Brookfield officials are setting up a fund to handle the 78 million school project recently approved. First Selectman Steve Dunn says this is critical since a lot of players will be involved.
The project includes tearing down the current Huckleberry School, constructing a new building on that campus for pre-k through 5th graders and moving Center Elementary students into the facility as well. Center School would then be turned over to the town.
Brookfield school officials are applying for state grant reimbursement on eligible costs.
When the high school was renovated, there were significant issues with the accounting. Dunn says he doesn't think any one person did anything wrong, but believes there were too many people involved. He says that made things more complicated than needed. In 2015, the state indicated it was going to withhold $7 million in reimbursement because of inadequate documentation. Dunn says it took 18 to 24 months of talking with the Commissioner of the state Department of Administrative Services to straighten everything out.
The Ridgefield Planning and Zoning Commission and the Inland Wetlands Board have signed off on plans for improvements to the sewer plant. Ridgefield residents approved a 48 million dollar sewer project in the fall. The new approvals are to reduce nitrogen and phosphorous discharges at the District I plant. That would lead to consolidation of plants. Wastewater treatment for District II in the Route 7 and 35 area would be piped to the District I plant on South Street. The renovated plant will have an odor control system.
There is some roadwork in Redding. Starting today, the highway department will be microsealing Gallows Hill Road. Weather permitting, this will take for about 4 days. Starting June 10th, reclaiming work will be done on Church Hill Road, Church Hill Lane and Iris Lane. Paving is scheduled for June 17th, weather permitting. Work will be done 7am to 4pm and drivers should anticipate delays and temporary closures. Motorists are asked to use alternate routes, if possible.
The annual Government of Ridgefield Against Drunk Driving Flag Raising Ceremony has been held in front of town hall. This was the 32nd year of the program. G.R.A.D.D. is a cooperative effort between the police department, students, faculty, town government and citizens to ensure a safe and sober graduation period. Town officials say unfortunately this celebration often involves alcohol and/or drugs. Prior to the ceremony police officers present an anti-drinking & driving presentation at a school assembly to reinforce the dangers of drunk driving.
There was a reported gas line rupture in Easton yesterday afternoon, closing Route 59 for several hours. The fire department found gas escaping from the line. Police rerouted traffic away from the area of Austin Drive. Dispatch had to coordinate with the Board of Education to reroute buses during afternoon dismissal. The scene was secured and repair work completed by 6pm.
The Danbury Music Centre will close out its spring season of the Charles Ives Concert Series with a solo concert featuring harpist Emily Levin. She served as guest artist-faculty for last August's iteration of the Ives Series and the Bronze Medal Winner of the 9th USA International Harp Competition. For her debut album, the Classical Recording Foundation named her their 2017 Young Artist of the Year. The concert is Sunday at 4PM at Congregation Shir Shalom in Ridgefield. The concert is free and open to the public, donations will be accepted at the door.
Ridgefield High School students were dismissed early today out of an abundance or caution because of a written threat. The investigation is ongoing. The nature of the threat was not immediately disclosed. The threat has not affected dismissal at Scotts Ridge Middle School, on the same road.
The body of a teenager who went missing while swimming with friends at Candlewood Lake on Memorial Day has been recovered. Dive teams recovered the body of 17-year-old Joshua DaSilva of New Milford at about noon Wednesday.
Police say the boy was with friends on Monday when he went missing in an area known as Dike Point Park where the water is 20 to 30 feet deep. A boater in the area at the time says the teen's friends say he had some sort of panic attack or anxiety attack before going under.
He was a student at Henry Abbott Technical High School in Danbury. Henry Abbott made support available for students yesterday and says the crisis team paid specific attention to the school’s trade area of the missing student. The crisis team will continue to be available throughout the week.
New Milford High School officials say guidance staff have also been available all week to help and speak with students who grew up with the teen.
New Milford Police thanked several organizations for their support and assistance:
Newtown Underwater Search and Rescue
Water Witch Hose Company Number Two
Connecticut State Police
Brookfield Police Department
Connecticut Environmental Police
The New Milford Community Ambulance
Water Witch Hose Danbury
Resources In Search And Rescue
The Owners and Staff of Gerard's Water's Edge Marina
A man who was about to leap from a bridge has been rescued by a Putnam County Sheriff Deputy.
A man parked his car on the westbound side of I-84 in Brewster Monday afternoon and was standing on the edge of Veterans Memorial Bridge, holding a piece of paper. The bridge goes over Route 6.
A Sheriff's Deputy arrived on scene within two minutes of the 911 dispatch. He found the man with his arms raised, appearing to be praying and about to jump off the bridge. The Deputy approached slowly from behind and when close enough, grabbed the man and wrestled him to the ground.
A Sergeant then arrived and took the 36 year old man into custody. He told police that he wanted to die and that it was a suicide note in his hand. The man was taken to Putnam Hospital Center for a mental health evaluation.
Sgt. Thomas Lee reported, in his opinion, Deputy Kevin Osika went above and beyond the call of duty, placing his own life at risk of falling off the bridge while wrestling to save the life of this individual.
The 2019 Water Main Replacement project in Bethel has been sent to the Board of Finance for approval. The Board of Selectmen is proposing 998-thousand dollars for the project on Mansfield Street, Pleasant Street, Grassy Plain Terrace, Highview Terrace, and Oakland Heights, with Maple Lane as an alternate. If signed off on by the Fiance Board, the proposal will be sent to a Special Town Meeting. The meeting would then be held June 18th in Meeting Room A of the Municipal Center at 6:30pm.
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill will be the guest speaker at the League of Women Voters of Ridgefield annual meeting this weekend. The league is kicking off a year-long celebration of their 100th anniversary and that of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. Merrill will speak about voting in Connecticut on Saturday at 10:30am at Ridgefield Library. She will discuss the National Popular Vote Compact approved last year and the early voting amendment which has to be approved again next year since it failed to gain a super majority in the Senate. The public is invited to attend, but registration is requested through the library's website. The League's business meeting is at 9:30am.
The state House has approved a bill to expand Connecticut's green energy. Danbury Representative David Arconti, chair of the Energy Committee, says it's a comprehensive bill and will lead to more deployment of solar energy. It would extend existing renewable energy programs including traditional net metering, also the Green Bank's residential solar investment program.
PURA would be required to do a value of distributed energy resources study. Arconti says they would need to take the findings of that study and incorporate it into the docket for the successor program for net metering. He says right now they can only look at tariff structure and instantaneous metering.
Arconti says it will increase the virtual net metering act from $10 million to $20 million to help clear the queue and get more municipalities the ability to save on energy costs. He added that the idea is to make the process more competitive like it is with grid-sized procurements.
The Department of Transportation will be tasked with preparing an inventory of land suitable for Class 1 resources installation. He says ideally in the next 5 years people will see solar panels lining the highways.
The body of a boy missing in Candlewood Lake has been recovered by the New Milford Police dive team. Mayor Pete Bass says the 17-year old New Milford resident was reported missing late Monday afternoon in the water off Dike Point Park and Rock Island.
The water in that area is murky and 20 to 30 feet deep. New Milford police, Water Witch Hose Co. No. 2, Newtown Underwater Search and Rescue, State Environmental Conservation Police and crews from New Fairfield and Brookfield had been searching for days.
Officials do not suspect foul play. The area is largely considered "swim at your own risk" because it is not monitored.
Authorities have not released the teen's name, but have said he is a student at Henry Abbott Technical High School in Danbury. No other details were immediately released.
The Ridgefield Planning and Zoning Commission is in the process of updating the Plan of Conservation and Development and looking for community input. The updated Plan will look 10 to 20 years into the future and recommend policies and actions that are intended to guide local efforts, enhance the community, and improve the quality of life for residents and visitors. A meeting on the plan will be held June 18th from 7:30 to 9pm at Town Hall Annex. Questions to be addressed by the plan include what the town should try to preserve, what services or facilities are needed in Ridgefield and how should the plan guide growth or change.
The Danbury Police Department is looking for Connecticut Certified Police Officers to join the force. The application for Connecticut Lateral Entry Police Officers is now open and closes June 18th. The department has created a shorter version of their 2017 recruitment video, which went viral and prompted hundreds of applications to join Danbury Police.
Members of the Bethel Police Department will be participating in the 10th annual Push Against Cancer. Their team is called “Maddie’s Mavericks,” named in honor of the daughter of Detective Frank O'Farrell, who is fighting Ewing Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer. The officers will be doing as many push ups as they can in order to raise money for the Hole In the Wall Gang Camp. The Ashford, Connecticut facility provides a variety of year-round programs to seriously ill children and their families, with its signature summer program.
5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes will meet with members of the Litchfield County Opioid Taskforce this afternoon to talk about state and federal efforts to combat the opioid epidemic. More than 1,000 people died in Connecticut as a result of drug overdoses in 2017 and in 2018. Senator Richard Blumenthal introduced the Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency Act to confront the opioid and substance use epidemic. Under the CARE Act, Connecticut would receive an estimated $56.2 million per year, for the next ten years, in total funding to support prevention, treatment and recovery, outreach, support, and harm reduction services for people with substance use disorders and their families.
The New Fairfield Board of Education is hosting a tour of two schools being considered for renovation or replacement. The tour starts tomorrow night at 6 o'clock at Consolidated School on Gillotti Road. Residents will also have the opportunity to review designs for the proposed building projects. The state is taking applications for new construction reimbursement, but isn't inclined to fund the renovation of older, rundown buildings outside of emergency repairs. A new Consolidated School could be located near Meeting House Hill School and that the High School would be razed, with a new building constructed nearby.
The Brookfield VFW Post is co-hosting a flag collection drive with State Representative Stephen Harding. He encouraged constituents to drop off worn and damaged American Flags to be properly and honorably disposed of. The collection started today and continues through June 13th. Drop off boxes are located at Brookfield Library and Senior Center. According to the U.S. Flag Code, when the American flag is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, it should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by a controlled burning ceremony.
The Animal Control Facility project in Danbury is moving forward after several unexpected delays.
Mayor Mark Boughton says it's a $2 million project, with $1 million previously allocated. When the City Council approved a budget earlier this month, there was $700,000 in bonding included in the capital budget. Boughton says a donor, whom he has not publicly identified, is covering the balance.
He notes that they ran into some unforeseen conditions when they looked to replace the existing building.
Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola says the road was put in place, but the right-of-way was never abandoned so the City had to deal with that. The overhead wires needed to be relocated, at a large expense. He says the design has been completed and his department plans to go out to bid by the end of the month.
Redding Police quickly identified a vehicle break in suspect after posting surveillance photos on their Facebook page. The break in happened late Saturday afternoon by the access trail to the reservoir located on Newtown Turnpike near Glen Road.
The suspect smashed out the rear driver’s side window and took a bag from the backseat. Redding Police say the investigation is ongoing so no further information will be released. A similar incident took place a few miles into Easton along Rte 58 near the same time.
One of the victims had an interior camera running which was able to provide Police footage of the entire incident showing the suspect.
11 New Milford families, 28 people in all, have been left without a home because of a condo fire. The blaze broke out at Harrybrooke Park Condominiums early Tuesday morning.
Fire officials say it was caused by improperly disposed of charcoal grill contents.
Smoke detectors alerted occupants of the affected units and no injuries were reported. The Red Cross is assisting the impacted families.
Water Witch Hose officials say first arriving units were met by heavy smoke from the attic of the entire building and fire consuming a portion of the rear wall spanning 3 floors. Mutual aid was called for from Northville, Gaylordsville, and Brookfield. Danbury also provided an engine and crew to help with overhaul, their air supply truck to refill air packs at the scene, and Washington covered the Water Witch fire station.
A public hearing will be held June 5th in Ridgefield on whether to continue the town deer hunt. The controlled hunt was established in 2006 and has led to a near elimination of deer-car crashes in Ridgefield. There had been about 150 accidents annually, but it was down to about a dozen in 2017 and 3 last year. The Deer Management Implementation Committee reported to the Ridgefield Board of Selectmen that about a third of deer taken through hunting happened on the 14 approved parcels while the rest were culled by hunters on private or state owned land. In 2009, shortly after implementation, 336 deer were killed. Last year, the number was 153.
State Representative JP Sredzinski, whose district includes Newtown, is celebrating passage of a bill he worked to promote as a member of the Connecticut School Security Working Group. The measure requires the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection to update school security and safety plan standards, simplify school security reporting requirements and infrastructure grant applications, and identify qualified school security consultants and limit the existing registry to only those individuals. Sredzinski says many ideas came out of the School Safety Working Group, including the physical security of the buildings, school safety personnel, and even social-emotional learning, among other instructional items. The measure now moves to the Senate.
The State Elections Enforcement Commission will look into a complaint filed by the tax watchdog group Bethel Action Committee, against the Superintendent of Schools. BAC claims Christine Carver illegally promoted approval of the town budget in a weekly newsletter ahead of the second referendum.
While the newsletter is only sent to some people in town, state law just requires that all residents be able to opt into this kind of community notification system--which they can. The complaint was prompted by alleged perceived prohibited advocacy. Wording include “The Town budget contains our maintenance account, school debt for renovations and capital non-reoccurring. It is important to remember that the town budget in many ways also supports the schools."
Carver said she did not aim to promote passage of the budget in her newsletter, merely to clarify what was included in the budget. The commission dismissed a previous complaint against Carver for wording in the newsletter, but the referendum date had not yet been set.
Residents of Harrybrooke Condos in New Milford have been displaced by an early morning fire. Water Witch Hose officials say first arriving units were met by heavy smoke from the attic of the entire building and fire consuming a portion of the rear wall spanning 3 floors.
An initial attack was made at the rear of the building and into the 3rd floor bedrooms, and roof for ventilation. The bulk of fire, reported around 4:45am, was knocked down quickly. The entire building was ventilated by 7am.
Smoke detectors alerted occupants of the affected units and New Milford Police evacuated the remainder of the building.
Mutual aid was called for from Northville, Gaylordsville, and Brookfield. Danbury also provided an engine and crew to help with overhaul, their air supply truck to refill air packs at the scene, and Washington covered the Water Witch fire station.
The Red Cross is helping those displaced. New Milford social services team has been contacted.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes visited Danbury Vet Center this weekend. She commended them on their mission to provide quality readjustment counseling and referrals for service members. She says not only on Memorial Day, but every day we must be committed to supporting those who have sacrificed so much. Hayes also hosted a Veterans Stakeholder Open House. She says it was an opportunity for them to let her know what she could do in Congress to help them as they continue to serve in communities across the district.
Lynn Deming Park in New Milford opened for the season over the weekend, with new safety protocols in place. New Milford Police made additional patrols of the park and surrounding area. There is no parking on Candlewood Lake Road North by the park and violators will be towed. There is now an electronic gate at the park. A Park Ranger is monitoring the wooded area to prevent people from entering the park improperly. Anyone doing so will be escorted out of the park. Mayor Pete Bass asked that people follow rules and decorum, keeping the music down, so everyone can enjoy the park.
Danbury Police are highlighting the efforts of good Samaritans who responded to a car accident caused by a driver having a medical issue. Last Sunday, a driver had a seizure and hit a parked car at the mall. Both vehicles sustained heavy damage.
The driver in medical distress was involuntarily depressing the gas pedal, and the engine was revving. A passerby found the doors locked and retrieved a crowbar to break the window. She and two others smashed the window, shut off the engine and helped the driver.
Two of the civilian responders sustained cuts on their hands and police say risked their own safety to help someone in need. The Danbury Police Department commended them for their selfless actions and willingness to render aid to someone in need.
The driver was transported to the hospital for treatment.
With the warmest day of the late Spring over the weekend, many headed out on the waters to boat, kayak, canoe, paddle board, and the like. Ridgefield Emergency Management officials say even through air temperatures were in the 80s, water temperatures remain cold. It is still in the lower to mid 50s across Long Island Sound and not much warmer across bays and lakes. Emergency officials say cold water drains body heat up to 25 times faster than cold air and cold shock causes an immediate loss of breathing control. This dramatically increases the risk of sudden drowning, even if the water is calm and you know how to swim.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help pay medical bills for a retired Police K9. 7-year old Remington was certified in narcotics detection and part of the Torrington Police Department. Remi retired just last month and started to loose coordination in his hind legs last weekend.
Remi was brought to the emergency animal hospital in Newtown and then transferred to an animal hospital in Shelton with a suspected spinal issue. Remi underwent surgery Wednesday and remains in the ICU awaiting further surgeries, though the prognosis is good.
The surgery and post operative care are going to cost up wards of around $9,200.
Remi was instrumental in solving numerous crimes including burglaries, robberies, assaults, DUIs. He assisted in countless drug and weapon seizures. In his career he located 8 missing children, 5 endanger adults, and more than 35 wanted persons. He assisted many different local, state, and federal agencies throughout the state during his time on the road.
The search will continue this morning for a boy missing in Candlewood Lake. The 17-year old New Milford resident was reported missing late yesterday afternoon in the water off Dike Point Park and Rock Island. Crews searched for hours yesterday but had to call off the effort due to nightfall. The water in that area is murky and 20 to 30 feet deep. New Milford police, Water Witch Hose Co. No. 2, Newtown Underwater Search and Rescue, State Environmental Conservation Police and crews from New Fairfield and Brookfield descended on the scene around 4pm.
A proposal requiring an invasive species stamp for the operation of a motorboat on state waters has cleared the General Assembly's Environment Committee and was placed on the House calendar for further consideration.
A user-fee-based approach would enable municipalities and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to prevent and respond to infestations of aquatic invasive species.
The bill was co-sponsored by Danbury Representatives David Arconti and Ken Gucker, along with state Senator Julie Kushner. They say invasives can negatively impact water quality, recreational use, environmental health and property values.
Among the people offering testimony on the bill was Larry Marsicano, former Executive Director of the Candlewood Lake Authority. He talked about previous years funding for programs to deal with invasives, but noted that it was one time funding.
There are 13 invasives species and plants in Connecticut waters. Money from the stickers would go toward prevention to slow the spread of invasive species. Marsicano says there's some support from the fishing community for the effort because they are aware of the problem. He says there would likely be pushback from the boating industry.
There is a similar program in place for Lake George in New York.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Three students from Connecticut are representing the state at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Bridgeport seventh-grader Janelle Newell is the Connecticut Spelling Bee champion. She’ll be joined at the national bee by Bethel eighth-grader Roderick Chittem, who finished second in the state contest, and Bloomfield sixth-grader Charles Fennell, who tied for third place in the state bee.
The national bee begins Monday in National Harbor, Maryland.
Prizes range from a $500 gift card for making it to Round 4 to the first-place prize of $50,000 cash, a National Spelling Bee trophy and other prizes. The final round will be Thursday.
Janelle won the state bee in March by correctly spelling “Spencerian,” referring to a handwriting style that became popular in the U.S. in the 19th century.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate John Hickenlooper has met with families in Newtown, Connecticut, to highlight his gun control proposal.
The former Colorado governor visited a library in Newtown Saturday to talk with first responders and families affected by the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Under a proposal he announced earlier this week, gun owners would have to be licensed and pass a safety test to own firearms. The licensing proposal would only affect people born after 2001.
Another Democratic presidential contender, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, has released a similar gun control proposal.
The Middletown Press reports Hickenlooper says he thinks it’s an achievable platform, and hearing stories from the audience Saturday was very powerful. The visit lasted about an hour.
Hickenlooper was in Connecticut for his 45th class reunion at Wesleyan University.
DANBURY, Conn. (AP) - Noted presidential biographer Edmund Morris, best known for writing a book about the life of Ronald Reagan in 1999, has died. He was 78.
Morris' wife, Sylvia Jukes Morris, confirmed his death to The Associated Press on Monday, saying he died Friday in a hospital in Danbury, Connecticut, a day after suffering a stroke.
Morris' career took off with the success of his first book, "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt," which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1980. But what cemented his legacy was "Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan." The book earned mixed reviews in part because he inserted himself into the narrative as a sometimes-fictional character to help tell the former president's story.
Years before the book's publication, he called Reagan "the most mysterious man I have ever confronted."
On this Memorial Day, the Connecticut Congressional delegation has announce the names of state residents who have accepted offers of appointment to one of the four United States service academies.
Each year, Members of Congress are able to nominate candidates for appointment to the Military Academy at West Point, the Naval Academy in Annapolis, the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, and the Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point. Graduates are commissioned as officers in the active or reserve components of the military or Merchant Marine and serve for a minimum of five years.
The delegation congratulated the students for answering the call to serve the country and defend democracy. The group also thanked them and their families for their commitment to service.
Alana Foodman of Redding will be attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Ethan Grandolfo and Tyler Previte, both of Wilton, will be attending the U.S. Air Force Academy. Four Greater Danbury area students are headed to the U.S. Naval Academy. They are Annika Brady of Sandy Hook, Brian Calabrese of Wilton, Laren Moore of Danbury, and Gabriella Viggiano of Ridgefield.
A special enforcement effort to crack down on impaired driving is under way in Putnam County. The Sheriff's Office and Police in Carmel and Kent, New York are participating in the statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown through Tuesday.
Memorial Day is one of the busiest travel holidays of the year and marks the official start of summer. New York State Police, County Sheriffs and municipal law enforcement agencies are out in force in this coordinated effort to reduce the number of impaired driving-related injuries and deaths.
This is one of many statewide enforcement initiatives promoted by STOP-DWI NY and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. The Crackdown Campaign also targets the 4th of July, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, December Holiday Season, Super Bowl weekend and St. Patrick’s Day.
Sheriff Robert Langley says highly visible, highly publicized efforts aim to further reduce the incidence of drunk and impaired driving.
Over 120 flags have been added around Brookfield. The Jason D. Lewis Brookfield Memorial VFW Post assumed a town tradition this year that began 18 years ago. Greg Waldmiller, a retired Brookfield Patrolman and now a Special Officer with the Brookfield Police Department, passed on the torch of flag placements.
American flags are posted on telephone poles along roads from the flagpole in Brookfield Center, lining Route 25 in both directions, towards the four corners and to Aramom Circle. Flags are also posted along Route 133 for a distance past Center School.
Post Commander Joseph Beal says part of their mission is to foster patriotic activities within the community and this effort is a perfect fit. The VFW Post members led by Robin Montgomery, with Greg’s guidance and the support of the Brookfield Police Department, completed the task earlier this month.
The flags will continue to fly until after Labor Day.
The annual Redding Memorial Day parade and ceremony will be held on Saturday rain or shine. Participants gather at 11:30am at the Redding Elementary School auditorium and the ceremony will start at noon. Parade step-off is at 12:15pm and proceeds to the Redding Green. Flag-raising and flower-placing ceremonies will be held at the Memorial Stone.
The third annual “Who are You Carrying?” event will be at Harrybrooke Park in New Milford at 10am on Sunday to benefit the park and Help Our Military Heroes. The workout includes push-ups, sit-ups, mountain climbers, flutter kicks and air squats. The event honors fallen heroes, with the late Petty Officer First Class Jason D. Lewis of Brookfield named this year's event honoree.
The annual Brookfield Strawberry Festival will be held from 12:30 to 3pm outside the Brookfield Museum. Inside the museum will be an exhibit honoring the 44 Brookfield residents killed in combat since the Revolutionary War.
The parade in Sherman is scheduled for 1pm. Sunday. It starts at the intersection of Spring Lake Road and Route 39 North, traveling through the center of Sherman and ending at Veterans Field.
Danbury's Memorial Day events begin with a memorial service at 6:30am at St. Joseph Church. A wreath placing ceremony will follow at 7:10am. The parade will begin down Main Street, from Rose Street, at 9:30am. A ceremony will follow at the Rose Memorial to honor deceased veterans.
Bridgewater’s parade will begin at 8:20am at the firehouse.
The first of two parades in New Milford will be held in Gaylordsville at 8am. The New Milford parade starts at 10am. in front of the Library on the Village Green. In case of rain, the ceremony will be held at the VFW hall on Avery Road at 10 am.
The Kent Memorial parade steps off from Kent Center School at 9am at 9:30am. In case of rain, the parade will be canceled. A ceremony will be held at the entrance of the school.
The New Fairfield Veterans Association is hosting a Memorial Day ceremony at 11am at the Town Park. A brief re-dedication ceremony will be held afterward at the New Fairfield Cemetery across from the Town Hall.
A ceremony in Newtown will be held at VFW Post 308 on 18 Tinkerfield Road at 11am. The ceremony honors men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
Ridgefield's American Legion Post 78 is organizing the annual Memorial Day parade, which begins at 11:30am with opening remarks and a wreath-laying ceremony at the monument in front of Jesse Lee Church. The parade ends at Ballard Park with a closing ceremony. King Lane will be a one-way street from 9:30am, until the end of the parade.
A ceremony was held at the state capitol Thursday to memorialize the 65 Connecticut troops killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since the 2001 terrorist attacks. The Wall of Honor is a permanent memorial that includes photos of each of the service members.
Department of Veteran Affairs Commissioner Tom Saadi, a Major in the Army Reserves from Danbury, says the men and women were from each branch of the military and ranged in rank from Private to Lt. Colonel.
Some were not even into their 20s, while others were in their 50’s when they passed. They came from all walks of life, ethnic and racial backgrounds and religions.
They include several from the Greater Danbury area: 19-year old Nicholas Madaras of Wilton, 21-year old John Schmidt III of Brookfield, 23-year old Kevin Dempsey of Monroe, 30-year old Jason Dale Lewis of Brookfield, 22-year old TJ Lobraico Jr. of New Fairfield and 24-year old Nathan Bruckenthal of Ridgefield.
Brookfield Lion's Club is hosting their annual Shred Day on Saturday. People can get rid of old papers for a donation of $5 per box, with proceeds benefiting Lions Charities. The event is 9am to 1pm at Brookfield Town Hall. Boxes should be no larger than the size of a box from reams of paper.
A new river access site is opening on the Housatonic River after a decade of planning. The ribbon cutting is set for Saturday, at 2pm at “The Bend” of the Housatonic River in West Cornwall.
The HVA Watershed Conservation Director and others will hold a brief dedication ceremony.
The completed project provides safe access for boating and fishing, addresses runoff issues, restores riverside wildlife habitat and provides parking for people visiting West Cornwall. Runoff and erosion prevention measures were put in, invasive plants were removed and native trees and shrubs were restored.
The access ramp was upgraded to accommodate the Cornwall Fire Department’s river rescue boat in emergencies. An interpretive kiosk and a concrete pad for a portable toilet were also installed.
Representatives from property owner Eversource Energy, the Housatonic River Commission and project designer and contractor will be on hand. Experienced boaters are encouraged to join a short paddle from The Bend down to Housatonic Meadows State Park to mark the occasion, as weather conditions permit.
The Sherman Resident State Trooper held a Community Crime Awareness presentation at the Sherman Senior Center on Tuesday. Topics impacting the community, such as criminal phone scams and larcenies from unlocked motor vehicles, were addressed. The Sherman Resident Trooper office is looking to provide more of these programs in the future to educate and learn from the residents of Sherman.
Wilton Police say it will no longer be necessary to close the portion of River Road between Horseshoe Road and Stop and Shop ahead of the Memorial Day Parade on Monday. All roads in the Town center will remain open until 9:30am, at which time the roads in Wilton Town Center will be closed. In preparation for a 10 am parade start, Route 33 between Route 7 and Drum Hill Road will also be closed at 9:30am Monday.
The state Senate has voted unanimously for a bill commonly called the Time's Up Act. Danbury Senator Julie Kushner says An Act Combatting Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment extends current statute of limitations for the most serious sexual assault crimes from 5 years to 20.
It also increases certain sexual harassment penalties in Connecticut, extends the time limits people have to file lawsuits for sexual assault, allows more time for criminal prosecutions of sexual assault, and requires more employer-sponsored sexual harassment training.
The bill was sent to the House.
A measure was also approved to strengthen Connecticut's ‘Trust Act,’ which provides protections for immigrants in Connecticut.
Kushner says changes were made to the 2013 law to prohibit law enforcement officers from detaining an individual based on an ICE detainer. She says it's just a request for cooperation from a federal agency to a local police department.
Kushner notes that the new bill makes clear that when there is a very serious concern about an individual, if they are a member of a gang or potential terrorist, if they have a felony conviction or a final deportation order – local law enforcement will detain and secure that person if there is an order signed by a judge.
This bill now awaits a vote by the state House.
A driver sustained serious injuries in a fiery car crash in Brookfield Tuesday morning. Emergency responders were called to Federal Road near Laurel Hill Road along the Still River Greenway on a report of a driver trapped in the burning car.
Former Brookfield firefighter Jim Docktor Jr. was able to smash out a car window and remove the badly injured driver. Other bystanders helped pull the driver further from the car. Docktor then continued to work.
First arriving Fire and Police personnel indicated that had he not removed the driver when he did, the man would have burned alive in the vehicle. Docktor's father is a past chief of the volunteer fire company.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut judge has dismissed all remaining claims in a lawsuit in which a Native American tribe alleged the state owed it more than $600 million for land seized from the tribe more than a century ago.
Judge Thomas Moukawsher in Hartford ruled Wednesday that the Kent-based Schaghticoke Tribal Nation doesn't own the mortgages on the land and dismissed the case.
The tribe sued in 2016, saying the state seized 2,000 acres from a 2,400-acre (9.7 square kilometers) reservation in western Connecticut between 1801 and 1918 without compensating the tribe. The same judge in 2017 dismissed the tribe's claim that it owned the land but let the mortgages issue proceed.
A lawyer for the tribe says it is seeking a clarification of the ruling, and the case is not over.
Connecticut will study the use of blockchain technology to collect voter information. New Milford Representative Bill Buckbee says Blockchain is most commonly used in the trading and securing of cryptocurrency. However, many private industries outside of financial institutions have started looking into how it could be used to store internal and consumer data.
West Virginia used blockchain to help 144 members of the military, spread over 24 different countries, vote in the 2018 election.
.Buckbee says the Connecticut bill builds off an initial task force established by the legislature last year. With growing concerns of voter fraud and lack of voter participation, he says it’s important to consider how blockchain could be used to remedy those issues. The measure was passed unanimously in the House and was sent to the Senate.
Beginning today, Danbury Public Works Department will be conducting road construction on Hamilton Drive, Wheeler Drive, and Fanton Road. This construction will not result in road closings, however there is the possibility of travel restrictions and detours during this work period. During construction there will be NO on-street parking. Construction should last approximately 2 to 3 weeks.
Bethel transfer station permits expire on June 30th. The annual pass for the 2019-2020 year will be available to residents starting on June 1st. The Bethel Town Clerk will be at the Transfer Station June 15th between 7am and noon, but asks that applications be filled out in advance to save time. The applications will be available on the town's website starting next Friday, and available at the Transfer Station. Bethel issued 2400 permits this year.
The U.S. Senate has passed legislation Senator Richard Bluementhal co-sponsored to help block robocalls.
The TRACED Act, legislation Senator Chris Murphy cosponsored, is aimed at ending the growing number of illegal robocalls that plague consumers. The bill extends the Federal Communications Commission’s enforcement against violators and requires telecom companies to verify that incoming calls are legitimate before reaching consumers’ phones.
Blumenthal also wrote the ROBOCOP, or Repeated Objectionable Bothering of Consumers on Phones Act, which requires telephone companies to offer free robocall blocking services to all their customers. Blumenthal says telephone harassment skyrocketed in 2018, with the number of robocalls made to Americans exceeding 16.3 billion in the first five months of that year.
The Do Not Call Registry has little to no impact, particularly when it comes to scams and call centers located outside of the United States.
A man was hit by his own car in the parking lot of the Oxford Liquor Shoppe yesterday afternoon when the vehicle was left in gear. State Police say 73-year old Stephen Kovzel of Oxford didn't put his Jeep in park and it rolled backwards into another vehicle. The other driver, 62-year old Mark Reilly of Beacon Falls, moved backwards into the car causing Kovzel to be caught by the door and run over by his own vehicle. The car came to a stop in the northbound lane of Route 67, against a steel guard rail. Kovzel was taken to the hospital for treatment of serious injuries to his arms and left leg. Reilly was issued a ticket for evading responsibility, not having insurance, driving without a license and for an expired registration.
A public input session is being held in New Milford tonight to gather opinions from residents on what the Lillis Administration Building could be used for in the future. The 50 East Street facility currently houses the school district's central offices, but it does not meet ADA requirements. The 23,600-square-foot brick building is listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. A consulting firm is putting together a community-based adaptive reuse study, paid for with a State Historic Preservation Office grant. The meeting is from 6pm to 9pm at the Senior Center. Options discussed over the years for the building have included selling it to be affordable housing or an assisted living complex, emergency services headquarters or office space.
An animal rescue was made in Easton last night. Police received a call about an owl sitting in the middle of the road. The baby Barred Owl was picked up and taken back to the police station. A dispatcher transported him to Wildlife in Crisis in Weston where he will be cared for until he grows up enough to be able to be released in a few months.
(Photo: Easton Police)
Weston High School has been named a 2019 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School. The program honors schools that reduce environmental impact and costs, improve the health and wellness of schools, students and staff, and provide effective environmental and sustainable education. Weston High School, along with other honorees from across the nation, will be formally recognized during an event on September 25th in Washington DC. 4th District Congressman Jim Himes says the school is playing an important role in teaching the next generation how to live in a responsible and sustainable manner.
The New Milford School District will start negotiations with a New Mexico Superintendent to come to Connecticut and take up the same role. The New Milford Board of Education voted Tuesday and expect to formally approve the appointment of Kerry Parker next month. She was one of 26 applicants from across the country. Parker would take over for Stephen Tracy who has been interim Superintendent since August.
A multi-step platform to improve education in Danbury has been released by Democratic Mayoral candidate Chris Setaro. He says Danbury is at a crossroads in many ways, and nowhere more apparent than in the school system.
Setaro wants to ensure children get the best start in life by creating free pre-k citywide. He also plans to work in collaboration with the state delegation to get more funding from Hartford. Another part of the plan is to connect high school students with local companies and higher education institutions in Danbury to expand the workforce. Setaro also wants to bring together facilities experts, educators and others to create a strategic plan for infrastructure and operational needs.
According to state records, Danbury is last in Connecticut in per-pupil spending. The City does have 7 schools of distinction. The city’s school system has a graduation rate of about 80 percent, also among the lowest in the state. And only 26 percent
of students are proficient in mathematics.
9-term Republican Mayor Mark Boughton noted that the City led a statewide lawsuit to rework the education cost sharing formula, which was denied on appeal and says the state isn't giving Danbury the City's fair share of funding. He adds that the city does have pre-K programs for at-risk children. Boughton says the City already has a facility task force of the Board of Ed to address the city’s growing enrollment.
Meanwhile, there's a nationwide movement to get more funding into classrooms. In Danbury, some educators held protest signs outside Pembroke Elementary School yesterday morning before class. Teachers Union NEA Danbury also supported the Red for Ed movement of teacher walkouts and protests across the country. The educators are calling on more money from the City of Danbury to accommodate growing enrollment.
A Carmel couple has been arrested on felony grand larceny and other charges stemming from a complaint about the owners of Top Notch Towing in Mahopac. New York State Police say an investigation was launched with the help of the Putnam County District Attorney’s office and the state Departments of Taxation and of Transportation.
The complaint was about 47-year old Frank Inzano and 42-year old Shannon Inzano billing customers exorbitant charges for services. The investigation found the Inzano’s stole over $50,000 using fraudulent billing practices, possessed five illegal hand guns, and committed tax fraud.
They were arraigned and released for court appearances June 24th. The couple also faces charges of Attempted Criminal Possession of a Weapon, Offer to File a False Instrument and Criminal Tax Fraud.
During the national Click it or Ticket campaign, Connecticut and New York State Police Departments conducted an occupant safety checkpoint on Route 6/Danbury Road in the town of Southeast near the State line. Danbury Police also coordinated the effort.
A total of 13 tickets were issued during this targeted enforcement period, two of which were for seatbelt/passenger restraint related violations.
New York State's law says drivers and front-seat passengers over age 16 can be fined up to $50 each for failure to buckle up. The driver can be fined $25 to $100 and receive up to three driver license penalty points for each violation of a passenger under 16 not in an appropriate safety restraint system.
Redding Police are investigating a vandalism incident that happened at a Route 7 business last week. Police say someone or a group of people caused $600 in damage at Empire Fences. A brick was thrown through the glass window of a display shed some time between Monday evening and Wednesday morning. The family-owned and -operated business is on the Ridgefield-Redding border. Anyone with information about the vandalism is asked to contact Redding police.
A significant issue has been found with the Route 133 bridge replacement project between Brookfield and Bridgewater. The state DOT contractor says the way the bridge deck was constructed 20 years ago, causes a problem now on how to demolish it. Engineers developed an underdeck support system to be installed this week. The delay, which is about a month long, is to allow for engineering and adjustments to the contract costs. The DOT expects the contractors to complete only 2 stages with weekend closures and by-passes before the Bridgewater Fair weekend. The last weekend closure may be as late as the November.
5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes is touting introduction of a bill by Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro about responsible storage of firearms. It's a federal version of Ethan's law. The Connecticut House overwhelmingly passed legislation stemming from the death of a Guilford teen who accidentally shot himself in the head with a handgun owned by a friend's father. The Connecticut bill requires both loaded and unloaded firearms to be safely stored in homes where there are minors. The measure awaits state Senate action.
Redding Fire & EMS officials say a tactic relatively new to the fire service, strike team and task force responses assigned to large scale incidents, was used in Bethel on Sunday. The intent is to not deplete one local area of its resources, so those from pre-determined and scattered communities are requested.
Prospect Volunteer Fire Department, 37 miles from Bethel, helped on scene and maintain operational readiness. The nine hour blaze included more than 150 firefighters and more than 750,000 gallons of water.
While Redding Fire & EMS was committed in Bethel, Easton and Long Hill Volunteer Fire companies were staffing the Redding Center fire station.
Each summer noise complaints and related quality of life issues pop up in Danbury, specifically around Rogers Park. That was the case this weekend and Police stepped up patrols. Mayor Mark Boughton says Monday evening enforcement from Rogers Park included 12 Speeding tickets issued, 3 drivers cited for operating without a license, 1 failure to wear a seatbelt and 1 failure to obey a stop sign. There was 1 unregistered motor vehicle, 2 cars towed and 1 driver arrested for operating with a suspended license. Boughton says Danbury Police will continue to enforce laws around Rogers Park.
Some changes have been made in Danbury schools to keep a closer eye on student whereabouts after an elementary student left school on his bicycle at dismissal time instead of waiting to be picked up. According to a newsletter sent to district residents, staff and safety advisers will be stationed at the correct places with ample time for arrival and dismissal. Students are assigned to various rooms for dismissal if they are walkers or get picked up and district officials say there will be closer supervision when they are moved. A new security system, called Raptor, was implemented Monday where all visitors must present proper identification to a security guard at the front desk. A visitor badge is printed, and guests must check out before leaving the building.
A Connecticut man has pleaded guilty to bank robbery. 56-year old Alvin Robertson of Bridgeport also admitted to committing three bank robberies and robbing two subway stores last year.
Last May, Robertson robbed a sandwich shop on Ethan Allen Highway in Ridgefield. He brandished a knife, pointed it at the store clerk and demanded money with a threat to kill the clerk. Last July he indicated he had a gun while robbing a Subway in Monroe.
Robertson also robbed a People’s Bank branch in Monroe last August, one in Watertown in September, and one in Berlin.
He faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced at a later date. Robertson has prior federal and state bank robbery convictions.
Ridgefield Police, along with New York State Police and the Lewisboro Police Department conducted an occupant safety checkpoint on Route 35 Monday.
A total of 16 tickets were issued during this targeted enforcement period, five of which were for seatbelt/passenger restraint related violations. One arrest was made for Driving While Intoxicated.
To help prevent crash fatalities, police across the country have stepped up enforcement, through June 2nd, to ensure that motorists are wearing their seat belts. In 2017, there were more than 10,000 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in the United States.
Connecticut restaurants and caterers would no longer be able to provide customers with single-use expanded polystyrene food containers under legislation that has cleared the House of Representatives.
The proposed ban, which passed Tuesday on a 121-23 vote, would take effect July 1, 2021. It now awaits Senate action.
Proponents say the legislation is needed to discourage the use of the containers and reduce litter, noting expanded polystyrene containers can take 200 years to break down in a landfill. Some noted that many restaurants have already begun to swap out these products with greener options.
There are exceptions for pre-packaged food, raw meat and seafood. Violators would face fines.
Brookfield Representative Steve Harding backed the bill, but had concerns about the cost to businesses. He says this product has a very negative impact on the environment. But he says mom & pop restaurants and delis use the product because they can get it at such a reduced rate compared to alternatives.
Brookfield residents have approved a budget for the coming fiscal year. Residents approved $44 million for the schools on a vote of 1,362 to 1,042. The $26 million municipal part was approved 1,414 to 979.
It's a 5 percent spending increase over the current year and raises taxes by 2.87 percent. The $3.5 million capital budget will go toward paving at the schools and replacing various department vehicles.
The New Milford budget was also approved yesterday. The municipal spending plan was approved on a vote 1,655 to 741. The school portion of was approved about 1,500 to 900.
Health costs are lower, but New Milford will add a police officer and a civil engineer. New Milford is allocating more for tree removal, chip sealing, and stormwater and drainage projects to address icing. The tax rate would go up by about 2 percent.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The Connecticut Senate has defeated a bill that would have expanded when farmers can kill nuisance wildlife, including bears, which destroy crops.
Tuesday's bill was a scaled-back version of legislation that originally authorized regulated bear hunting in Litchfield County.
Instead, the Senate approved a second bill Tuesday that requires the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to provide the General Assembly with a report on non-lethal ways to control the bear population. That report is due no later than February 1, 2020.
New Milford Sen. Craig Miner of Litchfield, who supports a bear hunt, says his constituents already use non-lethal management practices, but it's not enough.
Republican Sen. Kevin Witkos of Canton says he's "in fear" it will take a human mauling or death for lawmakers to ultimately pass tougher legislation.
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut woman who got hot wax dropped in her eye at beauty spa has settled a lawsuit against the now-closed business for $400,000.
Frank Bailey, an attorney for 61-year-old Gail Gianpalo, of Monroe, says his client suffered permanent eyes injuries from the botched eyebrow wax and incurred about $4,700 in medical expenses.
The settlement was first reported by the Connecticut Law Tribune .
Gianpalo went to the Fairfield spa in July 2016 to get her eyebrows waxed. According to the lawsuit, while the salon's manager was in the process of applying wax to Gianpalo's eyebrows, he got into an argument with another customer and dropped hot wax into her right eye.
The settlement was reached with the help of a mediator.
Bethel Middle School reopened today, a day after because closed due to a weekend fire in a custodial storage room. District officials say they next have to figure out when the last day of class will be for middle schoolers. The decision will be made within the week.
The Fire Inspector determined that a cord to an appliance may have overheated, igniting a cardboard box. The sprinkler system was activated, which kept the damage to a minimum. The flames and water damaged two electrical panels, which are being repaired.
School officials thanked volunteer firefighters and the Fire Marshall for their quick responses.
The Annual Brookfield Strawberry Festival will take place on Sunday, May 26th outside the Brookfield Museum at the intersection of Routes 25 and 133. The Memorial Day parade ends near the museum parking lot where strawberry shortcake and soft drinks will be sold to support future public programs of the Society. The Billy Michaels’ Jazz for Juniors band will be in the park behind the Historical Society building. A display of antique and vintage automobiles will also featured in the parking lot. The event is from 12:30 to 3PM.
There are some openings on local boards and commissions in Newtown. First Selectman Dan Rosenthal is looking for residents to volunteer to fill a vacancy on the Public Building & Site Commission. The alternate position is available to a Republican or an unaffiliated voter. The Commission on Aging has an alternate position available to a Democrat or unaffiliated voter. Candidate recommendations are due by June 3.
A local lawmaker is critical of the minimum wage bill headed to the Governor's desk. Senator Tony Hwang, whose district includes Newtown, says there will be significant negative effects on small and mid-sized businesses, municipalities and nonprofits. He says raising people out of poverty through a livable wage is a noble goal, but forcing employers to increase wages is not a responsible way to do so. Hwang says it ignores market realities and called it counterproductive. Hwang says the cost of doing business in this state is already too high and believes this bill won't put more money in people’s pockets. Instead, he says it will increase unemployment, increase prices, and hinder growth in an already fragile economy.
RIDGEFIELD, Conn., May 21, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Boehringer Ingelheim and Optimum Patient Care today announced the creation of a new patient registry, APEX COPD (Advancing the Patient Experience in COPD), to better understand COPD and how it can be typically treated in primary care offices. This registry will be the first-of-its-kind, specifically designed to improve the management of patients with COPD, all in the primary care setting, which reflects the reality of the COPD patient experience.
This new registry will report findings and insights to be shared in academic journals and medical congresses. In addition, the registry will provide real-time, patient-reported information as well as relevant information from the electronic medical record (EMR) in a structured format to physicians at the point-of-care. This information will aid physicians in making a clinical judgment.
COPD is the fourth leading cause of death, affecting more than 1 in 20 adults in the United States.1,2 Despite its high prevalence, only a fraction of people with COPD have been diagnosed and some diagnosed patients may not be getting the treatment they need.3 Primary care physicians treat the majority of COPD patients - more than pulmonologists or any other type of health care provider. However, recent research suggests greater awareness is needed among primary care physicians to ensure a more timely diagnosis and appropriate management of this chronic condition.
The registry, which will eventually enroll 3,000 COPD patients who are being treated by a primary care physician, will retrospectively and prospectively collect EMR data for patients and supplement these data through patient-reported information.
The one year anniversary of the devastating macroburst was just last week, and some Greater Danbury area families still cleaning up.
Members of Connecticut's federal delegation are trying once again to get FEMA funding for individuals. 5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes and Senators Murphy and Blumenthal have introduced the Diversifying Emergency Benchmarks for the Recovery of Individuals after Storms Act.
The DEBRIS Act would end the ban on federal disaster relief aid to homeowners for fallen trees and debris. The bill would be retroactive to May 1, 2018.
Clearing fallen trees from a major disaster can be costly and homeowners insurance does not typically cover removal of trees and debris that has not caused damage to a structure. While Connecticut is receiving federal disaster aid to cover public expenses in Fairfield and New Haven Counties, individual property owners have been left to fend for their own.
Murphy met with homeowners impacted by the supercell storms and saw firsthand the devastation. He says the federal government should be stepping in to make sure families have the tools they need to respond to a natural disasters.
There was a small flare up in Bethel at Clarke Business Park yesterday afternoon in the building gutted by a fire on Sunday. Bethel Volunteer Fire Department officials say black smoke was seen coming from the side of the building, and firefighters were able to extinguish the flames in about 10 minutes.
On Sunday, firefighters from across the region spent more than 8 hours battling a fire in the commercial building.
3 firefighters were transported to Danbury Hospital for evaluation. The Bethel and State Fire Marshals are actively investigating the fire.
Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Company says crews attempted an interior attack but were forced out by the extreme heat. The water system in the immediate area wasn’t supplying enough water to battle the fire. A regional tanker strike team was activated and tankers brought water to the scene from a remote source.
Responding departments included: Brookfield, Danbury, Newtown, Monroe, Shelton, Trumbull, Weston, Redding, West Redding, Georgetown, Ridgefield, Southbury, Middlebury, Wolcott, Prospect, Beacon Falls, and Roxbury.
Brookfield residents are voting on a budget today. The plan for the coming fiscal year is $70-million. Residents will be asked to decide on $44 million for the schools, $26 million on the municipal side. It's a 5 percent spending increase over the current year and would raise taxes by 2.87 percent if approved. There is a $3.5 million capital budget. The funding would go toward paving at the schools and replacing various department vehicles. Polls are open until 8pm.
New Milford residents are voting on a budget today.
A slight increase in spending is being proposed for the coming fiscal year. The plan calls for $103 million, about $1.4 million more than the current year. Municipal spending is pegged at $39 million. Health costs are lower, but New Milford will add a police officer and a civil engineer.
The school portion of the plan is $64-million. The overall budget represents a 1.35 percent increase over the current year. The tax rate would go up by about 2 percent.
Bass is restoring the town's contribution to the fire department’s capital fund, which was cut in half this year. New Milford will also allocate more for tree removal, chip sealing, and stormwater and drainage projects to address icing.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Legislation aimed at better matching members of Connecticut's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community with health and other services has cleared a key vote.
The House of Representatives voted 130-6 Monday in favor of a bill that creates a new organization to recommend to state officials ways to build a safer and healthier environment for the LGBTQ community. The Department of Public Health would provide funds to help the network develop a statewide needs assessment and ultimately help coordinate care with nonprofit agencies.
Democratic Rep. Raghib Allie-Brennan of Bethel says "this is a population that hasn't been served well."
The Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition supports the bill. Executive Director Diana Lombardi recently told lawmakers how not all Connecticut primary care physicians will treat transgender patients.
The bill awaits Senate action.
A big part of the Danbury Police Department budget is for overtime. Chief Patrick Ridenhour says staffing shortages can drive overtime, but there is also contractual minimums on the number of cars on the road. He says regardless of how many officers are available, there's always going to be the minimum number of cars on the streets. Ridenhour recently changed the overtime slips to get a better idea of if the hours are contractual or discretionary.
Danbury has three officers in the academy right now, scheduled to graduate in June. They then have to go through 10 weeks of field training. The one retirement in March will be replaced by an officer coming from another department. But that candidate needs to go through three to six weeks of field training.
Ridenhour told a committee of the City Council that he is looking for other ways to train candidates, not on the city's dime. He's talked with other chiefs about getting candidates through the education portion of their training, at no cost to the municipality. But he says there's some resistance because smaller departments only hire one or two officers a decade.
The Danbury Fire Department lowered the salary of probationary firefighters, adding a new step to the contract during negotiations. People going through the academy are paid less that firefighters on the job. There's also a new 1-year probationary period, from the time firefighters first go on shift, at the lower pay rate. In the event they don't work out during that year, they are terminated.
Chief TJ Wiedl says there are still people not qualified to be firefighters for the City of Danbury, even though they pass tests and make it through the academy. Unlike the Police Department, there is no lateral transfer from one municipality to another for fire departments.
There were reports of inappropriate behavior in Rogers Park on Saturday. 17 calls came into police over the weekend from that area. The Deputy Police Chief was made aware of the issue and more police were assigned to enforce Danbury's noise ordinance.
There were complaints of loud music, double parking, drag racing and drinking in public.
Mayor Mark Boughton cautioned people to turn the music down, and not to speed. He notes that people are supposed to gather at public spaces, but to be respectful to those living in the neighborhood. There was little league game going on in one corner, tennis being played in another and softball league games going on where umpires and coaches needed to hear each other.
Boughton says there's been a challenge at the park between 5pm and 9pm when the weather is nice. The City is hiring another noise enforcement officer. Violators first are issued a warning. Then it's a $75 fine, which escalates to $150 next. If someone refuses to turn down their music, at some point the violation turns into a breach of peace charge.
Danbury has dropped its lawsuit against Tails of Courage. A resolution agreement was reached with the company operating its property as a dog kennel/animal rescue site. The litigation was pending in Danbury Superior Court.
The owner of 39 Smith Street agreed to the revocation of planning and zoning approvals for use of the property as a shelter, and to not resume operations there. Tails of Courage has also agreed to not re-apply for planning or zoning approvals as a dog kennel/animal rescue site or shelter.
The suit was filed in July 2018 for violations found by city health inspectors on three separate occasions. According to the lawsuit, dozens of dogs were found living in cramped, feces-covered cages. A flooded and rat-infested basement was also found. In one case, a dog was sold without proper immunizations and then diagnosed with the highly contagious canine parvovirus, which can be transmitted to humans.
A Danbury woman pleaded not guilty this Spring to Animal Cruelty charges in two separate incidents of sick animals being housed at Tails of Courage.
The state Department of Agriculture and Danbury Zoning officials issued cease and desist orders last year.
Easton Volunteer Fire Department had a busy day Friday, including rescuing a kitten trapped in a wall. After locating the vocal feline, firefighters were able to take apart a portion of the wall and rescue a cold and hungry kitten. Easton police and animal control were on scene and assisted. The kitten is currently with a vet and doing well. Firefighters also responded to a residential alarm and made a fire safety presentation at an elementary school.
(Photo: Easton Volunteer Fire Department)
Bethel Fire Department Chief Scott Murphy thanked members of other fire companies who provided mutual aid at the scene of a massive fire in Clarke Business Park. He also thanked Danbury for help with water as they severely taxed the water system in Bethel. Murphy specifically noted the help of Danbury Deputy Chief Bernie Meehan and Brookfield Assistant Chief Andy Ellis for coordinating the effort, and others for putting the task force and strike teams together. He also thanked Bethel residents who brought water and food to firefighters during the more than 8 hour operation.
The Candlewood Lake Authority’s Annual Lake Clean Up took place this weekend. Brookfield Volunteer Fire Department Candlewood Company participated in this event once again and says this year they picked up the biggest piece of debris yet. A pedal boat was pulled from the water. Firefighters used their auxiliary boat to tie-up and tow the boat to the awaiting dumpster in New Fairfield. Using a front loader, firefighters were able to dispose of the boat and the various other debris picked up throughout the morning.
5th District Congresswoman Hayes is touting House passage of the Equality Act. The legislation extends full anti-discrimination protections under the landmark Civil Rights Act to LGBTQ+ Americans. She says only 21 states have explicit laws barring discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, and public accommodations, and only 20 states have such protections for gender identity. The measure also includes protection in education, credit, Federal jury service, and the use of Federal funds. 4th District Congressman Jim Himes says this fills the gaps in existing law to include sexual orientation and gender identity. He says in many states someone could be legally fired for being gay or evicted for being trans.
A pickpocket incident is being investigated by Wilton Police. The Detective Division says a larceny happened at a local store on May 2nd. An Hispanic male and female distracted a female shopper with a question, while another suspect took the victim's wallet from her purse, which was sitting in the shopping cart. The credit cards were later used at a Walmart to purchase over $900 in electronics. They were seen driving a red Chrysler or Dodge minivan. Photos of the car and suspects can be viewed on the Wilton Police Facebook page. Anyone with information is asked to contact Wilton Police.
The Newtown Community Center is expected to open in early July. Center Director Matt Ariniello says cafe will be staffed by the Newtown High School Transitions Program. It's for special needs high school students 18 to 21 years old who have succeeded in all requirements to graduate high school. The objective is to give students life and vocational skills.
A $15,000 grant from the Gloria Gray Foundation, plus a $5,000 donation, will allow the business to start up.
First Selectman Dan Rosenthal says this really speaks to the goals of the community center. He added that this program will make the space inviting and adds incentive for people to patronize the cafe. Rosenthal says the middle school had a similar successful program for a time.
There are hours which won't be covered by the students. Ariniello met with Bethel-based Ability Beyond to see if their clients could cover those hours. He compared it to the model of the Prospector Theater in Ridgefield, which employs individuals through a training program. If the cafe takes off, they could put together a cart to take through the Senior Center and Municipal Center.
A resident reached out to create a logo and working with the students in creating a name for the cafe. He says the kids will feel they have an ownership in the business they're helping to start from the ground up.
A detachment of the Danbury-based 411th Civil Affairs Battalion has been mobilized for year long deployment to Africa. A send off ceremony was held yesterday at the Veterans Memorial Armed Forces Reserve Center in Danbury.
Officials commended the battalion for supporting ongoing military operations and wished the deploying soldiers well in their mission. Major Tom Saadi led the ceremony for family members and area veterans.
The Danbury fire Department displayed a large American flag in support of the soldiers. Cadets of the 399th Composite Civil Air Patrol Squadron provided logistical support for the ceremony. Following the ceremony the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 149 in Danbury hosted a lunch for the deploying soldiers and their families.
Remarks were delivered by Brigadier General Robert Cooley, Commander of the 353rd Civil Affairs Command and Colonel Jeffrey Farris, Commander of the 304th Civil Affairs Brigade.
Lieutenant Colonel Cecil Piazza, 411th Civil Affairs Battalion Commander, who also commands the deploying company, addressed the formation and extolled the virtues of family support of the deploying soldiers and the support of the broader family of the 411th who are there for their fellow soldiers and their families.
An amendment offered by 5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes was included in a bill passed by the House aimed at Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs.
The amendment calls for $25 million for navigator programs within state-based health care exchanges, like Connecticut. Navigators raise awareness about available health care plans, educate consumers about available premium tax credits, and provide technical enrollment assistance to consumers looking to buy health insurance.
Hayes says they are a vital part of the blueprint to increase health care coverage. She says overall bill defends critical protections for people with pre-existing conditions and would make skyrocketing drug prices more affordable.
This bill now goes to the U.S. Senate for consideration.
A Watertown, Connecticut man has been sentenced to prison for stealing nearly half a million dollars from his law clients. The U.S. Attorney's Office say 46-year old Alan Giacomi was ordered to 41 months behind bars for stealing more than $400,000.
Giacomi practiced real estate and family law and bilked clients and family members out of their money. In one case, he represented a couple selling their home and stole approximately $154,000 in proceeds, nearly $146,000 of which was owed to Giacomi’s clients. In 2014 represented an elderly woman when assets from her late brother were being distributed. He reportedly stole nearly $18,000 from the estate. He then stole more than $26,000 in proceeds from his great aunt’s life insurance annuity instead of using the funds to pay her nursing home bill.
In April 2017, a Connecticut Superior Court judge suspended Giacomi from the practice of law.
He was ordered to report to prison on July 26.
New Milford's Mayor has given an update on last week's house fire on Housatonic Avenue, which displaced 10 people and sent several to the hospital with burns and smoke inhalation. Pete Bass had been asked if there is anything that can be done for the displaced families.
His office and the town's Social services Director will be accepting monetary donations. Anyone writing a check is asked to make it out to New Milford Social Services and in the memo please put Housatonic Fire so they can properly account for it.
Arrangements for other donations, such as supplies, should be made by calling New Milford social services.
Members of the Brookfield Police Department emergency dive team conducted their monthly training exercise at the Candlewood Shores Beach Friday. The dive team focused on conducting a roped, systematic search, of the swim area located in the Candlewood Shores.
Without using their wireless communication system, divers were tasked with completing a search of this area and communicating their pattern using only rope signals.
The dive team will respond to emergencies on Candlewood Lake, Lake Lillinonah, and any other body of water, in Brookfield or beyond. They train each month at a different location, and with different objectives. They can locate submerged items by using side imaging sonar technology, or with an underwater metal detector.
In past years, the police dive team has responded to boating and swimming accidents, and acted as a water rescue and/or recovery team.
A large fire broke out in an industrial building at Clarke Business Park in Bethel this afternoon. The blaze was reported around 1pm in a building housing a business that makes tape adhesive and another that makes non-toxic cleaning products.
Initial reports are that no one was in the building, but officials say it won't officially be known until firefighters can get into the building.
Mutual aid is being provided by Danbury, Brookfield, Weston, Trumbull, Shelton, Roxbury, Redding and Monroe firefighters. An estimated 100 firefighters were still working to fight the flames five hours after arriving on scene.
(Photo: Brookfield Volunteer Fire Department)
Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Company says it was still an active scene at 6:30pm. Firefighters were awaiting an excavator to help open up the building.
(Photo: Stony Hill volunteer Fire Company)
The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection sampled the air and water and found no hazards.
Earlier in the day there was a fire in a custodial area of Bethel Middle School. Firefighters responded quickly and the flames were extinguished. School officials say the electrical panels must be examined for damage. Bethel Middle School will be closed Monday. Other schools in the district will be in session as scheduled. The Cyberbullying & Internet Safety Community Conversation scheduled at Bethel Middle School for tomorrow has been postponed. A new date has yet to be determined.
Brookfield officials are planning to thank emergency responders and volunteers for their time helping the town recover from last May's macroburst at a townwide picnic tomorrow at the Town Hall Band Stand. Brookfield officials say volunteers continue to dedicate time to cleaning up downed tree limbs after. They say it will be a time to thank neighbors who joined together to clear roads, houses, and other properties in order for emergency responders to get emergency vehicles and utility trucks through. The picnic tomorrow is noon to 3pm. Food will be provided for the Emergency Responders and their families.
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has approved bipartisan legislation authored by Senators Richard Blumenthal and Lindsey Graham to improve election security. The Defending the Integrity of Voting Systems Act would make it a federal crime to hack any voting systems used in a federal election.
Senator Chris Murphy has introduced the Green Bank Act of 2019. This legislation would create a national network to deploy public financing for regional, state, and municipal green banks, to facilitate large-scale, private investments in clean energy and energy efficiency projects. Connecticut was the first state in the country to create a green bank.
An exhibit honoring Brookfield’s Fallen Military Heroes is coming to Brookfield Museum. It opens today from noon to 4PM. A Brookfield resident holds photograph of her Brother-in-Law, who was shot down and killed in WWII while on a bombing mission in a B-17 over Germany. His story is part of a Memorial Exhibit honoring the memory of 44 former Brookfield town residents who gave their lives during military campaigns from the American Revolution through Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. The exhibit will also be open Saturday May 25 from noon to 4PM and Sunday May, 26 from 12:30 to 3PM.
Longtime Ridgefield High baseball head coach Paul Fabbri has resigned from the position, but remains a teacher at the school. In an email to parents last night, the School Superintendent said that Mike Scarlett, the junior varsity coach, will serve as interim head coach for the varsity team.
Fabbri and Assistant coach Tom Neville, were suspended after the April field fire and again for a separate investigation. Neville remains on administrative leave.
The anonymous restitution made to the Town of Ridgefield was discussed during the Board of Finance meeting this week. A board member asked about capping anonymous donations after reviewing the Town Charter. The Charter calls for anonymous donations to be conditioned as a gift.
First Selectman Rudy Marconi previously said that the restitution was made legally and it was not from a negative source. Three attorneys in Ridgefield representing three people opened the trustee account. The Ridgefield Press reports that Marconi noted capping the amount that can be accepted could “change philanthropy in town.”
A public hearing will be held next month in Newtown on a proposed plastic bag reduction ordinance.
The Newtown Legislative Council approved the proposal this week to essentially ban businesses from providing single-use plastic bags, with some exceptions. The Newtown Bee reports that the exemptions include newspaper bags, laundry dry cleaning bags, packages of bags for garbage, pet waste and yard waste, along with bags without handles that are used by consumers inside stores to package bulk items.
Businesses would be able to charge a 10-cent user fee per paper bags. Restaurants and establishments offering freshly prepared foods are exempted from the requirement to charge for paper bags.
The public hearing will be June 5th at 7pm at the Newtown Municipal Center.
Members of the Candlewood Company Fire Department's boat committee traveled from Brookfield to Wisconsin last week to see the under construction Marine 25. It was a ‘pre-paint inspection’ where the committee was able to review the specifications with the engineers. During the two days at the shipyard, and after spending some time on the boat, the committee was able to make various changes to improve usability and ergonomics. The vessel was sent off for painting this week and will then undergo the electrical wiring installation and engine rigging. Marine 25 is currently on time for its early July delivery.
There's a traffic pattern change in Wilton on Cobbs Mill Road by Cedar Road, Route 53. A review of the intersection was requested and Wilton Police say it was determined that road widths on the western side of the island did not fall within the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials recommendations. The Local Traffic Authority has decided to require all traffic to stay to the right of the island. The road striping and signage at the intersection has been updated.
Cell phone dead zones are being looked into in Ridgefield. The Planning and Zoning Commission has held a listening session on the the Plan of Conservation and Development, which includes addressing the wireless network issues. The Connecticut Siting Council recently approved plans to allow Verizon on the Ridgebury cell tower. The Ridgefield Press reports that the firm hired to write the plan recommends towers, disguised as trees or flagpoles to blend in with the town’s rural character, be constructed. The Ridgefield Economic and Community Development Commission proposed adding free Wi-Fi to the village and Ballard Park.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut is moving closer toward increasing the legal age, from 18 to 21, for purchasing cigarettes, other tobacco products, electronic cigarettes and vaping products.
By a vote of 124-22, the House of Representatives on Thursday advanced legislation that increases the age and also prohibits smoking or vaping on school grounds at any time. The bill now awaits Senate action.
The bill also doubles the annual fee from $400 to $800 for vaping business licenses.
Lawmakers say they've heard an outcry from educators about mounting problems with vaping. Republican Rep. Leslee Hill of Canton says her town's high school has required students to use the rest room one-by-one during lunch periods to prevent them from vaping.
The bill no longer includes a proposed ban on flavored cigarettes and vaping liquids.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Lawmakers pass legislation that incrementally increases Connecticut's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2023. The vote was taken shortly before 3am.
Senators on Thursday night debated the bill, previously approved by the House of Representatives.
Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney says more than 300,000 people will benefit from the proposal, and now Connecticut will join other states with $15 wages.
Republican Sen. John Kissel of Enfield says he fears the increase will discourage employers from hiring workers, saying the bill "goes too far, way too fast."
Under the bill, the current $10.10 an hour wage will climb to $11 on October 1; $12 in 2020; $13 in 2021; $14 in 2022; and $15 in 2023. The wage would then be tied to the federal Employment Cost Index.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The Democratic controlled House of Representatives has advanced legislation that attempts to clamp down on alleged deceptive advertising by crisis pregnancy centers in Connecticut.
Passing Thursday on a mostly partisan 81-63 vote, the bill prohibits the typically faith-based centers from making false or misleading statements about the services they provide, while allowing the state's Attorney General to seek a state order to stop such deceptive advertising.
Proponents say some of these centers are misrepresenting themselves as medical facilities and are designed to discourage women from seeking abortion, claims the centers deny.
Republican Rep. Doug Dubitsky of Chapin says he believes the legislation violates the constitutional right to religious freedom, arguing the General Assembly should not be attempting to regulate religious speech.
The bill now awaits further action in the Senate.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut Republicans are offering a new alternative to electronic tolls, but Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont isn't impressed.
The governor blasted the GOP Thursday, accusing them of wanting to delay a "tough vote" on tolls by proposing "another study." Lamont promised to "make them cast a vote" on tolls.
Republican House and Senate leaders have released draft language of a 16-page bill that dedicates an additional $375 million in bonding annually over the next five years for transportation needs. The bill also requires the Department of Transportation to submit a report identifying Connecticut's long-term transportation needs and develop a plan to address the state's five worst bridges.
The bill also re-establishes the Transportation Strategy and Advisory Board to oversee transportation investment and makes it easier for Connecticut to use public-private partnerships.
A Waterbury man has been arrested for drug related offenses in Danbury.
Police received complaints of illicit drugs being sold in the City. The Special Investigations Division searched areas yesterday that 28-year old Taurean Coleman, who has ties to Danbury, was known to frequent yesterday and located him in a North Street business parking lot.
Coleman was found in possession of a substantial quantity of crack cocaine and heroin packaged for sale. Drugs were also found in the car. His passenger was questioned and released.
Coleman was charged with two counts of possession and one count of possession with intent to sell. He was held on $100,000 bond for arraignment.
Coleman is currently on parole for previous criminal convictions.
A fundraising event for the Bethel-based Scotty Fund is being recognized by the Connecticut Association of Schools. The Bethel High School Kindness Week project has been selected as a 2019 Challenge to Educational Citizenship Award statewide winner, according to the Commissioner of Education.
A school plaque acknowledging the accomplishment will be presented at a reception next month.
The second annual Kindness Week was part of a senior project to improve the school climate and to foster inclusion. The students raised $7,000 for the non-profit Scotty Fund, which provides financial and family support to children with life threatening or critical illness in Bethel and surrounding areas.
The students also helped to fill the Brotherhood in Action Food Pantry, supplies for the shelter of the Women’s Center, and collected over 80 gift cards for Scotty Fund families in need.
The annual budget meeting in Kent is being held tonight. The overall budget, including debt service and the town's share of the Region 1 school budget is $12.87 million. That figure includes about $2 million for Region 1, $4.6 million for the Board of Ed and $3.8 million on the municipal side. Residents will be asked to authorize the Board of Selectmen to apply for up to $500,000 in town road aid grants and up to $200,000 for education aid grants and to act on the proposed 5-year capital plan. The meeting is at 7pm in Kent Town Hall.
The Danbury Police Department held it's annual Police Memorial Day yesterday, honoring the Officers who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service of their community. Following the service, several Officers and community members were also recognized at the 35th annual awards ceremony. 38 police officers and three civilians were honored for their efforts in 19 incidents. They included saving the life of a 17-year old driver who was trapped in her half-submerged Jeep, bleeding from her head, after her car went off Ball Pond Road.
Danbury officials are working on a plan to reduce water pollution, in order to comply with new state and federal regulations. The proposed Storm Water Ordinance was sent back to Committee for further consideration. The regulations are connected to Danbury's municipal separate storm sewer system general permit from the state. The ordnance will allow the City to track pollution found in local waterways back to their source, and notify a polluter to work with them to fix the issue.
Council Minority Leader Paul Rotello says if the ordinance language is adopted as written, the new law will create onerous regulations for homeowners. He says it gives the City the power to obtain warrants to enter private property and there will be no grandfathering and no pre-existing non-conforming protections. Rotello says helping to reduce pollution is a worthy goal, but unnecessarily turning every home owner into a violator is excessive and absurd. There are concerns that the illicit discharge language makes it illegal to wash a car in a driveway connected to a city street. If leaves from a homeowner's tree wash into the street, there was concern the language could be interpreted in a way that the resident is liable.
Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola says the intent of the ordinance is not to have people with a few grass clippings to be written up. He's advocating that people who wash their cars in their driveway to be conscientious.
If Danbury violates the general permit, a specific permit would be written. Iadarola says that would lead to chaos. He also warned of possible concent decrees, court orders, mandatory oversight and mandatory staffing.
Local lawmakers are touting House passage of a bill to increase the penalty for selling Fentanyl. Bethel Representative Raghib Allie-Brennan says the measure amends the definition of narcotic substances to classify Fentanyl and Fentanyl derivatives as a narcotic.
Allie-Brennan is a board member of The HERO Project in Bethel where he says he's seen the devastation and tragedy that result from the opioid epidemic.
Allie-Brennan co-sponsored the bill he says will protect communities from opiate use. The measure now moves to the Senate for further action.
At a time when opioid-related overdose deaths in Connecticut have climbed 400 percent, Newtown Representative JP Sredzinski is touting the bill which also increase the penalties for its manufacture. Sredzinski, who also co-sponsored the bill, says more than 70 percent of opioid-related deaths currently are linked to Fentanyl.
The state Department of Public Health recently released an app called NORA, the Naloxone and Overdose Response Application. It was designed to help save lives when confronted with an opioid overdose by educating residents on how to administer naloxone. The app uses GPS data to find nearby locations to obtain the medication.
Spring cleaning is happening around New Milford. The Parks and Rec crews continues mowing and trimming at the parks and ball fields in between rainy days. They also installed the yak port, a kayak launch, on the Housatonic on Youngsfield Road. Mayor Pete Bass says a carting company also hauled away unwanted furniture that was dumped at Lovers Leap State Park.
A bill has cleared the state House to allow quicker access to well-qualified, temporary emergency workers, providing greater protection against forest fires and the dangers associated with them. The bill was approved unanimously.
New Milford Representative Bill Buckbee says a constituent, Sergio Ligouri, contacted him about updating the law. The trained forest wild fire firefighter has fought large scale forest fires around the country.
Under existing state law, an individual must also be an employee of Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection in order to fight catastrophic wildfires. Buckbee says that means private citizens trained within the Connecticut Interstate Fire Crew cannot be called upon to assist in putting out wild fires.
Current law also limits Connecticut’s ability to assist fellow New England states and New York State in the event regional services are needed. While there are mutual aid agreements, Buckbee says limiting the rolls of people that can be called on makes it hard for Connecticut to uphold its end of the agreement.
Southbury Police Corporal Joshua Recupero and Officer Anthony Armeno recently completed the 58th annual Fairfield County Detective School. The program, which included 24 investigators from 16 different state agencies, included specialized training in child abductions, sex crimes, financial crimes, death investigations, interrogations, and narcotics among others. Participants must summarize information learned during the course and take a test. Corporal Recupero scored 1st place overall and Officer Armeno scored 2nd place overall.
6 people have been taken to the hospital as firefighters battle an apartment fire in New Milford. The blaze broke out overnight in a four-unit two-family home on Housatonic Avenue. Eleven people were there at the time. The 6 injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
Mutual aid was provided by Northville, Gaylordsville, Brookfield, with station coverage from Bridgewater.
New Milford Ambulance immediately transported 1 occupant from the scene with smoke related distress. Additional units from Sherman, Washington, Brookfield, Bridgewater, and Danbury responded to evaluate 10 other occupants; many of which were transported for smoke inhalation and minor burns.
Fire officials say hydrants on the street allowed for an aggressive attack. Tower 25 accessed the roof for ventilation. The fire was brought under control within an hour and units were able to clear the scene by 430am.
The fire is being investigated by the local and State Fire Marshal's Office. New Milford Fire Marshal Brian Ohmen reports that the investigation into the fire at 101 Housatonic Avenue has revealed the location of three smoke detectors , located under a collapsed ceiling. The Fire Marshal's investigation is continuing.
(Photos: Water Witch Hose Co. #2)
A Romanian citizen has been sentenced to more than a decade in prison for a 2007 home invasion in Kent. 41-year old Alexandru Nicolescu was sentenced yesterday to 121 months in prison. The U-S Attorney's Office reports that Nicolescu and Emanuel Nicolescu, who are not related, and another individual, wearing masks and brandishing knives and firearms, entered a home in South Kent.
They ordered the victims to pay $8.5 million or they would be left to die from a lethal injection. New York socialite Anne Bass and her long-time partner weren't able to pay, and were drugged with a sleeping aid.
Alexandru Nicolescu fled the U.S. the following day. He has been detained since November 2013, when he was arrested in the United Kingdom where he was residing. He unsuccessfully contested his extradition and was transported to the U.S. On January 8, 2016, he pleaded guilty to one count of attempted extortion and one count of conspiracy to commit extortion.
The three fled in the homeowner's Jeep. The stolen Jeep was found abandoned the next morning in New Rochelle. A few days later, an accordion case washed ashore in Jamaica Bay containing a stun gun, a 12-inch knife, a black plastic Airsoft gun, a crowbar, syringes, sleeping pills, latex gloves, and a laminated telephone card with the South Kent address of the victims.
In 2010, a newly assigned investigator from the Connecticut State Police made the connection that matched a partial Pennsylvania license plate, seen by a witness near the victims’ estate on the night of the crime, to a car owned by Michael Kennedy, who formerly shared an address with Emmanuel Nicolescu, who had been employed by the victim. Kennedy’s father was a professional accordion player, and witnesses later identified the knife in the accordion case as a gift given to Emanuel Nicolescu by his father-in-law.
On the night of April 15, 2007, Kennedy drove Emanuel Nicolescu, Alexandru Nicolescu and Stefan Alexandru Barabas to a location in the vicinity of the South Kent home, and then picked them up the following morning in New Rochelle at the location where the intruders abandoned the stolen Jeep.
Emanuel Nicolescu was arrested in Illinois on January 23, 2011. On March 22, 2012, a jury in New Haven found him guilty of attempted extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion, and possession of a stolen vehicle. On August 17, 2012, he was sentenced to 240 months of imprisonment.
Kennedy, also known as Nicolae Helerea, a citizen of Romania, voluntarily returned to the U.S. from Romania and, on November 5, 2012, pleaded guilty to one count of attempted extortion and one count of conspiracy to commit extortion. On May 4, 2016, he was sentenced to 48 months of imprisonment.
Stefan Barabas has been charged in connection with this case and is currently being sought. The FBI is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to his arrest. Charges are only allegations, and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The FEMA reimbursement process is still ongoing for damage from the macroburst and tornadoes that ripped through Connecticut one year ago. Brookfield First Selectman Steve Dunn gave an update to his fellow Selectmen at their Board meeting last week.
He says they are making progress, and will get some money. But he notes that FEMA gives the money to the state, which is supposed to pass it along to municipalities. The town is on target to get $2.8 million. The town spent about $1.7 million. The reason for that is FEMA gives towns $150 per hour for use of fire trucks. Dunn says that will cover wear and tear.
FEMA wants to be done and out of the area by mid-August. Dunn notes that two-thirds of the United States is under FEMA disaster declaration right now. FEMA workers here will then head to other parts of the country.
Dunn says Brookfield is ahead of some other impacted towns because the day after storm, they started tracking every expense. Greg Dembowski was hired to keep track of the details in real time, rather than going back three or four months later to record that data. FEMA wanted specific information about tree damage including diameter, type and height of trees, GPS of trees and where it was taken. There were hundreds of trees to keep track of. He called it arcane and complex.
60 hours was spent tracking salaries alone of employees, putting in hours, wages and benefits.
A mother and son will be graduating together on Sunday. West Conn is holding its 121st Commencement exercises. Among the more than 1,200 degree recipients will be Carole and Chauncey Allers of Wilton.
23-year old Chauncey Allers was recruited by West Conn's soccer program to help turn the team around. He says college wasn't high on his priority list until that point, and then an elective in criminology set him on a course to pursue of Bachelor of Science in Justice and Law Administration. He won several awards in soccer and tennis.
Carole studied Psychology with a minor in Community Health and is on the tennis team. She is graduating Cum Laude with 3.66 GPA.
When asked about attending West Conn with his mom, Chauncey said they never had any classes together, but every now and then would meet for a bite in the Westside campus cafeteria and chat. They will likely have classes together in the future as both have been accepted into WCSU’s new Master of Science in Addiction Studies program.
After her husband had cancer, Carole said she realized that she needed to prepare for having her own career. Her husband and their two other children will be among the crowd Sunday. Harrison is following in the family footsteps as a WCSU student-athlete. The sophomore plays soccer and is studying Health Promotion and Exercise Sciences.
Commencement is at 10:30am Sunday at the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport.
There will be overnight roadwork on I-84 in Danbury starting next week. The state Department of Transportation will be performing bridge maintenance both east and westbound beginning Monday and continuing through May 31st. No work will be performed over the Memorial Day weekend. Otherwise the hours are 9pm to 5am Monday through Thursday nights, from exit 1 through exit 8. DOT Maintenance will have various lane closures in effect throughout the work with traffic control personnel and signing patterns. Changes or extensions to the schedule may be needed due to weather delays or other unforeseen conditions.
A Danbury Police Constable's name has been added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC.
Danbury Police said yesterday, Peace Officers Memorial Day, that members of the Department's Honor Guard participated in the the National Police Memorial Candlelight Vigil for fallen Police Officers on Monday. Department officials say they are honored to know that Constable Fredrick Ellis will be memorialized along side the 21,910 Police Officers who have given their lives in service to their communities.
Ellis was assisting at a structure fire when he suffered a fatal heart attack in 1964.
The name of a fallen veteran was also added to the memorial. Staff Sgt. TJ Lobraico Jr of Sherman had his name listed on the memorial as well. The New Milford native was killed in Afghanistan in 2013 during his second deployment with the Air Force's 105th Security Forces Squadron.
The 22-year old was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal for Valor in 2015.
New Milford Police plan to crack down on speeding as the summer season gets underway. Police say they've noticed an increase in drivers speeding through town and will be running more radar in response. Enforcement action will be taken so police asked motorists to be mindful of the speed limit and vehicle speed. New Milford Police say the goal is to make sure roads and the town are safe.
There was a fire in a Brookfield strip mall last night. The fire was reported on Federal Road near Brookfield Technology Center around 8:45pm. Federal Road was closed for about two hours while firefighters extinguished the blaze. Flames were reported in the attic of a strip mall building and the roof was opened to let out smoke.
Crews encountered heavy fire conditions in the rear of the 1.5 story wood frame commercial structure. No injuries were reported.
Within half an hour the bulk of the fire was knocked down and crews started the overhaul process. The fire marshal responded and will investigate the cause.
(Photo: Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company)
A couple of two night exit closures are scheduled in Newtown. The state Department of Transportation says the exit 10 ramp on I-84 westbound will be closed tonight and tomorrow 10pm to 5am. The exit 9 ramp eastbound closure will take place Friday and Saturday night 10pm to 5am. The closures and detours are needed for construction and safety improvement activities. The detours are on Routes 25 and 6.
A bipartisan group of legislators are proposing setting aside $5 million in the upcoming state bond package to help the congregants of Connecticut synagogues, mosques and churches. Faith leaders joined the lawmakers, including Danbury Senator Julie Kushner, in calling for the money to help worshippers remain more secure from domestic hate groups by installing various security measures such as remote door entry systems, video monitoring systems, and shatter-proof windows. This is the same type of improvements the state offered public schools in the wake of the shootings at Sandy Hook School.
Details have been released about the upcoming Danbury Memorial Day Parade. The theme will be “Remembering Our Deceased Veterans, Honoring the Men and Women who served Our Country and displaying the American Flag”. The The Danbury Council of Veterans has announced Franklin Buckley, a Vietnam War veteran, as Honorary Grand Marshal.
Honored Guests include Captain Ryan McKenna of the U.S. Air Force. He is the Manager of the state Department of Veteran Affair's Office of Advocacy and Assistance. The Rose Garden Memorial Services will be led by former Danbury state Senator Michael McLachlan.
The "Flying Yankees" of the 103rd Airlift Wing, a unit of the Connecticut Air National Guard, stationed at Bradley Air National Guard Base will provide a flyover by a C-130H Hercules. The C-130H Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings. It was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation, and cargo transport aircraft. Its mission is providing theater cargo and passenger airlift.
The New Milford Board of Finance has been sent a request for nearly $30-million worth of projects. Mayor Pete Bass says about a third, $21.5 million, would be bond anticipation notes until actual costs are determined. The funding would cover renovations to the library, roofs and roadwork. $8.3 million in existing debt or debt that was already approved but hasn’t been borrowed would be converted from short-term to long-term borrowing. The Board of Finance is also being asked to consider $10 million for paving, repairs and road improvements. Their meeting is set for May 28th at 6pm.
Ridgefield residents have overwhelmingly approved a budget for the coming fiscal year. The $47.8 million town portion was approved on a vote of 1,386 to 321. The $98-million education budget was approved 1,146 to 566. Ridgefield residents also approved funding for road paving and 6 capital budget questions. Some dealt with items for the schools including removing oil tanks, asbestos abatement at Scotland, lighting and carpeting upgrades for the high school, improvements to the vestibule of Barlow Mountain, a district wide security and surviellance system, energy and water savings projects, and the purchase of custodial equipment.
The legislature's Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee is set to vote today on a tolling proposal. While it specifies the 4 roadways to be tolled, it lacks other specifics like the rate or number of gantries. Before tolling is implemented, at least one public hearing in the area of the proposed toll corridor must be held.
The proposal calls for variable toll rates based on the day of the week, level of anticipated congestion, type of vehicle and discounts and credits EZ pass holders. The proposal includes exemptions for certain types of motor vehicles, including high occupancy vehicles, those leased or owned by the state, emergency response vehicles, and public transit services.
Some area towns have discussed whether or not to issue formal resolutions on the idea of tolling. Bethel Selectman Paul Zatkowski raised the idea of issuing a resolution against tolling. First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says any kind of non-binding resolution not the direct business of their purview should be avoided. He noted that they don't have any control over the matter, other than talking with the state delegation.
Knickerbocker says he wouldn't want to adopt a resolution on behalf of the town when they haven't heard from more than a handful of people. Brookfield Selectman Sue Slater had a similar stance. First Selectman Steve Dunn said he'd be open to the idea of an online survey.
Brookfield Selectman Harry Shaker opposes tolling. He also says the state should be spending less money rather than squeezing more money out of taxpayers. Other members of the Board of Selectmen says they are seeing cuts from education funding to help for seniors and people with disabilities.
A company has proposed that Danbury's light industrial zone regulations be changed to allow for a distillery. The Zoning Commission met last night for a public hearing on the proposal from JAR Associates.
Danbury officials recently changed regulations allowing for breweries in the City's two IL-40 zones.
Only the petitioner's attorney spoke during the hearing. City Council Minority Leader Paul Rotello sent a letter with concerns about retail sales possibly circumventing the existing package store ordinance or turning manufacturing parks into quasi-retail zones, impacting places like Lee Farm, The Reserve and Commerce Park.
He was also concerned about the addition of catering. But JAR Associates say their application says "events may be catered" and that wouldn't be the focus of the business.
The Zoning Commission voted unanimously to add to the regulation. They will see a site specific use proposal in the future.
There were two fires in the area this week which displaced more than a dozen residents. New Fairfield firefighters responded to Smoke Hill Drive around 10am yesterday on a possible electrical fire. The home was undergoing renovations at the time and no one there was injured. Power had to be turned off and Eversource arrived about 45 minutes later and then firefighters extinguished the blaze. 10 residents were displaced. In New Milford, a Sunny Valley Road home caught fire shortly before 9 o'clock Monday night. Heavy smoke was coming from the home when firefighters arrived. 4 people have been displaced. All are receiving assistance from the Red Cross. The fires are under investigation by the New Fairfield and New Milford Fire Marshals offices.
Connecticut lawmakers are moving closer toward passing legislation that could lead to more off-shore wind farms.
A bill authorizing state officials to solicit 2,000 megawatts of electricity - 30% of Connecticut's entire energy load - from off-shore wind sources cleared the House of Representatives Tuesday, 134-to-10.
Energy Committee chair Danbury Representative David Arctoni says the bill will help Connecticut meet its future energy needs and lead to good-paying jobs. He says this measure will generate enormous economic potential in a field of green energy that remains untapped in Connecticut.
But critics say they worry about the large size of the turbines and whether the fishing industry might be harmed.
The bill now awaits action in the Senate.
The state legislature's Appropriations Committee has approved a bill creating a Paid Family and Medical Leave program, with .5 percent of paychecks going into a state-run trust fund. Employees would be able to use up to 12 weeks of leave to care for a new baby or an ill family member.
The measure was passed 26-17 and sent to the Senate.
Danbury Senator Julie Kushner says the program details are still being negotiated, but the one approved in committee was also passed by the Labor and the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committees. $20-million in bonding over the next two years would be seed money, but Kushner says the program would then pay for itself through contributions from employees. She notes that the bond money would be paid back in future years.
Opponents say they're not against the idea of Paid Leave, but not in favor of what they say amounts to a payroll tax.
A Special Town Meeting date has been set in Bethel for residents to decide on buying a parcel of land. The Selectmen agreed to send the acquisition of a lot on Long Meadow Lane to the voters. A proposed $198,000 would be made by water users of the Bethel Public Utilities Commission. The measure has been forwarded to the Board of Finance for approval. The Special Town Meeting will be held May 28th at 7pm in Meeting Room A of the Municipal Center.
Ridgefield residents are voting on a budget today. The municipal plan calls for $47.7 million, including debt service. The Board of Ed portion of the plan is $98.19 million. Ridgefield residents will also be deciding on $1.84 million for road paving.
There's a question about allocating $94,000 for Scotland Elementary roof repairs, and $90,000 to repair the Branchville Elementary roof. There's $197,000 for a Mack truck, $255,000 for a road sweeper and $150,000 for sidewalk improvements. There's also a question on $320,000 for HVAC replacement at the Recreation Center, $475,000 for the Venus Building HVAC system and $122,000 to replace the front stairs at East Ridge Middle School.
There's a proposed $1.2 million for a fire ladder truck and several allocations for work at the schools. That includes removing oil tanks, asbestos abatement at Scotland, lighting and carpeting upgrades for the high school, improvements to the vestibule of Barlow Mountain, a district wide security and surveillance system, energy and water savings projects, and the purchase of custodial equipment.
Funding for the state-funded Western Connecticut Mental Health Network in Danbury and Torrington was cut in Governor Lamont's proposed budget, but added back into the proposal being considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee. If the facilities fall victim to further cuts during budget negotiations, clients would have to go to the Waterbury location. The network provides services to people struggling with addition and mental health issues and to the homeless. They have 230 clients in Danbury and 383 in Torrington
A State Police K9 on duty in Danbury yesterday found marijuana in a car pulled over because of an expired registration. A Trooper was using a license plate reader and got a hit on a passing vehicle on I-84 westbound by exit 6. The driver was pulled over and found to be operating under suspension. A small amount of marijuana was initially found by the Trooper. The vehicle was then searched by K9 Favor, who turned up 13.5 ounces of pot, along with various THC vape cartridges. The driver was taken to Troop A in Southbury. Police did not immediately release the person's name.
The Bethel Energy Committee currently has 8 members, but three haven't shown up for meetings in more than a year. That's made it hard for the group to get a quorum. The Board of Selectmen has approved a change to the committee format making it between 5 and 8 members. The three who haven't shown up to meetings will be asked to resign. In the meantime, the group will be able to hold meetings and take care of business.
Members have been appointed to the Bethel Religious Holiday Display Committee. The group will be made up of 11 residents. That includes 6 Democrats, 3 Republicans and two unaffiliated voters. All candidates contacted the First Selectman's Office and requested to be part of the group. The committee was formed after an uproar over the Board's decision to allow a banner from an atheist group to go up near a new nativity manger at P.T. Barnum Square. There is no written policy of regulations for displays, just a history of past practices.
Two Connecticut teachers, including one from Danbury, have receive prestigious awards for Teaching Excellence. Danbury teacher Luanelly Iglesias was recognized as the winner of NEA’s 2019 Human and Civil Rights George I. Sanchez Memorial Award. It honors teachers who significantly advance equal opportunities for Hispanics. She was selected for creating a bilingual program for students recently arriving in the United States and her efforts through family engagement to help students. The Puerto Rican native, who teaches at Rogers Park Middle School, has had a 15-year career as a bilingual teacher. Iglesias will be honored by more than 8,000 of her peers across the country during a national ceremony in Houston, Texas, in July.
Danbury-based FuelCell Energy has bought a facility from Dominion Energy for $35.4 million. The deal is for a 14.9 megawatt fuel cell park in Bridgeport. FuelCell Energy developed, constructed and commissioned the facility in December of 2013. Since its commissioning, FuelCell Energy has operated and maintained the plant under a service agreement with Dominion Energy. FuelCell Energy will own and operate the plant as part of its generation portfolio. The Connecticut Green Bank provided additional supporting capital.
Warning lights are being added in Danbury near Candlewood Town Park at Hayestown Road and elsewhere. Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola says they're trying to get people to slow down around those curves because some people drive through that area at a high rate of speed and cause accidents. Iadarola says he's trying to expedite a testing protocol so they're fully operational before the summer, when traffic picks up because of the lake.
Danbury firefighters helped to fix a portable chair lift of a couple staying at a local hotel on their way from Florida to Maine. One of them has serious medical issues and is immobile, so the lift is used to move from the powered wheelchair to the bed, bath and other facilities. On Saturday, the couple called customers service, friends and others, but couldn't get help or advice on how to get it to work. They then called 911 and after working on the lift for a few minutes, firefighters were able to bring it back to life. Firefighters helped get the person to the bathroom and back into bed.
Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company Firefighter 1 program is almost complete. The three students from Brookfield in the class participated in a live burn at the Danbury Fire school Saturday. Their practical exam is this week and the written test in in June. The class includes 35 students from departments across Western Connecticut. Brookfield runs a Firefighter 1 class every January and a Firefighter 2 class every odd year in September.
Some Easton residents may be getting phone calls that come up on the caller ID as the Easton Police Department, when in fact, it is a business attempting to sell something. The Easton Police Department was recently made aware of the spoofing, but say there is no way to prevent it at this time. Anyone receiving a call that comes up as the Easton Police, but is not Easton Police, is asked to simply hang up. Police say this doesn't appear to be widespread, but they wanted to make sure the public was aware.
Bethel Police Sergeant Courtney Whaley is the Exchange Club 2018 Officer of the Year. Whaley served as an SRO for the Bethel Middle School starting in 2016 and volunteered with the Youth Bureau activities and investigations when they were short staffed. She was then formally assigned to the Detective Bureau. In October 2018 Whaley took the Sergeants test and came out 1st and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. She was awarded the CHAMP Award (C-Commitment, H-Honesty, A-Attitude, M-Motivator, P-Pride) by the Bethel Public Schools and was awarded 2nd place overall at the Fairfield County Detectives Conference. Whaley was recognized for making victims feel safe and cared for, while obtaining confessions from offenders who have sexually abused children.
The Town of Bridgewater is getting ready for the summer with a lighting upgrade at Pratt Pavilion. The town recently completed the upgrades at the Bridgewater Recreation Area. Energy efficient lighting fixtures can be controlled by a dimmer switch, and several new waterproof outlets were installed around the building perimeter.
A Danbury man has been arrested for allegedly attacking a person he was trying to rob in Newtown. Danbury Police helped Newtown to take 20-year old Destin Jackson into custody early Saturday morning on an outstanding warrant.
Jackson was charged with robbery and assault for the April 6th incident, where he allegedly tried to rob a victim walking through a shopping plaza parking lot. The victim refused to give his car keys to Jackson, and the Danbury man hit the victim in the head and body multiple times with his hands and feet, including kicking the victim while he was knocked to the ground.
The victim was hospitalized.
Newtown Police spokesman Lt. Aaron Bahamonde says justice can now be served, for the victim and the community and is pleased "this very dangerous individual is off the streets".
A bill allowing liquor permit holders to operate automated alcohol dispensing machines has been overwhelmingly approved by the state House. The measure now moves on to the Senate, where it stalled in previous years. The House voted 113 to 28. Opponents worry automation might lead to fewer jobs.
Danbury Representative David Arconti says the measure would have a positive financial impact. He says the machines are novelty items to lure in customers and that this type of machine could help expand the craft beer industry. He notes that sector is currently booming in Connecticut.
Arconti notes that people would still have to get ID'd. A person verified to be at least 21 years old would then be able to purchase a payment card and pour themselves up to 32 ounces of beer or 10 ounces of wine. The alcoholic beverage would be dispensed in single-serve, 12-ounce glasses.
Brookfield may change zoning regulations in the hopes of securing state grant money for streetscaping in the Four Corners area. With new leadership at the Department of Transportation, there's a new interpretation of whether feeder roads are covered by the LOTCIP grant.
The funding would not include granite curbing, bus shelters, bike racks and other so-called amenities the town has installed along other portions of Federal Road.
The Connecticut Post reports that th Western Connecticut Council of Governments suggested if the amenities are required in the downtown as part of the zoning regulations, then the state might have to cover them.
The Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing on June 13th at 7pm on the proposed amendment.
A member of the Brookfield Economic Development Commission has announced his run for First Selectman. Republican Mel Butow is also an alternate on the Planning Commission. He says he wants to focus on financial management, taxes, affordable housing, education and Four Corners development. Butow has more than 40 years of financial management experience. Democratic incumbent First Selectman Steve Dunn has not yet announced his plans for November.
The Ridgefield High School baseball and assistant baseball coaches have been placed on administrative leave again. Paul Fabbri and Tom Neville were placed on leave after an April 6th ball field fire at Governor Park. They were reinstated about a week later. Superintendent William Collins says the new leave is not related to the field fire incident, but did not comment on the pending investigation. Police say no criminal charges have been filed against either coach.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) - A school violence prevention program started by parents whose children were killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre is receiving a $25,000 donation.
The gift from the Wireless Zone Foundation will be presented to Sandy Hook Promise on Monday.
The donation is earmarked to support the training of youth and adults in Sandy Hook Promise's Know the Signs program, which is designed to help decrease violence, bullying, and other forms of victimization, while strengthening school communities.
More than 7.5 million people in more than 14,000 schools and youth organizations have gone through the training, learning techniques to reduce bullying and cyberbullying and help identify those as risk to commit violence, including school shootings.
A forum on distracted driving held in Newtown recently by state Senator Tony Hwang included AAA representatives, law enforcement and other traffic safety advocates.
AAA Northeast spokeswoman Fran Mayko says any activity that takes a driver's eyes off the road, hands off the wheel or attention from the task of driving presents a risk. She added that hands-free electronics are no safer than hand-held devices, despite the amount of research done on this topic. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has found hands-free interactions can distract drivers for as long as 27 seconds after a conversation ends. At 25 mph, a driver can cover the length of three football fields.
Newtown Police Chief James Viadero says he too has to resist picking up a ringing phone or checking an email. But he noted that it's also hard not to be distracted by thinking about the next meeting he's going to or other matters.
Captain Chris Vanghele says there are times officers give out informational pamphlets with a ticket. Drivers may or may not read the material, but the ticket also, hopefully, stops them from repeating the behavior. Newtown has 600 to 700 motor vehicle accidents per year.
Vanghele told the crowd that if they've ever found they've driven 15 minutes to a destination and can't remember how they got there, that's distracted driving. He says distracted driving has been an issue since he joined the force in 1993, so it's not specific to cell phones. He gave the example of being focused on what's happening in the back seat or what you're doing later in the day.
Bethel Fire & EMS has released response numbers for April and 1st Quarter totals. In April there were 103 EMS responses. Bethel Fire responded to 26 calls including 1 for smoke from cooking, 1 for a basement pump out, 8 automatic fire alarms, 3 carbon monoxide issues, and three car accidents. There was also a Brush Fire, an Illegal Burn and a Chimney Fire. Year to date, for the first quarter, Bethel Fire & EMS responded to 103 fire calls and 455 for EMS.
A status conference is scheduled in the two cases of Dorothy Day Hospitality House versus Danbury. The hearings are set for May 28th.
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. After learning their permit expired more than 30 years ago and a renewal was never sought, Dorothy Day applied for variances to driveway width, parking lot size and setbacks.
The more-than century old building on Spring Street does not comply with current zoning regulations. The homeless shelter operator needed the variances in order to apply for a special exception before the Planning Commission.
Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue Chief Bill Halstead has been named Grand Marshal of the 2019 Labor Day Parade. The longtime chief joined the fire department on his 16th birthday and has participated in every Newtown Labor Day Parade since its inception. The parade is scheduled for Monday, September 2nd and has a theme of “Volunteers Keeping Our Community Strong."
WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) - An 18-year-old woman who died when the SUV she was driving rolled over is being remembered by her family as "sweet and kind."
Police on Thursday publicly identified the driver of the vehicle that struck a parked car and rolled in Waterbury on Wednesday night as Coreyann Spruill.
Police say she was ejected from the vehicle. Two passengers, ages 18 and 17, were injured but are expected to survive.
Witnesses say the SUV rolled over several times after striking an unoccupied parked car.
Spruill's grand-aunt, Annette Spruill, tells the Republican American the victim graduated from Danbury High School last year and moved to Waterbury about six months ago. She worked at a shoe store and wanted to become a nurse.
The crash remains under investigation.
A shoplifter is being sought by New Milford Police. A photo taken from surveillance video at Khol's Department store shows a man stealing three bluetooth speakers. The merchandise is valued at more than $300. Anyone who can identify the man in the photo posted to the New Milford Police Department Facebook page is asked to call Officer Williams at 860-355-3133.
Danbury Day at the state Capitol was held yesterday. Four Danburians were honored for their contributions over the years. They are former Registrar of Voters Marge Gallo, former State Representative Lew Wallace, former City Councilwoman Mary Teicholz and Catholic War Veterans Commander Albert Mead. Lawmakers also recognized singer and civil rights icon Marian Anderson. Senator Julie Kushner told the crowd that WestConn’s School of Visual and Performing Arts will be renamed to honor her memory. Kushner called Anderson a rare talent.
Sandy Hook Promise is touting a bill being introduced in the U.S. House called the STANDUP Act. The advocacy organization says it would bring lifesaving violence prevention programs to more schools across the country. Sandy Hook Promise says this would give students and educators access to training programs, like ones they offer, on how to spot warning signs of gun violence and how to intervene before tragedy happens.
The Women's Center is currently hiring a Full-time Bilingual Residential Advocate to provide support, advocacy, safety planning, counseling, and educational services to children and adults who come to the Women's Center through domestic violence, sexual assault and resource programs. A Part-time Bilingual Case Manager is also being sought. That position include safety planning, counseling, and educational services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault who reside at Elizabeth House. The required qualifications are posted on the "Career Opportunities" page of the Women's Center website.
42 new State Troopers have graduated from the Training Academy after completing more than 1,500 hours focused on training. A ceremony was held Thursday. Among the 42 graduates, 9 have military experience and 12 have prior law enforcement experience. Troop A, Southbury is getting four new Troopers from this class. They are David Loughman of Brookfield, Michael McKinney of Woodbury, Ryan Mara, and Kevin Roberts
Senator Chris Murphy and Arizona Senator Martha McSally have introduced a bipartisan bill to provide metastatic breast cancer patients access to support and medical care potentially years sooner than under current law. The measure would waive the 5-month waiting period for Social Security Disability Insurance and the 24-month waiting period for eligible Medicare benefits. McSally says 90-percent of breast cancer deaths are as a result of metastatic disease, when the cancer spreads to another part of the patient’s body. The bill is supported by the National Breast Cancer Coalition.
A bill introduced by 4th District Congressman Jim Himes has been passed unanimously by the Financial Services Committee. The Insider Trading Prohibition Act makes it a federal crime to trade a security based on material, nonpublic information that was wrongfully obtained.
Himes says this would end decades of ambiguity for a crime that has never been clearly defined by law. Himes added that it's unfair to Americans and harmful to the markets when individuals trade on material, non-public information.
The measure also makes it expressly illegal to communicate that “tip” to another person when it is reasonably foreseeable that the person is likely to trade on that information. Himes notes that they do define wrongful as information that has been obtained through “theft, bribery, misrepresentation or espionage, a violation of any federal law protecting computer data or the intellectual property or privacy of computer users, conversion, misappropriation or other unauthorized and deceptive taking of such information, or a breach of any fiduciary duty or any other personal or other relationship of trust and confidence."
A bill to support wounded warriors has been introduced by Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal. The measure would improve orthotics and prosthetics care, and expand the current workforce in those fields. Currently, many practitioners rely on personal experience and trial-and-error methods, rather than empirical data, to determine which prosthetic device will work best for a given patient. This can result in a patient being fitted for several different devices before the ideal fit is found, a lengthy and potentially costly process.
The Senators say this would give wounded warriors access to the finest medical technology and care America has to offer when they get home, after these men and women put their lives on the line for this country.
The bill would enhance research in best practices and support colleges and universities seeking to establish degree programs to train specialists. Universities receiving grants would be required to have students rotate through facilities run by the Departments of Veterans Affairs or Defense, or that hold VA contracts.
Since 2001, more than 1,650 U.S. troops have suffered combat-related limb loss in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 320,000 wounded warriors have a traumatic brain injury, many of whom require orthotic care. The number of veterans with amputation more than tripled from 2000 to 2016.
The U.S. Postal Service is hosting their annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive tomorrow. Mail carriers will collect non-perishable food donations left by mailboxes tomorrow. All of the items will be taken to the local Post Office and delivered to various food pantries in the area, including in Bethel, Danbury and New Fairfield. The annual drive is held at this time of year because Thanksgiving and Christmas donations are dwindling down. There's also an upcoming expected increase in need as students will no longer be in school to receive free or reduce priced lunch. Letter carriers asked residents to check expiration dates prior to donating.
The deadline is coming up for people to comment on the Shoreline Management Plan for Candlewood Lake. The revised final draft plan was submitted by First Light Power at the end of March. The Federal Energy Regulatory Authority then set a 30 day comment period for the public. The deadline is May 15th. The Candlewood Lake Authority says the revisions addressed some of their concerns and those expressed by other stakeholders. While a number of the revisions made to this final draft are improvements, CLA officials say there are still a number of issues that remain unresolved.
There's still no cause of death for the man whose body was found off I-84 in Danbury last week. The Chief Medical Examiner's Office is still awaiting toxicology test results, which can take up to 8 weeks. 63-year old Herbert Ruehle was found dead in a grassy area off the exit 4 ramp by a surveyor setting up for road work on May 2nd. State Police said at that time there was no sign of foul play. Ruehle was homeless at the time of his death, with his last known address in Kent, New York.
A wild turkey took up residence in the Wilton High School Field House for a few days and now school officials are looking to identify the two student caught on surveillance video guiding the bird inside.
School officials tried to lure the animal from the rafters, but couldn't and called in Wilton Police and animal control. The Connecticut Post reports that the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection also failed using lettuce and watermelon to attract the bird outside.
After two days, the school's custodians called wildlife control company Bats Be Gone. They caught the wild turkey using a net and released it into the woods behind the school.
Gym classes were rescheduled or moved outside. Most of the field house has been sanitized, but a lift is needed to get to the rafters.
Ridgefield-based Boehringer Ingelheim is being sued by a Florida man who claims the pharmaceutical company failed to provide a promised number of doses in its asthma inhalers. Carl Ignacuinos alleges Boehringer Ingelheim marketed them as having 120 doses, but that the devices in some cases had half that many. The Connecticut Law Tribune received an emailed statement from BI saying the company works diligently to ensure its medicines are manufactured in accordance with FDA-approved processes and dosing, and that the company is confident that its inhaler delivers the correct doses of the medicine. The Plaintiff is seeking class-action status for his complaint, without stating a precise amount in damages he is seeking.
An Honor Flight is taking place this weekend for veterans from the area. The non-profit organization transports veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit and reflect at their memorials. 72 veterans from World War II, post-World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam and the Cold War era will depart from Westchester County Airport on Saturday morning and return later in the evening.
Honor Flight called on residents to attend the 6:30am send off rally and the 8pm welcome home event.
Five Fairfield County veterans and three from Putnam County will be on Mission 23. Of the 72 total veterans, 18 are World War II or post-World War II; 36 are Korean War veterans; 15 are post-Korean War and Cold War veterans; 3 are Vietnam veterans.
Colonial Subaru in Danbury has donated $71,425 to the Danbury Hospital Foundation and their alliance with the Connecticut Children's Medical Center for specialized pediatric care. The donation was made as part of the 11th national Subaru Share the Love event. Dealership owner and president David Beylouni thanked customers for being able to contribute to the organization. The dealership group has raised over $452,000 for charities over the last decade.
A bill has been introduced in congress which prevents workplace violence for health care and social service workers. Under the proposal, 5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes says employers will be required to develop a comprehensive plan to create a safer workplace for their employees. In addition, those employers must investigate workplace violence incidents, risks, or hazards as soon as practicable and provide training and education to employees who may be exposed to workplace violence hazards and risks.
The UCONN Master Gardener Program is hosting a plant sale fundraiser on May 18th at the UCONN Fairfield County Extension Center in Bethel. Officials say the fundraiser is an effort to ensure that Master Gardeners and the larger Connecticut gardening community continue to have valuable educational programs and community outreach events. The program will offer tours of the demonstration garden and advice from experienced Master Gardeners. The fundraiser on the 18th is from 9am to 1pm at 67 Stony Hill Road.
Bethel Public School officials remain concern with state proposals to pass down a portion of the Teachers Retirement System to local municipalities. Coupled with reductions in Education Cost Sharing funding, they says the impact could have a significant impact on local schools. Bethel spends $15,545 dollars in per pupil expenditures, with the state average of about $17,000. Bethel also has a growing student enrollment, with more special education students and English Learners. The number of students participating in the free and reduced price lunch program stands at 28-percent, an increase from 8-percent 12 years ago.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Lawmakers are still debating whether to incrementally increase Connecticut's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2023.
Debate in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives began around 10 p.m. on Wednesday and was still going strong Thursday morning.
Republicans warn that the increase will harm nursing homes and small businesses, ultimately negatively impacting the state's economy and leading to job cuts.
Republican Rep. Arthur O'Neill of Southbury says it could make the ``ladder of success completely out of reach.''
Democrats say the higher wage will help the economy, giving low-wage workers more spending power.
Under the bill, the current $10.10-per-hour rate would climb to $11.25 in 2020; $12.50 in 2021; $13.75 in 2022; and $15 in 2023.
In 2024 the wage would be tied to federal employment cost index.
A large crane and a Danbury Public Works crew has helped to set a 38-foot tall Uncle Sam statue in place in the parking lot of the Danbury Railway Museum.
The statue, which once greeted visitors of the Danbury Fair, will stand on a concrete base and lit up. When the fiberglass structure was put on the bed of the towing truck to leave Magic Forest Amusement Park, the arm was too tall to fit under highway overpasses so the hand was cut off. It's being reattached, as is a walking stick.
Mayor Mark Boughton is looking to put up a sign up on I-84 about the location. City Crews will trim back one tree and may take down others to give better visibility. There will be a sign saying that the location is monitored, with cameras being installed to discourage vandalism.
A selfie station will be set up on a grassy traffic island across the street from the statue.
1,000 pounds of nails spilled out onto Lake Avenue in Danbury yesterday, prompting a road closure. A truck spilled its load of roofing nails in the area of West Conn's west side campus entrance. The incident happened around noon and the scene was cleared by 3pm. West Conn directed students to use exit 2 to get to campus and noted that classes continued as scheduled. The incident was over in time for the Grad Salute to go on as planned.
The New Fairfield Board of Education will ask the Selectmen to seek state grant reimbursement on two school building projects. The Board voted unanimously last night on the plan to build a new high school near its existing site, and to build an addition onto Meeting House Hill School. Consolidated School students in pre-k through first grade would move into the addition, while second graders would be placed in existing rooms. The New England Association of Schools and Colleges recently placed the high school on warning for its accreditation, citing the poor facilities. The application for grant funding will be submitted by the June 30th deadline, but residents won't weigh in until afterward.
New Milford residents have voted to accept a donation of 35 acres of land connected to Tory's Cave Preserve. Some Town Council members were concerned about whether the wooded land near Squash Hollow Road would become a liability or financial burden. Eagle Holdings owned the land, abutting 25 acres the company donated to New Milford in 2012. Acceptance of the donation means 170 continues acres would be protected by the Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust. The Connecticut Forest and Park Association maintains a hiking trail in the area as well. The Blue Trail has ancient sections that were Native American walking trails.
A permanent municipal building committee will be established in New Milford. Residents decided at the annual town meeting this week to form the group to oversee large school district and municipal renovation and construction projects. The group will include 7 members and the public works director. Interested volunteers are asked to contact the Mayor's office about serving with the committee. Several other Greater Danbury area towns have such committees to keep projects on time and on budget. They often include members with construction or contract experience. The proposal in New Milford was prompted by unforeseen circumstances when removing underground oil tanks at two schools.
There were more students walking to school yesterday in Danbury. The South Street and Park Avenue elementary students took part in a “Walking School Bus” event to highlight the benefits of walking. Students, parents, police and volunteers met at City Hall for the one mile walk to each school. They stopped along the routes to have other students join them for the walk to school.
Ellsworth Avenue students left from the area of White Street for another walking school bus event, co-sponsored by the Coalition for Healthy Kids, Regional YMCA of Western Connecticut, Danbury Public Schools, United Way of Western Connecticut, the City of Danbury and Cornell Memorial Home.
The United Way helped to established regular walking school bus routes at Park Avenue School in 2017.
The U.S. House Appropriations Committee has approved a spending bill for the coming fiscal year, which includes a section based on hearing questioning from 5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes. The included language says there is no evidence to suggest that arming teachers would make schools safer and directs Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to issue guidance clarifying that Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant funds are not allowed to be used for the purchase of firearms or for firearms training. During an April hearing, Hayes presented DeVos with a document contradicting her claims that she does not have the authority to respond to questions regarding the use of federal funds to arm teachers.
A Nigerian man in the country on a work visa was arrested after trying to pick up a package with thousands of dollars cash mailed to a vacant Wilton house as part of a Romance Scam.
Wilton Police received a call form the Post Office on Friday about the scam originating in Mississippi. The suspect met a victim on a dating website, gained their trust and got banking information.
The victim send $23,000 through the mail.
Wilton Police set up surveillance of the vacant home and arrested Olutade Adeyemi Gboyega when he picked up what he thought was the real package. He claimed to be picking the package up for his brother who lives in Nigeria. Gboyega was held on $50,000 bond.
Car thefts are up in Danbury while major crime is on the decline. In a report to the City Council on activity during the first three months of the year, Police reported 252 major crimes like arson, assault and rape. That's down 11-percent from the same period last year. There were 23 reported motor vehicle thefts this year compared to 15 last year during the same time period. Police officials from across the state have reported an increase in stolen cars and thefts from motor vehicles, many of which were unlocked.
Danbury Day 2019 at the state capitol hosted by Mayor Mark Boughton and School Superintendent Dr Sal Pascarella will take place Thursday. The event is honoring the life and legacy of Marian Anderson and will recognize the 80th anniversary of her performance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The Danbury delegation, Senator Julie Kushner and Representatives Bob Godfrey, Raghib Allie-Brennan, David Arconti, Ken Gucker, Richard Smith and Stephen Harding, invited residents to attend the event from 11am to 1pm.
Nod Hill Brewery in Ridgefield is now fully powered by solar energy. Over the winter, the business worked with Smart Roofs Solar to install an array on the roof of its building, offsetting all of its electrical usage and making it the first brewery in the state to be entirely powered by solar energy. The solar panels also power the other businesses housed in the building and push a minimum of 56-hundred kilowatt hours per year back into the power grid. Brewers Association chief economist Bart Watson says they benefit from having a reliable source of energy that reduces costs, particularly for heating boil kettles or hot liquor tanks, while also protecting the environment.
A no property tax increase plan has been approved by the Danbury City Council. Mayor Mark Boughton says the $261.5 million plan includes $4.5 million for paving. The budget drivers include retiree medical payments, pension contributions, wages and benefits, and school spending. School spending makes up little more than half the City budget.
The Mayor proposed $5.2 million of the $7.7 million increase requested by the Board of Education. During discussions of the budget, some members made a pitch for more education dollars. An amendment from Councilman Duane Perkins to take $1 million from fund balance for the schools to use on special ed, psychologists and the like eventually was voted down.
The Council can not dictate how the Board of Ed uses funding once allocated to the district.
There was also disagreement over arts and cultural authorities being lumped into the public works budget. An amendment was raised to take $20,000 and $6,000 out of the contingency fund to support Tarrywile Park and the Danbury Museum respectively. The motion failed.
The budget was approved in a vote of 14-7, with all Democrats voting in opposition.
Democratic Mayoral challenger Chris Setaro issued a statement about the city budget. He says while the latest plan doesn't increase the mill rate, it still increases spending by more than $4.5 million. Setaro says not enough of those dollars are going to the schools, to improving roads, or hiring more police officers. Setaro called for a conversation about the city’s priorities and directing resources to where they are needed the most.
There's a crackdown on illegal clothing donation boxes which have popped up in various shopping plaza parking lots. The Danbury Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team sent out 11 notice of violation letters to property and business owners. The boxes are a violation of zoning regulation and UNIT officials say they become a dumping ground for other people’s garbage and turn into an eyesore. UNIT says a majority of the businesses sent the violation notice never gave authorization for the box to be placed on their property. To date, 4 of the 11 have been removed.
New York State Police conducted a Driving While Intoxicated safety checkpoint detail in the town of Southeast on Friday night. During that time, 3 DWI arrests were made. 23 traffic tickets written, including two for speeding.
One arrest was made for possession of a controlled substance.
39-year old John Thorpe of Southeast was also charged with aggravated unlicensed operation and felony tampering with evidence. He was pulled over on Danbury Road after troopers saw him throw an object from his vehicle window, which was later identified as 14 grams of heroin.
Thorpe had seven suspensions on his license. He is due in court on May 23rd.
41 high schools in Connecticut have won the 2019 College Success Award by GreatSchools, a national nonprofit organization that provides information on educational opportunities to parents. The award recognizes schools that have a successful track record of graduating students who later enroll in two or four-year college, are ready for college-level coursework, and persist on to their second year.
Brookfield, Ridgefield, Monroe, Wilton and Joel Barlow High Schools were among those recognized.
The state is leading the nation in collecting and making available to the public data on student achievement after high school. Only 25 states in the U.S. are eligible for the awards based on that criteria.
A number of budget votes were held in the Greater Danbury area yesterday. New Milford and Brookfield residents attending annual town meetings also sent spending plans to referendum.
In Bethel residents were at the ballot box for the second time to decide on a municipal tax and spending plan. This time it was approved by 189 votes. But the overwhelming answer to the advisory question was that it was still too high. While the tax rate will go up 1.65 percent, those opposed to the plan were concerned with the nearly 7 percent spending increase.
Region 12 voters approved a budget yesterday for the school district covering Bridgewater, Roxbury and Washington. There's a 4.57 percent increase in spending there because of the start of the Agriscience program. It will accept students from outside the district, who would contribute tuition to offset some of the increase.
Redding and Easton residents have approved their municipal budgets, and Region 9 board of ed budget. In Redding, the town and local school budget passed by about a 2 to 1 margin. Bonding for police and fire radio upgrades to enhance communications also was approved. Spending in the Region 9 budget was held flat, but there are now more Redding students attending Joel Barlow High School than students from Easton, the other town in the district.
Each town approved bonding for improvements to the Joel Barlow campus.
A driver ran a red light in Danbury last night, forcing another vehicle off the road and into a building. Police say a driver ran a red light at the intersection of Main and Liberty streets shortly before 11pm. One car jumped the sidewalk and hit a building, causing minor damage to the structure. One driver was transported from the scene to the hospital for evaluation of non-life threatening injuries. The other driver was not injured.
(Photo: Mayor Boughton)
Residents in the Borough of Newtown have elected a warden, board, clerk and others. The new Warden is James Maher. Clerk is Ann Scaia, Treasurer is Paula Brinkmn, and Tax Collector and Assessor is Jodie Enriquez.
A Danbury school social worker has presented her work at a state conference. Lori Sollose, who works at Broadview Middle School, worked with an associate West Conn professor on the study presented to the Connecticut Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers at their 34th annual conference. The case study involved PAWS, the Perfect Attendance Wins Stuff program at the school. It was designed to address chronic absenteeism through a comprehensive approach by providing rewards, promoting school connectedness and addressing barriers/needs. Participants, on average, improved their attendance to exceed the 90 percent attendance benchmark.
The Danbury Hat Tricks of the Federal Hockey League was welcomed to the City by a crowd over 100 fans and city officials.
The team name was selected in part because the site of the Danbury Ice Arena from 1884-1985 was home to the Foster Brothers Hatting & Mill and the New Hat Company. Billy McCreary, whose father played in the National Hockey League, will serve as Head Coach/General Manager. He had a 9-year Minor League professional hockey career.
In the coming weeks the team will be releasing the first player signings, ticket information, the jersey design, and team tryout camps.
5-diamonds on the logo represent Diamond Properties and the previous five professional teams in Danbury; the Trashers, Stars, Mad Hatters, Whalers, and Titans. In the 1940’s Toronto Maple Leafs players were awarded a hat for scoring 3-goals in a game. In 1946 Sammy Taft’s Hat Store in Toronto agreed that if Alex Kaleta of the Chicago Blackhawks scored 3-goals, he would receive a hat. Kaleta scored 4-goals that night, originating the term Hat Trick. The rabbit in the logo is yet-to-be named.
The annual town meeting in New Milford is tonight. There will be a discussion of the proposed municipal and education budget for the coming fiscal year and residents will be called on to set the date of the budget referendum. The agenda tonight also calls for creation of the Municipal Building Committee and acceptance of a land donation on Kent Road. Tonight's annual town meeting is at 7pm in New Milford Town Hall.
Redding residents are voting on a budget today. The plan, which includes a spending increase, is $51 million. The municipal portion is about $15 million. The Redding Board of Education portion is about $22 million. The town's share of the Region 9 budget is $13.9 million. Spending in the Region 9 budget was held flat, but there are now more Redding students attending Joel Barlow High School than students from Easton, the other town in the district. Redding residents are also being asked to decide on $400,000 for the Station Road bridge project and $2.5 million to upgrade communications for the police and fire departments.
The Annual Town Meeting in Brookfield is set for tonight, at 7pm at the Brookfield High School Auditorium. The proposed school budget is $44 million. The proposed municipal portion of the plan is $26 million. The town side includes $130,000 to cover teacher pension costs, if the state does decide to pass that cost down to municipalities. Residents are being called on to attend and discuss the Town and School Operating Budget and Capital Projects. There will be a budget presentation, and in the Call of the Annual Town Meeting, a vote will be taken for a Referendum date of May 21.
The vote on the Region 1 Education budget is today from noon to 8pm at Kent Town Hall. The district is making changes to the high school to make the campus more secure. Unexpended funds from the current year's budget will be used to address these improvements. The proposed budget does not include funding for an armed security officer. The Board will continue to study the need for a security officer. The proposed budget does not include any funding for the implementation of a new middle school sports program. It was decided that additional time is needed to investigate and study the issue further. A broad based district-wide committee will be formed to study a comprehensive K-12 athletic program.
A person who broke their leg in the Easton woods was rescued over the weekend. Easton Police and Firefighters made contact with the patient, who was in the north end of town, about three-quarters of a mile into the woods. Fire, police and EMS were able to get a carrier under the patient and began carrying them out while waiting for a utility vehicle to arrive. The UTV met the crew, who was exhausted, half way out. The patient was loaded and driven the remainder of the distance in extreme mud conditions. There was no road or dry flat surface.
A 13-year old Redding girl who ran away from home over the weekend was found safe after someone recognized her from the Silver Alert issued by Police. On Saturday morning, police responded to a home on a report of a teen who ran away overnight because she was upset over being grounded and having her cell phone taken away. The alert was issued and search teams from the local fire departments fanned out. Around 1:30pm, a resident saw the 13-year old walking on Route 53 near John Read Middle School and contacted police. The resident drove the teen to the police department, where she was evaluated by EMTs and reunited with her parents.
New York State Police Troopers in Putnam and Dutchess Counties participated in a statewide initiative Thursday to increase school bus safety awareness through education and enforcement. Troopers wrote a total of 13 tickets while following school buses in Southeast, Wappinger, and the town of Washington. Seven of those tickets were for illegally passing a school bus. An estimated 50,000 motor vehicles illegally pass New York State school buses every day. The State Police will continue this kind of operation in an effort to ensure road safety. The first-time fine for illegally passing a school bus is a $250 to $400 fine, 5 points on the license, and/or possibly 30 days in jail.
The Newtown Police station project is so far on time and on budget. The Newtown Bee reports that some site development expenses will be lower than anticipated, including by moving the driveway closer to the building. Rock ledges on the property prompted the move, saving several hundred thousand dollars. An early demolition package could lead to more inside on structural or other issues. The Bee reports that a planned high ceiling in the entry has been taken off the table because the roof line would have had to be sealed. The 1980's former Taunton Press building’s original fire mains are in good shape. Some options on the secondary priority list could be considered as the project gets going, including a driveway to Ethan Allen Road.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - State health officials have released data showing double-digit percentages of students in some Connecticut schools are exempted from certain vaccinations for religious or medical reasons.
But the data contain some errors.
Redding Superintendent of Schools Tom McMorran says wrong information was mistakenly submitted to the state for the Redding Elementary School, where he says only 4.7% of students are currently exempted from vaccinations for religious reasons. The database listed 38%. McMorran sent an email to parents Friday letting them know the number was erroneous.
The Department of Public Health posted the town-by-town, school-by-school information for the first time Friday on its website. The U.S. is currently experiencing the largest outbreak of measles in 25 years.
Connecticut has had three confirmed cases of measles this year.
Up until Friday, the state provided only statewide immunization rates. Currently, 96.5% of the state’s kindergarten students are immunized for measles, mumps and rubella.
The Annual Town Meeting in Ridgefield is being held tonight. Residents will decide on the date for the budget referendum, slated for May 14th. Nearly $900,000 in capital items will be voted on tonight.
The meeting is at 7:30pm in the Ridgefield Playhouse.
The proposed budget for the municipality is $38.19 million, holding spending flat. The proposed school budget is little more than $98-million dollars and is a 3.36 percent spending increase over the current year. Taxes would go up 1.24 percent if the budget is approved later this month. On the ballot will also be a fire department ladder truck, replacement computer infrastructure for the schools and energy and water saving projects.
The capital items being decided tonight are each under $100,000.
Residents in New Fairfield have approved a budget by about 2-to-1. The municipal budget was approved by a slightly larger margin than the Board of Education budget. The Mill Rate increase is little more than 1-percent. This budget includes the addition of EMT paramedics, a permanent School Resource Officer position and a public works employee for preventative maintenance. There will be SROs in all four New Fairfield schools. These additions account for approximately 31-percent of the total municipal budget increase over last year’s budget.
Sherman residents have approved a budget for the coming fiscal year, which includes a decrease in the tax rate of 2.5 percent. The $14.6 million budget includes $9.3 million for the schools and $5.19 million on the municipal side. Part of the reason for the reduction is that there is more Grand List revenue, more money from a T-Mobile tower lease, less debt and some health insurance savings. Even though spending is decreasing under the plan, the Senior Center will receive more funding to help the growing elderly population in Sherman.
A two-week long paving project in Newtown gets underway today. Drivers will experience delays along Church Hill Road near the realigned intersection with Commerce Road, and Edmond Road. The repaving is part of the state Department of Transportation improvement project, which started last Spring. The 2-point-85 million dollar project is meant to enhance traffic flow and travel safety in the congested area, which has the highest local accident rate in town, by making it a conventional four-way signalized intersection. Paving will take place from 9am to 3pm daily, through Friday. It will then be nighttime work, 6pm to 6am, from Sunday through Saturday, May 18.
A bill regulating ride hailing companies like Uber and Lyft has passed out of a legislative Committee and on Thursday was placed on the Senate calendar for further action. The measure would require each transportation network company to pay drivers at least 75-percent of the money collected from each rider for prearranged rides, and not keep more than 25-percent of the total moneys collected for any driver on any day.
The company would also not be allowed to discriminate against drivers or group of drivers organizing for better treatment and working conditions. Each company operating in Connecticut would have to report to the Commissioner of Transportation the total number of prearranged rides completed by its drivers during each quarter, the total amount of money collected from riders and the total amount of money paid to its drivers for those rides.
New Milford state Senator Craig Miner, a ranking member of the Labor Committee, opposes the bill. He says it would be hard to certify which company was being billed if a driver is working for both Uber and Lyft. He added that sometimes state government can't fix people's complaints with private companies, and in those cases, people should look for a different job.
New Fairfield Representative Richard Smith says it's not the obligation nor the purview of thew committee to set the rates for transportation fees. He says it's free market issues.
Redding First Selectwoman Julia Pemberton has provided her fellow Selectmen with an update on issues being debated in Hartford, which could have an impact locally. During the last Board of Selectmen meeting, Pemberton said the proposal to have municipalities pick up part of the teacher pension tab has been stripped from the legislation, it could come back through the budget process. She notes that Redding would not have been impacted by proposed school regionalization bills. Redding and Easton share a high school.
The plastic bag ban bill is moving forward. Redding had interest in adopting a local ordinance, but Pemberton says it doesn't make sense if the state is going to act on the matter. The ongoing debate is whether or not to implement a fee on paper bags so that companies could be compensate for the increased cost. Greenwich has a local ordinance allowing for that. The Governor prefers a tax on paper bags, to raise $11 million for the state.
The minimum wage bill is facing disagreement over whether to expand or eliminate the training age. The Redding Parks and Rec Department has some employees making $10.10. They're high school students who referee and coach at summer camp.
One bill no longer under consideration is changing the position of tax collector to being appointed, rather than elected. It would have also regionalized and consolidate the tax collector and assessor positions.
There was testimony given that would cap the mill rate for real property for utility companies at 15 mills. Pemberton says Eversource is one of Redding's largest taxpayers. The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities and Council of Small Towns opposed that on Redding's behalf
The Car Show to benefit the Danbury War Memorial scheduled for Sunday, which was already postponed once, has again been postponed to September 1st. The fundraiser to make improvements to the Danbury War Memorial is accepting every kind of vehicle. The car, truck and motorcycle show has 27 judging categories. When the event is held in September, participating vehicles will enter from Coalpit Hill Road and Lions Way and must pay a $20-dollar which will go toward renovations inside the nonprofit recreational and educational facility.
The Ridgefield Board of Selectmen has approved vendor permits for mobile food operations. Bridge Street Premium Ice Company will sell sorbet from a tricycle-cart for the first time. The other permits were renewals for the Chez Lenard hot dog stand on Main Street and the Zwack Shack lunch truck operated off Route 7. Bridge Street plans to primarily operate at special events and private parties. The vending trike is street legal in Connecticut, but the owner will be hauling it to events on a trailer. The permit specifies that it not be operated on town roads or sidewalks.
Ridgefield Emergency Management officials are teaching a drone safety clinic in Wilton next week. All operators must comply with the National Airspace System rules, regulations, and safety requirements. For instance, any drone weighing more than half a pound and flown outdoors must be registered. It’s a growth industry expected to employ at least 40,000 people over the next ten years. Participants in the class will learn about those regulations and participate in a flight demonstration. The drone safety class is being held on May 16th at Middlebrook School Media Center in Wilton. The cost is $30.
An ice rink planned for Newtown will no longer happen. NYA Sports & Fitness released a statement to the Newtown Bee saying the scope of the project is out of their reach as a nonprofit. NYA was working with Champion Sports but says the many variable costs involved in bringing this project to fruition means they can no longer pursue construction. Instead, NYA says they're expanding pickleball, basketball, and tennis courts. They also plan an additional baseball/softball batting cage.
A Newtown Planning and Zoning Commission hearing on a proposed dance studio has been postponed to May 16th. There wasn't enough formal notice to properties near 6 Mile Hill Road for the hearing to be held last night.
The applicant is seeking a special permit to convert a one-story building from office space to a dance studio, with a residential apartment, and 21 parking space. The corner property is less than half an acre, used to be bowling lanes and is accessed from Tinkerfield Road.
The public hearing on May 16th is at 7:30pm in the Newtown Municipal Center.
A winery and vineyard has been approved in Newtown for Pole Bridge Road. The Planning and Zoning Commission's unanimous consent takes effect next Saturday. There was mixed public input on the proposal from a Naugatuck couple for the 41 acre site.
A special zoning permit was issued and a site development plan was approved for the project. It includes construction of a barn-like structure for a tasting room, a two-story house for the owners, 21 parking space and areas for the cultivation of wine grapes for wine-making. The land already holds some grapevines.
The facility must obtain a state farm winery manufacturer’s permit.
A Community Conversation is being held in Bethel later this month on Cyberbullying and Internet Safety. The school district is partnering with the Police Department on the event for parents.
School officials say the emotional and physical safety of children is a top priority, but in recent years incidences of cyberbullying has increased exponentially. It also starts earlier as younger children have smartphones.
The Community Conversation will include a discussion of how the schools and police are addressing issues, strategies for parents and ideas on other ways to combat the problem. The discussion is May 20th at 6pm in the Bethel Middle School Media Center. The panel will include the Superintendent, principals of BMS and Johnson School, the school resource officer and other members of the Police Department.
A measure requiring the United States to remain in the Paris Climate Accord has been passed by the House. 5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes says it also requires a plan be crafted for how the country will meet its commitments to reduce pollution and safeguard the environment.
An amendment from Hayes passed unanimously. It says the Paris Agreement is an example of the multilateral, international cooperation needed to overcome challenges facing the international community.
Hayes says the climate crisis is the existential threat of this time and that innovative action is essential to protect public health, advancing the economy and global preeminence in green technology while also defending national security.
A Ridgefield man has been arrested for allegedly throwing rocks at passing cars. Ridgefield Police say motorists called 911 April 24th about a man throwing rocks on Main Street. Police located 27-year old Michael Detlor, who was charged with criminal mischief and disorderly conduct. He's due in court this coming Thursday. Detlor was arrested in New Fairfield two days prior to the Ridgefield incident. He was charged with criminal mischief and breach of peace for allegedly creating a disturbance and damaging property at a local home.
State Police have identified the body found by the highway in Danbury yesterday morning. Police say the man was 63-year old Herbert Ruehle of Carmel, New York. A Connecticut Department of Transportation surveyor found the body near the exit 4 ramp as he was setting up for road work. The ramp was temporarily closed during the midday hours for the police investigation. State Police say there was no sign of foul play. No other details have been released.
The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled in favor of New Milford teachers in a contract dispute case with the Board of Education. The justices decided unanimously in the 4-year old case, that the Board of Ed violated the terms of the collective bargaining agreement by improperly extending the workday for teachers on multiple occasions.
New Milford was required to compensate members of the New Milford Education Association for 20 hours of additional time they were required to work without pay.
The dispute began in 2015 when the union filed a grievance, and an arbitrator ruled in the union’s favor. The board filed an application to vacate the grievance arbitration award in Litchfield Superior Court, which also ruled in favor of the union. The case then ultimately made it to the Connecticut Supreme Court.
CEA Legal Counsel Adrienne DeLucca says the drawn out legal battle caused four years of declining teacher morale and confidence in the Board of Education, as well as the loss of thousands of dollars that could have been used for educational needs of the District.
The legislature's Appropriations Committee has included language in a bill passed this week which would take money from the fund set up to help maintain state parks.
The $280,000 from the Passport to the Parks program would go to various other initiatives, according to the Hartford Courant. That includes $20,000 for air quality monitoring in western Connecticut towns concerned with the soon to be opened natural gas plant in Dover, New York. A bulk of the allocation, $200,000, was dedicated for the West River Watershed in New Haven. Other smaller allocations are for the Middletown Fire Training Facility and the North Branch Conservation District.
The Passport to the Parks program is funded through a $10 fee on vehicle registrations. Parking fees are now waived at state parks for people with Connecticut license plates.
The Region 12 school budget is up for a vote on May 7th. The $22.8 million budget is a 4.5 percent increase over the current year's budget. The new agriscience program at Shepaug Valley High School will be coming online in the upcoming year. The Region 12 Board of Ed, which has representatives from Bridgewater, Roxbury and Washington, says the school system will generate revenue from the tuition-in and agriscience programs. The board expects more than $770,000 will be credited to the towns. But the budget includes debt for the renovated Shepaug science labs and Agriscience addition.
The Newtown Community Center is expected to open in early July. Memberships will be available June 1st. There will be a small event in the summer and a larger event in the fall for the opening of the center.
Community Center Director Matt Ariniello says memberships are comparable to other similar facilities, with value add of two pools, multipurpose space, dry space and an art studio. Members of the senior center will be allowed to attend evening programs, so as not to duplicate programs.
The Program Coordinator is shared with the Senior Center. The Aquatics Director is shared with Parks & Rec. The Facilities Director will be shared with the Senior Center and the Municipal Center.
There will be no minimum hours for rentals so the facility could host as many events as possible. Renters will do basic clean up, which will be checked by staff. Security deposits will be required.
Seasonal wages were not included in the bottom line. Arinello doesn't foresee any seasonal employees. There will be a rotation of lifeguards between the two seasonal waterfronts and the community center. Front desk administrative duties will be shared with Parks & Rec, whose work load picks up in the summer. This will be covered by two part time staff.
Kent Volunteer Fire Department is alerting drivers on South Kent Road to a recent traffic change. There is a new four-way intersection created on South Kent Road at the intersection of Bulls Bridge Road. The passing lane has also been eliminated.
The Region 12 Board of Education is seeking new members from Bridgewater. Interested residents should submit a letter of interest to the Town Clerk’s office for the two open Bridgewater seats for four year terms. One position remains filled. One is being vacated by Alan Brown, who is retiring from the Board after 11 years, and one is being vacated by Julie Stuart after two years. Stuart is running again and Alex McNaughton has already filed a letter of interest to be a candidate for Alan Brown’s seat. The election will take place at the Annual Town Meeting tentatively scheduled for June 7th. The requested deadline for submissions is May 8th, or 30 days in advance of the Town Meeting.
The town of Washington has approved an ordinance banning single-use plastic bags by all businesses. The ban was approved by unanimous vote at a special town meeting. Businesses will be allowed to use up their inventory. Violations after include a meeting with town officials on how to meet the ordinance, and then a $150 fine for a second violation and $250 for each subsequent violation.
A contractor has pleaded guilty for his role in multiple schemes to rig bids. The Department of Justice says Michael S. Flynn of Ridgefield violated antitrust laws and engaged in criminal fraud on insulation contracts. This is the second conviction in an ongoing investigation.
According to court documents, Flynn conspired with others on contracts at universities, hospitals, and other public and private entities in Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts. They discussed prices and agreed on bids that inflated prices to their customers by at least 10%.
The Department of Justice called it a $45-million scheme to cheat businesses and other institutions.
In addition to his guilty plea, Flynn has agreed to pay restitution to the victims and to resolve civil forfeiture cases. He agreed to settle the pending forfeiture action on his home for $327,500 and to forfeit all of his seized bank accounts.
There was a fire alarm Tuesday at Centennial Golf Club in Carmel. The Carmel Fire Department responded to a report of smoke in the building and an odor of electrical burning. The Brewster Fire Department was called to provide mutual aid. A Firefighter Assist & Search Team from Putnam Valley Volunteer Fire Department was placed on stand by. Crews eventually found an issue with the hvac system in the building. The issue was resolved and firefighters went back into service by 6:30pm.
A fire at a New Milford condo complex on Valentine's Day was reportedly set by a woman who used her child’s sippy cup, filled with gasoline, outside the unit her husband shares with his girlfriend. The Republican-American newspaper reports that 47-year old Monique Cook-Lino turned herself in this week.
The Bronx woman was charged with arson and making a false statement, and arraigned Tuesday.
The fire was intentionally set in the Bel Air condo complex, which set off the fire alarms, causing $30,000 in damages. Police say the incident put residents and first responders in danger.
It was unclear if the child was with her during the incident.
The spending plan approved by the legislature's Appropriations Committee did not include school regionalization. Ridgefield state Senator Will Haskell says he's been among those lobbying state leaders to drop the idea. While these proposals were made in an effort to improve the fiscal situation, Haskell says the reality is that forced regionalization risks negatively impacting the classroom experience of students. He says the spending plan instead invests in all classrooms and fully fund the Education Cost Sharing formula. Haskell says he will continue to meet with parents, teachers and others to improve public education, maintain local control and invest directly in classrooms.
An Ad-Hoc Committee is being formed in Brookfield on Center School Use. The Board of Selectmen is looking for members interested in being appointed to this new committee to contact the First Selectman's office. When the New Huckleberry School Project is finished, the 81-year old building will no longer be used as a school. First Selectman Steve Dunn says the committee will be made up of 5 to 7 people from various organizations. Students will no longer be in Center School as of the fall of 2022. Part of the charge will be to see if it's possible for the library to move into the vacated building. The facility is more than 62,400 square feet. Other uses could include meeting space and for sports, clubs.
U.S. News & World Report has released its 2019 Best High Schools list. Danbury High School ranked 5,736 in the U.S. and number 105 in Connecticut. The AP participation rate at Danbury High School is 51%. The total minority enrollment is 61%, and 44% of students are economically disadvantaged. Danbury High School is 1 of 2 high schools in the Danbury School District. Total Enrollment at Danbury High School is 3,041, of which 61% is minority enrollment.
In the Greater Danbury area, Weston High School ranked 160 in the country and 2 in Connecticut. Ridgefield came in at 4th best in the state, 317th best in the country. Wilton High School also made the Connecticut top 10, coming in at 9th on the list.
More than 17,000 schools are ranked nationwide, an increase from 2,700 last year. Overall, Connecticut's schools graduate 96.5 percent of students, which is one of the best percentages in the country.
Other schools in the region:
Joel Barlow High School, Ranked No. 726 in the U.S. and No. 18 in CT
Newtown High School, Ranked No. 859 in the U.S. and No. 19 in CT
Brookfield High School, Ranked No. 1,587 in the U.S. and No. 38 in CT
Bethel High School, Ranked No. 2,219 in the U.S. and No. 45 in CT
New Fairfield High School, 2,828 in the U.S. and No. 59 in CT
New Milford High School, Ranked No. 2,906 in the U.S. and No. 61 in CT
The Anti-Defamation League has released data about the number of anti-Semitic incidents reported across Connecticut for 2018. The report found that the number of incidents declined slightly from the previous year, but there were still 39 incidents of anti-Jewish harassment, vandalism and assault reported statewide. The peak high was reported in 2017 at 49 incidents. Danbury, Newtown and Redding all had one anti-Semitic incident reported while Ridgefield had 5. They included things like vandalism involving swastikas and slurs to a man physically assaulted after an assailant perceived the victim to be Jewish. The specific crimes were outlined in the audit, by clicking a location on the map.
The Town of Bridgewater is hosting bulky household item collection at the Town Garage. Large dumpsters will be at the Hut Hill Road facility through May 3rd. Bridgewater residents can drop off items between 7:30am and 3:30 PM. Hours Saturday May 4th are from 9 AM - 1 PM.
Brush, 3 inches in diameter or less, appliances and electronics are accepted. Hazardous waste, construction debris and household garbage will not be accepted. Tires will be accepted for a fee, payable by check or cash.
Residents are limited to one free pickup truck load or two carloads per household. Additional pickup loads will cost $25 per household. All articles that are too large to transport to the Town Garage in your own vehicle may be placed on the roadside for pickup by 7:30 AM May 6th.
No household garbage will be accepted.
The Bethel Historical Society has received a grant from the Elizabeth Raymond Ambler Trust of Wilton. The $2,500 grant supports their Living History Day on June 8th. The day-long event features several groups of American Revolutionary War reenactors bringing history to life. There are military encampments, tactical exercises, firelock shooting including a canon, competitions, camp life demonstrations, horses, a blacksmith, and social activities. Bethel Town Historian Patrick Wild will make a presentation and the Boy Scouts will present Passport to Bethel, which will teach participants about Bethel’s unique historic structures.
A complaint has been filed with the State Elections Enforcement Commission by the tax watchdog group Bethel Action Committee, against the Superintendent of Schools. BAC claims Christine Carver illegally promoted approval of the town budget in the upcoming referendum.
The Newstimes reports the complaint is over the weekly newsletter sent out Friday. While the newsletter is only sent to some people in town, state law only requires that all residents be able to opt into this kind of community notification system--which they can.
The newsletter said “The Town budget contains our maintenance account, school debt for renovations and capital non-reoccurring (band uniforms and resurfacing of track... It is important to remember that the town budget in many ways also supports the schools.”
There was a fire in a commercial building in Southeast yesterday afternoon. Brewster Fire Department called on Putnam Lake for mutual aid on the reported titanium fire in a lab on Mt Ebo Road South. Technicians were able to knock down the bulk of the flames and firefighters helped remove the container to the exterior where crews completed the extinguishment process. No injuries were reported and the occupants were able to return to work shortly after. Putnam County Sheriff's Department and Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services also responded to the scene.
Some additional safety and security enhancements are being added to Lynn Deming Park in New Milford. Mayor Pete Bass says the automatic gate will coincide with Park Stickers to help keep the facility secure. Residents can purchase a permit sticker at the Park & Rec Department.
The safety enhancements were discussed last year as a way to stop people from illegally entering Lynn Deming Park without a permit. At that time, New Milford officials looked into a fence on the northern side of the park after reports from rangers that people were sneaking in through the woods.
According to 2018 park rules, no car is allowed to enter numerous times, shuttling people in.
Wilton Police are looking for two suspects who stole credit cards and charged over 20-thousand dollars worth of merchandise at multiple stores in Stamford. Wilton Police say two women entered a local restaurant Friday and stole the cards from the victims wallet while they ate. Anyone who can identify the suspects are asked to contact Wilton Police Detective Sear at 203-834-6260.
Redding officials have been focused on some environmentally friendly efforts in recent years. The idea to implement a local ban on plastic bags is on hold while the legislature considers a state law. In celebration of Earth Day, volunteers fanned out last weekend to collect roadside litter from around Redding. A total of 770 pounds of garbage was collected to help build Mt. Trashmore on the town green. Redding officials thanked volunteers and says the practice should be continued every day.
The New Milford Police Department has received several calls from concerned residents reporting that Officers from the police department were calling to solicit money. The phone calls however are a scam and not authorized by department personnel. If anyone receives a phone call of this nature, it should be reported to the New Milford Police Department. The agency does not solicit donations over the phone.