Local Headlines Archives for 2018-09

Regional Household Hazardous Waste Day today

A regional Household Hazardous Waste Day is being held Saturday.  Residents of several area towns will be able to drop off items at the Danbury Public Works Garage on Newtown Road from 9 am to 2 pm.  The drop off is open to residents of Bethel, Danbury, New Fairfield, Newtown, Redding, and Ridgefield.

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Brookfield Historical Society WWII program Monday

Brookfield Historical Society will host a program Monday night where Peter Markle, the son of WWII veteran Gordon Markle, formerly of Brookfield, will recount his dad's military history.  Gordon was a member of the Army Air Corps and served with a pursuit fighter group initially in the Middle East and later as a crew chief in North Africa, the Mediterranean and Italy. Admission is free for the event at the Brookfield Museum at 7:30pm Monday.

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'Resources for Caregivers' meeting in New Fairfield today

The New Fairfield Commission on the Aging will be hosting a Community Forum "Resources for Caregivers" Saturday from 10am to noon at the Senior Center. The Forum will feature Keynote Speaker Dr. Lori Wagner, Danbury Hospital Clinical Psychologist.  The public is invited and encouraged to attend this free program. Reservations are not required.

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CHET Advance Scholarship application process open

Connecticut high school freshmen and seniors are being encouraged to apply for the CHET Advance Scholarship.  The Connecticut Higher Education Trust will provide $2,500 to 200 high school students.  100 seniors and 100 freshmen will be selected.

 

No state funds are used for the scholarship awards.  Winners will be selected through a random drawing from all eligible applications received. The program is open to Connecticut students who attend public, private, and parochial schools and who are home schooled. 

 

The program launched in 2013.  Since then, 1,000 Connecticut high school students have been awarded $2.5 million in CHET Advance Scholarships.

 

They can apply online at www.chetadvance.com through 5pm on Tuesday.

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Regional firefighters meet to review mutual aid resources

Danbury Fire Department provides mutual aid to surrounding towns for emergency incidents and sometimes requests reciprocal emergency response assistance from surrounding neighbors for resources and services.  Danbury hosted a meet and greet last night at the training facility to review each other’s rescue equipment.  The idea was discussed when Danbury, Bethel and Brookfield responded to a car accident and incident commanders looked at the compatibility of equipment, along with what specialty equipment each agency carried. 

 

 

Rescue trucks were lined up Thursday night on the fire ground with open compartment doors and one by one the group toured each apparatus.

 

Local agencies have compatible rescue equipment which include air packs, hydraulic tools, and vehicle stabilization equipment. Some had specialty equipment such as a “man-in-machine” kit to remove an object from a person’s extremity or a “Boat in a bag” which can be carried to a body of water and deployed. Bethel, Brookfield, Brewster, Hawleyville, Stony Hill, Sandy Hook, Germantown, and Miry Brook Fire Companies attended. 

 

 

They plan to hold future meet and greets with other apparatus types, such as Tankers, Aerials, All Terrain Vehicles, along with hands on training days to create better working relationships with mutual aid partners.

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New Milford to replace several oil tanks

New Milford has purchase oil tanks for several town buildings to replace ones that are past their lifespan and in need of removal.  New oil tanks were purchased for the police department, town hall, Sarah Noble school and the Lillis building.  Funding was also approved to remove an old tank from John Pettibone.  The deadline for replacement was state-mandated after the schools discovered they needed to replace three 10,000-gallon fuel tanks because they were 30 years old or older.

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Danbury Schools launch annual 'Start with Hello' program events

Danbury Public Schools are participating in the Sandy Hook Promise 'Start with Hello' violence prevention programs.  A week-long kick off wraps up today, while the program continues throughout the year. 

 

Members of the Danbury fire and police department greeted the 1-thousand Rogers Park Middle School students yesterday morning.  Students from the school's S.A.V.E. (Students Against Violence Everywhere) club also participated as greeters. "Start with Hello" kick-off week activities were held in Danbury schools this week.  The violence prevention program comes from Sandy Hook Promise. 

 

Shelter Rock School recognized 27 "Students of the Month" for their good citizenship, including participating in random acts of kindness and exhibiting role-model behavior.  King Street Intermediate School students 'mixed it up' at lunch by sitting with a different crowd. The idea was to have students meet and eat lunch with different students to make new friends.  

 

The Kindness Rock Garden at Hayestown Avenue School focuses on teaching children that everyone is special and unique, like the individually painted rocks.  The yearlong project last year at Hayestown involved the entire school community from students and staff to parents and siblings. 

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Two local Police Chiefs honored by Commissioners Association

The Police Commissioners Association of Connecticut has recognized two local Police Chiefs.  During an awards dinner last night, Newtown Police Chief James Viadero and Easton Chief Tim Shaw were presented with the Distinguished Chief Award.  Shaw is the state coordinator for Project Lifesaver and has led an Opioid Awareness campaign.

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Redding Police to participate in November cancer fundraiser

For the third year in a row the Redding Police Department will be participating in No-Shave November.  The month-long effort by the Connecticut Cancer Foundation and police departments raises money for local cancer patients and their families.  The Connecticut Cancer Foundation's goal is to reach $10,000 in donations.

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Bethel Police waiting for state approval to move 911 system into new building

There's another delay in the opening of the new Bethel Police Station.  The Department is waiting for a date from the state to move the 911 system from the old building to the new one. Once that is done they will be able to move in.  During a Board of Selectmen meeting last week, First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker said that money remained in the contingency fund.  The $14.4 million project was supposed to open last month, and then at the end of this month.  The Fire Marshal and the Building Department must still inspect the facility to issue a certificate of occupancy.  Landscaping and other small jobs also remain

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Danbury Zoning Board of Appeals rejects Dorothy Day variance requests

The Danbury Zoning Board of Appeals has voted to deny exceptions for Dorothy Day Hospitality House so that it can continue to operate on Spring Street.  A Hartford Judge asked that the City and Dorothy Day come to an agreement so he wouldn't have to issue a ruling, but last night's action puts the matter back into the court's hands.  Dorothy Day was looking for variances to driveway width, parking lot size and setbacks among others, because their more-than century old building does not comply with zoning regulations, updated over the decades.  The homeless shelter operator needed the variances in order to apply for a special exception before the Planning Commission.  Danbury officials discovered in 2016 that Dorothy Day never renewed their permit and has been operating without one for about 30 years.  

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5 more Connecticut residents test positive for West Nile

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Five more Connecticut residents have tested positive for West Nile virus, bringing the total to 15 human cases this season.

Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino on Thursday said all five became ill in early to mid-September.

He called it "very unusual" to have this many people seriously ill with the infection in early to mid-September. He urged residents to continue taking precautions to prevent mosquito bites, especially with warm weather in the forecast.

Three of the new cases are residents of Danbury, Norwalk and Stamford. One patient is from Thompson and another is from Westbrook. Their ages range from 40 years old to over 70. Three required hospitalization.

The Connecticut Agriculture Experiment Station expects to find infected mosquitoes until the first hard frost in October.

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20th annual Canterbury School scholarship event this weekend

The 20th annual Run for Joe will be held Sunday at Canterbury School in New Milford.  The rain-or-shine event will raise funds for the Giuseppe Leto Scholarship Fund at the school. U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Leto, who was a member of Canterbury's class of 1997, died while on a conditioning hike at Camp Lejeune in 1999.  After going through boot camp on Paris Island, he reported to Camp Lejeune for 16 weeks of training.  The 21-year-old died during his third week in North Carolina.  Registration will run from 12:30 to 1pm, with the walk/run to start at 1:30pm.  Participants may choose between a one-mile fun run or a 5K run/walk.  A luncheon will follow.  The event has raised more than $200,000 in support of the memorial scholarship fund, which provides financial assistance to a New Milford-area day student attending Canterbury School each year.  The scholarship and this event were started by his mother, Mimi Leto.

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Presentation tonight on Lake Lillinonah weed management plan

Friends of the Lake are hosting an informational session later this month about Lake Lillinonah’s Integrated Plant Management Plan.  The public forum will be at 7pm tonight at Brookfield Town Hall.  Registration is requested at info@friendsofthelake.org so the organization can prepare handouts.  Invasive aquatic plants pose a safety hazard, a recreational deterrent, and a detriment to the aesthetic qualities of Lillinonah so a study was conducted, which led to a management plan for controlling the weeds.  Friends of the Lake hired Aquatic Ecosystem Research to study the species and propose eradication methods.  Representatives from AER will make a presentation during the forum. There will be a question and answer period following the presentation.

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Bethel Fire release monthly statistics

Bethel Fire and EMS has released call totals for the month of August.  There were 26 calls for the Fire Department last month, including one structure fire, two unauthorized burns and 15 automatic alarms.  Firefighters also responded to two calls about carbon monoxide alarms, two natural gas issues., two car accidents, two wire and transformer issues as well as two calls out of town for mutual aid.  There were a total of 118 EMS calls for the past month.

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UPDATED: Three injured in two car crash in Danbury

Three people were injured in a two car crash in Danbury this morning.  The accident happened shortly after midnight on Mill Plain Road near Aunt Hack Road.  Firefighters responded and found  one victim entrapped in a vehicle requiring extrication. 

 

Police determined that 26-year old Juan Antonio Pacheco of Pound Ridge, New York crossed the center line and struck a Mercedes-Benz with his pick up truck.  The sedan was drive by 29-year old Catriona O'Hagan of Northern Ireland, who had a passenger in the vehicle.  The extricated occupant was taken into the care of EMS units and the two others were transported by ambulance to the hospital, with the Ridgefield Fire Department Ambulance assisting. 

 

Firefighters remained on the scene helping police until about 2am.  The collision remains under investigation.  Anyone with information is asked to contact Sgt. Rory DeRocco or Office Matthew Malone at 203-797-2157.

 

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Esty bill signed into law to help veterans exposed to Burn Pits

5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty has had another bill she introduced signed into law.  The measure includes the Helping Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits Act.  She says service members are suffering from serious health complications likely caused by toxic exposure in areas on military bases where waste, such as human waste, batteries, and other garbage, is incinerated. 

 

Esty says this bill ensures burn pits don't be come the Agent Orange of this generation of soldiers. 

 

The measure opens to the door to research on health-related symptoms for those with airborne hazard concerns.

 

Military personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan are exposed to a variety of potentially harmful substances including the smoke produced from the burning of waste on military bases. Items such as plastics, aerosol cans, electronic equipment, human waste, metal containers, tires, and batteries are thrown into open pits, sometimes doused with jet fuel, and set ablaze. Smoke from these open-air burn pits can waft throughout the entire base and even into living areas. Health effects from exposure to chemicals found in burn pits can include cancer, neurological and reproductive effects, respiratory toxicity, and cardiovascular toxicity.

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New Milford Police buy two specialty patrol bikes

The New Milford Police Department has two new specialty police patrol bikes.  They were custom built by Bike Express in New Milford to help facilitate patrolling of the greater downtown area. The bicycles were purchased at no cost to New Milford tax payers, but authorized by Chief Boyne to be drawn from asset forfeiture funds procured through the highly technical narcotics investigative work of a Detective while assigned to the Statewide Narcotics Task Force.

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National Coffee with a Cop Day is October 3rd

National Coffee with a Cop Day is October 3rd.  Several area police departments will be hosting events at local coffee houses.  Among the participating agencies are Redding, Monroe and the Putnam County Sheriff's Department.  Monroe Police will be at Bill’s Drive-In at 431 Monroe Turnpike from 7:30am until 10am.  Redding Police will be at Pignones Redding Ridge Market from 8am to 10am.  Putnam County Sheriff Deputies will be at the North Brewster Deli from 11:30am to 1pm.

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Ability Beyond to raise awareness of impact of suicides

Ability Beyond is raising awareness about the impact of suicide by hosting a screening of the documentary “Suicide: The Ripple Effect” in conjunction with Catholic Charities and Mental Health Connecticut.  The film will be shown at Bank Street Theater in New Milford on October 11th at 7:30pm. Following the screening, representatives from all three organizations will be on hand to speak with any individuals looking for assistance and information. The 90 minute film chronicles the story of Kevin Hines, who at age 19 attempted to take his life by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge. 17 years later, he still struggles with many of the same symptoms, but he is on a mission to use his story to help others stay alive.

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DEEP hears concerns about air quality after Cricket Valley Plant comes online

Dozens of concerned residents turned out at Kent Town Hall last night to hear from state environmental officials about the under-construction Cricket Valley Energy Center in Dover Plains.  The natural gas-fired power plant is slated to come online in 2020 and residents want baseline air quality monitoring before then. 

 

DEEP officials said monitoring stations are too expensive to add in the region and models that led to New York permits didn't show that there would be an impact in northwestern Connecticut.  DEEP assistant director of air engineering and enforcement Jaimeson Sinclair says reports will be filed by Cricket Valley, recording their emissions to see if anything exceeds standards. If they do, he says residents or the state can file a lawsuit against the company or New York. 

 

While DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee said it's out of Connecticut's hands, did conceded that the state would change its policy to post public notices DEEP receives about projects happening in other states but affect Connecticut.

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Three injured in two car crash in Danbury

Three people were injured in a two car crash in Danbury this morning.  The accident happened shortly after midnight on Mill Plain Road near Aunt Hack Road.  Firefighters responded and found  one victim entrapped in a vehicle requiring extrication.  The occupant was taken into the care of EMS units and two additional people were transported by ambulance to the hospital, with the Ridgefield Fire Department Ambulance assisting.  Firefighters remained on the scene helping police until about 2am.

 

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Newtown considers expanding rail trail, adding marina to Lillinonah

Some items in the Park and Rec Department portion of Newtown's Capital Improvement Plan have been discussed by the Board of Selectmen. 

 

The Department is considering making a marina on Lake Lillinonah, similar to the boat slips at Eichler's Cove where people can store vessels.  The plan calls for turning the Eichler's account into a general waterfront account because it's a money generator for the department.  There would be no bonding for the project, which would include resurfacing the parking lot, repairing failing boat ramps and providing boat dockage and enlarged picnic area with pavilion.  There is currently a waiting list of people looking for boat slips on Eichler's Cove, which is at capacity.

 

The line item about Tilson Field turf replacement would be paid for with the field surcharge, not bonding.  The field has reached its useful life.

 

There's also an ongoing discussion about continuing a rail trail into Newtown through Batchelder Park.  No bonding is proposed.  Newtown could apply for grants to remove and clear old rail bed to convert it to an urban trail. The project has been looked into for over a decade, according to the CIP. The brownfield contaminated area of Batchelder has not allowed any movement into Newtown from the Trumbull/Monroe rail area. A trail committee and the new initiatives in town, AARP, Healthy and Sustainable initiatives all identify this project as a large benefit to their initiatives in the Newtown community and surrounding communities.  Formalized in 2001 by the state, the regional trail pieced together existing paths that had developed separately on the former Housatonic Railroad line—one of New England’s first—from urban Bridgeport to rural Monroe.

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Meeting in New Fairfield to approved LifePak funding

A meeting has been set in New Fairfield tonight for residents to approve a funding request to replace the Lifepak unit in the medic car owned by the Town.  The Board of Selectmen is looking for the $27,900 come from Hindman/Bernhard Trust.  The current unit has been in use for over 12 years and beginning to fail.  New Fairfield Volunteer Fire Company officials say at some point the old unit will no longer properly interface with the Danbury Hospital system.  While the unit can be used on any patient, it is primarily used on elderly patients who have a greater frequency of heart and pulmonary issues.  The meeting is at 7:15pm in the Community Room.

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Putnam County Sheriff to offer active shooter response training

Free active shooter training is being offered to the public by the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office. Beginning next month, the Citizen Response to Active Shooter Events course will be held on a monthly basis. Several highly-trained police instructors became certified through the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training course as instructors, enabling them to provide nationally-acclaimed training to the Putnam County community.  Soon after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the FBI partnered with the Bureau of Justice Assistance to increase training.  This curriculum was selected as the national standard.  Since January, instructors in the Sheriff's Office have trained over 1000 people at schools, businesses and civic organizations.  The next course begins on October 11th and is held from 6-9 PM on the second Thursday of every month at the Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services building on Old Route 6 in Carmel.

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U.S. House approves Esty's Women in Aviation Act

A bill introduced by 5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty has been approved by the house.  The Promoting Women in the Aviation Workforce Act would lead to an advisory board being created by the FAA to promote organizations and programs that provide education, training, mentorship, outreach, and recruitment of women into the aviation industry.  While women make up over half of the American workforce, Esty says only six percent of pilots are women, and women comprise just over a quarter of air traffic controllers.  Additionally, less than ten percent of airline mechanics, flight engineers, repair personnel, and airline pilots are women.   She says women bring new perspectives, skills, backgrounds, and problem solving skills to the table – traits necessary for American companies to be globally competitive.

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Still River Roundabout work to close road today, tomorrow

Despite the rainy weather recently, work has continued in New Milford on the Still River Roundabout.  Mayor Pete Bass says Still River Drive Eastbound will be closed today for paving and asked that drivers take alternate routes.  Detour signs have been posted.  Buses however will be allowed through.  Weather permitting, tomorrow drivers will see a westbound closure on Still River Drive for paving.  Bass says closing the routes for this work will allow for a better road pave.

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Ability Beyond adds tennis to golf fundraiser

Bethel-based Ability Beyond is adding a Tennis Tournament to its Annual Golf Championship Event on October 1st.  The competition is one of Ability Beyond’s largest fundraisers. Proceeds will help Ability Beyond provide home care and job training – to more than 3,000 people with disabilities in Connecticut and New York.  Last year’s event raised over 65-thousand dollars.  The golf tournament will be scramble format and the tennis component round robin format to encourage participation from all levels of players.  Today is the deadline to register for golf, tennis or the dinner and live auction.  The event takes place at Ridgewood Country Club in Danbury.

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School in Kent to get $10 million gift to endowment

The Marvelwood School in Kent has received a $10 million gift to its endowment.  The funding comes from Stephen Byron Smith of Florida.  Smith, who was part of the school's second graduating class, and his wife, Mary, have been actively involved with Marvelwood almost since its founding. The gift will be given over ten years and is the single largest in the School’s 60-year history. The endowment fund is named for two of Marvelwood’s former Heads of School, whom the Smiths called “visionaries”, shaping the school to become what it is today.  The current Marvelwood leader says the significant increase in endowment enables the School to think beyond itself to the possibilities that, before, they could only hope to one day be in a position to imagine.

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Hotel planned for downtown Danbury

The Danbury Planning Department has approved plans to convert the Paul Mitchell School into a 40-room hotel.  The next step is for permits to be obtained for work on the 2 National Place property.  The site is located in the Downtown Revitalization Overlay Zone and the Central Business District, which is zoned for hotels.  The three story building would get a first floor addition and a patio area.  The drive-thru area would be enclosed, according to plans analyzed by the Newstimes.  Paul Mitchell cosmetology school would relocate.

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Conn. companies featured during 'Discover CT' reception in D.C.

The fifth annual “Discover Connecticut” reception is being held in Washington D.C. today.  More than 20 small-batch food producers, restaurants, breweries, tourist attractions, and other businesses based in Connecticut are being showcased.  Among those being featured at a reception that includes members of congress and national retailers, are Stew Leonard's and Brookfield-based Candlewood Coffee Roasters.  Mystic Aquarium, Lockheed Martin, Nestle Waters, Newman’s Own, Pepperidge Farm, and Pez Candy will also be at the “Discover Connecticut” event.  The Connecticut State Society and the state's two U-S Senators are hosting the gathering.  The organizers say the inventive businesses and tourist attractions create thousands of jobs and boost economic development.

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Weston doctor gets prison time for insider

A Weston man has been sentenced on insider trading charges.  70-year old Edward Kosinski was ordered to 6 months in prison, two years of supervised release and a $500,000 fine. 

 

The cardiologist entered into a Clinical Study and Research Agreement with Regado Biosciences and was ordered to keep information confidential during the clinical trial.  Kosinksi received a non-public email that there were several allergic reactions and no new subjects were being accepted.  He sold his 40,000 shares of Regado common stock and a few days later the unplanned review of the trial was announced.  Stock prices fell and Kosinski was able to avoid a loss of about $160,000. 

 

He and others received an email a month later that a death occurred during the clinical trial, which was then put on hold.  Kosinski made trading moves around the announcement, netting more than $3,000.

 

He was released on bond and ordered to report to prison on January 4.

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WCSU announces 2018 Provost's Teaching Award winner

West Conn has announced the recipient of the 2018 Provost's Teaching Award.  Edwin Wong, an associate professor of biological and environmental sciences has served on the WCSU faculty since 1999.  He was recognized by his faculty colleagues at the President's Opening Meeting late last month. Wong was praised for his contributions to his students and the university as an innovative instructor who employs a diversity of teaching and learning strategies in biology and molecular genetics courses. Wong's research has focused on invasive zebra mussel populations in Candlewood, Zoar and Lillinonah lakes, as well as blue-green algae that produce toxins found in Candlewood Lake and Lake Zoar.

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Finalists for 2018 Connecticut Book Awards announced

The Connecticut Center for the Book, a Connecticut Humanities program, has announced the finalists for its 2018 Connecticut Book Awards. 

 

Between three and five finalists have been selected in each of five categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Young Readers - Young Adult, and Young Readers - Juvenile. 140 books were submitted this year, up 28% over last year. 

 

One poetry finalist, Charles Rafferty, of Sandy Hook, was selected for “The Smoke of Horses.”   Young Readers – Young Adult finalists included Karen Romano Young, of Bethel, for “Whale Quest” an Sarah Albee, of Watertown, for   “Poison.”  Among the finalists for fiction was  Jane Green, of Westport, for “The Sunshine Sisters.” Young Readers – Juvenile category finalists include Lauren Baratz-Logsted, of Danbury, for “I Love You, Michael Collins.”

 

Winners will be announced at the 2018 Connecticut Book Awards ceremony on October 14th at Staples High School.

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Danbury adopts new fees for daycare inspections

The Danbury City Council has approved new daycare inspection fees.  Officials tabled the inspection issue last fall, but there was renewed urgency after the state Office of Early Childhood sent out a warning letter to Danbury's Health and Human Services department over a lack of local inspections.  Local Director Michelle Morrisey says that could jeopardize the licensing status of otherwise compliant day cares.  Council members said questioned remained about duplicating state inspections and charging another fee.  A $75 inspection fee and a $125 one-time plan review fee for any new day care construction plans were adopted.  According to state law, commercial day care facilities and home-based facilities must apply to the city and pass health department inspections at least once every two years. 

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Rain prompted road closures, train cancellations last night

The heavy and constant rain yesterday caused a number of problems during the evening commute.  The Danbury Branch of Metro-North was suspended for several hours and then was running with delays because of weather-related high water issues.  Metro North at one point told commuters to seek alternate transportation options.  At least one car got stuck in the high water that flooded over Main Street in Danbury by Elmwood Park before that part of the roadway was closed.  Flooded roadways were also reported in Bethel, Easton and in Ridgefield.  Police from several towns cautioned motorists to never drive through water if you can't tell how deep it is.  In Stamford, firefighters used a boat to rescue kids from a flooded school bus.

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Danbury man arrested for disturbance at Bethel school

Bethel Police have arrested a Danbury man for a disturbance at Berry Elementary School.  Police were told that 36-year old Richard Holock drove past buses while their red lights were flashing around 3:30pm.  After being told to park, he drove on the grass.  Police say Holock became verbally abusive when confronted by school officials.  He was charged with breach of peace, criminal mischief, passing a school bus, and reckless driving.  School dismissal was not impacted.

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Informational meeting in Kent about Cricket Valley Energy Center

The Multi-Town Air Monitoring Task Force is hosting a public meeting at Kent Town Hall tonight about the Cricket Valley Energy Center.  State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Rob Klee will speak about Connecticut's role in monitoring the under-construction facility's impact on air quality in northwest Connecticut.  The natural gas-fired electric generation plant is just over the state line in Dover Plains, New York and slated to come online in 2020.  The task force wants to collect baseline data monitoring the air before it opens.  The nearest DEEP air monitoring stations are 18 miles away in Cornwall and 26 miles away in Thomaston.  The task force says neither monitors for the full range of emissions to come from Cricket Valley.

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ARC seeks volunteers for Danbury school program

Danbury Public Schools and the Association of Religious Communities are partnering once again on the KIDS program.  ARC is expanding the program from 80 students to serve 390.  New volunteers are needed to be mentors for elementary school students and their teachers, usually in kindergarten classrooms. The KIDS schools are identified as Title 1, low-income schools.  Volunteers help students build their reading and math skills through projects, educational games and small group activities as directed by the classroom teacher.  An informational meeting for interested volunteers is being held today from 3 to 4pm at the ARC office on Delay Street.  Reservations are required.  Volunteers will be asked to donate a 2-hour block once a week from October thru the end of this academic year, June 2019.  

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Worker's arm caught in machine at Brewster business

A worker's arm got caught in a large machine at a Brewster business yesterday.  Brewster fire and ambulance were dispatched to the commercial facility on Danbury Road and responders were able to free the man in about 30 minutes. Brewster ambulance transported the injured worker to an awaiting LifeNet helicopter for a flight to Westchester Medical Center.  No other details were immediately available.

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Informational about being 'bear aware' to be held at Danbury Library

Bear sightings have become a more common occurrence.  Danbury Library is hosting a program with a Connecticut Master Wildlife Conservationist about the Bear Reality and how to be Bear Aware.  Felicia Ortner will be at Danbury Library on October 3rd from 5:30-6:30pm.  Through her program, she hopes to dispel some of the myths associated with black bears using the knowledge she gained from studying bears for over 30 years.  The program is free and open to the public.  Registration is required and can be done online at danburylibrary.org.

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Drive-thru approved for Newtown building under construction

A drive-thru at a Starbucks under construction in Newtown has been approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission.  The group unanimously approved the modified special zoning permit for the planned service window at 75 Church Hill Road.  Eateries in Newtown aren't normally zoned for drive-thrus, though there is one pre-existing.  Plans for signage included a drawing with outdoor seating in front of the store, but the proposal was not part of the application to the Planning and Zoning Commission.  If outdoor seating is actually planned, Starbucks would have to go back to the Commission for approval.

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New Milford considers sale of Lillis Building

The New Milford Town Council has authorized town officials to apply for a $20,000 state Historic Preservation Office grant to study uses for the Lillis Building.  The East Street facility currently houses the school district’s central offices. 

 

The New Milford Town Council also received a letter of intent from Dakota Partners to transform the building into affordable housing.  The proposal is for a $1.6 million sale, with the company remediating asbestos and lead-based paint. 

 

The plan calls for restoring the building's facade, creating 15 to 20 apartments, a gym and a leasing office.  Two buildings would be constructed on the back of the property, another 55 to 60 units.  The Town Council, the school and finance boards and residents would have to approve the sale after engineering and architectural reports are done.

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Lawsuits filed over alleged sexual abuse by priests

New lawsuits have been filed by victims who claim they were sexually abused as children by priests in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport. 

 

The Connecticut Post reports that the alleged abuse took place from the late 80s through the early 2000s by three priests in Bridgeport, Brookfield, Danbury and Ridgefield.  The allegations were made against Reverends Walter Coleman, Robert Morrissey and Larry Jensen.  Coleman and Morrissey have both since died. 

 

In 2002, Connecticut extended the limit on filing lawsuits from a 5-year statute of limitations to the time that alleged victims reach the age of 48.  One man claims he was sexually abused by Coleman at St. Joseph’s Parish in Brookfield in the 1980s, another plaintiff was allegedly sexually abused by Morrissey at St. Mary’s Parish in Ridgefield in the 1990s. 

 

One alleged victim met Jensen in the early 2000s at an Emmaus retreat. Jensen, the spiritual director of the diocese’s Danbury program, is accused of abusing the plaintiff at St. Anthony Maronite Catholic Church, where the program was held.

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Newtown officials start to discuss memorial budget

The Newtown Board of Selectman has gone over the proposed Capital Improvement Plan for the next several years.  It includes $2 million for the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial next fiscal year, and another $2 million in the following fiscal year.  First Selectman Dan Rosenthal says the entire allocation might not be used, but could be an accurate estimate of the project's cost. 

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Bethel updates progress on improving water system quality

Bethel has sent out an update to Water Department customers on consent order progress.  The town  agreed with the state Department of Public Health in July 2016 to address and correct water system deficiencies in the system.  Quarterly updates have been made since that time. 

 

Bethel installed a new booster pump station at Briar Cliff Manor and water main extension to increase the pressure in the distribution system to correct the deficiency.  All customer service connections that did not meet the minimum psi operation pressure will be connected to the improved system by the end of this week and will be in compliance. 

 

Bethel conducted its annual inspection of both clearwells and found no problems. 

 

Quarterly samples have met regulatory requirements and have been below the Maximum Contaminent Level for Total Trihalomethanes (TTHM).  Bethel made system modifications to reduce the use of surface water supplies and replace it with additional groundwater supplies.  The lower total organic carbon level of the ground water supply, as compared to surface water supply, minimizes the formation of chlorination by-produicts such as TTHMs. 

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New Fairfield residents concerned about solicitors going door-to-door

Some New Fairfield residents have raised concerns about solicitors selling products and services door-to-door.  Town officials have posted the list of licensed vendors and solicitors on the town website to let residents know who has obtained a license from the town. The application process includes fingerprinting and a background check by State Police. Vendors and solicitors must carry their license with them while doing business in New Fairfield.  Currently, there are three companies with a total of 9 licensed solicitors on the list:

Spectrum
John Lawrence
Marshall Read

Power Home Remodeling
Kevin Mallon
Samuel McCormick
Matt Sciarrino
John Walsh
Sean McSweeney
Stephen Brunetti

Trinity Solar
Aylin Kotapish

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Suffrage Movement in Connecticut to be discussed at WCSU

The League of Women Voters of Northern Fairfield County is hosting an event at West Conn today called “The Suffrage Movement in Connecticut.  There will be a discussion of the suffrage movement in Connecticut including its history,  issues women fought for and the resistance they faced. The event is free and the public is invited.  The League will also help attendees to register to vote at this National Get Out the Vote Day event.  It takes place at Warner Hall on the midtown campus from 11am to 2pm.  The League serves Bethel, Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, Newtown and Sherman. 

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League of Women Voters hold registration event in Ridgefield

This is National Get Out the Vote Day.  The League of Women Voters of Ridgefield has partnered with the Ridgefield Library for the nationwide, nonpartisan effort to register voters. The league will be at Ridgefield Library from 10am to 2pm to assist voters who want to register, or update their registration if they have moved.

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Metro North undertaking diesel locomotive overhaul program

Metro North is explaining to Danbury Branch commuters about why they've had so many buses running on the line, and why there have been so many delays.  Metro-North has started a diesel locomotive overhaul program, with the first rolling out at the end of the year.  It will take a few years for the full fleet to be in service.  A brochure was left on train car seats telling commuters that this program will bring more reliability to the Danbury Branch.  On time performance in the past year has been hovering between 85 and 90 percent, some being blamed on late connections from the New Haven line.

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Wilton Police warn of mail theft around town

Wilton Police say there's  been an increase in mail theft throughout the state, including in Wilton.  Police say suspects are targeting both public and residential mailboxes.  Police recommend bringing mail directly to the Post Office and using a mail slot inside the Post Office building to avoid being a victim.

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New Milford makes improvement to Young's Field kayak launch site

New Milford has taken steps to solve a recreation challenge on the Housatonic River, where the town already invested a significant amount of money.  Kayakers were reporting back to New Milford officials that as they launched from the Young’s Field site, and then returned, they would get stuck in the mud.  Mayor Pete Bass says they have now put in a so-called Yak Port on the dock at the Riverfront on Young’s Field Road.

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Monroe firefighters caution residents to fundraising scam

First Responders in Monroe are cautioning residents to a fundraising scam from a group that calls itself the Volunteer Firefighters Association.  A a program of the Heroes United PAC has been calling and writing people in Monroe asking for donations to help firefighters.  The three volunteer fire companies in Monroe do not call residents for donations, but rather hold annual fund drives, asking for donations to be mailed to their respective fire department.  The Volunteer Firefighters Association is a political action committee based in Wisconsin and is not associated with any of the three local fire departments.  The volunteer firefighters also say they do not benefit from donations sent to the PAC.

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DHS students to participate in SafeWalk

The Danbury High School Athletic Department will participate in the Women's Center annual SafeWalk next Sunday morning. Last year, more than 400 DHS students participated in the SafeWalk. The Hatters helps promote the Women's Center of Greater Danbury as a safe haven and sole provider for domestic abuse and sexual assault services in the Danbury area.

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Redding officials inspect Joel Barlow for mold

The Redding Health Director toured Joel Barlow High School last week to check for mold.  There were no roof leaks and no mold found during the latest inspection.  Previously, mold and mildew was found in some rooms--caused by the hot, damp summer.  Dehumidifiers have been put in carpeted classrooms.  Some pipes have been wrapped to prevent future leaking through the ceiling tiles as the air conditioner runs. 

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Modular classrooms to add to Westside Middle School Academy capacity

8 modular classrooms are being installed at Westside Middle School Academy in Danbury to increase capacity by 150 students.  The structures are mostly pre-constructed, will sit on concrete foundations and form a new wing on the back of the school.  The district must add a breezeway to the school.  The nearly $1 million project is being paid for with 80-percent state funding. 

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Danbury negotiates to turn over control of city-run homeless shelter

The Danbury Department of Health and Human Services has been awarded a $69,132 emergency shelter grant from the state Department of Housing.  The funds will be used to offset costs associated with operating the shelter on New Street through June 30, 2019.  According to a statement about the grant submitted to the City Council, the money will be used until Catholic Charities takes over operations. 

 

The City partnered with the United Way in March to find a sub-contractor to manage the programs at the City Shelter. The Health Department, Finance, Corporation Counsel, and Mayor's office have been working with the United Way and Catholic Charities to solidify dates, performance measures, as well details of the contract. Health Director Lisa Morrissey says the process was very similar to the other grants that the United Way issues on behalf of the city, and proposals were reviewed by independent grant reviewers selected by United Way.

 

Mayor Mark Boughton noted that tentative negotiations are not yet complete.  He says the City would not be locked in if another operator comes in that could provide services for less.

 

 In December 2016, Boughton proposed merging the City run homeless shelter and the one at Dorothy Day Hospitality House.  The food service would be operated by Dorothy Day volunteers, and the shelter would be managed by city staff.  Each shelter currently has 20 beds.  His proposal is for a 40 bed facility, with a commercial kitchen, cafeteria, and a counseling center.  A new location for the merged shelter was not identified. 

 

Dorothy Day operators are currently in a legal battle with the City.  In 2015, officials discovered that a zoning permit expired in 1985 and was never renewed.

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Armed robbery in Sherman under investigation

An armed robbery that happened in Sherman this weekend is being investigated by State Police.  Troop A is looking for an  older model light blue Honda Accord with Connecticut license plates, and its front bumper completely missing.  A handgun was displayed in the incident.  The driver was described as a heavy set black male, 40s-50s, approximately 6-feet tall, light beard, wearing a black t-shirt and blue jeans.  The passenger is described as a white male, 40s-50s, bald, long grey beard, wearing a navy blue t-shirt and blue jeans.

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Treatment of female inmates reviewed by DOJ

The U.S Department of Justice Office of Inspector General has completed a review, prompted in part by members of Congress and public interest groups, of concerns about what they consider to be deficiencies in Bureau of Prisons's management of female inmates.  Part of the review determined that BOP’s conversion of Federal Correctional Institution Danbury to house male inmates negatively affected certain female inmates who had been housed there.

 

As a case study, the OIG also examined BOP’s 2013 decision to convert FCI Danbury from a female institution to a male institution as part of a larger plan to increase bed space for low security female and male inmates throughout BOP institutions. Although concerns were raised that the conversion would cause female inmates to be incarcerated farther from home, OIG found that, while 19 percent of U.S. citizen inmates were transferred farther from their homes, the overwhelming majority were transferred closer to their homes.  The conversion resulted in 366 low security sentenced female inmates serving a portion of their sentences in Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) Brooklyn, a detention center intended for short-term confinement.


The National Association of Women Judges found that the conditions of confinement at MDC Brooklyn amounted to a violation of the American Bar Association Standards on Treatment of Prisoners, as well as the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. When OIG representatives visited MDC Brooklyn, they found that BOP offered female inmates no access to outdoor space, less natural light, and fewer programming opportunities than what would otherwise be available to female inmates at BOP facilities designed to house sentenced inmates in long-term confinement. 

 

In addition, a separate OIG criminal investigation determined that, during the time that sentenced female inmates were assigned to MDC Brooklyn, multiple custody staff sexually assaulted female inmates, resulting in the convictions of two Lieutenants and a Correctional Officer.  In December 2016, after reversing its decision not to house female inmates at FCI Danbury, BOP opened a new low security institution for female inmates at FCI Danbury. However, because FCI Danbury was constructed without a Special Housing Unit, they found that managing female inmates who needed to be placed in a SHU disrupted institution operations because BOP had to transfer these inmates to Federal Detention Center Philadelphia for SHU placement.

 

During a visit to MDC Brooklyn in August 2017, OIG representatives found that its female inmates had less access to fresh air and sunlight than what would have been available to them at FCI Danbury.

 

In response to congressional concerns that the conversion of FCI Danbury would cause female inmates to be housed farther from their homes, OIG analyzed the distances from home for female inmates transferred from FCI Danbury.  The analysis found that 81 percent of Danbury’s U.S. citizen female inmates were transferred closer to or remained the same distance from home and 19 percent were transferred farther from home.

 

OIG found that of the 1,127 female inmates transferred or released from FCI Danbury, 497 were U.S. citizen female inmates who were transferred to other BOP institutions. Of those 497, they found that 401 were transferred to a BOP institution closer to their homes or were reassigned to a minimum security prison camp at FCI Danbury. Conversely, 96 were transferred to a BOP institution farther from home. Of those 96, 61 were from BOP’s Northeast Region. OIG did not consider the non-U.S.citizen inmates whom BOP transferred from FCI Danbury in this analysis because the BOP data analyzed did not always include a U.S. residence for these individuals.

 

Though female inmates compose a small percentage of the nationwide incarcerated population, correctional officials have recognized that in some areas female and male inmates have different needs and the BOP has adopted gender-responsive programs and policies that account for these needs. As a continuation of prior U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General reviews examining BOP’s management of certain subpopulations of inmates, including aging inmates and inmates with mental illness in restrictive housing, OIG initiated a review of BOP’s management of female inmates, specifically BOP’s efforts and capacity to ensure that BOP-wide policies, programs, and decisions adequately address the distinctive needs of women.

 

OIG concluded that BOP has not been strategic in its management of female inmates.  OIG determined that BOP needs to take additional steps at the Central Office level to ensure that female inmate needs are met at the institution level.  Our review identified instances in which BOP’s programming and policy has not fully considered the needs of female inmates, which has made it difficult for inmates to access certain key programs and supplies. Further, while BOP is adhering to federal regulations and BOP policies requiring that only female Correctional Officers conduct strip searches of female inmates, BOP’s method for ensuring compliance with these requirements assigns staff inefficiently.

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Greater Danbury area towns get grants for sidewalks, bike lanes

The state Department of Transportation is handing out $12.4 million in grants for bicycle and pedestrian safety projects in 40 towns. Governor Malloy says the money also will be used to improve accessibility within community centers where people can meet for work, school, social and recreational activities. 

 

The program seeks to make bicycling and walking conditions safer, encouraging more people to use healthy and environmentally sustainable modes of travel. 

 

Danbury will use $400,000 for the Westside Community Connectivity Project.  Sidewalks, lighting and bike lane markings will be installed from Saw Mill Road to Mill Plain Road to Farrington Park.  Danbury was among 6 municipalities to get the maximum grant. 

 

New Milford will use $210,000 to put in sidewalks near John Pettibone Community Center at Danbury Road and Pickett District Road.  $370,000 will be used by Ridgefield for sidewalk construction on New Street and Pound Street.  

 

The grants were awarded on a competitive basis. 

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Danbury man accused of sexual assault extradited to Conn.

A Danbury man facing charges of sexually assaulting a young child has been extradited from Pennsylvania.  38-year old Luis Vega is now being held on bond for illegal sexual contact with a child under the age of 13 and risk of injury to a minor.  He is due in Court on the 10th.  The child's parents called Danbury Police earlier this month after their daughter told them that Vega abused her on multiple occasions and told her to keep it a secret.  According to the Newstimes, the girl's mother texted Vega, who admitted to the crime and said he wanted to kill himself.  Police tried to take him into custody that day, but he fled and was committed to a mental health facility in Pennsylvania.

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Special Town Meeting in New Milford tonight about $1.5M in spending

A town meeting is being held in New Milford tonight about how to spend $1.5 million.  The money was slated to close a budget gap created by cuts in state funding, but Mayor Pete Bass says they were able to fill in the hole through savings, layoffs and not filling vacancies.  The New Milford Town Council and Board of Finance have been presented with nearly 20 proposals of what the money can now be used for.  Among those to be considered by residents are a new fire truck, a pothole-fixing truck and a sidewalk along Patriot’s Way to connect the riverwalk to the downtown.  Some personnel decisions will be considered including a new land surveyor and an engineer position.  A vehicle and equipment for the surveyor was also proposed.  The meeting is at 6:30pm.

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Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue Open House & Public Safety Day Sunday

Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue will host an Open House & Public Safety Day on Sunday from 11am to 2pm.  Members will put on demonstrations, hold tours of the station, and host a Q-and-A about gear and apparatus among other activities like visits with Smokey Bear.  The event is free of charge. The event will also celebrate Sandy Hook's 80th anniversary.  The day is being called a community and education outreach opportunity.  

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Putnam County Sheriff Children's Expo & Public Safety Day today

The Putnam County Sheriff's Office is taking part in Children’s Expo & Public Safety Day on Saturday at 112 Old Route 6 in Carmel.  The day's events take place from 11am to 3pm and are aimed at promoting police, firefighters, local government, social service agencies, volunteer organizations, and private partnerships that work together to keep Putnam County safe.  Cutting-edge programs and services for children and families are held and demonstrated during the free event. The Children’s Expo & Public Safety Day is the most comprehensive injury prevention and safety education event in Putnam County.

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Richter House hosts events this weekend

Richter Arts is hosting a Memorial Art Show and Reception for lifetime member of Richter and served on the board of directors.  For many years, artwork by Rick Villodas was displayed in numerous shows.  He passed away in August.  His art will be on display on Saturday from 2 to 5pm at Richter House. The show will continue on Sunday.

Richter Association for the Arts is hosting an afternoon of musical theater classics on Sunday.  The presentation at Richter House is at 3pm and will feature collaborations of Lyricist/Composer Gershwin and Gershwin, Jerome Kerns and Dorothy Fields, Rodgers and Hammerstein.

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Federal funding awarded to Conn. to combat opioid epidemic

Nearly $31 million in new federal funding is being sent to Connecticut to help combat the opioid epidemic.  Danbury-based Connecticut Institute for Communities will receive $285,000 to help expand access to integrated substance use disorder and mental health services.  The state Department of Public Health received $3.6 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support state efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, including to support work by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.  Funding was also set aside to purchase 10,000 doses of naloxone, a medication to reverse opioid overdoses, for distribution throughout the state.

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Danbury area job numbers hold steady in latest employment report

Connecticut gained 1,100 net jobs in August.  The July originally-released job decline of 1,200 was revised up to a gain of 500 over the month.  Connecticut’s August unemployment rate dropped by one-tenth of a point to 4.3-percent.  Three of the six Labor Market Areas saw job increases, two had declines and the Danbury Labor Market Area was unchanged. 

 

The government supersector, which includes all federal, state and local employment, including public higher education, continues to slip with a loss of 800 in August. 

 

Labor Department researcher Andy Condon says after dips in Marchand April, Connecticut has now seen four straight months of employment gains.  He notes that on an annual basis, the construction, manufacturing, education & health services and leisure & hospitality sectors are all showing good growth.  However, financial activities, a traditional employment foundation in Connecticut, continues to show some weakness.

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New Fairfield hires contractor for macroburst damage inspections

The Town of New Fairfield has contracted outside services to help homeowners in the inspection of properties damaged by the May severe storm.  The purpose of the inspections is to determine if storm related damage has significantly impacted the property assessment.  The scope of work includes physically inspecting each damaged property and reporting the findings to the assessor. Most of the inspections will not require interior viewings.   Property owners who want an interior inspection are asked to contact the assessor's office to schedule an appointment.  The assessor's office is not performing structural/safety assessments and cannot offer advice on repairs.  Michael Cilfone will begin his contract soon and will have a town-issued identification badge with photo.

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Cycle for the Cause to travel through Newtown, Bethel, Danbury this weekend

A 3-day charity bicycle tour is traveling through Bethel this weekend.  Cycle for the Cause is a 275 mile fundraiser traveling from Framingham, Massachusetts to New York City, passing through Bethel.  Riders will be coming from Newtown on Saturday via Castle Hill Road to Plumtrees Road, to Maple Avenue,  turning west on to Greenwood and following Route 302 to Mansfield, where they will turn towards Danbury. Drivers can expect the cyclists will be passing through in the afternoon.

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National POW-MIA day to be marked in New Milford tonight

Today is National POW-MIA day. New Milford officials are hosting a service this evening to remember the sacrifices and service of those who were prisoners of war, as well as those who are missing in action, and their families.  The outdoor candlelight Service is at 7:30pm in front of the St. Francis Xavier Parish Center on Elm Street. Glowsticks will be provided by POW-MIA CT Forget-Me-Nots.

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NJ man sentenced for heroin trafficking in Fairfield County

A New Jersey man has been sentenced for his role in a drug trafficking organization in Fairfield County.  The U.S. Attorney's Office reports that 30-year old David Monseratte Torres was ordered to serve little more than 14 years in prison for trafficking heroin. 

 

A DEA investigation revealed that Torres was the main source of heroin for several years for a pair of brothers who allegedly led the Fairfield County trafficking ring.  Nine individuals were charged as a result of the investigation.  All pleaded guilty, and Torress was the last to be sentenced. 

 

The organization was reportedly led by Wilfredo Gutierrez, also known as “Bean” and “Big Pun,” and his brother, Bobby Gutierrez, also known as “B.O.”  They and others conspired to distribute at least 10 kilograms of heroin in Fairfield County between September 2015 and May 2016. 

 

Wilfredo Gutierrez was sentenced to 180 months of imprisonment and Bobby Gutierrez was sentenced to 160 months of imprisonment.  Bobby Gutierrez also was ordered to forfeit $171,462 in cash.

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AUDIT: Unnecessary building, lack of planning on Danbury FCI construction project

Concerns about management by the Bureau of Prisons of a multi-million dollar construction contract at Danbury Federal Correctional Institution have been identified in a new report from the U.S. Department of Justice.  The Inspector General's office has reviewed the recent construction work that took place at FCI Danbury and found that the Bureau of Prisons paid for an unnecessary building. 

 

The audit found that the Bureau of Prisons did not anticipate significant problems with its plan to convert FCI Danbury to a facility with a higher security level.  The additional time required to construct the "Programs Building" compromised the Bureau's ability to transfer female inmates to FCI Danbury as quickly as possible.

 

 While the Bureau followed regulations in soliciting and entering into the $28 million contract with Sealaska Constructors, there were weaknesses in the pre-award planning, acquisition planning, contractor performance evaluation and contract pricing procedures.  The bureau paid over $1.7 million dollars for an entry building, which wasn't needed.  

 

Inspector General Michael Horowitz says the Bureau didn't consult with experts on the needs of the prison, such as programming, food services and health serves until after the contract was awarded.  He noted that the failure extended the project's duration.  Horowitz says there was a significant lack of coordination between various components involved in the project.  He added that Bureau's top down effort didn't adequately involve all the different stakeholders, which caused the unnecessary building cost and delays.  The audit identified issues with the acquisition plan, which didn't include a plan to address specific areas of concerns identified by the warden.  Those concerns included a lack of indoor and outdoor recreation, lack of medical space for inmates, inadequate office, classroom and leisure space, and a lack of food service space.

 

The audit report contains eight recommendations to help the Bureau in improving contract administration and oversight of its construction contracts. 

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New Milford to move forward with High School roof repairs

The New Milford High School roof sustained damage during the May storms and blue tarps were put up as the town waited for their insurance carrier and for a FEMA decision to see what size reimbursement could be counted on for repairs.  The Board of Ed Facilities Department told Mayor Pete Bass that the repair has to be made as soon as possible because of the recent excessive rain, so that no further damage is done to the school.  Under the town Charter, the Mayor has some emergency powers so Bass told the Town Council and the Board of Finance that he instructed the school board to begin the work as soon as possible.  The roof is nearly 20 years old and town and school officials have been talking about what type of roof to put on and the costs associated with that. 

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State Bond Commission approves money for Danbury health center, school security

The state Bond Commission has approved funding for the Connecticut Institute for Communities.  The grant-in-aid will help with expansion of the Greater Danbury Community Health Center.  The addition will expand the facility by approximately 8,400 square feet. The estimated cost is $4 million. $1 million in other funding will be contributed to the work. The Bond Commission approved the $3 million balance. 

 

The Commission also approved $10 million for the School Security Infrastructure Competitive Grant Program.  The initiative was started after the shootings at Sandy Hook School.  Since that time, with matching local funds, it has invested $53 million for improvements at 1,200 schools. 

 

Towns and schools may be reimbursed for development or improvement of the security infrastructure of schools, based on the results of school building security assessments required by the legislation. The improvements include the installation of surveillance cameras, penetration resistant vestibules, ballistic glass, solid core doors, double door access, computer-controlled electronic locks, entry door buzzer systems, scan card systems, panic alarms or other systems, the training of school personnel in the operation and maintenance of the security infrastructure of school buildings or the purchase of portable entrance security devices, including metal detector wands and screening machines and related training.

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Annual Ridgefield Safety Day to be held Sunday

The Annual Safety Day in Ridgefield will be held on Sunday in the parking lot of East Ridge Middle School.  The event hosted by the Ridgefield Police Benevolent Association, the Ridgefield Volunteer Fire Department and the Ridgefield Professional Firefighters Association is family oriented and admission is free.  The day's events run from 10am to 2pm and includes a K9 demonstration by Officer Murray and K9 Loki, Eagle One Helicopter will be landing on the ball field for a demonstration and there will be crash simulators.  A Child car seat inspection/installation station will be available, no appointment necessary. 

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Household hazardous waste collection day in New Milford

A Regional Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day is being held on Saturday.  The collection at the John Pettibone School in New Milford is open to Kent, New Milford and Brookfield residents. There is no charge for dropping off waste at the Pickett District Road facility. The collection is from 9am to 3pm.

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Ridgefield to hold weekend meeting on waste water treatment plant

The Ridgefield Water Pollution Control Authority is hosting a public information hearing on Saturday about the town's wastewater treatment plant upgrades.  Planning for the facility upgrades and capital needs has been underway for several years.  Ridgefield residents will get a chance to officially weigh in on the upgrades during a referendum vote scheduled for November.  Authority members will provide information on Saturday about what is proposed, why the upgrades are necessary, the estimated cost, what funding assistance is being offered, project schedule, and other relevant details.  The hearing is at Ridgefield Town Hall at 10am.

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New Fairfield Board of Ed looking for new member

A member of the New Fairfield Board of Education has submitted his resignation and a search is now under way for a replacement.  Doug DeRito said in his resignation letter that he is confident in the school district's new superintendent and that the board will continue to move in a positive direction.  New Fairfield schools experienced several years of public criticism over transparency, among other issues.  The November election saw a lot of new faces join the Board and the chair and vice chair had resigned last year over the discord.  New Fairfield residents looking to fill the vacancy can send a letter of interest to the Democratic or Republican town committee by noon on the 28th.  Candidates will have to attend an October 4th meeting to answer questions.

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Local lawmaker calls on auditors to investigate UConn

A local lamwaker is calling for state aduitors to investigate UConn. 

 

Danbury Senator Mike McLachlan sent a letter to the auditors after learning that a professor and his administrative assistant violated travel and compensatory time policies that cost UConn more than $100,000.  The pair approved each other's travel expenses to Dublin, LA, South Korea and India. 

 

McLachlan said the lack of overnight is similar to problems discovered earlier this year at the UConn Health Center, where it came to light from a whistleblower complaint, not UConn's checks and balances.  UConn Medical Center sent regular payments to a professor who had not reported to work in about eight months and was discovered to have been dead much of that time.

 

An Auditor’s report disclosed improper payment of compensatory time for staff and poor recordkeeping, as well as other irregularities.

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Passenger rail forum scheduled in New Milford

A passenger rail forum is being held in New Milford tonight.  Mayor Pete Bass and state Representative Bill Buckbee will host the discussion at New Milford Town Hall from 7pm to 8:30pm.  The Train Campaign president Karen Christensen will also participate.  The public is being asked to weigh in on the possibility of  bringing passenger rail service to New Milford.

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Connecticut Day celebrated at the Big E

Yesterday was Connecticut Day at the Big E.  There was a parade featuring Connecticut State Troopers, K9s, motorcycles and police cars. 

One of those in attendance was K9 Texas, who is based in Troop A in Southbury and recently located a missing New Fairfield boy.  The bloodhound also made headlines in December for going missing for days after his handler lost his footing and dropped the leash during a search for a missing man in Danbury. 

Governor Wilbur Cross placed the cornerstone of the Connecticut Building in 1938, just as a Hurricane hit the fairgrounds. The building was officially opened and dedicated the following year.  At a cost of $85,000, the fifth addition to the Avenue was modeled after the Old Statehouse in Hartford.  Inside, visitors will learn about the history, agriculture, commerce, natural resources and industries of the Nutmeg State.  The Connecticut building also features exhibits on popular tourist attractions and a wide variety of native produce.

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Redding elementary playground equipment removed, new facility to be installed

The old Redding Elementary School 3rd and 4th grade playground has been torn down to make way for new structures.  The Redding Highway Department removed the 30-year-old equipment.  The PTA is now looking for volunteers to help next week to build the new playground, under the supervision of Ultiplay specialists.  West Redding Fire Department has volunteered 10 of their company, but more people are needed. Funding for the community build project has been saved up since the early 2000s from private donations, local grants, PTA grants, and PTA student choice votes earmarking money for the playground.  No Board of Education budget money or Redding taxpayer dollars have been allocated for this project.

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Senior housing proposed in Ridgefield

The Ridgefield Planning and Zoning Commission opened a public hearing last night on a proposed age-restricted affordable housing development off Danbury Road.  Charter Group Partners has proposed apartment-style one-and-two bedroom condominiums for people 55 and older.  9 of the 30 units would be considered affordable under the state's 8-30g law, allowing some zoning rules to be bypassed.  The proposed site is next to Ridgefield's senior center, but also near wetlands.

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Court rules for archdiocese in priest abuse insurance case

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A federal appeals court says an insurance company must reimburse the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford nearly $1 million for payments the archdiocese made to settle sexual misconduct cases involving priests and minors.

A three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York on Wednesday upheld a lower court ruling in the archdiocese's favor.

Chicago-based Interstate Fire & Casualty refused to reimburse the archdiocese, citing an assault and battery exemption in the insurance policy. Many policies don't cover intentional acts, but church officials argued they did not know about the alleged assaults and sued the insurer in 2012.

The settlements, one of many paid by the archdiocese in priest abuse cases, involved four claims of sexual misconduct by priests against minors in the 1970s and 1980s.

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Judge throws out lawsuit by ex-wrestlers over concussions

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A federal judge in Connecticut has dismissed a lawsuit by 60 former professional wrestlers who claimed World Wrestling Entertainment failed to protect them from repeated head trauma including concussions that led to brain damage.

U.S. District Judge Vanessa Bryant in Hartford threw out the lawsuit Monday at the request of the Stamford-based WWE, saying many of the claims were frivolous or filed too late, after the statute of limitations expired.

Bryant also criticized the wrestlers' lawyer, Konstantine Kyros, of Hingham, Massachusetts, and ordered him to pay WWE's legal fees.

Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, Joseph "Road Warrior Animal" Laurinaitis and Paul "Mr. Wonderful" Orndorff were among the plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit. Snuka died last year, and Kyros said he showed signs of brain damage.

Kyros said he will appeal Bryant's decision.

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Lawmakers, coalition fight to block sale of Plum Island

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Lawmakers from New York and Connecticut have joined environmental groups in ramping up efforts to block the federal government from selling a mysterious piece of land in Long Island Sound that for years housed an animal disease research facility.

The lawmakers penned a letter this week asking Congress not to provide funding for the marketing or sale of Plum Island. The island is also home to endangered birds, turtles and other animals.

The federal General Service Administration is charged with selling the island to help fund a new bio-research center in Kansas. It's agreed to postpone the sale until it conducts a second environmental impact study.

The Preserve Plum Island Coalition, which includes more than 100 groups, says it will bring stakeholders together later this year to come up with an alternative conservation plan.

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Stand Down 2018 vet event Friday

The Department of Labor will provide employment and job training guidance to veterans at an upcoming event to help Connecticut's 200,000 veterans.

Stand Down 2018 will take place from 8am to 2pm on Friday at the Department of Veterans' Affairs main campus in Rocky Hill.

More than 70 government agencies and social services organizations are expected to take part in the program, which is organized by the Connecticut Department of Veterans' Affairs. Besides employment and education services, there will be information about state and Veterans Administration benefits, legal and motor vehicle matters and housing matters.

There will also be medical, dental and mental health screenings, as well as free clothing.

The Department of Transportation will provide free bus service from a number of locations around the state.  A bus will be leaving from the Danbury War Memorial at 7am.  Return transportation will also be provided.

Pre-registration is no longer required.  Veterans will have to show proof of service such as VA card.

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Still River Greenway reopens after May storm debris removed

All of the Still River Greenway in Brookfield is now reopened.  The town has cleared storm debris from the southern portion of the Greenway, announcing this week that it's been reopened.  While the path was walkable after a first round of clearing along the southern end, there were trees off of the path that were dangerous and had to be cleared.  Depending upon the weather, crews will be blowing leaves and minor debris from the Greenway over the next few days.  The northern end of the two mile path reopened about two months after being closed by the May macroburst.

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Architectural plans for two Bethel school renovation projects reviewed

A Third Party Code reviewer has been hired in Bethel for the Rockwell and Johnson schools renovation projects to make sure the construction drawings show that the facilities will be in compliance with town, state and federal building  codes.  Superintendent of Schools Dr Christine Carver said in a district newsletter that they've reviewed those drawings and provided feedback back to the architect who is revising the documents for code compliance.  An Owner's Representative, who will represent the town in the oversight of the project, has been selected by the Building and  Site Committee.  They are in the process of negotiating a contract.  The construction manager has identified a few options for obtaining portable classrooms for the swing space at Rockwell School.

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FuelCell Energy reaches clean power generation milestone

Danbury-based FuelCell Energy has reached a clean power generation milestone with a total of more than 8 million megawatt hours having been generated by SureSource fuel cell power plants globally since the first commercial installation.  The plants are operating on three continents.  According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 8 million megawatt hours of clean energy production is enough to offset about 13 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.  The EPA says it's also adequate to power over 725,000 average size U-S homes for one year, 1.8 million German homes for one year or 2.235 million South Korean homes for one year.

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Newtown resident confirmed as federal judge

A Newtown resident has been tapped to serve as a federal judge for the District of Connecticut.  Judge Kari Dooley has served as a judge in state court for the last 14 years.  She was nominated by President Trump in December and confirmed by the U-S Senate Judiciary Committee this month.  The vacancy was created when a judge assumed senior status.  Dooley will be based in Bridgeport and serve as one of eight authorized judges in the District of Connecticut.  She graduated from UConn School of Law in 1988, became an associated for a Greenwich law firm and in 1992, joined the U.S. Attorney’s office, where she prosecuted criminal cases. 

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New Milford man accused of breaking into neighbor's home accepts plea deal

A New Milford man who allegedly broke into his neighbor's home last June and attacked the occupants has accepted a plea deal.  The Newstimes reports that Michael Saunders pleaded guilty this week under the Alford Doctrine to burglary and assault of a person over age 60.  Under the plea, he disputed some facts but admitted the state had enough evidence for a conviction.  The 34-year old would serve 5 years in prison followed by 5 years of supervised release.  Authorities have said Michael Saunders was likely hallucinating when he broke into his neighbors’ house, armed with a wooden two-by-four, and yelling about being pursued.  A woman sustained a concussion and a man had cuts on his arms and hands.  Sentencing has been set for December 14th.

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Candlewood gets a sister lake in New Jersey

The Candlewood Lake Authority has partnered with representatives from a group in New Jersey on a collaboration aimed at helping both bodies of water.  The CLA recently made a trip to meet with the Lake Hopatcong Foundation, and learned about some of their environmental challenges and proposed solutions. 

 

The lakes have officially been proclaimed sister lakes.  The proclamation will lead to a commitment to long-term information sharing partnership. 

 

Members of the Lake Hopatcong Foundation visited Candlewood a few months ago.  The New Jersey group expressed an interest in the sterile grass carp stocking initiative helping to combat milfoil growth in Candlewood.  The CLA wants to gain insight how the Hopatcong group has successfully prevented the spread of water chestnut and other invasive species in their waters. 

 

Hopatcong experiences other similar environmental stressors that Candlewood Lake does, including blue-green algae bloom.  The 4 square mile New Jersey lake, like the 8.5 square mile Candlewood Lake, has a shoreline with many coves, split among several municipalities. 

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Brookfield Police seek help identifying man for ongoing investigation

The Brookfield Police Department is looking the public’s help in identifying a man wanted as part of an ongoing criminal investigation.  Police created a bulletin with images from surveillance cameras of the man.  Anyone recognizing him is asked to contact Cpl. Fiege by phone 203-740-4144.

 

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Bethel schools to hold food drive tomorrow

If you see a lot of kids in Bethel tomorrow wearing orange, it's to mark No Kid Hungry Month.  All Bethel Public Schools will be holding a food drive tomorrow and encourage students to donate a kid-friendly food item; something that can be opened and consumed without adult assistance. These items will be distributed by school social workers and other agencies in Bethel.  Popular items at the food drive last year were macaroni & cheese, pre-packed snacks like pudding, and pop-top soups.

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Monroe Police investigating IRS scam calls

The Monroe Police Department has received several complaints from people saying that someone claiming to be from the IRS has contacted them. The caller says a sum of money must be paid urgently or the recipient will be arrested.  Police are reminding residents that the IRS does not call people, nor do they threaten to arrest.  Immediate payment will not be demanded, the IRS will first send a bill in the mail if you owe money and will not require you to pay in a certain way--such as with a prepaid debit card.

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New York State Police remove 25 impaired drivers from roadways

New York State Police Troopers have released details about a routine traffic stop that led to a number of charges to be filed against a Connecticut man who was allegedly driving while intoxicated, with a child in the vehicle. 

 

25-year old Joseph Brown was pulled over on I-84 in Southeast on Friday for a traffic law violation. A search of the car turned up a loaded handgun and approximately 7.5 grams of marijuana.  The West Haven man was charged for Aggravated DWI with a child in the vehicle, Possession of a Weapon and Unlawful Possession of Marihuana. 

 

State Police in the Putnam County area removed a total of 25 impaired drivers from the roadway last weekend.  Among them was also 29-year old Matthew Rooney of Brewster.  He was pulled over on Saturday on I-84 in Southeast for a vehicle and traffic law violation.  An investigation determined that he was in possession of a small quantity of cocaine.  Rooney was charged for DWI with a Prior Conviction within ten years and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance. 

 

Two men were charged after Troopers responded to separate accidents over the weekend.  41-year old Marco Gonzalez-Borja, of Brewster, was involved in a two-car motor vehicle crash in the parking lot of Xtra Mart in Brewster on Friday.  54-year old Stephen  Parrett, of Norwalk,tried to make a u-turn on Smith Ridge Road in Lewisboro on Saturday when his car got stuck in someone's front yard.

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BI makes donation to Danbury Hospital Foundation

The Boehringer Ingelheim Cares Foundation has made a $40,000 donation to the Danbury Hospital Foundation.  This is the third contribution from the Ridgefield-based pharmaceutical company's charitable foundation to support the outreach efforts of the Greater Danbury Community Care Team's peer engagement specialist. 

 

The community-based outreach initiative was started in 2015 and is a partnership with nearly 30 community and municipal agencies. 

 

The navigators work to improve access to care for at-risk residents, many of whom suffer from substance abuse, chronic medical or mental health conditions, are homeless, or frequent the emergency department. To date, more than 170 community residents ages 23 to 83 have benefited from Greater Danbury Community Care Team services.  Emergency Room utilization by high-risk frequent users has decreased approximately 30 percent, according to the Danbury Hospital Foundation.

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ARC, Danbury schools seek volunteer mentors

The Danbury School District and the Association of Religious Communities is looking for volunteers to help with their KIDS program.  The collaborative matches mentors with elementary school classes in Title 1 schools.  There are some large class sizes in the elementary schools and an information session next Wednesday will explain to volunteers how they could spend two hours a week from October through June helping in Kindergarten classes.  The info session on the 26th is from 3:30 to 4:30pm at ARC's new office at 24 Delay Street.  Volunteers do not need a background in education. 

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New Milford school hires new teacher to reduce class sizes

The New Milford Board of Education has decided to add another 2nd grade class at Northville Elementary School, to lower class sizes.  The Newstimes reports that the maximum salary for the teacher is $60,000 and the other teachers will work with the students on the transition. There are 6 second grade classes at Northville, with about half a dozen more students each than at New Milford's other elementary school.  While there was some hesitation among Board of Ed members and parents, they say the post-start hire will help students.

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CT NAACP to honor Danbury Police Chief

The Connecticut NAACP is honoring Danbury Police Chief Patrick Ridenhour this weekend.  He has been named one of the most influential African American leaders in Connecticut.  Prior to becoming Danbury's Chief, Ridenhour served in the same role in Stratford, having worked in Waterbury for nearly 20 years.  The event is on Saturday at Foxwoods. 

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CT helps Florence victims in the Carolinas

A unit of Connecticut National Guard soldiers are continuing to assist with Hurricane Florence relief efforts throughout the North Carolina area.  To date, the 11 guardsmen have performed multiple search and rescue missions, providing life-saving evacuation measure for those in communities completely cut off by the rising waters.  A Bethel woman is among the 3-thousand Red Cross volunteers helping in the Carolinas.  Joyce Burns, a retired social worker at the Park Avenue School in Danbury, is providing mental health care to people evacuated to shelters in South Carolina.

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Maintenance costs discussed for Sandy Hook memorial design

Newtown officials have questioned the cost of maintenance for the design selected by the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission.  The design features a large tree in the center of a reflection pool.  First Selectman Dan Rosenthal says the group tried to give thought to maintenance, but their charge was to select a design.  There was no budgetary restriction given to the Commission by the previous Board of Selectmen.  The task now is to have them work with the Public Building and Sites Committee, designer SWA and others on a workable budget for the project.  The cost of ongoing maintenance will have to be factored in to material decisions.  Some value engineering may be needed so the Memorial Commission will be kept as active.  As other municipal officials seek to keep the project on a reasonable financial path, they could ask the Commission advice on those material changes.

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Hurricane relief effort to be held in Bridgewater

A community relief effort, not just for people impacted by Hurricane Florence, is set to get underway in Bridgewater.  Bridgewater Congregational Church will be assembling Clean-up Buckets and Hygiene Kits on the 29th.  They will be distributed by Church World Service.  The organization is positioned around the world with relief supplies and aid and are among the first responders in a disaster.  The clean up bucket list items include sponges, trash bags and other cleaning supplies.

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Easton Library changes renovation plans

The proposed expansion project at Easton Library has been changed, meaning the the community room and historical society entrance doors will not be relocated.  Aspetuck News reports that the historical society is located in an adjacent room built on to the back of the library, but is separate from the rest of the library.  The change will lower the cost of the project by eliminating new sidewalks and regrade an area near the wetlands.  An interior hallway for access will be created while increasing space of the library’s children’s area.  The proposal goes before the Easton Conservation Commission on September 25th.

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Monroe officials remind residents about free discount prescription cards

Monroe residents can obtain, at no cost, a discount prescription card program through the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities. This program is provided at no cost to the Town, and can be used by any resident to obtain discounts and savings on any prescriptions not covered by insurance, including certain vision and hearing services, frames and lenses, and hearing aids.  Pet medications that can be filled a local retail pharmacy are also covered.  Cards are available at the Monroe Library, Senior Center, the First Selectman's Office.

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Ridgefield considers quarterly Town Meetings

Ridgefield officials are considering having town meetings quarterly for residents to weigh in on various issues, rather than schedule a town meeting when individual action is needed.  The Ridgefield Press reports that under the current form of government, town meetings are held frequently and have low attendance.  The goal is to have more residents weigh in on issues outside their immediate interest, though there was some concern about the length of the meetings.  Quarterly town meetings could be worked into the 2019 meeting schedule.

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Connecticut governor contenders clash over tolls, taxes

There were a few of areas of agreement in an otherwise tense Connecticut gubernatorial debate, where the audience booed a couple of times.  Ned Lamont and Bob Stefanowski agreed that there should be a better school-to-job pipeline to prepare students for job openings that currently exist.  They also agreed that pre-existing conditions should continue to be covered in health care plans, no matter what happens in Washington.  While they agreed that the state should not be bribing companies to stay, they differed on what to do to keep companies in Connecticut.

The debate opened with a question about bipartisanship.  Stefanowski said that he knows how to deliver results and has common sense.  Lamont says he will be different from Stefanowski and Malloy, will have an open door.  Stefanowski said leadership is about consistency.  The candidates then accused each other of pandering to polls.

When it comes to funding for UConn, Lamont said he is committed to education, but that schools are not teaching to the job openings.  He wants to streamline operations.  Stefanowski said he wants to make college more affordable, but that not every child is meant to go to college.  He wants to look at a holistic approach to education.  An audience member asked about stopping funding cuts to the Connecticut State University System in order to stop tuition hikes.  Stefanowski said everyone has to be held accountable, shared services could be looked at, there will have to be belt-tightening an suggested pay-for-performance for teachers.  Lamont said he would bring business in to help with curriculum to make sure students get jobs after school.  In order to take on the Education Cost Sharing system, Lamont said it should be more needs-based.  He also suggested forgiving student loans for teachers that go to work in the most distressed districts.  Stefanowski says there needs to be more accountability, noting that Connecticut spends twice as much educating students but test scores are even with other states.

As for mandating towns to have more affordable housing stock, Stefanowski said the decision should be up to the municipalities.  Lamont said a property tax deduction is needed.

While Malloy was brought up frequently, President Trump wasn't mentioned until more than half way through the debate.  It came from Lamont after Stefanowski said he would be ok with the real estate conveyance tax being nixed.  Lamont said the GOP used to be the part of fiscal conservatism.

The candidates were asked about implementing paid family and medical leave.  Lamont said he would work with the CBIA and other business organizations to make Connecticut a place where young families can thrive.  Stefanowski said Lamont will crush mid-sized businesses.  He suggested encouraging people to voluntarily put away money, have an option for employer-matched giving and lowering taxes so people have more money in their paychecks. 

There were a few questions about the Affordable Care Act and the cost of prescription drugs.  Stefanowski said there needs to be more competition and people should be able to buy insurance plans across state lines.  He added that the answer is the free market, not another government program.  Lamont countered that the free market isn't and won't hold down prices.  He wants the state to use purchasing power, especially when it comes to state employee plans.  Lamont said he would protect contraception coverage.  Stefanowski gave no answer on contraceptive coverage protections.

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Man pinned under lawn tractor rescued by Brookfield first responders

A man was pinned under a lawn tractor in Brookfield yesterday afternoon.  Emergency responders were called to Pocono Road, at the same time Past Chief Joseph Frengs came upon the scene.  He and some bystanders were able to get the machine off of the injured person.  Brookfield Police then removed the tractor from the road.  There was no immediate word on how serious the man's injuries were.

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Work stalls on turning Hearthstone Castle into walled garden

Work has stalled on overhauling the Hearthstone Castle site in Danbury.  The Planning and Public Works departments are working to develop a method to clean debris out of the structure.  The roof and internal strucutre have collapsed in the basement, which also might contain an oil tank and contaminents.  

 

Planning Director Sharon Calitro says they've run up against some issues with the Department of Health.  They've had to bring in specialized engineers to work through that, so the city can get permits to stabilize the walls. 

 

Danbury residents approved $1.6 million in 2016 for design and construction plans for a walled garden.  When that plan was announced, questions remained about how high the walls might be.  Concerns were that it would create a different attractive nuisance of people turning it into a rock-climbing wall. 

 

The Castle is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Hearthstone Castle was built in 1897 for E. Starr Sanford by New York architect Earnest George Washington Dietrich.  The land was bought in 1902 by New York financial mogul Victor Buck, who sold the castle in 1918 to Charles Darling Parks.  His oldest daughter occupied the castle until her death in 1983.  The City purchased it as part of the acquisition of the Tarrywile property in 1985.

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Newtown psychologist charged in scheme to defraud Medicai

A Newtown psychologist has been charged in a scheme to defraud Medicaid.  Authorities tipped off by a former employee arrested 61-year old Jeannie Pasacreta yesterday on charges that she bilked the Medicaid program out of thousands of dollars for services she never performed.  A former employee of Integrated Mental Health Services reported to the state Attorney General's office that the doctor  received payments despite constantly canceling appointments.  According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Pasacreta misused patients’ personal information to bill for appointments on dates when the patients were out of the state or out of the country. The fraudulent claims involved 15 patients and totaled $79,418.  She is due in court on  October 3.

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DHS freshman competing in science competition with her Lyme Disease detector

Danbury High School freshman Khushi Parikh has been named one of the top 300 students in a national science competition that drew more than 2,500 entrants this year.  The 2018 Broadcom MASTERS is a program of Society for Science & the Public. While an eighth-grade student last year at Westside Middle School Academy, Khushi worked on her project, “Image Recognition to Diagnose Lyme Disease.”  She designed a software application that can detect Lyme disease from a photo image with 90 percent accuracy.  The next step in the Broadcom MASTERS takes place today when 30 finalists will be selected from the Top 300 MASTERS. Finalists and one parent or guardian will receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., to attend the Broadcom MASTERS Finals Week competition from October 19 to 24. Finalists will present their research and compete in hands-on challenges for top prizes, including funds to attend a STEM summer camp and the Samueli Prize of $25,000.

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Fracking ordinance hearing canceled, health department fee hearing still on in Bethel

The Bethel Board of Selectmen is hosting a public hearing tonight on proposed Health Department fee increases.  The selectmen were slated to also discuss a fracking ban ordinance, but that's been canceled for now and will be rescheduled.  

 

The Health Department fee hearing is at 7pm in Meeting Room A of the Municipal Center.

 

The fracking ordinance proposal was tabled for a number of months for research.  At the same time, the state was considering a stronger bill than what the towns would be capable of doing but it never got out of committee.  There's still a moratorium on the use of fracking waste in Connecticut.  The ordinance which would have been considered in Bethel was rewritten, with the help of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities.  Selectman Paul Szatkowski was concerned about who would enforce the ordnance and that the fine of $250 was too low.

 

Bethel Health Department fees haven't increased in 20 years and currently don't cover the cost of doing business for the town, especially during the busy summer construction period.   Some fees, like annual inspections of nail salons, would remain unchanged.  New restaurant owners and annual license fees would be between $75 and $200 more under the proposal, depending on restaurant classification.  Well permits would increase from $50 to $125. 

 

Fees would double for new residential septic system fees and for annual or biannual inspection for daycares. 

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Brookfield Police Dive Team finds 3 Apple watches in Candlewood

The Brookfield Police Dive Team recovered lost property during a training event earlier this month.  The group trains once a month to maintain proficiency and to challenge themselves, both physically and mentally.  The dive  team located three Apple watches in Candlewood Lake in the area known as "Chicken Rock". One watch has already been returned to its owner and one is waiting to be picked up.  The third watch is locked so Brookfield Police are working with Apple to get the owner's information.  All watches were recovered in about 15 feet of water and in working condition.

 

 

  

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New Fairfield, Danbury to study Route 37 safety

The state Department of Transportation has approved funding for Danbury and New Fairfield to study the Route 37 corridor, according to New Fairfield officials.  The safety study, which costs $150,000, will look into improving the mobility, congestion and safety of the 11-mile stretch  from Downs Street in Danbury to the intersection with Pembroke Road and Brush Hill Road in New Fairfield.  Some examples where improvements could be made are at the intersections with Main Street, Balmforth Avenue, Golden Hill Road and Jeanette Street.  The study would also evaluate the possibility of adding pedestrian and bike areas along the corridor.  Danbury and New Fairfield officials are looking into a walking trail along Margerie Lake Reservoir.

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New Fairfield officials consider blight ordinance

New Fairfield officials are looking into a blight ordnance to address homes that pose a danger to either the occupants or the neighbors.  The Selectmen recently discussed the exact definition of blight.  The local ordinance would create a board, which would make all decisions about properties and special considerations in certain circumstances.  There was a suggestion of notifying neighbors for any properties that come before the board.  The next steps to getting such an ordinance passed would be to have two public hearings.

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Congressional debates scheduled in 5th District

There are three debates scheduled in the next few weeks in the 5th Congressional District race.  Democrat Jahana Hayes and Republican Manny Santos will first meet head-to head at a debate in Waterbury on October 4th.  They will then face off October 16th at a debate in Danbury sponsored by the League of Women Voters.  The last debate scheduled between Hayes and Santos is October 17th in New Britain.  They are vying to fill the seat being vacated by Democratic incumbent Elizabeth Esty, who chose not to run for reelection amid a controversy over her handling of a sexual assault case in her office involving her former chief of staff. 

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National Weather Service Skywarn Spotter Program training program at WCSU

The National Weather Service Skywarn Spotter Program will hold a free training session tomorrow night at West Conn, including for students in 8th grade or above.  The workshop will provide instruction about how to observe and report specific types of clouds that form before severe weather such as hail, high winds or a tornado develops.  The training also will provide safety tips to prepare for and respond to flash floods, severe thunderstorms and lightning.  The session tomorrow is in the Student Center Theater on the West Conn midtown campus at 6pm.  The training is sponsored by Praxair, the NOAA B-Wet program and the WCSU Meteorology program.  Attendees will receive a Spotter ID Card upon completion of the class.

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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, COMIDA, will also operate at this new location.  ARC Executive Director Rev. Phyllis Leopold says the staff has expanded through the years and they've outgrown the old space, but the new location will allow ARC to work in a more collaborative manner and provide readily accessible services.  ARC has been serving the people of greater  Danbury since 1974, and last year over 10,000 people participated in a variety of ARC's programs.

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Bethel Police interrupt burglary in progress

Bethel Police interrupted a burglary in progress at a gas station early Friday morning.  Police pulled into the parking lot of the Wheels Sunoco station on Stony Hill Road around 4:30am.  Officers saw a van parked parallel to the building. Two people, wearing all black and ski masks, were trying to open the front doors. 

 

Both suspects spotted the police and ran around the back of the building.  Brookfield, Newtown and State Police were called in to help with the search. 

 

State Police K9 Union found the suspects, biting one of them.  34-year old Fabian Rodriguez of Ansonia was placed under arrest and transported to the hospital for treatment of injuries.

 

Police determined that the van had been stolen out of Bridgeport earlier that morning.  The door and lock of the gas station convenience store was broken by the suspects, though nothing was reported stolen. 

 

Rodriguez was charged with attempted burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary, interfering with police, criminal mischief and larceny of a motor vehicle.  The investigation is ongoing for the second suspect and Bethel Police expect a second arrest.

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Driver extricated from car involved in weekend highway crash

Stony Hill, Brookfield and Danbury firefighters worked together late Saturday night to rescue a driver trapped in an overturned vehicle following a crash on I-84.  Firefighters responded to the area between exits 8 and 9 shortly before 11pm.  One person was injured in the two vehicle crash.  A woman in the minivan was unable to get out of the vehicle, which was on its side.  The woman was extricated through the windshield and transported to the hospital.  She was reported in stable condition.  Firefighters also controlled a traffic safety zone during the 20 minute operation.

 

 

(Photos: DFD, Stony Hill firefighters)

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Walkway of Honor in Danbury accepting brick orders only once more

Since 2013, a path at the Danbury War Memorial has been lined with bricks dedicated to those who have served in the Armed Forces.  The Veteran Walkway of Honor is only accepting new additions one more time. 

 

The deadline to order is October 8th. 

 

The walkway already includes more than 500 bricks engraved with the names and military branches of local veterans or of residents’ family members who have served in any branch of the military who are still living, missing in action, on active duty or in memory of those who have died.

 

Lee Teicholz is spearheading the effort.  Bricks can be ordered online and there is an online database of those already honored with a brick. 

 

Profits from the fundraiser go directly to the Danbury War Memorial with 25% of the proceeds from each brick sale going to various charitable veteran organizations.  Donations have so far been made to Help Our Military Heroes, Operation Vet Fit, Vet House, Wounded Warrior Project, Wounded Warriors Family Support, Homes For Our Troops, Iwo Jima Memorial Historical Foundation, Inc., and Fisher House Foundation.  Bricks can be purchased for $75 by anyone interested in honoring a veteran, whether they live in Danbury or not. A larger 8-inch-square brick is available for $150 and logos can be added for an additional $25.

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Brookfield firefighters going door-to-door for fund drive

If you live in Brookfield and got a knock on your door last night, it was most likely members of the Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company.  Firefighters are going door to door again tonight  looking for donations to support their annual fund drive, which usually takes place in June.  It was postponed by the May macroburst recovery.  Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company officials say they rely on donations to help with the purchase fire apparatus. 

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New American Dream Foundation award ceremony this weekend

The New American Dream Foundation, a Danbury-based non-profit, is marking the 5th anniversary of its Annual American Dream Awards Gala on Saturday.  8 Danbury residents are in the running for 4 $2000 awards for  highlighting the cultural, social, and economic contributions of all immigrants, and the core American values of equal opportunity, progress, and freedom in the areas of education and civic engagement. 

 

57 applications were received from nominees who were born in the U.S., and others who migrated to America from 13 different countries. 

 

The Veteran Award will be presented to Danbury Police Officer Hector Rodriguez, a Colombian native who became a citizen after serving in the U.S Army following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  The Foundation will also honor Peter Hearty of the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Center, and Celtic Cross Pipe & Drum of Danbury with The American Dream Lifetime Achievement Award.  

 

The Leadership Award will be presented to Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Tom Saadi, Danbury Public Schools Collaborative/Upward Bound Program Assistant Director Jessica Coronel, Connecticut Small Business Development Center Advisor Nelson Merchan and National Parent Leadership Institute codirector Patti Keckeisen.

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Superintendent search meetings in Ridgefield today

The Ridgefield Superintendent search committee will hold a series of focus group meetings today and tomorrow. Cooperative Educational Services is looking for feedback on characteristics for the next superintendent of schools.  The new candidate will replace interim superintendent Dr. JeanAnn Paddyfote, who replaced Dr. Karen Baldwin after she resigned in the spring. The next Superintendent would begin March 1, 2019.  The parent focus group on the 17th is from 9:30 to 10:30, followed by high school students from 11am to noon.  Another parent and community session will be held that evening, from 6 to 7pm.  The high school student forum will be held at Ridgefield High School. All other groups will meet in the Board of Education Conference Room in Town Hall.

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Danbury native, best selling author kicks off book tour at Danbury Library

Bestselling author and Danbury native Dr. Ian Smith will be at Danbury Library the night before his new book is released.  Smith, medical contributor on the Rachael Ray Show, will hold a Q&A session at Danbury Library from 5:45 to 6:45pm. 

 

The former co-host of the syndicated daytime talk show, The Doctors, has several diet related books, but this novel is something different.  

 

The Ancient Nine is about students at an elite college and in a secret society.  Smith, who was a member of one of Harvard’s exclusive “final clubs,” draws from his own real-life experiences for this mystery.  As the main character gets tapped for one of these secret societies, he is also plunged into a century-old mystery involving the disappearance of a student who tried breaking into the clubhouse in the 1920s.

 

Registration is required for the discussion tonight and can be done on Danbury Library's website.  Books will be available for purchase and signing.  Smith's hometown is the first stop on his 20 city book tour.  He will be giving away Rachael Ray Show tickets and two audience seats to Good Morning America. 

 

Smith is also raising money for the Hord Foundation, which gives scholarships to students in need, by donating a portion of proceeds from book sales at Byrd's Books in Bethel.

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New Fairfield Day today

New Fairfield Family Day is today.  New this year is the Community Service Club's Taste of New Fairfield which will benefit local residents who are still recovering from the May storm.  The event will also showcase local organizations and businesses.  The hours are noon to 4pm and will be followed by Taste of New Fairfield from 6pm to 10 pm.

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Richter Arts hosting Sunday concert

The Richter Association for the Arts is hosting The Berkshire Jazz Orchestra at Richter House Sunday at 3pm.  The group is known for playing classic big band music, as well as arrangements from contemporary groups, showcasing selections from the American Song Book. The 17 piece ensemble includes educators, college students and arrangers.

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Redding woman to host informational about Gilbert & Bennett proposal

A Redding woman who started a group to address the future of the Gilbert & Bennett property is hosting a community coffee event on Sunday.  Jane Philbrick, a Harvard Design School graduate, started TILL Georgetown, which stands for Today’s Industrial Living Landscapes.  The team of brownfield experts, financiers and Harvard professors have come up with plans to redevelop the old wire mill site.  Sunday's meeting is at 4pm at 101 Peaceable Street.  For this project, Philbrick proposes three phases.  One is to stabilize existing historical buildings and do environmental remediation, next get in some commercial and housing development, and then a commercial space for an anchor tenant. Georgetown Land Development Corporation owns the property, but also owes back taxes and fines to Redding.  The town has filed suit to foreclose and retake ownership. 

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Danbury Police searching for burglary suspect

Danbury Police Detectives are investigating a burglary that happened earlier this month and this morning released a surveillance photo of the suspect.  The incident happened on September 4th at about 1am. The man, with dreadlocks and a tattoo on his right forearm, was seen running from the crime scene. Anyone with information is urged to call Danbury Police at 203-797-4662.

 

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DOT updates timing of Route 133 work in Bridgewater

The state Department of Transportation has updated the schedule of planned roadwork on Route 133 in Bridgewater.  Milling and paving will now start next Wednesday, subject to weather and equipment availability.  Contractors will be working on sections in the area of Route 67.  One lane traffic will be in place during daylight hours for road sections as the work progresses. The anticipated finish date is approximately October 1st.  Drivers are cautioned to expect minor delays and asked for patience when traveling this route.

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Bottled water continues to be used at two Redding schools due to sodium in wells

Bottled water will be used at Redding Elementary School and John Read Middle School for drinking and cooking until further notice, due to excessive sodium and chloride concentrations in the wells.  An analysis of the issue was presented to the Redding Board of Ed earlier this month.  Sources could be salt storage facilities, road salting, and backwash from water softeners.  Bottles have been used at the elementary school since October 2016, and then started to be used a year later at the middle school.  A more permanent delivery systems for bottled water will be investigated.  Well water can be used for sanitary purposes.

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Pot found in car of man who showed up at wrong address for Craigslist purchase

A Bronx man who allegedly showed up to the wrong home to buy a used car earlier this month was in court yesterday.  Monroe Police responded to a report of three people banging on a resident's door on Labor Day.  Among them was 21-year old Givan Mendoza.  The Monroe Courier reports that they then showed police a Craigslist ad, which had a West Haven address.  While talking with the occupants, officers could smell marijuana.  A search of the vehicle turned up numerous small bags containing marijuana, a scale and nearly $600 cash.  Police also found a loaded BB gun in the trunk.  Police determined that Mendoza owned the backpack and was charged with possession of less than four ounces of marijuana and possession with intent to distribute.

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Redding schools to reinstate clubs after receiving anonymous grant

An anonymous grant awarded to two Redding school PTAs has paid for extracurricular clubs and activities removed due to budget cuts.  $60,000 was granted to Redding Elementary and John Read Middle schools this summer.  The donation was officially accepted by the Redding Board of Ed this month.   

 

The elementary school will get a new playground because of the funding.  The only club not being brought back is the garden club. 

 

In an email from the middle school principal, the following clubs were listed as being restored: Morning Gym, School Climate, Student Council, Spring Musical, Community Outreach, School Spirit Committee, Student Communications, Art Club, Yearbook, Computer Club, School Newspaper, Debate Club, Chess Club, Video Game Club, Track Club, Math Club, Jazz Band, and Select Chorus.

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Bethel to hold hearing on proposed Health Department fee increases

A public hearing will be held Tuesday in Bethel about proposed Health Department fee increases.  This is the first time Bethel is increasing fees in 20 years. 

 

First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says the current fee table doesn't cover the cost of doing business for the town, especially during the busy summer construction period.  He notes that being able to hire a contractor to handle some of the inspections will not only help town employees, but would mean faster application approvals and better service for the community. 

 

Well permits would increase from $50 to $125.  Fees would double for new residential septic system fees and for annual or biannual inspection for daycares.  New restaurant owners and annual license fees would be between $75 and $200 more under the proposal, depending on restaurant classification.  Some fees, like annual inspections of nail salons, would remain unchanged.

 

The public hearing Tuesday is at 7pm at the municipal center.

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Fall, winter drawdowns scheduled for area lakes

First Light Power has announced winter drawdown plans. 

 

A deep drawdown is scheduled on Candlewood Lake and Squantz Pond this year in an effort to kill off the invasive Eurasian water milfoil by exposing it to freezing temperatures.  The drawdown will take place after December 1st and last through April, when fishing season resumes. 

 

Lake Lillinonah will have a fall drawdown from October 26th through November 9th, for maintenance and inspection at Shepaug Dam.  Lake Zoar's fall drawdown for maintenance and inspection at Stevenson Dam is scheduled for November 10th through the 24th. 

 

All homeowners are encouraged to remove their structures, boatlifts and docks prior to the winter season to prevent ice of flood damage.

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New Fairfield Day to be held tonight, tomorrow

New Fairfield Day is this weekend. Events kick off tonight with a benefit Pops Concert from 7pm to 9pm on Memorial Field.  The Mad Hatters barber shop quartet and the Candlewood Brass will perform.  Activities planned for Saturday start at noon in various parts of New Fairfield.  There will be a bouncy house, exercise classes on Memorial Field, nature demonstrations, and a pie eating contest.  Saturday night will be a benefit dinner and dance – Taste of New Fairfield – sponsored by the Community Service Club at Company A Firehouse from 6-10PM.  Proceeds from this and the Pops Concert will go to the New Fairfield Storm Recovery Fund.

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Bethel woman charged for wrong way crash on Merritt Parkway

A Bethel woman has been charged in connection to a wrong way crash on the Merritt Parkway nearly a year ago.  25-year old Ali Wakeman was charged with DUI, assault with a motor vehicle, reckless endangerment and driving the wrong way.  State Police responded to the Merritt last October and found Wakeman's car stopped against the median, with heavy front-end damage.  Troopers found a nearby vehicle with damage to the driver's side.  The other driver and his 16-year old son were transported to the hospital for treatment of chest and abdominal injuries.  Wakeman's blood alcohol content was nearly 3 times the legal limit.

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School Based Health Center staff in Danbury recognized by National School Health Alliance

School Based Health Center staff at Danbury High School and Henry Abbott Technical High School School have been recognized by the National School Health Alliance.  Connecticut Institute for Communities Program Manager Melanie Bonjour was also honored for completing a 10-month School Health Services National Quality Initiative Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network Project. Site teams worked toward achieving a minimum of a 20% increase in the number of enrolled students who received 5 services.  When the results were tabulated, the two Danbury school sites scored highest on three of the five measures.  More than 80% of enrolled students were reached for BMI documentation, Depression Screening, and Risk Assessment.  The other goals were for annual well child visits and documenting student disposition following acute and chronic care visits.

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New Milford High School roof needs a patch

The New Milford High School roof will be replaced sooner than expected, in part because of damage from the May macroburst.  Mayor Pete Bass told the Board of Finance on Wednesday that the roof is losing shingles and is leaking.  $200,000 is needed to patch the roof until it can be replaced, repaid by the town's insurance company.  Dates for the work weren't immediately decided.  Bass plans to present a timeline and costs to the Boards of Ed and Finance as well as the Town Council once the details have been worked out.  Those details include whether to add solar panels, have a metal roof or asphalt--like it is now.

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Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission reviews presentation for town officials

The Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission met last night to go over a presentation, which will be made to the Board of Selectmen about the final design selected for the site.  The mission of the group is to make a recommendation on a plan for honoring the 20 children and 6 educators killed on 12-14. 

 

The selected design features a tree in the center of a reflecting pool.  One of the designers, Ben Wald, previously told the Commission that the jets in the basin can be reversed so after the site closes, the water flow can be changed in order to collect any candles placed on the water.  The plantings were all selected to bring vitality to the sight.  In the summer there will be fields of wildflowers designed to attract butterflies. 

 

Evergreens will be planted at the narrowest portion of the site will screen in the area.  Arctic sun dogwood and winter gold berry will also attract birds throughout the season.

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Road work, substitute bus service for trains this weekend

Substitute buses will operate on the Danbury Branch of Metro North from Friday night through Sunday.  Buses will be used between Danbury and South Norwalk for select trains tomorrow night, and all day Saturday and Sunday.  The service change is needed to allow replacement of the track crossing on Science Road in Norwalk.  Buses will operate approximately up to 20 minutes earlier than scheduled trains.

 

After being called off last weekend, the current forecast looks like it will be favorable for this weekend to hold the 2nd in a series of Route 25 closures in Monroe. Part of 25 will be closed starting at 8 pm on Friday through Monday at 5 am. The closure is needed to the remove the old bridge over the reservoir area.  All commercial vehicles are expected to use Route 111 to 34 back to 25.

 

The state Department of Transportation has scheduled a milling and paving project in Bridgewater, starting today.  A more than 3-a-and-a-half mile stretch of Route 133 will be milled and resurfaced.  The work is scheduled to last until October 3rd.  Motorists can expect lane closures between 7am and 4pm on Route 133 between Wewaka Brook Road and Route 67. Traffic control personnel and signing patterns will be out through the work zone.  Work will only be done on weekdays.  Motorists are advised to maintain a safe speed when driving in this vicinity.

 

A culvert pipe under the roadway in Easton is being replaced today.  Morehouse Road between Delaware and Beers roads will be closed to make the repair. Only local traffic will be allowed to access their homes.  A detour follows Beers Road from Morehouse to Sport Hill Road, onto Delaware and back to Morehouse.

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New Fairfield prepares for Haunting at the Hollow

The New Fairfield Recreation Department is again working with the Lions Club to host Haunting at the Hollow on weekends in October.  They are looking for volunteers before that though to help build the Haunted House and decorating the houses.  The town is also calling on volunteers to be "ghouls" to participate in the event, volunteers to do ticket sales at the event and park cars.  The Haunting at the Hollow is being held on October 13, 19, 20, 26 and 27.  Those interested in volunteering should contact the Recreation Office at 203-312-5633.

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Danbury area lawmakers host diaper drive

Hopeline of Danbury has partnered with state lawmakers representing Danbury, Bethel and Redding to host a month-long diaper drive to help in-need families in our area. Residents can donate opened or unopened packages at one of five locations.  The collection will take place through October 11th.  The drop off sites are at Bethel town hall and library, Danbury City Hall, Redding Town hall and the Mark Twain Library.

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Bethel promotes National Preparedness Month

Bethel Emergency Management department is marking the second week of National Preparedness Month with information about Life Saving Skills to keep safe and recover from disasters.  The department says the average cost of renters insurance is $187 per year in the U.S. and a good investment in protecting belongings from a fire or other disaster.  They also promoted a FEMA link to information to mitigate a home against flood damage.

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Lamont, Stefanowski clash on plans for Connecticut economy 

The two major party candidates for Connecticut governor are clashing over who is the better businessman to right the state's economy and reduce massive budget deficits. Democrat Ned Lamont and Republican Bob Stefanowski met Wednesday night in their first debate of the campaign. 

At several times Lamont linked Stefanowski to President Donald Trump. Stefanowski, in turn, took every opportunity to paint Lamont as a “clone” of the unpopular Governor Dannel Malloy, a Democrat who is not seeking re-election for a third term.

Right at the top, the candidates were asked how their tax cut plans would actually work.  Neither addressed the question directly.  The candidates were then asked about honoring the SEBAC, state employee union, agreement.  Both blamed previous administrations for causing an untenable situation.  Trying to get back to the first question, they were asked about specific budget cuts to pay for tax cuts.  Stefanowski said he could easily find 5% of the budget that's waste, fraud and abuse.  He said he would adopt zero-base budgeting.  Lamont said Stefanowski gave a political answer and noted that UBS, where his opponent worked, got a bail out because of financial issues.

They were next asked about tolls and cutting the gas tax. Stefanowski was firmly against tolling.  Lamont said he would toll trucks and put the money in a lockbox.  Stefanowski fired back that the lockbox idea won't work and that voters can't trust Lamont to do what he says he'll do.  The pair also differed on Governor Malloy's signature legislation, the Second Chance Program.  Lamont noted that crime rates in Connecticut are at all time lows.  Stefanowski said there is too much recidivism.  As for legalizing recreational marijuana, Lamont said he would be ok with it.  Stefanowski said he was fine with medicinal marijuana but wanted to see more data about recreational pot.

About half way through the debate, things reached a boiling point.  Lamont said the buildings formerly housing two companies where Stefanowski worked are sitting empty.  Stefanowski fired back that Lamont laid off 70% of his workforce and gave himself a $500,000 bonus, which Lamont denied.

On immigration, Lamont said he is against separating kids from their parents and wants Dreamers to be able to become citizens.  Stefanowski said he opposed sanctuary cities and was critical of Lamont for focusing on the border and "trying to distract...on issues out of the state's control."

A question about the opioid epidemic was posed.  Lamont said he wants to centralize responsibility with a drug czar.  He also called for navigators and more funding for mental health and support services.  Stefanowski knocked Lamont for creating more government as a solution to the crisis.  He called for a collaborative solution by working with the insurance companies, pharmaceutical industry and doctors.  Stefanowski called for funding, education and more jail time for dealers.

After talking about Governor Malloy in nearly every answer, Stefanowski appeared to make a slip in his closing remarks.  Stefanowski asked the audience if anyone really believed that a Malloy administration wouldn't raise taxes, rather than saying a Lamont administration.  

With just a minute of time left over, each candidate was asked what they would sing if they were to do karaoke.  Lamont said something by Bob Marley while Stefanowski said he would sing Happy Birthday.

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1,300 warning letters sent to retailers for selling e-cig products to minors

U.S. health officials say teenage use of e-cigarette has reached ``epidemic'' levels and are calling on the industry to address the problem or risk having their flavored products pulled off the market.  

 

The Food and Drug Administration sent out 1,300 warning letters and fines to retailers, including more than four dozen in Connecticut, about illegally selling e-cigarette products to minors during a nationwide undercover operation.  Among the 54 retailers in Connecticut to receive a letter were the Shell Station Main Street North in Southbury, Mobil Mart on Grassy Plain Street in Bethel, Newtown Mobil on Church Street and the North Street Shell in Danbury.

 

Since 2017, FDA officials have discussed e-cigarettes as a potential tool to ween adult smokers off cigarettes.

But FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb says the agency did not predict an ``epidemic of addiction'' among youth, mainly driven by flavored products.

Gottlieb says the five largest e-cigarette manufacturers will have 60 days to produce plans to immediately reverse underage use of their products.

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More car break-ins investigated in Ridgefield

Two car break ins in Ridgefield are under investigation.  Police say the incidents happened in the parking lot of East Ridge Middle School, during a sporting event.  Unlike the rash of break ins around the Greater Danbury area in the overnight hours, these happened Sunday, between 11:30am and 1:30pm.  The vehicles were unlocked.  Cash and credit cards were reportedly stolen.  Police are reminding residents to lock cars, remove valuables, and not leave keys inside the car.

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New Milford Board of Finance approves Library renovation funding proposal

The New Milford Board of Finance has approved up to $6.5 million  for the library renovation proposal.  The project could be included on the November ballot.  The New Milford Town Council could be called into session next week to move the item to a referendum, with a special meeting on Wednesday for informational purposes.  New Milford library has not been renovated since the 1970s.  The overall renovation proposal is estimated at $8.5 million.  The difference could come from a state grant, library trustees and the Waste Management Fund.  The proposal to add 10,000 square feet of usable space features another story built on top of the addition.  The library would also be made more accessible.

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Danbury restaurant health grades now posted on City website

Restaurant health inspections in Danbury are now available online.  The Health and Human Services Department website was overhauled this summer and now shows monthly reports, dating back to January of last year.  Not all restaurants are inspected every month.

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Capital items approved in Bethel

Bethel officials recently signed off on sending capital expenses to the Board of Finance for approval.  The Finance Board did not approval all of the requested allocation.  First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker asked for $220,000 to replace the highway department garage roof because it was put off for several years.  The other 6 items were approved.  Among them was funding for structural repairs to the sand shed, a generator for the emergency communications tower, pressure washing and painting of municipal buildings and siding replacement.  The Board of Finance also approved a slightly lower request for a needs assessment as part of the Master Plan.  Knickerbocker pulled one item from the request before sending it to the Board of Finance.  Funding for Codfish Hill culvert replacement was pushed off to the next year because the design phase wouldn't leave time for the work to get done.  The project also still needs permitting from the state Department of Natural Resources.

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Bridgewater First Selectman to receive environmental stewardship award

Bridgewater First Selectman Curtis Read will be honored at an event being held later this month by South Farms and Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition.  Read will be presented with The Dr. Marc J. Taylor Environmental Stewardship Award for his contributions to the environment. 

 

He served 20 years as chairman of the Board of Directors of the Northwest Conservation District, which supports environmental best management practices within 34 communities throughout Northwest Connecticut. Curtis also served as president of the Connecticut Association of Conservation Districts for two terms where he spearheaded the successful reorganization of eight county districts and in doing so provided for enhanced technical services in environmental protection matters such as soil erosion. 

 

The Blue Bash - Celebration of Our Rivers on Sunday is from 3pm to 6pm at South Farms on Higbie Road in Morris.

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Easton firefighters place 343 flags on green to honor 9/11 deaths

The Easton Volunteer Fire Department remembered all that were lost on 9-11.  Each year the firefighters place 343 flags on the Easton green to honor the firefighters that gave so much that day, and the Hanson family.  Peter and Sue Hanson and their daughter Christine were on the hijacked plane from Boston that hit the south tower.  The 2-year-old girl was the youngest victim of the attacks.

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Candlewood Lake Authority reschedules annual spring Clean Up event

Due to the May storms, the Candlewood Lake Authority postponed their annual spring clean up, but it has been rescheduled for next month.  The group is looking for volunteers to help clean the shoreline of trash and debris that has been accumulating during the busy 2018 season.  Boat captains are also needed for the October 6th clean up.  Volunteers will receive a t-shirt, hat and lunch  Registration is required.

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Women's Center opens registration for SafeWalk event

The Women’s Center will hold its 12th annual SafeWalk on September 30th at the mall beginning at 8:30am. SafeWalk is aimed at uniting the community to end domestic violence and raise crucial funds to support the organization's free programs and services. Teams must register for the event.  The Women’s Center provides free and confidential services to prevent or lessen the trauma associated with domestic violence, sexual assault and other major life transitions to thousands of women, children and men annually.

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Steel tariffs making Danbury's proposed waste water treatment plant upgrades more costly

Danbury's proposed $102 million Waste Water Treatment Plant upgrade and renovation has been made more costly by steel tariffs, according to Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola.  He says anyone looking to do large construction projects in Connecticut is finding an unstable bidding environment. 

 

He noted that there are a number of factors making estimating costs difficult.  The price of steel is one of those factors.  Iadarola says tariffs and the threat of tariffs have made the price go through the roof, with the full financial impact estimated at 10- to 15-percent. 

 

13 other municipalities are facing the same state mandate for meeting environmental regulations, and have the same deadline.  Iadarola says that means contractors can chose which project to take on and that puts Danbury in the worst condition as a public entity bidding out a project. 

 

Danbury residents will decide on bonding in November.  Sewer users will be responsible for repayment, with some state grant funding available.

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Chairman of gubernatorial campaign charged with larceny

Kyle Lyddy, the chairman of independent gubernatorial candidate Oz Griebel's campaign, has been arrested on a larceny charge.

Norwalk police say Lyddy, 31, of Danbury, was charged after a monthlong investigation with misappropriating $500,000 from the company where he worked.  Lyddy worked for Match Marketing Group.  He was released Tuesday after posting bond and is due in Court on the 19th.

Chris Cooper, a spokesman for the Griebel campaign, said Lyddy resigned on Monday. 

Lyddy had served until April as the head of the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission, which is responsible for creating a memorial for the 26 students and educators killed on 12-14.  He did not have access to donations set aside for the project in the role of chairman.  There is no alleged wrongdoing with his role on the town board.

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Pedestrian struck by car in Danbury dies of injuries

The pedestrian struck by a car in Danbury last week has died from injuries sustained in the crash.  31-year old Nielson Rivas-Garcia died as a result of complications from traumatic head injuries, according to the state Medical Examiners office.  The Danbury man was crossing North Street by the exit 6 on ramp when he was hit by 56-year old Ronald Fields.  The accident happened around 8pm, in the rain and there was no crosswalk in the area.  No charges have been filed and the accident remains under investigation.

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New Fairfield Cemetery secures donation for storm damage repair, clean up

The New Fairfield Cemetery Association has raised about half of the money needed for storm clean up at the historic cemetery.  The New Fairfield Community Thrift Shop donated $5,000, with the estimate for clean up at $14,000.  The cemetery across from Town Hall sustained extensive damage from the May macroburst.  Three large spruce trees were uprooted, a large tree was broken and the tops of two other trees were sheared off.  Multiple headstones were damaged.  The markers date back to the mid-1700s.

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New Milford officials approve full allocation for Candlewood Lake Authority

The New Milford Town Council has approved the full funding allocation for the Candlewood Lake Authority.  Less money than requested was allocated in the spring.  The five towns surrounding Candlewood contributes equally to the Lake Authority's budget.  If three or more towns reduce their portion, the others can as well.  Earlier this year, New Milford and Sherman contributed less than requested, but the other towns approved the full amount and now they must make up the difference.  New Milford had paid $70,000, about $9,900 less than requested.  Sherman allocated last year's contribution, which was just shy of the increase.

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Bethel High School JROTC present colors at state 9/11 ceremony

Memorial services were held across the Greater Danbury area yesterday to mark the 17th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.  At the state's ceremony by Connecticut's official monument to the victims, the Bethel High School Junior ROTC presented the colors. Governor Malloy said the anniversary is a day to ``renew our commitment to the freedoms, strength, and moral integrity that make our country great.'' The names of the 161 victims with ties to Connecticut were read aloud.  The state's official memorial to the victims is located on a peninsula at  Sherwood Island State Park in Westport, a staging area for Connecticut’s relief efforts to New York City.

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Murphy discusses tariff impact on Ridgefield business

The issue of tariffs were discussed in Ridgefield this afternoon by Senator Chris Murphy.  He visited Ridgefield Supply Company to meet with employees of the small, woman-owned lumber company.  Murphy heard how a recent trade dispute between the Trump administration and Canada is affecting their business.  If unresolved, he says the resulting tariff on lumber is expected to increase costs of homes in Connecticut by $8,000.

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Brookfield firefighters remember paramedic killed on 9/11

Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company is remembering those lost on 9/11.  The date of the 2001 terrorist attack is printed on the oval window displayed above the rear door on every Apparatus.  The firefighters also made special note of Fireman Christopher Blackwell, Rescue 3 FDNY, who was also employed part time as a Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company Paramedic.  His last shift in Brookfield was on the Friday night before the attacks.

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Ridgefield Board of Ed hires more elementary teachers

The Ridgefield Board of Education has approved hiring three new teachers for the school year.  A kindergarten teacher at Barlow Mountain, a second grade teacher for Veterans Park and a special education teacher at Scotts Ridge Middle School were needed after enrollment was higher than projected.  Enrollment is down across the elementary level, but up at those two particular schools.  A teacher was moved into the first grade role to accommodate the added students, creating the 2nd grade teaching vacancy.

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Milfoil levels down in Taunton Lake in Newtown

Invasive Eurasian Water Milfoil levels in Taunton Lake in Newtown are down significantly.  The Newtown Bee reports that an August 23 survey of the lake’s shallow-water perimeter is down by 75 to 80 percent.  Sterile grass carp were added to the lake in recent years to feed on the invasive weeds.  Newtown Planning Director George Benson oversees a milfoil control project at Ball Pond in New Fairfield, where grass carp are also stocked.  Milfoil, which can pose a danger to swimmers and boaters by getting tangled on limbs, propellors and fishing tackle, was first found in Taunton Lake in 2007. Taunton Lake has only limited public access.

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Brookfield Youth Commission continues to seek volunteers

The Brookfield Board of Selectmen continues to look for volunteers to restart the Youth Commission.  Five adults would need to be appointed to four-year terms. Three volunteers have stepped up.  The Commission would also have five non-voting student members.   Other municipal groups are meeting some of the goals of the Commission, like planning youth activities. Selectman Sue Slater suggested members of Brookfield Cares could volunteer for the Commission since their group is one of those filling in the gaps. 

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Greater Danbury area towns host 9/11 remembrance ceremonies

The 17th anniversary 9/11 is being marked in New Milford with a morning ceremony at Patriot's Way Plaza.  Residents are gathering around the 9/11 Monument at 8am. The service will commence at 8:46am. 

 

Danbury's annual Remembrance Ceremony takes place this evening.  The short service will be held at 5pm inside at the Danbury War Memorial.  Traditionally the event is held at Elmwood Park, the site of the City's 9/11 monument, but there is a threat of rain.  The twelve-foot tower of glass is mounted on a pentagon of Connecticut granite.  All Connecticut victims’ names of the tragedy are etched into one panel of the tower. Danbury residents’ names are highlighted at eye-level. The glass tower is lighted from dusk to dawn.

 

Bethel Fire Department and the town of Bethel are hosting a memorial service at 6:30pm at Bethel Town Hall on Tuesday.

 

Ridgefield is hosting a memorial ceremony tonight to remember and honor those who were lost.  The service will take place at 6:30pm  by the September 11 Memorial Monument on Danbury Road.  A 10-foot steel beam from the Twin Towers stands atop a pentagon-shaped base that reads, “Dedicated to those who fell and those who carry on. May we never forget.”  The rusted and jagged steel beam from the World Trade Center was transformed into a work of art by sculptor Chris Curnan, and dedicated in 2011.  Eight people with ties to Ridgefield died on 9/11.

 

U.S. and state flags in Connecticut have been directed to fly at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Tuesday.  Governor Malloy said the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge in New Haven also will be illuminated in red, white, and blue lights Tuesday evening in recognition of the anniversary.  Beacons that can project light nearly six miles into the night sky will be lit both nights. 

 

There are 161 victims with ties to Connecticut who were killed in the September 11, 2001 attacks.

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Truck vs. utility pole crashed closed Rt. 7 in Wilton for hours

A truck hauling construction equipment on a trailer crashed into a utility pole in Wilton yesterday afternoon, closing the road for nearly 10 hours.  The accident on Danbury Road knocked wires onto the street around 11am, closing it between Olmstead Hill Road and Route 107.  Minor injuries were reported.  Eversource crews were called to the scene and determined that a new pole would have to be put up.  An hour after the accident, some of the involved wires were reportedly still live.  The road reopened shortly before 9pm.

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New Milford manufacturer highlighted by Sen. Murphy

A New Milford company was highlighted yesterday by Senator Chris Murphy as part of his ongoing Monday Manufacturer program.  Bearings manufacturer Ball & Roller Bearing has been in Connecticut for over 110 years.  The veteran-owned small business works out of a 7,000 square foot facility in New Milford and employs 9 people.  They manufacture products that serve  industries ranging from machine tool manufacturers and mining and oil production to agriculture products and aerospace and defense industries. 4,600 manufacturers account for 10% of the state’s jobs and 87% of the state’s total exports. In order to grow manufacturing jobs in Connecticut, Murphy has introduced two pieces of legislation that aim to strengthen existing standards and prioritize the purchase of American-made goods.

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Brookfield pushes FEMA to release approved reimbursement funding

Now that FEMA has agreed to reimburse some municipal costs for response to the May 15th macroburst, Brookfield officials are calling for quick action to release that money. First Selectman Steve Dunn says they want to know how much the town will get so they can move forward.  He's not sure if or how the appeal of denials for individual assistance and for Litchfield County towns will affect the timing. 

 

Brookfield's preliminary damage assessment was $4.7 million.  About $3.5 million would qualify for FEMA reimbursement. 

 

While New Milford didn't have the level of damage that Brookfield did, the town was impacted. Dunn says there is no county form of government or ways for counties to respond to emergencies, it's just lines on a map.  He notes that the Western Connecticut Council of Governments, a regional planning agency spanning from Sherman to Stamford, isn't recognized as the governmental agency of Fairfield County.  WestCOG was recently approved for non-profit status so it could apply for federal funding. 

 

Dunn says FEMA hasn't been responsive to calls about getting the public assistance money into town accounts.

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Bethel officials looking into cost overruns on police station project

Bethel officials are trying to get to the bottom of cost overruns on the police station construction project.  There were a couple of change orders, some of which are still waiting for approval or denial.  Public Site and Building committee Vice Chairman Nancy Ryan said getting to end of any project, they start finding things that may have been overlooked or have to changed. 

 

A few examples are elevator branch circuitry, a possible drainage issue at the front of the building. 

 

A two-part problem is in the server room.  A less expensive chemical fire suppressant option was looked at, but the code calls for the more expensive agent.  The volume of the room was also increased because the ceiling was raised from the designed 8 feet, to a 9.5 foot ceiling. 

 

First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker questioned if there were things the architect should have reasonably planned for.  He gave the example of the elevator, one of the main reasons for the delay.  Knickerbocker wanted to know why the elevator is being carried in piece by piece and assembled, rather than having it installed before the building was nearly finished.  He wondered whether that was a design or construction sequencing error.  If the material wasn't ordered in time, Knickerbocker called that an error costing the town more.

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Hawleyville firefighters show off new truck during Labor Day parade

Those that attended Newtown's Labor Day Parade may have noticed a new addition to Hawleyville Volunteer Fire Company's fleet.  The Quint 330 is a cruicial addition as a multi-purpose apparatus.  It can function as a ladder truck or pumper truck and has water storage, ground ladders, and fire hoses.  Hawleyville officials say the 75-foot-long telescoping power ladder is needed due to significant growth of multistory condos, medical office buildings and daycare center.  The Newtown Bee reports that Hawleyville’s 2003 quint truck is owned by the fire company.  It was purchased for $350,000 from the Town of Monroe, used by the Monroe Volunteer Fire Department.

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Danbury firefighters, police recognized ahead of 9/11 anniversary

The Friends of Local Heroes group hosted a First Responder Luncheon at Danbury Fire Headquarters on Friday.  The volunteers joined together after 9/11 to pay it forward with an annual lunch for all Danbury first responders. Firefighters, Police and Hospital EMS members attended the annual event.  On Saturday, St. Joseph Parish on Main Street held their annual a "Blue Mass" for First Responders commemorating the 17th anniversary of 9/11.

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New Milford plants tree on green in honor of WWII soldier

The Town of New Milford has honored a resident who died in 1945 while fighting near Okinawa.  A tree was planted on the Green this weekend in honor of Lt. Robert Peagler.  His company’s machine gun jammed and 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, an honor second only to that of Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award.  Mayor Pete Bass says Steve Looney donated the tree.  Emmonds Tree acquired the American Beech and planted it on the Green.

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Vietnam Vets honored by Congresswoman Esty

Local Vietnam Veterans have been presented with an an official 50th Anniversary Lapel Pin from the Department Of Defense.  5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty and State Representative Brian Ohler, who is a veteran, presented the pins Saturday in Torrington.  Ohler says many of the local heroes are still uneasy about their service and the experiences they faced when they came home.  He says the debt of gratitude and "welcome home" are long overdue.  Pins are still available for veterans who served on active duty between November 1955 and May 1975, regardless of location.

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Danbury Zoners clear way for Women's Center transitional housing proposal

The Danbury Zoning Commission has signed off on a text amendment allowing transitional housing as a special exception use in a specific zone .  Planning Director Sharon Calitro wrote to the Planning and Zoning Commissions noting that the proposed use is similar to others existing in the district including hotels, continuing care facilities and daycare facilities. 

 

If a use is not specifically listed, it's not allowed under city ordinances.

 

Danbury was previously awarded a $1.3 million state grant to demolish and remediate the former Mallory Hat Factory on Rose Hill Avenue, paving the way for a transitional housing facility.

 

The Women's Center is seeking to build a facility that provides temporary lodging for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.  Preliminary plans call for private rooms, with bathrooms, for those seeking refuge.  There would be congregate meal service, counseling and support services for temporary occupants to meet short and long term needs.  Transitional housing would not considered a shelter for the homeless, which doesn't require private rooms or counseling.

 

City officials are also requiring that any project seeking the special exception as transitional housing meet seven additional regulations.  They are that the facility be operated by a non-profit, exist on a lot at least 4 acres in size, be accessible from an arterial street, have  connection to municipal sewer, have connection to municipal water, meet additional landscaping requirements, and have no more than 20 beds.  The bed maximum is the same for a shelter.

 

Mayor Mark Boughton believes a viaduct under the property is near 100 years old.  He says no business is likely to be interested in the land because they wouldn't be able to build over that structure. The viaduct limits the build-ability to about 2.5 acres. Danbury issued several requests for proposals from businesses over the years, but there weren't any takers.

 

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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Two vehicles stolen in Newtown, one recovered in Hartford

Two vehicles were reported stolen in Newtown.  Police say both cars had the keys left in them on Friday.  One vehicle was stolen from Currituck Road and the other one was stolen from Old Bethel Road.  One has already been recovered, abandoned in Hartford.  Newtown Police were actively searching for the second vehicle, also in Hartford.  Residents are being reminded to lock unoccupied vehicles and not leave them running, even for a minute.

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Putnam County Sheriff's Department gets grant for Alzheimer's program

The Putnam County Sheriff's Department has been awarded a grant from the Alzheimer's Foundation of America to help protect residents with Alzheimer's Disease.  The Department's Project Lifesaver program uses technology and training to help combat wandering, a common and dangerous behavior among individuals with the disease. In the event that someone with Alzheimer’s goes missing, the technology and training greatly enhances the Department’s ability to quickly locate the person and return them to safety. The $5,000 grant will help expand the program and serve more families.

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Loss of wind speed could be cause of blue-green algae bloom increases on Candlewood Lake

A recent paper examines the influence of climate change on Candlewood Lake.  The researchers found strong correlations between decreasing lake bottom temperatures, stronger resistance to mixing, and declining average spring and summer wind speed.  

 

The loss of wind has likely contributed to increased frequency of blue-green algae blooms. 

 

The research paper was published in Geo: Geography and Environment, an international, open access journal of the Royal Geographic Society.  Historically, algae blooms were considered the result of excessive nutrients, like phosphorus or nitrogen in fertilizers, getting into the water and increasing algae growth. But last year, an assessment of long-term trends for management of Candlewood Lake found that phosphorus levels have not increased since the mid-1980s.

 

Aquatic Ecosystem Research partner Larry Marsicano, the former Executive Director of the Candlewood Lake Authority, and two others used a 31-year database for the lake to compare summer stratification patterns with changes in climate variables. Blue-green algae can thrive in warmer temperatures and climate can have an effect on how deeper lakes stratify, or separate into distinct layers, in the summer based on water temperature and density gradients.

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Suspect fleeing traffic stop prompted lock down at Danbury school Friday

A suspect wanted for stealing a car slipped police in Danbury on Friday.  Someone who spotted their stolen car being driven around downtown Danbury Friday afternoon alerted a nearby police officer.  Police pulled the car over, but the driver fled on foot.  After hiding behind the War Memorial, he ran toward the area of South Street School, prompting a lockdown.  K9 units were called to help in the search after the suspect evaded pursuing officers.  State Police K9 Texas tracked the man to the area of Liberty Street, but lost the scent.  No further update was immediately available.

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Newtown Police adopt standards for bodycam use

The Newtown Police Commission has signed off on guidelines for the use of body-worn cameras.  Officers will soon have the  surveillance device and training will be held.  A 9-page policy document is based on a model policy from the state’s Police Officer Standards and Training Council.   Bodycams and related computer equipment, delivered this summer, will bolster dashcams already in use.  A state grant of more than $69,000 will fully reimburse Newtown for the cost.   The recorded material would be used by police in their investigations and could be introduced as evidence in court.  Freedom of Information requests for the digital files will be processed by the police chief’s office.

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Anti-bullying program presentation at Brookfield High School Tuesday

A program named for a student killed at Columbine High School will be in place in Brookfield.  High School students will see a presentation tomorrow on Rachel’s Challenge, aimed at combating bullying and violence.  Parents and the public are invited to the high school auditorium at 7pm for a presentation, recommended for seventh-graders and older.  The program inspires students to act with respect, kindness and compassion.  Rachel Joy Scott's father Darrell, started the program based on her writings.  According to the organization, this program has prevented at least eight school shootings and more than 500 suicides.

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New Fairfield schools paraprofessionals get new contract

A pay increase has been approved by the New Fairfield Board of Education for paraprofessionals.  Their union recently ratified the contract after a more than year-long mediation process for negotiations.  An analysis found that the workers were paid less than the state average, and ranked at the bottom in the Greater Danbury area.  The union argued that some towns offered starting salaries higher than the top paid New Fairfield employee.  Paraprofessionals will get an 11 percent increase by July, with retroactive pay to last July when the old contract expired.  The starting salary is $12.23. 

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CT United Ride 9/11 tribute takes place Sunday

The Connecticut United Ride to support first responders and their families from 9/11 takes place on Sunday.  The largest 9/11 tribute in Connecticut is the largest fund raiser for both fire and law enforcementl. The rain or shine 10-town 60-mile motorcade will move through Fairfield County, including Wilton, Redding, Bethel,Newtown, and Monroe.  The route winds along Route 7 in Wilton, to Route 107, to Route 58 in Redding, to Route 302 in Bethel, to Route 25 through Newtown and Monroe. 

 

Drivers are asked for patience as the motorcade goes along the route.  Motorcyclists are not allowed tojoin in as the motorcade passes. Escort police will bestrictly enforcing this.  1,000 or more motorcycles are expected.  

 

A tribute ceremony in Norwalk will kick off the event and feature remarks from 4th District Congressman Jim Himes, U.S. SenatorsRichard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, 9/11 Survivor Dan Geraghty, Gold Star parents, and other state of local officials. 

 

This year’s ride is dedicated to CT State Trooper FirstClass Walter Greene who led the event for years and volunteered at Ground Zero.  He recently passed away from 9/11 illness complications. 

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New Fairfield to host 9/11 ceremony Sunday

The Town of New Fairfield will hold a rememberance ceremony on Sunday.  The service on Sunday at Veterans Memorial Park will honor those lost on September 11.  The ceremony is scheduled for 6:30pm.   

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Pedestrian struck by car and injured in Danbury

A pedestrian was struck by a car in Danbury yesterday and injured.  Police responded to North Street shortly after 8:30pm on a report of an accident near the exit 6 highway on-ramp.  The pedestrian, 31-year-old Nielson Rivas-Garcia of Danbury was walking across the street when he was struck by a car driven by 56-year-old Ronald Fields of Danbury.  Rivas-Garcia was treated at the scene and transported to the hospital for further medical attention for injuries sustained in the collision.  The accident remains under investigation.

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State Police Troopers are investigating possible narcotics incident at Newtown prison

State Police Troopers are investigating a possible narcotics incident at Garner Correctional Institution in Newtown.  Police went to the state's high security prison last Tuesday afternoon and found a small glassine bag that contained a white powdery substance, hidden inside a prisoner’s shoe.  The substance will be tested and if it's determined that it's an illicit drug, the incident could result in an arrest.

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K9 tracks man who fled from NY domestic violence incident

A man who fled the scene of a violent domestic incident in Carmel early Wednesday morning was tracked down by Putnam County Sheriff K9 Lex.  The K9 unit used a piece of the man's clothing as a “scent article” for Lex, who was able to locate a trail left by the man into a wooded area where he was found lying in a tall grassy area.  The man was turned over to the Carmel Police Department.  No other details were immediately available.

 

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SCOTTY Fund picnic this weekend in Bethel

The SCOTTY Fund Bethel Town Picnic will be held on Saturday from 11am to 6pm on the Bethel Municipal Center front lawn. Admission is $7 and includes all amusements, games, pony rides, rides, contests and entertainment.  Food, drinks and a bake sale are being joined by Food Trucks for the first time.  The SCOTTY Fund is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to providing financial and family support to children with life threatening or critical illness in Bethel and surrounding areas.  Grant money is given to children for medical expenses, transportation and other related costs.  The organization also provides family support including nightly meals, child care and errand running.

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2nd Company Governor's Horse Guard holds open house

Friends of the Second Company Governor's Horse Guard is hosting an Open House in Newtown tomorrow.  Those in attendance will get to meet a Cavalry Horse up close and personal, learn the history of the group, talk with troop members about volunteer opportunities and see riding demonstrations .  There will also be a special K9 demonstration, pony rides and other activities.  Admission is  free 11am to 3pm.

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Brookfield firefighters host open house 'Kids Day' Sunday

The Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company will hold its annual open house event “Kids Day” Sunday, from 11am to 3pm.  Though the event is called Kids Day, the fire company says it is anything but just for kids. They offer fire prevention and safety for the whole community during the event.  The volunteers provide demonstrations and practice for getting out alive through the use of a fire safety trailer, stop, drop and roll, and dialing 911 in the event of an emergency. They also team with outside agencies, including the Brookfield Police Department, to speak with residents about car seat safety and the importance of seatbelts.  The local Rotary Club will photograph children for the Amber Alert program.

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Local lawmaker introduces bill to bolster students safety

4th District Congressman Jim Himes has introduced the ‘Safe to Tell Act of 2018’. The legislation, if enacted, will provide federal grants to states that choose to establish and maintain an anonymous, 24/7 monitored venue to alert law enforcement about potential threats of violence at schools. 

 

The legislation would require those states seeking a grant to present a framework in which parents, students, teachers, and school administrators can effectively and efficiently share information regarding potential threats with law enforcement and school safety officials.  The measure is based on Colorado's ‘Safe2Tell’ program, pioneered after the shootings at Columbine High School in 1999. 

 

The proposal calls for $25 million for each fiscal year from through 2023. It also provides states with the autonomy to decide how to best implement the program in their jurisdictions, while setting standards and requirements. Some of these include establishing guidelines and transmitting methods of anonymous reports, proper channel routing for prompt and effective local law enforcement responses and built-in accountability standards, among others. 

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Drivers cautioned to expect delays, closures for Ridgefield Police Chief funeral service

The funeral service for Ridgefield Police Chief John Roche will be held this morning and drivers are cautioned to expect road closures and delays. 

 

The service is at 10:15 at St. Mary’s Church.  Catoonah Street will be closed between the Post Office and High Ridge Avenue starting at 9:30 and will reopen around 11:30.

 

Following the service the procession will travel south on High Ridge Avenue to King Lane, Main Street, Branchville Road to East Ridge Road. The funeral procession will stop in front of Police Headquarters and continue to Governor Street, Main Street, North Salem Road, North Street and ending at St. Mary’s Cemetery.

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NY man charged after firing weapon in residential neighborhood

A New York man has been arrested after State Police investigated reports of shots fired.  Troopers responded to Bloomer Road in the town of Southeast on Saturday afternoon.  38-year old Gueorgui Stoytchev allegedly discharged a legally owned gun across Route 6, within 500 feet of neighboring houses. 

 

He was issued an appearance ticket and then released.  Later in the evening, Troopers returned to drop off paperwork and saw an illegally possessed Phoenix Arms .25 caliber handgun, and a small amount of marijuana. 

 

The Southeast man was charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon, Criminal Possession of a Firearm, Reckless Endangerment, two counts of Environmental Conservation Law Illegal Discharge of a Firearm, and Unlawful Possession of Marijuana.  Stoytchev was arraigned Sunday in Brewster Court and ordered held at Putnam County Jail for an appearance in Southeast Court Thursday morning.

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Work continues on Bethel police station, beyond contract deadline

Bethel officials took a tour of the new police station, which is almost finished being constructed.  The Public Site and Building Committee noted that the contract called for completion by August 31st, so the town will not have to cover the delay. 

 

Another two to three weeks is needed on the $14.4 million project.  The dispatch center remains unfinished.  Residents approved $13.5  million, but HVAC and plumbing estimates were below actual costs. 

 

The two-story building will double the size of the existing police station.  An open house will be held after police move into the facility.  Officers and staff will need to be trained on various components of the changes. 

 

A firing range was built, but residents did not approve money for specialized equipment and that has to be done before it can be used.  Building committee Vice Chairman Nancy Ryan told Selectman Paul Szatkowski that committee worked to cut costs throughout the design and building process.

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United Way's Back-To-School Program serves 720 children

The United Way of Western Connecticut's Back-To-School Program served 720 children this year in the Danbury, New Milford and Stamford areas.  In the Greater Danbury area, 292 children were served by the program, representing an investment of $43,770 into the community. 

 

Park Avenue School hosted the United Way’s Distribution Day.  Individuals and corporations helped children from struggling families start the new school year on a positive note with a new backpack filled with school supplies, toiletry items and a gift card for clothing purchases. 

 

United Way CEO Kim Morgan says the kids enthusiasm was only matched by their parents’ relief that children will be fully prepared to start the school year with confidence.  Morgan says the Back-To-School Program alleviates a very real financial strain for struggling, hard-working families at the start of the school year, which can be an exciting, but stressful time.

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Bruce Bennett confirmed to be newest Danbury City Council member

Businessman Bruce Bennett has been confirmed to the Danbury City Council.  He was endorsed by the Danbury Republican Town Committee to fill a vacancy as an at-large member.  Bennett will replace Christine Chieffalo, who recently moved out of Danbury. 

 

Bennett served on the Southbury Planning Commission in the early 1990s. 

 

The former Danbury Titans owner and long-time car dealer turns 70 this month.  He handed the Nissan dealership operation over to his son after 30 years and then created the Federal Hockey League team to play at the Danbury Ice Arena.  The team disbanded a year ago after two seasons. 

 

Bennett says he can bring a lot to the table as an entrepreneur, who lives on the west side and invested in CityCenter.

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Southbury Police investigate construction site vandalism

Southbury Police are investigating a criminal mischief complaint that happened at the construction site at Spruce Brook Road and Route 172. Graffiti was sprayed inside the overflow culvert sometime during the Labor Day weekend.  Police believe the vandalism may have been carried out by 3 juveniles on bicycles. Anyone with information is asked to call Southbury Police at 203-264-5912. All calls will be kept confidential.

 

(Photo: Southbury PD)

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No action taken in New Fairfield on short term rental regulations

The New Fairfield Zoning Commission did not make an immediate ruling on whether regulations are needed for short term rentals like AirBnBs.  A public hearing on the matter was continued last night, with some Candlewood Isle residents speaking out.  The private community charges residents for beaches and other private amenities.  Zoning officials said while a homeowners’ association could set rules for the community, rental restrictions fall under zoning regulations.  The hearing will remain open through the Zoning Commission's October 3rd meeting.  If regulations are crafted, they will also be subject to a hearing.

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New Milford decides against angled parking spaces at Young's Field

Young's Field paving is complete in New Milford.  The parking lot by the Public Works building will be paved next.  The town is waiting on a handicap ramp to complete the work. Parking lines will be taped within the next two weeks. 

 

An assessment was done about angling the parking spots or keeping them straight.  Mayor Pete Bass says if they are angled, New Milford will lose about 20 parking spaces so it was decided to keep the line straight. 

 

There was a delaying in paving Railroad Street due to the weather, but it has been milled and is scheduled to be paved this Monday.

 

Bass has also provided an update on progress at the Still River Roundabout.  The cement and calking have been completed and tested.  The contractor will need about two days for milling and three for paving. The tentative date for this is September 24th. 

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Road closures scheduled this weekend in Monroe, Easton

The second shutdown of Route 25 in Monroe is scheduled for this weekend.  The closure is needed to the remove the old bridge over the reservoir area.  The road is slated to be closed from Friday at 8pm, reopening by Monday at 6am.  All Businesses will be open and access will be provided.  The 9-11 memorial ride will also be coming through town on Sunday and using the local detour.  All commercial vehicles are expected to use Route 111 to 34 back to 25.


A culvert pipe under the roadway in Easton needs to be repaired.  Morehouse Road between Delaware and Beers roads is closed daily from 7am to 7pm weekdays through Monday.  Only local traffic will be allowed to access their homes. The detour follows Beers Road from Morehouse to Sport Hill and continues onto Delaware Road.

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Brookfield redacts sensitive information from records posted online

Brookfield has fully redacted all sensitive information from all records posted online.  Town officials say they will continue to redact any new records that are published online.  While the original records cannot be changed, they say this redaction effort will help in assuring that sensitive information is not posted. 

 

Many documents received by the Town Clerk, dating back to the 1960’s, included Social Security numbers. These records are, by law, available to anyone and cannot be altered, remaining exactly as filed. 

 

Brookfield officials say the best way to eliminate this concern is to have the State legislature change the laws to allow Social Security numbers to be removed from the originally filed documents.

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Two Danbury-owned vehicles involved in 4-vehicle crash

There was a four-vehicle crash in Danbury yesterday morning involving two city vehicles.  As traffic slowed to a stop on Lake Avenue, the driver of a Housing Authority vehicle rear ended a Public Works truck shortly before 8am.  That caused a chain reaction accident into two cars in front of the truck.  The driver of the Housing Authority vehicle told police that he accidentally pushed the gas pedal instead of the brake.  Of the nine occupants, four were transported to the Danbury Hospital with minor injuries.  All of the injured were in the city vehicles.  No other details were immediately available.

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Southbury attorney defrauded elderly clients of $2.4 million

A Southbury attorney has pleaded guilty to defrauding elderly clients of more than $2.4 million. 

 

The U.S. Attorney's office says 77-year old Robert Barry specialized in trust and estates work and designating himself as successor trustee in the event of the client’s death or incapacity.  The Woodbury man also prepared wills for clients that named himself as executor of the client’s estate upon death. 

 

From 2008 to 2015, Barry is accused of scamming elderly victims from their accounts while the clients were alive, and stealing money after they died.  Barry created false federal estate tax returns and fraudulent statements to the victim's residual beneficiary. 

 

He will be sentenced on December 4th and faces up to 20 years in prison.

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Porch fire in Danbury quickly extinguished by Good Samaritan

There was a porch fire in Danbury yesterday afternoon.  Firefighters were called to the area of Wildman Street and Austin Street around 1pm.  They found a Good Samaritan extinguishing a small fire on the steps.  The damage was minimal. Crews overhauled the burned area for the Fire Marshals Office to investigate the cause, which is undetermined at this time. No one was home at the time of the incident and no injuries were reported on the scene.

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Danbury officials vote to send $100M bond request to residents

Danbury residents will be asked to approve more than $100 million in bonding when they go to the polls in November.  The City Council approved the ballot question at their meeting last night for upgrades and improvements to the Waste Water Treatment Plant. 

 

The requirement to comply to environmental regulations is part of the operating permit.  If the funding is rejected, Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola says the City will be found in default.  The plant must be brought into compliance by 2022. 

 

His department fought new phosphorus removal requirements for four years, as part of a coalition made up of several municipalities.  The state then approved grants for 50-percent reimbursement because of the uproar.  Iadarola says if residents don't approve the bond money, Danbury will lose that grant money. 

 

That loss would be on top of penalties, consent order work and legal fees the City will incur.  He notes it will also become an emergency situation because the plant won't be able to operate.

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Brookfield school project proposal advanced by Selectmen

The Brookfield Board of Selectmen has sent the $78.1 million Huckleberry Hill Elementary School building plan to the Municipal Building Committee.  That group will oversee the project, through the construction process.  Brookfield will hold a referendum in March for residents to vote on the proposal.  The school would house pre-k through 5th graders, leaving Center School vacant.  First Selectman Steve Dunn and Selectman Sue Slater approved the motion, but Selectman Harry Shaker abstained because he said he wanted the task force that developed the proposal to be more involved.

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Public hearing in Bethel on upgrades completed at housing complex

A public hearing will be held in Bethel tonight 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 the 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 Community Development Block Grant Program was tapped for the work.  The hearing is at 7pm at the municipal center.

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Sister lunch ladies accused of stealing money make court appearances

Two sisters accused of stealing nearly $500,000 from Connecticut schools in the past five years made brief court appearances yesterday in Norwalk.  Former cafeteria workers Joanne Pascarelli of Stratford and Marie Wilson of Wilton had their cases transferred to Stamford Superior Court.  The 61 and 67-year-olds plan to enter not guilty pleas.  The pair have been charged with larceny and defrauding a public community for the alleged theft from two New Canaan schools.  An investigation began in December when the Board of Education filed a complaint over financial discrepancies. An attorney for Wilson previously said she is innocent and is "not going to be scapegoated." Pascarelli's attorney says the “school’s loss was a result of systemic negligence” and that his client had no control over revenue.  Their next court appearances are set for Monday.

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Congressional delegation backs appeal of FEMA denial

Connecticut's five members of Congress and two Senators have sent a letter to FEMA supporting the state's appeal of the agency's refusal to provide disaster aid to individual property owners, as well as to the towns of Bridgewater, New Milford and Roxbury, for recovery from the May 15th supercell thunderstorms.  The storms included tornadoes, a waterspout, tennis ball-sized hail and a straight-line windstorm - resulting in power outages, damage to homes and personal property, and the creation of massive amounts of debris.   Individual homeowners now face costs of up to $70,000 each in debris removal and tree and structural damage.  They say scarce municipal resources were exhausted to provide emergency services and to clear debris, leading to unanticipated costs and strained budgets.

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New erosion controls in Ridgefield at construction sites

There are new rules in effect in Ridgefield for erosion and sediment control at construction sites due to an increase in storms and intensity of storms.  The Ridgefield Press reports that the Planning and Zoning Director issued the new regulations, effective this month.  Any plan with a ‘single line’ erosion control barrier will no longer be accepted by the land use office.  Multiple layers of erosion control barriers will be needed. 

 

Erosion and Sedimentation Control Plans submitted for properties that contain steep slopes, inland wetlands, watercourses, water-bodies, floodplains, aquifers, and other sensitive site features, may be required to provide additional erosion control measures.  According to a release from the department, plans shall be designed so that no silty water leaves the immediate work site, and or creates a negative impact to all wetlands, watercourses, roadways and properties. 

 

Failure to properly maintain Erosion and Sediment Controls may result in the immediate revocation of permits.

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Meetings in New Fairfield tonight on school resource officer funding, AirBnBs

There is a special town meeting in New Fairfield tonight for residents to consider funding for a school resource officer for the middle school.  It's a request for $120,000 to fund the officer for the current school year.  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. 

 

Tonight's special town meeting is scheduled for 7pm in the Community Room.

The New Fairfield Zoning Commission is continuning their public hearing tonight about issues with short term rentals like Air B n Bs.  At a previous public hearing, 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.  The hearing tonight could be followed by action by the Zoning Commission. 

 

The meeting is at 7:30 in the New Fairfield High School Library.

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Local police warn of more car break-ins, thefts

New Fairfield Police are alerting residents to several car break-ins and one car theft over the weekend.  Police say the cars involved were not locked.  Residents are reminded to not leave valuables in the car and lock vehicles when unattended.  Any suspicious activity should be reported to police.  The break ins happened in different parts of New Fairfield.  Brookfield Police also issued a reminder to residents on Labor Day to lock vehicles when unoccupied.

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Teen drowns at Lake Tonnetta beach in Southeast

A 14-year old boy drowned at Tonnetta Lake Beach in Southeast on Labor Day.  Putnam County Sheriff Robert Langley says Oscar Gonzalez had been with three of his friends when a paddleboard they were on, turned over and the teen disappeared under the water.  Deputies were called to the beach around 9pm and tried to locate the teen.  The Mahopac Falls Fire Department Dive Team recovered the Southeast boy who was transported to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.  He was about to start classes at Brewster High School.

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Still River Greenway to reopen soon, light replacements installed at Brookfield school

Recovery from the May macroburst continues in Brookfield.  Town officials expect to complete work clearing dangerous trees on the Southern end of the Still River Greenway within the next two weeks.  Until that time, visitors are asked to avoid that section. 

 

The new lights for the football field will be operational in the next few days, allowing the Brookfield Bobcats to host their home opener as scheduled.   The new lights are certified for every sport, so lacrosse, soccer and other teams will be able to play night games.  This new lighting system has four 85-foot metal poles with LED lighting, and is guaranteed for 25 years for both parts and labor.

 

The system also allows for what First Selectman Steve Dunn is calling  a "resident walk mode."  Visitors can walk down to the track and hit a button to turn on the lights at a 10% level for one hour. 

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Recovery from May storm continues in Newtown

There shouldn't have to be a reallocation from the Newtown road plan this year in response to work needing to be done after the May storms.  Some of the hills in the Lakeview Terrace neighborhood were left baron after the strong winds took down trees.  First Selectman Dan Rosenthal says there is a slope that could cause rain run off in the catch basins.  Crews have already cleaned the catch basins once and will do so again.  There also has to be some street sweeping.  Rosenthal says they're already working on other erosion controls.  Plans call for paving 1,600 feet of Lakeview Terrace before working down through the neighborhood.  But that requires drainage work, some of which Newtown will have to get easements for.  It's an older road and some people actually own under the road.

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United Way releases report about income-limited households not meeting needs

40-percent of households in Connecticut have income which falls below what is needed to pay for basic necessities of housing, food, child care, health care, technology, and transportation, according to a new report from United Ways in Connecticut.  Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed, or ALICE, households report found that 30-percent of Connecticut households have earnings above the federal poverty line but under a basic cost-of-living threshold.  The report found that it costs nearly $78,000 per year for a family of four with 1 infant and 1 toddler to pay for the basic needs in the Household Survival Budget.  In every city and town in the state, at least 10% of households are ALICE households.  The ALICE Report recommends both short-term and long-term strategies to help these families.  The Connecticut ALICE Report was funded by the 16 Connecticut United Ways.

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Danbury Police to undergo accreditation review

The Danbury Police Department’s policy and procedures for meeting state accreditation Standards will be examined on Monday.  A team of assessors from the Police Officers Standards and Training Council is coming to the City as part of a voluntary process to gain accreditation.  As part of the on-site assessment, residents can offer comments.  The assessors will review written materials; interview individuals; and visit offices and other places where compliance can be witnessed.  A committee will recommend to the POST Council if the agency is to be accredited or re-accredited. Comments can also be mailed to William Tanner, POSTC Accreditation Division at 285 Preston Ave. Meriden, Connecticut 06450, made by telephone at 203-427-2602, by fax at 203-238-6643 or by email Accreditation.Compliance@po.state.ct.us. Please enter the name of the agency in the subject line of the email.

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Bethel makes ESPN honor roll for unified sports schools

A local school district has made a list of top 30 schools from across the country for unified sports.  Bethel is the top school in Connecticut on ESPN's Honor Roll for 2018 for its Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools National Recognition Program. The aim of Unified Champion Schools is to incorporate Special Olympics sports, leadership and related activities that empower the youth to be the agents of change in their communities.

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Danbury Museum hosts cursive summer camp

The Danbury Museum & Historical Society recently held a week-long cursive instruction camp, which was featured this weekend in the Washington Post's Style section.  The Historical Society started the camp three years ago after struggling to find interns who could read old documents and records.  Executive Director Brigid Guertin says the majority of their assets are in cursive and not transcribed.  The campers, ages 6 to 14, created their own ink, used quills and other writing implements.  A Danbury teacher led the cursive instruction and had campers made up advertisements for hats.  Cursive was dropped from the Common Core in most states, including Connecticut.

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Wilton Police arrest two teens for alleged car burglaries

Wilton Police have arrested two minors for burglarizing unlocked vehicles over the weekend, and leading police on a chase.  Police received a 911 call from an Old Huckleberry Road residents around 4am Sunday, reporting that several people were entering vehicles in their driveway.  Police saw a car leaving the area and tried to pull the driver over. 

 

The vehicle sped up and led police in pursuit onto the Route 7 connector.  A registration check found that the car had been stolen out of Branford on Wednesday. 

 

Two passengers fled into a wooded area.  The 17-year old male driver and a 16 year old female rear seat passenger, both of Waterbury, were taken into custody. 

 

Wilton Police say recovered property provided evidence that the group was involved in several motor vehicle burglaries in the area.

 

The driver was released to a parent for an appearance in Waterbury, and issued a Misdemeanor Summons to appear at Norwalk Superior Court for motor vehicle charges related to the incident.  The girl was ordered held at a juvenile detention center.  Each was charged with three counts of burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary.  They were also charged with two counts of larceny and conspiracy to commit larceny, and one count of possession of less than half an ounce of marijuana.

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Bethel officials decide not to fund Highway Department Truck Wash

Bethel officials decided earlier this month to pull a funding request for a Highway Department vehicle wash.  First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says Bethel, along with 80-percent of municipalities, have been out of compliance with state environmental regulations for decades. 

 

When salt is washed off of municipal trucks in winter, the water is supposed to be captured for recycling or disposal in a certified waste management facility.  Knickerbocker says there's always been a risk of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection ordering municipalities to comply by a certain deadline, but that hasn't happened yet. 

 

Selectman Paul Szatkowski suggested they look into the area of Paul Street to see if a large scale truck wash is feasible.  Knickerbocker says the concern is that truck traffic would be routed through a residential area.

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Hearing in Brookfield on proposed changes to blight ordinance

An amended blight ordinance is being considered in Brookfield.  The change would allow demolition and include nuisance conditions.  A public hearing on the revisions has been scheduled for September 4th at 7:15pm at Brookfield Town Hall.  In meetings once a month, a committee has been working on 10 or 12 cases of significant blight.  First Selectman Steve Dunn says that's lowering the value of neighboring properties.  He notes that the process works slowly, but works well.  The town does try to work with people to clean up their yards, rather than immediately fine them.  Dunn says that has been successful in most cases, but the ordinance needs some changing to make the effort more effective.

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Ridgefield Inland Wetlands considers proposed Winter Club

The Ridgefield Inland Wetlands Board, Planning and Zoning will be holding a public hearing tonight on the proposed Ridgefield Winter Club.  The applicant will make a presentation, commission members will ask questions and then the public can comment. 

 

The meeting is scheduled for 7:30 in East Ridge Middle School’s auditorium, and must end by 10:30pm.  The deadline to make a decision is October 9th.

 

Nearly a dozen signs opposing the club have been reported stolen or vandalized in recent weeks. 

 

The proposal for an outdoor skating rink and a private club on Peaceable Street is a residential neighborhood and needs a special permit.  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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Bethel sees surge in voter registration action around Primary

With August's Primary for State and Federal Offices, voter registration in Bethel was active last month. In August Bethel's Registrars added 120 new voters, approved changes to 160 voters registration including in-town moves and party affiliation changes, and 85 voters were removed from the voter rolls due to, for example, moving out of town or death. Bethel currently has 12-thousand-277 registered voters.

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Newtown now taking applications for winter energy assistance

Newtown Social Services will begin accepting applications for next winter’s Energy Assistance Program today. The Connecticut Energy Assistance Program is designed to help offset the winter heating costs of Connecticut’s lower income households, specifically those whose income falls at or below 60 percent of the state median income.  The amount of heat assistance may not be sufficient to cover a household’s entire winter heating cost.  Homeowners and renters may apply.  Eligible households may also receive weatherization assistance to help conserve energy and lower heating bills.

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New Milford Police investigating report of stolen car

New Milford Police are investigating a report of a stolen vehicle, and now looking for a suspect.  The car was reported taken from Bostwick Place in New Milford around 5am last Wednesday.  The vehicle was later recovered in Danbury off of Nabby Road, near Stew Leonards.  Anyone with information about a man caught in surveillance footage is asked to contact New Milford Police.

 

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Brookfield selectmen to consider school building proposal

When the Brookfield Board of Selectmen meet tomorrow night, one of the items to be discussed is plans for a new Huckleberry Hill Elementary School.  The Board of Ed approved a $78.1 million plan last month, moving pre-k through 5th graders into one building.  That would open Center Elementary School for town use.  If the selectmen move the proposal to the Municipal Building Committee, residents would then need to approved the plan.  A referendum could be held in March.  Tomorrow's Board of Selectmen meeting is at 7:30pm at Brookfield Town Hall.

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Former Redding leaders urge town to take over Gilbert & Bennett site

Two former Redding selectmen want the town to take ownership of the old Gilbert and Bennett wire mill site.  A letter has been submitted to current Redding officials from Donald Takacs and Leon Karvelis.  The 50 acre property is owned by Georgetown Land Development Company, and owes Redding $3.5 million in back taxes and $2.2 million in sewer costs.  Millions of dollars is also owed to a special tax district.  Previous attempts to revitalize the property stalled and there is now a foreclosure case ongoing.  The proposed mixed use plan expires this year and cannot be extended, but can be altered.

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Fire damage at historic Bethel house too extensive to renovate, will be rebuilt

The Daniel Hickok house on Blackman Avenue in Bethel sustained heavy fire damage in 2014, and the owners are now looking to demolish the historic structure.  The Newstimes reports that the owner plans to rebuild the colonial saltbox and its side house because current conditions are a safety hazard and too costly to repair.  The original home was believed to be where Benedict Arnold and other Revolutionary War generals plotted the 1777 Battle of Ridgefield.  Shoemaker Daniel Hickok built the house in 1760 and was a general in the Revolutionary War.  The owners plan to use salvageable pieces in the rebuilt home, including saving the initials “D.H” that were carved into the wood beneath the stairs.

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Emergency road closure scheduled in New Fairfield

An emergency road closure has been scheduled in New Fairfield.  The state Department of Transportation will close Route 37 South on Thursday September 6th. 

 

Emergency road repairs are needed as the result of washout conditions threatening the road’s structure and strength.  The closure will start slightly north of the turn for Big Trail, near the Sherman town line.  Big Trail will not be blocked. 

 

The DOT says this project is critical for drivers’ safety. The repairs are slated to last at least two weeks, but could take longer. The DOT won’t know specifics until crews start excavating and discovers what type of ledge and bedrock are there. 

 

The Sherman School has been notified and is crafting a bus plan.  Postal services will use alternative routes to service Big Trail and Hardscrabble Road residents.  The Sherman Volunteer Fire Department has a plan in place to service emergencies.  Those living on Big Trail, and connecting roads, and Hardscrabble Road will not be able to travel north onto Route 37 to access Sherman.

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Several cars damaged in vehicle fire

There was a vehicle fire over the weekend at a Danbury shopping plaza. Danbury firefighters responded to Trader Joe's on Mill Plain Road Saturday afternoon.  Firefighters found a fully involved van on the side of the building. Crews stretched a line and rapidly extinguished the flames.  A few adjacent cars also sustained damage.  The Danbury Fire Marshals Office was called in to investigate the cause, which is undetermined at this time.

 

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Sandy Hook firefighters get federal grant for equipment

The Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire Department has been selected for an Assistance to Firefighters Grant.  The department will receive little more than $155,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for new self-contained breathing apparatus, portable radios and a thermal imaging camera.  Since 2001, the grant program has helped firefighters and other first responders obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources necessary for protecting the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards.  Applications are reviewed and scored by fire service personnel from throughout the nation.

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'Serving the Community' is theme of Newtown Labor Day parade

The Newtown Labor Day parade steps off at 10am.  The Grand Marshal for the 57th Annual event is Eunice Laverty, a small business owner and a retired Social Worker who supports a number of organizations and town events. 

 

This year's parade theme is “Serving the Community.” 

 

Newtown Police say parking will not be allowed along the entire Parade Route and in Line-Up areas.  There is also no parking on private or town property without written permission.  Some chairs were set up along the parade route yesterday by people staking out their positions.

 

In addition to the bands, service organization, community groups and first responders marching in the parade, there will be some state and local elected officials.  Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman and State Police Escort Vehicle, the 2nd Company Governors Horse Guard and Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy are among those joining Newtown First Selectman Dan Rosenthal.

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Danbury Library to waive late fees for children in Sept.

Danbury Library will waive outstanding fines for children 18 years old and younger as part of this National Library Card Sign-up Month.  Any child or teen who visits the library to get a new card or renew their existing card will have fines waived.  The program is being funded by the Friends of the Library group.  Library officials say this is a way for students to be use the library during the school year with a clean slate.  Collection fees and lost item charges are not covered.

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Danbury announces CDBG recipients

Danbury has applied to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the Community Development Block Grant Program.  Nearly $638,000 is available, with no local match required. 

 

A committee has submitted recommended recipients within Danbury, for projects that could be completed within the year. 

 

The biggest part of the funding, $150,000 would go to the Department of Public Works.  Another $125,000 is for Section 108 Loan Repayment and $100,000 for general administration.  Section 108 provides communities with a source of financing for economic development, housing rehabilitation, public facilities, and other physical development projects, including improvements to increase their resilience against natural disasters. 

 

Daily Bread Food Pantry and the City Department of Health and Human Services would each received more than $80,000.  Amos House is slated to get $5,500, ARC Dream Homes $30,000 and United Way of Western Connecticut about $40,000.  Interfaith AIDS and Literacy Volunteers would each get $10,000.

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Relatives of slain churchgoers to speak on forgiveness

EASTON, Conn. (AP) - A church in Connecticut is looking to learn about forgiveness from some who lost loved ones in the 2015 shooting massacre at a South Carolina church.

The Covenant Church of Easton has invited three of the victims' relatives to speak on the evening of Saturday, Sept. 8.

The Connecticut Post reports the Easton church's pastor, the Rev. Cary Slater, said the speakers "have a message for all of us" in light of their offer of forgiveness to the gunman.

Dylan Roof killed nine people at a bible study group at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

The speakers will include the Rev. Anthony Thompson, whose wife was killed; Rose Simmons, whose father was killed; and Polly Shepard, one of two survivors from that evening's study group.

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Newtown Labor Day parade will prompt road closures, parking restrictions

The Newtown Labor Day parade is being held on Monday, and steps off at 10am. 

 

The Grand Marshal for the 57th Annual event is Eunice Laverty, longtime owner of Bagel Delight.  She has opened her shop each morning, including Christmas, for 22 years to a rush of steady customers.  A retired Social Worker,  Laverty is a supporter of many organizations and town events, which fits this year's parade theme of “Serving the Community.” 

 

Newtown Police say parking will not be allowed along the entire Parade Route and in Line-Up areas. This will be strictly enforced.  There is no parking on private or town property without written permission. For spectators and participants, parking is available at: Big Y, Caraluzzi’s Market, Hawley School, and St. Rose. 

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Volunteers sought to help with New Fairfield Library book sale prep

Volunteers are needed in New Fairfield to help The Friends of the Library sort the donated children's books prior to the September Book Sale.  Donations will start September 4th in the Library Community Room.  Volunteers typically sort books in the morning, but volunteers can help anytime the library is open.  The book sale is September 22nd through 24th.

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Women's Club of Woodbury to host presentation on Abigail Adams

The Woman's Club of Woodbury will hold the first Regular Meeting of its year on September 10th at 11am at the Emergency Services Building.  The public is invited to attend a program being presented by Sheryl Faye who reenacts the lives of famous women.  Her performance will bring to life Abigail Adams, now designated as the "First Second Lady and Second First Lady of the United States."   The program is at 12:30pm.  Guests are requested to contribute $5 at the entrance to participate.

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