yet been finalized. Access to all local businesses will remain during the road shutdown. Due to the uncertain weather forecast next week, schedules are subject to change.

Lawsuit settlement has Danbury considering law to regulate grease disposal

A Danbury City Council committee is considering an ordinance to regulate disposal of fats, oils and grease into the sewer system.  The ordinance stems from a lawsuit settlement.  The Connecticut Fund for the Environment filed a suit in 2016 over allegations Danbury discharged raw, untreated sewage into local streams.  
The City has since reported sewage discharges to the state and developed a program to inspect, clean and maintain the wastewater collection system.  The last piece of the agreement is this program to stop food establishments from releasing fats, oils and grease into the sewage system.  FOG can clog pipes and present a significant problem for the wastewater treatment plant.  FOG can also cause sanitary sewer blockages and overflows.  
The EPA notified Danbury this month that the other parts of the settlement have been achieved.
The City has had a form of inspections under 2005 general permit laws.  Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola says they always intended to get an ordinance like this on the books, but was forced to do it quicker because of the lawsuit.
The suit alleged an an estimated 450,000 gallons of untreated sewage and stormwaters flooded into Limekiln Brook, the Still River, Beaver Brook and Padanaram Brook between 2011 and 2016.  The state later listed Limekiln Brook and Still River as needing special attention under the Water Quality Restoration Action Plan.  The EPA found violations of the Clean Water Act.  Danbury agreed to pay $100,000 to settle the lawsuit, pay the legal costs of the environmental group and implement a number of changes.
Iadarola says the ordinance and the fee structure has been modeled after laws in other municipalities.  He notes that this proposal formally gives City inspectors the right to go into an establishment and ensure they comply with the general permit.

New Fairfield asking for reports about leaning, damaged trees in town right-of-ways

Following a fatal falling tree accident in Danbury, New Fairfield officials are looking at damaged or leaning trees in an effort to prevent a similar accident. 
A 45-year old Danbury man was a passenger in a pick up truck that was struck by a tree on Padanaram Road/Route 37 on Tuesday.  It's unknown if the tree was weakened by the May 15th severe storms, or if it was simply old and the ground was over-saturated from all of the recent rain. 
New Fairfield officials are asking that any resident who lives on a town road to report damaged or leaning trees withing the Town right-of-way, typically 10 feet from the edge of the road.  Any New Fairfield resident living on a state road should also report the information, which will be forwarded to the state Department of Transportation.  Reports can be made via email:

State forester to examine trees along walking paths in Brookfield

A state Certified Forester has agreed to come to Brookfield this month to evaluate the damage in Williams Park.  Larry Rousseau, of the DEEP Western District, will look at some of the other open spaces with trails, if time permits.  He will be evaluating trails for public safety.  There is no cost for the evaluation.


After his review, Brookfield officials will begin making the trails safe for walking as quickly as possible.  In the meantime, residents are asked to stay away from any trails in wooded areas until they can be made safe.


It is safe to walk the trails away from the edges of the woods, in the fields at Burr Farm, Happy Landings and Williams/Gurski Park. The Still River Greenway is open between the downtown and the Police Station.  A plan is being crafted to clear the rest of the Greenway south of the Police Station. 

Southwestern Conn. leaders endorse Bysiewicz for Democratic LG position

Several elected leaders from Southwestern Connecticut are endorsing Susan Bysiewicz in her bid to be Democratic lieutenant governor nominee.  The former Secretary of the State is the endorsed candidate, but facing a challenge from Eva Bermudez Zimmerman of Newtown in the August 14th primary.  Several local elected officials made their endorsements of Bysiewicz at The Lounsbury House in Ridgefield yesterday.  They include the First Selectmen of Bethel, Brookfield, Bridgewater New Fairfield, Redding, Ridgefield, Sherman and Weston.  Danbury Representative Bob Godfrey, two New Milford Town Council members and New Fairfield Selectman Khris Hall also endorsed Bywiewicz.

New Milford VNA to hold 100th anniversary community thank you party

To celebrate 100 years of service to area communities, New Milford VNA & Hospice is hosting an Anniversary Party on the New Milford Green.  The event will take place rain or shine on August 3rd.  The event is from 4 to 10pm.  Executive Director Kerri Brinkerhoff says the centennial celebration is a way to say thank you to the community for supporting the organization over the last 100 years. 
Tickets are $15 per person, and includes food, music and other entertainment.  Water Witch Hose Company #2 is doing the cooking for the community appreciation event.  There will also be a Touch a Fire Truck, raffles and face painting.  
New Milford VNA & Hospice provides home care, hospice and public health services to people in the 17 towns in and around the New Milford and Greater Danbury area.  The organization was started in 1918 when a flu epidemic led to a number of deaths that surpasses all the military deaths in World War I and World War II combined.
Tickets can be purchased at the green on August 3rd, or in advance at the VNA office on Park Lane or online at  

Sherman Fire Department receives CO detector donation

The Sherman Volunteer Fire Department has received a donation of 60 carbon monoxide detectors to distribute to the community.  The department was named as one of First Alert’s “60 years of Thank Yous” winners.  First alert is celebrating their 60th anniversary.  The alarms are valued at over $2,000 dollars.

Bonding approved for severe weather response at state parks

The state Bond Commission has approved $750,000 in funding for the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection for alterations at state parks and recreational facilities.  The funds will finance restoration work of damage caused by the May 15th storms.  The Affected areas include, but are not limited to, Kettletown, Squantz Pond, Sleeping Giant, and Wharton Brook State Parks, the Naugatuck State Forest and sections of the Connecticut Blue Trail System.  It is anticipated that up to 75% of costs incurred will be provided by the federal government, pending approval of a federal disaster declaration.

FuelCell breaks ground on installation at Navy sub base

Danbury-based FuelCell Energy has broken ground on a project at the U.S. Navy Submarine Base in Groton.  The power generation project is intended to minimize carbon output while providing continuous power to the strategic military base.  The Navy continues to purchase power from CMEEC and Groton Utilities, who in turn purchases the power from FuelCell Energy under a 20 year power purchase agreement.  This pay-as-you-go structure allows the Navy to avoid a direct investment in owning the power plant which will be operated and maintained by FuelCell.

Ethan Allen: Fiscal 4Q Earnings Snapshot

Ethan Allen Interiors on Wednesday reported fiscal fourth-quarter net income of $11.5 million.  On a per-share basis, the Danbury-based company said it had net income of 42 cents. Earnings, adjusted for pretax expenses, were 43 cents per share. The results topped Wall Street expectations.  The home furnishings company posted revenue of $205.6 million in the period, also surpassing forecasts.  Ethan Allen shares have dropped 18 percent since the beginning of the year. In the final minutes of trading on Wednesday, shares hit $23.40, a decline of 25 percent in the last 12 months.

State Bond Commission approves controversial toll study

The State Bond Commission has given the go-ahead to a controversial study of tolls. 
 Wednesday's approval followed a lengthy discussion over whether Governor Dannel Malloy should have issued an executive order calling for the $10 million study. Malloy is not seeking re-election and critics say such a study should be left up to the next governor and General Assembly.  Malloy said that finding a vendor to do the study will take at least nine months. He says that means a new Governor and a new legislature can do whatever they please if they disagree with this action, before one dollar is spent.  
Malloy added that transportation project studies have been done in the past and questioned why money can’t be spent to understand how the state would actually fund those same projects over the next thirty years.  
Malloy also made a comparison to Indiana, run by a Republican legislature and governor.  He noted that Indiana recently spent the same amount on a toll feasibility study.  In making his case, Malloy also said that tolls can only be enacted by the legislature and the bond item would only study various options for raising revenue to pay for infrastructure improvements.
Danbury Representative David Arconti is on the record against tolls.  While he agreed action has to be taken to ensure transportation infrastructure meets the needs of state residents, Arconti says spending $10 million for a study is ill advised.  He believes the Governor is overstepping his authority and seeking an unnecessary allocation at taxpayer expense.
Kent Representative Brian Ohler called the executive order a side-step of  the public process and a blatant, malicious misuse of taxpayers dollars.
Danbury Representative Michael Ferguson says the study ignores the ‘will of the people’ who voiced loud opposition to tolling, and is a waste of tax dollars that could and should be spent on helping the state's most vulnerable residents. 
Brookfield Representative Stephen Harding said the money should be instead used for recovery from the May 15th storms.

Trees that pose falling risk could be taken down along Danbury streets

About four dozen trees in Danbury will be removed from along City streets because they could pose a falling risk.  The assessment and decision comes after a large tree fell and killed a passenger in a pick up truck on Padanaram Road on Tuesday.   Danbury likely isn't responsible for the tree that killed 45-year old Walter Cadenas Salinas, because Route 37 is owned by the state.  The Department of Transportation is looking into whether the tree was on private property or on the state's right of way.  The Danbury forestry division took down about 40 trees after the severe storm in May.  The Newstimes reports that the city assessors office said  it appears the property near where the tree was located is owned by Costwald of Danbury.  The developer plans to construct 37 single family units on property it owns near the brook.

Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission to review info from finalists

The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission will hold a special meeting next week.  Members are going through notes from the design presentations made last week.  During that meeting, Joel Bacon, father of 6-year old Charlotte, asked for the group's opinion on addressing the larger community and first responders, saying the designs don’t create a memorial for those still living.  The mission statement is for the commission is to recommend to the Board of Selectmen a memorial that remembers, honors and celebrates those 26 who died.  The meeting on the 30th will be held at 1pm.

Ridgefield Selectmen review proposed Charter revisions

The Ridgefield Board of Selectmen has reviewed a draft report from the Charter Revision Commission.  The proposals have been sent back to the Commission.  The Selectmen voted to keep the Inland Wetlands board as part of the Planning and Zoning Commission.  The draft report also recommends that the town treasurer and tax collector become appointed rather than elected positions.  Another suggested revision would require 2-percent of registered voters be present for the Annual Town Meeting to amend budget proposals.  A final report is due back to the Ridgefield Board of Selectmen by August 8th. 

Lauretti accuses Boughton of going back on petition drive promise

One-time GOP gubernatorial hopeful Mark Lauretti claims Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton went back on a promise to help with his primary petition drive.  The Hartford Courant reports that Lauretti said he made the deal at the May nominating convention, releasing his pledged delegates to Boughton, who went on to narrowly secure the party's nomination.  Boughton told the Courant that his volunteers helped collect more than 700 signatures for the Shelton mayor, and that he was one of those signatures.  Lauretti endorsed businessman Bob Stefanowski this week.  In the published report, Boughton accused Lauretti of being out golfing during the petition drive and called him bitter.

Newtown parents urge Facebook to act against hoax theorists

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The parents of one of the 20 children killed in the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting are asking Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to remove hateful and harassing comments posted by conspiracy theorists who say the shooting never happened.

Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa wrote Zuckerberg a letter published Wednesday in The Guardian. Their 6-year-old son, Noah, died in the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, which also claimed the lives of six educators.

Pozner and De La Rosa say Facebook should prohibit posts by conspiracy theorists who have been harassing and threatening them and relatives of other mass shooting victims.

A Facebook spokeswoman says the company acknowledges victims are vulnerable to offensive comments but it doesn't allow users to mock, harass or bully tragedy victims. 

Charter revisions proposed in Ridgefield

The Ridgefield Board of Selectmen is set to vote on a draft report by the Charter Revision  Commission.  One suggestions is that the Inland Wetlands Board be separated from the Planning and Zoning Commission.  Supporters say this will reduce potential conflicts of interest while opponents argue it would slow down the application process.  If approved, the Inland Wetlands Board would be made up of 7 elected members serving staggered four-year terms. 


Another suggested revision would require 2-percent of registered voters be present for the Annual Town Meeting to amend budget proposals.  The draft report also recommends that the town treasurer and tax collector become appointed rather than elected positions.  Ridgefield officials and board or commission members, who want to represent clients before a board or commission, would have to seek a waiver from the Board of Ethics under proposed beefed up ethics standards. 


One of the proposed revisions stemmed from an issue on election day.  Some candidates appeared on the ballot for multiple positions.  The recommended change is that a candidate cannot run for more than one office in a given election.


A final report is due back to the Ridgefield Board of Selectmen by August 8th.  Tonight's Board of Selectmen meeting is at 7:30pm.

GOP Connecticut governor candidates look to break out

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) All five Republican candidates for Connecticut governor are trying to break out from the large pack and differentiate themselves for voters, with the primary just three weeks away. 
 The two wealthy businessmen, who are mostly self-funding their campaigns, went on the offensive at Tuesday's debate at Sacred Heart University, going after one another's business experience. 
 Former Greenwich hedge fund manager David Stemerman is criticizing former General Electric executive Bob Stefanowski for working for a company that made pay day loans. Stefanowski is criticizing Stemerman for ``skimming money off of trading stocks.'' 
 Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, former Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst and Westport tech entrepreneur Steve Obsitnik argue they have the right experience and principles to run Connecticut. 
 Republican voters will choose their candidate for the general election on Aug. 14. 

Former Pitney Bowes division rebranded

BlueCrest, formerly Pitney Bowes Document Messaging Technologies has unveiled its new brand and logo at its global headquarters and technology center in Danbury.  The company was recently acquired by Platinum Equity. BlueCrest President and CEO Grant Miller says they are building on a global technology company that was founded on more than two decades of innovation in mail and document management.  BlueCrest helps clients, including some of the world's largest high-volume mailers, postal organizations and parcel logistics companies, drive operational efficiency and effectiveness. 

Public hearing in Ridgefield on allowing food trucks at brewery

A public hearing is being held in Ridgefield tonight on a petition allowing mobile food vendors to park for extended periods at breweries and wineries.  Food trucks can currently only park for 15 minutes at one spot.  Nod Hill Brewery circulated a petition to allow mobile food vendors at their Route 7 location.   According to the town charter, any petition signed by 2-percent or more of registered voters must be considered in a public hearing and town meeting within 45 days.   The exception to the current ordinance would require the food truck to be on the same property as the brewery or winery and that it operate in the same “general hours” as the business.  The public hearing and town meeting is set for 7:30pm.

Metro North to seek extension for installing Positive Train Control technology

Metro North is seeking more time to implement Positive Train Control technology.  The GPS-based technology is designed to automatically slow or stop trains that are going too fast and can take over control of a train when an engineer is distracted or incapacitated. 


Rail lines are required to have the technology installed by the end of this year. 


The MTA is working to get enough of the installation done by November to get an extension for Metro North and the Long Island Railroad.  The MTA is also looking to train enough employees to meet federal thresholds for an alternative schedule. 


The National Transportation Safety Board has been recommending using "automatic train control" after two Penn Central commuter trains collided in Darien in 1969, killing four and injuring 43.  The technology was mandated by Congress in 2008.  The Federal Railroad Administration previously authorized fines for railroads that do not comply with the federal safety statue.

Absentee ballots available for upcoming primaries

The Newtown Town Clerk will be holding a special absentee voting session on August 11th for the upcoming Primary.  Absentee ballots will be available in the Town Clerk’s Office beginning today.  Any person who is eligible to vote by absentee ballot may apply in person or by mail to the Newtown Town Clerk for an absentee ballot for the August 14 Republican and Democratic State and District Primary.  The special voting session on the 11th will be from 9am to noon.

Public information session in Newtown about proposed stream flow classifications

A Public Information Session is being held in Newtown tonight about proposed stream flow classifications for Western Connecticut.  Stream flow standards determine the amount of alterations which can occur along a stream.  Class 1, free flow, focusing on ecological health and Class 4, heavily altered stream flows, focusing on human uses such as recreation or hydropower.  Tonight's information session is at the Western Connecticut Council of Government's office at 1 Riverside Road in Sandy Hook.  It's scheduled for 6 to 8pm.  The comment period is open until September 21st.

Response time improves under changes to Ridgefield Fire Department

Response times have improved after staffing changes were made at the Ridgefield Fire Department.  The Ridgefield Press reports that the eight-man shift has meant faster response times and a reduction in the need for mutual aid.  Overtime did increase, but Ridgefield officials anticipated the cost.  The Press report of statistics showed a 7-percent faster  response.  Four platoons, of eight firefighters each, work 24-hour shifts, with two firefighters working 8am to 8pm, three days on and three days off.

Brookfield agrees to have Ventura Law provide legal service over opioid crisis

Brookfield has signed on to an agreement to have Ventura Law provide legal services to the town on opioid litigation.  The Danbury-based firm is providing legal service on behalf of other cities and governmental entities.  The services are being provided at no cost to the town.  Ventura Law is looking into the personal and economic loss faced in many locations. 


First Selectman Steve Dunn says representatives are already talking with Police Chief Jay Purcell and will reach out to Brookfield Cares.  Dunn noted that signing the agreement doesn't  obligate Brookfield to the litigation. 


The lawsuit could result in municipalities getting reimbursed for expenses related to the opioid crisis or a share of a general settlement, if one is reached. 


In making the argument for signing on with Ventura Law and not a bigger firm, Dunn said the local lawyers will be more responsive where as another firm doesn't know the town and the community.  He also noted that if they are finding that too much time taken up getting data to the law firm, Brookfield can withdraw from the agreement.

WCSU appoints dean for School of Arts & Sciences

Western Connecticut State University has appointed Dr Michelle  Brown as dean of the Macricostas School of Arts and Sciences.  Brown, who began her new position on Monday, assumes administrative responsibility as dean for a school that is home to 13 academic departments in the sciences and liberal arts, offering a total of 21 undergraduate majors and five graduate majors. Brown has been a member of the faculty at Shenandoah University in Virginia since 2010, serving from 2014 to 2017 as English department chair and since June 2017 as university fellow for academic excellence and a member of the university's senior academic leadership team. She received her Ph.D. in English in 2008 from the University of Maryland at College Park.

Household hazardous waste collection day Saturday in Brookfield

Several area towns will be participating in a household hazardous waste collection being held this weekend in Brookfield.  Residents in Bethel, Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, Newtown and Ridgefield can drop off items on Saturday at Brookfield High School.  Residents of other towns in the Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority region, Bridgewater, Kent, New Milford, Redding or Sherman, can pre-register for the collection day, which runs from 9am to 2pm.  A complete list of items that will be accepted on Saturday can be found on the HRRA website.

Area firefighters rescue ducklings from storm drain, cat from tree

Ducklings and a cat were rescued by local fire departments in the last few days. 


On Friday morning, Danbury firefighters were called to Barclay Commons to help a family of ducks that were stuck in a storm drain.  In total 8 baby ducks were rescued and returned to their mother. 



(Photos: DFD)


On Saturday morning, Brookfield firefighters say they responded to one of the oldest calls in the book: a cat stuck in a tree.  It was decided the best way to help the cat was with Engine 1's ladder truck.  Firefighters successfully rescued the cat and he was turned over to a neighbor who agreed to bring him to the Brookfield Animal Hospital for potential identification. 



(Photos: Brookfield Fire)

New Fairfield starts storm debris collection on private roads

New Fairfield officials have announced the start of storm debris clean up from private roads.   Supreme Industries will begin removing brush from Candlewood Knolls and Candlewood Isle this week. Crews plan to work Tuesday through Friday to avoid weekend traffic. Work will continue northward along the lake to the Sherman town line.  This schedule will not impact Supreme Industries clean up effort on town roads as previously scheduled.

DOT to conduct roadwork this week in Redding, Monroe

A guiderail replacement project in Redding started today.  The existing guiderail on scenic Route 53 from the Weston-Redding town line all the way to Route 107 will be replaced. The work is expected to wrap up by August 24th. The project is being fully paid for with state funding.  A public informational meeting was not held because the work is considered routine maintenance. 


The State Department of Transportation will be paving on Route 111 in Monroe tomorrow through Thursday. Work is planned from 7am-5pm each day. The schedule is subject to weather conditions.  The DOT says drivers can expect delays and lane closures on Route 111 from the area of the roundabout to Masuk High School. Traffic control personnel and signing patterns will be used to guide motorists through the work zone.

New Milford volunteers pack lunches for kids in need

Earlier this summer, New Milford Mayor Pete Bass announced a plan to provide lunches to children in need.  More than 1,400 lunches and 542  weekend packages were assembled this weekend.  Bass thanked the volunteers, Clergy, and Angie Chastain for making the program a success.  There are still five weeks before the school free and reduce priced lunch program kicks back in, and Bass says there's still a need.  The program is totally funded by donations and run by volunteers.

New Milford school sports, parking to have lower fees than anticipated

A spreadsheet error means New Milford schools reduced the budget for this fiscal year by 50,000 more than needed.  That means parking fees and pay to play will be reduced.  The Board of Education announced at their meeting last week that the proposed parking fee of $225 will now be $215.  Pay to Play was set to be $125 per athlete with a $500 family cap, but it will now be $75 and a $300 cap.  The fees, among other changes, were made to meet a $1.2 million difference from the proposed budget and what was approved by voters.

Brookfield removes 50,000 cubic yards of storm debris from right-of-ways

Governor Malloy sent the State application for financial assistance to FEMA earlier this month and FEMA will send its recommendation to the President, who makes the final decision on whether to declare Brookfield and the state a disaster area. First Selectman Steve Dunn says they expect an answer by the end of August.  Brookfield has completed cleanup of the town right-of-way, removing 50,000 cubic yards of debris in 19 days. Debris is being chipped to prepare for transport to a final destination.  Brookfield public works crews will be handling ongoing cleanup, so residents are being asked for patience as workers balance their daily responsibilities with storm cleanup. 

Newtown to reapply for Judicial Branch grant funding

Newtown receives funding under a State Judicial Branch Office of Victim Services grant.  Since additional funding has been secured for another round of grant money, the state decided to end current grants early and allow everyone the opportunity to reapply.  The Newtown Board of Selectmen signed off on applying for additional funding from the state.  Newtown Youth & Family Services applies for their own funding. 


First Selectman Dan Rosenthal says the current grant funds the victim liaison, a survivor care navigator and the Resiliency Center of Newtown among other entities.  There is also a component for the schools. 


Rosenthal says the benefit to reapplying is that the town can better align services, especially as the children who were at Sandy Hook School that day age through the system.  Newtown currently receives just under $500,000 and the new grant could be about $540,000.

WCSU to host telescope viewings of Mars

West Conn is hosting special telescope viewings of Mars tonight.  The rooftop observation deck of the Science Building on the midtown campus will be open from 10pm to midnight.  Viewings are also scheduled for July 27th and 30th as well as August 4th.  Mars will be at its closest approach to the Earth and highest magnitude of brightness since 2003.  Mars will shine brighter than any other object in the sky, except Venus and the moon.  Observations will not be offered if significant cloud cover prevents telescope viewing.

Inaugural Medal of Honor Parade today in Carmel

Over 300 flags with the names of Veterans line the shore of Lake Gleneida in Putnam County.  The Row of Honor will remain up through today, when the inaugural Medal of Honor Parade will pass by them. The parade, which begins at 1pm, will launch from Paladin Center on Seminary Hill Road and end at the corner of Route 52 and Fair Street in Carmel.  With a $100 donation, the name of your loved one can appear on a flag. People can sponsor a flag with the name of a loved one and a 100-dollar donation, with proceeds going toward Veterans Peer-to-Peer projects.

Area lawmakers tout open space preservation

New Milford state Senator Criag Miner and Kent Representative Brian Ohler have celebrated the preservation of open space in Norfolk.  The 240 acre Vagliano forest will be preserved. 
26 towns in northwest Connecticut lie within the designated region of the federal Highlands Conservation Act.  The measure represents a sixth of the entire land protection budget of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Between 2008 and 2017, it has brought more than $8 million to Connecticut and saved more than 1,630 acres. Connecticut leverages every federal dollar more than 3 to 1 in matching state, municipal and private funding. 
Tim Abbott and Lynn Werner of the Housatonic Valley Association were praised furing a celebratory check presentation for their commitment to the environment, overall.

Brookfield Board of Ed committee discusses school building, renovation

The Brookfield Board of Education Strategic Facilities Committee is suggesting a way forward to addressing issues with the buildings.  The Newstimes reports that the Committee wants to further explore building a new Huckleberry Hill Elementary School and renovations to Whisconier Middle School, turning Center School over to the town.  This would be done by having 5th graders move into the elementary school and pre-k and first grade in Huckleberry.  The current building would be demolished and a new school built on the same site.  The proposal would be a 62-million dollar project.  Whisconier renovations are estimated at 38-point-3 million.  A final recommendation could be made at the Board of Ed's August meeting.

New Milford to install benches, tabletop games leading to riverwalk

New Milford is one of the 129 grantees nationwide receiving funds through an AARP Livable Communities’ grant program.  AARP Community Challenge ‘quick action’ grant awardees will use the money to fund innovative projects to inspire change and improvements.  New Milford Mayor Pete Bass says the town's project will provide park benches and game top tables along a walking route from the downtown to the riverwalk.  Bass hopes this will encourage walking and multigenerational social engagement. 

Brookfield Craft Center receives $143,000 in grant funding

The Brookfield Craft Center has received $100,000 in grant money. Executive Director Howard Lasser says a foundation, which wanted to remain anonymous, committed to the same donation in each of the next two years.  The Craft Center also received $43,000 in other donations for several initiatives.  Some of the overall funding will be used to fund a position that is part "Artist in Residence" and part Education Director. 
The "Center for Modern Craft" will also be outfitted to provide classes in 3D printing, digital photography and other digital skills.  Other grant funding will pay for a patio in front of the Mill building.  Money will also go toward scholarships and youth programs. 
The $43,000 in donations comes from Iroquois Gas Transmission Systems, Maximillian E. & Marian O. Hoffman Foundation Inc., Give Back Brands Foundation, The Womens Club of Danbury / New Fairfield, Savings Bank of Danbury, and Lions Club of Brookfield.  The State of Connecticut Supporting Arts Grant program also contributed to the funding pool.

Brush removal in New Fairfield ahead of schedule

Storm debris pick up in New Fairfield is again ahead of schedule.  Crews will begin working through the Ball Pond area today.  It's designated as the brown zone on a map released by the town.  New Fairfield officials asked that residents have brush within the right-of-way for pick up.  A copy of the map with colored zones for pick up can be found on the New Fairfield town website or by clicking this link.


Aquatic Invasive Species inspections on Candlewood Lake this weekend

Connecticut will mark its third Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Weekend by partnering with the Candlwood Lake Authority on education and inspection sessions.  DEEP is encouraging boaters this weekend to take steps to prevent the spread of invasive plants and animals.  DEEP staff will be at the Lattins Cove and Squantz Cove boat launches on Candlewood Lake, educating boaters about clean and safe boating practices and conducting Aquatic Invasive Species inspections.


DEEP staff will be at the launches from about 7am to 3pm Saturday and Sunday. 


Many aquatic invasive plants form dense mats just under the water surface, which can be hazardous to recreational boaters and swimmers.  Zebra mussels, a problematic invader, have colonized several lakes and ponds in Western Connecticut. 


DEEP encourages boaters to use the Clean, Drain, Dry method to help prevent the spread of invasive species among water bodies.  The method involves a boat inspection to remove aquatic plants and animals as well as mud or other debris from the vessel.  Boaters should then drain any water collected from that water body.  The boat should then dry for a minimum of 1 week in hot/dry weather or 4 weeks in cool/wet weather. 


Fishing gear and shoes should also be put through these steps.

CityCenter Danbury names new executive director

CityCenter Danbury has named Betsy Paynter as the new executive director of the downtown development district. She has been economic and community development manager for the town of Brookfield for the past year. Before that, the Danbury native held the economic development job in Newtown. Paynter starts on August 1st and will report to the CityCenter Board of Commissioners. She was touted for her experience in relationship building, event planning, grant writing, small business development, creative management and marketing outreach.  Paynter is credited with being a central player in Brookfield’s development of the new Town Center retail and residential development to revitalize the area known as the Four Corners. She takes over for PJ Prunty, who now leads the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce.

Redding residents weigh in on poll about plastic bag ban idea

Redding residents voting in a poll on the town's Facebook page overwhelmingly said they would support a ban on plastic shopping bags.  The week-long poll garnered more than 700 votes, with 76-percent in favor and 24-percent opposed. 


First Selectman Julia Pemberton said in the posting that it was being conducted as a way to gather feedback from a large number of people. 


Westport was the first to ban plastic bags in Connecticut, followed by Greenwich--though there is an exception for grocery stores.  Pemberton noted that paper may have more of a carbon footprint, but plastic has long lasting impacts and there is no one right answer. 


She says Redding has been at the forefront of the environmental movement with open space preservation and a commitment to clean water.  Permberton noted that most businesses in town use paper.  She added that businesses would have to be part of the future discussion because town officials don't want to make it more costly to do business in Redding.

Lakes Awareness Week marked in Connecticut

This was Lakes Awareness Week in Connecticut.  Danbury State Representative David Arconti requested the proclamation from the State. 


He says in western Connecticut and across the State, lakes, ponds, and reservoirs are some of the most important natural resources.  Arconti says it's important to find more ways to support them and groups like the Connecticut Federation of Lakes, who advocate on behalf of inland water resources. 


The Candlewood Lake Authority hosted an on-the-water meeting yesterday.  Representatives from several lakes briefed Arconti and New Milford State Senator Craig Minor on the current status of these issues and on the efforts locally to address them.


Candlewood Lake turns 90 this year.  The man-made lake was created in 1928. 


The Connecticut Federation of Lakes says often AIS are introduced into Connecticut lakes by boaters that unknowingly transport invasive aquatic plant fragments on boat propellers, in bilges, or on trailers. 


CLA Chairman Phyllis Schaer says shoreline development and recreational uses contribute to added stress that can affect water quality and the health of lakes.  But she noted that this can be counteracted by good lake stewardship practices to minimize erosion and restore shoreline vegetation where ever possible.  

Danbury Fire Department receives donation of ATV

The Danbury Fire Department has received a donation of an all-terrain vehicle for search and rescue operations.  The ATV was donated by Enbridge, which owns  the Algonquin natural gas pipeline that runs through Danbury.  Fire officials say they realized the need for this type of equipment after an avid mountain biker went missing in Farrington Woods and was founded dead after a day of searching.  Another fire department loaned their ATV to Danbury for the search.  The ATV can hold four passengers and performs better than the department's John Deere Gator, which works best on flat surfaces.  It also can hold several gallons of water for response to brush fires, and is equipped with GPS tracking and a communications system.

Partial bridge replacement project underway in Danbury

The Danbury Public Works Department is doing a partial bridge replacement along Jefferson Avenue.  The bridge was inspected and it was determined that the decking was in poor condition.  A contractor is removing the poured slab deck and a new one will be poured. 


Director Antonio Iadarola says there are no hydraulic opening issues and the current size will be maintained.  The project has to be done within 120 days and the department is confident that it will be done in a third of that time. 


Councilman Duane Perkins asked if there's been any major flooding in that area and if the Department plans to do any other engineering work around the bridge as part of the project. Iadarola says the rubble retaining walls on either side of the bridge are in good shape so the restoration work there will be minimal.  He didn't address whether or not there has been a flooding issue.

Report: Independent Party court battle could determine gubernatorial endorsement

Two factions of Connecticut’s Independent Party have been fighting in court for the last two years over a number of issues, including cross-endorsements.  The Courant reports that a state Superior Court Judge is expected to rule soon on a 2016 lawsuit about leadership, rules and candidate nominations.  The leader of the Waterbury wing led by Michael Telesca, call the Danbury faction a  kangaroo caucus, run only by Mayor Mark Boughton.  The GOP endorsed gubernatorial candidate denied the claim.  The Independent Party has been a way for Republicans to counter the second ballot line of Democrats cross-endorsed by the Working Families Party.  Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, who didn't get enough petition signatures to be on the primary ballot, told the Courant he could seek the Independent Party's endorsement.  The party has about 25-thousand registered members.

Substance in Pootatuck River deemed nontoxic

Some Newtown residents alerted officials about a milky substance in the Pootatuck River last week.  The Newtown Bee reports the small bloom was determined to be nontoxic and not harmful to the trout stream.  The milky substance was spotted near Commerce Road last Tuesday.  Deputy Director of Planning Rob Sibley told the Bee that the small plume came up after nontoxic substances were forced out of a blocked curtain drain at St Rose of Lima Church during a storm water system replacement project.  The pumped out and discolored water ran into the river.

Newtown Planning Commission considers Curtis Corporate Park proposal

The Newtown Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a meeting about a proposal for Curtis Corporate Park at their July 19th meeting.  A Bethel firm has proposed an industrial building for four tenants on a one acre lot at 3 Turnberry Lane.  The lot is within the town’s Aquifer Protection District so the application will be examined to see whether an aquifer protection review is required.  The single-story 8,300-square-foot structure would be served by two driveways off Turnberry Lane and include about two dozen parking spaces.  The meeting is set for 7:30pm at Newtown Municipal Center.

Boughton gubernatorial ad features officers named in civil lawsuit

Republican gubernatorial candidate Mayor Mark Boughton has released a new campaign ad, as he faces a primary challenge from four other GOP hopefuls.  The ad is being questioned for featuring two City Police Department members, who were named last week in a federal civil rights lawsuit.  Moore Bail Bonds owner Yvonne Perkins claims five department members conspired to put the company out of business and steer clients to the company’s competitors.  The city intends to ask that the case be dismissed.  Perkins told The Newstimes that when she brought up the alleged harassment, she was told by the Mayor and Chief to sue.  Boughton denied that.  The paper asked Boughton about the ad, and he said it was a complete coincidence that it was those officers who were featured.  

DHS grad serving in Navy takes part in maritime warfare exercise

A 2016 Danbury High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise, Rim of the Pacific.  Fireman Jerjes L. Almanzar is a gas turbine systems technician aboard USS Lake Champlain, currently operating out of San Diego.  He is responsible for the repair and maintenance om the ship’s engines and generators. 


The Danbury native says he learned that if you start something you have to finish it, and to take one step at a time. 


RIMPAC 2018 is the 26th exercise in the series that began in 1971.  26 nations, 46 surface ships, five submarines, and more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific Exercise.  Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Electa Berassa, Navy Office of Community Outreach provided information on the warfare exercise.

Danbury officials consider lease for expanded Music Centre lease

A committee of the Danbury City Council is recommending Danbury modify a lease with The Danbury Music Centre.  The organization wants to take over the rest of the old Danbury Library building on Main Street.  The organization is looking to expand its office and rehearsal space, beyond the Marian Anderson Recital Hall. 


The Danbury Social Services Department used to occupy part of the first floor of the building, and a portion of that space will house the Cultural Commission.  The Commission would be able to hold their monthly meetings in the building, in a space to be designated by the Music Centre. 


The Danbury Music Centre's long-term, $1 per year lease, runs through 2024.  The part of the lease dealing with the second floor of the building was signed in 2014.  If the Council approves the committee's recommendation, the end date of the lease would not change.

Brookfield to replace damaged high school field light poles

Brookfield's insurance company will pay for lights at the high school football field damaged by the May 15th macroburst.  One pole was broken and another is failing.  But since they are currently wooden poles, that is what the company will pay for when it comes to replacements.  The old poles are about 40 feet high. 


Brookfield officials have been talking about putting in modern metal poles.  They would be 80 feet high, will last longer and have better light disbursement because the lights can be aimed at different points.  One of the current wooden poles is located right by the press box, preventing ADA compliance upgrades. 


Brookfield officials have decided to allocate $75,000 to replace all four poles.  The insurance company will pay $361,000, so First Selectman Steve Dunn says the town will basically be getting a $435,000 light system at a fraction of the cost because of the insurance reimbursement. 


Dunn says it will take 10 to 12 weeks to install the poles, noting that right now there are lacrosse, soccer and football games that can't be played at night.

Ridgefield High School student named a 'Courage Fellow'

A Ridgefield High School student has been selected by a foundation created by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords for its inaugural Courage Fellowship. Lane Murdock helped organized the National School Walkout. 


The 28 student leaders will travel to Washington DC next week, for a three-day team building and organizing workshop meeting. The program, launched this year, gives students the resources and opportunities to continue their efforts to improve gun safety laws where they live. 


Currently, Murdock works on amplifying young voices who advocate for gun violence prevention. 


Courage Fellows will take part in a number of activities where they’ll be provided the opportunity to network, learn from one another and expand their knowledge of gun policy.  They’ll also be challenged to create an end of the year “Take-Action project.”  

New Fairfield considers selling town-owned water system to Aquarion

The New Fairfield Board of Selectmen has discussed the potential sale of the small town-owned municipal water system to Aquarion.  First Selectman Pat Del Monaco says the system provides water to six commercial customers in addition to Town buildings.  The sale has been discussed for the past several years.  Del Monaco says the town doesn't have the infrastructure or staffing to continue to operate the system. She says the equipment is aging and presents a liability for New Fairfield, as the municipality is responsible for providing potable water to all customers in the event of a system failure. Such failure could include an extended power outage or water main break.  Two water systems in New Fairfield are currently owned by Aquarion. Prior to any sale, there will be opportunity for public comment at a Public Hearing.  A date will then be set for a Town meeting to vote on approval of the sale. 

Esty returns donations earmarked for November campaign

According to the latest filing with the Federal Election Commission, Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty has returned about $350,000 in donations to individuals and PACs, but still has more than a million dollars in the account.  Esty opted not to run for reelection amid a controversy over her handling of a sexual assault complaint involving her former Chief of Staff.  Contributions earmarked for the November election must be returned while money left from previous campaigns or undesignated doesn't have to be.  The money can be used to wind down campaign operations or donated to other candidates, but can't be spent on personal use. 

Easton Police offer homeowners summer safety reminders

The Easton Police Department is putting out some safety information for residents as more people are home during summer months. 
Police say so-called distraction burglary occurs when a bogus visitor tells lies to con their way into a home, or creates a diversion so an accomplice can sneak in a back door or window.  Police recommend never opening the door to strangers, and not to hesitate checking with police if it's someone you don't recognize.  Demand and verify identification of utility company associates, poll takers and sales people.
Police suggest having window casement locks or a locking pin to keep windows “cracked” only a bit.  Air conditioners should be secured to the window sill and ladders should not be left outside. 
If you're going to be away for a few days, police suggest arranging mail pick up.

FuelCell Energy to add workers at Torrington plant

Danbury-based FuelCell Energy plans to increase annual production to 55 megawatts from the current 25 megawatts run-rate.  The company will also add over 100 manufacturing jobs at its Torrington facility to support the 120-percent increase in production rate.  CEO Chip Bottone says they have seen a steadily building momentum commercially, and DEEP awarded FuelCell two projects for 22.2 megawatts.  The company has approximately 85 megawatts of new projects slated for production over the next 18 months. The products being manufactured and delivered today have electrical efficiencies of up to 60-percent and a cell life of seven years. Deployments range in size from 1.4 megawatt university and hospital campus installations to a 60 megawatt utility scale fuel cell park. 

Storms knocks out power to traffic lights, cause WCSU to cancel some Tuesday classes

Yesterday's storms knocked out power to some in the Greater Danbury area. 
Traffic lights in certain areas were not functioning after the storm, including the intersection at the exit 5 ramps in Danbury.  Stop signs have been placed at North Main Street and Golden Hill.  In Brookfield the state Department of Transportation made quick work of an outage to traffic lights at the intersection of Candlewood Lake Road, Federal Road and White Turkey Extension.  
West Conn summer classes on the Westside campus had to be canceled after 5pm because of a power outage.  

Kent group warns about energy plant under construction in NY

The Kent Conservation Commission is working to raise awareness about a natural gas-fired electric generation facility just over the state line in Dover Plains, New York, which is slated to come online in 2020.  The Commission called the 1,100 megawatt facility a toxic neighbor that will negatively impact air quality.  Cricket Valley Energy Center will have three 282-foot high smoke stacks, which will emit spent gases.  While an improvement over older coal-fired electricity, the Commission says it is still fossil-fuel based. 


The Kent Conservation Commission is working with officials from Sherman, Gaylordsville, Sharon, Washington, Cornwall and Warren to call on the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and Department of Public Health to provide oversight. Neither agency filed briefs with New York State during the application process, which started in 2009. 


The group says the 8 current air quality monitors in Connecticut aren't close enough and the monitors at the base of the smokestacks won't account for wind drift to accurately show ground level measurements in Kent. 


The Commission is looking into a legal basis to require changes in Cricket Valley's operation, including more advanced scrubbing technologies, temporary shutdowns during smog alerts, and other protective measures. 

Local law firm buys Narcan kits for area medical providers

Ventura Law is representing a number of cities against the manufacturers of opioids, but is expanding it's support in the fight against the epidemic.  The law firm is donating $20,000 to the Western Connecticut Health Network for the purchase of Naloxone.  The funding will be able to buy 270 Narcan kits. 


The opioid overdose reversal drug Narcan is a life-saving drug which can combat the effects of opioids on the brain and revive a person.


Ventura Law CEO Augi Ribeiro says the firm is dedicated to helping fight this crisis, and aiding the medical facilities in the local communities.  

Enforcement of rules stepped up at Lynn Deming Park

Some enforcement changes are being rolled out at Lynn Deming Park in New Milford.  The town park on Candlewood Lake has been very popular so far this summer and that's caused safety concerns. 


There are now park managers, and security guards have been retrained. 


Non-residents are allowed in the park, only if they've purchased a $25 per person, per day, pass at the Parks and Rec office.  As of last week, only four non-resident passes had been purchased.  Non-residents are not allowed to walk into the park. 


Mayor Pete Bass says some people have also been sneaking into the park through the woods.  The two park managers or rangers will rotate shifts with a patrol along the edge of the woods.  Eversource is being contacted about fencing the area bordering New Milford's property. 


No car is allowed to enter numerous times, shuttling people in.  Additional signage and cones have been placed along Candlewood Lake Road North in an effort to stop illegal parking.  Cars will be towed. 


Bass noted that there have been several boaters dropping off people or illegally docking for the day.  Violators will be subject to trespass laws and have their boat towed. 


On the 4th of July, Bass says there was unacceptable noise levels, a generator and loudspeakers brought in.  Extra staff and/or modification of staff hours have been made.  During peak demand, New Milford Police will be making several passes through the Park as well as Addis Park.  


A “cheat sheet” was made for security staff of the most broken rules to focus on weaknesses. 

Redding officials gather feedback on potential plastic bag ban

Redding officials are looking into whether there should be a ban on plastic shopping bags, and eventually straws.  First Selectman Julia Pemberton has put a poll up on the town's Facebook page to garner feedback on if residents would support such a ban.  The poll ends in two days and by this morning had more than 500 votes. 


Westport was the first to ban plastic bags in Connecticut. Greenwich has joined them.  Beyond bags, Starbucks was the first major food seller to announce an end of plastic straws by 2020. 


Pemberton says most of Redding’s recyclable trash, via the regional trash authority Housatonic Resources Recovery Association, and HRRA’s contracted hauler, is either incinerated or sent overseas to China.  China is the largest purchaser of recyclable waste, and waste in general, from the US.  Pemberton says China recently enacted stricter regulations, rejecting more shipments of recycled materials for contamination.

Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission to interview design finalists

The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission will be hosting the three Phase II designers today.  The designers have 30 minutes to present to the commission followed by a 30 minute question and answer session.  The designer sessions start at noon and go through 4pm.  Public participation will follow the final presentation, starting around 4 o'clock.


One design features winding pathways with a Sycamore tree planted inside a fountain at the center.  The names of the 26 educators and children killed on 12-14 would be engraved around the stone edge. 



Another design includes 26 gardens and miniature fountains. A stone wall will include four separate dedications to the town, the first responders, the surviving school members as well as the country as a whole for support after the shooting. 



The last design includes an open green space dubbed the Breathing Field, a Memorial Grove, a Reflection Pool as well as a Belonging Bench.



The designers are visiting the site this morning.  Although none are local, the Commission says they all have local roots.  Families were invited to the presentations, as well as the Boards of Selectmen and Finance, Legislative Council, Planning & Zoning, Parks & Recreation, Inland Wetlands, Conservation and the Police Commission.  Newtown's Land Use director and deputy director, along with a representative of the Public Building & Site group, were also invited. 


A special meeting, which will be held in executive session because of financial discussions, was scheduled for July 30th.  A finalist will be selected at the August 9th meeting.  The finalist will be asked to provide information about costs for construction drawings, total project cost estimates, and readiness or time constraints.

Income tax a target by Connecticut GOP governor candidates

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Republican governor candidates are pushing proposals to eliminate or scale back Connecticut's income tax.

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton on Monday released a 31-page plan that includes phasing out the personal income tax over 10 years. He says there will be $381 million in reductions in the first year.

Boughton, the Republican Party's endorsed candidate, faces four challengers in the Aug. 14 primary.

Former Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst wants to eliminate the income tax for anyone making up to $75,000. Greenwich hedge fund manager David Stemerman wants to reduce the number of brackets from seven to three, while lowering rates.

Westport tech entrepreneur Steve Obsitnik wants a tax cut for those earning less than $100,000. Meanwhile, Madison businessman Bob Stefanowksi proposes phasing out the income tax over eight years.  

Ventura Law to donate $20k to WCHN for Naloxone doses

Ventura Law is representing a number of cities against the manufacturers of opioids, but is expanding it's support in the fight against the epidemic.  The law firm is donating $20,000 to the Western Connecticut Health Network for the purchase of Naloxone. The opioid overdose reversal drug Narcan is a life-saving drug which can combat the effects of opioids on the brain and revive a person. Ventura Law CEO Augi Ribeiro says the firm is dedicated to helping fight this crisis, and aiding the medical facilities in the local communities.  A check presentation ceremony will be held at the firm's Danbury office on Main Street at 9am.

Newtown grants easement to future animal sanctuary named for child killed on 12-14

An easement has been approved by Newtown officials for the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary.  The facility is named for one of the children killed at Sandy Hook School.  The Hubbard family was previously deeded a parcel of state-owned land adjacent to the Second Company Governor’s Horse Guard for the sanctuary, but an access road is needed.   


Planning Director George Benson says an easement from Newtown is needed to develop a driveway because there is no legal access to a road.  An existing partial road is already owned by the family.  The driveway would also give access to a proposed commercial development site between Commerce Road and the animal sanctuary.   


The Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection must sign off on the driveway plans. Benson will work with the Hubbard family and a developer to complete the driveway.

Brush fire burns hillside along Candlewood Lake in New Milford

There was a brush fire in New Milford on Friday evening.  The fire was reported in the area of Dike's Point around 5:30pm.  The New Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department's marine boat has water pumps and supplied water from Candlewood Lake.  Brookfield Volunteer Fire Department provided mutual aid with boats on the scene until about 8pm, after which State resources helped fight the fire into the night.

FirstLight Power Resources has filed an incident report with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission about a wildfire on their property Friday. 
The Dike was undamaged and there were no reported injuries.  Around 9 o'clock that evening, fire officials told FirstLight employees that firefighters would be onsite for a couple of more hours, and then two members of DEEP would monitor the site overnight for flare ups.  Firefighters returned at 5am Saturday to wet down the area and pick up the hoses. 
The fire was contained to the hillside but burned about 1.5 acres.


New Milford officials give update on road projects

New Milford Mayor Pete Bass is giving an update on some road projects in town.  Long Mountain Rd and Squire Hill Road reconstruction bids will be awarded this week.  Construction signs will be posted in the next few weeks and the project should begin sometime next month.  Meanwhile trees have been removed from along Town Farm Road for drainage work.  Town Farm is closed  to thru traffic between 7am and 3pm for the approximately 3 week long project. On the Still River roundabout, half of the truck apron is complete and the Lanesville splitter island is complete.  The truck apron is a red herringbone pattern and the splitter island is grey straight brick pattern.

Carmel Police warn of spoofing phone scam

The Carmel Police Department has received a complaint of a scam in which phone numbers for the police and town government are being spoofed.  A victim reported that a male caller with a Middle Eastern accent was trying to gather information about cell phone software from the victim and appeared to be calling from a Town of Carmel Official Phone Line.  If information was given, Carmel Police believe the scammer would have attempted to gain remote access into the victims phone or computer and extort money.  The victim recognized the scam right away and did not lose any money or give any personal information. 

Wreath presentation at Danbury Korean War Memorial today

A commemorative wreath will be presented at the Korean War Memorial in Danbury this morning.  The memorial at Rogers Park is the only Korea War Memorial in the state of Connecticut.  The ceremony is at 10am.


The Danbury War Memorial says the visit by Korean War Veterans’ Ambassadress Hannah Kim is part of an ambitious three-month journey visiting memorials in all 50 states, to honor and remember those who served, and to help promote peace on the Korean Peninsula. 


The Wall of Remembrance, an addition to the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, was approved by Congress in 2016, but a lack of funding has delayed its construction for two years. As a result, the names of the nearly 37,000 Americans who died in Korea are still waiting to be inscribed for posterity.  77 Korean War soldiers from Connecticut are still unaccounted for.

Bethel Police station firing range won't have sprinkler system

An update has been given to Bethel officials about construction progress on the new police station.  Public Site and Building Committee member Jon Menti told the Board of Selectmen recently that sprinklers will not be installed in the firing range after the Fire Marshal issued a letter saying it was not required by code.  The Town Comptroller also said the decision would not affect Bethel's insurance.  This will be a cost savings of $17,800.  The committee got an update that the communication system may delay the opening of the building. The dish is on order but may not arrive until second week of August.  The elevator contractor has pushed back work again as well. 

Local lawmakers achieve perfect voting records

Brookfield Representative Stephen Harding and New Milford Representative Bill Buckbee have earned one hundred percent voting records for all roll call votes taken on the floor in 2018.  Harding says he takes this commitment seriously and showed that by weighing in on every issue.  Buckbee says he is committed to bringing the voice of New Milford residents to Hartford.  Bethel Representative Will Duff and Danbury Representative Michael Ferguson also made all 317 votes on the floor of the state’s House in 2018.  Each year, the House Clerk’s Office releases the data on members’ votes during the Regular Session.  Only 20-percent of legislators achieve perfect attendance in any given year.

WCSU grads participate in Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program

Two West Conn undergrads are participating in a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program in the university's Biological and Environmental Sciences Department.  One is working on a research project seeking new methods to detect the fungus that causes White-nose Syndrome in bats.  The other is studying conservation efforts to help injured sea turtles in Long Island Sound.


Jasmine Grey of Naugatuck being mentored by Dr. Hannah Reynolds about the disease that has decimated bat populations across the northeastern United States and disrupted a natural control on insects that damage U.S. agricultural production. 


Kayla Deguzman of Norwalk is collaborating with Dr. Theodora Pinou to determine whether intervention to rescue, treat and restore injured sea turtles to their natural habitat affects their navigational mechanisms and behavior after release.

New Fairfield woman meets with Congresswoman over deportation of her husband

A New Fairfield woman whose husband was deported in January met with Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty this week.  In a Facebook post, it was noted that Samantha Colindres relayed information about the struggles she and her two children have been facing without Joel and his primary income.  The family is looking to sell their home and relocate.  Despite having an approved I-130 and Visa sponsorship through a valid marriage to his American-born wife, no criminal history and proof of payment of taxes Joel was deported to his native Guatemala earlier this year.

Danbury Fire officials recommend new Headquarters, west side station in annual report

The Danbury Fire Department has provided a Statement of Conditions to City officials.  Chief TJ Wiedl says the conventional operations of the Department are sound.
Fire Headquarters is nearly half a century old and is too small.  Some equipment continues to be stored at Danbury Airport, which is subject to FAA restrictions.  Wiedl cautioned that the space may be lost.  An engineering study of 19 New Street was completed in 2012. 
The site and structure can be modified, according to the report, but Wiedl says they still believe the best option is to build a new structure at a new location.  The current site straddles a flood plain and is subject to FEMA and EPA approvals.
A 2010 Task Force Report from the Mayor recommended construction of a new engine house in the south end of the city, now served by Engine 22 from Fire Headquarters.  While the station would be ideally situated in the area of Main and South streets to Shelter Rock, Wiedl says the station may be best considered as desired rather than necessary. 
He says the rapid expansion of residential and commercial properties on the westside places more demand there.  Wield says the need for a station hosting an engine company and an ambulance is more obvious than even a couple of years ago.  Wiedl called on City officials to consider a plan for this now, as the growth will continue and eventually overextend current staffing and response capabilities.
Wiedl continues to recommend that Padanram Hose Company, Wooster Hose Company and Citizens Hose Company be moved to a new, modern station housing all three.  The North Street structure was built in 1950, is in a poor location and has inadequate parking.  It's in need of roof repairs, new windows and the fire escape needs replacing.  The roof of Citizen Hose on Jefferson Avenue was replaced a few years ago, but is now leaking.  A new HVAC, boiler and insulation are needed.  The structure is over 120 years old.  Wooster Hose on Coal Pit Hill was built in 1883.  Though quaint in appearance, he says they are not suited for use by modern fire departments.  Wiedl suggests selling two of the properties.

Revenue fund set up for GE donation for Newtown Community Center

A special revenue fund has been created in Newtown to account for the donation from GE and other community center revenues.  The account is needed to track money from the donation since the community center and the senior center are being built at the same time.  The first allocation will be made for the director, who started last month.  Newtown Board of Finance members say the account will create transparency around expenditures and revenue.  First Selectman Dan Rosenthal will oversee coordination with Parks and Rec in the director’s job description.    

Bethel Fire Department releases June call logs

Bethel Fire Department has released statistics for June calls.  There were a total of 33, the most for response to car accidents and automatic alarms.  During the month of June, Bethel Fire responded to 3 structure and 3 brush fires.  There was also a stove fire, a grill issue and a tree on a house.  Bethel Fire also responded to 4 EMS assists, 5 unauthorized burns and investigated a lightning strike.  Bethel Fire was also requested 4 times out of town for Mutual Aid.  Bethel EMS had a total of 121 calls for service during the month.  10 were for mutual aid out of district.

WCSU expands blue-green algae sampling on Candlewood Lake

West Conn is expanding its blue-green algae sampling of Candlewood Lake.  For several years students have taken weekly sampling at public beaches and reported to local health directors.  With sites being added this year, West Conn is looking for the public's help.  The university is working with Aquatic Ecosystem Research and the Candlewood Lake Authority. 


The goal is to see whether other areas along the shoreline exhibit similar conditions as the town beaches. 


A New Fairfield High School graduate who attends UConn will collect water samples at additional sites around Candlewood and other nearby lakes, based on reports of blue-green algae “blooms” to local health departments, the Candlewood Lake Authority or directly to him by the public. 


To report a bloom, send an email to Josh  Sproule at Information in the email should include the name and phone number of the person reporting the bloom, an address, location along the shoreline or GPS coordinates where the bloom can be found, and permission to access private property to sample, should it be required.


If a picture of the bloom is available, that should be attached to the email, as well.  

Newtown Police apply for state grant for body cameras

Newtown Police are applying for reimbursement from the state for body-worn cameras.  The grant is 100 percent reimburse to the town for the $69,400 cost.  Chief James Viadero says up until several months ago, the state wasn't allowing for infrastructure, but now they are.  That infrastructure includes software and storage in the form of servers to store video data. 


Viadero says the grant requires a guarantee to the state that the department will follow POST guidelines and monitor implementation of the cameras.  Those guidelines include reviewing policies, FIOA requests, and how long data will be kept for among others.  He says this type of technology is nothing out of the ordinary for Newtown Police because they already have in-car cameras. 


Viadero added that this is a good opportunity to stay with the national curve, and to get technology which at some point will likely become mandatory in the state. 


He says the benefit of applying now that servers can be paid for by the state is that it eliminates a recurring cost for a contract for cloud-based storage.  Right now the department has some storage capability, but the server will allow for more. 

Brookfield Library participates in One Book, One Read program

Brookfield Library has organized a One Town, One Read program.  The reading selection is My Dear Hamilton.  The town-wide program has a goal of building community spirit through a shared reading experience. This will be the first year for Brookfield to do this program.  A series of events and discussions inspired by the themes of the book will be held this month and next, including an author talk.  There will be prizes for the program, including the chance to win a pair of tickets to see the Broadway musical Hamilton.

Danbury board postpones hearing on Dorothy Day House variances

Tonight's Danbury Zoning Board of Appeals meeting has been cancelled.  The group was going to continue discussing a request for variances by representatives for the Dorothy Day Hospitality House.  They are waiting for more documents about the request.  Attorney Neil Marcus previously told the group that his client is seeking to file a site plan, with special exceptions, before the Planning Commission.  Variances are being sought for driveway requirements, setbacks and parking lot size.  The next meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals is scheduled for August 9th.

Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission to interview design finalists

The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission is meeting tonight.  They recently sent letters to the more than 150 designers who submitted proposals, but were not selected for further consideration.  A list of questions for each of the three finalist designers about their specific proposal will be discussed.  Those designers are based in California, Arizona and Minnesota.  An interview meeting has been set up for next Tuesday.  The Public Building and Site Commission will help to write the request for proposals.

Bethel signs on to new agreement with HRRA

The Bethel Board of Selectmen has approved a Municipal Regional Solid Waste and Recycling System Agreement.  Jen Heaton-Jones with Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority discussed the agreement between HRRA and the Town at a recent meeting.  HRRA was formed for volume discounting for solid waste disposal.  The contract with municipalities was created in 1986.  It's set to expire June 30th 2019.  HRRA has 11 member municipalities.  
The state has put into action many laws about solid waste and recycling.  The state has set a goal of   60-percent diversion of solid waste by 2024, but most towns are currently at 20 to 30 percent.
Heaton-Jones says it's nearly impossible to enforce unit-based pricing on private haulers, but it would be easier if there was municipal collection through tax base.  She says Torrington is looking into a pay-as-you-throw program.  Residents would get free recycling services, but have to purchase trash bags for $3.75 each.  The idea is that people will recycle more if they think about what it costs to throw out garbage.
According to the state Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, similar waste reduction programs have been successfully implemented in about 7,000 communities nationwide. DEEP noted that the charge is like how residents pay for use for electricity, gas and other other utilities.

Dirt piles to be removed from former Danbury Topsoil site

If you've seen workers at the former home of Danubry Topsoil on Miry Brook Road recently, it's crews removing the piles of dirt for the property's new owner.  The operators of Westconn Aviation purchased the more than 2 acre site abutting the airport earlier this year at a bankruptcy auction.  Danbury started legal action against the previous owner over back taxes about five years ago and the City will receive that money through the bankruptcy proceeding.  The Newstimes reports that Westconn Aviation intends to put the industrial zoned parcel on the market.

Danbury firefighters help overheated dog at Tarrywile Park

Danbury firefighters helped a dog yesterday who was overcome by the heat.  Members of the Danbury Fire Department have been training with a new Polaris Utility Terrain Vehicle.  Yesterday they were on some trails at Tarrywile Park, where there have been numerous calls for assistance.  While training, a crew came across a hiker whose dog had become overheated and needed assistance.  The firefighters got some of their drinking water and assisted the dog until he was healthy enough to make it back to the car.


(Photo: DFD)

Metro North testing rails for metal fatigue

A specialized Sperry Rail car is running on Metro North tracks between Southeast and Wassaic as part of ultrasonic rail testing. The railroad uses this high-tech piece of equipment to detect defects and metal fatigue inside the steel rails.  Metro North says the equipment identifies issues before they become major problems.  The testing means there's substitute bus service for off peak trains on the Wassaic branch through tomorrow.

Conn. Congressional delegation push for disaster declaration

Congess members from Connecticut, including Jim Himes and Elizabeth Esty, are calling on the President to make a disaster declaration for three counties impacted by the tornadoes and macroburst in May.  Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal also signed on to the letter supporting the state's application to FEMA.  They says the storms required towns to exhaust scarce resources responding to emergencies, clearing debris, and providing accommodations to displaced persons.  The letter noted that the effort strained budgets because of the large, unanticipated costs.

DHS addition, renovations nearly complete

A status update on the Danbury High School addition has been given to the City Council.  There were six large phases to the project, which will be wrapped up by the start of the new school year.  The Freshman Academy addition was substantially completed a month ago and has a temporary certificate of occupancy. 


Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola says it was turned over to the school just before graduation so some of the graduating class was able to do a walk through.  He notes that in another week or so the black box theater will be completed.  Iadarola says the crew lost 37 days because of severe weather, but made up almost three quarters of that time. 


The DHS addition, essentially giving the 9th grade their own building, includes a two story gym, an academic floor and a level for science and computer labs.  The project includes construction of two music classrooms, a new entrance way and an expansion of the existing cafeteria. 


The entrance way and egress for the buses were changed before the start of the 2017-2018 school year.  There's separate entrances for parents and buses dropping off or picking up.  The main morning entrance was also moved, with Superintendent Dr. Sal Pascarella saying it's now just past the auditorium, by the art wing. 

Mosquitoes in Easton test positive for West Nile

Mosquitoes in Connecticut have tested positive for West Nile Virus.  The virus was detected in a pool of mosquitoes collected in Easton. It is the second pool of the creatures to test positive for West Nile this season, the other being in New Canaan.  
Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station Director Dr. Theodore Andreadis says the area is not a typical hot spot for the virus. 
 The virus has been detected in Connecticut every year since 1999. Last year, three state residents were diagnosed and hospitalized from infections. 
 Precautions to avoid mosquito bites include using insect repellent when outdoors and repairing damaged window screens. 
The trapping program has been in place for about 20-years.  It's funded by the state and the CDC.  There are 91 locations throughout the state tested beginning in June, through the end of October.  Andreadis says they process 200,000 to 300,000 mosquitoes each year.  Traps set out each morning and taken back to lab each day.  Any mosquito caught is then screened for 7 viruses, including West Nile and EEE.  The turn around time is 3 to 4 days.  
If mosquitoes test positive, the lab notifies the Department of Public Health, which then warns local health officials.

Shelter Rock School gets a new principal

The Danbury school district has appointed a new principal for Shelter Rock School.  Anna Machial comes to Danbury from New Britain Public Schools, where she held positions as assistant principal at the elementary and secondary levels for the past four years. Prior to being an administrator, Machial taught for 11 years in at the elementary and middle school levels in Region 12 and Waterbury.  Machial was named “Teacher of the Year” and a Washington Education Policy Program Fellow during that time.  Fluent in both Spanish and Portuguese, Danbury school officials say Machial will make a good match for the Shelter Rock community.  They say she will help establish strong connections to families and caregivers, which is the essential foundation for growth in student learning. 

Brush removal in New Fairfield ahead of schedule

Brush removal of debris from the May storms is ahead of schedule in New Fairfield.  Crews are continuing to work on the west side of New Fairfeld, but moving into the "blue zone" one day ahead of schedule.  New Fairfield officials asked that residents have brush within the right-of-way for pick up.  A copy of the map with colored zones for pick up can be found on the New Fairfield town website or by clicking this link.

More money allocated for storm clean up in Newtown

A $500,000 request for continuing May severe weather clean up has been approved by the Newtown Legislative Council.  The emergency allocation is coming from the town's fund balance.  Clean up in Newtown could cost more than 2 million dollars, not including the price of disposing and grinding up wood debris at the Newtown Transfer Station.  First Selectman Dan Rosenthal says they are waiting word from FEMA about reimbursement before removing that debris from the Transfer Station.  He told the Newtown Bee that there are more than 60,000 cubic yards of storm debris already piled high at the landfill, with more to come.

Newtown Police bike patrol resumes

The Newtown police department’s bicycle patrol has resumed operations for the summer.  Newtown Middle School SRO Officer William Chapman will replace Officer Leonard Penna, who was a school resource officer but has returned to routine patrol work.  The Newton Bee reports that the 35-year old Chapman enjoys recreational cycling on his personal bicycle and recently attended police cycling school.  The 40-hour training included how to safely ride up and down flights of stairs and to make a quick dismount.  The Bee reports that Chapman will spend much of his patrol time at  Fairfield Hills, Dickinson Park, Treadwell Park and outdoor public events such as day camps.  Chapman previously conducted bicycle safety classes at Sandy Hook and Middle Gate schools.

Another rescue made at Lynn Deming Park

Another rescue has been made at Lynn Deming Park in New Milford.  Mayor Pete Bass thanked lifeguard Ryan Logan for saving an 11-year old yesterday who went out too far and could not make it back to shore.  On Independence Day, Head Lifeguard Peter Coleman saved an 8-year old who could not make it back to shore at Lynn Deming Park.

Conn. applies for FEMA aid, Brookfield seeks more money for clean up

The Brookfield Board of Selectmen has approved more funding for the emergency clean up of debris from the May 15th macroburst.  They totaled up expenses and was at $1.4 million for damage repair, overtime and cleaning up the town right of ways.  The town originally approved $1.5 million for the effort, but the job isn't done yet. 


The Board asked the Board of Finance to allocate another $200,000 from the General Fund be allocated to Public Works. Brookfield has asked for aid from FEMA.  First Selectman Steve Dunn says their FEMA coordinator has said the town has a good case. 


It could be late August before FEMA makes a decision though. 


Connecticut asked yesterday for the federal government to help with the recovery from tornadoes and other storms that hit New Haven and Fairfield counties and some towns in Litchfield County.  Some towns sustained enough damage to qualify for a presidential disaster declaration. 


If granted, the declaration would provide federal reimbursement of 75 percent for eligible municipal and state costs.  The governor's office says homeowners could also receive up to $34,000 for costs related to uninsured damage. 

Bethel Selectmen make proposals to Charter Revision Commission

The Bethel Board of Selectmen has held a special meeting to take up proposed Charter revisions.  One of the biggest change would be adding a rule requiring the town to obtain completed construction plans before voters approve a project costing more than $1 million.  This proposal stemmed from cost overruns on the police station, the library and other projects.
One proposal is about extending the term for the board from 2 years to 4 years.  Selectman Paul Szatkowski says other elected boards have 4-year terms so this would make town government more consistent.  Selectman Rich Straiton agreed.
Another change being considered is about eligibility for office.  Bethel town employees can't serve on several boards according to current regulations.  First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker recommended that the Board of Assessment Appeals be included in the prohibition.  He also wants Board of Finance members not to serve on other boards or commissions.  He says there haven't been ethics issue in the past, but he noted one example of why he thinks the revision is needed.  Knickerbocker noted that a Finance Board member simultaneously serve on Parks & Rec, recusing himself from several votes meaning the Commission didn't have full membership considering budget items.  Knickerbocker says the Board of Finance carries a lot of power, and members should only served on that board.  The exception to this rule would be the Public Utilities Commission, which the charter states includes the selectmen and two other members.
One revision being discussed would get rid of the non-binding advisory questions on budget referendum.  Knickerbocker says they take up valuable lines on the ballot, but don't provide valuable information.  He says in the last 19 years, the question has always been answered "too high" even when the budget passed by a wide margin.  Knickerbocker says the public hearing and town meeting process is a more accurate feedback process.
Another budget-related revision is being considered.  The Charter currently says that if either the municipal or the school budget passes, it can't be changed.  Knickerbocker says no other area town does it that way.  He wants to give the Board of Finance the ability to balance  both sides of the budget until both pass.  He added that this would keep more voters engaged in the process.  Szatkowski wants more information shared at the Town Meeting portion of the process to bring more transparency to specific parts of the budget.
The Board of Selectmen is recommending that they get the authority to remove an appointed member from a Board of Commission if that person doesn't show up for an amount of time, to be recommended by the Charter Revision Commission.  Knickerbocker gave the example of people moving out of town without resigning, and officials not certain they have the ability to remove their names from the board.
The Charter Revision Commission is being asked to increase the Public Utilities Commission by four members, two more from each party, bringing membership up to 7.  The Board of Ed and the Library Board are the only two groups not required to hold their meetings in the Municipal Center.  With the new police station opening up, a recommendation is being sought that the restriction be lifted so the Police Commission can meet in their new building.  The Selectmen recommend that meetings simply be held in a town-owned facility accessible to members of the public.
The Charter Revision Commission will hold public hearings and seek feedback from stakeholders on potential changes before proposing its own recommendations to the selectmen. The process could take six months to two years.

Newtown Transfer Station returns to normal operations

The Newtown Transfer Station on Ethan Allen Road is returning to normal operations today, following the May 15th severe weather.  All big wood over 3-inches in diameter will again be assessed a fee of $10 per cubic yard.  Resident drop off of yard brush will continue to be free.  There will be an area designated for this debris, separate from the FEMA eligible storm debris.  FEMA eligible storm debris still outstanding, either covered by an existing work order request or in the designated affected part of Newtown, will still be collected only by the assigned town or contract crew until complete.  Construction and demolition debris is not eligible.

SCBA canisters to be bought for Stony Hill firefighters

The Bethel Board of Selectmen has held a special meeting to correct an earlier approval for breathing apparatus for the Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Department.  They approved purchasing one SCBA canister at their last meeting, but the invoice from the vendor didn't include number to be purchased.  The unit prices is $1,205 and the town is buying a dozen.  The total price will be $14,460.  The matter was passed to the Bethel Board of Finance.

Part of Still River Greenway reopens, Brookfield looks to hire arborist

Significant progress has been made clearing storm debris from the Still River Greenway, with the Northern end reopen for the first time since the May 15th macroburst.  The part of the trail now opened runs from the police station, north to downtown. 


Wright Tree Service and Lewis Tree Service crews will continue to make the southern section safe.   They are donating their services to the town.  While that work is being done, residents are asked to stay out of the area from the Brookfield Police Department, south. 


First Selectman Steve Dunn says the southern portion sustained significantly more damage so it will take a little longer to clear. 


Dunn says they're looking into hiring an arborist to walk all of the trails in Brookfield.  One woman had part of a tree fall on her car in a parking lot.  While Dunn says the tree limb wasn't due to damage from the storm, the town doesn't want to take a chance.  He notes that there are a lot of hangers on the trees--branches that weren't fully pulled down by the storm. 


Dunn added that hiring an arborist right now is almost impossible.

New Milford seeking volunteers for Plan of Conservation & Development committee

The Town of New Milford is looking for volunteers to serve on the 2020 Plan of Conservation and Development update committee. The roadmap of how New Milford should be developed over the next decade will also include an outline of what is important to residents, including recreational, historical and cultural assets.  Needs for economic development, jobs, town infrastructure and housing options, open space, farmland and improvement in the water quality of Candlewood Lake will also be addressed by the plan.  Volunteers will be needed for about 18 months, with one meeting and one workshop per month. Those interested should contact the Mayor's office at 860-355-6010.

Danbury Police locate owner of money found in parking lot

After putting out a public plea on Facebook, Danbury Police say the owner of lost money has been identified.  A substantial amount of cash was found in the Walmart parking lot earlier this month and turned over to police by a Good Samaritan.  The rightful owner contacted Police and the money will be returned soon.  Danbury Police say they are not releasing the name of the Good Samaritan or the owner of the money to protect their privacy.

Agreement reached paving way for affordable housing on Federal Rd in Brookfield

The Brookfield fire marshal has signed off on an agreement between an affordable housing developer and the Zoning Commission, according to the Newstimes.  Riaz Hussain sued last year after his application for 49 Federal Road was rejected.  Commission members were initially concerned about the volunteer fire department's ability to access the building.  The developer will include exterior stairs and an emergency exit landing on the second floor.  The first floor already houses several businesses and the application calls for 9 apartments on the 2nd floor, with three considered affordable under the state's 8-30g law.  

Redding officials name interim Police Chief

Redding Police Captain Mark O’Donnell has put off taking a job at Masuk High School in order to become interim Police Chief.  The 54-year old was going to leave next month to become a security guard at the Monroe school.  O'Donnell has been in charge of the Redding Police Department since Chief Doug Fuchs was placed on administrative leave in October.  O’Donnell  joined the Redding Police Department in 1985, when it was still a state trooper division. 

Esty to make stops in Danbury, Brookfield today

Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty will be making a few stops in the Greater Danbury area today. 


She will be meeting with people at the Brookfield Senior Center this morning to talk about the future of Social Security and Medicare. She will also provide a legislative update about her work in DC.  That gathering is from 11am to noon. 


Esty will next hold a roundtable discussion with veterans in Danbury.  She will be at the Danbury War Memorial to discuss the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act. The bill recently passed in the House and now awaits a vote in the Senate.  The roundtable is from 1:30 to 2:30pm.


The measure would restore benefits to some 100,000 Vietnam veterans  who had their disability eligibility taken away in 2002 after regulatory changes. It would also expand inclusive dates to those who served along the Korean DMZ, and benefit children born with spina bifida due to a parent’s exposure to Agent Orange-related herbicides in Thailand.

Bethel launches new hours for Town Hall

Bethel is starting a four month test of different hours for Town Hall to provide greater access to the public. Beginning today, Bethel Municipal Center will open half an hour earlier each week day and remain open 90 minutes later on Thursday evenings.  Friday will have shortened hours to maintain a 40-hour week. 


Bethel Town Hall will be open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays 8am to 4:30pm, Thursdays 8am to 6pm and Fridays 8am to noon. 


An evaluation will be done during the first week of October to determine the effectiveness of giving residents more of an opportunity to conduct business before and after normal business hours. 

Some Newtown officials sign off on brewpub for Stratford Hall

The Newtown Board of Selectmen recently ratified lease agreement with a local business that plans to renovate Stratford Hall for use as a brewery.  The proposal was approved because it's consistent with the master plan for business development in Fairfield Hills.  The Town of Newtown will still own the building and replace the roof, but First Selectman Dan Rosenthal says the new tenant will do a lot to bring the building up to standards. 


Mark Tambascio of My Place Restaurant and, a local architect and developer, are moving forward with the plan under the name M&D Brewery.  The plan calls for food and beverages inside, with food trucks and a pizza oven outside. 


Rosenthal believes this will encourage other commercial enterprises on campus.  Newtown acquired the former state hospital in 2004.  While there is some existing bond money for the roof replacement, the town could contribute more for utility connections, some exterior work and any remediation.

Bethel joins Sustainable CT

Bethel has joined Sustainable CT.  It's an initiative to support municipalities in their effort to implement sustainability best practices.   
The program recognizes towns for taking action to decrease pollution, increase energy efficiency and improve pedestrian, cycling and road safety along with beautification efforts.  First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says the town has had a long history of investing in the community with the same vision as Sustainable CT.  He notes that Bethel many have already qualified for the program based on past efforts. 
He says joining the initiative will allow the town to learn from neighbors and work together.  Some of the initiatives include watershed management, reducing energy use and increasing renewable energy.  It also provides resources for a so-called Complete Streets initiative, which means streets that meet the needs of walkers and bicyclists as well. 
There is no cost to the towns to participate in Sustainable CT. 
A committee was formed and called to meet within 90 days.  It includes the town's Economic Development Director, Director of Planning, the town's Inland Wetlands official and a representative of the Chamber of Commerce. Knickerbocker says there could be some grant money in the future for things like downtown beautification projects.

Bear killed on highway

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) - Officials say a bear has been struck and killed by a vehicle in Connecticut. 
 The New Haven Register reports an 80-pound bear was hit on Interstate 84 in Newtown on Saturday. 
 A spokesman for the state's Department of Energy and Environmental protection says the body of the bear will be taken to the agency's Wildlife Division for an autopsy. 
 No information is available on whether the collision with the bear resulted in any injuries to the driver or passengers in the vehicle. The official says bear strikes are common, and occur 50 to 60 times a year in the state. 

Greater Danbury area students accept appointments to armed forces academies

Connecticut's Congressional delegation has announced the names of students who have accepted appointment to armed forces academies.  Graduates are commissioned as officers in the active or reserve components of the military or Merchant Marine and serve for a minimum of five years. 


The nominees were chosen by each Member’s Selection Committees, a nonpartisan board made up of service academy graduates, veterans, educators, community leaders, and retired military personnel.  The students will be attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York.


David William Roper of Southbury will be attending the Merchant Marine Academy. 


David Kohler of Newtown and Griffin Levi of Weston will attend the Air Force Academy. 


Lucille Freidenrich of Ridgefield, Kathleen Murphy of Weston, Christina Ruiz of Bethel and Thomas Vilinskis or Ridgefield have accepted appointments to the Naval Academy.


The nominees who have accepted appointment  to the Military Academy are Amelia Rose Blackwell of Redding, Michael Halas II of Danubry, Quinton Marmo of Newtown, Noah Martinez of Gaylordsville, Gilliam Schullery of South Kent and Sean Welsh of Washington. 

Audubon Society opens new preserve in Sherman

Connecticut Audubon Society is opening a new preserve in Sherman, year-round.  The grand opening of Deer Pond Farm is being held today.  The preserve has been open only for guided walks in limited areas and at limited times. But now the public will be able to explore more than 400 acres of the preserve all year long.  10 miles of trails will be open from dawn-to-dusk. As part of the grand opening festivities, a bird walk will be held at 8am, a 10am ribbon cutting and a raptor show by Skyhunters in Flight at 10:30.

State delays I-84 improvements in Danbury

There will be at least a one year delay on improvements to Interstate 84 in Danbury.  The Newstimes reports that the state Department of Transportation won't start the $715-million widening project until 2023.  The work from exit 3 to 8 would then wrap up in 2030.  A “needs and deficiencies” study hasn't been prepared yet, so officials cautioned that the dates could change again.  A federal environmental assessment and an ‘alternative analysis’ are also needed. 

Ridgefield Town Clerk set to retire

The Ridgefield Town Clerk is retiring after 22 years on the job.  Barbara Serfilippi previously served 17 years as an assistant town clerk.  She will be resigning effective August 31st.  The Ridgefield Board of Selectmen will appoint a Republican to fill the vacancy until the November 2019 election when the position will be on the ballot. 

Newtown considers location for new police station

Two parcels of land, which includes a building that can be renovated, are being eyed for a new police station in Newtown.  First Selectman Dan Rosenthal says the Board of Finance and the Legislative Council would have to also give their approvals for 191 South Main Street and 61 Pecks Lane.  The Board of Selectmen has signed on to the design concept.  He doesn't expect a special referendum on the project, but rather a question on the November ballot.

Squantz Pond Park pre-ticketing program to launch later this summer

New Fairfield First Selectman Pat Del Monaco is looking into legislative options to prohibit walk-ins at Squantz Pond State Park.  The two previous town leaders also tried to persuade the state to make the change. 
Del Monaco says New Fairfield doesn't have the infrastructure to safely support walk-ins.  There are no shoulders on Route 39, no sidewalks in the northern part of town, and no municipal parking areas near the park.  She says those conditions make Squantz different from other state parks and it should be regulated differently.  
It was announced by the State Parks Director back in March that a pre-ticketing opportunity at Squantz Pond in New Fairfield was being explored.  The pilot program then was still in the idea phase.  DEEP now expects the pre-ticketing program to be in place later this summer.
Visitors will be required to have a ticket to enter Squantz.  Del Monaco says the idea is, that once ticket sales reach capacity, park closures will be announced online. No vehicle will be admitted without a ticket.

Police: More swastika carvings found in Ridgefield

Ridgefield Police are reporting that three more swastikas have been found, this time carved into a picnic table at Ballard Green.  The anti-Semitic symbols were found last week.  Police told the Ridgefield Press that they are consistent with three other swastikas found etched into a Ballard Park fence on May 23rd.

Danbury to start road reconstruction Monday

The Danbury Public Works Department will be doing road construction starting Monday.  Work will be done on Kohanza Street, Cowperwaite Street, Field Road, Crest Road, and Greenview Road over the next 4 to 5 weeks.  While the roads will not be closed, some restrictions may be put in place.  During construction, no on-street parking will be permitted.

Democratic congressional candidate forum in Washington Sunday

A candidate forum is being held in the town of Washington this weekend for the Democratic 5th Congressional district seat.  Endorsed candidate Mary Glassman and primary challenger Jahana Hayes will participate in the 90-minute forum Sunday hosted by the Washington Democratic Town Committee. 


The event is from 1:30 to 3pm at Washington Town Hall. 


The women are vying for the seat being vacated by Democratic incumbent Elizabeth Esty, who decided not to seek reelection amid a controversy over her handling of a sexual abuse case involving her former Chief of Staff.


Three Republicans are running in the August 14th GOP primary.

Danbury officials pledge more transparency in crime investigations

A suspect has been arrested for a series of some 20 car break ins and thefts in Danbury, many at fitness centers.  This happened in May.  Now Danbury officials are promising more transparency about crimes around the City. 


Police so far though have not responded to requests for information about who was arrested and details about the crimes the individual is suspected of committing.  


The news about the thefts and the arrest were discussed at this week's City Council meeting when member Ben Chianese questioned Chief Patrick Ridenhour about an uptick in the reporting statistics.  Some area towns have activity logs with details about calls officers respond to, not necessarily who was charged.  That information would be included in an arrest log.  

State Police step up enforcement against illegally parked cars around Squantz Pond

Many New Fairfield residents who live near Squantz Pond State Park have been frustrated with traffic and parking issues already this summer. First Selectman Pat Del Monaco says she's been in contact with State Police, the Park Ranger and others to address these issues.  DEEP has been focused on improving traffic flow and enforcement surrounding the park, and has initiated changes to alleviate what are often dangerous conditions. 
Things came to a head on Sunday when traffic and parking on Route 39, Shortwoods Road and Beaver Bog Road were deemed unacceptable by town officials.  State Police responded with  additional support on the 4th of July, and conditions improved.  Del Monaco says she did get reports then of cars parked further north, and that will be addressed going forward.
In addition to increased enforcement of illegally parked cars, Del Monaco says several other changes have been implemented.  Effective this year, non-resident parking at the Town Beach has been restricted to 10-percent of available parking spaces, and the fee for non-residents to park is $60. Parking is monitored by attendants. 
Once Squantz is full, traffic is not allowed to stop in front of the park, either on Shortwoods Road or Route 39.  In cooperation with New York State DOT, DEEP has increased the number of signs at the southern end of Interstate-684 indicating that Squantz Pond has reached capacity, redirecting visitors to other parks.

Boy rescued from waters near Lynn Deming Park in New Milford

There was a close call at a New Milford swim area during the 4th of July holiday.  Head Lifeguard Peter Coleman is being praised by town officials for his quick response in saving an 8-year old at Lynn Deming Park.  The boy could not make it back to shore from the waters of Candlewood and was rescued.

Storm debris collection begins in Danbury

Storm debris collection has started in Danbury.  The clean up of tree limbs and brush from the May 15th macroburst is being done by AshBritt, in select areas of the City.  The contractor will work in compliance with regulations from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, in case a federal disaster declaration is made by the President.  If a declaration is made, federal reimbursement for three-quarters of the cost will come through.  The area being looked at for possible federal aid is the northern end of the City, around Candlewood Lake.  A FEMA monitor will be going around with the contractor to make sure only storm-related debris is collected from the public right of ways.  A call went out Thursday July 5th to residents in impacted areas.  A part of the Public Works complex will be used to store the debris while it awaits processing.

Bethel residents sign off on old train station canopy repair funding

Bethel residents have signed off on spending $175,000 to repair the historic canopy at the old train station.  A special town meeting was held last week.  The state deeded the canopy to the town, which owns the old train station building.  The facility was constructed in 1899 and is on the state Register of Historic Places.  The canopy had fallen into disrepair.  The state is chipping in some money toward the work, with the rest to be reimbursed by the tenant of the old train station over the next 6 years.  The work will only take a few weeks, but a company with special certification to work near railroad tracks is needed to do the repairs.

Newtown library book sale to be held this weekend

The 43rd Annual C-H Booth Library Book Sale will be held this weekend at Reed Intermediate School in Newtown.  The book sale is held Saturday through Wednesday.  On Saturday, volume buyers must box and check their intended purchases in a Holding Area.  Friends of the Library officials say stockpiling and “clearing” are not permitted.  All items found under tables, along walls, on gym risers, etc,. will be returned to the sale tables.  Many categories, like adult fiction, are alphabetized or, like media, organized by subcategories.  Admission, Saturday Only, is $5.
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
9:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Monday (1/2 price)
9:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Tuesday ($5/bag)
9:00 a.m. - noon Wednesday (Free Day)

Brookfield Police caution that Still River Greenway remains closed

The Still River Greenway in Brookfield is still closed.  Brush clearing is continuing today and tomorrow.  Tree crews, assisted by the Brookfield highway department and parks department, are working to clear the trail from the Police Department, north. Brookfield Police are asking people to stay off the trail as the work is being don.  An officer is assigned to the construction zone for the duration of the work.  Police say people violating repeated warnings "will be dealt with accordingly."

Kent group looking into concerns about energy plant under construction in NY

The Kent Conservation Commission has prepared a summary of current concerns about the Cricket Valley Energy Center just over the state border in Dover Plains, New York.  The Commission has been looking into its potential impact on local air quality starting in 2020, and actions towns in the region are taking to monitor the situation.  The Commission expects to release details next week.

Bethel Registrars update voter records

In May and June, the Bethel Registrars of Voters approved 140 residents to become new voters. 144 voters were removed as active voters due to, for example, moving out of town or death.  Some 144 voters provided updated information for their registration such as name changes, in-town moves or party affiliations. There are currently 12,227 voters in Bethel.

New trails opened at recently preserved Cherry Grove farm in Newtown

New trails are open to the public in Newtown on a parcel of recently preserved land.  The Board of Selectmen last month approved an easement for the Cherry Grove farm.  The Newtown Forest Association received a number of private donations.  The town provided $100,000 toward the easement, because saving the land as open space is consistent with the plan of conservation for Newtown. 


The Newtown Forest Association contributed half a million dollars for 16.3 acres.  The town now has a protective easement over little more than 29 acres. 


Newtown will have no future financial obligation for maintenance or management of the property. 


Walking trails, some created by people and deer already making paths on the property, are now joined by those cleared by Developer Greg Carnrick, who sold the property to the NFA.  He also built footbridges across streams and a gravel parking lot for cars and horse trailers off Palestine Road.

Stew Leonard promotes water safety this summer

Senator Richard Blumenthal has joined Stew and Kim Leonard, who lost their child in a pool drowning, in issuing water safety warnings. Outdoor pools and beaches are open with local residents flocking to the water.


The Leonard family has raised over $3 million to promote water safety after their 21-month old son Stewie died in a swimming pool accident.  Drowning is the third leading cause of accidental death in the United States and the second leading cause of accidental death for persons aged 5 to 44.  75-percent of all fatal drownings take place in residential pools and the majority occurs between Independence Day and Labor Day. 


Blumenthal says hospital ER visits regarding pool and beach accidents are on the rise both locally and nationally.  According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, at least 163 children younger than age 15 fatally drowned in swimming pools or spas in 2017 and nearly 70 percent were children younger than age five. 

Bethel Metro North parking lot now accepting mobile payments

The Bethel Town Clerk's office is giving an update on some topics around town.  One is that the Bethel Metro-North Parking lot now accepts mobile payments via the "Parksmarter" App. This app will allow remote payments if you require more time. There are QR codes on the signs near spaces, and also on the kiosk to easily download the app.  Town Clerk Lisa Bergh is also thanking the office's staff for working to improve efficiency.  The Town Clerk recently streamlined the license and permitting process and get residents in and out quickly.  During the month of June, 928 dog licenses and 1362 Transfer Station Permits were issued. 

New Milford Police patrol Lynn Deming Park as safety precaution

New Milford Police patrolled Lynn Deming Park yesterday, making safety and alcohol checks.  Mayor Pete Bass reminded people that the park is for New Milford residents only, who have purchased a pass, or are a guest of those pass holders.  He says going forward, the sticker rule will be strictly enforced.  Anyone who has not purchased a boat dock is not allowed to dock a boat and let off non residents or people without a pass.  He says this too will be strictly enforced.  Cars parked on Candlewood Lake Road North will be towed.  Bass also asked that people not litter in the park.  

ACE principal leaving

The Principal of the Alternative School for Excellence in Danbury is leaving after 31 years in the district.  ACE Principal Sandra Arconti Atanasoff first came to ACE 24 years ago, after being a special education teacher, among other positions, at the request of ACE’s founder and first principal.  There are approximately 100 students who attend ACE, a high school program support student experiences that develop individual strengths, physical and emotional health, and respect for self and others.   

New Milford Mayor tours Kimberly-Clark plant

New Milford Mayor Pete Bass took at tour of the Kimberly-Clark plant on Friday.  He wanted to reassure people that the mill is not closing, despite the company cutting more than 10-percent of its workforce in an effort to lower costs.  The maker of Huggies and Kleenex products announced the plan in January.  The company also will be closing or selling 10 manufacturing plants, while expanding production elsewhere.  Kimberly-Clark employs 350 full-time workers and is one of New Milford's largest taxpayers.  After his tour, Bass noted that last year alone Kimberly-Clark donated $110,000 to the United Way, helps with Engineering week at the high school and holds Thanksgiving food drives among other events to benefit the community.

Squantz Pond closed to new cars by 8am this Independence Day

Squantz Pond State Park in New Fairfield reached parking capacity at 7:55 this morning.  That's more than two hours earlier than when the park had to close to new vehicles on Sunday.  The state Parks system is highlighting Putnam Memorial State Park in Redding on this 4th of July.  It was the site of the Continental Army's 1779 winter encampment under the command of General Israel Putnam. The park consists of remains of the encampment, reconstructed log buildings, and a museum.

Danbury Police seek owner of cash found in Walmart parking lot

A Good Samaritan found a substantial amount of cash in the Walmart parking lot in Danbury on Saturday and turned it over to Danbury Police.  The person who lost the cash asked store employees about it, but that was before it was reported to police as found.  The owner didn't leave contact information and now Danbury Police are asking for the public's help in identifying that person.  Anyone with information, or is the owner, is asked to contact Det. Lt. Mark Williams at or 203-797-4683.

Danbury Hospital offers fireworks safety tips

Danbury Hospital has shared some tips and reminders from The National Council on Fireworks Safety.  One tip is not to bring your pets to a fireworks display.  If fireworks are being used near your home, put your pet in a safe, interior room to avoid exposure to the sound.  The Council is reminding pet owners to make sure furry friends have an identification tag, in case they run off during the holiday.
The Council says people should not carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them into metal or glass containers.  People are being encouraged not to experiment with homemade fireworks.  Spent sparklers and fountains should be disposed of by wetting them down and placed in a metal trash can, away from any building or combustible material.
A dud firework should never be relit.  You should wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.  Another safety tip being offered is to have that bucket of water nearby and garden water hose ready.

Wilton Police seek bike donations for kids triathlon program

Due to higher than expected enrollment, the "Race4Chase Kids' Tri Program" in Wilton is in need of 26 gently used bikes for kids ages 6 to 14.  Sponsored through donations to the Riverbrook Wilton Family YMCA, the 6 week program allows children who would otherwise be unable, to discover the sport of triathlon. The program honors Chase Kowalski, who was killed on 12-14.  The Wilton Police Department is working with Realty Seven to collect bicycles for the program.  Bikes with training wheels are especially needed and can be dropped off at the police station on Danbury Road in Wilton.  

New Fairfield determines storm brush clean up schedule

New Fairfield officials have announced a schedule for storm debris removal, which started yesterday.  Multiple crews will be in town 7 days a week, including today, from 7am to 7pm until the work is complete.  Supreme Industries will remove brush from Town roads, spending a week in each of the established zones


The schedule is approximate and may change according to brush volume and weather conditions.  The contract was approved by the Board of Selectmen and signed Monday, and the company was willing to start immediately.


A schedule for private roads will be decided soon. 


CT VA leader highlights fireworks as possible PTSD trigger

As people celebrate the 4th of July, the state Veteran Affairs Commissioner is asking that residents remember the reason for the holiday.  Tom Saadi says the freedom and democracy being celebrated is Americans to enjoy because of the service of men and women in uniform, past and present, going back nearly two and half centuries.
With celebrations, a word of caution.  This holiday has been marked with fireworks, but those loud, sudden noises at odd hours can be a trigger for combat-related Post Traumatic Stress and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Saadi says those with Traumatic Brain Injury and those who were victims of military sexual trauma and assault have to deal with invisible injuries every day.  
Some veterans have put signs outside their homes asking neighbors to be considerate with fireworks.  He notes that if a veteran knows someone will be setting off these fountains or sparklers, more often than not, it won't be a trigger because it's the unexpected noises that could lead to symptoms.  Two hotlines are being highlighted.  One is for veterans or family members to call if a veteran is in crisis: 800-273-8255.  The other is a combat vet call center, staffed 24-7, connecting veterans to other combat veterans to talk about any number of topics. That number is 877-927-8387.
He says connecting veterans and families is an important part of the Department's mission.  He says those hesitant should reach out through hotlines or the Department's app and take that first step for support services.  Saadi says the younger generation of veterans have been using the new mobile app to connect with resources and benefits they've earned.
Saadi notes that there are also a number of community based programs federally and state sponsored, including the Vet Center on North Main Street in Danbury.  The Center offers support and discussion groups in a less formal setting than the VA facilities in West Haven or Newington.

Brookfield firefighters offer words of caution about fireworks

With 4th of July here, Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company wants to remind everyone to be careful with legal fireworks. Children are the most injured age group when it comes to fireworks.  Sparklers and fountains are the only legal firework in the state for use by people age 16 and older.  Fountains are defined by the Office of State Fire Marshall as non-explosive, non-aerial devices that contain less than 100 grams of pyrotechnic.  Anything that emits a flame is not legal for use.

DUI checkpoint in Monroe on July 5

Connecticut State Police will be helping Monroe Police with a sobriety checkpoint after the Independence Day holiday.  Members of the Traffic Services Unit will have a DUI patrol checkpoint on Route 25 in Monroe during the late evening of Thursday into the early morning hours on Friday.  In addition to this checkpoint, troopers and officers will also be actively enforcing Connecticut’s laws regarding speed limits, seat belts requirements and aggressive driving throughout the holiday period. Troopers will continue to utilize marked and unmarked patrol vehicles as well as other resources to identify those operators that violate these laws and will take strict enforcement action against them in order to ensure public safety on Connecticut roadways.

NY State Police step up patrols for holiday week

New York State Police will increase patrols to crack down on drunk and drugged driving and other traffic infractions over the Fourth of July holiday.  Troopers will conduct sobriety checkpoints and target reckless and aggressive driving during one of the busiest summer holidays for travel. This special enforcement detail will run through Thursday.  Last year, New York State Police issued nearly 10,500 vehicle and traffic tickets during the Fourth of July holiday. Troopers arrested 240 people for DWI and investigated 152 crashes, which resulted in three fatalities and 248 injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, during the July 4th period in 2015, 146 people died nationwide in alcohol related crashes. Two thirds of those crashes involved at least one driver with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 percent or higher which is almost twice the legal limit.

Redding to repave some roads starting next week

The Redding Highway Department has updated the roads set for milling and paving.  Beginning on Monday, work will be done on Dan Beard Lane, Kimberly Lane, Rob Rider Road, Old Field Lane, Putnam Hill Road, and Bald Rock Road.  Drivers were alerted to expect delays and closures for 5 to 6 weeks.

Democratic congressional challenger gets third party endorsement

A woman who automatically qualified for the primary to be the Democratic 5th Congressional District nominee has won the backing of the Connecticut Working Families Party.  Jahana Hayes, a Waterbury teacher, barely missed being the Democratic nominee at the party's nominating convention.  She is challenging endorsed candidate Mary Glassman.  They are vying to replace incumbent Elizabeth Esty, who decided not to run for reelection amid a controversey over her handling of a sexual harassment case involving her former chief of staff. Republican-endorsed candidate Manny Santos is being challenged in an August 14th primary by Ruby Corby O’Neill of Southbury and Richard Dupont of Watertown.

Monroe firefighter presented with Department award

Monroe Volunteer Firefighter Ty Stewart has received the 2018 Department's Ryan Gardner Firefighter of the Year Award.   Company officials say Stewart is a very reliable and professional firefighter and is a well-respected member.  He is one of the top 10 responders, covers 2 designated home responder nights and a duty crew night each week. During the past year he became trained on the engine and tanker and completed the Hazardous Materials Operations class

World Cup revelers temporarily shut down Main St in Danbury

Part of Main Street in Danbury was temporarily shut down yesterday afternoon as people took to the streets to celebrate the Brazilian World Cup match win over Mexico.  Danbury Police Officers were deployed to the intersection of several streets leading to Main, directing traffic and streamlining the impromptu parade of revelers.  The road was only closed for a few minutes, but did cause traffic delays around 12:30pm.

New Milford officials assess emergency management protocols

New Milford agencies have been assessing the emergency management protocols of town government.  Mayor Pete Bass says they most recently have been meeting to refine plans for weather and active shooter protocols with the schools.  The Emergency Operations Center team includes police, fire, ambulance, school superintendent and others.  Part of the planning includes visits to the schools this summer.  Bass says they are planning a forum for September to update residents about operations.  

Drivers asked to share the road with bicyclists

Motorists and bicyclists are being reminded of the rules for sharing the road safely.  Putnam County Sheriff Robert Langley serves as Chairman of the Putnam County Traffic Safety Board.  Drivers must pass “at a safe distance” when overtaking a bicyclist traveling along the same side of the road.  When riding along a road, bicyclists must be near the right-hand curb or in a usable right-hand shoulder.  Bicyclists may not ride more than two abreast, but single file when being overtaken by a vehicle. 

Police issue reminder about Squantz Pond parking capacity

There were some issues at Squantz Pond State Park in New Fairfield this weekend. There were too many people trying to get into the park, which reached capacity by 10am on Sunday.  With a hot week and a holiday on tap, State Police Troop A is encouraging people to check electronic highway signs to see if Squantz Pond parking is at capacity. 
While Troopers are encouraging people to go to state parks, there are dangerous issues with parking.  Illegal parking is a traffic and safety hazard and Police say it cannot be allowed. 
Cars will be subjected to citations and towing.
Troopers say pulling to the side of the road or park entrance to let passengers out to walk into the park is a violation, but as long as the driver moves when told to do so there shouldn't be an issue.  But Trooper Kelly Grant says a citation will be issued if a driver doesn't immediately comply with the request of law enforcement to move along, or is letting many people out of the car and then unpacking along the side of the road. 

Two local companies offer to help Brookfield clean up storm debris

Two local companies have offered to donate their time and equipment to Brookfield to clean up the Still River Greenway.  First Selectman Steve Dunn says Wright Tree Service and Lewis Tree Service will begin work on Thursday, focusing on the Greenway between the Police Station and downtown.  He hopes that section can reopen to the public on Sunday.  It's been closed by damage from the May 15th macroburst.  A plan to clear the Greenway from the Police Station south is still in the works.

Danbury Deputy School Superintendent retires

Danbury School District deputy superintendent Dr. William Glass has retired after two decades in Danbury.  He began his career in Danbury in 1998 as an assistant superintendent before being chosen as interim superintendent for one year.  Despite being 169 of 169 districts in per pupil spending in the state for the past several years, Glass says the schools have garnered numerous recognition in recent years.  He noted that the recognition comes despite 45 languages spoken in the district, an  increase in English language learners and a significant increase in poverty, roughly from 33 percent to 54 percent during his tenure. Glass contracting scarlet fever at six months old, leaving him permanently deaf in one ear with only 19 percent hearing in the other, and a severe speech impediment.  His fifth-grade teacher worked  with him to help him overcome his difficulties and improve in school.  Glass says that's why he wanted to go into teaching, giving up a childhood dream of becoming a theoretical physicist.

Danbury War Memorial names new Executive Director

A new executive director has been named for the Danbury War Memorial.  23-year old Justin Calitro will lead the nonprofit recreation center and veterans memorial.  He is the son of Danbury Planning Director Sharon Calitro, and holds dual degrees from Sacred Heart University in Finance and Sports Management.  War Memorial board of directors chairman Richard Mark told the Newstimes that Calitro will be responsible for the overall management of the facility, its programs and opportunities to expand both.

Vehicle pulled from Candlewood Lake in New Fairfield

A vehicle was pulled from the waters of Candlewood Lake this weekend.  The New Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department responded to the boat launch across from the Squantz firehouse early Saturday evening.  The vehicle and boat trailer ended up in the water, but the owner was uninjured.  There was no oil or gasoline leak.  New Fairfield Police, DEEP and Candlewood Lake authority are investigating how the vehicle rolled into water


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