Local Headlines Archives for 2018-08

New Milford Police K-9s train at MTA facility

The New Milford Police Department's Patrol and Narcotics Canines had the opportunity to train at the MTA Police Department's new state of the art canine training facility.  K-9 Kira and K-9 Drake were able to use the facility to sniff for drugs, perform building searches and practice tracking. 

The 17,000 square foot facility, which opened in 2016 in Stormville and is part of a 72 acre campus.  New Milford Police say an unlimited number of training scenarios can be created utilizing the training rooms, lockers, cars, buses and even a decommissioned train located on the property. 

(Photos: NMPD)

Kira and Drake were joined by their partners Officer Lafond and Officer Williams.

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Conn. man arrested for alleged theft town equipment

A Connecticut man has been arrested by Wilton Police on a larceny charge for the alleged theft of construction equipment earlier this month. 

 

Police charged 43-year old Ronald Conroy Wednesday for the August 18th incident.  Police responded to the town's Public Works yard at Allen's Field on a report of forced entry into the gated property that was secured by a chain and lock.  A machine used to screen material was reported missing. 

 

The suspected truck was spotted in Wilton and Redding.  An investigation determined that Conroy was the suspect.  A search warrant was carried out at his Harwinton home and the missing construction equipment was located.

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Monroe bank robbery under investigation

A bank robbery in Monroe is under investigation. Police responded to the People's Bank branch located inside Stop and Shop on Route 111 Wednesday, shortly before 7pm.  The Connecticut Bankers Reward Association is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of the individual who robbed the bank.  Anyone who may have witnessed the incident is asked to contact Monroe Police at 203-261-3622.

 

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Retired Bethel officer, deputy fire marshal passes away

Retired Deputy Bethel Fire Marshal Edward Robinson has passed away. He served as a Deputy fire marshal for more than 15 years and retired in 2007.  Robinson died at the age of 83.  He was in the police force in Norwalk for 2 years, then moved to Bethel and went onto the Police Force in Bethel, serving 29 years before retiring.

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Carmel man with prior DWIs gets another after routine traffic stop

A Carmel man with two prior DWI convictions has again been arrested for driving while intoxicated.  New York State Police stopped 45-year old George Gojcaj Wednesday shortly before midnight for vehicle and traffic violations on Route 202 in Somers. 

 

An investigation revealed Gojcaj was operating under the influence of alcohol with a suspended license for an alcohol related offense.  He was also operating without a required interlock device. 

 

Gojcaj was charged with DWI, aggravated unlicensed operation and operating without an interlock device.  He was arraigned and ordered held at Westchester Jail without bail.  Gojcaj is due in Court on September 10.

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Businessman endorsed to fill Danbury City Council vacancy

Businessman Bruce Bennett has been endorsed by the Danbury Republican Town Committee to fill a vacancy on the City Council.  He was selected to be the newest at-large member, taking  for the seat vacated by Christine Chieffalo.  She recently moved out of Danbury.  The Council's next meeting is September 5.

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Ridgefield Police Chief dies

Ridgefield Chief John Roche has died.  The 62-year old died of a heart ailment.  His retirement was announced just last week, but he was on medical leave for two months.  In a statement, the Ridgefield Police Department said the Chief dedicated his life to law enforcement and his exemplary leadership and devotion showed members the right way to serve.  Roche was a police officer for nearly forty years.  The statement said members will miss his smile, laughter and stories, especially as his door was always open.  Major Steve Brown will run the department until a permanent chief is found.

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WCSU researchers find species of tick new to Conn.

WestConn researchers have found the first Asian longhorned tick in Connecticut. The invasive species can harm livestock and, where it originates in Asia, can carry deadly diseases. So far the tick is not known to be a danger to humans in the U-S.

 

WCSU Biology Department graduate Brittany Schappach, who works as a research assistant for the WCSU Tickborne Disease Prevention Laboratory, collected the tick on July 3rd during weekly tick monitoring for the lab.  She says the size, shape and color were all different from the blacklegged ticks usually collected.


Lab Director Dr. Neeta Connally said it looked very similar to rabbit ticks so she sent it to the Center for Vector Biology at Rutgers University where it was first identified using DNA analysis.  The tick can feed on many different types of animals, including mammals and birds, and is particularly unusual because it also has the ability to reproduce without mating.

 

This species of tick was recently detected in neighboring New York state, but Connally said they had not seen any unusual ticks among the thousands collected from both residential properties and public forests. The tick has been found in eight other states including Arkansas, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

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Events being held to mark International Overdose Awareness Day

International Overdose Awareness Day is today.  A coalition in Greater Danbury will be holding a Narcan Training session, talking about prevention and offering information about treatment options to mark the day. 

 

The program is being put on by the Regional Opioid Prevention Workgroup at Danbury Public Library on the 31st from 5 to 6:30pm.  There will be a walk from library plaza to Kennedy Park where participants who lost someone to an overdose will place a pair of shoes at a memorial installation. 

 

Members of the coalition are WCHN, Danbury Police, Facing Addiction, WCSU, Family and Children’s Aid, Town of Ridgefield, MCCA, Mountainside, CT Counseling, CNV Help, Apex, Newtown Parent Connection, CIFC, Timothy House, Green Funeral Home, STMAD, Bethel Community Care Coalition, and Americorps. 

 

The 2nd Annual Overdose Awareness Vigil hosted by The HERO Project is being held at Bethel united Methodist Church from 6:30 PM - 8 PM.

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'Monsignor Meth' gets more prison time for failed drug test

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut Roman Catholic priest who ran a methamphetamine ring has been sent back to Danbury Federal Correctional Institute for nine months for failing another drug test while on supervised release.

Kevin Wallin, a one time pastor for St. Peter Church in Danbury, asked a federal judge in Hartford on Thursday to continue his supervised release so he could begin long-term residential treatment for substance abuse.

But Judge Alfred Covello sent Wallin back to prison. Covello warned Wallin earlier this year that he faced more prison time if he failed another drug test.

Wallin resigned as a pastor in the Bridgeport diocese in 2011, and proceedings are underway to permanently remove him from the priesthood. He was dubbed ``Mosignor Meth'' in some media reports.

He was sentenced to more than five years in prison in May 2015 for selling meth and freed on supervised release in November 2016.

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Negative outlook removed by Moody's for New Milford

New Milford continues to have an Aa1 rating and the negative outlook has been removed by Moody's.  Mayor Pete Bass thanked the town's finance team for righting the ship, despite a tremendous headwind with state cuts to revenue.  Staff has been reorganized, a line by line cost analysis was done and the commercial grand list is growing. 

 

The Aa1 rating from Moody's is assigned to the town for having a stable tax base, healthy reserve funds, and conservative budgeting practices and formal policies. 

 

Moody's removed the negative outlook with the expectation that New Milford's conservative budgeting practices and strong operating performance will continue. The negative outlook was assigned last Octoberas a reflection the State's then-ongoing budget impasse and the significant cuts to New Milford's state funding in the executive order that governed state spending during the impasse.

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Report: Chris Berman's wife was intoxicated at time of crash

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A state police report has concluded that the wife of longtime ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman had a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit when she rear-ended another man's car, killing them both.

The Hartford Courant reports that police determined Katherine Berman was speeding and did not apply her brakes before crashing into a car driven by 87-year-old Edward Bertulis.

State police closed the investigation without filing any charges because both drivers died in the crash.

Bertulius was on his way back from visiting his wife's grave at the time of the accident on May 9, 2017, in Woodbury.

The family of Bertulius has filed a lawsuit alleging that a Woodbury restaurant served alcohol to Berman while she was intoxicated before the crash.

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Judge denies Alex Jones effort to dismiss Sandy Hook lawsuit

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) A judge has denied conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' request to dismiss a lawsuit surrounding the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre that he has called a hoax.

The Infowars host is being sued for defamation in Texas by the parents of a 6-year-old who was among the 20 children and six adults killed in the Newtown, Connecticut, attack. State District Judge Scott Jenkins on Wednesday ruled the case can proceed.

Jenkins also refused to dismiss a similar lawsuit brought by a man who was falsely identified on the Infowars website as the gunman who killed 17 people at a Florida high school in February.

Jones has since admitted that the Sandy Hook killings occurred. His attorneys defended his speech in court as ``rhetorical hyperbole,'' but denied it was defamation.

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Danbury man charged for May accident on I-84 in Newtown

A Danbury man has turned himself in to State Police on a warrant stemming from a motor vehicle crash in May. 

 

31-year old Frederick Lohse was charged with reckless driving, operating under the influence and interfering with an officer.  After the accident on I-84 in Newtown on May 12th, Lohse was transported to the hospital to be examined for a possible overdose.  Lab tests revealed he was under the influence of narcotics. 

 

Lohse is due in court on September 11th.

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Bridgewater official disappointed by FEMA assistance denial

Bridgewater was among three Litchfield County towns rejected for FEMA reimbursement to help cover municipal costs related to the May 15th storm because the County as a whole did not have enough damage to qualify.

 

First Selectman Curtis Read says FEMA is trying to get an exception for New Milford and Bridgewater, but it sounds unlikely in the near term.  Towns in Fairfield and New Haven counties will be receiving about 80-percent of storm related clean-up costs.  Read said he was disappointed by the denial because the Town crew and contractors quickly opened roads and filed all the necessary paperwork accurately and quickly. 

 

Bridgewater was seeking about $100,000 in FEMA funding.

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Bear sightings reported in Brookfield, New Milford

There were bear sightings in Brookfield and New Milford yesterday. 

 

Over the course of a year, there were 148 reports made to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection by Brookfield residents.  Some 267 reports were made by residents of New Milford over the past year.  Wildlife officials say black bear sightings are reported each year from 140 of the state's 169 towns.

 

Over 6,000 bear sightings were reported in 2016.   Authorities say Connecticut has a healthy and increasing bear population, with the highest concentration in the northwest region of the state. 

 

Bears spend time in neighborhoods because food sources are abundant and easy to access such as birdfeeders, garbage, open compost, and grills. They will revisit the same location.  If a bear behaves in a way that is a threat to public safety, it may have to be euthanized by the department.

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FuelCell sells power plant installation at Trinity College

Danbury-based FuelCell Energy has sold the project company that owns the 1.4 megawatt fuel cell power plant located at Trinity College in Connecticut, to AEP OnSite Partners.  FuelCell Energy will operate and maintain the power plant under a 15-year service agreement with AEP OnSite Partners.  Trinity College officials thanked FuelCell for bringing the project to fruition, which they say makes both environmental and economic sense for Trinity.  Adjacent to the school’s athletic center, the steam produced by the plant will supply the centralized steam system, minimizing the use of boilers for the heating process.

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Brookfield unveils new stones dedicated to veterans

The Brookfield Veterans of Foreign Wars helped organize the placement of stones around the flagpole in the Rotary Garden at Town Hall.  The stones, with the insignias of the five military branches, were donated by Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics.  The company's Silvermine Road office is closing soon.  The Brookfield chapter of the Siemens Veterans Network was created in 2012 and has supported several events and efforts in the community.  A proclamation from First Selectman Steve Dunn was presented to the chapter during the unveiling ceremony Tuesday.

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Missing 4-year-old found safe at New Fairfield home

A 4-year-old boy has been found safe and uninjured near his home after going missing near Candlewood Lake in New Fairfield.  State police say Blake Taylor disappeared shortly before 1pm yesterday.  Authorities announced an hour later that the boy was found safe in an area of his home. 

 

State troopers and police dog teams searched for the child, along with New Fairfield police and personnel with the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. 

 

State Police say the 4-year old was practicing his magician skills, putting his mother into a panic and first responders into search-mode. Police say luckily the situation ended well, and Blake made a new best friend in K9 Texas.

 

(Photo: CSP)

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Blumenthal tours New Milford storm damage to help appeal FEMA assistance denial

Senator Blumenthal met with several New Milford officials about FEMA rejection of municipal aid for clean up from the May 15th storms. Mayor Pete Bass says they toured the southern part of town, where damage is still visible. 

 

He says the storm didn't care if it hit Fairfield County or Litchfield County.  New Milford spent more than $250,000 for clean up and recovery.  The high school and animal shelter were damaged by the storm. 

 

Bass says that money came out of the budget, which could have been used for other needs in the town.  He wants the town considered with Fairfield County, which was approved for some municipal reimbursement.  They tried to do that through Region 5 Emergency Management.  It was denied the first time, but he says they're trying again. 

 

The state has 30 days from the FEMA ruling to appeal the decision rejecting aid for towns in Litchfield County and for individual assistance.

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Federal funding awarded to local groups to help prevent youth substance use

The state has been awarded federal funding from the Office of National Drug Control Policy to provide local community coalitions funding to prevent youth substance use.  Among the organizations to share in the $2.875 million is Bethel-based Housatonic Valley Coalition Against Substance Abuse. 

 

This funding includes new grants for the Woodbury-Bethlehem Parent Connection's Advocates for Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition. Their $125,000 grant will be used to establish and strengthen community collaboration.

 

The Connecticut Congressional Delegation says prevention is key.  They thanked the Drug-Free Communities coalitions across Connecticut for working to improve the well-being of children, helping them to make the right decisions for their health and future.

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Still River Drive roundabout construction continues

The Still River roundabout in New Milford is almost complete and open.  A subcontractor was finishing up the splitter island on Pickett District Road yesterday.  The main contractor is setting catch basin tops and raising manholes from the bridge to Route 7 Danbury Road.  Next week, curbing by the catch basins will be put in and traffic control signs will be installed.  There are currently temporary stands in the construction zone.  Milling and paving will occur in mid to late September, followed ten days later by line painting.

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Water service shut off in part of Newtown for main installation

Aquarion Water Company will be switching over water service in Newtown as part of a state Department of Transportation Project.  The relocation of the northern intersection of South Main Street and Pecks Lane is ongoing.  Aquarion will switch service to a new 12-inch-diameter water main by Cedar Hill Road.  Crews will be working along the southbound shoulder of South Main Street today in that area. Newtown police will direct traffic as the work is underway.  Water service is expected to be shut off from 9am to 4pm.

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Swim area at Kettletown State Park remains closed

The swim area at Kettletown State Park in Southbury will not reopen this season.  The beach was closed August 3rd when blue-green algae was found.  The bloom worsened throughout the month.  Blue-green aglae can produce a toxin harmful to people and pets if ingested. It can cause kidney problems and skin irritation.  The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection issued the agency's final water quality report of the season yesterday. This is the second year that Kettletown closed to swimming in August and didn’t reopen before Labor Day.

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2 more Connecticut residents get West Nile virus

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Health officials say a child is among two more Connecticut residents to test positive for West Nile virus, bringing total human cases in the state this year to five.

The Public Health Department said Wednesday that the Newington child became ill with fever and headache earlier this month, but was not hospitalized. The child, between 5 and 10 years old, was the first child in the state to test positive for West Nile virus antibodies this year.

Authorities say the other person was a Monroe resident between 50 and 60 years old who was hospitalized with meningitis earlier this month. Officials say the person remains hospitalized, but is improving.

The three other residents who tested positive for the mosquito-borne virus have recovered.

Officials continue to urge people to take precautions against mosquitoes.

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More swastikas found spray painted in Ridgefield

3 swastikas have been found in Ridgefield.  Police told the Ridgefield Press that the spray painted symbols, along with other crude drawings, were found on 5 street signs and a mailbox on Ledges Road and Aspen Mill Road yesterday morning.  Ridgefield Police are investigating.  Anyone with information is asked to contact the department at 203-438-6531 or the anonymous tip line at 203-431-2345.

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Copyrighted artwork on campaign signs an issue in a state senate race

Ahead of the November election, things are heating up in some Connecticut races.  The vice chairman of the Fairfield Democratic Town Committee issued a press release accusing incumbent state Senator Tony Hwang of copyright infringement for using logos and graphics from two nonprofits in campaign material. 

 

Hwang, whose district also includes Newtown, says the matter wasn't brought up to him personally, but he will remove the images from Ben’s Bells and Hate Has No Home Here Project.  The Republican is being challenged by Democrat Michele Lapine McCabe.

 

The press release says because endorsement of political candidates is not permitted by 501(c)(3) organizations, Senator Hwang’s actions could put the tax-exempt status at risk.

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New Fairfield officials appeal to Gov. to appeal FEMA decision

New Fairfield's First Selectman has written to Governor Malloy urging him to appeal FEMA's decision not to provide aid to individuals impacted by the May 15th storm.  Pat Del Monaco says while she is grateful for the approval of FEMA assistance to municipalities, she is disappointed by the other denial. 

 

The macroburst destroyed 22 homes, left 24 residences with major structural damage and an additional 59 homes with minor structural damage.  Residential damage in New Fairfield is estimated to approach $10 million.  Del Monaco added that residents also lost vehicles, boats and other structures, such as garages. 

 

Of approximately 4,800 households, about 20 percent qualify as ALICE households (Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed) as defined by the United Way of Western Connecticut, and approximately 30 percent of the Town’s population is over the age of 55. Del Monaco says many of these seniors rely on fixed incomes and cannot afford the substantial costs of storm recovery.

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Mosquitoes in Newtown, Bethel test positive for West Nile

More mosquitoes trapped in Connecticut have tested positive for West Nile Virus.  Mosquitoes trapped at Meckauer Park in Bethel and those from Key Rock Road in Newtown are among the latest to be infected.  West Nile virus has been detected in the state every year since 1999. Before 2018, 134 human cases of the illness were diagnosed in Connecticut residents, including three fatalities.

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Bethel Historical Society to receive 'Best of Bethel' award

The Bethel Historical Society will receive the 2018 Best of Bethel Award for Non-Profit of the Year. Historical Society President Patricia Rist says they are honored to be chosen for the recognition.  She highlighted some of their work, which includes newly installed Tour Boxes on historic structures, their  23rd year of conducting an historic tour for all Bethel 2nd graders and new this year, conducting a day-in-the life of a one-room schoolhouse for all Bethel 3rd graders.  The group hosted a Laura Ingalls Wilder event, Victorian Christmas Tea, Masquerade Ball, Ghost Tours, and Walking Tours.  They also host a Colonial Kids Camp with visits to Holbrook Farm and a tour of Putnam Park.

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Mission statement established for Newtown Community Center

A mission statement has been adopted by thew new Community Center Committee in Newtown.  The facility is currently under construction.  The center is meant to be a multi-generational hub that enhances the community by promoting social interaction, health and wellness, creative opportunities, and personal growth.  The committee will work with Center Director Matthew Ariniello to create policies, financial overviews, and fundraising options among other topics. 

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Danbury man arrested for alleged drug sales

A Danbury man has been arrested on drug related charges.  An investigation began weeks ago into 62-year old Neil Hannequin based on neighbor complaints. 

 

Police carried out search warrants at his Coalpit Hill Road apartment yesterday afternoon.  Illegal drugs and money believed to be proceeds of drug sales were seized as evidence.  Hannequinn was arrested and held on bond for arraignment. 

 

He was charged with possession of a controlled substance and of drug paraphernalia, possession with intent to sell, possession and possession with intent to sell within 1500 feet of a prohibited place.

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Ridgefield Police Chief to retire

Ridgefield's Police Chief is retiring.  Chief John Roche has served the department for nearly 4 decades, starting his career as a patrol officer in Ridgefield in 1980.  Prior to coming to Ridgefield, he was a police officer in Rockaway, New Jersey. 

 

Chief Roche is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and has received numerous awards and commendations in his career, including Ridgefield Officer of the Year in 1983. 

 

A statement from the Department said that the Chief was in the forefront of progressive law enforcement practices, was instrumental in updating the department’s technology and procedures and is leaving an incredible legacy.

 

Roche was appointed to the Ridgefield  Detective Division in 1983. He was promoted to sergeant in 1986 and lieutenant in 1990. He achieved the rank of captain in 1991 and major in 1999. In 2008 he was named the department’s fifth chief of police.

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Schools to get reimbursement for hosting displaced students

Some Greater Danbury area towns are among the municipalities to receive funding to reimburse expenses of taking in students displaced by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, as well as the 2017 California wildfires.  The state Department of Education is passing on $10.6 million  from the federal department.  Danbury's share is about $9,200.  Superintendent Sal Pascarella says the district hosted about 20 students, but only students who remain in the district were considered.  Brookfield will receive $9,700 while Bethel received $4,500.

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Blumenthal to visit New Milford to talk about FEMA denial

Senator Richard Blumenthal will be in New Milford today.  He will meet with Mayor Pete Bass about how to make a case for federal funding after the town was denied assistance from FEMA for recovery and cleanup efforts related to the May 15th storms.  Last week, the State received a Major Disaster Declaration to help communities in Fairfield and New Haven Counties, but according to FEMA, New Milford is one of three towns in Litchfield County not eligible for public assistance under this declaration.  FEMA also denied individual assistance to Connecticut residents.

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Newtown officials to meet about police station proposal

The Newtown Legislative Council is holding a special meeting tonight to act on acquiring two parcels of land for a new police station.  They'll also give final legislative approval of $14.8 million for construction of a facility on South Main Street and Pecks Lane.  That would send the bonding request to the voters in November. 

 

Police Chief James Viadero has been making the department's pitch for an updated and larger police station.  He says right now, 35 male officers using a locker room made for 15 and 7 female officers in an antiquated locker room. 

 

Another concern is parking.  There isn't a separate area for patrol cars, there aren't visitor spaces and civilian employee and police officer's personal cars are all mingling.  Viadero says another big problem with the current facility could become a safety issue. 

 

The garage area where prisoners are brought in isn't big enough.  Viadero says if they bring in multiple suspects, they have to pull one patrol car in, close the door, have the first person go into the building, open the door, back the patrol car out and repeat the process.  He says this is the number one safety issue for officers, especially in a residential area.

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State Police urge drivers to use caution as students return to school

Drivers are being reminded to be aware of “back to school” bus, pedestrian and bicycle traffic returning this week.  Under state law, it is mandatory that drivers stop for school buses that have their flashing red warning lights activated, whether they are approaching or following the school bus. Failure to obey this law not only puts children at great risk, but it carries a hefty penalty for drivers.  Fines for passing a school bus that has lights activated starts at $465 for a first offense.

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Brookfield schools outlines snow day make-up alternatives

The Brookfield school calendar for the upcoming year has 185 students days built in.  Actual attendance will be 182 days, with the additional 3 as built in snow days.  The first day in Brookfield is tomorrow and if there are no snow days, the last day of class will be held on June 14th.  If more than 3 snow days are needed, the Brookfield Board of Ed has voted in favor of three scenarios.  If a closure is needed before November 21st, the start of Thanksgiving break, classes will be held that day.  If more than 5 cancellations are made before February break, they will be deducted from the end of the President's Day holiday.  Any days that need to be made up after June 28th will be cut from the end of April recess.

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New Milford Eagle Scouts make improvements at town schools

Two New Milford students working on their Eagle Scout projects helped to enhance facilities over the summer.  Senior Thomas King converted two courtyards at Northville Elementary School into outdoor classroom learning environments. 

 

He also refurbished flower beds and memorial gardens.  The spaces are designed to include features such as rearrangeable seating, outdoor chalk and whiteboards, and a digital weather station. 

 

Michael Tarby, who graduated from New Milford High School in June, constructed signs for the school's athletic complex as his Eagle Scout project.  One sign will offer a general welcome at the stadium entrance, while the other is designed as a record board. 

 

Landscaping was added around the welcome sign, and the green wave logo was constructed out of garden edging and landscaping pebbles.

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Redding Transfer Station temporarily closed

As of September 1 the brush pile at the Redding Transfer Station will be temporarily closed due to brush and wood processing. Drop off will resume after the work has been completed.

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Longtime Ridgefield Police dispatcher retires to provide security at school

Ridgefield Police are saying goodbye to a long time dispatcher, who retired after more than a decade on the job.  Yesterday was the final day for Police Dispatcher Isabel Caporale.  She is beginning a new career in private security for St. Mary's School in Ridgefield.  The lifelong Ridgefielder is active in the community and in her spare time referees lacrosse, field hockey and basketball from youth-college level. Prior to dispatching, Caporale served in the United States Coast Guard for 25 years earning the rank of Chief E7. 

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Ribbon cut at renovated, expanded Danbury High School

The ribbon has been cut on the renovated and expanded Danbury High School.  Mayor Mark Boughton says the project came in about $1 million under budget, and on schedule.  Classes start on Friday.  The new addition houses the Freshman Academy, the focus of a $53 million project.  The state paid 80-percent of eligible costs. 

The new theater, separate from the main building, seats 200 to 400 people and will allow the district to hold performances in a more intimate space, rather than opening up the whole building for the theater which can hold almost 2,000 people. 

 

The expansion was driven in part by enrollment, but Boughton says segregating the freshman is also good academic policy.  The district added 9 new positionsto help staff the new addition.

 

The new addition adds 55,000 square feet to state's largest high school.

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Bethel schools add 3 hour delay

Bethel schools have added a 3 hour delay option for the upcoming school year.  The first day of class, Wednesday, is a full day for Bethel students.  School officials say given the weather last year, they adjusted school time schedules to include a three hour delay option.

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Permit approved in Bethel for Ockoberfest

A permit has been approved by Bethel officials for Oktoberfest.  There were certain conditions laid out by the Board of Selectmen for use of the Old Train Station parking lot on September 23rd from 12- 6pm.  All insurance paperwork must be correctly filed, Bethel Police Department has to be hired to monitor the event, a tent must be removed that evening, no spikes can be used on pavement, the event coordinators have to clean- up the site afterward and all temporary food applications need to be filed with the Health Department three weeks prior to event.

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Bar sued in fatal crash involving Chris Berman's wife

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Relatives of a Waterbury man who died in car crash that also killed the wife of longtime ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman has filed a lawsuit against a Connecticut restaurant.

The Hartford Courant reports the family of 87-year-old Edward Bertulis alleges that Market Place Kitchen & Bar in Woodbury served alcohol to Katherine Berman while she was intoxicated on May 9, 2017.

Berman's vehicle later struck the rear of an SUV driven by Bertulis. Both drivers were killed.

A lawyer for the restaurant declined comment on the lawsuit, which seeks more than $50,000 in damages.

State police are continuing to investigate the crash and the medical examiner has not released toxicology results.

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Brookfield man fled accident with victim clinging to hood of car

A Brookfield man who got into a car accident on Friday night, drove off with the other driver clinging to his vehicle.  State Police say the other driver stood in front of 56-year-old Kerri Walsh's vehicle to stop him, but Walsh sped away.  Walsh slowed about a mile later and the victim of the minor accident, which happened near exit 12 of Route 7, was able to get off the hood of the vehicle.  Troopers tracked Walsh to his home and charged him with evading responsibility, failure to drive in proper lane, disorderly conduct and reckless endangerment.  The victim was not injured.

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Region 12 to meet with state about AgriScience academy

The state Department of Administrative Services is holding a meeting today with Region 12 school officials about the planned AgriScience academy at Shepaug Valley High School.  The state agency needs to sign off on plans so the district can send the project out to bid.  The agriculture and STEM school would open next fall to students from Region 12, Danbury, Brookfield, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown and Sherman.  A pre-bid walkthrough will be held in mid-September, if approval is given today.  Coupled with a science lab renovation project, the price tag is pegged at about 34-point-4 million dollars.  The state will pay about 24-million of the cost.

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New Fairfield officials to meet about adding school resource officer

The New Fairfield Board of Finance will meet tonight about a request for $120,000 to fund school resource officers for the upcoming school year.  The Board of Selectmen will then meet to set a town meeting date to approve the allocation.  A recent audit of security practices recommended an additional officer for the middle school.  New Fairfield's 5 police officers will rotate at the schools, using overtime hours. 

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Boat, dumpster fire and car crash keep local firefighters busy

Water Witch Hose Company 2 of New Milford had a busy morning yesterday.  Shortly after 7am, firefighters were dispatched to the area of Candlewood Lake Road South for a report of a boat fire.  The boat was located at the candleset cove community beach and the flames were quickly extinguished.  The boat was left partially submerged from a faulty drain plug.  The vessel was towed to a boat launch to be removed from the lake.

 

 

Brookfield firefighters responded to an accident involving a ground transformer on Friday night.  A car crashed into the utility equipment, which started leaking fluid.  Firefighters placed booms and pads to stop the fluid and used buckets to contain the steady stream from the back of the transformer.  Eversource cut power and turned the response over to their HAZMAT contractor.

 

A dumpster fire in Danbury did not spread to a business thanks to quick response by firefighters.  Danbury crews responded to Shelter Rock Lane and found a dumpster on fire under an overhang.  There was no damage done to the building.

 

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Monroe police investigate suspected attempted break-in

Monroe Police are investigating a suspected attempted break in.  A Barn Hill resident confronted an individual who approached their garage door around midnight Saturday.  The man said he was looking to use a plug to charge his phone and call Uber. He fled before police arrived and was picked up by an unknown vehicle. 

 

Anyone who can identify the man is asked to contact Police at 203-261-3622. 

 

A woman commenting on the post said she was the homeowner and noted that her kids recently returned form the carnival, dropped their stuff inside and were going back out to close the garage door when the suspect was about to walk in. 

 

The comment continued that the so-called Uber arrived in under a minute and went to their house across the street.  The neighbor was working in their garage at the time, spotted the man and also confronted the suspect.

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Sherman testing well water for salt

A UConn geology professor is leading a study on well water in Sherman.  The water contains high levels of sodium and chloride, which create salt, making the water undrinkable.  Sherman residents approved $60,000 in June for the study.  The Newstimes reports that a probe was lowered into wells this weekend, with water quality numbers recorded every 5 feet.  Sherman School has reportedly spent $13,000 a year on bottled water and $5,000 on maintenance for the plumbing and heating systems because of corroded the pipes.  Wells at the firehouse, senior center, town hall and another school will be tested.  According to the published report, the leading theory on why there are elevated levels is due to salt from de-icing roads in winter.  The water table for the well at the Sherman School starts at about the same level as the paved driveway.

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Danbury could partner with UConn to make biodiesel from fats, grease

Through a partnership with UConn, Danbury could take the fats, oil and grease coming into the treatment plant and turn the material into biodiesel.  The Danbury City Council is being asked to sign off on a new ordinance about the collection of fats, oil and grease from restaurants.  There's been a tremendous increase in the amount of material being brought into the waste treatment plant, in part because of a recent DEEP mandate. 

 

Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola says they already have a 94-percent compliance from city restaurants, but the ordinance would create a formal inspection process.  The plant wasn't designed to accommodate the increase though. 

 

Part of the $102 million design currently being discussed has a dedicated building for the fats, oil and grease.  Iadarola told the City Council this week that the city is looking into partnering with UConn to take the material, and make biodiesel fuel.  He says fats, oil and grease would be introduced into digesters to create methane, process and clean it.  The methane can then be used to power a generator and make electricity.  He added that heat from the generator would create hot water to heat some public works facilities. 

 

Iadarola says methane coming out of the landfill has been substantially reduced in the last 10 to 15 years because the landfill is becoming inactive, not breaking down any more and has reached a stability point. 

 

He added that the volume of grease now coming into the treatment plant could be enough to do a commercial operation similar to a plant being prototyped in New Haven.  Iadarola is scheduled to visit there soon. That plant is producing about 55 gallons an hour of top quality biodiesel.  A UConn professor and grad students implemented the technology and are looking to do a study with Danbury.

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WCSU students moving back into dorms

There could be heavier than normal delays in Danbury on Lake Avenue and White Street as students move back into the West Conn dorms.  There will also likely be more pedestrians around the side roads around the midtown campus as well and motorists are urged to use caution in the area.  The ceremonial Entering the Gates was held Friday for new students.  The freshman class at West Conn includes more than 900 students and is a 10.5-percent increase over last year's incoming class.  This is the first enrollment increase at West Conn since 2010.  The university now has about 5,500 students attending.

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Lease signed between Brookfield, business owner for parking spaces

A new lease agreement has been signed by Brookfield and the owner of 49 Federal Road to lease a portion of the town-owned land.  The owner stopped paying rent when he found out that deed restrictions meant the land could only be used for recreation. 

 

The five year lease is for $2,400 a month.  The previous rent was $2,250.  The business owner plans to buy the parking lot parcel from the town for $473,000 so he can add 9 housing units to the second floor of the building. 

 

First Selectman Steve Dunn says in the end, the town will make about $250,000.  The money will go into the General Fund. 

 

The state used to own the land, but deeded it to the town.  The Brookfield Board of Finance paid the state $244,500 to lift deed restrictions on the property, which borders the Still River. The business owner then paid more than $145,800 in back rent and legal fees.

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Bridgewater official concerned over delays in decision on Grange structure

Bridgewater recently requested bids to take down the Grange structure in the town center as the next step in order to build a new community center. 

 

But First Selectman Curtis Read says they've been delayed in selecting a contractor because the town must get pre-approval from the Connecticut Historic Preservation Office.  He says a misleading petition against demolition was recently circulated and submitted to the state. 

 

Read says if the Connecticut Historic Preservation Board doesn't give Bridgewater a green light to proceed, the construction fence could be up for another two or more years.  In 2016, $312,000 was approved for a newly constructed Community Center, with another $100,000 in the Harris Fund capital fund approved in 2015.

 

Bridgewater center has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a “Local Historic District” since 2000.  The Grange is considered one of the 61 “contributing buildings” within the district. The state has to evaluate that Bridgewater has adequately considered alternatives, like renovation, as opposed to the demolition of the existing Grange structure. 

 

But Read says the structure is documented to be in poor condition.  Renovation estimates range from $1.6 to 1.8 million. If renovated, the old building would essentially be all new while costing twice as much as a new building because of asbestos and lead paint removal. 

 

Significant heating oil contamination remains under the Grange since a tank removal in 2016.  Read says excavation could further destabilize the existing foundation.

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Stefanowski wins backing of Independent Party

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Bob Stefanowski, the Republican candidate for governor, has secured a second spot on the November general election ballot.

Stefanowski was cross-endorsed Sunday night by the Independent Party of Connecticut.

The Madison businessman was among four other candidates seeking the third party's backing. The list included petitioning independent candidate Oz Griebel; Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti; Libertarian candidate Rod Hanscomb; and West Hartford resident Mark Stewart-Greenstein.

The battle was mostly between Stefanowski and Griebel. The Republican received 43 votes, while Griebel secured 14. The others contenders each received a handful of votes.

The third party has been embroiled in a yearslong legal battle over party leadership. A Superior Court judge last week sided with a faction from Waterbury.

Another faction from Danbury is expected to appeal.

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Road improvements continue in Newtown off exit 10

Between the construction of a new shopping plaza and the relocation of Edmond Road, Newtown state Representative Mitch Bolinsky says there's a lot of work happening near exit 10.   He notes that the roadwork was initially supposed to get done in 2016, but was delayed by the discovery of a 19th-Century Ice House in the path of the new section of road.  The state then mandated an "archeological study". 

 

Bolinsky says the realignment of Edmond Road will eliminate one of Newtown's most crash-prone spots, switching it to a 4-way intersection with Commerce Road and Church Hill Road. Turning lanes are being extended on Church Hill's approach to the highway along with sidewalks and the installation of an upgraded traffic control system.  He noted that the system will remove the guess work of driving in that area. 

 

Drainage and utilities are being relocated and a new "geosynthetic" reinforced soil bridge system will span about 60 feet of wetlands.  The project is on schedule with an anticipated completion at the end of November.

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'Monsignor Meth' fails drug test, may go back to prison

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Court records say a former Roman Catholic priest dubbed "Monsignor Meth" because he ran a meth distribution ring has failed a drug test and may have to return to prison.

The Hartford Courant reports that court documents show Former Bridgeport Diocese Monsignor Kevin Wallin recently tested positive for amphetamine at the facility where he's been receiving treatment.  He was once pastor at St. Peter Church in Danbury.

Probation officer Jose Vargas is urging the court to suspend Wallin's supervised release.

Wallin is expected to appear before a judge next week. His public defender didn't immediately respond to an email on Saturday.

Wallin was sentenced to 65 months in federal prison and entered a supervised release program in November 2016.

He has failed drug tests before but was given another chance and ordered to complete drug treatment programs.
 

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Man accused in Connecticut trafficking ring pleads guilty

DANBURY, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut man accused of recruiting young intellectually disabled and mentally ill men into a sex trafficking ring has pleaded guilty.

The News-Times in Danbury reports that 52-year-old Robert King, of Danbury, accepted a conspiracy charge on Friday in exchange for a 4 .5-year prison sentence.

Authorities say King would ply his victims with drugs and then force them into prostitution for wealthy clients when they incurred heavy debts.

Prosecutors say there could be hundreds of victims beyond the 15 identified by investigators.

King was previously charged with trafficking in persons, promoting prostitution and tampering with a witness.

He said in court that he disputes the allegations but accepted the plea deal out of respect for family members of the victims.

The deal also calls for 35 years of probation.

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Overnight closure scheduled for exit ramp in Newtown

Road work in Newtown will cause some delays this weekend.  Mile Hill and Wasserman Way will have alternating traffic due to paving tomorrow 8pm to 5am.  On Monday, the Exit 11 main entrance ramp will be closed during the overnight  for paving, which will include eastbound ramp paving.  It is recommended that residents use Exit 10.

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Monroe road work planned after 3 delays

After three weekends of weather-related delays, Route 25 improvements in Monroe look like they will get done throughout this weekend.  Route 25 will be closed through 6am Monday.  Business access will be provided. A second shutdown will be scheduled in the next few weeks, but not for Labor Day weekend.

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Local lawmaker laments roadwork delays

There are a number of state road projects underway in Newtown. State Representative Mitch Bolnsky says there's a justifiable amount of frustration and uncertainty among  residents about the DOT work because of what he says seems like unendingly slow progress.  Bolinsky says he's also frustrated and asked the DOT to voluntarily provide regular updates.  He says each of the current projects is  more complex than meets the eye, requiring more than just paving or replacing bridge decks. 

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WCSU students moving back into dorms

Heavy traffic is expected in Danbury on White Street and Lake Avenue today and Monday.  That's because new and returning students are moving into West Conn residence halls.

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Another round of DHS students to earn simultaneous Associate Degree

55 Danbury High School freshman have attended a three-day summer program at Danbury High School. The 4th group of students to work simultaneously toward a high school diploma and an Associate Degree learned about team-building through activities, led by industry liaison Anders Drew of Oak Branch in Danbury and about business through visits from other area business leaders. 

 

The degree program is offered by Naugatuck Valley Community College at the high school as part of the program’s curriculum. Students begin accelerating their high school requirements so that by sophomore or junior year they can begin incorporating college-level courses. They can expect to complete the Associate Degree in four, five or six years. 

 

The first groups of students in the DECO program are completing internships with area businesses in the spring as part of the program requirements.

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Teens charged in Newtown for alcohol possession, property damage

A call to Newtown Police about a group of people  damaging property resulted in several being charged with criminal mischief and possession of alcohol by a minor.  According to the Newtown Bee, officers responded Tuesday night to the area of Old Green Road and Horseshoe Ridge Road and determined that the group damaged curbside residential mailboxes.  18-year olds Matthew Chiota and John Lucas, both of Fairfield, were charged for the damage.  18-year olds Christopher Duffy of Trumbull and Sean Lynch of Fairfield were charged for having alcohol.  

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Work continues to improve 5-way intersection in Newtown

Work to improve a challenging five-way, triangular intersection in Newtown continues.  South Main Street is being shifted, leveled and graded to increase sight lines and provide easier, extended passing opportunities for southbound Route 25 travelers.  Newtown state Representative Mitch Bolinsky says the confusing intersection of Pecks Lane and Prospect Drive is being removed in favor of a new, right-angle intersection of Pecks and South Main, just south of the existing road.  Bolinsky says this state project will make a big difference in visibility, traffic flow and safety.  The project is slated for completion in mid-November.

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More signs against proposed Winter Club reported stolen in Ridgefield

More signs against the proposed Ridgefield Winter Club have been reported stolen.  The Ridgefield Press reports that nearly a dozen signs were found in the woods off Peaceable Hill Road and Remington Road.  The proposal is for an outdoor skating rink and a private club on Peaceable Street.  It is a residential neighborhood so the applicant needs a special permit from the Planning and Zoning Commission.  Residents have expressed concern about noise, traffic and outdoor lights.  Others previously failed in efforts to get the term "private club" to be defined in zoning regulations.

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Local polling places selected for primary audit

Some local polling places are among those randomly selected by Deputy Secretary of the State Scott Bates to have primary results audited. Five percent of the precincts that use optical scan machines are subject to the audit. Those hand counted ballots will be matched against vote totals from the machines.

 

The Democratic ballots cast at the Danbury War Memorial, the Bethlehem Town Office Building and Sarah Noble Intermediate School in New Milford will be hand counted for the Governor, Treasurer and Attorney General races.  The alternate sites selected were Park Avenue School in Danbury and Gaylordsville Fire House in New Milford.  Republican races to be audited are Lt Governor, Comptroller and Attorney General.


There were 717 polling locations that used optical scan machines on August 14th so 36 primary and 10 alternate locations were selected. The results of audits will be analyzed by UConn, the Secretary of the State’s Office and the State Elections Enforcement Commission, and then be made available to the public.

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Sandy Hook Promise Condemns Department of Education Grants to Fund Arming Teachers

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Sandy Hook Promise rejected the Department of Education's proposed plan to provide funding to arm teachers that was reported as students across the country are going back to school.

All students deserve safe, welcoming, supportive school environments where they can learn and thrive without fear. No parent should send his or her child to school and worry that the child may never come home. However, arming teachers is not the solution. Teachers agree, including those who own guns themselves: 74% of teachers surveyed by the National Education Association opposed arming teachers to combat gun violence in schools.

"We wholly reject this proposal to fund the arming of teachers in our children's classrooms. While we welcome ideas to keep students safe, the Department of Education's proposal is dangerous and misguided. No teacher should have to carry the responsibility of taking a student's life in a shootout. Teachers and school administrators should be focused on education, not weapons training. We must invest in solutions to stop violence in our schools before it happens. Our Know the Signs programs have been proven to help students and teachers identify, intervene, and get help for someone at-risk of doing harm and eliminate the need for any weapon to be introduced into the equation," said Mark Barden, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise and father of Daniel who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy.

Sandy Hook Promise attended the White House listening session with President Trump and Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in February, following the Parkland shooting, and voiced strong concern and opposition to the President's suggestion to arm teachers and staff.

"We urge people to call Betsy DeVos' office to tell her that arming teachers is not a part of a school safety plan. We believe we must ensure that all our students and school systems are trained to know the signs of gun violence and how to properly intervene when they learn someone is a threat to self or others to prevent gun violence before it happens. Know the Signs training should be implemented across every state."

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LED sign at DHS no longer rotating messages daily

When the Danbury Zoning Board of Appeals signed off on new signage for the upgraded Danbury High School,they did raise questions about an existing sign.  City Engineer Dan Petrovich was asked about the rotating messages on the LED signoff Clapboard Ridge Road. 

 

A Board member said when the LED sign was approved, it was only supposed to be changed once a day.  The Zoning Enforcement Officer brought up the concern to Petrovich when he proposed the variances for larger building letters, and he contacted the school.  The rotating messaging is being attributed to a change in school administrators, who weren't made aware of the details of the previous approvals. 

 

The smaller LED sign for the new black box theater will be controlled by the school and has the capability for them to scroll through a number of performances or events.  But Petrovich says the sign is far enough from the road he doesn't see it as a distraction issue.

 

The ribbon will be cut Monday on the massive renovation and addition project, which opens for the first day of classes on the 31st. 

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Man convicted of DWI with child in vehicle

A jury has convicted a 38-year old Georgia man of Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated, with a child in the car.  Police received several calls about an erratic driver on Interstate 684 last November. Clayton Edmonds hit the guardrail multiple times and swerved across all lanes of traffic.  He was finally pulled over after the driver’s side tire came off his vehicle past exit 8 in Putnam County.  An 8-year old was in the car at the time.  Edmonds had an odor of alcohol, bloodshot watery eyes, and failed field sobriety tests.  He refused to take a breathalyzer test at the time.  Sentencing is set for October 24th.  Edmonds has seven prior convictions.

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More mosquitoes test positive for West Nile

Mosquitoes in 40 Connecticut towns have now tested positive for West Nile virus.  The Department of Public Health says that mosquito pools in Danbury, Easton, Monroe, and Weston are among those that have tested positive for the virus. The virus typically causes fever, headache, drowsiness, nausea and a rash.  Two human cases of West Nile-associated illnesses have been identified this year in Connecticut.  There have been 136 cases diagnosed since 2000, with three deaths.   Officials advise residents to repair window and door screens, empty standing water from gutters, buckets, pool covers and other places regularly. 

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Bridge work in Newtown on schedule

A bridge on Route 302 in Newtown, near its intersection with Route 25 is being replaced and widened.  This project includes installation of sidewalk and turn lanes to eastbound Route 302, as well as relocation of utilities.  After a couple stops and starts, and a temporary detour of Elm Drive that had caused a bottleneck during heavy volume hours, the DOT says bridge and culvert work are near-complete. Eversource is currently working on new gas main installation. Other utility relocation will follow before remaining contract work can be completed to pave the road, install guardrails, landscape and detail.  The new roadway is set to open in late October, as originally scheduled.

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Danbury names 'Teacher of the Year'

Danbury has named Teacher of the Year for theupcoming school year.  Broadview Middle School math teacher Ellen Meyers co-coaches students who participate nationally and regionally in math competitions.  The students placed second regionally in MathCounts and first place inthe Fairfield County Math League.  Meyers has taught for 25 years in Danbury.  Meyers, who earned her teaching credentials from West Conn and is the mother of six grown children. Meyers said being selected as “Teacher of the Year” came as a shock.

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Business owner arrested, faces extradition to California

OXFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut business owner who authorities say went by multiple aliases has been arrested on a warrant for money laundering charges in California.

The Republican-American reports 56-year-old Werner Janer was arrested Tuesday at his business, the Naugamatic Watch Company, in Oxford.

He faces multiple charges, including grand theft, identity theft and forgery.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office says his case relates to real estate fraud. Judge Karen Sequino says she doesn't have much information about the case, but it appears to be connected to a false financing scheme.

Janer's public defender says he plans to fight extradition to California. He also says Janer claims he was in jail in Connecticut during part of the time the alleged crime occurred.

His bond has been set at $270,000.

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Conn. officials unveil new text-to-911 system

Connecticut is one of only a handful of states to roll out a Text-to-911 feature statewide.  The capability is part of the state’s new Next Generation Emergency Telecommunications System. 

 

Text-to-911 provides residents with the ability to send a message from a handheld device in emergency situations when it is either unsafe or they are unable to place a voice call, such as during a home invasion, an act of domestic violence, or active mass shooting, and also during medical emergencies that render a person incapable of speech.  Text-to-911 is specifically intended for individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability. 

 

Officials are cautioning residents that voice calls to 9-1-1 remain the best and fastest way to contact emergency services.

 

To use Text-to-911, enter the numbers “911” in the “to” or “recipient” field on a mobile phone or other handheld device.  Text a brief message that includes the exact location of the emergency and whether police, fire or ambulance services are needed.  After that, answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call center.

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MA. man arrested in CT for alleged NY carjacking

A Massachusetts man has been arrested in Connecticut for an alleged carjacking in New York.  Connecticut State Police received a "be on tyhe lookout" call about the carjacking yesterday morning. 

 

A car matching the description was spotted eastbound on I-84 in Middlebury.  Watertown Police was notified and they located the vehicle, abandoned and running.  Witnesses tipped off police to where the suspect had fled. 

 

25-year old Felix Maldonado was taken into custody without incident and charged with reckless driving, operating without a license, larceny and interfering with police.  He was held on $100,000 bond for a court appearance today. 

 

The 37-year old Middletown, New York woman was uninjured during the carjacking.

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Public hearing to be held in Bethel about Reynolds Ridge renovations

A public hearing will be held in Bethel on September 5th about renovations to  a Housing Authority complex.  Bethel installed new doors and energy-efficient windows at  Reynolds Ridge, with the help of an $800,000 grant.   Two units at the low- and- middle-income complex for seniors and disabled were also converted to be handicap accessible.  Bethel is required to hold a public hearing to gather feedback on the project because the Housing and Urban Development munity Development Block Grant Program was tapped for the work.  The hearing on September is at 7pm at the municipal center.

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West Cornwall covered bridge to close in September

The covered bridge in West Cornwall will be closing on the Tuesday after Labor Day, and will remain closed for about three weeks.  The renovation of the bridge’s undercarriage has been in the works for the past two years. 

 

Kent Representative Brian Ohler questioned why the work wouldn't be done in the summer when school isn't in session.  According to state biologists, there are numerous species of bats living in the cracks and crevices of the bridge’s abutments and foundation. It is feared that if the work was conducted at the time of bats having their young, then the mother could potentially be scared off and abandon her pups.  But that put it off to the fall foliage season, a big draw for area business and tourists. 

 

The state Department of Transportation says work is limited during the winter months because there are construction materials such as concrete, asphalt, the waterproof membrane system, and the adhesive which are temperature sensitive and require installation above certain minimum temperatures.

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Bunny rescued from storm drain near Danbury school

A staff member at Stadley Rough School in Danbury called the fire department yesterday after seeing a baby rabbit that taking a dive into a storm drain.  Firefighter Hines went into the storm drain and was able to bring the bunny up to the surface safely.  The bunny was evaluated for any injuries and was released back into the wild.  This is the second animal rescue this month for Engine 23, with firefighters recently rescuing a family of ducks from a storm drain.

 

 

  

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Stefanowski says he didn't know white nationalist advocate was at Redding party

Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob Stefanowski has issued a statement about going to a weekend party for White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, at his Redding home, where a reputed white nationalist was also in attendance. 

 

Stefanowski said in an emailed statement that he did not see the guest list in advance, didn't notice Peter Brimelow there and couldn't pick him out of a line up.  He added that he was appalled to learn he was in the same room with him. 

 

Kudlow has known Brimelow for more than four decades and told The Washington Post he was unaware of the Litchfield resident's association with white nationalism.  The party was held a day after White House speechwriter Darren Beattie was fired when it became public that he spoke on a panel with Brimelow in 2016, according to the Post.

 

The Hartford Courant has learned that Roger Stone was also in attendance.  The Trump confidant and Norwalk native is a focus of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

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Judge rules against Danbury faction of Independent Party

The Waterbury faction of the Independent Party has been given sole control of a ballot line, after a two year court battle.  A judge sided against the Danbury faction of the Independent Party on Tuesday on their request for an injunction blocking Waterbury from nominating candidates for statewide office.  The Connecticut Mirror reports that the judge ruled that the two Waterbury leaders properly filed bylaws in 2010 establishing its faction as a statewide party.  
 
The Danbury faction plans to appeal, but the winning side plans to hold a nominating convention Sunday to cross-endorse major-party candidates or choose its own nominees for statewide offices, including governor.  Three men are seeking the Independent party's endorsement: GOP nominee Bob Stefanowski, petitioning candidate Oz Griebel and Shelton Republican Mayor Mark Lauretti.  
 
The three made their cases to the Danbury faction during a meeting in the City on Monday.

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New Milford Police seek help identifying suspects in three crimes

New Milford Police are investigating a residential burglary.  The incident happened on West Meeting House Road on Friday.  Photos from the yard and basement caught on the home's surveillance system have been posted by New Milford Police to their Facebook page.  A male suspect in a pick up truck was seen on camera.  Anyone with information is asked to contact New Milford Police at 860-355-3133 or by emailing information to tips@newmilfordpolice.org.

 

 

An ATM card stolen from a New Milford resident was reportedly then used illegally.  New Milford Police are looking for the community’s help in identifying the male suspect who was caught in bank surveillance photos.  The suspect used the car fraudulently on Sunday.  The case is being investigated by Officer Palmer.

 

A shoplifting incident at a New Milford grocery store is under investigation.  Police were called to Stop & Shop about the Sunday incident.  A Loss Prevention employee reviewing surveillance recordings on Tuesday discovered that a man took items without paying.  New Milford Police are asking for the public's help in identifying the man spotted in surveillance photos. The case is being investigated by Officer Williams.

 

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Kettletown swim area remains closed due to blue green algae

The swim area at Kettletown State Park remains closed due to blue-green algae.  The beach in Southbury has been closed for nearly three weeks.  The blooms can produce a toxin harmful to people and pets if ingested, or can cause irritation. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said in a weekly water quality report that Kettletown has a shallow cove that traps the blue green algae, which thrives when there are hot temperatures and thunderstorms that wash nutrients into the water.

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Oxford Police investigating purse theft from restaurant

Oxford Police are looking for help identifying a suspect who stole a purse from a restaurant on Tuesday.  Police were called to Five Guys on Oxford Road shortly after 5pm Tuesday on a report of a handbag theft.  Surveillance photos were released by State Police showing a white female suspect taking the handbag and leaving the restaurant with it.  Anyone who has information or knows the identity of the suspect is asked to contact Oxford Police at 203-888-4353. 

 

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Danbury Planners approve expanded affordable housing complex

The Danbury Planning Commission has signed off on an expansion for the Victorian Meadows apartment complex on Osborne Street.  Developer Robert Botelho says 13 more rental units will be added.  One affordable, handicap accessible unit will be included in each building of the two proposed buildings.  The other 11 units will be one-two-or-three bedrooms.  Botelho says this will bring the affordable housing development up to 52 apartments, in 7 buildings. The last phase of the project is slated for the area closest to Cleveland Street, where an old house will be demolished.

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Danbury officials advance $102 million bonding request

A Public Hearing has been held in Danbury about $102.6 million in borrowing being requested for improvements to the Wastewater Treatment Plant. 

 

Mayor Mark Boughton says the City's wastewater treatment program will be on the hook for about $58 million worth of work to the plant.  Some parts of the overall project will be eligible for reimbursement from the state.  Neighboring municipalities that have a contract with Danbury will contribute about 13-percent to the cost of the upgrades, improvements  and renovations.  

 

It's a two part project.  The plant was last renovated in 1993, and the upgrades are only effective for 20 to 25 years.  Danbury has also been mandated to preserve waterways and systems in order to comply with federal EPA and state DEEP requirements. 

 

$10 million was approved In 2016 by residents for design expenditures. The bond question will be put to voters in November.  The Council is expected to approve wording for the ballot question at their September meeting.  

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Proposed Newtown police station plans reviewed by two boards

The Newtown Boards of Selectmen and Finance have met to advance the proposed police station building.  The Legislative Council will meet next week. 

 

Kaestle Boos Associates founding principal Chuck Boos says the 191 South Main Street building is in good shape so renovations can start as soon as bids are in.  He says that will shave five months off construction because the driveway cuts are there, and utilities and water are already in place. 

 

Police Chief James Viadero touted the site as being a good compromise, even though it's further south of the center of town than ideal.  He says that's because it's on a main thoroughfare, it's visible and is closer to the Public Works building where they have to go now to refuel patrol cars.  Viadero added that police, unlike firefighters, aren't necessarily dispatched from headquarters, they're out patrolling. 

 

He was asked about why a community room is needed.  Viadero says the department needs the space for training, running the police academy, police explorer programs, police commission meetings and could be used as an EOC.   In case of large scale crisis, the emergency operations center would have an established place for all involved agencies.

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UNIT helps Danbury veteran connect to services, clean up property

A Vietnam War veteran who was having issues maintaining his Danbury property has been aided by the Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team and others.  UNIT coordinated assistance for the Saddle Rock Road home owner, who had physical and financial hardships.  They connected the man with the City's Veterans Affairs liaison and social services to get him the benefits to which he earned through his service.  The resident was able to get legal help related to the ownership of the house, and with the help of volunteers, the property was cleaned up.  UNIT coordinator Shawn Stillman thanked Sebastian Oliveira and his work crew for volunteering the time and the machinery to complete the job.  Oliveira has assisted UNIT in the past.  Veterans Affairs liaison Dan Hayes is continuing his efforts to see how else the resident can be assisted by Veteran Services and exploring what home improvement benefits may be available.

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I-84 Danbury improvement project needs input from local residents

Consultants on the I-84 Danbury improvement project are looking for local residents to serve on an advisory committee.  While the planners have data about congestion, they don't live in the area and aren't familiar with the little pockets of traffic that make commuters frustrated.  The committee will be formed in the coming months and volunteers will provide feedback as the project moves through the design phases, into the mid-2020s.  There is no plan at this point for what improvements will be made to the highway.  Those interested can email DOT Project Manager Andy Fesenmeyer at andy.fesenmeyer@ct.gov.

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New Fairfield residents approve sale of water system to Aquarion

New Fairfield residents have approved the sale of a small town-owned water system to Aquarion.  Aquarion will pay $150,000 for the system, which provides water to six commercial customers in addition to Town buildings.  New Fairfield doesn't have the infrastructure or staffing to continue to operate the system. The equipment is aging and presents a liability for the town.  Concerns were raised during discussions about the sanitary easements and pumping limits in the proposed agreement of sale, but Aquarion is regulated by several state agencies. Aquarion runs six small systems in New Fairfield and operates in 51  municipalities across Connecticut.

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Tax credit for solar farm in New Milford pulled by Mayor

A tax credit for the Candlewood Mountain solar project has been nixed.  The Newstimes reports that Mayor Pete Bass notified Ameresco that the payment in lieu of taxes agreement negotiated by the previous administration would not be implemented.  Bass says the company can't fulfill terms of the agreement, noting that the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is not likely to approve the project.  DEEP has submitted testimony in an appeal of Connecticut Siting Council approval, saying that storm water management and drainage issues were not adequately addressed in the application process.  Plans called for clear-cutting about 70 acres of trees to make way for 60,000 panels to generate 20 megawatts of power.

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Bethel firefighters tour town solar farm

Bethel Fire & EMS recently took a tour of the town solar farm to walk through possible issues in case an emergency happens. The stand-alone installation differs slightly from panels that are installed on the roofs of houses in terms of how energy is harvested, converted and used.

 

Two years ago, Bethel Fire & EMS hosted a state class about structure fires in a house with solar panels at their firehouse.  2nd Assistant Chief Brendan Patrick Ryan says while the house may not be energized, the panels still are. 

 

In older systems used to heat water, unused energy is banked in batteries typically installed in a basement, which Ryan says could be a potential explosion hazard during a fire.  While the panels aren't heavy and don't pose a collapse risk, the smoothness of their construction create a slip hazard for firefighters walking on the roof.  There's also a concern about heat compromising wiring and the potential for a short, which may not be initially apparent.

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Redding's new Police Chief sworn in

Redding's new police chief has officially been sworn in.  Captain Mark O’Donnell was sworn in as chief by the town clerk at last night's Redding Board of Selectmen meeting.  About 100 residents were in attendance.

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Danbury UNIT removes nearly two dozen unregistered vehicles

Last month, the Danbury Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team removed 20 unregistered or inoperable vehicles.  One complaint was that a resident was parking multiple unregistered vehicles on Durant Street. After an inspection, 5 vehicles were removed, and a couple of license plates were confiscated because they were being used inappropriately.  The issue has not resurfaced on Durant Street since the operation.

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Disaster declaration approved for state's tornado recovery

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - President Donald Trump has approved a disaster declaration for Connecticut following severe storms that included four tornadoes.

The tornadoes touched down in six towns in Connecticut during the May 15 storms. Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy asked the federal government to help with the recovery.

Trump approved the federal assistance Monday.

The White House says federal funding is available for eligible municipal and state expenses on a cost-sharing basis. Malloy's request for assistance for individuals impacted by the storms remains under federal review.

Two people died in Danbury and New Fairfield when trees hit their vehicles.

Malloy says the storms had a devastating impact, causing significant damage that's still being cleaned up and repaired months later.

The White House says federal funding is also available throughout the state to prepare for disasters. 

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Car found submerged in Newtown during training drill

A car has been found fully submerged in the water in Newtown.  Members of Newtown Underwater Search & Rescue were conducting a training drill in Alberts Cove over the weekend and located the car, which was recovered.  Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire and Rescue members placed booms in water for the fluids from the vehicle. 

 

Newtown Police opened an investigation into the finding and determined that the abandoned vehicle had been in the cove for a while.  The vehicle could have been in the lake for more than a decade, because the DMV didn't have information on the car readily accessible. Police are looking into if the car was stolen or if there was any other criminal aspect.

 

No other details were immediately available.

 

  

(Photos: Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue)

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3 arrested for pot possession after police respond to noise complaint

Three people have been arrested in Danbury on drug related charges after officers responded to a noise complaint.  A call was made to police around 1am Monday about loud noise near the pond in Tarrywile Park.  Responding officers could smell marijuana coming from a car parked nearby.  Police say none of the three admitted to possession the several ounces found in the vehicle.  21-year old Richard Inniss of Danbury, 19-year old Sarah Nelson of Southbury and 23-year old Lara Reynolds of North Salem were charged with possession, possession with intent to sell, criminal trespass and breach of peace.

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Kent Affordable Housing to get state grant for 3 units

Kent Affordable Housing is among two dozen entities getting grant money to help create, rehabilitate, or expand housing developments in 20 municipalities across the state.  The $61.5 million in grants and loans will create or rehabilitate 978 homes.  The state Department of Housing will provide a grant up to $779,000 to Kent Affordable Housing, to help develop 3 newly constructed affordable apartments at 19 Maple Street Extension.  The project will serve households up to 50 percent of the area median income.  Commissioner Evonne Klein says this development is centrally located, allowing residents to easily walk to downtown amenities, including banks, restaurants, the library, shopping outlets, and schools.

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WCSU investigating racial slur on social media posted by alleged student

West Conn doesn't believe a woman who posted a racial slur on social media is a student, as her account claimed she is.  A Twitter profile from a man  saying he was a UConn student shared an image of vulgar messages he claimed to receive on Instagram from the woman.  A West Conn student government member saw the post and told administrators.  University spokesman Paul Steinmetz says they haven't found the woman's name in enrollment or application files.  While there's no evidence so far, he says they are continuing to investigate.  The woman’s Instagram account appeared to be deleted.

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Public hearing in Danbury on $102 million bond request

A Public Hearing is being held Monday night in Danbury about $102.6 million in borrowing being requested for improvements to the Wastewater Treatment Plant.  The hearing is from 7 to 8pm at Danbury City Hall, in Council Chambers, and will be followed by a Council meeting on the issue. 

 

Mayor Mark Boughton says the City's wastewater treatment program will be on the hook for about $58 million worth of work to the plant.  Some parts of the overall project will be eligible for reimbursement from the state.  Neighboring municipalities that have a contract with Danbury will contribute about 13-percent to the cost of the upgrades, improvements  and renovations.  

 

It's a two part project.  The plant was last renovated in 1993, and the upgrades are only effective for 20 to 25 years.  Danbury has also been mandated to preserve waterways and systems in order to comply with federal EPA and state DEEP requirements. 

 

$10 million was approved In 2016 by residents for design expenditures. The bond question will be put to voters in November.  The Council is expected to approve wording for the ballot question at their September meeting.  

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Plane with landing gear problem touches down safely at Danbury Airport

There was a close call at Danbury airport yesterday when a small plane reported an  in-flight emergency.  The two people aboard the four-seat Piper Warrior reported a problem with its left side landing gear while performing practice landings on the runway. 

 

Emergency responders stood-by for the damaged aircraft to make a landing attempt.  The aircraft made several fly-bys to allow the Tower to verify any unseen damage.  The pilot made a safe emergency landing, touching down gently and coming to a full stop on the runway. 

 

There was little damage to the aircraft and no injuries to the pilots. 

 

Firefighters helped the Fixed Base Operator with jacking the aircraft and replacing the gear so it could be towed from the runway.

 

(Photo: DFD)

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5 Newtown businesses fail tobacco sale compliance inspections

Five businesses in Newtown failed to comply with the law during an unannounced compliance inspection into the sale of tobacco and electronic-cigarette items.   A trained and supervised minor deployed by the state Tobacco Prevention and Enforcement Program entered several retail establishments and tried to buy tobacco or e-cigarette products without identification. 

 

19 unannounced compliance inspections were conducted. 

 

Those not in compliance were Bottle Stop Wine & Spirits on Queen Street,  Dodgingtown Market & Deli,  Sugar Hill, LLC – Gulf , Fairgrounds Wine & Spirits on S. Main Street and Walgreens on S. Main Street.  The clerks were issued infractions and non-compliant tobacco retailers were referred to the Department of Revenue Services for possible administrative sanctions. 

 

Newtown Police say the effort was carried out with the support of Newtown Prevention Council as a part of their continuing efforts to prevent tobacco use and support healthy, substance-free living.

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4 men arrested for alleged drug trafficking

Four men have been arrested in connection to alleged drug trafficking in Danbury.  Officers saw 30-year old Abdulwali “Tamel” Peterson of Naugatuck driving in the City on Friday and wanted to question him on suspicions of selling illicit drugs from the same car on Thursday.  He and the passenger, the registered owner, 30-year old Jeremy Nathan of Danbury then were seen by police making several suspected drug transactions. 
 
The suspected buyer, 32-year old Danny Ward, and the man he was with, 47- year old Kenneth Edwards, were both found in possession of drugs believed to be purchased from Peterson and Nathan. 
 
    
(Peterson, Nathan, Edwards)
 
Peterson and Nathan were later stopped after parking at a Federal Road business and found with drugs packed for sale and several hundred dollars cash.  Peterson and Nathan were each charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell and sale of a controlled substance. 
 
Edwards and Ward were each charged with possession of a controlled substance.

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Kent to conduct sewer smoke testing this week

Kent will be conducting tests to determine where storm water may be entering the sanitary sewer system.  A sewer smoke testing study will be done this week.  Storm water, sometimes referred to as inflow, can enter through many sources including catch basins, damaged manholes, sump pumps and basement drains. 

 

Smoke testing involves blowing smoke into the sanitary sewer system and monitoring where it exits to determine leaks.  The smoke is non-toxic, will not stain and does not leave a residue.  If smoke does enter a building, it will set off smoke detectors and the room should be ventilated. 

 

Field crews will be in orange or green safety vests, wearing company IDs, and should be contacted.  If a drain in a home or business has not been used recently, water should be poured down the drain to fill the trap.  Town officials say that's a practice that should be done monthly to prevent unhealthy sewer fumes and odors from entering through the drain. 

 

Any persons with health concerns, susceptibility to air borne irritants or technical questions about the testing is asked to contact Diversified Infrastructure Services representative, Ken Assard, prior to the testing at (860)-274-5469.

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Two men arrested on suspicions of shoplifting

Two men suspected of shoplifting have been arrested in Danbury.  Police were called to Walmart on Newtown Road Saturday after a store employee tried to stop the pair, who was caught on surveillance video taking electronics.  A description of the suspect vehicle was given to responding officers. 

 

Police say 22-year old Delton Rogers and 25-year old Luis David Torrez were charged with two counts each of larceny and conspiracy to commit larceny. 

 

  

(Rogers, Torrez)

 

Rogers was also charged with robbery because he physically resisted the efforts of a loss prevention officer when confronted.  Rogers became aggressive and began to push him.  Officers were able to track the two down at an address listed for Rogers.

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Newtown looking to fill vacancies on boards, commissions

Newtown is looking for residents to fill several openings on appointed boards and commissions. The Lake Lillinonah Authority has a position open to a Republican or unaffiliated voter.  The Library Board of Trustees has a position open to a Republican voter and the Conservation Commission has two vacant positions, one open to a Republican or unaffiliated voter and one open to a Democrat or unaffiliated voter.

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Danbury Health Department tests water quality of Candlewood Lake

Each week that the swim area at Candlewood Lake is open, the Danbury Health Department tests to ensure that the water is safe for recreational use. This season, employees were able to increase the number of tests conducted, to include testing for toxins produced by blue-green algae.  The blooms are frequently found in freshwater systems.  Some types the toxins are skin irritants and cause potent liver toxins for humans and domestic animals. Candlewood Lake’s levels has been consistently under the EPA’s recommendation.

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YMCA in Brookfield collecting school supplies

The Regional YMCA of Western Connecticut will be collecting donated school supplies for those in need. Supplies can be dropped off through next weekend at the Greenknoll Branch’s lobby.  Among the items on the suggested list are book bags, Lunch boxes, various note books, crayons, markers and pencils. 

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Tortoise found in Redding, held at police station

There's an unlikely lock up at the Redding Police station.  Police say they found a tortoise "racing" down Newtown Turnpike at Giles Hill Road around 1 o'clock yesterday afternoon.  The Animal Control Officer is looking for the owner of this tortoise.  Police say while Slow & Steady Wins the Race, they're not sure where the race began and where it's supposed to end for the tortoise.  Anyone with information should contact the Redding Police department at 203-938-3400.

 

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Bethel to look into splitting up municipal center renovations

The Bethel Public Sites and Building Committee will look into how to break a municipal center renovation into two phases.  The Newstimes reports that the locker room and the bathrooms in the lobby could be done separately.  The Bethel Municipal Center is the town's emergency shelter and was open for long stretches during recent power outages in May and during Superstorm Sandy.  The bathrooms are also used by participants in the Parks and Recreation Department’s programs. Lead and mold were not found during a recent evaluation, but like many older buildings asbestos was found in  the floor.  It was abated at that time.

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Grant awarded to Housatonic Valley Association for paddler access at Harrybrooke Park

A grant has been awarded to New Milford to bring boat access and a trail to Harrybrooke Park.  The $2,500 from Big Y will help Housatonic Valley Association create a system to allow paddlers to navigate around the park’s falls and rapids. HVA says the goal is to complete a water trail on the full length of the Still River from Danbury to New Milford.   A portion of the grant will be used to beautify and add to the pollution-preventing buffer of native plants along a ramp added last year on the Still River adjacent to the Animal Control shelter.

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Redding Town Hall collecting school supplies

Redding Town Hall is hosting a  "Fill the Bus" school supply collection.  Residents who are out shopping this weekend are encouraged to pick up a few more items to drop off at Redding Town Hall through Wednesday.   Town Hall hours next week are 8:30 am to 5:30 pm.

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Town Meeting Monday in New Fairfield on water system sale to Aquarion

New Fairfield officials will hold a Town Meeting on Monday for residents to vote on the sale of the small municipal water system owned by the Town to Aquarion.  The Planning Commission gave a positive referral.  The system provides water to six commercial customers in addition to Town buildings. Previous administrations have discussed a potential sale to Aquarion over the course of the past several years.  New Fairfield doesn't have the infrastructure or staffing to continue to operate the system. The equipment is aging and presents a liability for the town.  Concerns were raised during discussions about the sanitary easements and pumping limits in the proposed agreement of sale.  The regulated public utility gets oversight from the CT Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, the Department of Public Health and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

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Survey work started in downtown Danbury for sidewalk, intersection improvements

Survey work has started for sidewalk improvements in downtown Danbury.  The design phase for Main Street sidewalks is underway.  The work is being done in the White Street and West Street area.  Earlier this year Danbury received $200,000 from the state for the Streetscape Project.  The overhaul includes new construction or replacement of sidewalks, intersection improvements, landscaping, removal and installation of trees, ornamental lighting, and pedestrian access improvements.  The work was detailed in the Downtown Transit Oriented Development Planning Study.

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Veterans will be celebrated Saturday at Danbury Farmers' Market

Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Tom Saadi will participate in “Celebrating Veterans Day” at the Danbury Farmers’ Market tomorrow.  The ceremony is scheduled for 11am on the CityCenter green.  Ron Agard, a U.S. Army veteran and now Danbury Farmers’ Market Community Collaborative’s veterans’ community outreach coordinator asked veterans service organizations to attend the event to provide more information about their programs catered towards veterans.  Veterans with a valid ID who attend the market are given a 15 dollar "Veggies for Vets" market certificate that can be used to purchase fresh produce. The program is funded by the Fairfield County Community Foundation and Farm Credit East.

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Quinnipiac program has students live in retirement center

WALLINGFORD, Conn. (AP) - As college students move into their dorms across the country, one Quinnipiac University student is beginning an unusual housing arrangement.

Law student Cathleen Dacey moves in Friday with senior citizens at Masonicare at Ashlar Village, a retirement community in Wallingford.

It's part of the Connecticut university's Students-In-Residency program that began in 2016 and is designed to break down generational barriers and combat ageism.

Dacey will have her own apartment at Ashlar Village and will provide at least eight hours of service there each week in exchange for housing.

Victoria Kozar, of New Milford, who was among the first students in the program, says living at the facility helped tear down stereotypes for both generations and gave her new respect for the wealth of knowledge and experience that older people have to share.  

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Conn. Supreme Court upholds $12M verdict for woman against Danbury Hospital

A Redding woman has won her malpractice lawsuit against Danbury  Hospital in the Connecticut Supreme Court.  65-year old Vivian Gagliano went to the hospital for a hernia operation in 2008.  The suit alleged that the attending physician allowed member of the hospital's residency teaching team to assist and the resident perforated Gagliano's colon.  The perforation was not detected and her heart stopped two days later, sending her into a coma.  The state's highest court upheld the Appellate Court ruling that the jury had sufficient evidence to reach the $12-million verdict, finding the hospital negligent for the injuries caused to the woman.

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Police Outside Services Fund tapped for capital items in Brookfield

The Brookfield Police Department offered to have needed items paid for from the Police Outside Services Fund rather than include the money in the recently approved capital budget. 

 

$60,000 will be used to buy a 2014 Ford F-350 Super Duty truck, previously used by the fire marshal.  The money will also go toward gear to serve the operational needs of the police department.  The truck will not be used for patrols, but rather to tow other vehicles, responding to difficult terrain or transporting traffic control equipment like cones. 

 

Another $61,737 dollars will be used for various technology items including tablets, tracking software for patrol cars, and a surveillance camera and microphone for the interview room.  Money will also be used to reconfigure the audio recording equipment in the holding area. 

 

Payments to the Police Outside Services Fund come from officers working construction sites, directing traffic and other extra duty.  Brookfield charges for the officers and cars, with a markup. That markup is put into the Fund.

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Greater Danbury area towns join Sustainable CT

There are now 51 municipalities throughout the state participating in the Sustainable Connecticut program. Nine are in the Western Connecticut Council of Governments region.  WestCog is hosting two Sustainable CT Fellows, who are working with communities to complete their applications for Bronze Certification.  The Fellows have been meeting with community leaders, researching what credits communities have already earned and developing strategies for achieving the first level of certification.  They have also been looking into methods of the WestCOG towns to earn credits on a regional scale.  Brookfield, Greenwich, Newtown, New Milford, Ridgefield, Stamford, Weston, Westport, and most recently, Bethel, have registered for the Program.  The application deadline is August 24th to become Sustainable CT towns.  Two of the nine towns are attempting to achieve a Silver Certification, while the remainder will be striving for Bronze.

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Former Board of Ed chair enters plea in sex assault case

A former Region 9 Board of Ed chairwoman has entered a guilty plea to promoting a minor in an obscene performance.  The plea from Sara Sobel was made under the Alford Doctrine, meaning she admitted there's enough evidence for a conviction but questioning some facts in the case. 
 
The Newstimes reports that allegations against Sobel include that she repeatedly left a young child with a convicted sex offender and took pornographic photographs and videos of the child that she sent to the man.  She previously described that man, Stephen Overby,  as “a close personal friend." Sobel will be sentenced on October 24th in Danbury Superior Court and faces 30 years in  prison, suspended after 10 years, but could argue for a reduced sentence. 
 
Overby pleaded guilty in February to sexual assault of a minor.  His plea deal calls for a 30-year prison sentence, suspended after 18 years.

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International Overdose Awareness Day to be marked in Danbury

International Overdose Awareness Day is on August 31st. 

 

A coalition in Greater Danbury will be holding a Narcan Training session, talking about prevention and offering information about treatment options to mark the day.  The program is being put on by the Regional Opioid Prevention Workgroup at Danbury Public Library on the 31st from 5pm to 6:30pm. 

 

There will be a walk from library plaza to Kennedy Park where participants who lost someone to an overdose will place a pair of shoes at a memorial installation. 

 

Members of the coalition are WCHN, Danbury Police,Facing Addiction, WCSU, Family and Children’s Aid, Town of Ridgefield, MCCA, Mountainside, CT Counseling, CNV Help, Apex, Newtown Parent Connection, CIFC, Timothy House, Green Funeral Home, STMAD, Bethel Community Care Coalition, and Americorps.

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Newtown Police look for school traffic agent

The Newtown Police Department is looking for a school traffic agent.  The part time work includes directing traffic flow and school bus movement into and out of school parking lots during the school year.  The job is about 15 hours a week.  A uniform and training is provided.  Applicants must be 18 or older, have a drivers license and undergo a background check.  

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Seminar for new families to Danbury school will be held next week

A seminar is being held for new families transitioning into the Danbury school system.  The free forum next week is designed to help families new to the district understand what the expectations are and the resources available to help them.  Those who missed kindergarten orientation are also encouraged to attend.  The seminar on Tuesday is from 6:30 to 7:30pm at Hatters Banquet Hall on East Hayestown Road.

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New Fairfield building department changes hours

In an effort to accommodate New Fairfield residents who can't get to Town Hall during normal hours, the building official hours have changed.  Eric Kist will be available Monday through Wednesday 8:30am to 6pm, Thursdays 8:30am to 5:30pm and there will no longer be Friday hours for the building official. 

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Leader of trafficking ring wants to plead guilty

DANBURY, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut man charged with recruiting young intellectually disabled and mentally ill men into a human trafficking ring and providing them to wealthy clients for sex has said he's willing to plead guilty.

Robert King, of Danbury, told a judge Wednesday that he would plead guilty in exchange for a 4 .5-year prison sentence.

Authorities say the 52-year-old King would ply the victims with drugs and then force them into prostitution when they incurred heavy debts. He's charged with trafficking in persons, promoting prostitution and tampering with a witness.

Plea negotiations appeared to have broken down before King spoke over his attorney in court and said he would take a deal.

King faced up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

He is due back in court Aug. 22. 

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'Ghost gun' found by police as suspected drug seller, customer arrested

A man suspected of drug sales in the Danbury area was arrested yesterday, and found in possession of a so-called ghost gun.  For the second time in as many days, Danbury Police arrested a suspected dealer in the process of depositing drug proceeds in a local bank.  22-year old Cristopher Marcos and his Osborne Street home were the focus of a several week investigation. 

 

One of the men he reportedly sold to yesterday, 22-year old Ahmad Zahran, was later arrested as he waited in the drive-thru lane of a local restaurant. 

 

 

  

(Marcos, Zahran)

 

Marcos was stopped and found with several hundred dollars in cash, a substantial quantity of assorted illicit drugs, a firearm with no serial numbers, and ammunition.  An 11-month old was home when police searched and DCF was notified of the incident and responded to the residence to conduct a further investigation.

 

Marcos was charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell, possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell within 1500’ of a prohibited place, possession of a controlled substance within 1500’ of a prohibited place,s ale of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, risk of injury to a child and criminal possession of a firearm.  He was held on $150,000 bond. 

 

Zahran was charged with possession of a controlled substance.  He was released on a written promise to appear in court at a later date.

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Toddler freed from Thomas the Tank Engine toy

A toddler was freed from a Thomas the Tank Engine toy yesterday in Danbury.  The fire department is called to any number of scenarios, some referred to as 'Man In Machine' incident.  This one is being called a 'Tot In Toy' incident. 

 

 

Early yesterday morning firefighters responded to a call of a child with his hand stuck in the smoke stack of a large train toy.  The calm 2-year old didn't appear to be injured, but the few attempts to back his arm out of the opening didn't work.  Firefighters decided to dismantle the Tank Engine, which seemed like it would be a simple task. 

 

 

The boy's arm was caught in a some sort of 'launcher' for shooting a ball.  After 20 minutes, the boy was freed uninjured.  He was wearing a bracelet that got caught on the gear mechanism.

 

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Danbury health center gets $100k in federal funding

Danbury-based Connecticut Institute for Communities is receiving more than $100,000 in federal funds.  This is National Health Center week and the money is coming from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and their Quality Improvement grants program.  The money is meant to improve the quality, efficiency, and the effectiveness of community health centers. 
 
CONNECTICUT INSTITUTE FOR COMMUNITIES, INC: $111,472
 
Electronic Health Record (EHR) Reporters $5,000
 
Clinical Quality Improvers    $20,472
 
Enhancing Access to Care $10,000   
 
Addressing Health Disparities  $41,000
 
Advancing Health Information Technology    $5,000
 
Achieving PCMH Recognition  $30,000

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Brookfield Board of Ed signs off on elementary school renovation plans

The Brookfield Board of Education has approved plans for a proposed $78-million Huckleberry Hill Elementary building.  A new building would be constructed on the back field the current campus, with Center School Pre-k through first graders moving into Huckleberry.  A driveway, parking and ball fields would also be added.  The old building would be demolished and Center School will be turned over to the town for municipal use.  Construction could begin in 2020 and take almost two years.  Plans next go to the Municipal Building Committee, Selectmen and Board of Finance--and then a referendum.  Renovations to Whisconier Middle School are also being eyed. 

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Danbury does sight evaluation of trees along roadways

The May 15th macroburst caused immediate damage to trees in the Greater Danubry area.  Then days of rainfall have been saturating the ground causing weak trees to fall.  Some falling trees in Brookfield prompted officials there to close walking paths on town-owned properties until a survey  can be completed on the health of surrounding trees. 

 

Danbury officials did a cursory driveby to evaluate dangers after the severe weather.  There was renewed concerns raised after a passenger in a pick up truck was killed when a tree fell on his vehicle last month. 

 

Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola says they did a couple of calls after that and a crew went to out evaluate the trees.  City Councilwoman Colleen Stanely said she was on Cross Street when a tree fell in front of her.  She questioned whether homeowners are being notified if it's a tree on private land, or whether the department has people to go out to take care of trees in the City right-of-ways. 

 

A city tree has to be within 10 feet of the gutter line, where the catch basins are.  Snow plow routes were used to canvas the city, but Iadarola says they didn't walk every mile of road and check every tree.

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Newtown not selected for farmland preservation grant

A federal grant that Newtown applied for, in order to preserve unique farmland, was not awarded. The town applied for funding from Farmland Trust, which would have been matched with local dollars, to put an agricultural easement on the Paproski family’s Castle Hill Farm.  The state Department of Agriculture determined in 2016 that the farm possesses soil with unique qualities that permit it to absorb particular nutrients, hold those nutrients over time, and release them.  Under an earlier proposal, the Paproski family would remain on the property and the farm would remain an active agricultural enterprise.  But under the USDA grant program, many activities run on the farm would have had to stop, including the corn maze.  Visitor vehicle parking including school tour buses, would have had to be eliminated.  Improvements to the family's home would have needed federal permissions.  The farm has been in continuous operation since 1927. 

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Brookfield Board of Ed to discuss school building, renovations

The Brookfield Board of Education is meeting tonight to talk about, among other things, the $78-million Huckleberry Hill Elementary building proposal.  A new building would be constructed on the back field the current campus, with Center School Pre-k through first graders moving into Huckleberry.  A driveway, parking and ball fields would also be added.  The old building would be demolished and Center School will be turned over to the town for municipal use.  Renovations to Whisconier Middle School are also being eyed.  The meeting is at 7pm in the media center of the high school.

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New Milford native, veteran, honored at Town Council meeting

At Monday's New Milford Town Council Meeting, Fran Smith and family was presented with a proclamation honoring New Milford native 1st Lt. Robert J. Peagler Jr who was killed charging uphill toward two Japanese pillboxes on an island near Okinawa. His company’s machine gun had jammed, so he charged ahead alone, firing his rifle and tossing hand grenades. He killed six Japanese soldiers before he was cut down by a sniper’s bullet, and died on the battlefield.  Peagler was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Mayor Pete Bass says due to his color, he was not given the Medal of Honor.  Bass is working with the American Legion and federal officials to get Lt. Peagler the Medal Of Honor.

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Proposed charter revisions signed off on in New Milford

The New Milford Town Council has approved some proposed Charter Revisions to send to the voters.  If a budget fails, it will be sent back to the  Board of Finance rather than to the Town Council under on proposed change, reverting the process to pre-2006 Charter revisions.  Another would increase the number of people serving on the Finance Board.  Voters will also be asked more budget advisory questions during a referendum.  It's being proposed that appointed board and commission members serve uniform four year terms with February 1st start dates.

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Fatal shooting in Kent ruled a case of self-defense

KENT, Conn. (AP) Prosecutors say a fatal shooting in Connecticut last year was a case of self-defense and no charges have been filed. 
 
State's Attorney David Shepack told the News-Times on Tuesday that Andre Edness' death in a Kent home in December ``appeared to be a lawful exercise of self-defense.'' 
 
State police investigated for more than six months before closing the case. 
 
 Authorities say the 32-year-old Edness was shot in a relative's home by another resident. That resident, Hunter Chatfield, told police a knife-wielding Edness tried to break into his bedroom. 
 
Chatfield's lawyer said Edness had asked Chatfield for a ride to the liquor store and his client refused. Edness grabbed a knife and threatened to kill Chatfield, who ran to his bedroom for safety and warned Edness multiple times not to enter. 

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Trump endorses Stefanowski in Conn. gubernatorial race

There was about average voter turn out in the Greater Danbruy area for yesterday's primaries.  Some 20% to 30% of registered Democrats and Republicans typically cast ballots during the party-specific contests.  The highest participating towns included Roxbury at 48% and Kent with 43%.
 
Meanwhile, President Trump has made an endorsement in the Connecticut gubernatorial contest. He tweeted this morning in support of Republican Bob Stefanowski, who beat out four others in a primary.  Stefanowski and Ned Lamont will square off in November.
 
 
Stefanowski has never held public office.

The Madison businessman skipped the party convention process and became the first major-party candidate in Connecticut history to win a nomination after getting onto the ballot through petitions.  T
he former GE executive pitched himself to voters as Bob the Rebuilder.  He ran ads promising, among other things, to eliminate the state's income tax.

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New Milford man caught with heroin, toddler in car

A New Milford man has been arrested on drug related charges, and also risk of injury because there was a toddler in the car.  25-year old Ryan Santos was the focus of a several week investigation related to drug sales throughout the Danbury area.  He was stopped yesterday afternoon after police saw him engage in suspicious activity. 

 

Santos was followed to a local bank drive-thru and apprehended. 

 

A 20-month-old was in the rear passenger area, where police also found heroin packaged for sale, a substantial amount of U.S. currency and drug paraphernalia.  The vehicle was towed and the toddler was turned over to DCF. 

 

Santos was charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession with intent to sell, possession of drug paraphernalia and risk of injury to a child. 

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Still River sediment removal underway

A sediment removal operation has been started in the Still River in Danbury.  The contract was awarded to EnviroConsultants & Recyclers.  Danbury Public Works officials say the project is on schedule and within budget. The contractor has completed the segment north of the Casper Street Bridge, both East and West sides of the Still River.  Sediment is currently being removed from the river bank on the west side of the Still River between Casper Street and Triangle Street. This project has a fall completion date. 

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Primary results from Greater Danbury

Bob Stefanowski, a former GE executive who pitched himself to voters as Bob the Rebuilder, won Tuesday’s Republican primary for Connecticut governor in an upset and will face a fellow wealthy businessman, Democrat Ned Lamont, in November.

 
The Lt Governor match up is Democrat Susan Bysiewicz and Republican Joe Markley.
The Attorney General Race features Democrat William Tong against GOP Sue Hatfield.
For Treasurer it's Democrat Shawn Wooden against Thad Gray.
The Comptroller race will feature Seymour First Selectman Kurt Miller against Democratic incumbent Kevin Lembo.
For U.S Senate, Republican Matthew Corey will challenge incumbent Democrat Chris Murphy.
 
In Bethel, final voter turnout for was 34-percent for Republicans and 30-percent among Democrats.
 
There were some issues in Danbury uploading the returns to the Secretary of the State's website.  On the Republican results, it shows that the 7 wards were doubled counted and on the Democratic side it reports 9 of 7 wards returned numbers.
 

 

Municipality Candidate  For Governor        
  Lamont (D) Ganim (D) Boughton (R) Herbst (R) Obsitnik (R) Stemerman (R) Stefanowski (R)
Bethel 886 150 721 89 48 84 180
Bethlehem 245 58 96 57 36 45 118
Bridgewater 154 16 112 14 8 18 38
Brookfield 663 86 854 105 68 91 175
Danbury 1,898 363 2,268 160 90 106 262
Easton 394 65 108 79 72 89 175
Kent 333 44 78 16 21 18 32
Monroe 675 122 284 2018 115 117 306
New Fairfield 430 67 582 56 43 72 93
New Milford 1,097 173 865 153 69 163 297
Newtown 1,489 213 826 209 111 212 413
Redding 622 51 251 53 44 79 138
Ridgefield 1,312 97 691 132 124 221 310
Roxbury 211 19 112 18 18 36 43
Sherman 197 20 141 33 10 25 34
Southbury 1,209 162 584 262 126 408 416
Washington 341 21 108 22 21 32 64
Weston 706 42 130 47 83 102 109
Wilton 980 74 229 108 153 240 225

 

 

Municipality Candidate For Lt Governor  
  Bysiewicz (D) Zimmerman (D) Markley (R) Stevenson (R) Stewart (R)
Bethel 660 364 699 181 189
Bethlehem 204 92 167 33 142
Bridgewater 122 54 96 43 38
Brookfield 505 250 768 212 253
Danbury 1,366 896 1,588 261 379
Easton 294 148 217 152 128
Kent 265 123 78 32 48
Monroe 553 230 452 267 256
New Fairfield 331 156 592 103 115
New Milford 811 457 822 239 401
Newtown 883 836 1,033 291 365
Redding 456 195 273 142 133
Ridgefield 986 394 838 328 226
Roxbury 154 71 107 76 35
Sherman 111 104 148 43 43
Southbury 987 370 986 303 423
Washington 238 121 130 41 56
Weston 526 198 191 123 122
Witon 752 274 427 283 187

 

Municipality Candidate For Treasurer  
  Wooden (D) Bhargava (D) Gray (R) Linares (R)
Bethel 475 533 735 284
Bethlehem 153 135 184 130
Bridgewater 96 70 135 38
Brookfield 375 346 844 337
Danbury 1,179 1,049 1,674 485
Easton 205 229 315 168
Kent 193 177 110 47
Monroe 383 389 525 415
New Fairfield 261 218 608 171
New Milford 656 569 927 476
Newtown 801 870 1,024 596
Redding 321 325 362 158
Ridgefield 597 768 976 354
Roxbury 134 90 151 51
Sherman 129 81 158 63
Southbury 699 619 1,051 567
Washington 218 126 138 75
Weston 357 354 293 137
Wilton 538 455 611 252

 

Municipality Candidate For Attorney General  
  Tong (D) Doyle (D) Mattei (D) Hatfield (R) Shaban (R)
Bethel 626 122 268 858 186
Bethlehem 185 41 65 252 70
Bridgewater 110 21 37 142 31
Brookfield 443 81 213 981 202
Danbury 1,322 349 586 1,896 274
Easton 277 39 123 267 232
Kent 223 35 121 135 22
Monroe 508 83 178 743 207
New Fairfield 311 44 129 662 118
New Milford 817 149 283 1,179 249
Newtown 1,093 185 414 1,328 305
Redding 493 41 113 296 252
Ridgefield 970 137 256 1,084 251
Roxbury 143 21 61 186 28
Sherman 150 21 40 191 32
Southbury 944 115 288 1,342 317
Washington 213 34 102 188 36
Weston 518 35 165 231 215
Wilton 734 74 200 665 210

 

Municipality Comptroller Candidate
  Miller (R) Greenberg (R)
Bethel 639 389
Bethlehem 134 192
Bridgewater 110 64
Brookfield 797 394
Danbury 1,556 603
Easton 310 171
Kent 78 81
Monroe 560 374
New Fairfield 527 248
New Milford 749 667
Newtown 902 722
Redding 326 193
Ridgefield 917 405
Roxbury 111 96
Sherman 137 85
Southbury 849 816
Washington 116 102
Weston 233 191
Wilton 548 317

 

Municipality U.S. Senate Candidate
  Corey (R) Rapini (R)
Bethel 846 173
Bethlehem 253 68
Bridgewater 143 24
Brookfield 1,003 170
Danbury 1,883 278
Easton 361 115
Kent 139 16
Monroe 711 229
New Fairfield 653 127
New Milford 1,176 228
Newtown 1,267 338
Redding 421 98
Ridgefield 1,087 230
Roxbury 174 30
Sherman 193 28
Southbury 1,270 353
Washington 176 33
Weston 321 98
Wilton 648 207

 

Municipality 5th Congressional District Candidate  
  Glassman (D) Hayes (D) Santos (R) O'Neill (R) DuPont (R)
Bethel 354 680 633 256 138
Bethlehem 82 219 117 103 106
Bridgewater 65 112 90 77 17
Brookfield 285 463 749 297 141
Danbury 806 1,494 1,512 420 235
Kent 75 333 54 79 23
New Fairfield 197 293 499 191 89
New Milford 442 830 712 473 239
Newtown 654 1,062 905 449 266
Roxbury 55 178 77 120 18
Sherman 74 146 128 58 35
Southbury 611 764 662 782 236
Washington 95 276 90 99 32

 

 

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State Constitutional office races determined

State Senator Joe Markley has won the Republican party nomination for lieutenant governor.   The 61-year-old conservative lawmaker from Southington was the party's endorsed candidate. He fended off challenges from Jayme Stevenson, the first selectman of Darien, and Erin Stewart, New Britain's 31-year-old mayor.  He received 47% support compared to 19% for Stevenson and 32% for Stewart.  Former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz has won the Democratic nomination.  The 56-year-old Bysiewicz has been a familiar face in Connecticut politics for decades, having first been elected to the General Assembly in 1992.  Bysiewicz fought off a challenge from 31-year-old newcomer Eva Bermudez Zimmerman, who cast herself as the candidate for a new generation, 62% to 38%.  
 
Seymour First Selectman Kurt Miller has won the Republican nomination for Connecticut state comptroller.  The 48-year-old has served four terms in Seymour. He points to what he says are successes in keeping the town's mill rate relatively low and improving the town's credit rating.  Miller received the party endorsement at May's convention and defeated Litchfield businessman Mark Greenberg 52% to 47%.  He will face Democratic incumbent Kevin Lembo in November's general election.  
 
Investment manager Thad Gray has won the Republican nomination for state treasurer.  The 58-year-old Gray won the party endorsement by 14 votes in May over 29-year-old State Sen. Art Linares of Westbrook, and he beat Linares again in Tuesday's primary 71,624 to 56,549, with 96% of towns reporting results to the Secretary of the State's Office.  Gray worked recently as chief investment officer at Abbot Capital Management.  Shawn Wooden has won the Democratic nomination.  The former Hartford City Council president won the party's endorsement in May. He defeated former Wall Street financial manager Dita Bhargava of Greenwich 56% to 43%.  Wooden is an attorney who focuses on investment and securities law. He grew up in Hartford's North End and was among the first to champion the building of a baseball stadium in the city.  
 
State lawmaker William Tong has won the Democratic nomination for Connecticut attorney general in a three-way race, winning 57% of the vote.  Tong is the son of Chinese immigrants and campaigned on his willingness to challenge in court the policies of President Trump on issues including immigration.  State prosecutor Sue Hatfield has won the Republican nomination.   She defeated challenger and former state Representative John Shaban of Redding 79% to 21%.  Hatfield, of Pomfret, was a policy assistant for Newt Gingrich and has said she wants the attorney general's office to be more pro-business.  Hatfield recently lost the endorsement of the Connecticut's largest gun owners' group, the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, after saying she opposed the ability to download blueprints for making untraceable plastic guns with 3D printers.  
 
Small-business owner Matthew Corey has won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Connecticut and will face an uphill battle against Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy, who he says "doesn't represent Connecticut anymore." In Tuesday's primary, Corey defeated Dominic Rapini, a national accounts manager for Apple computers, 76% to 24%.
 
A celebrated teacher has defeated the party-endorsed candidate in the Democratic primary for a Connecticut U.S. House seat being vacated by Rep. Elizabeth Esty, who acknowledged mishandling sexual harassment complaints in her office. On Tuesday, 2016 National Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes bested former Simsbury First Selectman Mary Glassman, 62% to 38%. 
 
Former Meriden Mayor Manny Santos has won the Republican nomination.  The party’s endorsed candidate received 51% of the vote, defeating two GOP rivals.  Ruby Corby O’Neill of Southbury won 27% and Rich Dupont of Watertown getting 22%. Santos has called President Donald Trump’s economic policies “dead on” and has vowed to fight tax increases and unnecessary spending.

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Average voter turnout for Tuesday's primaries in Greater Danbury area

There was about average voter turn out for yesterday's primaries.  About 20% to 30% of registered Democrats and Republicans typically cast ballots during the party-specific contests. 

 

Preliminary voter turnout figures for the Greater Danbury area are as follows:

 

Municipality Democrats Republicans
     
Bethel 30% 34%
Brookfield 28.57% 34%
Kent 47.92% 38.55%
Monroe 28.76% 28.40%
Newtown 37.42% 35.12%
Redding 29.78% 27.82%
Ridgefield 26.31% 24.94%
Roxbury 48.96% 47.29%
Sherman 35.24% 30.68%
Southbury 39.57% 37.92%
Weston 34.49% 27.64%
Wilton 29.97% 23.41%

 

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In upset, Stefanowski wins GOP nod for Connecticut governor

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Bob Stefanowski, a former GE executive who pitched himself to voters as Bob the Rebuilder, won Tuesday’s Republican primary for Connecticut governor in an upset and will face a fellow wealthy businessman, Democrat Ned Lamont, in November.
 
A political newcomer who bypassed the traditional Republican Party convention process, Stefanowski defeated the party’s endorsed candidate, veteran Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, and three other Republican candidates. It was Boughton’s third attempt to run for governor.
 
 
The Madison businessman gained early name recognition by running a series of ads, in which he pledged to fix the state’s fiscal woes and eliminate the personal income tax.
 
“I’ve been consistent on this from day one, unlike any of my opponents,” Stefanowski said, adding how he’s the one to “reverse the damage Dan Malloy has done over the last eight years.”
 
Stefanowski’s win sets up a likely battle this fall over the policies of Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who is not running for a third term, and Republican President Donald Trump, who Lamont had vowed to fight.
 
Lamont easily defeated Bridgeport mayor and ex-convict Joe Ganim in Tuesday’s primary. His victory comes 12 years after he defeated the party’s then-veteran U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman in a Democratic showdown that was viewed nationally as a referendum on the war in Iraq. Lamont later lost in the general election when Lieberman ran as an independent.
 
As in 2006, Lamont is hoping to ride a wave of national discontent among Democrats. He has promised to “save Connecticut” from the dogma of Trump and his fellow Republicans, whether it’s on immigration, the weakening of environmental standards, limiting of access to abortion or scaling back union members’ rights.
 
“He’s wrong. We’re going to draw a line in the sand. We’re fighting for Connecticut values, not Trump values, Connecticut values. We are going to be the firewall,” Lamont told supporters who gathered in New Haven.
 
Democratic Governors Association Chairman Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington state, said Lamont was the only candidate in the race for governor “who will stand up to Donald Trump when his policies hurt Connecticut.”
 
The Republican Governors Association immediately responded by accusing Lamont of being an “enabler” of Malloy, even though he ran against Malloy in the 2010 gubernatorial primary.
 
 
Stefanowski clashed at times with his fellow GOP candidates, who included former Greenwich hedge fund manager David Stemerman, former Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst and Westport tech entrepreneur Steve Obsitnik. Stefanowski was criticized for not having voted for 16 years and for a short stint as a Democrat before registering again as a Republican shortly before announcing his candidacy for governor.
 
Lamont, of Greenwich, has called for a $15-an-hour minimum wage, more funding for local education, electronic tolls for heavy trucks and paid family and medical leave. A financially successful founder of a small cable company, Lamont contends he has the business and people skills to bring various groups together to help solve the state’s ongoing budget problems.
 
He often speaks about being an outsider and about how the “political class” has failed taxpayers and state employees.
 
Jenna Baker, of Griswold, a 25-year-old residential manager at a group home for people with disabilities, said she voted for Lamont primarily because he received the endorsement of her union. She said Ganim’s criminal past wasn’t a significant factor.
 
“By running for governor, I assume he is trying to turn around and be a good person,” she said. “I don’t have anything personally against him.”
 
Ganim, 58, served seven years in prison for steering city contracts as mayor from 1991 to 2003 in exchange for cash, wine, clothes and home improvements. Still, he was elected again as Bridgeport’s mayor in 2015, just five years after his release from prison. On Tuesday night, he called for party unity.

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Competition set for Nov. Congressional race in 5th District

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A onetime teen mother who became a celebrated teacher defeated a veteran politician Tuesday in the Democratic primary for a U.S. House seat currently held by Rep. Elizabeth Esty, who didn’t seek re-election amid criticism of her mishandling of a sexual harassment case in her office.
 
Wolcott educator Jahana Hayes, who received a National Teacher of the Year award from President Barack Obama in 2016, will now face Republican Manny Santos, a former mayor of Meriden, in the November election. Despite being a political newcomer, Hayes is already on much better financial footing than Santos, who defeated two primary challengers to win the GOP nomination.
 
Hayes topped Simsbury First Selectman Mary Glassman, a two-time lieutenant governor candidate. If she wins the general election in November, Hayes, 45, will be the first black woman to win a Connecticut congressional seat.
 
“When we started this campaign a little more than 100 days ago, we had no organization and no network. People told us we had no chance and no business trying to upset the status quo,” Hayes told her cheering supporters, who gathered at a Waterbury hotel. “And tonight, we proved them wrong.”
 
A Democratic primary was unthinkable a year ago, when many observers believed Esty would likely win a fourth term. But the outspoken advocate of the #MeToo movement abruptly announced in April she wouldn’t seek re-election after facing heavy criticism and calls for her resignation over how she handled the firing of a former chief of staff accused of harassment. Esty has said she regrets not moving along an internal investigation into the 2016 allegations, which ultimately revealed more widespread allegations of abuse.
 
Hayes, who grew up in public housing, has vowed to “fight for the soul of our nation” in Washington, D.C. During her acceptance speech, she called for Medicare for all, stronger gun laws, and an educational system that provides greater opportunities for all children.
 
In contrast, Santos has called Republican President Donald Trump’s economic policies “dead on” and has vowed to fight tax increases and unnecessary spending.
 
“A win for Republicans in this state is also a win for the people of this state. It is also a win for the taxpayers,” Santos said in a victory speech Tuesday night.
 
He comes into the general election at a significant financial disadvantage, with recent reports showing he has less than $500 in cash still on hand for the race after accounting for a campaign debt. In contrast, Hayes had about $360,000 as of July 25.
 
 
Santos urged his supporters to rally behind him this fall.
 
“It’s going to take every one of you, just like we did for the primary, to come out and support and spend your time,” he said. Former U.S. Rep. Nancy Johnson was the last Republican to hold the seat. She lost it in 2006 to Democrat Chris Murphy, who is now a U.S. senator and who encouraged Hayes to consider running for his old seat.
 
In April, Esty abruptly announced she wouldn’t seek re-election. She made the announcement days after apologizing for not protecting her employees from the male ex-chief of staff.

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Corey wins Connecticut GOP nod for Senate, will face Murphy

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Matthew Corey, a window washer and Hartford pub owner, won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Connecticut on Tuesday and will face an uphill battle against Democratic incumbent Chris Murphy.
 
The 54-year-old Navy veteran, who received the Republican party endorsement in May, defeated Dominic Rapini, a national sales manager for Apple computers.
 
Corey, who ran three previous unsuccessful campaigns for Congress against Democratic U.S. Rep. John Larson, has said he wants this race to be a referendum pitting the policies of President Donald Trump, which he supports, against the liberal policies supported by Murphy.
 
 
“He doesn’t represent Connecticut anymore because he’s forgotten Connecticut, and what’s important here,” Corey told the Hartford Courant.
 
Corey has called for more investment in small businesses in low-income communities. He’s also supportive of apprenticeship programs, corporate tax reform and a tax credit for home school parents.
 
As of July 25, records show Corey had raised about $31,000 in campaign funds compared with nearly $13.5 million for Murphy, who still has about $8.5 million on hand.
 
There was no primary on the Democratic side.
 
Murphy was first elected in 2012 and became a prominent advocate for gun control following the mass shooting that year at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
 
The 45-year-old Democrat also has gained a national reputation as an opposition voice to Trump and is frequently mentioned among possible Democratic challengers to the Republican president in 2020.
 
“There’s so much at stake this midterm election,” Murphy said in a statement. “Connecticut needs to continue to be a firewall against President Trump’s policies of division and his efforts to take away our health care in favor of benefiting corporations and his wealthy friends. The Republicans nominated up and down the ticket tonight will be a rubber stamp for his agenda. We just can’t afford to go backward.”
 
Corey, a lifelong resident of Manchester, won the Republican endorsement in May with 53 percent of the vote.
 
He does not have a college degree, spending three years on active duty in the Navy after high school. He also worked for the postal service and as a truck driver before starting his window-washing business in 1990.
 
He opened the popular McKinnon’s Irish Pub in Hartford in 2002.
 
Corey ran as an unaffiliated candidate against Larson in 2012 and won the Republican party’s endorsement to challenge Larson in 2014 and 2016, losing by wide margins in all three elections.

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Greater Danbury Unofficial Primary Results

 

Municipality Candidate  For Governor        
  Lamont (D) Ganim (D) Boughton (R) Herbst (R) Obsitnik (R) Stemerman (R) Stefanowski (R)
Bethel 886 150 721 89 48 84 180
Bethlehem 245 58 96 57 36 45 118
Bridgewater     112 14 8 18 38
Brookfield 663 86 854 105 68 91 175
Danbury              
Easton 394 65 108 79 72 89 175
Kent 333 44 78 16 21 18 32
Monroe 675 122 284 2018 115 117 306
New Fairfield 430 67 582 56 43 72 93
New Milford 1,097 173 865 153 69 163 297
Newtown 1,489 213 826 209 111 212 413
Redding 622 51 251 53 44 79 138
Ridgefield 1,312 97 691 132 124 221 310
Roxbury 211 19 112 18 18 36 43
Sherman 197 20 141 33 10 25 34
Southbury 1,209 162 584 262 126 408 416
Washington 341 21 108 22 21 32 64
Weston 706 42 130 47 83 102 109
Wilton 980 74 229 108 153 240 225

 

 

Municipality Candidate For Lt Governor  
  Bysiewicz (D) Zimmerman (D) Markley (R) Stevenson (R) Stewart (R)
Bethel 660 364 699 181 189
Bethlehem 204 92 167 33 142
Bridgewater     96 43 38
Brookfield 505 250 768 212 253
Danbury          
Easton 294 148 217 152 128
Kent 265 123 78 32 48
Monroe 553 230 452 267 256
New Fairfield 331 156 592 103 115
New Milford 811 457 822 239 401
Newtown 883 836 1,033 291 365
Redding 456 195 273 142 133
Ridgefield 986 394 838 328 226
Roxbury 154 71 107 76 35
Sherman 111 104 148 43 43
Southbury 987 370 986 303 423
Washington 238 121 130 41 56
Weston 526 198 191 123 122
Witon 752 274 427 283 187

 

Municipality Candidate For Treasurer  
  Wooden (D) Bhargava (D) Gray (R) Linares (R)
Bethel 475 533 735 284
Bethlehem 153 135 184 130
Bridgewater     135 38
Brookfield 375 346 844 337
Danbury        
Easton 205 229 315 168
Kent 193 177 110 47
Monroe 383 389 525 415
New Fairfield 261 218 608 171
New Milford 656 569 927 476
Newtown 801 870 1,024 596
Redding 321 325 362 158
Ridgefield 597 768 976 354
Roxbury 134 90 151 51
Sherman 129 81 158 63
Southbury 699 619 1,051 567
Washington 218 126 138 75
Weston 357 354 293 137
Wilton 538 455 611 252

 

Municipality Candidate For Attorney General  
  Tong (D) Doyle (D) Mattei (D) Hatfield (R) Shaban (R)
Bethel 626 122 268 858 186
Bethlehem 185 41 65 252 70
Bridgewater       142 31
Brookfield 443 81 213 981 202
Danbury          
Easton 277 39 123 267 232
Kent 223 35 121 135 22
Monroe 508 83 178 743 207
New Fairfield 311 44 129 662 118
New Milford 817 149 283 1,179 249
Newtown 1,093 185 414 1,328 305
Redding 493 41 113 296 252
Ridgefield 970 137 256 1,084 251
Roxbury 143 21 61 186 28
Sherman 150 21 40 191 32
Southbury 944 115 288 1,342 317
Washington 213 34 102 188 36
Weston 518 35 165 231 215
Wilton 734 74 200 665 210

 

Municipality Comptroller Candidate
  Miller (R) Greenberg (R)
Bethel 639 389
Bethlehem 134 192
Bridgewater 110 64
Brookfield 797 394
Danbury    
Easton 310 171
Kent 78 81
Monroe 560 374
New Fairfield 527 248
New Milford 749 667
Newtown 902 722
Redding 326 193
Ridgefield 917 405
Roxbury 111 96
Sherman 137 85
Southbury 849 816
Washington 116 102
Weston 233 191
Wilton 548 317

 

Municipality U.S. Senate Candidate
  Corey (R) Rapini (R)
Bethel 846 173
Bethlehem 253 68
Bridgewater 143 24
Brookfield 1,003 170
Danbury    
Easton 361 115
Kent 139 16
Monroe 711 229
New Fairfield 653 127
New Milford 1,176 228
Newtown 1,267 338
Redding 421 98
Ridgefield 1,087 230
Roxbury 174 30
Sherman 193 28
Southbury 1,270 353
Washington 176 33
Weston 321 98
Wilton 648 207

 

Municipality 5th Congressional District Candidate  
  Glassman (D) Hayes (D) Santos (R) O'Neill (R) DuPont (R)
Bethel 354 680 633 256 138
Bethlehem 82 219 117 103 106
Bridgewater     90 77 17
Brookfield 285 463 749 297 141
Danbury          
Kent 75 333 54 79 23
New Fairfield 197 293 499 191 89
New Milford 442 830 712 473 239
Newtown 654 1,062 905 449 266
Roxbury 55 178 77 120 18
Sherman 74 146 128 58 35
Southbury 611 764 662 782 236
Washington 95 276 90 99 32

 

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Stefanowski beats Danbury Mayor, 3 others to win GOP Connecticut governor nod

Madison businessman and political newcomer Bob Stefanowski has won the Republican primary for Connecticut governor, defeating four fellow GOP contenders.

 

The 56-year-old former General Electric executive promoted his ability to turn around struggling companies and dubbed himself “Bob the Rebuilder” in his campaign advertisements.

 

Stefanowski was the second-biggest spender in the campaign primary, trailing only former Greenwich hedge fund manager David Stemerman

 

Stemerman and former Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst questioned Stefanowski’s Republican pedigree, noting he became a Democrat only to switch back to the GOP shortly before announcing his candidacy for governor.

 

Stefanowski was the first to launch a major TV ad campaign in the race. He has called for eliminating the personal income tax.

 

Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is not seeking a third term.

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Miller wins Republican primary for comptroller

Seymour First Selectman Kurt Miller has won the Republican nomination for Connecticut state comptroller. 
 
 Miller received the party endorsement at May's convention and defeated Litchfield businessman Mark Greenberg in Tuesday's primary. 
 
 The 48-year-old Miller has served four terms in Seymour. He points to what he says are successes in keeping the town's mill rate relatively low and improving the town's credit rating. 
 
 He will face Democratic incumbent Kevin Lembo in November's general election. 

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State Treasurer races decided

Investment manager Thad Gray has won the Republican nomination for state treasurer. 
 
 The 58-year-old Gray won the party endorsement by 14 votes in May over 29-year-old State Sen. Art Linares of Westbrook, and he beat Linares again in Tuesday's primary. 
 
 Gray worked recently as chief investment officer at Abbot Capital Management. He has been campaigning on his decades-long experience as a money manager, which he says gives him the ability to tackle problems such as the state's unfunded pension liability. 
 
Shawn Wooden has won the Democratic nomination for Connecticut state treasurer. 
 
 The former Hartford City Council president won the party's endorsement in May. He defeated former Wall Street financial manager Dita Bhargava of Greenwich in Tuesday's primary election. 
 
Wooden is an attorney who focuses on investment and securities law. He grew up in Hartford's North End and was among the first to champion the building of a baseball stadium in the city. 

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Markley wins GOP primary for lieutenant governor

State Sen. Joe Markley has won the Republican party nomination for lieutenant governor.

 

The 61-year-old conservative lawmaker from Southington was the party’s endorsed candidate. He fended off challenges from Jayme Stevenson, the first selectman of Darien, and Erin Stewart, New Britain’s 31-year-old mayor.

 

Markley was first elected to the General Assembly in 1984, serving one term. He returned to the legislature in 2011.

 

Known for organizing the 1992 rally to oppose the imposition of a state income tax, Markley has recently turned his attention to fighting any re-introduction of tolls on Connecticut highways.

 

Markley also has advocated eliminating state’s commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and opening up juvenile court proceedings to the public.

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Bysiewicz wins Democratic nod for lieutenant gov

Former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz has won the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor.

 

The 56-year-old Bysiewicz has been running alongside gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont. She has been a familiar face in Connecticut politics for decades, having first been elected to the General Assembly in 1992.

 

She served 12 years as secretary of the state before running unsuccessfully for attorney general and U.S. Senate.

 

Bysiewicz, who originally campaigned for governor, fought off a challenge from 31-year-old newcomer Eva Bermudez Zimmerman, who cast herself as the candidate for a new generation.

 

Bysiewicz has said her government experience is an asset that will allow her to help attract and keep businesses in the state.

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Santos wins GOP primary for Connecticut House

Former Meriden Mayor Manny Santos has won the Republican nomination for the U.S. House seat being vacated by Connecticut Rep. Elizabeth Esty of Connecticut, who came under fire for her handling of a sexual harassment case in her office.

 

The party’s endorsed candidate defeated two GOP rivals — Ruby Corby O’Neill of Southbury and Rich Dupont of Watertown — in Tuesday’s primary.

 

Santos has called President Donald Trump’s economic policies “dead on” and has vowed to fight tax increases and unnecessary spending.

 

He comes into the general election at a significant financial disadvantage. Recent reports show he has less than $500 in cash still on hand for the race.

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State lawmaker William Tong has won the Democratic primary for attorney general

State lawmaker William Tong has won the Democratic nomination for Connecticut attorney general.

 

The state representative from Stamford was the endorsed candidate in the three-way race. He defeated state Sen. Paul Doyle, who was Tong’s co-chair on the legislature’s Judiciary Committee, and former federal prosecutor Chris Mattei.

 

Tong is the son of Chinese immigrants and is seeking to become the first Asian-American to hold the office.

 

He has campaigned on his willingness to challenge in court the policies of President Donald Trump on issues including immigration.

 

Tong has worked as commercial litigator and was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 2007. He briefly ran for U.S. Senate in 2012 and lost in a Democratic primary in the race for mayor of Stamford in 2013.

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Ex-Teacher of Year Jahana Hayes wins Democrat nod for Dem 5th Congressional District

A celebrated teacher has defeated the party-endorsed candidate in the Democratic primary for a Connecticut U.S. House seat being vacated by Rep. Elizabeth Esty, who acknowledged mishandling sexual harassment complaints in her Washington, D.C., office.

 

In Tuesday’s primary, 2016 National Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes bested former Simsbury First Selectman Mary Glassman. If elected in November, Hayes would become the first black woman elected to Congress from Connecticut.

 

The 45-year-old educator from Wolcott has attracted significant out-of-state political contributions and endorsements from unions and liberal organizations. She says there’s an “appetite for change” among voters.

 

Recent campaign finance reports show Hayes leading Glassman and all three Republican candidates in fundraising.

 

Esty abruptly announced in April she would not seek a fourth term. She apologized for not protecting her employees.

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State prosecutor Sue Hatfield has won the Republican nomination for attorney general

State prosecutor Sue Hatfield has won the Republican nomination for attorney general.

 

Hatfield, who was endorsed by the party, defeated challenger and former state Rep. John Shaban of Redding.

 

Hatfield, of Pomfret, was a policy assistant for Newt Gingrich and an early supporter of Donald Trump’s candidacy for president. She served as a delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention from Connecticut, but she says she does not agree with Trump on every issue.

 

She has said she wants the attorney general’s office to be more pro-business.

 

Hatfield recently lost the endorsement of the Connecticut’s largest gun owners’ group, the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, after saying she opposed the ability to download blueprints for making untraceable plastic guns with 3D printers.

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Corey wins Connecticut GOP nod for Senate, will face Murphy

Small-business owner Matthew Corey has won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Connecticut and will face an uphill battle against Democratic U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy.

 

In Tuesday’s primary the Manchester Republican defeated Dominic Rapini, a national accounts manager for Apple computers.

 

Corey is a U.S. Navy veteran and owner of a Hartford pub and a window-washing business. He earlier unsuccessfully challenged Democratic U.S. Rep. John Larson.

 

Corey has called for more investment in small businesses in low-income communities. He’s also supportive of apprenticeship programs, corporate tax reform and a tax credit for home school parents.

As of July 25, records show Corey had raised about $31,000 in campaign funds compared with nearly $13.5 million for Murphy.

 

There was no primary on the Democratic side.

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AP: Lamont wins Dem primary for Connecticut governor

usinessman Ned Lamont has won the Democratic nomination for Connecticut governor, defeating Bridgeport mayor and ex-convict Joe Ganim.

 

Lamont’s victory comes 12 years after he defeated U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman in a Democratic showdown, only to lose the general election when Lieberman ran as an independent. That race was seen as part of a national referendum on the Iraq War.

 

Lamont has said he’ll “save Connecticut” from President Donald Trump’s policies, whether it’s the weakening of environmental standards or abortion access.

 

Lamont says he’ll bring a businessman’s approach to solving the state’s fiscal woes. He supports unions and a higher minimum wage.

 

Ganim was elected Bridgeport mayor in 2015 despite serving seven years in prison for public corruption.

 

Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy decided against running for a third term.

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Polls close at 8pm in Connecticut for primary voters

Connecticut's roughly 1.2 million registered Democrats and Republicans will go to the polls to choose their candidates for the November election.  Unaffiliated voters, the largest single voting bloc, are not allowed to participate in Tuesday's primary.

 

In Danbury, as of 1pm, voter turnout among Democrats is about 9-percent.  Turnout is about double on the Republican side.  In Brookfield's District 2 ballots are being cast at Center School because the water tank is being replaced at the high school.

 

The Election Day hotline at 866-SEEC-INFO (866-733-2463) and email address at elections@ct.gov will be available throughout Election Day for anyone who witnesses voting irregularities. The hotline will be staffed by the State Elections Enforcement Commission, and the email address is staffed by both SEEC and the Office of the Connecticut  Secretary of the State.
 
Three Republicans — Southington state Senator Joe Markley, New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart, and Darien First Selectman Jayme Stevenson are facing off to be the Lt govenror nominee.  Two Democrats — former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz and Newtown union organizer Eva Bermudez Zimmerman will fight for their parties’ nomination for lieutenant governor.
 
Stamford State Representative William Tong, Wethersfield Senator Paul Doyle and former federal prosecutor Chris Mattei of Hartford are seeking the Democrats’ attorney general nomination, while Pomfret state prosecutor Sue Hatfield and former Redding Representative John Shaban are the Republican candidates. 
 
Two Republicans — retired investment officer Thad Gray and Westbrook state Senator Art Linares — and three Democrats — former Hartford City Council President Shawn Wooden, former Greenwich Wall Street trader Dita Bhargarva and Hartford attorney Arunan Arulampalam, are running for state treasurer.
 
There is also a Republican primary for comptroller, with Seymour First Selectman Kurt Miller facing a challenge from Litchfield businessman Mark Greenberg.
 
Republicans will choose between Manchester business owner Matthew Corey and Dominic Rapini, a national accounts manager from Branford, as their candidate to challenge Democratic U.S. Senator Chris Murphy. 
 
In western Connecticut’s 5th congressional district, where incumbent Elizabeth Esty is not seeking re-election, former Simsbury First Selectman Mary Glassman and teacher Jahana Hayes are vying for the Democratic nomination. Former Meriden Mayor Manny Santos, retired university professor Ruby O’Neill of Southbury and Watertown manufacturing consultant Rich Dupont are seeking the Republican nomination.

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Ridgefield Police remind pet owners to get license for dogs

The Ridgefield Police Department is reminding pet owners that all dogs over the age of six months and living in Ridgefield must be vaccinated for rabies and licensed by the town clerk. The license is good for a year, and must be renewed each June.  Police say there are still many residents that have not licensed their dogs for the current year.

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Funding request sent to New Milford Board of Finance for library expansion

A $6.5 million request has been sent by the New Milford Town Council to the Board of Finance, which would be used to expand and renovate the library.  New Milford will also apply for a million dollar state grant for the work.  The Library Board of Trustees will put  $1 million toward the project and are asking that the same amount be taken out of the Waste Management Fund.  The overall design, which would also make the facility ADA compliant, was previously approved by the New Milford Town Council.  The proposal to add 10,000 square feet of usable space features another story built on top of the addition, constructed in the late 1970s.  An outdoor terrace, a self-serve cafe and a new facade to fit the downtown aesthetic are also part of the design.

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Brookfield, New Milford to study joining Still River Greenway paths

Brookfield and New Milford are working together to see if it's feasible to join sections of the Still River Greenway located in each municipality.  Brookfield officials have appointed three members to an ad hoc committee to evaluate the path proposed by New Milford's Bike and Trail Committee: Bohdan Dackow, Jean Hartnett and Maureen Farrell.  A survey in Brookfield last fall showed that 900 people used the greenway on Saturdays and Sundays.  With the ongoing revitalization in both downtowns, First Selectman Steve Dunn says this seems to be the perfect time to join the Greenways.  According to a memo about the proposal, Brookfield will be applying for grant funds.

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Police search for person of interest in Danbury car break-ins

Danbury Police are trying to identify a person of interest in connection  with several car break-ins.  Surveillance images of a person who they say may be involved in the crimes off Eagle Road have been released. Police say credit cards were stolen from the cars and used to buy thousands of dollars' worth of merchandise from area stores.  Anyone with information should contact Danbury police. 

 

 

  

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Danbury willed 25 acres near Bear Mountain Reserve

Danbury has been willed a property near the Bear Mountain Reserve.  The 25 acres gifted to Danbury by the late Victor Westman includes a house, detached garage and a barn.  The land will be kept as open space.  The City Council accepted the donation, on the condition that the Planning Commission signs off. 

 

The acquisition via inheritance includes several small parcels, none of which are contiguous to the park.  There's a mix of terrain and City officials hope the school district can use the land to have students study the different species that live there. 

 

Mayor Mark Boughton says he met quarterly with the land owner over the last 15 years.  He'd like the City to do something similar to a house at the Farrington Woods property, rent it to police officer or public safety official. 

 

Danbury is also looking for a tenant for the Richter gardener's house.  Both need some updating and work.

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High-profile races up for grabs in Connecticut primary

Connecticut's roughly 1.2 million registered Democrats and Republicans will go to the polls to choose their candidates for the November election.  Unaffiliated voters, the largest single voting bloc, are not allowed to participate in Tuesday's primary.

 

There is a change in voting location in Brookfield for the primary.  District 2 will not cast ballots at Brookfield High School, but rather vote at Center School. The water tank is being replaced at the high school, so there is no water available. Voting in District 1 will be at the usual location, Huckleberry Hill Elementary School.

 

The Election Day hotline at 866-SEEC-INFO (866-733-2463) and email address at elections@ct.gov will be available throughout Election Day for anyone who witnesses voting irregularities. The hotline will be staffed by the State Elections Enforcement Commission, and the email address is staffed by both SEEC and the Office of the Connecticut  Secretary of the State.
 
The SEEC is the primary elections investigative and civil enforcement authority in Connecticut. The Secretary of the State’s office is charged with overseeing all elections in Connecticut, which includes advising and assisting local Registrars of Voters and Town Clerks on their statutory responsibilities regarding the administration of elections.


There are seven candidates running for governor. The list includes two Democrats -- endorsed candidate Ned Lamont and Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim.  The five Republicans are endorsed candidate Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, former Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst and Madison businessman Bob Stefanowski, former Greenwich hedge fund manager David Stemerman, and Westport tech entrepreneur Steve Obsitnik.

 

Three Republicans — Southington state Senator Joe Markley, New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart, and Darien First Selectman Jayme Stevenson are facing off to be the Lt govenror nominee.  Two Democrats — former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz and Newtown union organizer Eva Bermudez Zimmerman will fight for their parties’ nomination for lieutenant governor.
 
Stamford State Representative William Tong, Wethersfield Senator Paul Doyle and former federal prosecutor Chris Mattei of Hartford are seeking the Democrats’ attorney general nomination, while Pomfret state prosecutor Sue Hatfield and former Redding Representative John Shaban are the Republican candidates. 
 
Two Republicans — retired investment officer Thad Gray and Westbrook state Senator Art Linares — and three Democrats — former Hartford City Council President Shawn Wooden, former Greenwich Wall Street trader Dita Bhargarva and Hartford attorney Arunan Arulampalam, are running for state treasurer.
 
There is also a Republican primary for comptroller, with Seymour First Selectman Kurt Miller facing a challenge from Litchfield businessman Mark Greenberg.
 
Republicans will choose between Manchester business owner Matthew Corey and Dominic Rapini, a national accounts manager from Branford, as their candidate to challenge Democratic U-S Senator Chris Murphy.
 
In western Connecticut’s 5th congressional district, where incumbent Elizabeth Esty is not seeking re-election, former Simsbury First Selectman Mary Glassman and teacher Jahana Hayes are vying for the Democratic nomination. Former Meriden Mayor Manny Santos, retired university professor Ruby O’Neill of Southbury and Watertown manufacturing consultant Rich Dupont are seeking the Republican nomination.

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New Milford firefighter among crew returning from Colorado wildfire response

A fire crew from Connecticut has returned home from a deployment to Colorado. 

 

The 20-member crew, made up of two DEEP employees, and 16 private-sector firefighters, left Connecticut on July 27th.  They have been working in Colorado on the Buttermilk and Green Mountain fires, totaling about 800 acres. 

 

Among the firefighters was Sergio Liguori of New Milford. 

 

DEEP maintains a roster of agency staff members and personnel from local fire departments who have been certified to fight forest or wildfires. Crew members must complete a rigorous training program and participate in an annual renewal course. Connecticut participates in a reciprocal aid program operated by the U.S. Forest Service.

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Woman admits she stole from adopted parents to fuel drug use

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut woman has pleaded guilty to breaking into her adoptive parents' home and stealing jewelry in order to fuel her drug habit.

The Stamford Advocate reports that 31-year-old Jillian Katz pleaded guilty last week to a reduced charge of third-degree burglary for stealing 23 pieces of jewelry from the Wilton home.

Police say she stole the jewelry in February while her parents were on vacation. She has been jailed since her arrest in April.

Katz faces five years behind bars for the break-in and also has pending burglary and larceny cases. She previously faced up to 40 years in prison before pleading to the reduced charges.

Katz's public defender says they are seeking alternatives to incarceration in order to help Katz with substance abuse. 

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Solarize CT meeting in Brookfield tonight

Brookfield is participating in a residential solar program that makes going solar easy and affordable. Two final workshops have been scheduled on tonight and September 11 from 7:30 - 9 p.m. in Meeting Room 133 at Brookfield Town Hall. Homeowners who want to find out if their home is good for solar can go directly to SolarizeCT.com.

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Sister lunch ladies accused of stealing big money

NEW CANAAN, Conn. (AP) - Two sisters and former cafeteria workers are being charged with stealing nearly half of a million dollars from Connecticut schools in the past five years.

Police say 61-year-old Joanne Pascarelli of Stratford and her sister 67-year-old Marie Wilson of Wilton turned themselves into New Canaan police this weekend after warrants were issued for their arrest.

The two have been charged with larceny and defrauding a public community for allegedly stealing $478,588 from Saxe Middle School and New Canaan High School from 2012 to 2017. Board of Education officials did not reply for comment.

An attorney for Wilson says she is innocent and is "not going to be scapegoated." The sisters have been released after each posting a $50,000 bond, and will be in court later in August. An attorney for Pascarelli could not be identified.  

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Sandy Hook firefighters find car 75 feet down embankment

Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire and Rescue was dispatched to a car crash on I-84 East early Saturday morning.  Firefighters found a Ford Escape approximately 75 feet down the embankment.  The incident happened between exits 10 and 11 around 4:45am.  The driver sustained minor injuries.

 

(Photo: SHVFR)

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Brookfield Senior Tax Abatement Committee recommends changes

The Brookfield Senior Tax Abatement Committee is recommending to town officials that the program cap abated taxes for eligible resident age 75 or older and a one-time partial abatement for seniors earning 3 percent over existing income limits.  Current requirements are that a resident must have lived and paid taxes in Brookfield for the last five years and income must be below $49,420 for a single person and $60,200 for a married couple.  Their home value must also not exceed the median assessed property value for the year.  According to the committee’s report, Brookfield provides a higher abatement on property taxes than almost towns in the area.

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New Milford begins 'Employee of the Month' program

New Milford officials have created a Town Employee of the Month program.  Department heads submit their recommendations and the first person to receive the recognition is Monika Roberts, office coordinator for the Department of Social Services.  She was nominated for identifying an opportunity, taking the initiative and creating a savings for New Milford.  Roberts read about the postal service wanting to move businesses toward a bar-coded mailing procedure, arranged for a trainer to come to New Milford and changed the bulk mail procedures in time for the July mailing.  New Milford sends out about 300 newsletters via bulk mail 10 times a year.

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Man suspected of Watertown home invasion, sex assault turns himself in

A man suspected of a Watertown home invasion, kidnapping, and sexual assault has turned himself in.  41-year old Urim Asani allegedly targeted the victim of the Saturday crime in the Oakville section of Watertown.  Asani was charged with two counts of sexual assault, kidnapping, strangulation or suffocation, unlawful restraint, home invasion, threatening, and assault.  

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Interim Principal named for Ridgefield elementary school

An interim principal has been named at Scotland Elementary School in Ridgefield.  William Santasiero started last week and hold the role until the district finds a permanent replacement.  He retired in June as principal of Morris Street School in Danbury.  Scotland Elementary's former principal, Joanna Genovese, resigned amid controversy last month.  She is on a paid leave of absence until her resignation becomes official on the 31st.  Controversial Facebook posts and recess concerns were raised to the Ridgefield Board of Education in recent months by parents.

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DEEP to look into illegal raw sewage dump in Danbury

A Danbury resident allegedly illegally dumped 2,000 gallons of raw sewage into a storm drain on Lake Avenue.  Councilman Phil Curran asked if the resident will be held responsible and who will pay for the response.  On July 8th, the Danbury Public Works Department responded with a sewer truck and cleaned all of the catch basins and washed all of the pipes.  A crew went back the next day to follow up. 

 

Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola says his department tracked all related costs and submitted it for a claim to see if the City can get payment.  The next step is to work with the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. 

 

City Attorney Les Pinter is looking into what legal action can be taken against the home owner, not the tenant.  There have been other issues at the home, with the Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team and the Health Department responding to the property. 

 

Police Chief Patrick Ridenhour told the Council that there were three people arrested.  Danbury resident Francisco Tomas Vidal, Pablo Pintado Penaloza of Manhattan and Oscar Anselmo Hernandez-Jimenez of Spring Valley, New York were charged with breach of peace, criminal mischief and illegally dumping hazardous waste.    

 

All three have pleaded not guilty, were released on $1,000 bond and are due back in court on August 22nd.

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Road work update provided by New Milford Mayor

There's a lot of road work underway in New Milford.  On the Still River Roundabout, crews will continue to install curbing and begin to form for the concrete truck apron and splitter islands.  On Young's Field Road, the contractor will continue replacing corrugated metal pipe and be paving the north end of the road today. Further milling, grading and paving will take place tomorrow through Thursday, weather permitting. 

 

Long Mountain will begin to see survey layout, traffic control signs and other preliminary activities this week. 

 

On Railroad Street, there is a public notice about drainage work, milling and paving.  The goal is to have the work done next Monday or the following Monday, the 27th, to minimize business impacts. 

 

On Town Farm Road, drainage is being installed and plans call for milling, paving, curb and apron work before school opens on the 29th.

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Teens charged in Newtown for pot possession, driving restriction violations

Two teens have been charged in Newtown after an officer found marijuana in their car during a routine traffic stop.  A car with defective lights was pulled over on Church Hill Road around 2:30am Thursday.  The juvenile passenger, who lives in Newtown, was found in possession of a large quantity of marijuana, over half a pound, and packaging material.  The teen was charged with illegal possession and possession with intent to sell.  The driver was issued an infraction for defective equipment and violating passenger restrictions.  Both teens were released to their parents.

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Students from Newtown, Parkland march together

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) - Students from Parkland, Florida, and Newtown, Connecticut, teamed up for the final leg of a nationwide bus tour to protest gun violence and the policies of the National Rifle Association.

Supporters gathered Sunday afternoon in Newtown near the site of the December 2012 massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. The final event included youth music performances and a speech by the Rev. Martin Luther King's granddaughter, Yolanda Renee King.

Organizers say they hope to continue educating young people about gun issues and encouraging young adults to vote.

The March for Our Lives: Road to Change was started after February's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. It was part of a traveling rally that began in Chicago in June and made stops in 20 states.  

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Community meeting in Redding on proposed Eversource improvements

A community meeting is being held tonight in Redding about planned maintenance work by Eversource. The proposal is for work on the transmission line that runs from the Peaceable Street substation to the Archer Lane substation.  Information will be presented and questions will be addressed at that time in regard to the proposed work. 

 

Redding will also begin to organize the neighborhoods’ response to the proposal.  The community meeting is at 7pm in the Town Hall Meeting Room.

 

Eversource plans to replace 26 existing structures in the areas of Diamond Hill Road, Umpawaug Road, Windy Hill Road, Quarry Rock Road, Seventy Acres Road, Indian Hill Road, and Peaceable Street.  It includes replacement of wooden H poles that blend into scenery with steel monopoles that will be visible above the treeline. Additional trees may be removed and accessways improved so that large machinery can access the right of way.

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Police continue to investigate fatal motorcycle crash

Danbury Police have released more details about a fatal motorcycle accident that happened Thursday night on Backus Avenue, in front of the mall.  A preliminary investigation found that the motorcyclist, 25-year-old Samuel Hyde, of Danbury, was speeding westbound when the motorcycle stuck a car.  Hyde was transported to the hospital, where he later succumb to his injuries.  The driver of the car was 64-year-old Roberto Romero, of Brewster.  The collision remains under investigation. Any witness is asked to contact the Danbury Police Department Traffic Division at 203-797-2157.

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March For Our Lives event coming to Newtown Sunday

A anti-gun violence protest is coming to Newtown on Sunday.  Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida are leading the March For Our Lives event, which will be held from 2pm to 6pm on the Fairfield Hills campus.  The event, sponsored locally by Sandy Hook Promise, will include voter registration opportunities, food trucks, and a speaking program.  The Road to Change tour kicked off in June in Chicago.  A bus has been touring the country, making 50 stops in 20 states.  The advocacy group is calling for the CDC to research gun violence as a public health issue, a ban on high capacity magazines and extreme risk prevention orders. 

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Purple Heart ceremony to be held in New Milford this morning

A ceremony is being held in New Milford this morning as the municipality officially becomes a Purple Heart Town.  New Milford would be the 5th town in the state with the designation.  The ceremony at Town Hall is at 10:30 and will honor Purple Heart recipients.

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Absentee ballot session to be held in New Fairfield today

The New Fairfield Town Clerk is holding special office hours today for absentee balloting for the upcoming Democratic and Republican Primaries.  The office will be open 9am to noon.  The primaries are Tuesday and only registered Democrats and Republicans can vote in their respective contests. 

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Antenna installed for Bethel emergency responder communications

The microwave antenna has been installed at the new Bethel Police Department Tower and on the Spring Hill Tower.  Town officials say this device will improve Public Safety communications for Bethel's Police, Fire, EMS, and Department of Public Works. The old system relies on phone lines from the Police Department's Dispatch Center to the main tower and frequently needed repairs. Officials say the new system, which will go live when officers move in to the new police station, has about a 99.9-percent reliability rate.
 
(Photo: Bethel Fire & EMS)

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New Milford gets grant for cemetery maintenance

New Milford has been awarded $2,000 in grant money from the state to maintain two cemeteries in town.  The funding from the Office of Policy and Management will be divided evenly between Long Mountain and Lower Merryall Cemeteries for fall maintenance.

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Brookfield Finance Board holds off on fund transfer request

The Brookfield Board of Finance is holding off on a request from the Selectmen for more money for the Department of Public Works.  The Selectmen asked that $41,300, which was unspent in last fiscal year's budget, be moved back out of the unassigned general fund and dedicated to routine maintenance.  The money was planned last year for work that didn't end up getting done because of the macroburst.  The Board of Finance will decide on the request if more money is needed by the department for street sweeping and the like later this fiscal year.

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Brookfield to pick up tab on specialized volunteer firefighter physicals

Phyiscals for Brookfield Volunteer Firefighters will be paid for by the town.  The Board of Selectmen voted this week to send a $35,000 funding request to the Board of Finance.  The physicals are required annually by OSHA. 

 

First Selectman Steve Dunn says for the past 35 years Brookfield Family Medicine gave each firefighter a physical, free of charge.  But the practice was bought by Western Connecticut Health Network and can no longer offer the service. 

 

The Fire Department went out and got three bids.  Dunn says it wouldn't be fair to ask the volunteers to take on the cost of the specialized medical screening.  He predicts that if the town doesn't pick up the cost, Brookfield will lose firefighters because they won't pay another $350 to do volunteer work. 

 

There are about 100 volunteer firefighters in Brookfield. 

 

The exam goes above and beyond a routine annual physical because it includes chest x-rays, checks the ability to breath and do firefighting work.  Dunn notes that this protects the town and gives Brookfield less liability exposure.  As a volunteer's yearly exam date approaches, if Brookfield officials don't approve this funding, the firefighter won't be able to respond to incidents. 

 

The money would come from the town's Contingency Fund or be a Special Appropriation.  

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Steps in Sandy Hook Promise program recommended by Secret Service

The Secret Service is recommending that schools set up teams to assess threats and encourage students to report troubling behavior to prevent gun violence.  Sandy Hook Promise, formed by the parents of two children killed on 12-14, has a program to facilitate those suggestions.  The no-cost Know the Signs program is already in a number of schools. 

 

The Secret Service put together their report after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. 

 

Sandy Hook Promise co-founder Nicole Hockley says a middle school guidance counselor  in Cincinnati recently reported that the program helped to prevent a shooting there.  Know the Signs has already trained more than 3.5 million students and educators.

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Exceptions to Danbury zoning laws won't be granted to Dorothy Day Hospitality House

A request for exceptions to Danbury zoning regulations by Dorothy Day Hospitality House has been rejected.  The Zoning Board of Appeals denied the proposed variances that would have allowed the Spring Street facility to continue not conforming to modern zoning rules.  The site doesn't have wide enough driveways, the 120-year old buildings are not set far enough back from the road and there aren't enough parking spaces, among other issues. 

 

The variances were needed so the applicant could file a site plan with the Planning Commission. 

 

Dorothy Day has been operating without a permit for about 30 years, but that was only discovered in 2016.  A cease and desist order was then issued.  The zoning dispute is also making its way through the court system.  A judge encouraged Danbury and Dorothy Day to come to an agreement so he doesn't have to issue a ruling in the case. 

 

The board is expected to formally vote next month on the denials.

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Vietnam Vets to be honored by Congresswoman Esty

Kent's First Selectman is calling on Vietnam veterans to pick up a form from his office for recognition in the Department of Defense’s Vietnam War Commemoration 50th Anniversary program.  Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty will be honoring Vietnam veterans from the 5th Congressional District by presenting them with a lapel pin provided by the Department of Defense.  The ceremony will be held September 8th at 10:30am at Coe Park in Torrington.  Veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time during the period of November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975, regardless of location, are eligible to receive one lapel pin.  The lapel pin cannot be presented posthumously. 

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Officials seeking permission from state to repurpose grant money in Brookfield

Brookfield officials are asking the state if left over grant money can be re-purposed to demolish a condemned building at 20 Station Road.  Brookfield received $145,000 last year to look into chemical contamination in the bedrock of the former dry cleaner property.  About $50,000 was left unspent after it was determined that there's no way to clean up the chemicals, which could dissipate over time.  The building near the Four Corners was condemned in 2011.  Brookfield officials say the 2.3 acres includes a commercial and residential building.  The site could be turned into a parking lot.

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Brookfield maintains credit rating from Moody's

A credit rating agency maintains the Aa2 status of Brookfield.  Moody's Investor Services also again gave Brookfield a negative outlook.  Moody's said in a release that Brookfield is in an adequate but below-average financial position, and has improved financial and accounting controls.  But the rating agency says there is a possibility of having to further draw on reserves, making the town's financial position further inconsistent with the existing rating category.  Brookfield was downgraded in 2016, after $3.3 million was discovered missing from cash reserves.  As the state's fiscal woes continue, Moody's dropped the ratings of several towns, while others went from a stable to negative outlook.

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Route 25 in Monroe to close this weekend for bridge work

The state Department of Transportation has rescheduled the closure of Route 25 in Monroe for construction activities on two bridges.  The road closure is scheduled from Friday at 8pm, to Monday at 6am, weather permitting.  All business access for properties located within the construction zone will remain open, though traffic may only be able to access from one direction or the other on Route 25 during the weekend closure.  The project involves the replacement of two box culverts, installation of new drainage and a water main, and associated road repairs and paving sections of Route 25.  The $5.5 million project is scheduled for completion in August 2019. 

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Newtown house fire may have been sparked by lightning

A fire in Newtown last night may have been sparked by a lightning strike.  Firefighters responded to the Chestnut Hill Road home on a report of the strike and smoke seen by a neighbor coming from the structure.  Heavy smoke was found inside.  Sandy Hook Fire Chief Bill Halstead says there was a flare up in  one of the walls so they had to open it up, all the way to the second floor.  No one was home at the time and no firefighters were injured during the response. 

 

(Photo: SHVFC)

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Bethel Police caution about so-called Grandparent Scam

The Bethel Police Department is warning residents that the so-called Grandparent Scam is happening in the area.  The scam begins with a telephone call from someone claiming to be a grandchild or another family member who requests money for a critical situation such as legal proceeding, theft of personal belongings or medical condition.  The scammers use threats to quickly swindle cash from seniors.

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Danbury seniors volunteer for 8,500 hours at City departments, non-profits

Volunteers in the Seniors Add Valuable Experience Program have completed 8,500 hours in the last year.  The service to the city of Danbury was valued at more than $211,000.  48 seniors volunteered at 19 City departments and nonprofit agencies through SAVE.  The program, created in 2008, provides financially-qualified Danbury homeowners age 65 and older an opportunity to receive real estate tax relief through volunteer service at organizations and agencies throughout the city. Each volunteer must complete 100 hours of service over the course of the fiscal year.

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GOP U.S. Senate race makes few waves ahead of primary

There's little money coming into the Republican primary for U.S. Senate.  According to the latest federal filing, endorsed candidate Matthew Corey has raised about $28,000.  Challenger Dominic Rapini has raised $173,000, though $50,000 was a personal loan to his campaign. 

 

Both are looking to unseat Democratic incumbent Chris Murphy. 

 

Corey is the GOP's endorsed candidate.  He is a Navy veteran who owns a Hartford bar and a commercial window-washing company.  The 54-year old ran twice against 1st District Congressman John Larson. 

 

Rapini, a 57-year old political newcomer, is an account manager for Apple.  The CT Mirror reports that they both back a southern border wall and want to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  Both have criticized Murphy for his support of gun restrictions. 

 

Rapini wants to address a skills gap by better aligning vocational school education with the needs of manufacturers.  Corey has called for abolishing the federal Department of Education and giving a tax credit to parents who home school.  He wants to raise the retirement age to access Social Security and the contribution cap on the Social Security tax.

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Final debate held before Tuesday's GOP gubernatorial primary

There was one final debate last night for the five men vying for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in Tuesday's primary. 
 
None of them favor  legalizing recreational marijuana, unless there's more research.  Mark Boughton, Tim Herbst and Bob Stefanowski all said they have tried marijuana.  David Stemerman and Steve Obsitnik have not.  Obsitnik joked that maybe he should.
 
President Trump has become an issue in the race.  Stemerman is calling out Boughton and Herbst for “siding with the anti-Trump fringe.”  He cites Herbst one time calling Trump a volatile blowhard and Boughton joking that he voted for his dog for president.  A tweet from Boughton from October 2016 taking aim at both Trump and Hillary Clinton was  also pointed out.
 

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New 'No Parking' signs posted on New Fairfield road near Squantz Pond

After some overcrowding issues at Squantz Pond State Park earlier this summer, police patrols stepped up enforcement.  Police have been issuing tickets and towing vehicles illegally parked on Town roads around the park, which has significantly cut down on the problem. 

 

First Selectman Pat Del Monaco says her new weekend routine includes driving Shortwoods Road, Beaver Bog Road, Wanzer Hill, past the Park and south on Route 39 several times a day to monitor traffic and parking.  This past Sunday, she saw about 20 illegally parked cars on Knollcrest Road, a town road. 

 

16 "No Parking" signs were posted along both sides of the road yesterday.  New Fairfield Police will enforce these rules on Knollcrest going forward. However, New Fairfield Officers cannot limit parking or issue tickets to cars parked on private roads or other private property unless the owner reports trespassing.

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New Milford Police Lt. placed on leave amid internal investigation

A New Milford Police Lt. has been placed on administrative leave.  Larry Ash, the department’s spokesman and media liaison, is the subject of an internal police investigation.  The Newstimes reports that the investigation stemmed from a complaint received recently by the police department's tip line.  State Police are assisting in the inquiry.  No further details about the investigation have been released by New Milford officials, citing the ongoing nature of the investigation.  Ash has been a police officer for more than three decades.  The investigation follows news that Mayor Pete Bass would not be renewing Police Chief Shawn Boyne's contract when it expires in October as he looks to reorganize the police department to have a more community-focused feel.

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Design to be formally recommended for Sandy Hook memorial

The Sandy Hook Permenant Memorial Commission is hosting a meeting tonight about the final design selected for the site of the old SAC field.  San Fransisco-based SWA Group designers Dan Affleck and Ben Waldo represented the firm during a presentation meeting.  The design was altered somewhat to take into account for some environmental impact concerns. 

 

 

 

There are accessible ramps throughout the design, including one that crosses over a bridge to a divergence of paths which is characterized by a broad stone bench with a wooden top.  Visitors will be able to either take a wandering route on a gravel path or a direct route to the memorial. 

 

 

 

The center of the design includes a pool of water, with a sycamore tree at its center.  The stone edge of the pool will include the names of the 26 children and educators killed on 12-14.  The firm incorporated the sacred soil from the demolished school and tributes left at the site into the design feature.  Visitors will be encouraged to place a candle in the pool. 

 

 

 

The design featured three main elements.  One is that paths can be considered records of those who have gone before and are no longer there.  Another is the circle water feature, to act as a gathering point. The last is the plantings to represent rebirth. 

 

The sycamore in the drawing is based on one in Simsbury, near where Affleck grew up in West Hartford. 

 

The 5-acre site includes some natural elements,including two ponds.  The property consists of a meadow, two baseball fields and several terrace-like areas, along with other open space.  The property abuts Treadwell Park and is not far from the Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire Department, just past Dickenson Drive. 

 

 

 

Tonight's meeting is at 7pm.

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Hearing continued in Danbury tonight on Dorothy Day zoning issues

The Danbury Zoning Board of Appeals is continuing a hearing tonight on variances for Dorothy Day Hospitality House.  A judge had encouraged the City and Dorothy Day to some kind of agreement so he doesn't have to issue a ruling in a case over a cease and desist order.  
 
Variances are being sought so a site plan, with special exceptions, can be filed with the Planning Commission. In order to bring the application though, Dorothy Day has to show to that the site conforms to regulations, or has obtained variances. There three buildings on the property.  The largest is a brick building with a market and the Dorothy Day Hospitality House and four 1-bedroom apartments on the second floor.  Another building housed the former office of catholic charities office and has two  apartments.  The third building is the shelter.
 
Setback exceptions are being requested because the buildings, constructed in the 19th century, and are not in compliance today.  The zone also requires a 20,000 square foot lot to apply for a special exception for a homeless shelter, but the lot is only total 13,118 square feet.  
 
There are two driveways on the property, and there isn't room for a 24-foot wide driveway at either current location.  The ZBA wants input from the fire department on driveway exceptions.  One ZBA member said the lot should be regraded so a variance isn't needed on the parking lot size.

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Kettletown swim area remains closed due to blue green algae

All state beaches are open except Kettletown State Park in Southbury and Wharton Brook State Park.  Kettletown beach is closed due to blue green algae, Wharton Brook because of storm damage. The algae blooms have created greenish patches on the surface of the water.  It can emit toxins harmful to people and pets. People exposed to the toxins by ingesting, inhaling or coming into contact with the algae have experienced irritation of the skin and respiratory tract; vomiting; and, if large amounts of the toxins are ingested, ailments of the liver or nervous system.

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Brookfield capital budget narrowly approved

The Brookfield capital budget for the current fiscal year was narrowly approved by voters during Tuesday's referendum.  The $2 million package passed on a vote of 815 in favor, 753 opposed.  Funding included in the budget will go toward the revaluation, renovations to the high school boys locker room, making a bathroom at the library ADA compliant, and road paving.  Money was also included for a generator for the high school, which serves as the town's emergency shelter. 

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Car stolen from Ridgefield found crashed in Stratford

A car that was reported stolen Friday morning in Ridgefield has been found wrecked in Stratford.  The Lexus was taken from a Mead Ridge Road home in the overnight hours and found over the weekend.  The keys had been in the vehicle when it was stolen.  The Ridgefield Press reports that Stratford Police arrested two juveniles who were in the car when it crashed.  The two departments are working together on the investigation.  A car recovered in Ridgefield Monday morning, in response to a call about a suspicious vehicle, was reported stolen out of Stratford.  Police believe the Camry was used to travel to Ridgefield to take the Lexus.  6 cars have been reported stolen in Ridgefield so far this year.

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Danbury Women's Center seeks crisis intervention volunteers

The Women's Center of Greater Danbury is screening candidates for the fall 2018 dual Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Certification program. The 48-hour training class certifies volunteers to perform crisis intervention at the Center during business hours or from home when the Center is closed. 

 

Space is limited and all prospective volunteers must apply by this Friday. 

 

It is a prerequisite for court advocate, counselor advocate, group facilitator, and other advanced direct service volunteer positions.  Day training classes begin September 11th, meeting for two weeks in the Center's 2nd floor Training Room at 8 West Street in Danbury. 

 

During the last fiscal year, the Women's Center responded to more than 3,000 sexual assault and domestic violence hotline calls, in addition to providing emergency shelter, counseling services, advocacy services, community education and prevention programs, and information and referral services. Over 33,000 clients in the greater Danbury area were served by the Center's programs and services from July 2016-June 2017. 

 

Candidates must be at least 18 years of age; male and bilingual volunteers are encouraged to apply. There is a $50 per person materials fee to help defray the cost of the manual, though waivers are available for qualified candidates.  A background check will be done.

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Redding man charged for alleged lewd act

A Redding man has been charged with public indecency for allegedly performing a lewd act on himself in a parking lot.  Police received a complaint last Wednesday evening from the TJ Maxx parking lot on Danbury Road.  Responding officers found the man partially disrobed inside his vehicle.  48-year old John Dimenna the 3rd was also charged with breach of peace.  He was released on bond for a court appearance on Monday.

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New Milford starts work on Young's Field Road

The New Milford Public Works Department has started construction on Young's Field Road.  The street is closed from the Public Works building to Bridge Street so the contractor can install new drainage in preparation for milling and paving.  Detours are posted, and drivers are advised to use Patriot's Way.  

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Vandals damage green, fairways at Richter Park golf course in Danbury

Danbury Police are investigating vandalism at Richter Park, which happened Sunday and Monday.  
 
Golf Course Superintendent Rob Dorsch says someone did donuts on the the 13th green and the 11th, 12th, and 14th fairways.  The suspects used a golf cart.  He believes it was golfers who came to Richter Park late in the afternoon. 
 
  
(Photos: Richter Park)
 
Dorsch notes that no one is supposed to drive on the green, but they've also had other restrictions in place over the last two weeks because of the amount of rain that's fallen.  
 
  
 
Staff was able to repair the damage so play can still happen.  Dorsch says people probably won't notice the damage to the fairways.  On the green there's some sand to get the area covered.  He praised staff for the repair work.
 
Richter Park brought in extra staff to monitor the course. A $2,500 reward is being offered to anyone who provides information leading to the arrest of a suspect.

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$102 million wastewater treatment plant upgrades proposed in Danbury

$102.6 million in borrowing will be put to the voters in November for upgrades and improvements to the Wastewater Treatment Plant.  Danbury has been mandated to preserve waterways and systems in order to comply with federal EPA and state DEEP requirements.  The upgrades, improvements and renovations for the plant, which was last updated in 1993, are mandated for other similarly situated municipalities in the state. 

 

In 2016, Danbury voters approved about $10 million for design expenditure borrowing.  The project will be funded through the state Clean Water Fund program, with a combination of 2-percent loans and 20-percent covered by grants. 

 

The proposed $102.6 million does need to go to a public hearing and a Committee of the Whole, acting as the Water Pollution Control Authority.  The meeting must be held this month in order for the Council to approve wording at their September meeting.  This will help the City to meet state deadlines for getting the question on the November ballot. 

 

Neighboring municipalities that have a contract with Danbury will contribute to the cost of the upgrades, improvements and renovations.  

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Danbury City Councilwoman resigns

There is a vacancy on the Danbury City Council.  Republican Christina Chieffalo resigned her at-large seat after moving to Stamford.  She did not attend last night's meeting.  Chieffalo was appointed to the position in 2015 after Colleen Stanley moved out of the City.  Stanley has since moved back to Danbury and rejoined the Council in 2016.  The Danbury Republican Town Committee will make a recommendation to replace Chieffalo.

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Shoplifting suspect caught in marsh behind Danbury Mall

A strange shoplifting arrest in Danbury that happened last month was included in a report for the City Council  last night.  Firefighters were called to help police find a suspect in the water and swamp area behind the mall on July 9th. 

 

A woman, later identified as 37-year old Angela Waters, was stopped by Lord & Taylor security personnel for shoplifting, but ran away.  The fire department's drone and ladder truck were used to search the area.  The truck allowed officers to climb out over the swamp and into the water. 

 

(Photo: Danbury Fire Department)

 

A bystander approached during the operation to say that a woman was by the guardrail, in shallow water, surrounded by heavy vegetation.  Fire officials said in the report that they washed the suspect off before she was transported by EMS. 

 

Waters was charged with larceny, interfering with police and possession of shoplifting tools.  She was arraigned, released on $10,000 bond and has pleaded not guilty to the charges.  Waters is next due in court on the 15th.

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Danbury War Memorial seeks to hire part-time bookkeeper

The Danbury War Memorial is looking to hire a part time bookkeeper.  The non-profit is governed by a Board of Managers and Trustees. The War Memorial offers recreational and cultural activities.  The office staff member would be required to work Monday through Friday 8am to 2pm.  Responsibilities include payroll, reconciling accounts, some clerical work and advising War Memorial Director and/or Board of any issues or concerns uncovered.  5 years minimum bookkeeping experience is required for the part time job.

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Marine patrol vessel donated to Putnam County Sheriff's Office

A new marine patrol vessel, which will be used to patrol Lake Mahopac, has been launched by the Putnam County Sheriff's office. The new vessel replaces a 1998 Boston Whaler.  Sheriff Robert Langley says it comes equipped with Radar and a Forward Looking Infrared Camera.  It was provided to the Sheriff’s Department by the New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, at no cost to Putnam County.

 

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Danbury veterans donate animal resuscitation equipment to fire department

The Danbury Council of Veterans has donated 12 pieces of animal resuscitation equipment to the Danbury Fire Department.  The donation was presented at Fire Headquarters recently.  The equipment can be used by first responders in an emergency where pets need medical attention and help provide oxygen to pets exposed to smoke or carbon monoxide. Chief TJ Wiedl and C shift accepted the donation, valued at little more than a thousand dollars.  The equipment will placed in many Danbury fire trucks.

 

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Bethel Teen Center seeks vegetable donations for cooking classes

The Bethel Teen Center is looking for some help from resident gardeners.  Anyone with a surplus of vegetables from their garden is asked to consider sharing with the Teen Center as they are starting some cooking and canning classes and are in need of veggies.  Those interested can contact the Teen Center at 203 778 7522.

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Special permit approved for turf field lighting at Ridgefield school

A special permit has been approved by the Ridgefield Planning and Zoning Commission for mobile light towers at the Scotts Ridge Middle School turf field.  The revised permit is good for 5 years, up from the one-year permit approved last year.  The lights can be used on weekdays between August 15th through November 15th, 5:30pm to 9pm.

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DTC issues statement in response to member statement on congressional candidate

The Danbury Democratic Town Committee has issued a statement in response to comments posted by member Martha Rhodes on her personal Facebook page about 5th Congressional District primary candidate Jahana Hayes.  The DTC called the comments offensive and says her statement does not reflect the attitudes or ideals of the DTC.  The group called it an opportunity to learn valuable lessons of bringing people together to address the topic of race and racism in the community.  

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Praxair Named One of America's Best Employers for Women by Forbes

Danbury-based Praxair has been named one of the best U-S employers for women by Forbes.  The list was compiled based on the results of an independent survey of 40,000 people across the country, working at companies with at least 1,000 employees. Employees were asked to provide anonymous feedback and to rate their organizations on criteria such as working conditions, diversity and how likely they would be to recommend their employer to others. Forbes then asked female respondents to rate their employers on factors such as parental leave, discrimination and pay equity.  The final list includes the 300 employers that both scored the highest on the survey and have the most gender diverse boards and executive ranks. 

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Brookfield capital budget referendum today

The Brookfield Capital Budget for the current fiscal year will be up for a vote today.  The referendum is being held after the start of the fiscal year because of requirements in the town Charter.  Brookfield must allow 45 days after the adoption of the budget. 
 
There is also a change in location for voting. 
 
District 2 voting for the referendum and the primary on August 14 has been moved from Brookfield High School to Center School. The water tank is being replaced at the high school, so there is no water available. Voting in District 1 will be at the usual location, Huckleberry Hill Elementary School. 

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Danbury officials consider IT leases for school district

A Committee of the Danbury City Council is recommending to the full Council that two lease-purchase agreements be approved for the school district. The Technology Improvement Program at the middle school would be bolstered with $500,000 over five years.  It pays for replacement of teacher laptops, provide laptop carts for students and projectors for classroom instruction. 

 

The Copier portion of the lease would be $360,000 financed over four years.  It would pay for a partial replacement of the current fleet of machines. 

 

The Danbury School District has been purchasing chromebooks for many students to allow more equipment to be placed in the hands of students, and provide a platform that's easier for staff to support.  The Board of Education has the first year of funding available and will budget money over the term of the leases in future budgets.

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Bethel Police investigate reports of stolen car, vehicle break-ins

Bethel Police are investigating more incidents involving unlocked cars.  Officers took reports of car break-ins and a stolen vehicle yesterday morning in the Stony Hill area of town.  Bethel Police say they've also recently had car break-ins and stolen vehicles in other parts of town.  Residents are asked to lock unoccupied vehicles in order to not become an easy target.

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Signs to be put up marking Purple Heart Day in Danbury

Today is annual Purple Heart Day, a time to commemorate the medal's origins and the more than 1.8 million Purple Heart recipients.  To honor local combat wounded veterans,the City of Danbury will be installing three large reflective aluminum signs in Rogers Park that will display the City's seal, the Purple Heart medal and the wording "PURPLE HEART CITY". 
 
Danbury was declared a Purple Heart City, the fourth in the state with the designation on August 7th, 2016. 
 
Danbury resident Lee Teicholz who coordinated the effort to have the signs installed stated said it's fitting that these signs be placed in the vicinity of the war memorials and the Patrick R Waldron Veterans Hall to show Purple Heart recipients that their sacrifices are appreciated.  Two reserved parking spaces for Purple Heart recipients have been installed at the Danbury War Memorial. 
 
The Danbury War Memorial Association also donated the signs to the city.
 
In 1782, George Washington, then the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, created the Badge of Military Merit, today known as the Purple Heart medal. It represented Washington's respect and acknowledgement of veterans' combat valor. Today, more than 236 years later, the medal is the oldest U.S. military decoration still in use.  The Purple Heart medal is a combat decoration that is awarded to members of the U.S. armed forces who are wounded by the enemy and posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those who are killed in action or die of wounds received in action.  

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Trees outside Ridgefield Town Hall to be cut down

Two elm trees in front of Ridgefield Town Hall are slated to be taken down today.  Two species of elm trees are being considered for replacement.  Both kinds of elm are disease and pest resistance.  Bailey Avenue will need to be closed for the work so that a crane can lower the  wood as it's cut.  After the trees are taken down, new sidewalks will be installed.  Drainage work will also be performed.  The overall project is expected to take about two months.

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Bethel police, firefighters to participate in annual National Night Out

The Bethel Police Department will be participating in the 35th annual National Night Out event hosted by Target.  The event is intended to promote law enforcement - community partnerships, provide crime/drug/violence prevention information, and foster neighborhood unity.  The Bethel event will also include Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Company.  There will be fire trucks, ambulances, Police equipment, CPR demonstrations, and Hurst "Jaws of Life" vehicle extrication demonstration.  The National Night Out is from 5 to 9pm at Target on Stony Hill Road in Bethel.

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Interim Superintendent named for New Milford schools

An interim Superintendent has been named for the New Milford School District.  Stephen Tracy, who led the district from 1985 to 1993, will once again hold the post.  Tracy was appointed by the Board of Education at a special meeting Thursday night.  Current Superintendent Joshua Smith, who led the district for two years, is moving onto the superintendent job in Region 15.  

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Local fire companies take home awards at area firefighter parades

Water Witch Hose Company #2 of New Milford took part in two parades over the weekend.  The volunteer firefighters took home the Best Out of State award at the parade in Pawling.  The were also recognized for Best Appearing Antique for the hand drawn carriage.  Tanker 28 won the Grand Prize Best Appearing Apparatus at the Thomaston Fireman's Parade.  The Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Company won Best Appearing in Coats at that parade on Saturday.

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Brookfield hires new Town Controller

Brookfield has appointed Marcia Marien as Finance Director and Town Controller.  She replaces Kimberly Siegrist, who accepted a job as a town treasurer in Westchester County.  Marien worked for about three decades years at a firm specializing in audits for governments and not-for-profits.  She was a managing partner and then was an an audit partner for firm where sh was also in charge of the state’s audit practice.  Marien was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago, but continued working by using vacation time for radiation, chemotherapy and surgery.

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New Milford EMS launches reflective mailbox sign fundraiser

New Milford is the largest municipality in land size in the State at nearly 64 miles and New Milford Ambulance is looking to help homeowners make the response time as quick as possible.  New Milford Ambulance is taking orders for a fully reflective mailbox sign to help First Responders.  A $20 donation will make sure the house address is  marked correctly.  A printable order form can be requested by emailing fundraiser.nmambulance@gmail.com.

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Bridgewater officials seek Norway Spruce to serve as town green Christmas tree

Bridgewater is looking for a Christmas tree for the town Green.  The Norway Spruce that ushered in the season for decades was damaged by the May 15th severe storms.  First Selectman Curtis Read says they'll be looking locally, at nurseries and tree farms, for the best candidate to plant on the green. 

 

A Norway Spruce, no taller than 30 feet, is being sought by October.  Shortly after the storm Read said they had identified possible trees to be transplanted this fall to the Green, but now he had put out a call for more leads. 

 

Bridgewater spent $130,000 on clean up in the town right of ways.  

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Ridgefield Police investigate stolen car, vehicle break-ins

A vehicle was stolen from a driveway in Ridgefield Thursday into Friday.  The crime happened on Mead Ridge Road.  Police say three vehicles were also rummaged through during the same time period.  Ridgefield Police are asking residents to make locking vehicles a part of the nighttime routine.

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Low flying helicopters to inspect Eversource power lines

Eversource is conducting aerial inspections of high-voltage electrical equipment in Connecticut using a helicopter with special heat-sensing imaging equipment. The overhead inspections allow the energy company to cover vast distances while capturing images not visible to the naked eye.

 

These images identify potential problems with electric lines and related equipment, so the company can make any necessary repairs or upgrades before possible reliability issues arise.

 

Weather-permitting, these aerial inspections will start today and continue through August 17th, 8am to 4pm.  The blue and silver Bell helicopter has a registration number N1431W.  Inspections will be done in Bethel, Bethlehem, Brookfield, Danbury, Monroe, New Milford, Newtown, Oxford, Redding, Ridgefield, Roxbury, Salisbury, Thomaston, Washington, Watertown, Wilton, and Woodbury.

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Motorcyclist strikes deer in Danbury

A motorcyclist struck a deer in Danbury yesterday morning, killing the deer.  Police say the man tried to swerve out of the way on Backus Avenue shortly after 8:30am, but couldn't avoid the animal.  The motorcyclist was knocked to the ground near the post office and sustained a shoulder injury.  He was transported to Danbury Hospital for treatment.

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Contractor's yard approved in Ridgefield

The Ridgefield Planning and Zoning Commission has approved a contractor's yard on Ethan Allen Highway.  The three acre site will house infrastructure for excavation, grading, filling and earth processing activities, and rentable office space for plumbers, electricians and the like.  Larry Leary Development told the Commission that proposal was identical to one previously approved by the group in 2015.  The earlier approval was overturned by the courts last year because the decision violated yard setback regulations.  The setback ordinance was then amended in January.  The Commission also voted to waive application fees since the project was largely unchanged from the 2015 application. 

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Hearing in New Fairfield tonight on water system sale to Aquarion

A public hearing is being held in New Fairfield tonight about a proposal to sell the town-owned water system to Aquarion Water Company.  The system provides water to six commercial customers in addition to Town buildings and would be sold for $150,000.  First Selectman Pat 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.  Tonight's meeting is at 7pm in the community room.

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Danbury Zoners set hearing on Women's Center transitional housing proposal

Danbury Zoning Commission has scheduled a public hearing on a request from The Women's Center of Greater Danbury.  The organization is looking to have a zoning regulation amended to add “Transitional Housing Facility” to the IL-40 Zone. 
 
A public hearing is scheduled for August 28th.  The application was then referred to the Planning Commission. 
 
The 3.7-acre former Mallory Hat Factory on Rose Street would be remediated and turned into the transitional housing facility.  The land is being sold by the City to the organization for $1.  Danbury issued several requests for proposals from businesses over the years, but there weren't any takers. 
 
The Women's Center raised $4 million in capital fund to build the transitional housing.  The group has provided a safe haven to victims of domestic and sexual violence since its founding in 1975. The Center serves 20,000 people in northern Fairfield and southern Litchfield Counties each year.

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Danbury Cricket Club offers to replace clay pitch at Broadview

The Danbury Cricket Club wants to replace the clay pitch at Broadview Middle School with an Astro Turf Pitch.  The area is where play initiates during cricket matches.  Director of Recreation Nick Kaplanis says replacing the clay with turf will ensure a safe and consistent playing surface, requiring little or no maintenance for years to come.  Placement and installation will not interfere with any other activities taking place at Broadview.  The Cricket Club has been part of the community for 17 years and now offers cricket to children.  The estimated value of the project is $10,000.

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ARC moves offices in Danbury

The Association of Religious Communities has moved its' offices to 24 Delay Street in Danbury. The Food Pantry will also operate at this new location.  ARC executive Director Rev. Phyllis J. Leopold says staff has expanded through the years outgrew the old space.  An open house will be a scheduled at a date to be announced next month. ARC's Mission is to alleviate the causes of violence, suffering and hate while advancing peace, justice and dignity for all people.  

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Probationary firefighters do hands-on training in Brookfield

Earlier this week, a majority of Candlewood Company’s newest probationary firefighters received their first real hands-on training in Brookfield. They began with the basics of engine company operations, which included learning the functions of the engine’s pump as well as the basics of hoseline advancement. These firefighters go through a year of training before the end of their probation. 

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Local lawmaker honored by trucking group

The Motor Transportation Association of Connecticut has presented Wilton State Senator Toni Boucher with the organization’s State Senator of the Year Award.  She was recognized for her efforts in support of policies that support the state’s trucking industry, specifically tolls.

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Newtown officials will be asked to continue work of memorial commission

The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission plans to ask the Newtown Board of Selectmen to continue their charge.  The group selected a final design this week for the memorial to honor the 20 children and 6 educators killed on 12-14.  Their next meeting is set for Thursday.

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UPDATED: Man reportedly jumped out of car on I-84 in Danbury

State and Danbury Police responded to an incident on I-84 westbound between exits 7 and 6 this morning.  Danbury Fire Department spokesman James Gagliardo says a man in his 40s intentionally exited a moving vehicle.  The man was transported to Danbury Hospital with serious injuries. 

 

State Police spokeswoman Trooper Kelly Grant says the person was attempting to harm himself by laying down in the travel lane.

 

The incident happened shortly before 10am.  Drivers passing by have reported seeing a man on the side of the highway. 

 

No further details were immediately available.

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Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission selects final design

A final design has been selected by The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission to honor the 6 educators and 20 children killed on 12-14.  Elements of the design that the Commission liked including the core concept of a sycamore tree, the way the names were presented and the simplicity of the design, with the complete use of the land. 

 

Members called the design calming, and noted that it does not physically alter the ponds.  The Commission said the design team was emotionally balanced, humble and  professional.  The design was in the top three of all the families of loss that shared their opinion and was the overwhelming favorite of the families. 

 

The design may be value engineered as the project fees are subject to public bid.  Construction costs and the fee from the design team and consultants will be discussed next week.  The group's chairman has asked the design team for their fees, construction cost estimates and what their readiness is to take on the project.  A resolution on recommendation to the Board of Selectmen will also be made at that meeting. 

 

There is currently money in Newtown's Capital Improvement Plan and funding sources outside of town government.

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Topping off ceremony held at Newtown Community Center site

A topping off ceremony has been held for the Newtown Community Center.  A steel-signing ceremony was held before the last beam was lifted into place Wednesday. 

 

(Photos: Newtown Community Center)

 

First Selectman Dan Rosenthal thanked his predecessor, Pat Llodra, for ushering the project to this point.  He said it will a wonderful gathering place once it's completed. 

 

Llodra asked people gathered at the site to remember why this came about, and how it stemmed from a tragedy.  GE donated $15 million to Newtown after the shootings at Sandy Hook School to help the community make a single gathering place, which the town doesn't currently have.  Llodra called it part of the journey out of the depths of grief.

 

(Rosenthal, Llodra, Center Director Matt Ariniello)

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Affordable housing proposal approved in Bethel

An affordable housing proposal for downtown Bethel has been approved.  The Planning and Zoning Commission signed off on plans by Codfish Hill Construction and DeMarco Holdings for 12 units off Nashville Road Extension.  The developers applied under the state's 8-30g law which only allows towns to reject applications for health and safety reasons.  Three of the units will be considered affordable.

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Man reportedly jumped out of car on I-84 in Danbury

State and Danbury Police responded to an incident on I-84 westbound between exits 7 and 6 this morning.  Danbury Fire Department spokesman James Gagliardo says a man in his 40s intentionally exited a moving vehicle.  The man was transported to Danbury Hospital with serious injuries. 

 

State Police spokeswoman Trooper Kelly Grant says the person was attempting to harm himself by laying down in the travel lane.

 

The incident happened shortly before 10am.  Drivers passing by have reported seeing a man on the side of the highway. 

 

No further details were immediately available.

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Possible lightning strike causes smoke conditions in New Fairfield home

There was a possible lightning strike of a home in New Fairfield yesterday.  Firefighters responded to a home on Fleetwood Drive shortly after 5pm on a report of a possible fire.  Responders found a heavy haze of smoke and smell of electrical burning inside the home.  Crews  investigated and smoke was concentrated in the basement.  Firefighters pinpointed the source coming from the Dehumidifier.  The Fire Marshal was notified and is investigating.

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Newtown Police seek larceny suspect

Newtown Police are asking for the public's help in identifying a larceny suspect.  A man used a stolen credit card at the CVS pharmacy on Queen Street July 13th.  The man bought over $300 worth of gift cards.  Police posted photos from surveillance video on social media yesterday.  Anyone who recognizes the man is asked to contact Newtown Police Officer Pisani at (203-426-5841) or Gladys.pisani@newtown-ct.gov.

 

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Ridgefield Officer injured in Thursday morning accident

A Ridgefield Police Officer, responding to a 911 call yesterday morning, rear ended a car on Ligi’s Way.  The accident happened shortly after 8:30am.  The crash remains under investigation, but initial reports are that the cruiser hit the left rear of a car making a left turn.  The other driver was evaluated at the scene and did not require further treatment.  The police officer was sent to the hospital for treatment and released.  Airbags deployed in both vehicles which had to be towed from the scene.  The Ridgefield Press reports that the patrol car had its emergency lights and siren on at the time.

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Putnam County Sheriff warns of NYSEG phone scam

There's a phone scam circulating in Putnam County.  Sheriff Robert Langley says people who claim to be from NYSEG have been calling businesses saying that the recipient is behind in their electricity bill. The scammer then warns that to avoid having electric service from being shut off, they have to make payment immediately.  The scammer then instructs them to purchase a “Green Dot Money Pak” and provide the card information.  These scam phone calls are usually received during busy hours of operation, making it more urgent for businesses to comply with the phony caller’s demand.  NYSEG officials are aware of this scam and said the utility never asks for payment by debit card.

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Lawsuit to be filed on behalf of Garner inmate killed at the Newtown prison

A lawsuit is being filed by the estate of an inmate who was pepper-sprayed and beaten to death at Garner Correctional Institute in Newtown this Spring.  J’Allen Jones was handcuff at the time and suffered a broken neck.  The state medical examiner ruled the 31-year old's death a homicide, but said that does not necessarily mean prison staff acted inappropriately.  The Georgia man was serving a 10-year prison term for robbery.  The Newstimes reports that the suit will accuse 10 correctional officers of being unfit for duty, and will also name Garner's warden and the Corrections Commissioner as defendants.

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Danbury DTC member apologizes for accusing congressional candidate of racism

A member of the Danbury Democratic Town Committee has apologized for accusing Congressional candidate Jahana Hayes of “veiled racism.”  Martha Rhodes made the initial comment in a long Facebook post after attending a debate in Torrington between Hayes and endorsed-candidate Mary Glassman.  In a written statement, Rhodes said her post was in-artfully worded and she didn't intend to imply that Hayes' race had any bearing on her fitness for office.  That post said Rhodes felt excluded by Hayes because she is white and Hayes "harped on how government should look like her while veiling her own racism with allusions to diversity and fairness in her final remarks."

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New Fairfield Cemetery estimates storm damage repair, clean up at $14,000

The New Fairfield Cemetery, across the street from Town Hall, suffered significant damage in the May 15th storm. It's maintained by the New Fairfield Cemetery Association, which relies solely on donations for funding. The estimate for clean up and repairs, including tree removal, is $14,000.  Multiple headstones were damaged, at least three large trees were uprooted and other trees sustained damage. 

 

Headstones in the cemetery date back to the mid-1700s. 

 

The Town Tribune reports that Association members are concerned about the condition of a rare headstone, since one of the damaged trees is covering it and might have damaged it beyond repair.  The headstone is for “Phyllis - a slave of Martin Kellogg d April 30, 1810”. 

 

Anyone in interested in making a donation or providing services is asked to contact New Fairfield Cemetery Association President Robert Fossity at 203-770-4829 or Linda Fox at 203-746-4753.

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Bridgewater Police investigating car break-ins

The Bridgewater Police Department is investigating vehicle break-ins that occurred late Tuesday night or early yesterday morning on Keeler Road.  Neighbors are asked check vehicles for signs of entry or missing items and call police to make a report.  Meanwhile Kent Resident Trooper Andrew Fisher cautioned residents there about a recent rash of car break-ins and car thefts in surrounding towns,especially Litchfield and Thomaston.  Almost every car was unlocked with keys inside. 

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Endorsements made in GOP 5th Congressional District primary race

Some endorsements are being made in the Republican race for the 5th Congressional District seat.  Party endorsed candidate Manny Santos is being backed by the Connecticut Citizens Defense League.  Challenger Rich Dupont picked up the endorsement of the last Republican to represent the district, Nancy Johnson.  The third challenger, Ruby Corby O’Neill was endorsed yesterday by state Representative William Petit.  The sole survivor of a triple-fatal home invasion was asked to consider a run for the position, but declined.

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New sidewalks installed in Kent

New sections of sidewalk have been installed in Kent. They were done by the state Department of Transportation to comply with federal ADA laws. Besides making the crossings safer, First Selectman Bruce Adams says they also do two other things. They potentially save Kent $80,000 of the cost of redoing sidewalks.  He says they are also a model of what the Streetscape Committee is proposing. 

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Eversource to replace equipment in Redding as part of transmission maintenance

Eversource transmission maintenance work is scheduled to begin this month in Redding on the line running from Peaceable to Diamond Hill Road and the Archer Street Substation.  Eversource plans to replace 26 existing structures in the areas of Diamond Hill Road, Umpawaug Road, Windy Hill Road, Quarry Rock Road, Seventy Acres Road, Indian Hill Road, and Peaceable Street. 

 

First Selectman Julia Pemberton is looking to schedule a community meeting to discuss potential impacts to properties along the right of way. 

 

She asked Eversource for a detailed description of the work plan.  It includes replacement of wooden H poles that blend into scenery with steel monopoles that will be visible above the treeline. Additional trees may be removed and accessways improved so that large machinery can access the right of way. 

 

Anyone who lives along the transmission lines is asked contact Pemberton at 203-938-2002 or jpemberton@townofreddingct.org with the subject line: Transmission Maintenance. 

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Ridgefield man arrested for threatening Danbury pharmacist, stealing pills

A Ridgefield man has been arrested for allegedly robbing a Danbury pharmacy.  Police charged 22-year old Thomas James Redmond on Sunday. 

 

He allegedly walked into Rite Aid on Mill Plain Road, claimed to have a gun and forced a pharmacist to open a safe.  Redmond reportedly took two bottles of amphetamines.  Responding officers found the man walking along Saw Mill Road, in possession of the pill bottles.  He told officers that he needed the medication because he suffered from addiction.  A gun was never displayed or recovered. 

 

Redmond was charged with robbery, larceny,  possession of a controlled substance, breach of peace and threatening.  He was arraigned and ordered held on court set $50,000 bond.  His next court appearance is set for the 22nd.

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Local police participate in distracted driving crackdown

Brookfield, Bethel and other area police departments are participating in another round of a distracted driving crackdown.  The "U Drive. U Text. U Pay." campaign has police on the look out for motorists who text, talk, or distract themselves with a hand-held mobile phone while driving. 

 

Brookfield Police Captain Pete Frengs says texting and driving is a public safety crisis and enforcement of traffic laws is a critical priority for the department. 

 

The stepped up and highly visible patrols started yesterday and will continue through the 15th.  During the first wave of the campaign in April, more than 10,000 citations were issued by over 50 law enforcement agencies in Connecticut. 

 

The special patrols are funded by Connecticut’s special distracted driving prevention funds. Connecticut qualifies for this federal funding source through a mix of tough laws and a proven track record in strong enforcement of distracted driving laws. U

 

nder Connecticut’s cell phone and texting law, violations involve heavy fines, ranging from $150 for a first offense, $300 for a second violation, and $500 for each subsequent violation.

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Woman sentenced for role in deaths of boyfriend's parents

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut woman will serve eight years in prison in connection with the fatal shootings of her boyfriend's parents.

Jennifer Valiante did not say anything in court Wednesday as the sentence was handed down by a Superior Court judge in Bridgeport.

Valiante had pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution in the case of her boyfriend, Kyle Navin, who was sentenced in June to 55 years in prison. Navin had pleaded guilty in April to two counts of murder just before his trial was to begin in the slayings of Jeffrey and Jeannette Navin, of Easton.

The couple had gone missing in August 2015. Their bodies had been found in a wooded area more than two months later.

During the sentencing, Judge Robert Devlin says Valiante "could have stopped the madness."  

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Newtown Selectmen to take up police station proposal this month

A tour has been taken by representatives of several town boards and commissions of a vacant building eyed for the Newtown Police Department.  The 22,000 square foot building at 191 South Main Street would be converted and expanded under the proposal. An abutting property, with a vacant home, on Pecks Lane would also be purchased. 

 

The combined parcel would be a little under 12 acres.  The selectmen will make the appropriation request during their second August meeting, moving it to the Board of Finance. If approved, the Legislative Council would take up the proposal at their September meeting. 

 

First Selectman Dan Rosenthal is hoping to get the purchase and bonding on the November ballot.  But a final construction design and bid documents likely won't be ready at that time.  The project, including acquiring the land and construction, is estimated at $14.8 million.  The cost does not include a training facility or shooting range. 

 

The property owner agreed that if voters don't approve the sale, the town would not be obligated to buy the land.  The site is located in an Industrial  zone.

 

The existing police station is located at 3 Main Street.

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New Fairfield residents weigh in on Airbnb rentals

There was a divide among people who attended last night's Zoning Commission meeting in New Fairfield.  The big discussion centered around whether there needs to be an update to laws about short-term rentals like Airbnb.  Some residents spoke out about unsafe parking, noisy temporary neighbors and trash littering yards.  Those in favor said renting their homes out online have helped them make improvements, pay property taxes and that renters patronize local businesses.  Discussion of the issue was continued to the next meeting.

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No word yet if Sandy Hook lawsuit can proceed in TX

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A lawyer for conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has told a Texas judge that the "Infowars" host may have views considered fringe or dangerous but that his comments don't rise to the level of defamation.

Jones wasn't in a Travis County courtroom Wednesday as his attorneys asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the parents of one of the children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Jones has claimed that the Connecticut shooting that killed 20 children and six adults was a hoax.

An attorney for Jones, Mark Enoch, told the court the host uses "rhetorical hyperbole" after playing more than a half-hour of footage from one Infowars episode.

State District Judge Scott Jenkins has a month to decide whether to let the lawsuit proceed.

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Report: Man found dead in car in Redding

A man has been found dead in a car in Redding.  Local and state police responded to Newtown Turnpike at Route 53 on Tuesday morning on a report of an unconscious man.  Aspetuck News reports that the man was in the driver's seat.  An autopsy will be conducted to determine cause of death.  The man's name has not been released.  The case remains under investigation.

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New Fairfield to look into regulating Airbnb listings

 

 

 

The New Fairfield Zoning Commission is holding a meeting tonight about whether new rules are needed to crack down on short term rentals like Airbnb.  The online service allows people to rent their homes or spare rooms like a hotel or bed and breakfast.  The Commission will also examine transient rentals and summer rentals.  

 

Bed and breakfasts currently require a special permit.  

 

The agenda also calls for discussion of a site plan for Candlewood Creamery to construct a front outdoor patio for seating.  Tonight's New Fairfield Zoning Commission meeting is at 7:30pm.  

Tonight's New Fairfield Zoning Commission meeting is at 7:30pm.


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NRA grades Conn. gubernatorial primary candidates

The NRA is out with grades for gubernatorial primary candidates in Connecticut.  Republicans Bob Stefanowski and Tim Herbst received "A" ratings.  Steve Obsitnik remained a question mark.  Everyone else received an "F" rating.  Stefanowski touted the rating saying it shows his staunch defense of the Second Amendment. He also criticized endorsed GOP candidate Mark Boughton, who once belonged with the Mayors Against Illegal Guns group, and David Stemerman who reportedly called laws adopted in response to the shootings at Sandy Hook School a model for the nation.  Stefanowski said Boughton’s "clear disregard for the United States Constitution should disqualify him from any Republican nomination."

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Still River Watershed plants buffer at Bennett Park

A group from Still River Watershed planted a wetland buffer this week at Bennett Memorial Park in Bethel.  The buffer includes sedges, aster, and shrubs along the shore of the pond to stop erosion.  The volunteers caught  several bluegills and a largemouth bass in small traps and saw a watersnake along the shore while working.  The Still River Watershed Plan is a collaborative effort to improve water quality across the Still River Watershed in western Connecticut.

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Police seek info on woman seen stealing donation box from gas station counter

Bethel Police are looking for a woman who stole a donation container off the counter of a Stony Hill gas station.  Police released a photo yesterday of the July 11th incident.  A woman pulled into the Wheels gas station on Stony Hill Road shortly before 11pm and parked in a dark section of the lot. 

 

The suspect could be seen taking a donation box full of an undetermined amount of money off of the counter next to the register.

 

 

She then exited the store.  She fled westbound in a small gold or tan sedan, with rear tail lights that weren't working. The vehicle appeared to be an early 2000’s Toyota Corolla or similar. 

 

Anyone who can identify the suspect or suspect vehicle is urged to contact Detective Frank O’Farrell at 203-744-7900. All information received will remain confidential.

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Graphic Video shows rescue of deer stuck in a Newtown fence

It was a different kind of rescue mission in Newtown than police were probably used to.  On Monday night, Patrol Officer Timothy Schoen was called to the scene of a deer in distress. The deer had one of its hind legs tangled in the fence. 

 

Some may find the content of the video disturbing.

 

The deer appeared agitated as he approached, but became calm enough that the officer could lift the animal up in an effort to get some leverage.  A man then approached the deer from behind the other side of the fence.  They used a riot shield, which was needed as the deer kicked repeatedly. 

 

 

The pair were able to free the animal's leg after a few minutes.  After being freed, the deer ran off into the woods. 

 

Department officials say not being trained in the police academy on how to handle these situations, Officer Schoen did the best he could with what he had. 

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Danbury officials approve new signage for renovated DHS campus

The Danbury High School renovation and expansion project is nearing completion.  Students will be returning at the end of August to an overhauled site.  Among the work was a new entry way to the old building.  City engineers went to Zoning for approval of large signage. 

 

The old letters on the building will be replaced with larger ones.  The old ones took up 32 square feet, but the new sign would be 84-square feet.  The new canopy comes out further than would have allowed the lettering to be seen. 

 

They also asked for an exception to have larger letters on the new addition for the Freshman Academy.  There is a canopy over the front of the new building.  The solid steel letters have enclosed lights, to illuminate the canopy, creating a halo effect around "DHS Performing Arts" lettering.  Since it's a theater, there are a lot of evening events so the lighting was important as a way to direct visitors to the appropriate entrance. 

 

Both were approved.  

 

There was also a bit of a discussion about an LED sign for the black box theater.  It would be about the size of a large-screen tv, and would have rotating messages about upcoming performances and events.  Approval for that sign was given after assurances that it wouldn't cause a distraction for drivers on Clapboard Ridge Road, and had limited visibility to neighbors on East Gate Road.

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New traffic pattern for trucks in downtown Bethel

There's a new traffic pattern for trucks in part of downtown Bethel.  After years of discussions with state Department of Transportation, a "No Right Turn" for trucks from eastbound Greenwood Avenue onto Depot Street was approved.  A sign was just put up by town crews near the traffic light.  Bethel officials say this should put an end to the pedestrian signal being knocked down repeatedly by tractor trailer rigs that can't make the sharp turn.  The state provided the sign at no cost to Bethel. 

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Young driver crashed during weekend rain storm in Newtown

A brief but intense rain storm early Saturday evening, a young driver lost control and crashed in Newtown.  Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire Company responded to Berkshire Road near Sherman Street.  The 21-year-old male driver of the pickup truck had clipped one utility pole, a tree, and the mailbox and a post, before crashing against a second utility pole.  The truck did not roll over, but the passenger door was pinned against the second pole.  The driver was able to self-extricate from his vehicle, which was destroyed in the crash. He and a 22-year-old female passenger were checked for injuries but did not go to the hospital.

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Smoking material on car seat likely sparked Newtown truck fire

Smoking material left on the front seat of a pick up truck in Newtown likely led to the vehicle becoming fully engulfed in flames.  Sandy Hook Volunteer Firefighters responded to Pine Street Sunday. 

 

The fire started in the cab area.  The vehicle was not parked next to the resident's house, but it was near an outbuilding. 

 

Firefighters used 30 gallons of foam and 2,700 gallons of water to extinguish the fire. DEEP was alerted to the incident because of the proximity of that foam to a brook, and the water runoff that mixed with gasoline that got into the brook.

 

(Photo: SHVFD)

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Pair arrested for burglary at Patterson deli

A teen and a 21-year old have been arrested for a burglary at a Patterson deli.  Putnam County Sheriff deputies responded to Border-Line Deli early on the 4th of July when their alarm went off. 

 

The front door and window were broken, and no suspects were found at that time. 

 

Deputies have now arrested 21-year old Timothy Yeager of Eastport, New York and 18-year old David Lussier of Putnam Valley.  Each was charged with felony burglary and criminal mischief.  Yeager was arraigned at released while Lussier was ordered held at the Putnam County Correctional Facility on bond.

 

Lussier, Yeager

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