Local Headlines Archives for 2018-11

Cause, manner of Bethel condo fire determined

The fire at a Plumtrees Heights condo unit in Bethel on Saturday was caused by improperly disposed smoking material.  The Bethel Fire Marshal determined it to be accidental in nature. The fire started in the second floor bedroom and spread into the hall and surrounding rooms of the second floor.  The occupant suffered minor injuries while attempting to extinguish the fire.  Working smoke alarms alerted the occupant to the blaze. Fire Marshal Thomas Galliford reminded Bethel residents to check smoke alarms and have at least one detector on each level.

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Fee proposed in New Milford for failure to respond to inspection notices

The New Milford Town Council is considering a new fee for residents who ignore inspection notices.  A $200 fee is proposed on properties that force the town to go to court in order to obtain a search warrant to carry out the inspection.  Property owners get a phone call, a letter, a certified letter and then the town can file for a search warrant.  The public hearing will remain open through the next council meeting.

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Danbury Library to host craft fair ahead of tree lighting ceremony

Danbury Library will host its second annual Holiday Craft Fair tomorrow from 11am to 4pm.  There will be some hands-on demonstrations, non-profits and the Junior Department will feature a dance party. At 5pm, CityCenter Danbury will hold its annual Light-the-Lights festivities on Library Plaza, including caroling and the lighting of downtown trees.

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Friends of Putnam Park to host Winter Walk

The Friends and Neighbors of Putnam Park will host a Winter Walk this weekend.  An interpretive guide and reenactors from the Connecticut 5th Militia will lead attendees on an historical and archeological tour of the park on Saturday December 1st.  The Visitor Center opens at 10am. The Walk at 11am is free and refreshments will be served. The Walk will take place rain or shine.

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Redding Police surpass fundraising goal of 'No Shave November'

Several Redding officers participated in No Shave November to raise money for the Connecticut Cancer Foundation. The money they raise will help patients in the state to pay basic living expenses, like rent, mortgage, and utilities, while they go through treatment.  Redding Police surpassed their fundraising goal, collecting more than $1,400.  Redding Police say their efforts will especially help 15 year-old Wes, their No Shave November Ambassador who is battling metastatic Ewing's sarcoma.  As their Ambassador, his family will receive a large grant based on what No Shave November raises.  The rest of the money we raise will go to Connecticut cancer patients throughout the year.

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Danbury school lockdown plans to be revised

Officials from the City of Danbury, the schools and West Conn are updating their emergency communication protocols.  Following the recent lockdown at some public schools because of an unfounded report of a gunman on the university's west side campus, some gaps were discovered.  The Newstimes reports that in the future, a police officer will be dispatched to Superintendent Sal Pascarella's office to keep district staff in immediate contact with police on the scene of an emergency situation.  A plan is being developed for buses.  Due to the timing of the lockdowns, around dismissal time, there were questions of what to do if some students were already on buses. 

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Two Brewster residents wanted on outstanding warrants charged after routine traffic stop

Traffic violations have led to bigger problems for two Brewster residents.  Putnam County Sheriff Deputies saw the violations on Route 22 in Patterson last Tuesday.  An investigation determined that 40-year old John Covais of Brewster had heroin and hypodermic needles in his possession.  He also had a suspended license and was wanted on two active warrants out of the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office.  Putnam Sheriff's held an active warrant for his passenger, 35-year old Benlynx Garcia. They did not disclose what charges were included on the warrant.  Covias was then turned over to the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office. 

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United Way to honor Hometown Heroes

United Way of Western Connecticut is hosting its 5th Annual Hometown Heroes Benefit Dinner on Saturday.  Awards will be presented to several individuals, nonprofit agencies and youth for their service to towns within United Way’s service area.  United Way CEO Kim Morgan says the honorees have all made unique and lasting impacts across Western Connecticut. 

Nominees were selected based on several criteria, including action, commitment, and initiative.

This year, proceeds from the event will support United Way’s food security initiatives, including its evening Mobile Food Pantry, the Groceries on Wheels Truck, weekend food backpacks for hungry children, and a nutrition incentives pilot program. 

HOMETOWN HEROES
Bethel  Walnut Hill Community Church
Brookfield  David Moissonnier
Danbury  David Krafick
New Fairfield  Kathy Hull
New Milford  Angela Chastain
Newtown  Tom D’Agostino
Ridgefield  Carol Maiolo


EMERGING HEROES
Brookfield  Victoria McFarlin (Immaculate High School)
Danbury  Jerfrey Martinez (Danbury High School)
New Milford  Ryan Fanella (Immaculate High School)
Ridgefield  Emma Kiernan (Ridgefield High School)


Special awards will be presented:
Corporate Philanthropy Award to UPS for exemplifying corporate social responsibility and demonstrating a tireless commitment to giving back to the community


Collaborative Award to Mike Greene in recognition of the Danbury resident's leadership, commitment and generosity to the food rescue efforts of the Danbury Food Collaborative, which has rescued more than $835,000 worth of food for greater Danbury area food pantries.

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Reinstated Brookfield Youth Commission to hold first meeting tonight

The Brookfield Board of Selectman has voted to reinstate the Youth Commission.  The group disbanded several years ago.  Five youth members are non-voting participants.  They include the teen who first petitioned the Board to reinstate the group, a tutor at the high school Writing Center and a teen involving in Peer Counseling who is also a native Spanish speaker. 

Five voting members have terms that end in either 2019 or 2020.  They include former Police Chief Robin Montgomery, a teacher at Washington Montessori School and a clinical social worker.  The terms for the adults are staggered so there isn't complete turn over, though the youth members will all serve through 2020. 

Organizers say the Youth Commission could promote various programs for teens to keep them away from drugs, while also encouraging them in civic engagement.  Interest in the Commission fell off in recent years, in part because other municipal groups are meeting goals like planning youth activities. 

The group is meeting tonight at 5pm at Brookfield Town Hall.

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Esty's Women in Aerospace bill awaits President's signature

Ahead of 5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty leaving office, she will see another bill signed into law. The Women in Aerospace Education Act awaits President Trump’s signature. 

The bill was introduced to address the shortage of skilled aerospace workers and encourage more women to participate in the STEM fields.  Esty says nearly a fifth of aerospace engineers are eligible for retirement, and women only represent about a quarter of all STEM workers.

The Women in Aerospace Education Act also directs NASA to encourage the recruitment of women and minority candidates to apply for internships and fellowships. She added that NASA projects help provide answers to global and local challenges, such as assistance to developing countries, disaster warning and relief, environmental cleanup, and more. 

The bill would encourage universities applying for Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship grants, which are designed to cover the cost of STEM-degree seeking students who intend to teach in rural and lower income school districts, to incorporate aerospace programs at the National Laboratories and NASA Centers into their teacher training experience.

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Volunteers find other garbage in dog waste receptacles

Volunteers who clear the dog waste receptacles in Ridgefield along Main Street say people have been putting general garbage in them.  The volunteers, including high schoolers and Girl Scouts, have found coffee cups, beer cans and baby diapers among other items.  The green trash receptacles are also being misused along the Rail Trail and on the Parks and Rec pathways.  Volunteers and members of the dog waste committee caution that if people continue to put general trash into the stations, they could be taken down.  They are also calling for more volunteers to empty the receptacles.

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Ridgefield Community Emergency Response Team holding drills Saturday

Ridgefield’s Community Emergency Response Team is holding two drills on Saturday.  CERT Director Sean McEvoy will help teach Boy Scouts how food and water are distributed in an emergency.  The second drill will send CERT volunteers out into Ridgefield to “assess” simulated damage incidents.  Volunteers, wearing green CERT apparel and carrying photo IDs, will report what they find using their cell phones and the Internet.  Ridgefield’s Office of Emergency Management will also be testing new software and radios meant to make information collection faster and more efficient.  Officials say there will be restricted parking around Yanity Gym Saturday morning.  Orange signs along roadsides are part of the drill.

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Newtown Police to host 'Movie with a Cop'

The Newtown Police Department will be hosting “Movie with a Cop” on December 15th.  Police will accompany the first 100 children, ages 8 through 11, who register online for the movie. Goodies will be provided.  The Polar Express will be screened starting at 4pm at Edmond Town Hall.  All entries must be received no later then December 8th.  Contact information and more details about required information can be found on the Newtown Police Department Facebook page.  The first 100 children will be sent a golden ticket in the mail, which must be presented at the time of the movie in order to attend.

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State Library Board approves grants for local libraries

The State Library Board has approved a $100,000 grant for the Danbury Library to renovate the junior floor's bookcases and build out a formal room for its Story Corner. 

The Newstimes reports that the funding will also be used for new audio, visual and technology upgrades to support children's programs. The balance of the project, about $200,000, is being paid for by the City.  A new sensory space, for children with special needs, will be one of the first in the state. 

The State Library Board has approved a grant for Ridgefield Library total ling more than $40,000.  The money will be used for a remodeling project. 

The state bond commission must approve the grants. The Commission is meeting next week.

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Public hearing in Brookfield on zone changes for drive-thrus

A public hearing is being held by the Brookfield Zoning Commission tonight on proposed changes to possibly allows drive-thrus in the Town Center area.  Dunkin Donuts submitted applications to move into the former Hearth Restaurant property.  Officials says the overall changes being considered are meant to make rules clearer for residents and developers.  Tonight's hearing is at 7pm at Brookfield Town Hall.

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Brookfield Police charge Danbury woman with arson, assault

A Danbury woman has been charged with arson and assault for an incident that happened in Brookfield on Monday.  Connecticut State Police K9 Cora and her handler responded to Fieldstone Road Monday on a report by Brookfield Police and Fire departments of an assault and car fire.  The incident happened around 3:30am.  K9 Cora got a whiff of what she determined to be an ignitable liquid and her handler determined that the fire was set on purpose.  37-year old Louisia Kokhammany was then taken into custody. Accelerant Detection K9 “Cora” is part of the Fire Explosion and Investigation Unit of Connecticut State Police.

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Danbury officials meet about extending sewer line into NY

Danbury and Putnam County officials have been in talks on extending the Danbury sewer line into Southeast along the Route 6 corridor.  A City Council committee met this week and plans to hold joint meetings in the next few months to hear formally from their New York counterparts. 

New York City watershed regulations make it a challenge to grow infrastructure in order to support any future development in the Southeast area.  Extending the Danbury sewer line through the Route 6 corridor of Brewster would connect 3.5 miles of commercially zoned land to the system, which has excess capacity.

Danbury recently beefed up the west side sewer intercept, a project from 1977.   Mayor Mark Boughton says that recently completed work makes this project a lot easier. 

He notes that adding more users to the waste water treatment plant could spread out the estimated $102 million cost of upgrades and phosphorous removal improvements needed at the facility. 

County Executive MaryEllen Odell says boundaries cannot prevent progress and by crossing the New York-Connecticut state line, they can work to improve both communities.  Boughton says being able to collaborate with New York has ignited new ideas on how to better serve residents while saving taxpayers money.

Councilmen Duane Perkins and Fred Visconti expressed concerns over whether the extension would be subsidizing competition to Danbury businesses. 

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Man with child in car arrested after impaired driving crash

As New York State Police responded to a report of an accident on 684 earlier this month, Troopers spotted a man holding a child running across Route 22.  The incident happened around 1:30am on November 4th.  The vehicle left the highway and struck a guardrail on 22 in North Salem. 

The man, later determined to be 30-year old Michael Conti of Yonkers, refused to comply to police instruction, despite the pleading of the child.  Conti also tossed drug evidence toward a nearby fence.  He was eventually taken into custody on Monday, but a Trooper was injured in the process.   Conti tooked a glass framed photo off the wall and threw it at a Trooper. 

The evidence turned out to be three types of prescription opioid medication. 

Conti has a revoked license and charged with Attempted Assault,  Aggravated DWI Leandra’s Law, Aggravated DWAI Drugs with a prior conviction within ten years, Aggravated Unlicensed Operation, Tampering with Evidence, Obstruction of Governmental Administration, Criminal Mischief, two counts each of Endangering the Welfare of a Child and Assault and three counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance.

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Danbury magnet elementary school open house to be held

The Western Connecticut Academy for International Studies, Danbury's elementary magnet school, is holding an open house for parents interested in applying for the upcoming academic year.  The AIS principal will discuss the school's academic program and lead a tour of the school on December 5th.  The information session will follow the tour.  The Open House at the k-5 school is from 6:30 to 8pm. Space is limited and registration is required at https://sites.google.com/danbury.k12.ct.us/ais/home or by calling 203-778-7462.

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State Police K9 Texas featured in nationwide fundraising calendar

Connecticut State Police K9 Texas and his handler, Trooper First Class Edward Anuszewski, appear in the 2019 Vested Interest in K9s nationwide fundraising calendar.  The pair are featured in the month of January.

(Photo: CSP)

Each year, twelve various breeds of K9s who have been provided vests by the nonprofit organization are highlighted in the publication along with a memorial page paying tribute to the four-legged heroes who have passed.  Texas received his bullet and stab protective vest in 2017.  

The four-year-old Bloodhound completed his training in September 2016 and is certified in man-trailing and tracking. K9 Texas is the first Connecticut State Police Bloodhound to be assigned to patrol duty and has had 18 finds since he began his assignment. 

State Police say Texas enjoys patrolling, playing with his Kong and making new friends. 

All proceeds from the 2019 calendars will be used to provide equipment and services for law enforcement K9s nationwide.  Calendars are available online for $15 plus shipping via the Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. website

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Brookfield Board of Finance sign off on school building proposal

The Brookfield Board of Finance has voted to advance a $78.1 million school building proposal.  The pre-k through 5th grade school would be constructed on the Huckleberry Hill campus.  The other building would then be torn down.  Students from Center Elementary School would also attend classes in the new building and Center School would be turned over to the town.  Huckleberry Hill was built in 1960 and the addition was built in 1993.  The next step is a public hearing, which will be followed by a special town meeting, to be scheduled for January.  A referendum vote is anticipated in March.

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NY man charged for allegedly hitting, killing bicyclist

A New York man has been charged with vehicular manslaughter for the death of a bicyclist Tuesday night.  The Putnam County Sheriff's Office says 49-year old Silvio Tenesaca of Kent, New York, was  intoxicated while driving along Route 52 between 9:30pm and 10:30pm.  He allegedly struck and killed Lake Carmel resident 53-year old George Rosalino.  Tenesaca was also charged with Leaving the Scene of an Accident,Driving While Intoxicated and Driving and related traffic violations.  He was arraigned and ordered held on bond for a future court date.

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New Milford Police investigating shoplifting incident

New Milford Police are asking for the public's help in identifying a shoplifting suspect.  A man is wanted for taking approximately $425 worth of clothing from Kohls on Monday, shortly before 8pm.  Anyone who recognizes the suspect is asked to contact Officer Kabasakalian at 860-355-3133.

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Wilton Police investigate reports of car theft, vehicles entered

Wilton Police are investigating a series of property crimes that happened over the weekend.  One car was stolen on Saturday and 5 cars were illegally entered.  Wilton Police say the keys were left in the stolen vehicle.  There's been a 96 percent increase in this type of criminal activity since the end of 2016.  Wilton Police say locking cars can put a big dent in property crime stats.  Department officials say in the cases they've solved, the crimes of opportunity have been carried out by juveniles who were not from the area.

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Easton Police investigate home burglary

Easton Police are investigating a home burglary.  Details were just released yesterday as Police seek the public's help in identifying the two suspects.  Two men kicked in the front door of a home on Sport Hill Road on the 13th.   A number of valuable antique items were taken, and have not been recovered at this time.  One suspect was described as a light skinned white or Hispanic male, wearing a Black and grey jacket with brown cargo pants.  The other was described as a light skinned black male wearing blue jeans, A Realtree fleece coat, and holding glasses in left hand.

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MTA proposes rail fare hikes

The MTA has proposed a series of fare hikes affecting the New Haven, Harlem and Hudson lines, but only to and from stations in New York state.  The proposal for a one-way ticket from Southeast will go up 75-cents during peak times to $20, and up 50-cents off peak to $15.  There will be public hearings on the proposal, but the closest ones to Greater Danbury area in White Plains on December 5th and by video at the Poughkeepsie Station tomorrow night.  Comments can be submitted by December 13th online, by letter or by phone.

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Danbury-based FuelCell advisor appointed to Lamont policy team

An official with Danbury-based Fuel Cell Energy has been named to Governor-elect Ned Lamont’s Transition Team.  General Counsel and Corporate Secretary Jennifer Arasimowicz will be a member of the Energy Policy Committee.  She joins a group of transition advisors from the private sector, non-profits and government.  Arasimowicz says the committee work will lay the groundwork for important energy policy decisions that will impact the state for years to come.  While Connecticut has already begun making investments in technologies that support reliable, clean energy, she added that she looks forward to exploring more options that will help grow the economy and create jobs in a clean and sustainable way.

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State grant approved for New Milford Library addition

The State Library Board has approved a $1 million grant for the town of New Milford.  This funding will be combined with $1 million set aside by the Library Board of Trustees and $6.5 million approved earlier this month by residents on Election Day.  The overall design, which would make the facility ADA compliant, would add 10,000 square feet of usable space.  It features another story built on top of the 1970s addition, an outdoor terrace, a self-serve cafe and a new facade to fit the downtown aesthetics.

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Public hearing in Ridgefield on Pension Board regulations

A Public Hearing and Special Town Meeting will be held in Ridgefield tonight about changes to the town Code about Boards, Commissions and Committees.  The Ridgefield Pension Commission will be made up of 7 resident electors, appointed by the Board of Selectmen.  They will have staggered terms of service each beginning June 1st.    No more than three members terms will end in any Town fiscal year.  Each term will be three years.  If a member resigns or is removed by the Board of Selectmen, the Board will select and appoint a successor to serve the balance of that member’s regular term.  The hearing and town meeting is at 7:30pm, Town Hall.

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Brookfield officials consider funding options for proposed new school

As Brookfield studies how best to create a new pre-k through 5th grade school, impact on issues including debt services and taxes need to be addressed.  Brookfield School officials have presented information to the Board of Selectmen on the 10-year Projection in order for the best plan for the financing on the proposed new school project on the current Huckleberry Hill Elementary School campus.

The presentation included operating expenses, annual capital expenses, debt service without the new school school, impact of the new school for the 30 year bonding with a flat debt service payment, impact on taxpayers, total taxes going forward and a 10 year forecast on bond rates. 

The Board of Selectmen recommended to the Board of Finance that the town approve a special appropriation of $78.14 million, with the net cost after anticipated state grant reimbursement of $63.29 million.  The Board of Finance is meeting on the issue tonight. 

A Special Town Meeting will be scheduled in January and a referendum in March in order to meet the grant application deadline of June 30, 2019.

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Hayes says she plans to support Pelosi for House speaker

5th District Congresswoman-Elect Jahana Hayes will be supporting Nancy Pelosi during today's vote for Speaker of the House.  During the primary Hayes talked about the need for generational change within the Democratic Party, but she also said that change for the sake of change should not be made.  She added that if they don't infuse the pipeline with the next generation of leaders now, it is to the party's peril. In supporting Pelosi, Hayes says the caucus needs to build upon the work that came before, not just toss it aside and noted that Pelosi is the only person that formally declared intentions to be Speaker.

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Settlement reached between Brookfield Board of Ed, fired Superintendent

A settlement has been reached out of court between the Brookfield Board of Education and former Superintendent Anthony Bivona.  Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.  The Newstimes reports that the case was set to go to jury selection in Hartford yesterday and the parties came to a resolution shortly before then.  Bivona was fired in 2014 over accusations of stealing thousands of dollars from the school and failure to properly oversee the district’s finances.  Bivona denied claims he knew the school's former finance director, Art Colley, took money from the student activity fund for personal use. Bivona sued in 2015 to get his job back, at least $15,000 in damages and other relief.  Colley was sentenced to a three-year suspended term.

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Santos faults GOP party leaders for lack of support in Congressional campaign

Some rebuke of the Connecticut Republican Party is coming from within.  5th District Congressional candidate Manny Santos has sent an email to supports criticizing party leaders for poor support during the campaign.  The former Meriden mayor says the political machine needs to be overhauled in order to produce victories.  Santos lost to Democrat Jahana Hayes by 31,000 votes.  In his email, he notes that of 41 Republican Town Committee chairs asked to supply coordinators, he only received 3 responses.  He also said that "too many members are either lazy, uninformed, uncaring or simply incompetent to be of any help to candidates." Santos says there were no volunteer lists, staffed victory headquarters and ineffective party leadership members.  In his email, Santos also called for the nominating convention to be ended, and the expulsion or not reelecting members who are known to be ineffective.

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New Milford Police seek help identifying suspect

The New Milford Police Department is investigating an incident at Walmart on Danbury Road.  Police are asking for help in attempting to identify an Hispanic female caught on surveillance footage last Monday. Anyone with information is asked to contact New Milford Police at 860-355-3133.

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Another car reported stolen in Easton

A vehicle was stolen out of a driveway in Easton over the weekend.  Easton Police Chief Timothy Shaw is reminding residents to lock car doors.  He says this latest incident brings the total number of cars stolen in Easton this year to 3.  43 cars have been illegally entered and had valuables taken in 2018.  All vehicles were entered through unlocked doors.  During this holiday season, Chief Shaw says it's important to also keep all packages out of view from a passerby when away from the vehicle while out shopping.  He says shopping plazas are a prime target for car break ins.

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State Police K9 participates in training exercise in Newtown

Connecticut State Police K9 Texas took part in a training event last week.  Newtown Police Officer Hayes laid down a track around a clearing before heading into a small swampy area.  Texas, a 4-year old Bloodhound, then took a sniff of the suspect item and tracked down Officer Hayes.  Newtown Police K9 Unit shared a video on Facebook of the training and said that being a team player is a big part of being a police officer as they all work toward the same goal.

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Greater Danbury non-profits hope to be recipients of charitable donations this Giving Tuesday

As with other specialized holiday shopping days immediately following Thanksgiving, today has been dubbed Giving Tuesday and has a slightly different goal.  The day is meant to kick off a charitable season.  Several local non-profits are hoping to be included in that giving. 

Among those are foundations created in honor of children killed at Sandy Hook school including Catherine Hubbard, Charlotte Bacon, Jesse Lewis, and Jessica Rekos.  The Resiliency Center of Newtown and Sandy Hook Promise also have initiatives for this Giving Tuesday.  

The Women’s Center is asking that Greater Danbury area residents consider making year-end contributions.  As a non-profit, 50% of annual revenue is self-generator and goes to support free programs and services.  The Women's Center helps survivors of domestic and sexual violence.  The Women's Center says they have been especially busy this year as the #MeToo movement and overwhelming coverage of these issues continues to trigger survivors. 

As the only state certified victim service provider in the region, they were able to provide free crisis intervention, counseling, advocacy, shelter and prevention programs to 31,722 adults and children this past year.

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Town Meeting in New Fairfield tonight on proposed Blight Ordinance

A Special Town Meeting is being held in New Fairfield tonight about the proposed blight ordinance. The meeting is at 7pm in the Community Room.   Feedback received from a public hearing was incorporated into the final proposal.  A portion was taken out that the Director of Social Services would no longer be part of  a Blight Prevention Board.  A resident, appointed by the First Selectman, would be a member of the Board.  Any farm with a current agricultural sales tax exemption permit from the state Department of Revenue Services, would be exempt from the ordnance.  The amount of missing siding on a house was increased from 10 to 25-percent.  Another change is that it would apply to inoperable motor vehicles, rather than abandoned cars.  The Board approved the draft by a 2 to 1 vote.

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Voting machine audit in Ridgefield today

A post-election audit will be held by the Ridgefield Registrars of Voters today.  A percentage of all voting districts in Connecticut must be audited, according to state mandate, to ensure the integrity of voting tabulators.  The Ridgefield audit of machines from East Ridge Middle School will be held at 9am in the large lower level conference room at Town Hall.  The audit is open to public observation.  Alternate locations selected by the Secretary of the State's Office for an audit including machines from Meeting House Hill School in New Fairfield, Southbury Public Library and machines in Wilton from Cider Mill School and Middlebrook School.  All districts were chosen by random lottery earlier this month. 

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Driver uninjured in Sandy Hook vehicle fire

A driver was uninjured in a vehicle fire yesterday morning.  Sandy Hook firefighters responded to Glen Road shortly after 9am.  The vehicle was unoccupied when they arrived.  The owner later told firefighters he had parked the pick up to get a cup of coffee and when he returned a few minutes later, he found the vehicle engulfed in flames. Firefighters used water and foam to put out the flames.  The pick up was then towed from the scene.

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New Milford tables study of community center

New Milford Mayor Pete Bass has decided to table a study of a potential community center after the Town Council was split over paying for the work.  The Newstimes reports that the community center committee asked for $18,500 to pay a professional survey company over the summer.  The Council continues to ask for more information from the committee, which says they need the company to do work to meet their tasked goals.  The committee is working to determine the proper location, organization and offerings of a community center.  An online survey of New Milford residents garnered 1,500 responses.

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Conn. man indicted for alleged robberies in Greater Danbury

A Connecticut man has been indicted for several robberies in the area.  55-year old Alvin Robertson of Bridgeport pleaded not guilty yesterday to three counts of bank robbery and two counts of interference with commerce by robbery.  The alleged crimes happened at a Subway restaurant in Ridgefield in May, one in Monroe in July, a People’s United Bank branch in Monroe in August, and one each in Watertown and Berlin in September.  Robertson faces a up to 20 years in prison on each count if convicted.

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Bethel officials decide on temporary holiday display policies

The Bethel Board of Selectmen has adopted policies about use of P-T Barnum Square.  During a meeting last night, members adopted guidelines that state a holiday display cannot defame or attack another religion or person, cannot be excessively large so that it hinders public safety, must be sponsored by local residents or organizations, be positive in nature and can be religious or secular. 

The regulations also state that holiday displays can only be in PT Barnum Square, not other municipal property in an effort to prevent religious displays in front of Town hall.  The policies could change in the future as a committee will be formed to develop permanent guidelines. 

The Board will also add an item to their December 4th meeting agenda to vote on an application for a banner with a holiday message signed "your atheist neighbors".  The application asks that it be placed in PT Barnum Square, next to a nativity scene.  The selectmen want more information about the size of the sign and whether it could be set up elsewhere.  An image and an insurance form were submitted. 

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Meeting in Bethel tonight on displays at P.T.Barnum Square

The Bethel Board of Selectmen is hosting a special meeting tonight to develop a policy for this year about displays on municipal land.  This stems from an uproar over their decision to allow a new nativity manger to be displayed at P.T. Barnum Square.  There is no written policy of regulations for displays, just a history of past practices.  When First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker took office he stopped allowing town crews to set up the manger donated by a resident, and the Chamber of Commerce took over the task.  This year the Chamber asked local churches to be in charge.  Tonight's meeting is at 6pm at the municipal center.

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Ridgefield Board of Ed hears enrollment projection study presentation

A Comprehensive Enrollment Analysis has been presented to the Ridgefield Board of Education.  Milone & MacBroom determined that the healthy economy, low unemployment rate and the housing market are the key drivers influencing school enrollment numbers. Home sales, not birth rate, yielded new students enrolled this year.

The report shows a number of students also matriculated out of the district.  Based on demographic analysis, births have reached their cyclical low and are expected to rise. 

The overall trend in middle school enrollment in Ridgefield indicates the reduction of an 8th grade teaching team at East Ridge Middle School in 2019-20 school year.  Middle school enrollment is projected to decline over 6% in the next decade as smaller elementary school classes matriculate into the middle schools. Scotts Ridge Middle School is projected to have larger enrollment than East Ridge Middle School by 2022-23.

High School enrollment is projected to decrease substantially over the next decade as smaller classes continue to matriculate up.  Staffing at the high school is dependent of student course requests and fulfillment of course offerings and requirements. Beginning in 2020 and beyond, budgetary/staffing decisions could be influenced by the current trend as the wave of declining enrollment approaches high school grade levels.  

Kindergarten classes have been larger than expected due to increasing in-migration of families with young children. 

Overall, the district will continue to see a decline in student population, until 2021-22. 

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Phoenix Hose Company celebrates 125 years of service to Danbury

Phoenix Hose Company Engine 8 celebrated 125 years of service to the City of Danbury this weekend.  Members remember those who have passed and thanked current volunteers.  Members of the City's career fire department and representatives from other towns also attended the ceremony.  Senator McLachlan delivered remarks praising the volunteer firefighters for keeping up with the intricate technical training they must go through.  He read from a legislative proclamation thanking the volunteers for their time and commitment to Danbury residents.

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Newtown Police receive reaccreditation

The Newtown Police Department has received a Tier One re-accreditation.  The state Police Officer Standards and Training Council has awarded this status to Newtown since 2005.   The Department recently underwent an evaluation to measure their policies and got an update on commonly accepted professional standards and objectives.  Inspectors examined the department’s written policies and procedures in August and then verified the department's compliance.  Accreditation is a voluntary process to meet professional excellence.

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Status conference to be held in case of Danbury v. Dorothy Day Hospitality House

A status conference is scheduled in the case of Dorothy Day Hospitality House versus Danbury.  The hearing is today.  A Hartford Judge had asked that the City and Dorothy Day come to an agreement so he wouldn't have to issue a ruling, but the Zoning Board of Appeals voted in September to deny exceptions to zoning rules.  That action puts the matter back into the court's hands. 

Dorothy Day was looking for variances to driveway width, parking lot size and setbacks because their more-than century old building does not comply with regulations which were 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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Road rage victim leads suspect car to NY Police Barracks

The victim of an alleged road rage incident on Thanksgiving led the suspect vehicle right to the police station.  New York State Police say the two cars pulled into the parking lot of their Somers barracks around 10:30am and a Sergeant there heard the disturbance and investigated.  62-year old John Aloisio of Somers was found screaming at the victim over an incident that occurred on a public highway, and subsequently arrested for reckless endangerment and harassment.  He is due in court on December 3rd.

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Two people injured in Bethel condo fire

Two people were injured in a Bethel condo fire on Saturday.  Bethel and Stony Hill firefighters were dispatched to the Plumtrees Heights complex around 5:30pm and found a working fire. Bethel Police evacuated adjoining units.  Crews were met with heavy fire coming from the rear of the condo on the second floor.  The blaze was knocked down in about 20 minutes.  The fire damage was held to the unit of origin.  The Bethel Fire Marshal’s office is investigating the cause.  Two people sustained minor injuries.  Brookfield and Redding firefighters provided mutual aid.

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Danbury elementary school raising funds for accessible playground

Pembroke Elementary School has a fundraising goal of $150,000 to build a playground with equipment that will be more accessible for children with special needs or physical disabilities.  To date they've raised more than $65,000.  Massachusetts-based playground firm Childscapes will incorporate ramps, Americans with Disabilities Act compliant swings and a “sensory garden” for special needs students.  Danbury's legislative delegation will be asking the State Bond Commission to chip in when the group meets next month.  The Newstimes reports that Danbury Public Works could use its equipment and staff to help clear the school’s playground, prepare the site and fix some drainage issues.  About a quarter of Pembroke's students have special needs.

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Brookfield firefighters offer winter heating reminders

Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company is asking that residents make sure chimneys are cleaned and checked before burning this season. With the cold setting in, fire officials say preventative measures can reduce the possibility of a fire in the chimney/flue and CO entering your residence.  They say the best ways to prevent a chimney fire include only burning seasoned or dried out wood, which will sound hollow when hit against another piece of wood, never burning cardboard boxes, wrapping paper, or the Christmas tree, and only starting fires with dry kindling.  Gasoline or kerosene should never be used.

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Bethel seeks to hire new Police Officer

Bethel is looking to add to the Police Department staff.  The Newstimes reports that the Department is looking for a candidate with  a high school diploma or G.E.D, a driver’s license.  Candidates can be a certified law enforcement officer in Connecticut, but cannot have any felony or Class A or B misdemeanor convictions.  A physical agility exam is required.  Applications are due by December 7th.  The salary is between $53,000 to $78,000 a year and a 25-year pension.

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Bethel officials vote to ban smoking, vaping in town parks

The Bethel Board of Selectmen has voted to keep public parks free from tobacco smoke and vaping.  The Board voted unanimously to adopt the new policy, which takes effect January 1st.  The ban is for all town and public parks, such as Bennett Park, Enchanted Trail and areas maintained by the Parks and Recreation Department.

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New Fairfield Parks and Recreation Holiday Light Parade, Tree Lighting tonight

The New Fairfield Parks and Recreation 7th annual Holiday Light Parade and Tree Lighting will take place tonight, with a weather make up date of tomorrow.  The parade route will start at the intersection of Saw Mill Road and Route 37. It will continue straight to the New Fairfield Center, onto Route 39, past Town Hall and ending at Memorial Field.  The tree lighting will then begin.  The parade begins at 5:15pm.  There will be other activities going on from 12:30 p.m.—4:30 p.m. throughout town.

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Kent Chamber of Commerce holds Small Business Saturday champagne stroll

The 6th annual Kent Champagne Stroll, hosted by the Kent Chamber of Commerce continues tonight.  The event coincides with Small Business Saturday, celebrating the small businesses that are the backbone of local economies.  Tickets are 25-dollars with check in starting at 4pm.  Participants will pick up a champagne flute and map to use for the evening.  Participating restaurants and businesses not only offer a sample sip, but have discounts and other enticements for shoppers.

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Danbury Music Centre tickets on sale for The Nutcracker

Tickets are now on sale for the Danbury Music Centre’s 51st  Annual Nutcracker Ballet.   Over 200 performers from the Greater Danbury area, accompanied by the Danbury Symphony Orchestra, will put on the show on December 7th, 8th and 9th.  All performances of the Nutcracker will be at the Danbury High School Auditorium.  Mayor Mark Boughton will again make a cameo as Mother Ginger.

Tickets can be purchased in person at the Danbury Music Centre on Main Street, or online through the organizations website.  Officials say tickets do tend to sell out quickly.  The performance on the 7th is at 7:30pm.  The two on December 8th are at 2:30 and 7pm.  The final performance on the 9th is at 3pm. 

Tickets range in price from $10 to $35.

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Meeting to be held in Bethel to set holiday display regulations

After an uproar over the Bethel Board of Selectmen's decision to allow a new nativity manger to be displayed at P.T. Barnum Square, officials are considering an update of holiday display policies.  There is no written policy of regulations for displays, just a history of past practices. 

The American Atheists Legal Center has asked the board to rescind its approval and was critical of not accepting an application for a non-religious display.  Bethel officials say it wasn't a rejection, but rather a case of the application missing an insurance form and picture of the proposal. 

A special meeting has been scheduled for Monday at 6pm at the municipal center to develop a policy for this holiday season. 

When First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker took office he stopped allowing town crews to set up the manger donated by a resident, and the Chamber of Commerce took over the task.  This year the Chamber asked local churches to be in charge.

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New Milford Board of Ed awards bid for final oil tank replacement

A bid has been awarded by New Milford officials  to replace the oil tank at Sarah Noble Intermediate School.  The Board of Education signed an agreement for $97,000, which is less than the original projection of what the project would cost.  This is the third tank at the schools that are mandated for replacement.  The same company is replacing tanks for Hill and Plain Elementary School and the Lillis Administration building next week.  The town of New Milford must also replace three of its tanks to meet a 30-year deadline.

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Danbury man charged for alleged hit & run crash into bank building

A Danbury man who allegedly ran into a bank building in a hit-and-run crash has been arrested.  Danbury Police responded to Savings Bank of Danbury on Newtown Road Monday on a report of an accident.  Witnesses were able to provide license plate information, which led to 28-year old Michael Mazur.  The Newstimes reports he was located less than two miles away at a deli later in the afternoon.  Police found drugs, including marijuana and prescription drugs, in his vehicle.  Mazur was charged with evading responsibility, use of drug paraphernalia, sale of narcotic substance, possession of controlled substance, possession of less than a half ounce of cannabis and breach of peace.

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Southbury Police search for suspected purse thief

The Southbury Police Department is investigating a Larceny which occurred at ShopRite on Main Street South on Monday night.  The victim’s purse, which contained her driver’s license, credit cards, $200 cash, and other valuable items, was stolen around 6pm. Police are looking to identify a suspect caught on surveillance footage.

 

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New Fairfield firefighters remind motorists of 'move over' laws

New Fairfield Volunteer Firefighters are offering some reminders for drivers as many people are traveling around this holiday weekend. Firefighters says many drivers don’t always obey the Move Over laws.  Whenever you see flashing lights or hear sirens, motorists must pull over. This way emergency vehicles can safely pass you and attend to a critical emergency like an accident or house fire. When emergency vehicles are stopped on the side of the highway, you also need to merge over. This ensures victims and first responders aren’t injured by debris or traveling vehicles.

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Danbury schools mark Thanksgiving with food service, collection

Students at the Alternative Center for Excellence in Danbury served more than 300 Thanksgiving meals Tuesday to  the community.  The annual event is their way of saying thanks to the community that supports them.  ACE has been hosting the gathering at no cost to guests for more than 35 years. 

About 100 students from the school, along with seven students from the culinary program at Henry Abbott Technical High School served the meal, with turkeys donated by Stew Leonard’s in Danbury. The food was prepared by Chefs from Abbott Tech.

During the month of November, students at Shelter Rock School collected more than 400 cans and boxes of food to donate to the Women’s Center of Greater Danbury.  The center came to the school Wednesday to pick up the food to be used to make Thanksgiving baskets for people in need. The students also collected enough money to purchase $70 worth of gift cards to a local supermarket.

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Danbury Police issue Black Friday shopping safety tips

Danbury Police are offering some advice for Black Friday to protect shoppers while out and about tonight and tomorrow.  One of their primary recommendations is to keep parked vehicles locked and remove all items of value, partly because there's been an uptick in thefts from vehicles in the past year.  Police say shoppers should keep at least one hand free at all times and not to carry so many bags that you become an easy target for someone who may want to assault or rob you.  Police also recommend shopping during daylight hours, when possible, and if you must shop at night to go with other people.  If you see someone who looks suspicious in the parking lot, police recommend not parking by that person and informing security or Police of their presence.

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Ridgefield Fire Department issues holiday fire safety reminders

The Ridgefield Fire Department is reminding residents of a multitude of circumstances that can occur during the holidays that result in loss of life and or property.  They are also providing some tips to help keep everyone safe.  The most important, according to firefighters, is to make sure smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are installed, are in working order and have batteries. 

Heating devices are a big player regarding accidental fires. Firefighters recommend having furnaces serviced every year. Heating devices should be placed away from combustibles. 

Many people like to use candles around this time of year, but they should never be left unattended and should be extinguished before headed to bed for the night.  Fire officials say it takes less than a minute for a fire to start. Sources of lighting should be in good condition. Exposed wires, coiled wires, wires that are covered by other items can result in fire. Extension cords and lights should be approved and listed by a recognized testing laboratory. When leaving the home or going to bed, you should pull extension cords out of the outlet. They are only for temporary use. Lights should be turned off at these times too.

Wood, coal or pellet stoves also need to be cleaned and serviced yearly. The chimneys used by these devices need to be checked and cleaned yearly, too. By-products that build up in your chimney can readily cause fires.

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Newtown officials get update on health of Still River

A draft existing conditions report on the Still River is a snapshot of where the waterway is now, including the water quality.  The report is being compiled by the Housatonic Valley Association.  

Conservation Projects Manager Courtney Moorehouse says part of the EPA-approved watershed plan is to talk with each town on what they've found and how it applies to each municipality in particular. The Still River was declared dead in the 1980s because it was polluted, but has made a comeback since then because of regulations.  The Clean Water Act has eliminated a lot of the point-source pollution that's gone into the river.

Moorsehouse says they couldn't point to a particular spot of the watershed in Newtown having pollution impacting its health, but rather storm water run off was determined to the cause.  She says oils from the road, debris and other material is making its way into the river.  The Limekiln Brook calls for a reduction of pollution to reduce ecoli, but Moorehouse says Newtown isn't particularly responsible. 

There were no noticeable impacts found during stream walks.

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Conn. officials urge steps to make home safe this Thanksgiving be followed

The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services are calling on families to check their medicine cabinets before Thanksgiving dinner in order to dispose of unneeded medication, and secure the medication they need.  The officials say emptying medicine cabinets is one small, but important way to make sure guests have a safe holiday.  DMHAS Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon says the majority of people misusing prescription medications get them from family and friends.  Local drug collection boxes to dispose of unneeded medication include ones at the Danbury and Ridgefield police stations.

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Town Clerk's Office to relocate in Bethel Municipal Center for remediation work

Bethel Town Hall will be going through some environmental remediation work next month, which has prompted some offices to be relocated.  The town clerk’s office will move to another section of the municipal center between December 5th and 18th so crews can remove the floor and conduct asbestos abatement in the office.  The Town Clerk will work from Meeting Room A.  Certain services will not be available  during that time including access to land records prior to 1970 and all vital records.

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Grand opening planned in Bethel for Little Free Library

Bethel School officials are touting the completion of the  Liz Teed "Read" Lending Library.  Over 1,000 books were collected in just 10 days and the district thanked parents, students and staff who donated.   The library will be fully stocked for years thanks to the generous book donations.  A grand opening ceremony of the Liz Teed “Read” Lending Library is planned for next Wednesday at 3:30pm on the Bethel Municipal Center front lawn.

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Shepaug Schools to host internet safety presentation for parents

Shepaug Regional School District is hosting an Internet Safety Night for parents next month.  Scott Driscoll from Internet Safety Concepts has over 20 years experience in law enforcement, including internet crime investigations. He will give an in-depth presentation at Shepaug Valley High School on how to keep children safe while using the internet.  The presentation on December 17th is at 7pm in the auditorium.

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Bethel sends out Metro North Parking Permit Renewal letters

Metro North Parking Permit Renewal Letters and applications were mailed out in Bethel earlier this month. The fee for the 2019 parking permit has not changed and is 250 dollars, payable by check only.  All renewals must be done through the mail. The renewals contain a return envelope with prepaid postage. The due date to renew is December 7th.  Bethel residents who currently do not have a parking permit, but would like one are asked to contact the Town Clerk's Office. 

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Ridgefield Police to collect items for Toys for Tots

Ridgefield Police are calling on the public to continue a tradition of generosity this holiday season.  On Saturday December 1 between 10am and 2pm the Police Benevolence Association will be at the Toy Chest in Ridgefield for the Stuff a Cruiser toy drive.  Police will be collecting new unwrapped toys for the Toys for Tots program. This event is being held in partnership with the Marine Corps League Ridgefield Detachment and the Toy Chest.

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WCSU investigates report of gunman on campus

No gunman was found and no injuries were reported after there was a report of a man with a long gun on West Conn's Westside campus yesterday.  A shelter in place order was lifted after the nearly three hour lockdown.  A girl reported seeing a man with what appeared to be a long gun inside the Visual and Performing Arts Center around 2pm. 

State and Danbury Police worked with WCSU PD on a room-by-room search of the building.  Officials note that they must check every closet, locker and bathroom stall so the search would take some time.  The Danbury Fire Department performed an aerial search using a drone.

University officials discredited claims on social media that there was a  shooter who ran into nearby woods. There was no shooter.

In June, a man with a microphone stand was mistaken for a gunman on the midtown campus.  Officials say it's plausible that the mic stand could have looked like a long gun, depending on how it was carried.

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Machete-welding man arrested for road rage incident

A machete-welding man has been arrested for a road rage incident on 684 during yesterday morning's commute.  A federal law enforcement officer stuck in traffic saw two people engaged in the incident on the ramp for exit 8 in North Salem, identified himself and subdued the suspect around 8am.  46-year old Roderick Davis was allegedly armed with a machete.  Davis was taken into custody without further incident.  He was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, menacing, endangering the welfare of a child, criminal possession of marijuana and reckless driving.  He was arraigned and ordered to return to court on Monday.

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Ridgefield Police release photo of nursing home robbery suspect

Ridgefield Police have released a new photo of a suspect who allegedly robbed a local nursing home.  Ridgefield Police are looking for the public's help in identifying the black woman who allegedly entered a health care facility on November 8th and went into multiple rooms.  The suspect reportedly removed 2 wallets from employees’ purses and left the facility.  The woman was wearing nurse’s scrubs, purple pants, a multicolored shirt, black jacket and a black purse or bag. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Ridgefield Police Department’s Detective Bureau at 203-431-2794.

 

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Brookfield, State Police issue warning about pot possession

Brookfield Police have put out a warning to people about marijuana now that it's being legally sold in neighboring Massachusetts.  Police says there will be repercussions for bringing it back to Connecticut.  State law here has only "decriminalized" marijuana, NOT legalized it. Still possessing a small amount of marijuana will result in a fine, while a larger amount will result in an arrest.  Connecticut State Police say they don't suggest trying to sneak it onto a plane or in luggage during Thanksgiving travels because marijuana is illegal under federal law, even in states that legalize it. The Federal Government classifies marijuana as a schedule 1 drug.

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Public Works staff meet for regional winter maintenance training

The Western Connecticut Council of Governments recently held a training for 35 public works staff and directors coming from 9 municipalities.  The Winter Maintenance and Salt Reduction Training, held in Wilton November 5th was taught by Patrick Santoso, an industry expert in road salt reduction.  Santoso stressed the importance of putting only the necessary amount of salt on the road to maximize the safety of road users while minimizing the effects on the environment.  They reviewed the industries current best management practices in equipment calibration, anti-icing, and de-icing, in addition to the science behind the practices.

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UPDATED: Shelter in Place over at WCSU afer report of a man with gun on Westside

A shelter in place order at Western Connecticut State University has been lifted.  There was a report of a man with a gun on the Westside campus this afternoon, prompting the nearly three hour lockdown.  A girl reported seeing a man with what appeared to be a long gun inside the Visual and Performing Arts Center around 2pm. 

As of 4pm today, all WCSU classes and activities on both campuses were canceled.  Students were not scheduled to be in classes on Wednesday because of the Thanksgiving holiday. 

An initial sweep has not turned up any weapon.  Police will continue to investigate but the campus has been declared safe. Traffic around the campus is already busy so drivers are asked to be patient.

State and Danbury Police worked with WCSU PD on a room-by-room search of the building.  Officials note that they must check every closet, locker and bathroom stall so the search would take some time.  The Danbury Fire Department performed an aerial search using a drone.

Westside Middle School and Mill Ridge Elementary students were released under supervision of DPD.  AIS Magnet School was released from the back of the building, on the Middle River Road side, under DPD supervision.

University officials discredited claims on social media that there was a  shooter who ran into nearby woods. There was no shooter.

In June, a man with a microphone stand was mistaken for a gunman on the midtown campus.  Officials say it's plausible that the mic stand could have looked like a long gun, depending on how it was carried.

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Metro North makes holiday schedule changes

Metro North is adding trains throughout the Thanksgiving weekend. Off-peak fares will be in effect Thursday through Sunday.  Customers are encouraged to buy tickets in advance. The Family Fare ticket costs $1 per ticket for up to four children ages 5 to 11 when they are traveling with a fare-paying adult.

Historically, the day before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year for Metro-North customers.  There will be 18 early getaway trains tomorrow departing Grand Central Terminal during the mid-day.  Due to the busier mid-day travel patterns, some evening trains may be canceled or combined.

Metro North is adding early morning inbound trains on Thursday and extra midday outbound service for local residents headed to and from Grand Central to view the Thanksgiving Day Parade. 

On Friday, Metro-North will operate on an expanded Saturday schedule with additional inbound service in the morning and outbound service in the afternoon to accommodate the Friday workforce and Black Friday shoppers.

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State Police to increase patrols for Thanksgiving weekend

State Police Troopers will use traditional and non-traditional patrol cars to observe traffic and issue tickets to reckless and distracted drivers during stepped up enforcement through this weekend.  Troopers encourage anyone on the road who sees a suspected drunk driver or a reckless driver, to call 911, as these are true emergencies.  There will be Roving Patrols and DUI Spot Checks on I-84 from Danbury to Waterbury tomorrow and on Saturday.  There will be Roving Patrols and DUI Spot Checks on Routes 7 and 341 in Kent, Routes 63 and 109 in Morris, Routes 45 and 47 in Washington and Routes 132 and 61 in Bethlehem.

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DHS hosts robotics competition

The Danbury High School robotics team hosted its 5th annual robotics competition earlier this month, and 38 teams from across the state competed in the all-day event. The 47 members of Danbury’s team participated with six robots hoping to qualify for the Southern New England Regionals next March.  This was the second competition of the season, and the team has already earned three awards.  DHS parents and staff volunteers helped with set up, registration, robot inspections, field queuing, concessions, and selling meal tickets, greeting teams and escorting them through the building.  The next robotics competition is December 1st at Masuk High School in Monroe.

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Candlewood Lake Marine Patrol Chief resigns for health reasons

The Candlewoood Lake Authority marine patrol chief is stepping down.  Doug Vane resigned for health reasons and will be replaced during the off-season.  Chairwoman Phyllis Schaer says they will approve the appointment of the chief and assistant chief at the CLA December meeting. 

The authority also plans to honor Vane’s years of service with a plaque. 

Assistant Chief Ron Barnard announced the resignation at last week's CLA meeting, during their end of season report.  There were two fatalities in separate boating accidents on the lake during the season.  The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is still investigating the incidents. 

There were also two reported fires. 

The Marine Patrol interacted with just shy of 600 boaters resulting in 69 infractions, 27 written warnings and 365 verbal warnings.  They looked into personal flotation devices, registration decals, lighting issues and riding on a boat's bow among other concerns.

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Bethel Board of Finance approves Selectmen salary increases

The Bethel Board of Finance has unanimously approved an increase in the first selectman’s salary of 8-point-9 percent.  The position salary is now $95,000 and closer in line with similarly populated towns.  The Board of Finance noted that the raise is meant to encourage more residents to run for the position, which also includes attending events and meetings as well as leading the Public Utilities Commission.  Stipends for the selectmen were also increased $500.  The Board of Finance also sets the salaries for town treasurer, town clerk and registrars.

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New Milford awarded grant to study reuse of 50 East Street

New Milford has been awarded a $20,000 Historic Preservation Enhancement Grant from the state Department of Economic and Community Development Historic Preservation Office.  The money will be used to hire an independent third-party consultant to conduct an adaptive reuse study for 50 East Street.  Mayor Pete Bass hopes to determine the potential future uses and associated renovation costs for the building and property.  The study will include a complete review of local economic development, enhancement and preservation needs. It will include opportunity for public input and participation during the process. The project is expected to begin in mid-winter 2019 and last a few months.

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Conn. man charged for illegal possession of drugs, gun

The Putnam County Sheriff yesterday released information about a Connecticut man arrested last month on gun and drug possession charges.  Deputies saw traffic violations by a driver, later identified as 33-year old Benjamin Hartley of Mansfield, October 30th on Interstate 84 in Southeast.  Hartley was found in possession of Concentrated Cannabis, Marijuana, and a Handgun, for which he does not have a pistol permit. He was charged, arraigned and released on bond.Hartley is due back in court to answer to the charges he was arrested for.

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Thanksgiving gatherings hosted in Greater Danbury area

Some community Thanksgiving gatherings are being held in the Greater Danbury area.  The students and Faculty at the Alternative School for Excellence are inviting the Danbury Community to stop by ACE today between 11am and 1pm.  ACE provides their Annual Thanksgiving Feast as a way to expresses gratitude to the Community. 

Bethel is hosting a community dinner at town hall on Thursday for residents without a place to go this Thanksgiving.  The 3rd annual gathering is from noon to 3pm in the Senior Center cafeteria.  Local residents, businesses and restaurants donated food for the meal.  Attendees are asked to RSVP to the first selectman’s office, which is organizing the gathering.

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Bethel looks to become self-sufficient as state funding decreases

The state Department of Education recently sent out information about Education Cost Sharing Fund projections over the next 10 years.  The figures showed a projected gradual decreases in ECS funds from the state.  Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker cautioned that the numbers were likely to change because there will be a new administration and a change in lawmakers after the election.  Knickerbocker says that means the town should stay on track with budget strategy that's underway, to make the town as self sufficient as possible.  He says that will protect Bethel taxpayers from wild swings in state revenue streams.

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Listening sessions planned in Brookfield, New Milford on regional transportation issues

Listening sessions are planned in Brookfield and New Milford today about the Western Connecticut Council of Governments' Long-Range Transportation Plan.  Each region must prepare a plan every four years, as prerequisite for federal transportation funding.  The plan serves as a guide for developing a system that is accessible, safe, and reliable, thereby contributing to a higher quality of life for the region’s residents. The Listening Session in Brookfield is from noon to 1pm at the Brookfield Library Community Room.  The one in New Milford is from 2 to 3pm at New Milford Town Hall's Upper Level Conference Room.

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New Milford to hold Charter revision information sessions

New Milford Town Attorney Matt Grimes will host two informational sessions about Charter revisions adopted on Election Day.  The changes, most of which are related to town finances, were bundled into one question on the ballot.  The revisions were approved by a 2 to 1 margin.  The sessions tonight and on December 4th will be held at 7pm in Town Hall.  They are expected to last 30 to 45 minutes.

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Another hearing held on proposed private skate rink in Ridgefield

Another hearing has been held by the Ridgefield Planning and Zoning Commission on an application for the Ridgefield Winter Club on Peaceable Street.  During last week's hearing, as with previous hearings, members heard from experts.  This time about the lack of impact on septic, drainage and the local amphibian habitat.  The proposed private skating rink has drawn criticism over traffic volume, noise and light pollution. 

The special permit application is for light poles higher than 14 feet tall.  Proponents note that they would only be on, at most, from 4pm to 10pm.  They would also be shorter than the poles at Tiger Hollow and the ones recently approved for the Little League field on Route 7. 

There will be three more public hearings for the project, including next Tuesday and Thursday.  The last of the hearings scheduled at this point will be held on December 12th.  All will be held at East Ridge Middle School at 7pm. 

The public hearing must legally close by December 13th and the Commission will beginning deliberations on January 8th.  The group must decide on the wetlands part of the application before the zoning part.

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NY man convicted of selling drugs in Putnam County

A New York man has been convicted of selling drugs in Putnam County. The District Attorney reports that 39 year old Omar Miles of Peekskill was sentenced to 24 years in prison. The six-time convicted felon, faced up to 36 years in prison. While on parole, Miles sold cocaine on three different dates last October throughout Putnam County.  He was arrested by the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Enforcement Unit after 12 prior contacts with the criminal justice system, all for drug sales. Noting the defendant’s past criminal record, Judge Rooney characterized it as having been “turn-style justice that has occurred.” Prior to handing down sentence, Judge Rooney said “Drug sale is not a victimless crime. It is simply profiteering on the misery of others.”

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Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce names Previdi Award winner

The Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce has announced this year's recipient of the Previdi Award.  MaryJean Rebeiro, President of the NY - Conn Corporation will be presented with the Award at the Chamber's annual Leaders Luncheon on December 7th.  She opened the company over than 25 years ago and employs more than 70 people who work on residential and large-scale commercial projects throughout Connecticut and New York state, including work at Fairfield University and the Bridgeport Correctional Center.

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Bethel School officials tout success of recent food drivers

A Bethel nonprofit who provides food to families in need has collected over 70 bins of food from the recent food drive at the schools. The food collected for Brotherhood in Action will be used to provide food baskets for the holidays for families in need. Bethel School officials say they are grateful for the donations and thanked the Bethel community for their generosity.

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Local police departments raising money for Conn. cancer patients

Some Southbury Police Department members are half way through No Shave November.  Officers across Connecticut have raised over $62,000 this month for cancer patients in the state.  100% of the donations raised this month will go directly to state residents. The Redding Police Department has officially sold out of personalized pint glasses from their No Shave November fundraiser.  The Department raised $925 for the Connecticut Cancer Foundation to date, just shy of their goal of raising $1,000.

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Former Newtown man sentenced for stealing $2 million from clients, friends

A former Newtown man has been sentenced for  stealing nearly $2 million from clients, friends and family.  62-year old Thomas Murtha was an attorney in Bridgeport and stole the money from more than 20 people, beginning in 2011.  More than half a million of the stolen funds were for the benefit of an individual with mental health issues.  As part of the scheme, Murtha submitted false or forged documents to victims.  He also racked up credit card charges in client names without their knowledge or permission.  He used the money to buy a house in Michigan and on other lavish expenses. Murtha was ordered to pay total restitution, and to forfeit the house and a more than 2-carat diamond engagement ring that the government has seized.

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NY man charged for alleged rape of child

A New York man has been arrested on two counts of rape.  State Police say 25-year old Marco Jacinto Mendez of Southeast was also charged last week for Promotion of a Sexual Performance by a Child.  The mother of the victim became aware an older man was having a relationship with her child.  An investigation determined that Mendez had unlawful sexual contact with the child over a time period when the victim was both under 15-years-old and under 17-years-old.  Investigators also found images of the child performing sexual acts on his cell phone.  Mendez was arraigned and ordered held for an appearance in Brewster Court this morning.

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Hand recount of ballots in 64th CT House District upholds Election Night results

After a hand recount of a close state House race, the Election Night results stand.  Democrat Maria Horn has unseated freshman lawmaker Brian Ohler in the 64th district, which includes Kent and 8 other Litchfield County towns.  After the recount, Horn defeated Ohler by 61 votes.  Two towns in the district reported that there were mistakes in the numbers submitted to the Secretary of the State's Office, bringing the difference to within the margin for an automatic recount.

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Carmel, New York State Police to conduct DWI crackdown Thanksgiving weekend

Carmel Police will participate in a special enforcement effort to crackdown on impaired driving this Thanksgiving weekend.  It’s one of the busiest travel times of the year, and police say that means the potential for more vehicle crashes. In a combined effort to stop impaired driving, prevent injuries and save lives-- law enforcement officers across New York State will take to the roads. The STOP-DWI Crackdown efforts start on Wednesday and will end on Sunday.  Carmel Police say research shows that high-visibility enforcement can reduce impaired driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent. Sobriety checkpoints play a key part in raising awareness about the problem.

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Housatonic Valley Association creating watershed plan for Still River

The Housatonic Valley Association has collaborated with towns, including Brookfield, on an EPA approved watershed plan for the Still River.  As part of the process, a draft existing conditions report on the health of the watershed has been prepared by HVA. 

The organization works to restore and protect the 2,000 square miles of the Housatonic watershed.  Conservation Projects Manager Courtney Moorehouse says work on the Still River area plan started in 2014.  She says most of the impacted area is in Danbury, not Brookfield because of the surrounding geography.  The river is bordered in Brookfield by mostly forested land.  She notes that there are a few spots that lack a buffer where ammonia was measured. 

An accessible and contiguous trail from Danbury, through Brookfield, up to Lovers Leap in New Milford is planned.  Moorehouse says they also want to look into putting in boat launches along the Still River so people can enjoy the natural resource.  There's one in Danbury and one at Erikson Road.  One is planned at Harrybrooke Park this fall.  They are looking to add one near the falls by the Brookfield Craft Center as well. 

Moorehouse says they would do fundraising to accomplish that proposed project.

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Newtown firefighters to collect donations for Food Pantry

Fire companies in Newtown are hosting their annual pre-Thanksgiving food drive this weekend. 

Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue company will be collecting donations for FAITH Food Pantry on Saturday.  They, along with members of Hawleyville and Hook & Ladder companies, will be outside Big Y on Queen Street to fill the fire truck beginning at 10am.  Members of Botsford and Dodgingtown will be stationed outside Stop & Shop on South Main Street.  All items and financial donations received on Saturday will be delivered immediately to the food pantry as soon as the collection ends at 2 o'clock. 

Firefighters will be taking donations of food, personal hygiene and cleaning items, pet supplies, and even cash donations. 

The Bethel Police Department will be joining the Stony Hill Four Corners Association and Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Department for the same collection to also benefit the Bethel Food Pantry.

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Ridgefield residents split approval on Charter revisions

Ridgefield residents weighed in on a number of proposed changes to the town's charter during the election last week.  Residents overwhelmingly supported separating the Ridgefield Inland Wetlands Board from the Planning and Zoning Commission.  Five other proposals were approved and three failed.  

Among those rejected were making the treasurer and tax collector appointed positions.  Voters also defeated a question would ave allowed the Annual Town Meeting to reduce budgets before they are sent to referendum only if the meeting is attended by at least 2-percent of registered town voters. 

Under one approved question, the finance board will now be tasked with creating a “master budget schedule” by which the school board and selectmen’s budgets are heard, commented on, and eventually approved by the voters.  Voters decided to allow selectmen and finance board to determine how to spend money left over when capital projects are completed under their approved budget amount.  Residents voted to prevent a candidate from running for more than one office in single election with overlapping terms. 

The charter’s “standards of conduct” section will be deleted after a new ethics code is proposed by the selectmen and adopted by a town meeting.  A series of “technical changes” were approved.  They include having the “Commission on the Disabled” renamed the “Commission on Accessibility.”

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Two local Police Chiefs to be sworn in to office

Two new police chiefs in the area will take the oath of office today. 

Ridgefield Police Chief Jeff Kreitz will be sworn in this morning.  The ceremony will be held at the Lounsbury House at 11am.  Kreitz was named the new chief of police on October 26th, replacing longtime Chief John Roche who passed away in late August.  The 39-year old takes over from Major Steve Brown, who has been serving as the department’s acting chief for the past several months. 

The ceremony is open to the public. 

A swearing in ceremony will be held tonight for the new Police Chief in New Milford.  Spencer Cerruto will take the oath of office  November 14th at 19 Main Street at 7pm.  The Watertown Police Lt has over 30 years of police and command experience.  Mayor Pete Bass says he has a strong commitment to community policing. 

The contract for outgoing Police Chief Shawn Boyne was not renewed by New Milford officials. 

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Conn. Supreme Court to hear case involving Redding tax appraisal

The Connecticut Supreme Court will be hearing a case involving the Town of Redding today.  The case centers around Redding Life Care, LLC, filing a tax appeal in the trial court to challenge the town's assessment of its property.  The Supreme Court will take up the matter at 10am. 

An appraiser conducted two reviews on behalf of banks considering lending the company money, and the town wanted to compel the appraiser to testify in a deposition.  The appraiser moved for a protective order, noting that he had not been retained by either of the parties to the tax appeal and claiming that Connecticut law prohibited compelling his unretained expert testimony. 

The trial court denied his motion.  The Appellate Court reversed the ruling, holding for the first time that Connecticut law recognizes a qualified unretained expert privilege.

The Supreme Court will consider first whether it has jurisdiction to review the Appellate Court’s final determination.  If the Supreme Court determines that it has jurisdiction, it will next decide whether Connecticut recognizes a qualified expert testimonial privilege permitting an unretained expert to withhold testimony regarding an opinion that the expert has previously rendered and documented in a written report and, if so, what the scope of that privilege is. 

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Brookfield zoners consider drive-thru regulations

The Brookfield Zoning Commission took up a proposed rule change on drive-thrus in the Town Center District on Thursday. 

The Commission is looking into an application from the owner of Dunkin Donuts, to move down the road to the old Hearth Restaurant property.  A hearing on the application was continued to November 29th.  A decision must be made by December 13th, though 65 extension days are available. 

The regional planning agency, the Western Connecticut Council of Governments has sent a letter opposed to the change saying that drive-through developments do not foster an active downtown.   Brookfield is aiming to attract mixed-use developments in the Four Corners area by adding sidewalks and other amenities to the area.

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Sandy Hook firefighters undergo vehicle training session

Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire Company held a driver recertification training session over the weekend.  Among the challenges at the Rescue Truck station were shifting the truck to engage the generator. For Road Driving, each operator needed to follow the direction of the officer with them, safely driving Engine 441 without incident. Aerial Setup and Operation, and Driving/Backing Maneuvers were conducted at Newtown High School.  The Maneuvers station challenged drivers through a course marked with cones and agreed upon common hand signals. Each time a cone was hit, the driver had to return Tanker 49 to its starting point. If a driver hit more than two cones, they failed that station.

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Brookfield zoners consider drive-thru regulations

The Brookfield Zoning Commission took up a proposed rule change on drive-thrus in the Town Center District on Thursday. 

The Commission is looking into an application from the owner of Dunkin Donuts, to move down the road to the old Hearth Restaurant property.  A hearing on the application was continued to November 29th.  A decision must be made by December 13th, though 65 extension days are available. 

The regional planning agency, the Western Connecticut Council of Governments has sent a letter opposed to the change saying that drive-through developments do not foster an active downtown.   Brookfield is aiming to attract mixed-use developments in the Four Corners area by adding sidewalks and other amenities to the area.

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Kent Library, Social Services to host Medicare Open Enrollment event

Kent Library and Kent Social Services will host a Medicare Open Enrollment event Saturday, November 17th at th Library, from 10am to 1pm.  Peter D’Aprile of Kent Station Pharmacy will review Part D prescription plans. Hugh Hill, a licensed insurance agent and Kent resident, will review attendees current Medicare Supplement Plan and/or Medicare Advantage Plan. Participants should bring their current insurance cards, list of current physicians, and list of current medications. No appointment necessary.

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Danbury Fire Department holds promotion ceremony

The Danbury Fire Department is holding a promotion ceremony this afternoon.  Officer Rui Fernandes will be promoted to Sergeant. Lieutenant Heather Anderson is getting promoted to Deputy Fire Marshal. Deputy Fire Marshal Eric Handau is getting promoted to Captain. Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company is touting Handau's promotion, as Handau is a longtime volunteer member.  He has been a career firefighter with the City of Danbury for over 25 years. He is also a part time Paramedic in Brookfield.  

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34th annual Run for the Turkeys 5K in New Fairfield this weekend

The New Fairfield Parks and Recreation Department is hosting the 34th annual Run for the Turkeys 5K road Race/Health Walk this weekend.  There will also be a Kid’s Fun Run around the high school track for children 12 years and under.  There will be digital timing, positional placing, raffle prizes and trophies to the top runners in each division.  The event will be held on Sunday, November 18th.

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First-responder DNA an issue in lawsuit over lawyer's death

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The father of a Connecticut lawyer found shot to death in an overturned SUV is trying to obtain DNA samples from first responders as he seeks to disprove the police conclusion that his son killed himself.

Dr. Abraham Dabela has subpoenaed several Redding police officers and firefighters for DNA samples as part of a lawsuit against Redding police. He says he is trying to determine the source of unknown DNA found on the trigger of his son's gun at the crash site.

Thirty-five-year-old Gugsa Abraham ``Abe'' Dabela was found dead in an overturned SUV near his Redding home in April 2014.

First responders are asking a federal magistrate judge in Hartford to reject the subpoenas. A court hearing is scheduled for Dec. 13.

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Brookfield starts to trim, remove dangerous trees

Brookfield has set aside $50,000 in the budget to identify and remove or trim every dangerous tree in town.  This project includes storm clean-up and normal annual maintenance. 

After a complete review of every town street, town officials are in the process of removing or trimming trees marked with an ‘x’. The priority is to first remove those marked most dangerous, with the rest taken care of as part of work ongoing through the year. 

Brookfield can only work on trees in the town right-of-way. If a tree is on private property, it is the responsibility of the property owner. 

Anyone who sees a tree they consider dangerous is asked to notify the town, and Public Works will assess the situation.

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Johnson School PTO to hear renovation update tonight

The Bethel School Superintendent will be attending the Johnson School PTO meeting tonight to provide an update on the Construction Schedule and Timelines. Environmental Specialist Jim Twitchell and the Construction Manager will be available to answer any questions about construction and/or environmental abatement.  Bethel received approval last month from the state Office of School Construction to go out to bid on the renovation project.  The PTO meeting is at 7pm at Johnson School.

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Bethel to hold hearing on Clarke Park expansion proposal

The Bethel Planning and Zoning Commission is hosting a public hearing tonight about expanding Clarke Business Park.  Trowbridge Drive, a cul-de-sac on the southern edge of the park, would be extended by 16 acres.  As many as 4 businesses could be added. 

The project is expected to cost around $1 million, and residents will need to sign off on the spending, which will also pay for extending the sewer, water and utility lines.  Plans call for the town borrowing the money, with the Economic Development Commission paying back the loan using proceeds from the expansion.  Bethel did receive state grant money for the design and some unused funds, along with more potential grant money could offset the cost. 

The hearing is at 7pm in Bethel Town Hall.

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Discussion on compassion to be held in Ridgefield

Swastikas have been found around Ridgefield over the last two years and some students have reported stress from bullying.  In response, Project Resilience has invited Dr. Christopher Kukk to speak this week.  The founding director of The Center for Compassion, Creativity and Innovation at Western Connecticut State has been instrumental in helping other communities develop a “Cities of Compassion” initiative. He wrote a book about titled The Compassionate Achiever: how Helping Others Fuels Success- a 4-step Program for Cultivating Compassion.  His talk on Wednesday is at 7pm at Scotts Ridge Middle School.

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Ridgefield officials to discuss ban on door-to-door sales

The Ridgefield Board of Selectmen is meeting tonight and will discuss a proposed ordinance revision aimed at preventing door-to-door soliciting.  The current ordinance would eliminate a permit process that allows people to legally pursue door-to-door sales.  Some 1st amendment issues have been raised by Comcast of Connecticut.  Comcast has been seeking a peddling permit since February and objects to delays in acting on the application.  Tonight's Selectmen meeting is scheduled for 6:30pm at Ridgefield Town Hall. 

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Checks presented to vet organizations from Veterans Walkway of Honor in Danbury

Checks were presented yesterday to two veteran organizations, from proceeds raised during the final phase of the brick sales from the Veterans Walkway of Honor in Danbury.  The Danbury War Memorial donated a thousand dollars each to the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs and the Friends of Fisher House Connecticut.  Project Organizer Lee Teicholz says the Veterans Walkway of Honor has raised more than $83,000 since 2013, of which more than $47,000 went to support programs at the Danbury War Memorial and nearly $16,000 more for area organizations serving veterans.

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Danbury schools mark Veterans Day

Students at the King Street Campus gathered early Friday morning to give thanks to the veterans for their service. Tom Saadi, who serves on in the Danbury City Council, spoke to students. Saadi is a Major in the U.S. Army Service and is Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs. 

Some sixth- and seventh-grade students at Rogers Park Middle School had the opportunity to write letters to men and women currently serving in the U.S. military. 

Broadview Middle School students hosted a breakfast Friday morning to honor the men and women who serve or have served. Every student in the school participated in the event from coloring posters that hung in the school’s cafeteria, to handwriting invitations and making gift bags with handwritten cards.

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Bethel School Start Time Committee meets tonight

A Parent Information and Feedback Session is being held in Bethel tonight about the final School Start Time options. The committee is recommending three tiers.  High Schoolers along with St. Mary’s, Nonnewaug, and Abbott Tech start times around 7:45am, the Middle School at 8:20 with Berry, Rockwell and Johnson schools at 9am.  The school district says the cost impact will be minimal with students gaining about 10 minutes in the morning.  A challenge would be to share resources between Bethel High and Middle schools, with increased community stops for the middle school.

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Danbury, Ridgefield Police looking into burglaries at nursing homes

Danbury Police are investigating thefts from assisted living facilities.  Police are searching for a woman dressed in a nursing uniform targeting elderly residents of at least two nursing homes in the city.  The suspect allegedly stole items from purses last week.  During Thursday's City Council meeting, Councilman Ben Chianese mentioned the incidents.  The accountant for Filosa Nursing and Rehabilitation and Hancock Hall says Glen Hill Center warned them about the incidents.  Police Chief Patrick Ridenhour said that was the first he heard of the incidents and would look into it.  Ridgefield Police are also investigating a similar incident. 

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Clean up of storm damage at New Fairfield Cemetery starts today

Clean-up of the New Fairfield Cemetery will begin this morning.  Parking will not be available in the lot in front of the cemetery, and travel on Brush Hill Road will be reduced to one lane at times to accommodate a crane and other necessary equipment.  The cemetery, across the street from Town Hall, suffered significant damage in the May 15th storm.  The estimate for clean up and repairs, including tree removal, was $14,000.  Multiple headstones were damaged, at least three large trees were uprooted and other trees sustained damage.  Headstones in the cemetery date back to the mid-1700s.

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Serial burglar convicted in Putnam County

A serial burglar has been convicted in Putnam County.  A jury convicted Andrew Hickey of Carmel for breaking into three houses over a 5 week period last year, two houses on the same night.  Two of the homes were occupied.  Hickey was traced through DNA left at two of the scenes, and was arrested at the third home with the burglary in progress. Putnam County District Attorney Robert Tendy says Hickey was involved in some very dangerous activity.  In one home a mother and her baby were alone when he broke in, and in another a young woman was alone.  There were no injuries reported in any of the cases.  Sentencing is scheduled for January 15.

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Danbury man charged for alleged sex abuse of child

A Danbury man has been arrested on sex assault charges for allegedly abusing a child.  A several month long investigation into 57-year old David Glahn Jr led to his arrest on Friday.  A female child said the abuse happened a number of years earlier.  He was also charged with 4 counts of risk of injury.  Glahn is being held pending a court appearance. 

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No decision on what to do with old Bethel Police Station

Bethel officials haven't decided yet what to do with the old police station and land on Plumtrees Road.  First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says his thought is that the building will be torn down and the land return to its natural state.  One of the problems with the old station is that it sits in the middle of a flood plain. 

Knickerbocker says part of the property could be used for parking for the nearby athletic fields. 

At some point in the near future, Knickerbocker says they could go to residents for an allocation to outfit the firing range with an air handling system that collects lead dust and filters it out, tracks that run the targets, computers to run the training scenarios.  The plan is to look at how much contingency funding is left over and see how much more will have to be added. 

He is looking into having other nearby towns use the firing range to help save them money and offset some costs.  Knickerbocker called it a good regional sharing opportunity.  Knickerbocker says that could take another couple of months. 

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New Fairfield Representative unopposed, gets 5th term

New Fairfield Representative Richard Smith was unopposed this Election Day.  He has served four terms and will be returned for a fifth term in the state House.  Smith co-sponsored a number of bills last session, but was most proud of the bipartisan budget approved last year.  He says it reduces costs and eases the burden on taxpayers.  

Smith was also proud of blocking toll bills from coming up for a vote.  He says tolls would be hurtful to residents and without a lockbox for transportation funding, it would be another ruse for getting more money to spend on entitlement programs.  He supports the concept of a lockbox, but the proposal still gives the legislature access to the funds.  Money form the gas tax has been earmarked for infrastructure improvements, but Smith says it’s been misappropriated.  He does not support the question on the ballot.

The other constitutional amendment question is about public land sold for private use.  Smith says there are times when a public hearing should be held before that sale, but there are other small transfers that shouldn’t have to go up for a hearing.  He says some transfers, like easements, can be done administratively.  For larger parcels, Smith says the public involvement would be helpful.

The Education Cost Sharing Formula was adjusted last session.  Smith expects further revisions will be needed, but notes that the fairness answer has eluded lawmakers for years.  He says the formula is not fair now and Danbury has been hurt by past reforms.

Smith wants to focus on making the state a place where businesses and taxpayers can thrive.  He says regulations and unfunded mandates have been a constant battle.  He’d like to find a way to reduce taxes on business.

As for legalizing recreational marijuana, Smith has opposed bills in the past.  He says there are so many incidental costs and issues with the legalization in other states, but he can understand why people looking for more revenue would support the idea.  Smith remains concerned about raising money off of marijuana.  On sports betting, he expects the matter to come up.  Smith notes that it’s going on every day and there’s no reason for Connecticut to not get involved, as long as it’s properly regulated.

Smith is a member of the Judiciary Committee.  He says the ban on ghost guns was too widely drafted for him to support the measure.  If it were to be properly drafted, he’d be open to looking at it.  Smith says he understands the concerns about ghost guns not being regulating or traceable.  He remains mindful of second amendment rights, but also about the rights of people to be safe in their homes, schools and other public places.  Smith does not support arming school teachers, but does support retired police officers or military veterans protecting students and teachers.

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Monroe, Newtown state Representative unopposed in 112th District

Monroe Representative JP Sredzinski is running unopposed in the district, which also includes a portion of Newtown.  He has served two terms and will be returned for a third term.  Sredzinski says the budget adopted last year will help improve fiscal stability in the state through bonding and spending caps and stopping 17 tax increases or new taxes.  They were also able to stop a proposal to stop moving teacher pension costs off onto municipalities.  Sredzinski says any governor going forward will be prevented from making mid-year budget cuts to education aid and municipal funding.  He says that’s important because towns set their budget in April or May, before the legislature enacts changes.

Sredzinski is a ranking member on the Public Safety Committee.  One bill that was signed into law dealt with sexual assault evidence collection.  When a person goes to a health care facility, the facility must contact a sexual assault counselor.  In the past, the victim needed to request that help.  The new law does not require a victim to take advantage of the service if they do not want to.  The measure also implements an electronic tracking system for evidence kits.  Sredzinski says there is a tendency for repeat offences, so this should help better help law enforcement. The bill also gives victims access to information about that kit.

Sredzinski wants to continue to make Connecticut more business friendly, give municipalities more predictable funding and improve transportation infrastructure without implementing tolling.  He says the Transportation Committee passed four bills out of committee on tolling, but were never called on the floor of the House because the votes weren’t there for approval.  He was critical of the $10 million toll study, calling unnecessary and irresponsible.  He would have preferred that money go to school construction or school security.

On the idea of legalizing recreational marijuana, Sredzinski says the risks outweigh the reward in terms of public safety versus tax revenue.  He says other states have experience problems with labor issues and impairment tests.  Sredzinski is open to the debate, but doesn’t support the idea right now. 

As for sports betting, Sredzinski says there is a major revenue component.  He says it has to be implemented in the right way.  Sredzinski questioned if it would be available online, if there would be age restrictions and where someone could place a bet.  He’s not sure it should be done at lottery terminals.  He also wants to prevent betting on high school or little league games.  Sredzinski also wants to be able to track any misuse of it.

The ghost gun bill passed out of the Judiciary Committee last year, but did not make it for a vote on the House floor.  Sredzinski says the devil is in the details.  He would like to see any new legislation before committing one way or another on a potential ban.  He wants to allow for the second amendment to exisit, balanced with safety needs.

Sredzinski says the most complaints he gets from constituents are about the DMV.  He called it embarrassing that people have to take a vacation day in 2018 to take care of business.  He says there are a few DMV express facilities that are successful and he’d like to build on that.  He also wants to reinstate the agreement with AAA for licensing services and would be open to privatization of the DMV.  While Sredzinski says that’s an executive branch issue, the legislature has some authority in the budgeting process.

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Danbury officials continue to look into shelter merger

Danbury officials continue to look into an idea proposed by Mayor Mark Boughton in December 2016 to merge the City-run homeless shelter on New Street with the one at Dorothy Day Hospitality House.  Boughton says there is a site location selected, but it's currently in court under foreclosure. 

The City would need cooperation from Dorothy Day, but Boughton says there is a difference in missions.  Dorothy Day doesn't ask any questions when someone shows up.  He says the City wants to know what services people have accessed, what their needs are, and then provide services or point them in the right direction to get that help.  He didn't disclose where the potential site was located. 

There is an ongoing legal battle between the City and zoners about an expired permit, which expired in 1985 and was never renewed. 

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.

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Sports car manufacturer to close on property near Danbury Airport

Specialty sports car and race team Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus is planning to build a new assembly plant in Danbury for its upcoming road-going sports cars.  They have a factory in Sleepy Hollow New York, but it can only build about 1 car per month.  The firm expects to close on the new property at Danbury Airport soon.  The company owner says easy factory access by airplane was a big draw.

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Stefanowski concedes gubernatorial race to Lamont

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski has called Democrat Ned Lamont to concede the race and congratulate him on a hard-fought victory.  While this is not the result he hoped for, Stefanowski says he was glad to draw so much attention to the tax burden in this state.  He hopes that by relentlessly focusing on that issue he has started the conversation on how to bring the tax burden on Connecticut families down. 

 

Democrats won other statewide contests including Comptroller, Secretary of the State, Treasurer and U.S. Senate.

 

Voter turnout statewide is about 65-percent.  In Brookfield it was slightly higher at 69-percent.  Danbury and Bethel each had a 58-percent voter turnout.  Bethlehem was 80-percent, Bridgewater 77-percent, Monroe was at 70-percent, New Milford 65-percent, Newtown 77-percent, Roxbury 82-percent and Wilton 72-percent.

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Residents weigh in on ballot questions

Danbury residents signed off on a more than $102 million appropriation and bond authorization for the construction, upgrades and replacement to the water pollution control plant and facilities system.  Mayor Mark Boughton says the challenge now is figuring out how much state grant money will be available to offset the cost. 

Residents in New Milford have approved the single question about all of the recommendations in a report from the Charter Revision Commission.  New Milford residents also agreed to borrow $6.5 million for the proposed renovation and expansion of the Library, with the balance of the project to be funded by grants and private contribution.

Ridgefield residents approved $48 million in bonding for improvements to the wastewater treatment plant.  Some proposed Charter revisions were approved, others have been rejected.

Newtown residents have approved $14.8 million in bonding for the construction and development of a new police station, including the acquisition of buildings and land at 191 South Main Street and 61 Pecks Lane. 

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Election Night Greater Danbury 2018 Results

Election Night Greater Danbury 2018

BOLD = projected winner

* = incumbent

 

Town/District/Position Candidate/Party Vote Totals
      
24th Senate: Danbury, Bethel, Michael McLachlan* (R) 14414
                         and New Fairfield Julie Kushner(D) 16984
     
26th Senate: Bethel, Redding, Toni Boucher* (R) 24521
                   Ridgefield, Wilton Will Haskell (D) 27991
     
28th Senate: (portion of Newtown) Tony Hwang* (R) 25128
  Michelle McCabe (D) 23162
     
30th Senate: New Milford, Brookfield Craig Miner* (R) 22745
  David Lawson (D) 19506
     
32nd Senate: Bethlehem, Washington ,Seymour Eric Berthel* (R) 26061
  Catherine P DeCarli (D) 16599
     
2nd House: Danbury, Bethel, William Duff* (R) 4863
                      Redding, Newtown Raghib Allie-Brennan (D) 5509
     
64th House: Kent Brian Ohler* (R) 5806
  Maria P Horn (D) 5858
     
67th House: New Milford William Buckbee* (R) 5364
  Thomas O'Brien (D) 3802
     
69th House: Southbury Arthur O'Neill* (R) 7085
  Greg Cava (D) 4745
     
106th House: Newtown Mitch Bolinsky* (R) 5683
  Rebekah Harriman-Stites (D) 5538
     
107th House: Brookfield, Bethel Steve Harding* (R) 6890
  Daniel Pearson (D) 4736
     
108th House: New Fairfield, Danbury, New Milford Richard Smith* (R) 5994
     
109th House: Danbury David Arconti* (D) 3807
  Veasna Roeun (R) 2164
     
110th House: Danbury Bob Godfrey* (D) 2497
  Erin Domenech (R) 933
     
111th House: Ridgefield John Frey* (R) 6326
  Aimee Berger-Girvalo (D) 5888
     
112th House: Newtown, Monroe JP Sredzinski* (R) 7993
     
135th House: Redding Adam Dunsby* (R) 5576
  Anne Hughes (D) 6567
     
138th House: Danbury, New Fairfield, Michael Ferguson* (R) 4635
                         Ridgefield Ken Gucker (D) 4826
     
5th Congressional District Jahana Hayes (D) 148,040
  Manny Santos (R) 117,239
  John Pistone (write in) 13
     
4th Congressional District Jim Himes* (D) 165,278
  Harry Arora (R) 106,171
     
U.S. Senate Chris Murphy* (D) 740,958
  Matt Corey (R) 524,919

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Hayes declares victory in tight race for Congress

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Acclaimed educator Jahana Hayes will become the first black woman to represent Connecticut in Congress after winning the state’s open seat.

Hayes, a Democrat, defeated Republican Manny Santos, a former mayor of Meriden, to represent the state’s northwest corner.

The 2016 National Teacher of the Year only recently got involved in politics. She capitalized on her life story as a onetime teen mother who overcame poverty and rose to the height of her profession.

Hayes will succeed U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty. The Democrat chose not to seek re-election after being criticized for her slow handling of a sexual harassment case in her office. It involved her former chief of staff, who was not fired for several months following allegations he punched and threatened a female staffer.

On the campaign trail, Hayes called for strengthening the public education system and passing stronger federal gun safety laws.

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US Rep. Jim Himes wins fourth term

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Jim Himes has been re-elected to a fourth term in the House representing the southwest corner of Connecticut.

The Democrat on Tuesday defeated Republican candidate Harry Arora, an investment manager who grew up in India and became a U.S. citizen after coming to the states for graduate school.

The 52-year-old Himes is a former Goldman Sachs & Co. banker from Greenwich. He has touted his efforts to create financial regulatory reform, help improve the economy and support more funding to improve roads, bridges and rail lines.

Like other members of Connecticut’s all-Democrat congressional delegation, Himes also has been an outspoken critic of many of President Donald Trump’s policies.

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GOP candidate calls out wave of new voters

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The Republican candidate for governor is raising concerns about what he’s calling a “mass swearing in” of new voters in New Haven and at the University of Connecticut.

In a series of tweets, Bob Stefanowski’s campaign claims people are being allowed to vote even though their Election Day registrations have not been processed. The campaign says such ballots “should be kept separate and counted as provisional,” claiming what’s allegedly happening is illegal.

A message has been left with the Secretary of the State Denise Merrill’s spokesman.

Earlier Tuesday, Merrill said about 8,000 people had used Connecticut’s law allowing them to register and vote on the same day. She has advised people to register early so they can be entered into the computer system before the polls closed.

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Election Night Greater Danbury Results 2019

Election Night Greater Danbury 2019

BOLD = winner

* = incumbent

Vote tallies unofficial until certified by the Secretary of the State

 

TOWN/OFFICE CANDIDATE/PARTY   TOTAL
       
Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker* (D)   2,236
  Pat Rist (R)   1,946
  Bill Ochs (petitioning)   312
       
Brookfield First Selectman Steve Dunn* (D)   2,500
  Mel Butow (R)   1,954
       
Kent First Selectman Jean Speck (D)   661 
  Ed Matson (R)   431
       
Newtown First Selectman Dan Rosenthal* (D)    
       
New Fairfield First Selectman Pat Del Monaco* (D)   2,357
  John Hodge (R)   1,353
       
New Milford Mayor Tom O'Brien (D)    
  Pete Bass* (R)    
       
Redding First Selectman Julia Pemberton* (D)   1,762
       
Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi* (D)   4,763
  Dick Moccia (R)   2,472
       
Sherman First Selectman Don Lowe* (D)    
       
Southbury First Selectman Richard Boritz (D)   2,276
  Jeff Manville* (R)   3,433
       
Wilton First Selectman Deborah McFadden (D)   1,541
  Lynne Vanderslice* (R)   2,924
  Michael Powers (petitioning)   116
       
 Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton* (R)   8,598
  Chris Setaro (D)   7,372
       
Danbury Treasurer Daniel Jowdy* (R)   8,339
  Kate Johnson (D)   6,747
       
Danbury Town Clerk Janice Giegler* (R)   7,792
  Andrea Gartner (D)   7,189
       
Danbury City Council at Large Coleen Stanley* (R)   7,602
Elect 7 Michael Esposito* (R)   8,314
  Warren Levy* (R)   7,621
  Bruce Bennett* (R)   7,407
  Emile Buzaid Jr (R)   7,951
  Rachel Chaleski (R)   7,128
  Philip Curran* (R)   7,374
  Robert Taborsak* (D)   7,426
  Timothy Gaburungyi (D)   6,178
  Wilson Hernandez (D)   6,887
  Roberto Alves (D)   7,429
  Anjali Illescas (D)   6,283
  Frank Salvatore Jr (D)   7,450
  Helena Abrantes (D)   7,127
       
Danbury Ward 1 (Elect 2) Irving Fox* (R)   1,296
  John Priola* (R)   1,260
  Dennis Perkins (D)   1,172
  George O'Loughlin (D)   1,067
       
Danbury Ward 2 (Elect 2) Vinny DiGilio* (R)   1,112
  Elmer Palma* (R)   1,194
  Kirsten Kovacs-Hardy (D)   980
  Elvis Novas (D)   879
       
Danbury Ward 3 (Elect 2) Chris Arconti* (R)   1,614
  Joe Cavo* (R)   1,510
  Mary Consoli (D)   1,003
  Carolyn Thibodeau (D)   947
       
Danbury Ward 4 (Elect 2) Alexander Rodriguez (R)   565
  Erin Domenech (R)   557
  Farley Santos* (D)   992
  John Esposito* (D)   1,044
       
Danbury Ward 5 (Elect 2) Delvin Rodriguez (R)   565
  Matthew Orr (R)   537
  Duane Perkins* (D)   937
  Fred Visconti* (D)   910
       
Danbury Ward 6 (Elect 2) Andrew Wetmore (R)   901
  Rachel Mary Halas (R)   970
  Paul Rotello* (D)   1,096
  Ben Chianese* (D)   1,142
       
Danbury Ward 7 (Elect 2) Nancy Cammisa* (R)   928
  Joe Scozzafava* (R)   868
  Fidel Hombra (D)   885
  Richard Molinaro (D)   1,023
       
Danbury Board of Education  A. Kathryn Hodgdon (R)   7,063
Elect 6 Maegen Bollin(R)   6,871
  Ralph Pietrafesa* (R)   6,738
  Loren Daly (R)   8,123
  Albert Russo (R)   7,749
  Veasna Rouen (R)   7,140
  Gladys Cooper* (D)   7,524
  Joseph Britton* (D)   7,885
  Kate Conetta* (D)   7,874
       
Board of Ed to fill vacancy Eileen Alberts (R)   6,342
Vote for 2 Patrick Johnston* (R)   5,971
  Kathy Molinaro (D)   7,303
  Joseph DaSilva Jr (D)   7,494
       

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Democratic US Sen. Chris Murphy wins 2nd term

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Democratic U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy has won a second term in office, defeating a little-known Republican small businessman.

Murphy had amassed a war chest 100 times bigger than Matt Corey, who runs a high-rise window clean business in Hartford. It was a marked difference from his 2012 victory, when Murphy defeated former professional wrestling executive Linda McMahon, who spent about $50 million of her own money on the race.

The 45-year-old Murphy spent much of the campaign helping fellow Democrats. He also transferred $320,000 from his $14.5 million campaign fund to the state Democrats to help with field organizing.

Murphy has said he wanted to make sure Democrats were doing “everything possible to get the biggest turnout we could.”

Corey accused him of not taking the race seriously.

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Long lines reported at Connecticut polls

Connecticut officials say voter turnout appears to be brisk as residents decide the state's close battle for governor and other races.

The Secretary of the State's Office says there were reports of long lines at many polling places Tuesday morning, but no reports of any major problems. The 2.16 million registered voters in the state is the highest number in recent memory.

The Bethel Registrars report that the voting surge continued through 10am, with 21% of voters casting a ballot. This compares to just a 9% turnout by 10am in the 2017 Municipal Election.

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton says similar bumps are seen in the City.  At 11am, 21.6% of Danbury voters have cast their ballot.  In 2010 at the same time of day there were 18.5% ballots cast.  In 2014, it was only 15.7%.

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Bethel School Start Time Committee meets tonight

The Bethel School Start Times Committee continues to examine possible changes in schedules.  The committee felt that there was not enough support in a recent survey of stakeholder groups to flip secondary and elementary times, eliminating that option.  Those opposed cited increased cost of aftercare and getting kids up before 7:30 being too early.  The committee will be reconvening tonight to discuss a final recommendation. On November 12th, there will be an informational meeting for parents on the final option. The meeting will be at 6PM in the BHS Auditorium.

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Sentencing of former Redding Board of Ed chair postponed

Sentencing was postponed yesterday for a former Redding Board of Ed chairman.  The Newstimes reports that Sara Sobel asked the court to seal letters and other documents provided on her behalf.   She pleaded guilty to promoting a minor in an obscene performance and facing up to 10 years in prison.  Sentencing was continued to December 5th. A hearing on the motion to seal the documents will be held prior to the sentencing.

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Greater Danbury residents to vote on bonding, charter revisions

Residents going to the polls today in certain towns will be casting votes for more than just candidates. Every state resident gets to weight in on two constitutional questions.  One would create a lockbox for transportation funding. 

The other requires a public hearing and a 2/3 vote of the legislature before the sale or give away of public lands.   It's for property held by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, such as state parks, forests and wildlife areas.  State-owned agricultural lands or Department of Agriculture easements would also be subject to the change.

Residents in New Milford and in Ridgefield are being asked to vote on Charter Revision questions.  In New Milford, the single question is about all of the recommendations in a report from the Charter Revision Commission.  New Milford residents are also being asked whether $6.5 million should be approved for the proposed renovation and expansion of the Library, with the balance of the project to be funded by grants and private contribution.

In Ridgefield, there are nine separate questions.  One is about technical and administrative changes, another restricts people from running for elective office where the terms overlap and two would make the Town Treasurer and Tax Collector appointed positions.  One proposal would separate the Inland Wetlands Board from the Planning and Zoning Commission, consisting of 7 members.  Residents can also decide if they want to have a “Master Budget” schedule specifying the timing and process of the Budget Cycle.  Residents are also being asked whether the a line item in the Board of Selectmen budget of the whole Board of Ed budget can be decreased or deleted by Town Meeting, as long as at least 2% of the qualified voters are present at the start of the meeting.  A new section would be added to the Charter, if approved, to define the process for dealing with appropriations or transfers of unexpended capital project balances.  Article XI could be deleted in its entirety upon the approval and adoption of a Standard of Conduct Ordinance at a Special Town Meeting

Danbury residents will get to weigh in on a more than $102 million appropriation and bond authorization for the construction, upgrades and replacement to the water pollution control plant and facilities system.  It's a $48 million project in Ridgefield. 

Newtown residents are being asked if $14.8 million should be approved for the construction and development of a new police station, including the acquisition of buildings and land at 191 South Main Street and 61 Peck’s Lane. 

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Residents heading to the polls for state, Congressional elections

State Senate Contests

Democrat Julie Kushner is running in the 24th state Senate District to challenge Republican incumbent Michael McLachlan. The District includes Danbury, New Fairfield, Sherman and part of Bethel.

The race for a state Senate district which includes Ridgefield and part of Bethel features a woman who has served in the legislature for 22-years being challenged by a 22-year old.  Republican incumbent Senator Toni Boucher is seeking another term in the 26th District.  Democrat Will Haskell is looking to unseat her.

Republican state Senator Craig Miner is seeking another term in the 30th District, which includes New Milford and Brookfield.  Democrat David Lawson, a retired teacher who serves on the New Milford Board of Education, is looking to unseat him. 

 

State House Races

The 2nd District state Representative race is a rematch of the 2016 contest.  Democrat Raghib Allie-Brennan is challenging Republican Will Duff for the seat, which Allie-Brennan lost by 280 votes.  The district includes parts of Bethel, Redding and Newtown. 

New Milford Republican state Representative Bill Buckbee, who is seeking a second term in the 67th House District, is being challenged by Democrat Tom O’Brien.  

Republican Mitch Bolinsky is seeking his fourth term representing Newtown in the state House.  Democrat Rebeckah Harriman-Stites is looking to unseat him in the 106th District

Brookfield Republican state Representative Stephen Harding is seeking another term in the 107th District.  Democrat Daniel Pearson is looking to unseat Harding in the district that also includes the Stony Hill section of Bethel and a small part of Danbury. 

Republican New Fairfield Representative Richard Smith is unopposed in the 108th District, which also includes a parts of Danbury, New Milford and Sherman.

Democratic State Representative David Arconti is seeking another term in office representing Danbury.  Republican Veasna Rouen is running against him in the 109th state House district, a rematch of the 2016 race. 

Danbury state Representative Bob Godfrey has been in office for 30 years and is seeking another term in office.  He is being challenged in the 110th District by Republican Erin Domenech.  

Democrat Aimee Berger-Girvalo is challenging longtime Republican state Representative John Frey in the 111th District of Ridgefield.  

Monroe Representative JP Sredzinki is unopposed in the 112th District, which also includes part of Newtown.

Easton First Selectman Adam Dunsby is seeking a second term representing the 135th State House District, which includes Redding and Weston.  Democrat Anne Hughes is running against him. 

Danbury Republican state Representative Michael Ferguson is seeking a second term in office.  Democrat Ken Gucker is challenging the freshman lawmaker.  The 138th District includes sections of Danbury, New Fairfield and Ridgefield.

 

Federal Positions

Two Congressional Districts cover the Greater Danbury area.  The 4th District includes Redding, Ridgefield and Wilton.  There were three debates between Democratic incumbent Jim Himes and Republican Harry Arora.  Himes has represented the District since 2009.  Arora is a hedge fund owner who emigrated to the United States from India for college. 

There is an open seat representing the 5th District in Congress.  2016 National Teacher of the Year Jahana Hates, a Democrat, and former Meriden Mayor Manny Santos, a Republican, are vying for the position.

Democratic U.S. Senator Chris Murphy is seeking a second term.  He is being challenged by small business owner Republican Matt Corey.  The pair only had one debate this campaign season.

 

State Constitutional Offices

Democratic incumbent Secretary of the State Denise Merrill faces a challenge from Republican former New Fairfield First Selectman Susan Chapman.

Seymour First Selectman Kurt Miller won the Republican nomination for Connecticut state comptroller during the August Primary.  The 48-year-old has served four terms in Seymour. He will face Democratic incumbent Kevin Lembo in the general election.  

Investment manager Thad Gray won the Republican primary for state treasurer.  The 58-year-old worked recently as chief investment officer at Abbot Capital Management.  Shawn Wooden won the Democratic primary.  The former Hartford City Council president is an attorney who focuses on investment and securities law. 

State lawmaker William Tong won the Democratic primary for Connecticut attorney general in a three-way race.  Tong is the son of Chinese immigrants and campaigned on his willingness to challenge the policies of President Trump.  State prosecutor Sue Hatfield won the Republican primary.  Hatfield was a policy assistant for Newt Gingrich and has said she wants the attorney general's office to be more pro-business.  

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Sample ballots for Greater Danbury area municipalities released

Below are links to sample ballots for towns in the Greater Danbury area.  Some residents will be deciding on issues beyond elected officials.

Bethel

Bridgewater

Brookfield

Danbury

Sewer rate increases in Danbury will be significant if voters approve mandated phosphorus removal equipment installation and other work at the Waste Water Treatment Plant. Finance Director David St. Hilaire says it will be a few years before the City sees the full impact of the bond.  While Danbury will start making principal and interest payments, the City will begin borrowing in 2022, if residents vote for the $102 million in upgrades.

Easton

Kent

Monroe

New Fairfield

New Milford 

New Milford residents are being asked whether funding should be approved to renovate and expand the library.  $6.5 million is bonding is being requested, with the balance of the project to be funded by grants and private contribution.  The other question is about all of the recommendations in a report from the Charter Revision Commission. 

Newtown

Newtown residents are being asked if $14.8 million should be approved for the construction and development of a new police station, including the acquisition of buildings and land at 191 South Main Street and 61 Peck’s Lane. 

Redding

Ridgefield

Residents in Ridgefield are being asked to vote on Charter Revision questions today when they go to the polls to elect various officials.  There are 9 separate questions.  Construction, upgrades and replacement to the water pollution control plant and facilities system is also on the ballot.  It's a $48 million project. 

Sherman

Washington

Wilton

 

Voters will decide whether to make two changes to Connecticut's constitution.

One asks whether the constitution should be changed to ensure transportation revenues are spent on transportation projects. A coalition of labor organizations, environmental groups and transportation organizations has been pushing for the change, saying it will help to stop the money from being spent on other state programs.

The second amendment calls for placing limits on the General Assembly when it attempts to transfer or sell state-owned property to a non-state entity.

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New Milford man pleads guilty to tax evasion

A New Milford man has pleaded guilty to a tax evasion charge.  50-year old William Anderson owns several companies in the region including landscaping and excavation businesses.  Anderson failed to pay more than $1.2 million in federal income taxes for the 2007 through 2014 tax years.  He did that by using business income to buy cashier's checks to keep the income out of his accounts. Anderson is scheduled to be sentenced in January and faces up to 5 years in prison.  He's agreed to cooperate with the IRS to pay all outstanding taxes, interest and penalties.

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Brookfield officials advance school building proposal

The Brookfield Board of Selectmen has voted in favor of plans to build a new Huckleberry Hill Elementary School.  The $78-million proposal has been forwarded to the Board of Finance.  Plans call for demolishing the current building, and constructing a three-level school for pre-K through 5th grade on the same property.  That would turn a vacant Center School over to the town for municipal use.  A special town meeting would be held in January, with a referendum in March, if the Board of Finance signs off.  Officials will apply for a state grant to bring the cost down.

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Newtown Police seek driver who fled from crash into utility pole

Newtown Police are looking for a driver who crashed into a utility pole overnight and fled the scene.  A pickup truck was headed north on Parmalee Hill Road shortly after midnight and went off the road.  The utility pole was snapped in half.  Newtown Police are looking for a white male driver, about 6 foot tall, about 50 years old with blue eyes and glasses.  The driver fled on foot in the area of 14 Parmalee Hill Road and sustained unknown injuries.  Anyone with information is asked to contact Newtown Police at 203-426-5841. 

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Hawleyville firefighters practice with new truck during training session

Members of the Hawleyville Volunteer Fire Company participated in the hands-on portion of a 3-day Basic Aerial Operations course over the weekend. Members spent over 8 hours practicing Truck placement, stabilization, master stream operations, and reaching objectives with their new 75-foot-long telescoping power ladder.  The company's Assistant Chief instructed the class.

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FuelCell buys plant in Bridgeport from Dominion Energy

Danbury-based FuelCell Energy has bought an existing 14.9 megawatt fuel cell park in Bridgeport from Dominion Energy.  FuelCell developed, constructed and commissioned the plant in December of 2013 and has maintained the plant since it was commissioned.  The agreement is the result of a competitive bid process undertaken by Dominion Energy.  FuelCell officials say this is part of the company's effort to retain generation assets and notes that the Connecticut Green Bank is playing a key role in financing the acquisition. Total cash consideration to be paid is $36.6 million. The closing is expected by the end of the year.

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Another hearing in New Fairfield on proposed blight ordinance

The New Fairfield Board of Selectmen will hold a second Public Hearing this week to gather comments on the Draft Blight Ordinance currently under consideration. The amended draft addresses concerns that residents expressed at the October 22nd public hearing.  Any New Fairfield residents concerned about the issue of blight is encouraged to attend. The hearing will be held in the Community Room at the Senior Center at 7pm on Wednesday.

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Listening session planned in Ridgefield on regional transportation issues

A listening session is planned in Ridgefield about the Western Connecticut Council of Governments' Long-Range Transportation Plan.  Each region must prepare a plan very four years, as prerequisite for federal transportation funding.  The plan serves as a guide for developing a transportation system that is accessible, safe, and reliable, thereby contributing to a higher quality of life for the region’s residents. WestCOG is kicking off the public engagement process by hosting listening sessions to meet with residents who are interested in the transportation system.  The Listening Session in Ridgefield Wednesday is at 6:30pm at the Library. 

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Himes, Arora face off in 4th Congressional District

There were three debates in the 4th Congressional District, which includes Redding, Ridgefield and towns in southwestern Connecticut.  Democratic incumbent Jim Himes is facing a challenge from Republican Harry Arora.  Himes has represented the District since 2009.  Arora is a hedge fund owner who emigrated to the United States from India for college. Himes previously worked at Goldman Sachs.  Arora traded commodities for Enron.

The pair differ on nearly every issue.  Arora is a staunch defender of President Trump’s foreign policy and his America First campaign.  Himes is critical of the President’s “love affair” with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un.  Arora supports tariffs on China and U.S. allies.  Himes says the tariffs are hurting U.S. businesses.

On the Paris Accord, Arora says pulling out of the climate deal was good because the measure was ineffective.  Himes was critical of the move. 

As for health care, Himes acknowledged that the Affordable Care Act isn’t perfect.  He says it has led to more people having health insurance though.  Arora says the ACA is unfair and inefficient.  He suggested separating people with pre-existing conditions into their own subsidized health care pool and allow healthy people more options.

When it comes to immigration, Arora called for a “compassionate but firm” approach, but didn’t provide specifics.  He was critical of Himes for voting against a bill that provided $25 billion for a border wall, barred the separation of children from their parents at the border and provided a legal path to citizenship for DREAMERS. 112 Republicans and all Democrats voted against the bill.  Himes says he wanted a Senate bill that included money for border security, but not a wall.  It would have created an e-verify system for employers and supported a “rigorous path to citizenship” for people currently in the U.S. undocumented.

The pair also discussed gun violence.  Himes favored voluntary smart gun technology that would allow a gun to be fired only by its owner.  He’d also like to see Connecticut’s post-Sandy Hook laws implemented across the country, including universal background checks, limits on assault weapons and on the rounds in a magazine.  Arora says any new law would have to be implementable, in line with the Constitution, and would have to work.

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Air quality monitoring station planned in Kent

Western Connecticut Clean Air Action plans to install an air quality monitoring station in Kent to measure pollutant levels before and after the Cricket Valley Energy Center begins operating in 2020. Several other monitoring locations in neighboring towns are under consideration.  The natural gas-fired electric generation plant is just over the state line in Dover Plains, New York.  The nearest DEEP air monitoring stations are 18 miles away in Cornwall and 26 miles away in Thomaston.  The Kent Conservation Commission argues that those monitors aren't close enough, and the monitors at the base of the smokestacks won't account for wind drift to accurately show ground level measurements in Kent.

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Intersection reconfiguration project in Newtown nearly complete

An intersection realignment project in Newtown is nearing completion.  The Route 25-Pecks Lane-Prospect Lane project should be complete on or before the original mid-November schedule, barring weather delays.  Paving is scheduled to begin today.  Work relocating utility poles delayed the project somewhat.  This state project is aimed at improving visibility, traffic flow and safety versus the old 5-way, triangular intersection.  South Main was shifted, leveled and graded to increase sight lines and provide easier, extended passing opportunities for southbound travelers.  The confusing intersection of Pecks Lane and Prospect Drive was being removed and replaced with a right-angle intersection.

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New Fairfield seeks volunteers for CERT

The Town of New Fairfield Office of Emergency Management is recruiting volunteers to form a Community Emergency Response Team. Officials say the May 15 storm reinforced the need for a team of trained volunteers to help first responders in the event of an emergency. CERT duties can range from supporting the emergency shelter, directing traffic, assessing storm damage and community outreach. Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age and willing to participate in 20 hours of training, including classroom training, hands on training and emergency response exercises.  The CERT application can be found on the New Fairfield Town website and must be submitted by today.

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Former Redding Board of Ed chair to be sentenced

Sentencing is scheduled today for the former chair of the Redding Board of Education.  Sarah Sobel faces up to 10 years in prison for providing pornographic photos and videos of a young child to a convicted sex offender.  Sobel is accused of offering Stephen Overby, a man who she described as a “close personal friend” in court documents, access to a child that he then abused.  Overby was sentenced to 18 years in prison earlier this year on sexual assault charges.  Under a deal with prosecutors, Sobel agreed to a 30-year prison sentence suspended after 10 years, but can argue for a reduced sentencing today.

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Danbury UNIT cleans up Metro North station

The Danbury Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team spent a couple of days last month cleaning the grounds of the Metro North train station.  The work included picking up garbage/litter, weedwacking overgrown grass, and power-washing the entry ways.  Some areas of the station needing further attention and/or repairs was noted. Most of the work was completed by all of the members of UNIT.  The department also coordinated workers from Clean Start to paint the pillars and fire hydrant in front of the station.  UNIT officials say they have been working to address any safety concerns and to routinely patrol the grounds to prevent unpermitted loitering.

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Consumer Consel fights PURA on blocking towns from providing affordable broadband

Consumer Counsel Elin Swanson Katz has filed a Brief in the lawsuit challenging a ruling by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority that limits the ability of municipalities to provide affordable, high-speed broadband internet services to the general public. 

PURA ruled in May that cities and towns cannot use their statutory right to a designated space on utility poles to provide broadband service, despite a 2013 General Assembly statutory amendment clarifying that towns and other public users can use the Municipal Gain for any purpose.  PURA ruled that fiber wiring can only be used for internal municipal communications, such as communication between schools, and cannot be used to provide broadband internet services to residents or local businesses. 

Katz says PURA is an administrative agency and must follow and implement the law as written. 

The Town of Sharon estimated in their legal brief that approximately 10%-15% of the homes do not have access to broadband internet services, despite repeated attempts to get existing providers to extend service.   The defendants, including PURA, Frontier, and NECTA, must file their responsive briefs by December 7. 

Oral argument will be held at a date to be determined.  The Office of Consumer Counsel would expect a ruling from the Superior Court in the spring of 2019.  

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Ridgefield Police host unique 5k

The Ridgefield Police Benevolent Association is hosting a unique 5k run on Sunday that benefits the Women's Center of Greater Danbury. The runners will all get a head start, then the Ridgefield Police Officers will "give chase" The host organization will donate an extra dollar for every runner that an officer "catches"/passes.  The family friendly race starts at 7:30am and winds it's way around downtown Ridgefield over roads, wooded trails, around buildings, through fields, and the rail trail.

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Danbury Police ID pedestrian struck and killed Thursday

Danbury Police have identified the woman who was struck and killed by a car yesterday morning. Police say family members identified the pedestrian as 69-year old Clemencia Guallpa of Danbury.  The investigation is still ongoing.  Police are asking anyone who witnessed the crash on Franklin Street around 6:30am yesterday to contact them at (203) 797-2157.   A  preliminary investigation determined that 38-year-old Angel Cambizaca of Danbury hit the pedestrian.

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Southbury Police search for shoplifting suspect

Southbury Police are looking to identify an individual wanted for a shoplifting incident at Walgreens that happened yesterday evening.  The suspect was caught on surveillance video around 6:15 pm.  He was described as having some facial tattoos. Anyone with information is urged to call the Southbury Police Department at 203-264-5912. All calls will be kept confidential.

 

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DHS to host band competition

Danbury High School Marching Band will host the 2018 USBands New England Regional competition on Saturday.  Bands from Connecticut scheduled to compete include Newtown, Norwalk, Southington, Trumbull, Naugatuck and Shelton, plus bands from Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. The UCONN Marching Band will be giving a featured exhibition performance.  The event is from 4:45pm to 10pm at the Danbury High School stadium field.   In case of inclement weather the competition will be moved into the Danbury High School Auditorium.  Gates open at 4pm. Spectator parking will be in the Beckerle Street lot. Tickets are $12 and available at the gate.

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Rake n Bake later this month in Brookfield

The 19th annual Rake n’ Bake event is coming up next weekend.  The event is from 7:30am to 1pm on November 10th, but the last day to register online is Friday.  More than 1,000 volunteers are expected to clear leaves at more than 80 homes for this event, which is organized by Brookfield-based nonprofit Handy Dandy Handyman. Volunteers begin the day at Brookfield High School’s gym before heading out, and then return to the school for a reception. Volunteers are asked to bring their own rakes, blowers and tarps.  The event is rain or shine.

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Danbury Police seek public's help identifying pedestrian killed in crash

Danbury Police are asking for the public's help in identifying a woman who was fatally struck by a car on Franklin Street yesterday morning.  Police received a call around 6:30am about a driver hitting a pedestrian. 

A preliminary investigation determined that 38-year-old Angel Cambizaca of Danbury hit the middle age female, who was in the roadway.  She was transported to the hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries.

The victim is described as being white, possibly Hispanic, in her 50’s, approximately 5 feet tall with short black hair.  She was wearing a black knit hat, blue slip on sneakers, blue fleece lined leggings with patterns on the pockets, DKNY gray hooded fleece lined coat, and a white t-shirt. She was also wearing gold and silver colored dangling-type rope earrings, a gold colored ring with clear baguette cornerstones and purple center stone and a gold colored Timex watch with a white face. 

Anyone who witnessed this collision or has information on the identity of the female pedestrian is asked to contact Officer Keith Leggiadro or Officer Matthew Malone at (203) 797-2157.

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Working families advocate looks to unseat longtime state Senator in Danbury

Democrat Julie Kushner is running in the 24th state Senate District to challenge Republican incumbent Michael McLachlan. The District includes Danbury, New Fairfield, Sherman and part of Bethel.  Kushner raised her family in Connecticut and decided to run because to get some fresh perspectives in Hartford.  She is a working families advocate. 

McLachlan opposes the idea of tolling, saying it’s just another tax and an additional burden on residents.  He rejects the argument of proponents who say out-of-staters and heavy duty trucks paying their fair share is the goal, but McLachlan says the reality is that the total toll bill is going to be 75% paid by Connecticut residents.  He says the lock box is a good idea, but the proposal on the ballot has bus-sized loopholes.  He says the key is that it only stops money once the funding is in the lockbox from being spent on anything other than roads.  But he notes that it can be diverted before it gets to the lock box.

Kushner opposes tolls.  She says it would be a big financial hit on people in the district.   While there is a need to invest in transportation infrastructure, she doesn’t believe funding from tolls would be a good way to make those improvements.

Kushner says one of the highest priorities in the state should be fully funding the schools.  Her now adult son had learning disabilities and got tremendous support from the teachers and the special ed department at Danbury High School and today he has a master's degree.  She says that would not have happened without the care given to him by the teachers.  She wants to implement Universal Pre-K and focus on fully funding vocational education.  Kushner added that the state should do a better job of promoting vo-tech schools, because they are preparing students for the jobs of tomorrow.

McLachlan says some changes were made last session to the education cost sharing formula, making it less of a political game.  He says level, fair and equitable funding for schools in Connecticut that id closer to reality.  He notes that Danbury is the only school district in Western Connecticut that's growing and called it a scary idea for City taxpayers that Danbury may have to build another school.  He wants to see more ECS reforms to benefit Danbury.

There’s been an ongoing battle in New Fairfield, with the town wanting to ban walk ins at Squantz Pond, but the state hasn’t been willing to make the move.  McLachlan says it was disappointing to get to the two-yard line on banning walk-ins, only to meet with last minute objections from the state senator from Milford because she thought that it would negatively affect a Silver Sands State Park.  DEEP officials don't like the idea of creating a rule just for Squantz Pond, they want it to be a statewide rule.

Kushner says the local leadership in New Fairfield is making it a priority to protect the water, while protecting safety.  She believes the state should follow their lead.  Kushner is concerned with combating invasive species and blue-green algae.  She says the lake is a big part of the economy in the region.  She thinks there are smart measures already underway and wants to continue to address the issue.

As for school security, Kushner says safety is essential.  She touted the gun laws passed after the shooting at Sandy Hook School and wants to take further measures to protect schools through better security.

When it comes to the laws passed in response to the shooting at Sandy Hook School, McLachlan is proud that they were able to find another $5 million for special technology in school security.  The technology has been used by federal government agencies for years, and McLachlan says a Connecticut company is offering schools a way to communicate better among first responders.  He says the technology is going to let first responder see what's going on inside the building at the moment the panic button is hit.  He doesn’t see the gun reforms enacted in response to 12-14 to be repealed and isn’t sure he would be supportive of repeal.  McLachlan wants to return to a focus on mental health care, and not just blame the problem on an inanimate object such as a gun.  He wants to increase mental health resources.

Kushner is a backer of the medicinal marijuana program and wants to see more information on how the state would legalize recreational marijuana.  She says after spending time with friends who live in Colorado, there are some positives to the issue.  She says the source of tax revenue has really been important to that state, but it's something Connecticut should look at and study and make sure the right approach is taken.

McLachlan opposed medical marijuana and opposes the idea of marijuana being legalized when it's against federal law.  He says Connecticut should look to downtown Denver Colorado and says the people there who deal with Social Services say recreational marijuana legalization was a huge mistake.  He says there is marijuana tourism, which adds to the problem of illegal transport across state lines.

As for sports betting, McLachlan assumes that it’s going to happen here.  But he thinks there's a disagreement about the scope of sports betting in Connecticut.  He was critical of the state for never honoring the promise to have resources available for gambling addiction.  McLachlan doesn’t want to support any expansion of gambling until the addiction problem, even with lotto tickets, is addressed.

Kushner doesn’t believe OTB is the right answer for downtown Danbury.  She said sports betting has been a really controversial issue for the City.  She believes there are other ways to bring people downtown.

McLachlan says there were a number of good things that got done in the short session.  One was to help veterans as they are transitioning from a career in the military and want to move into civilian life.  He notes that a number are being recruited by law enforcement agencies, but because they were still technically active military, didn't qualify for the veterans bonus points added to their a civil service exam.  The bill will fix that problem.  What he is most proud of though, was what he called legendary movement with the budget.  McLachlan says it shows that there can be bipartisanship, leading to structural changes which will move the state forward.

Kushner says the best way to get the economy working and the best is to attract jobs and to bring new businesses to Connecticut.  In order to do that, Kushner says the state should be fully funding schools, investing in vocational education and making sure the infrastructure allows people to get to work easily.  She says offering the benefits that other states have adopted to attract young families, should be offered here.  She gave the example of paid family leave.  Kushner says having something that provides resources to families when they're having children, when they're taking care of a sick parent, or they themselves get ill, is a priority.  She recently started a petition and over the last 6 weeks says more than 2,000 people support paid family leave.

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Mailer with photoshopped image sent out in 26th state Senate race

In a sign of how unpopular outgoing Governor Dannel Malloy is, a local Republican candidate sent out a mailer that had his face and her Democratic opponent's face photoshopped onto a stock image of two men looking friendly.  State Senator Toni Boucher approved the mailer sent out by the Senate Republican Campaign committee. Will Haskell posted on Facebook that his supporters found the stock photo after just a few minutes of searching.  He made light of the situation, saying in a Facebook post that "for the record' he's a little shorter in real life.  The 26th District represents part of Bethel, Redding, Ridgefield and Wilton.

 

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Hands-on emergency scenario training at Danbury Airport held yesterday

If you saw a plane on fire at Danbury Airport yesterday, it was just a test.  The Danbury Fire Department hosted their annual Airport Rescue Firefighter training yesterday.  Danbury Police, State Police, Danbury Hospital EMS along with airport staff did a morning and afternoon classroom session at the Maintenance Building on Miry Brook Road.  A few hands on live scenarios were staged on the airfield.

(Photo: DFD)

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Newtown intersection realignment project nearing completion

The realignment of Edmond Road at Route 6-Church Hill Road in Newtown will eliminate one of Newtown's most crash-prone intersections, switching it to a 4-way intersection with Commerce Road and Church Hill Road.  At the end of September, state Representative Mitch Bolinsky said it looked like the project was going to grind to a halt because Eversource might not have been able to relocate utilities, despite the other work nearly being completed. 

The project developer, a Newtown company, objected and a meeting was organized with state  DOT Commissioner James Redeker.  That meeting, held just recently, resulted in a workable resolution. 

The new roadway foundation and first asphalt layer should be done by December 15th.  Signalization details are still being worked out.  New sidewalks are taking shape.  Soon better defined turning lanes will start to be seen on Church Hill's approach to the highway.   The revised functional completion date is mid-December.

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FuelCell Energy signs power plant project agreement with Hartford

Danbury-based FuelCell Energy has signed long-term power purchase agreements for a 7.4 megawatt fuel cell project at the state capital.  It  was one of the projects awarded in June by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.  The agreements have been forwarded to the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority for final authorization.  The project will be located on a vacant parcel enabling the productive use of a dormant property and the generation of significant tax revenue for the state and Hartford. Once complete, the project will serve to improve the strength of the public electricity grid in an important load area that serves the commercial and industrial portions of the city.  The General Assembly recently expanded Connecticut’s renewable portfolio standard target to 40 percent by 2030.

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Southbury Police participating in No Shave November

Southbury Police Officers are putting down the razors for the month of November to raise money for Connecticut cancer patients. The department is one of many in the region participating in No Shave November.  The fundraiser benefits the Connecticut Cancer Foundation, which has provided over $5 million in financial aid to cancer patients and their families over the last three decades and has funded over $1.9 million in lymphoma research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

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Fires destroy New Milford apartment, car in Danbury

A fire destroyed a New Milford apartment early this morning on Kent Road.  The fire began around 4am in the home above a detached garage.  The smoke alarm notified the 4 residents, who were uninjured.  Officials say the fire appeared electrical in nature and likely started in a bathroom ceiling fixture.  The two adults, two children and three cats are being provided with temporary housing by the Red Cross.

There was a car fire on the highway early this morning.  Danbury firefighters were dispatched to I-84 eastbound by exit two around 5am.  Firefighters found a single vehicle on fire in the right hand shoulder. Crews quickly extinguished the blaze. No injuries were reported.

 

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Danbury-based FuelCell signs agreement for project in Derby

Danbury-based FuelCell Energy has signed long-term power purchase agreements with local distribution utilities for a 14.8 MW Fuel Cell Project in Derby.  This is one of the projects awarded in June by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection in a competitive solicitation. 

The agreements have been forwarded to the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority for final authorization. 

The fuel cell power plant will be developed on a vacant parcel located in a mixed industrial, commercial and residential area north of Lake Housatonic.  The fuel cell project is expected to drive local economic development and environmental improvement through state sales tax and the local property taxes generated, as well as create and maintain high-tech manufacturing and construction jobs in Connecticut.

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Candidates make campaign stops in Bethel tonight

Bethel Republicans are hosting a meet and greet event with U-S Senate candidate Matt Corey tonight.  It's being held at Bethel Republican headquarters on Greenwood Avenue from 6 to 8pm.  Meanwhile, Petitioning Lt Governor candidate Monte Frank will be at the Stony Hill Fire House in Bethel tonight for an Opioid Roundtable with the  Housatonic Valley Coalition Against Substance Abuse.  Frank will present gubernatorial running mate Oz Griebel's opioid policy.  The discussion with the leaders of a 22-town coalition is at 5pm.

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Ridgefield Police to host food drive for Food Pantry

The Ridgefield Police Benevolent Association is hosting a food drive next week to stock the Ridgefield Food Pantry.  Ridgefield Police will be at Stop and Shop on Danbury Road Friday November 9th from 10am to 2pm.  Some of the needed items are Cereal, Spaghetti Sauce, Canned Fruit, Healthy Snacks, Tuna, Canned Chicken, Crackers, Peanut Butter, Jelly, Ketchup, Mayonnaise, Rice/Pasta Mixes. Please no bagged rice.

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Southbury Police to host toy drive to help families in need

Southbury Police have teamed up with merchants of the Southbury Plaza to organize a toy drive to benefit children in need.  On Friday, November 23 and on Saturday, December 1, from 10 AM to 2 PM, police officers will be in front of the T.J. Maxx store collecting new, unwrapped toys and gifts. Their goal is to fill their cruisers with enough toys and gifts so that every local child has presents to open on Christmas morning.  The drive will benefit the Southbury Needy Fund's 2018 Holiday Gift Program for Children. Cash donations will also be accepted and will be used to purchase items for older children and to accommodate any special requests families may have.  Toys can also be left off at the Southbury Police Department and Social Services.

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Danbury detective witnesses stabbing, stops fleeing suspect

A Danbury Police Detective saw a heated argument between two men near the police station Tuesday afternoon, which ended with a stabbing.  The plain clothes detective saw 21-year old Gabriel Silba and another man arguing on Main Street, and got out of his unmarked car to break it up.  As he did so, Silba stabbed the other man in his stomach and tried to flee the area. 

The detective was able to stop the man, and determined that the argument started after Silba robbed the other man of a pair of boots.  The victim was transported to Danbury Hospital where he was treated for his injuries. 

Silba was charged with assault, robbery, larceny and breach of peace. 

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Man sentenced for ID theft, fraud in credit card scheme

A Washington state man has been sentenced for fraud and identity theft offenses stemming from a credit card fraud scheme.  28-year old Elijah Chin was ordered to 30 months in prison, followed by supervised release.  Wilton Police arrested Chin on related state charges in February 2017.  He opened credit card accounts electronically, using personal identifying information from Connecticut residents.  After the cards were mailed to the victims' home addresses, Chin took them out of the mailboxes.  He used them to purchase nearly 64-thousand dollars worth of gift cards, prepaid cards and other items at stores in Connecticut.  When Wilton Police arrested him, Chin had a number of the cards and purchases on him.  He was ordered to pay full restitution and to report to prison on December 28th.

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Political newcomer looks to unseat freshman lawmaker in Redding state House district

Easton First Selectman Adam Dunsby is seeking a second term representing the 135th State House District, which includes Redding and Weston.  Democrat Anne Hughes is running against him.   The Easton resident moved back to take care of her aging mother.  Hughes says having automobile-dependent suburbs doesn’t work for seniors trying to age in place.  She was part of the first class of Emerge Connecticut, a program to train female leaders.  Hughes wants to advocate for a new era of accountability in Hartford.  She has a background in community building and advocacy.

Last session, Dunsby helped expand access to grant money for police dash cams and helped to reform Freedom of Information statutes.  The biggest challenge he sees coming up is balancing the budget and erasing the deficit.  Dunsby also wants to help the state grow its economy again.

Hughes says the growth of the economy depends on a three-legged stool.  One is to help state college graduates, work in Connecticut.  She suggested student loan relief for graduates who work for a Connecticut-based company for 10 years, likening it to national public service programs.  She wants to partner with community colleges and trade schools, and businesses, to invest their talents in Connecticut.  The second leg is to have affordable health care.  Hughes says people aren’t getting preventative care and she wants to expand Access Health Connecticut, enticing more carriers to provide coverage.  She says the state has done a good job of expanding Husky B and Medicaid, but wants to do more.  Hughes says a state-public option would not only help employers, but also would help people not worry about medical bankruptcy.  The third leg is to invest more in transportation infrastructure.  She says it’s become untenable for commuters and businesses to navigate around.

Dunsby wants to balance the budget without raising taxes, especially since there were two massive hikes in the past 8 years.  He notes that when taxes went up, the deficit also went up and Connecticut is beyond the tipping point.  Dunsby favors cutting the income tax, calling it a tax on work.  He says the deficit cycle wasn’t created in a couple of years and getting the state out of the red ink won’t be solved in two years.

Dunsby opposes tolls.  He notes that the Special Transportation Fund takes in $1.6 billion a year.  That money comes from two gas taxes, a half point of sales tax, and soon all sales tax on new cars.  One problem Dunsby sees is that the cost of transportation projects is inefficient.  He says the cost to build a mile of road is about as expensive as anywhere in the country, as is administrative costs.  Dunsby was also critical of what he called ‘trophy projects’ such as the bus from New Britain to Hartford.  He want safety projects to become a priority.  Another priority for him would be highly travelled roads and rail.  Dunsby would like to see more bonding used for transportation and not for other things, like splashpads for New Haven.

Hughes supports a constitutional amendment to create a lockbox for transportation dollars.  While acknowledging that the language isn’t perfect, Hughes says it does go a long way toward assuring taxpayers there will be accountability on transportation revenue.  She says Connecticut could benefit from smart tolling, calling for commuter pricing, congestion pricing and higher fees for out of state drivers.  She says tolls can be a viable start to reinvesting in roads and bridges and mass transit.  Hughes says Connecticut cannot bond and borrow its way into improvements.

He supports the constitutional lockbox question on the ballot this November, even though Dunsby says the language is not as strong as it should be.  He says it’s better than nothing.  The fundamental flaw, according to Dunsby, is that it doesn’t define what money goes into the transportation fund.  His interpretation is that the legislature could simply chose not to put money that should go into the lockbox, into the fund.

Dunsby is still studying regulation of sports betting and hasn’t yet reached a conclusion. 

Hughes says regulating sports betting is a shiny option to raise revenue.  She is concerned about economic disparity growing and it not just being a recreational expense for families that can’t afford it.  She wants to further study the matter.  As for legalizing recreational marijuana, Hughes supports it.  She did read recent studies on drugged driving fatalities and increased injuries on the job.  She is concerned about how it could be implemented in a way that safeguards public safety.  Hughes says there can’t be a burden on administrating it or on law enforcement regulating it.  She called for extreme responsibility if the state does move in the approval direction. 

Dunsby wants to address employee benefits like pensions and the fact that the fund hasn’t seen enough contributions.  He would like to see Connecticut move to 401Ks, like the private sector.  Agency consolidation is also a way to cut spending.

Hughes says the opioid crisis was avoidable and has caused countless preventable deaths.  She called it a scourge of big pharmaceutical companies that knew this was something that’s highly addictive.  She doesn’t think the epidemic has crested in Connecticut and is not yet on the decline.  She says opioids were only meant for late-stage cancer pain management and not regular post-surgery pain management.  Hughes would like to see more treatment and less incarceration.  She works as a social worker for the Coordinator for the Center for Elder Abuse Prevention and sees a lot of clients who became addicted after knee or hip replacement surgery.  She says they are not suited for in-patient treatment because they often times have dependent spouses or someone caregives for them.  Hughes wants more screenings in hospitals with other treatment options rather than opioids.

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The Herren Project in Bethel tonight

A presentation about preventing addiction and promoting  wellness is being held in Bethel tonight by The Herren Project. Chris Herren, a former NBA player, spoke to Bethel High School students last spring. This session is for parents of any age children. He will tell his story of opioid addiction and path to recovery. With the rise of addiction among youth in the country, Bethel School officials say his message is timely, focused on warning signs and prevention.  The presentation is at 7pm in the BHS auditorium.

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Exact date for start of Candlewood Lake deep drawdown not yet known

Due to unknown weather patterns, exact dates for the deep lake drawdowns and associated lake levels are unavailable.  FirstLight Power Resources will conduct a deep drawdown of Candlewood Lake, which includes Squantz Pond by December 1.   Regulations call for the drawdown season to run until the opening of fishing season in April 2019.  Since the exact timing isn't yet known, homeowners are being encouraged to remove their structures, boat lifts and docks from Candlewood Lake prior to the winter season to prevent ice damage along the shoreline. The drawdown will expose invasive Eurasian Water milfoil to freezing temperatures, which helps to reduce the annual proliferation of the plant during the recreational season.   

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New Milford Police raise funds to help cancer patients

During the month of November, the New Milford Police Department will be participating in the “No Shave November” campaign in memory of Officer Edward DeLisle, Jr., who died last October after battle with cancer.  Officer DeLisle began his career in 1969 in Ridgefield.  After 25 years, he retired as a Sergeant and the following year was hired as an officer in New Milford.  Current New Milford Police officials say the money they would have spent on razors will instead go to help fund the Connecticut Cancer Foundation.  The organization helps to reduce the burden for Connecticut cancer patients and their families both financially and emotionally.

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