Local Headlines Archives for 2019-07

Ridgefield Tax Collector's Office to stay open late tomorrow

The Ridgefield Tax Collector's Office is open late on Thursday, August 1st for payment of 1st Quarter Real Estate, Personal Property & Motor Vehicle Tax Bills.  Town officials say this is being done for residents convenience as it's the last day to pay without penalty.  The Ridgefield Tax Collector's Office will be open until 7pm Thursday.

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Railroad bridges in New Milford to be repaired

Four railroad bridges in New Milford will be rehabilitated soon.  The state Department of Transportation and Housatonic Railroad have awarded the work to Northern Construction Service.  The first project will be on River Road.  The street will be closed from the end of the pavement, through to Rooster Tail Hollow starting on Friday.  Traffic will be detoured onto Rooster Tail Hollow starting at 7 am, until Monday August 12th at 5pm.  The contractor has said that work may be done sooner.  Drivers are asked to avoid the area if possible to prevent any delays.

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Officials warn of fraudulent business certificate mailing

New Fairfield officials are alerting residents to a scam mailing.  The state Attorney General's Office and Secretary of the State have received reports of businesses being mailed a letter suggesting that a $112.50 fee must be paid in order to obtain copies of their "Connecticut Certificate of Existence."  The company is calling itself CT Certificate Service.  The company has no affiliation with the state and officials say it's not a legitimate mailing.  Anyone receiving such a letter, or sent money to the company, should contact the state Attorney General's Office. 

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Southbury to consider gender neutral titles for elected officials

The Southbury Board of Selectmen are meeting tomorrow night and the Newstimes reports that the agenda calls for discussion of Charter revisions.  One recommendation is to make leadership titles gender neutral.  That could lead to a Select Board, Selectperson and chairperson.  Proponent say gender specific language is not inclusive, outdated and could discourage women from seeking municipal positions.  Opponents say the change is not needed.  Thursday's meeting is at 7pm in Southbury Town Hall.

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Bethel man arrested for alleged lewd act in Newtown parking lot

A Bethel man has been arrested for indecent exposure for an incident in Newtown.  Police received a complaint last week of a man sitting in his parked car in the Sand Hill Shopping Plaza, masturbating as a female customer walked by. 

Newtown Police conducted surveillance, using a female officer as a decoy.  27-year old Adrian Sime was spotted yesterday afternoon engaging in the same alleged behavior.  He was taken into custody without further incident. 

Sime was also charged with possession of marijuana. He was released for a court appearance on August 13th.  Additional charges are expected. 

Newtown Police spokesman Aaron Bahamonde says it's  pretty sick and disgusting that this individual felt he could victimize innocent women who were minding their business shopping and have to be confronted by this behavior.

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Driver who crashed into highway sign in stolen vehicle held by onlookers

A driver who allegedly stole a vehicle yesterday morning crashed into a sign on Route 7, closing the exit ramp.  The incident happened shortly before 8am near the ramp to I-84 eastbound from Brookfield.  State Police say 56-year old Samuel Lopez Senior stole the Ford F150 from White Street.  Police say a person who knew the owner followed the truck on to southbound Route 7 and saw it crash into the onramp sign.  Lopez was held by several passing motorists until police arrived.  Lopez was charged by State Police for operating with a suspended license, failure to drive right and evading responsibility.  He faces additional charges from Danbury Police.

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Teen jumps from second floor window to escape Bethel house fire

A teenager jumped from a second story window to escape a house fire, which killed the family's pet rabbit.  Bethel and Stony Hill Firefighters were alerted to a house fire with possible entrapment on Nashville Road yesterday morning. 

The teen jumped from the home and was caught by a neighbor and transported to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation.  Crews found flames in the first floor kitchen. The first floor suffered extensive smoke and fire damage. The second floor sustained smoke and heat damage.

Redding, West Redding and Phoenix Hose of Danbury responded to the scene while a crew from Brookfield covered the fire station.  The cause is under investigation by the Bethel Fire Marshal's office. Unfortunately a pet rabbit perished in the fire. 

Stony Hill firefighters thanked Bethel Veterinary Hospital for their efforts to try to resuscitate the rabbit.

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Contractor on Route 37 project went bankrupt, state rebids work

An informational forum was held last night in Danbury by two local state lawmakers, to give residents a chance to hear from the Department of Transportation directly about the stalled Route 37 widening and realignment project.  Representative Ken Gucker says the contractor hired by the state went bankrupt before the 6-point-6 million dollar project was set to begin last February.  But the utility work to make way for a new t-intersection and traffic light, continued as planned.  That has led to closed lanes and detours in the area of Stacey and Barnum roads.  The DOT says the project has since been rebid and is scheduled to begin soon.

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Update given on stalled paving of I-84 ramps in Newtown

The repaving project on I-84 in Newtown seems to have stalled.  State Representative Mitch Bolinsky told the Newtown Bee that when the roadbed was exposed after milling, more extensive damage than originally anticipated was found in the highway’s concrete foundation.  A lot of rain and standing water also prompted delays for evaluating and engineering the underlying repair work required.  While the highway itself got an interim pavement riding surface, the DOT decided not to extend that to the ramp areas.  The contractor expects the repairs and paving to be completed this construction season.

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Brookfield Village, town officials reach compromise

The Brookfield Board of Selectmen has reached an agreement with developers of Brookfield Village.  First Selectman Steve Dunn threatened to take back a tax abatement after the end-of-May deadline was missed to demolish the old Mother Earth and Subway buildings on Federal Road.  The town required commercial space on the first floor of the buildings, but the Newstimes reports that the developer said businesses were not interested in renting two of the buildings facing Station Road and in the middle of the project.  The Zoning Board of Appeals needs to approve the change removing that requirement.  Two other proposed buildings will have mixed residential and commercial space.  Two mixed use buildings have already been constructed.  Dunn says Brookfield Village should be able to secure private financing for the two all residential buildings. 

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State lawmaker renews call for ban on puppy mills

Following Danbury Police launching an investigation into puppies allegedly being sold under false pretenses by Puppy Kisses, a local lawmaker is renewing his call for a ban on puppy mills.  Bethel State Representative Raghib Allie-Brennan, who tried to get a bill passed this session banning puppy mills, is calling for legislation to be taken up next session to protect consumers. 

He introduced a bill last session to fight puppy mill cruelty, rejecting the treatment of pets as commodities.  His bill was approved by the Environment Committee, but amendments were added changing it to be a study.  The measure was not voted on in the House. 

He says not all pet stores would be forced out of business, but added that the time for studying the problem is over. 

The previous owner of Puppy Kisses, Richard Doyle, of Mahopac, was convicted of animal cruelty and practice of veterinarian medicine without a license in 2017 after performing operations on animals in his care.

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Coffee with a Trooper event to be held in Danbury

Connecticut State Troopers from Troop A-Southbury are hosting a “Coffee with a Trooper” event in Danbury tomorrow morning.  State Police officials say Coffee with a Trooper helps open conversation between troopers and the community they serve.  Coffee shops around the state makes for a relaxed, informal and open environment.  The Coffee with a Trooper – Southbury Barracks event is at the Starbuck on North Street in Danbury from 9am to 11am.

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Special Board of Selectmen meeting in Bethel this afternoon

A special Bethel Board of Selectmen meeting is being held this afternoon.  The agenda calls for taking up approval for the Bethel High School Boiler System and the online permitting software license and service agreement.  They will also consider the sale of a town-owned pick up truck.  The meeting is at 4:30pm at the Bethel Municipal Center.

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College bound students reminded to fill out absentee ballot application

College bound students are being reminded by the Bethel Town Clerk that if they would like to vote in the Municipal Election, an absentee ballot application should be completed and dropped off at the Town Clerk's Office before leaving for school. The application provides a space for the school address for the ballot mailed to.  This is for students that will not be in town during all voting hours on November 5th.

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Puppy Kisses employees sold dogs 'under false pretenses'

20 to 30 puppies reported as missing from Puppy Kisses in Danbury were presumed stolen.  Police responded to the Federal Road store Saturday for the larceny complaint.  During the investigation, it was determined that store employees sold the puppies under false pretenses for $100 each.  A sign on the store's door Sunday said they were closed due to employee theft, but by yesterday, the sign simply said closed.  Anyone who purchased a puppy or other merchandise from Puppy Kisses on Saturday is asked to contact Detective Collins at 203-797-4667.  Because the case remains open, police say information is limited, but will provide more details as the case moves forward.

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Women's Center headquarters being renovated, entrance moved down West Street

The Women's Center of Greater Danbury is getting an upgrade.  Their headquarters at 2 West Street is currently undergoing extensive repair and renovation work.  The upgrades are being funded through a state bonding award.  Their temporary entrance is located at 8 West Street. The projected time frame for completion of this project is mid to late-fall.  Women's Center staff say there may be missed calls during the process, but hope to be fully operational within the next several days.

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Car into woods in Danbury

A car veered off the road and into a wooded area of Danbury yesterday afternoon.  A passerby called 911.  Emergency responders were dispatched to Tamarack Avenue shortly after 2pm.  One patient was reported unresponsive and firefighters had to extricate them from the vehicle.  Another occupant was attended to by EMTs on the scene.  The patients were transported to the hospital around 2:30pm. There were some reports of traffic in the area as firefighters and EMTs worked at the scene.

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Consumers warned about Military imposter and affiliation scams

Military imposter and affiliation scams are being warned about by Connecticut officials.  The state Attorney General and the Commissioners of the Department of Veteran Affairs and Consumer Protection were joined by National Guard leaders urging residents to remain vigilant against fraud. 

July is Military Consumer Month. 

In some cases, scammers pretending to have charities that support service members and veterans to prey on consumers' emotions and desire to support veterans, service members, and their families.  Attorney General William Tong says educating consumers on steps they can take to protect themselves from fraud, ensures any type of charitable aid is helping veterans and service members directly. 

As for veterans and service members being targeted, DVA Commissioner Tom Saadi says scam artists know their potential victims often have a steady income and are more trusting when the scam is veiled with a patriotic pitch or as an exclusive offer to military personnel.  Connecticut National Guard Adjutant General Francis Evon says he and others are grateful for the generosity of the consumers who support military members and veterans.  But he says consumers should educate themselves and increase their awareness to avoid being victimized by military imposter and affiliation scams.

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African-American, Puerto Rican and Latino studies to be taught in high schools

African-American, Puerto Rican and Latino studies will be included in the public high school curriculum.

Governor Lamont has signed the bill into law requiring the state's school boards to begin offering the curriculum in January 2021.  The bill doesn't mandate that students take the courses.  Offering the course is mandated, but not part of graduation requirements.

The House approved the measure on a vote of 122-24, while the Senate unanimously gave approval of the bill.  The co-chairman of the General Assembly's Education Committee says the legislation will allow many students to identify with their cultural history and heritage.  Advocates hope it will also "help break down the barriers of prejudice that divide people."

The Connecticut Association of Boards of Education supports the concept but opposes specific curriculum mandates. 

Ridgefield Board of Education member Frances Walton asked for clarification about the bill during a CABE event after the legislative session ended.  She wanted to know if Districts can look at what's currently offered to make a curriculum meeting the requirement.  CABE officials say the bill was written in a way to give municipalities that flexibility.  The specifics of what a course would look like was not spelled out in the bill.

She also wanted to know how it would be offered, because there was some vague language.  CABE officials say current curriculum would not be replaced by a new mandate, but having the state Education Resource Center develop a course, it took the burden off local districts to devote resources to course development.  Walton asked if a district could incorporate online or virtual courses and was told that it would be a viable option.

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Triangle Street bridge repairs completed ahead of schedule

Work on the Triangle Street Bridge in Danbury wrapped up more than two weeks ahead of schedule.  City Council President Joe Cavo says the bridge was reopened over the weekend.  Part of Triangle Street by the DMV was closed starting July 10th.  This was one of several bridge rehabilitation projects in the City.

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School security and safety plan standards to be updated under new law

A measure proposed by the Connecticut School Safety Working Group has been signed into law.  Newtown Representative JP Sredsinzki helped develop the new law requiring the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection to update the state's school security and safety plan standards. 

Ridgefield Representative John Frey, whose nieces and nephew attended Sandy Hook School, cosponsored the bill.  It also simplifies certain school security reporting requirements and security infrastructure grant applications.  The agency will also be required to identify qualified school security consultants and limit the existing consultant registry to only those individuals. 

Other co-sponsored include Bill Buckbee of New Milford, Danbury Representatives Bob Godfrey and Ken Gucker, Steve Harding of Brookfield and Representative Mitch Bolinsky and Senator Tony Hwang, whose districts include Newtown.  Danbury Senator Julie Kushner also signed on as a cosponsor.

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New Milford Police release recruitment video

The New Milford Police Department has released a new Community Policing and Recruitment video. The footage shows the K9 unit, the honor guard, dive team, and crime scene investigators.  It also highlights the work of the bike patrol, crash investigators, School Resource Officers and other specialized units.  The video also shows members of the Police Department participating in parades, toy drive and car seat safety clinics.

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Sen. gets update on Candlewood Lake preservation efforts

Senator Chris Murphy has hosted a roundtable discussion in Brookfield with the Candlewood Lake Authority, public officials, and community stakeholders.  He got an update on Candlewood Lake and learned how he can help to preserve, protect and improve Connecticut’s largest lake.  The event was held yesterday afternoon at Brookfield Town Beach.

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Easton mail carrier alerts emergency responders to house fire

An alert mail carrier called Easton dispatch to report a house with fire rolling up the side towards the roof on Friday.  Firefighters got on scene within minutes and were able to hold the flames to the exterior.  Officials say timing was critical with this one as a few minutes more would have made a big difference in damage to the house.  Additional Easton volunteers and career firefighters responded for search, ventilation and overhaul.  Easton Police and EMS were on hand to help.  Fairfield, Trumbull and Weston Fire Departments also responded.

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Danbury teen arrested for alleged burglaries, vehicle thefts from local car dealership

A Danbury teen has been arrested for three burglaries and vehicle thefts from a dealership in the City.  Police say 18-year old Leon "Bishop" Brown was arrested Friday following an investigation into the criminal offenses at Weeks Pre-Owned Audi and Volkswagen Dealership on Mill Plain Road. 

The first incident was reported on July 7th, the second on July 24th, and the most recent happened in the early morning hours of July 26th.  Surveillance footage from the dealership showed the suspect.  Multiple items of evidence were also recovered.

Stolen vehicles from the two earlier incidents were recovered in the Bronx by NYPD officers. 

During the investigation into the Thursday incident, police located Brown at his nearby home and found items of evidence.  Brown was charged for the two incidents that happened last week.

Charges from Thursday are burglary, criminal mischief, larceny, breach of peace, interfering with an officer, and failure to comply with a fingerprint request.  The charges for the Wednesday incident are burglary, criminal mischief, larceny, and failure to comply with a fingerprint request. 

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Danbury Museum seeks to buy oldest house in Danbury

Danbury Museum and Historical Society is looking to purchase a Wooster Heights property.  The private home is on the market for about $360,000 and is oldest house in the City still standing.  The Authority's mission includes the preservation of historical assets important to the community. 

56 Wooster Heights was the home of Admiral Dickens, a Spanish-American War hero. It was constructed in 1690 by the Crofut family, among Danbury's early settlers.  It was also the home of the City's first librarian, Mrs. Taylor, and connected through family genealogy to Charles Dickens.

Danbury Museum also wants to talk about selling an unoccupied property in the Stadley Rough area to offset the cost. That would return the underutilized property to Danbury's Grand list.

The Wooster Heights house once served as an inn and is on an acre of land.  It has antique chestnut, hand hewn beams and authentic hand sawn wide chestnut floors.  There are two fireplaces and a wood stove.  The home has 9 rooms including 3 bedrooms and one full and one partial bathrooms. 

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Newtown man who refused to leave bar punched cop, tried to grab officer's gun

A man with a gun causing a disturbance at a Newtown bar had to be Tased by Police when he began punching officers.  Newtown Police responded to Cover Two Sports Cafe in Sandy Hook Center early Saturday morning on a report of a man who refused to leave. 

35-year old Christopher Deluca was asked several times to leave by employees, and police, but refused.   As officers moved in to escort Deluca out, he became combative and punched the officers. They were able to subdue Deluca on the ground, when he attempted to remove the gun from the officer's holster. Officers then tased and sprayed Deluca. 

A Police spokesman says they do not believe alcohol played a role in this incident and the suspect was angry about another issue which they say makes the incident that much more concerning. 

Deluca was charged with criminal trespass, interfering with an officer, assault on an officer, breach of peace and criminal attempt to steal a firearm. 

Lt. Aaron Bahamonde says it was extremely fortunate that Deluca was not able to get the officers gun, the officers were in no doubt in a fight for their lives as he wanted that gun.  He continued in a statement, saying if it were not for the training and strength of the officers the situation could have easily had a totally different outcome.

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New Milford political parties nominate candidates for November ballot

Political parties in New Milford have nominated their slates of candidates for the November municipal election. 

Republican incumbent Mayor Pete Bass is seeking reelection.  He was first elected two years ago.  The New Milford Democratic Town Committee endorsed Thomas O’Brien to run for Mayor.  Former mayors David Gronbach and Robert Gambino have been nominated by the DTC as candidates for the Board of Finance and Zoning Board of Appeals. 

The Town Council candidates are Mary Jane Lundgren, Gale Alexander, Walter Bayer, Jackie Eaton, David Lawson, Peter Mullen, Hilary Ram, Michelle Shackelford and Jeffrey Winter. 

Republican nominees for Town Council are Chris Cosgrove, Tom Esposito, Katy Francis, Mike Gold, Mike Nahom and Doug Skelly.

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Developer could dedicate parking space for municipal use near Still River Greenway

More parking could soon be coming to the Still River Greenway trail in Brookfield.  First Selectman Steve Dunn says the town has reached an agreement, in principal, with a developer who wants to build a supermarket.  The agreement calls for between 40 and 60 parking spaces, dedicated to municipal use.  The property goes to the river, but in a place where the greenway is already established.  The trail is being extended from the police station to the municipal center, which will open up more parking.  Dunn says right now most people don't want to park at town hall and walk across the grass.

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CT Challenge cancer research fundraising ride takes to Fairfield County streets

Several charitable organizations are holding bicycling fundraisers this summer.  They include rides and races impacting traffic in Redding.  Police are cautioning drivers that CT Challenge, a Cancer Research Fundraiser, will have 1,200 bicyclists coming through town today.  This will affect the Redding Ridge area.   

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Bethel Fire & EMS plan wetdown ceremony for new pumper

A group of Bethel Fire and EMS members are training with the new Seagrave pumper truck.  The department is planning a wetdown ceremony for the equipment on September 14th.  The dedication ceremony typically involves squads of firefighters from neighboring departments and towns anointing a new fire apparatus with water sprayed from the other firefighting equipment.

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New Milford Village Fair Days returns to the Town Green

Village Fair Days have returned to New Milford.  The free event is 10am to 10pm on the town green today.  Handicapped parking is available behind Town Hall.  The event features food, craft vendors, jewelry, plants and clothing.  Visitors will also learn about community businesses and organizations, and live entertainment.  There were fireworks last night.  Today's event features a pie eating contest.

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Danbury Charter to be revised

The Danbury Charter will be revised soon.  The City Council has called fro a Commission to be established.  An ad hoc committee of the Council has until their meeting next month to discuss the proposed group.  Members will be appointed in September.  The Danbury Charter was last revised in 2009.

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Two Danbury men charged in NY for cocaine possession

Putnam County Sheriff Robert Langley is providing more details about an arrest by the department’s Narcotics Enforcement Unit earlier this month.  Two men were seen hunched over inside a vehicle, in a parking lot on Danbury Road in Southeast shortly before midnight on July 12th.  As members approached, they could see cocaine.  Both 33-year old Casey Perillo and 31-year old Daniel Sacrider, both of Danbury, were charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance.  They are scheduled to appear in Southeast Justice Court at a later date.

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Man charged for selling methadone, passenger in possession of heroin

After learning that a man was selling methadone in Putnam County, members of the Sheriff's Department Narcotic Enforcement Unit were able to make contact with the suspect.  The man, 39-year old Thomas Simmons of Dover Plains was stopped on Danbury Road in Southeast earlier this month.  He was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance and one count of selling. 

He is on parole for a previous drug conviction.  Sheriff's Department officials say Simmons was arraigned and ordered held at Putnam County Correctional Facility due to numerous felony convictions and the outstanding parole warrant. 

He is due back in Court August 6th. 

Simmons' passenger, 28-year old Renee Whiteman of Wingdale, was charged with possession of a controlled substance and a hypodermic instrument after being found with heroin and needles.  She was arraigned and ordered held for an August 6th court appearance.

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Brookfield Police dive team gets training from FBI Special Agent

Brookfield Police Department divers have conducted their monthly in-service training on Candlewood Lake.  Company officials say the dive team is constantly polishing and honing theirs skills to be ready whenever, wherever, duty calls. This month they trained for diver-related medical emergencies and equipment failures, taught by Patrick Seeley.  The former Brookfield Police Officer and certified instructor is now a Special Agent for the FBI.  He is part of the New York Underwater Search and Evidence Response Team.

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National Women's Hockey League announces opening weekend for Conn. Whale

International Ice Hockey Federation will be celebrating World Girls’ Hockey Weekend.  The National Women’s Hockey League will launch its fifth season with the home opener of the Connecticut Whale on October 5th.

The game will be played after Try Hockey for Free clinics led by Junior Rangers Girls’ Hockey, the recently-announced initiative of the New York Rangers.  The clinic at Danbury Ice Arena is at 11:40am.  The Connecticut Whale will then host the Buffalo Beauts at 2:30pm. 

The clinic is one of 13 Try Hockey for Free events on World Girls’ Hockey Weekend for youngsters ages 11-14 across New York, New Jersey, Long Island and Connecticut.  The series of one-hour events will be led by stars of the Metropolitan Riveters and Connecticut Whale, and other top women’s hockey players based in the New York tri-state area.

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Ribbon cutting ceremony held for Uncle Sam statue in Danbury

A ribbon cutting ceremony has been held to officially welcome Uncle Sam back to Danbury.  A crowd gathered at the Danbury Railway Museum to see the 38-foot tall statue, which once stood at the Danbury Fair, be dedicated.  

Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola says the fiberglass structure is light, so a skeleton needed to be built inside the structure.  A trap door was cut into the statue's back, allowing for Jim, of Jim's Welding to climb into the structure and weld the steel frame. 

The statue was originally created for a restaurant, with the hand turned the other way and holding a hamburger.  The burger was too heavy and Sam kept falling on his face.  Eventually the hamburger was taken off, and Iadarola says Sam just held out his hand for money.  The Fair bought the statue in 1971.  Iadarola says the face was deformed so Robin of Robin's Graphics took off layer after layer until he found the original fiberglass.  He made it look as it did in the 60s.

Jack Stetson, one time Fair Vice President, says the Fair was a community asset because shares of the event were sold to area residents.  It grew from a harvest festival, into the social media of the time.  This was one of the few events for people to gather, eventually turning into a friendly competition and trade show.  The fair suffered four devastating fires and shuttered for several years because of World War II.  John Leahy revived the event, paid off the mortgage and repaired the infrastructure.

Stetson says the fair was running along fine, when I-84 was built.  He called it a blessing to the fair, but also a cause of it's demise.  The 150th anniversary of the Danbury Fair will be celebrated this fall. 

The restoration effort took four weeks, with another three weeks of site work and installation.  The statue was bought by the Magic Forest Amusement Park in Lake George in 1981, and Mayor Mark Boughton started a GoFundMe page to buy it back.  Once purchased, it was transported to Danbury by Mariano Brothers and stored in a hangar at Danbury Airport.  By an Act of Congress on September 13, 1989, it was declared that the day be known as Uncle Sam Day in America.  Every September 13th, Boughton says they will host a ceremony there and do a wreath laying.

A plaque along the brick wall behind the statue lists the businesses who donated time and money toward the purchase, restoration and installation.

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.

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Public forum with DOT set up about stagnant Route 37 construction in Danbury

Some state lawmakers don't feel enough progress is being made on the Route 37 intersection improvement project.  Representatives Ken Gucker and David Arconti are hosting a local informational forum with the DOT to address the stagnant construction. 

The public forum will be held on Tuesday, July 30, from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at the West Conn Midtown Student Center, Room 202. 

The project began last February to make improvements to Pembroke Road at Stacey and Barnum Roads in Danbury.  The $4 million project is slated to be done by the end of this October.  Route 37 is being realigned in order to increase visibility, as well as adding a traffic signal at Stacey Road. 

The existing Stacey Road Intersection is a “Y” type, controlled by two stop signs at both Stacey Road approaches to Route 37.  A signalized “T” type intersection is being created. Stacey Road will have a two-lane approach to Route 37.  Route 37 will be realigned to have a gentler curve through the intersection and an exclusive southbound left-turn lane.

The existing Barnum Road "t" type Intersection has a stop sign.  Route 37 northbound shoulder will be widened to allow traffic to pass vehicles waiting to make a left turn onto Barnum Road.  Barnum Road southbound shoulder at its Route 37 intersection will be widened as well to allow traffic to pass vehicles waiting to make a left turn onto Route 37. 

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Bethel fields to be treated with fertilizer

The athletic fields in Bethel will be treated today with Stage 3, a natural base/organic fertilizer.  The Parks and Recreation Department made the announcement, as required under state law.  Lawn Doctor under the direct supervision of General Manager John Demeyer will perform the treatment between 5am and noon.  The facilities scheduled to be fertilized are Hunt Field, DeSantis Field, Lower and Rourke Soccer Fields, Mitchell Park and the fields at Rockwell, Berry and Middle Schools.

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Two railroad crossing upgrade projects prompt detours, substitute bus service

Metro North train service is being changed to accommodate the Long Ridge Road Crossing work.  Substitute buses will operate between Danbury and South Norwalk for select trains tonight, and all of Saturday and Sunday.  Buses will operate approximately up to 20 minutes earlier than scheduled trains.  Work started last week, kicking off an 18 day detour for construction activities for the realignment project.  The detour and closure is in place until 5am August 5th.

The State Department of Transportation has scheduled an upgrading of the Cannon Road railroad/highway crossing on Cannon Road in Wilton. The work includes replacement of the existing crossing surface. Cannon Road will be closed at the railroad/highway crossing starting at 10am and is expected to remain closed until Wednesday at 4pm.  

A detour will be implemented.  Access to Cannondale Station parking lot will remain open to commuters during construction. Commuters will have to gain access to the parking lot from Route 7. 

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Brookfield man's leg impaled by piece of wood

A man was impaled by a piece of wood in Brookfield yesterday.  Emergency personnel responded to Appleby Farm Road shortly after 4pm for a report of a man with a piece of wood in his leg.  The  21-year-old man had a six-inch-long, quarter-inch-round piece of wood impaled just below his knee.  The man was found in the backyard of a home and transported to Danbury Hospital.  It's unclear how the piece of wood impaled his leg.

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Ambulance building to be constructed at site of new assisted living rentals in Danbury

A ground breaking ceremony has been held for Danbury’s first rental continuing care retirement community for older adults.  Keystone Place at Wooster Heights will include 55 independent living apartments, 63 traditional assisted living apartments and 22 memory care apartments.   The project by the Rizzo Corporation includes studio and one- and two-bedroom apartment homes.  An Emergency Medical Services paramedic ambulance building will also be developed on-site.  Among those in attendance for the ground breaking ceremony yesterday were state Representatives David Acronti, Richard Smith. and Raghib Allie-Brennan, and Chamber of Commerce President PJ Prunty.  Plans on file with the City also call for a fitness center, pub, theater, library, ice cream parlor, private dining room, multi-purpose activity rooms, and salon.

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Ridgefield political parties endorse candidates for November election

Nominations have been made in Ridgefield for municipal candidates this November.  The Ridgefield Democratic Town Committee has endorsed 20-year incumbent Rudy Marconi for First Selectman.  The Ridgefield Republican Town Committee is backing Board of Finance member Dick Moccia for the town's top spot. 

The political caucuses also nominated candidates for Boards of Education, Finance, and Selectmen. 

For the Board of Selectmen, Republicans nominated incumbents Maureen Kozlark and Bob Hebert, along with police commissioner Joseph Savino.  Democrats nominated incumbent Barbara Manners and Board of Finance member Sean Connelly.  

For town treasurer, Democrats nominated incumbent Molly McGeehin.  Republicans endorsed Colette Kabasakalian.  Republicans endorsed Wendy Lionetti as Town Clerk, with Democrat Karen Breckenridge challenging her.

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Department of Labor to host resume workshop in Danbury

The Connecticut Department of Labor and the Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board is hosting a Fundamentals of Resume Writing workshops tomorrow.  Participants will learn how to write a focused resume needed to secure job interviews and employment offers. Topics include thinking like an employer, strategies for developing essential parts of the resume, keywords, relevant vs. irrelevant information, formatting and cover letters.  The workshop at the Danbury American Job Center on Main Street is 9:30am to 11:30am.   Advance registration is encouraged by calling 203-437-3380.

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Brookfield Police offer to pick up donations for Food Pantry

The Brookfield Police Department is getting more involved in helping out the Brookfield Food Pantry.  Officials say any Brookfield resident with items to donate, but can’t find the time to drop them off, the Department will send a police officer to come pick them up.  The Food Pantry says while large sizes are appreciated, several smaller sizes will enable them to give to more clients.  Some of the needed items include cereal, applesauce, pasta and shampoo and conditioner.

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Seniors learn about scams, how to avoid becoming a victim

A Brookfield Police Detective recently spoke with seniors about scams.  Mike O’Brien was at the Senior Center last week to talk about online, phone, and mail scams. The presentation included information on how to identify a scam, how to protect yourself and your financials, and how those perpetrating these crimes are prosecuted.  Scams to be aware of include phishing emails, overpayment scams and fraudulent job offers.  Brookfield Police say people should check their credit report at least annually.  You should never wire anyone money, never pay in gift cards and never provide personal information to anyone calling you.  If a caller claims to be from your bank, call the number that’s listed on your banking statement.

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Brookfield Library makes selection for One Town, One Read program

Brookfield Library officials have made their selection for this summer's One Town, One Read program.  The town-wide reading event with the goal of building community spirit through a shared reading experience, asks people to read the same book.  This is the second consecutive year that Brookfield is participating in this program. The committee has chosen "Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity and Love," by New York Times Bestselling Connecticut-based author Dani Shapiro. The library is planning enrichment programs and discussions inspired by the themes within this book.  The committee screened more than 60 titles in search of a book that would be well written, timely and a compelling read.

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Himes, Murphy introduce firearms SAFETY Act

4th District Congressman Jim Himes has introduced the Start Advancing Firearms Enhancements and Technology Act.  The SAFETY legislation would provide tax incentives to small businesses and firearm manufacturers for the development of smart gun technologies. The bill also encourages consumers to buy firearms that utilize new breakthroughs in safety to reduce gun violence.  Senator Chris Murphy introduced the companion bill.  He says if people can use a finger or face to unlock a cell phone, then firearm manufacturers can be innovative in using technology to secure guns.  Murphy added that safely securing guns will cut down on suicides and accidental deaths, especially among children.  

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Corrections officer accused of misconduct at prison

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A guard at a Connecticut prison turned herself in to authorities to face charges she exchanged letters with an inmate and lied about bringing a cellphone into the facility.

Oxford resident Jennie Reese, a corrections officer at Garner Correctional Institution in Newtown, is charged with taking unauthorized items into the prison and making a false statement.

Reese allegedly snuck in a phone to show explicit photos to an inmate who alleged he had a sexual encounter with her.

A Department of Correction official said officers are not allowed to have phones in the facilities and corresponding with inmates is prohibited unless they have written authorization.

Reese denies having inappropriate contact with the inmate and was released on $1,000 bond. She is to appear in court next on Aug. 6.

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Newtown First Selectman to run unopposed

Newtown's Democratic incumbent First Selectman will not face a Republican challenger for the town's top spot.  Unless a petitioning or independent candidate comes forward, Dan Rosenthal will serve another term.  His running mate will be incumbent Selectman Maureen Crick Owen.  Republican  incumbent Selectman Jeff Capeci has been endorsed for another term as well.  The Newtown Republican and Democratic Town Committees have endorsed candidates for Boards of Education, Finance, Assessment Appeals, Planing and Zoning, Zoning Appeals and alternates.  Candidates for the Police Commission and Edmond Town Hall Board of Managers were also endorsed.

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Water skiing course proposed for Lake Zoar in Newtown

A public hearing has been held in Newtown on an application to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection for a marked course for water skiing along the west shore of Lake Zoar.  The course markings would be in place from May 1st through October 31st annually if approved.  The application was submitted by Newtown resident Daniel O’ Donnell. Electronic copies of the application are available by request through DEEP, or viewed at DEEP Marine Headquarters in Old Lyme. A map of the proposed waterskiing course location is available online.

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FEMA cuts first Macroburst reimbursement check to Brookfield

FEMA has sent the first reimbursement check to Brookfield for last May's macroburst clean up.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency has been reviewing the town's claim for the last few months.  Brookfield sought $2 million, but FEMA will only pay about 75-percent of that, or $1.5 million.  First Selectman Steve Dunn told the Newstimes that the first check was for $7,000.  He says FEMA and the state must go through additional vetting before Brookfield can receive any more reimbursement.  Brookfield spent about $1.7 million after the 2018 weather which took down trees and knocked out power across a swath of Connecticut.

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Car fire in New Fairfield, kitchen fire in Brookfield

A car fire closed a road in New Fairfield yesterday.  New Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department responded to Pine Hill Road yesterday afternoon to extinguish the blaze.  The road was closed for about half an hour and the vehicle was towed away.  The fire is under investigation by fire marshal. 

In Brookfield, firefighters responded to a report of a fire alarm and sprinklers activated at Brookfield Village on Federal Road.  Firefighters found a small kitchen fire in one apartment.  There was significant water damage, which displaced some residents.  The Red Cross was notified and the scene was turned over to the Brookfield Fire Marshal’s office.

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Danbury woman in court for alleged unauthorized purchases

A Danbury woman was in court yesterday on a larceny charge for allegedly making $39,000 in fraudulent  purchases on the credit card of a Ridgefield organization.  54-year old Amparo Sandoval allegedly used a card she had access to in order to make 342 unauthorized charges.  Nearly $900 was a charge to a mechanic, $400 at Amazon for dresses and $150 in digital services.  The affidavit says Sandoval abruptly quit her job at an animal sanctuary, whose name has been redacted.  She was also reportedly overpaid because she never gave notice.  Sandoval also allegedly opened accounts in a coworker's name.

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Newtown Democrats, Republicans nominate slate of candidates for November

Newtown's Democratic incumbent First Selectman will not face a Republican challenger for the town's top spot.  Unless a petitioning or independent candidate comes forward, Dan Rosenthal will serve another term.  His running mate will be incumbent Selectman Maureen Crick Owen.  Republican  incumbent Selectman Jeff Capeci for another term as well. 

The Newtown Republican and Democratic Town Committees have endorsed candidates for Boards of Education, Finance, Assessment Appeals, Planing and Zoning, Zoning Appeals and alternates.  Candidates for the Police Commission and Edmond Town Hall Board of Managers were also endorsed.

* indicates incumbent 


The nominated Democratic slate includes:

Board of Education: *Rebekah Harriman-Stites, *John Vouros

Board of Finance: *Keith Alexander, *Steve Hinden, *Ned Simpson, Chris Gardner

Legislative Council District 1: *Judit DeStefano, *Chris Eide, *Paul Lundquist

Legislative Council District 2: *Jordana Bloom, *Daniel Honan, Clinton DePaolo

Legislative Council District 3: *Chris Smith, Carol Walsh, Alison Plante

Board of Assessment Appeals: *Alex Villamil, Sara Frampton

Planning and Zoning: *Corrine Cox, *Benjamin Toby

P&Z Alternates: Andrew Marone, *David Rosen

Zoning Board of Appeals: *Ross Carley, *Prerna Rao

ZBA Alternates: *Joe Bojnowski, *Christina Paradis

Police Commission: *Joan Plouffe, *Joel Faxon

Edmond Town Hall Board of Managers: *Lisa Schwartz, *Herb Rosenthal



The nominated Republican slate includes:

Board of Education: Dennis Brestovansky, Deborra Zukowski

Board of Finance: *Sandy Roussas, Matthew Mihalcik, Joseph Girgasky, John Madzula II

Legislative Council District 1: Cathy Reiss, Charles Gardner, William DeRosa

Legislative Council District 2: *Dan Wiedemann, *Ryan Knapp, David Schill

Legislative Council District 3: *Phil Carroll, Andrew Clure (*current BOE), Rance Thompson

Board of Assessment Appeals: *James McFarland, Ed Schierloh (to fill a two-year vacancy)

Planning and Zoning: *Roy Meadows, *Jim Swift, Dennis Bloom

P & Z Alternates: David Ruhs, Nick Cabral

Zoning Board of Appeals: *Jane Sharpe, John Godin

ZBA Alternates: *Robin Buchanan, Carey Schierloh

Police Commission: Neil Chaudhary, *Brian Budd

Edmond Town Hall Board of Managers: *Margot Hall

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New Fairfield Democrats, Republicans nominate First Selectman candidates

New Fairfield political parties have endorsed candidates for the November election.  Democratic incumbent First Selectman Pat Del Monaco is being backed for another term.  Her running mate will be incumbent Khris Hall.  Former First Selectman John Hodge has been endorsed by Republicans.  Former First Selectman Susan Chapman also sought the GOP nomination and previously said she would primary for the position.  Hodge's running mate will be incumbent Kim Hanson. Hodge, who was first elected to the town's top spot in 2005, resigned in 2013 to become the director of operations for the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, an organization named in honor of his cousin, fallen 9/11 firefighter Stephen Siller.

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Bethel track resurfacing project starting

The Bethel High School track resurfacing is starting. The track will be closed during the day today through Friday for power washing and Monday through August 7th for resurfacing and lining.

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Ridgefield Police to conduct texting enforcement campaign

The Ridgefield Police Department will be conducting a texting enforcement campaign during the first two weeks of August.  they are asking all drivers to be safe when operating a motor vehicle and commit themselves to saving lives by never texting or using the phone while driving. The Ridgefield effort is part of a larger anti-distracted driving campaign.

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Danbury Democrats, Republicans nominate slate of candidates for November

The Danbury Democratic and Republican Town Committees have met to nominate candidates for the November 2019 municipal elections.  Residents will be deciding on several key office holders as well as Board and Commission members.

*incumbent

Position Affiliation Candidate
Mayor Republican Mark Boughton* 
  Democrat Chris Setaro
     
Town Clerk Republican Jan Giegler*
  Democrat Andrea Gartner
     
Treasurer Republican Dan Jowdy*
  Democrat Kate Johnson
     
City Council (two per Ward)    
Ward 1 Republican Irving Fox*
  Republican John Priola* 
  Democrat Dennis Perkins 
  Democrat George O’Loughlin
     
Ward 2 Republican Elmer Palma* 
  Republican Vinny DiGilio* 
  Democrat Kirsten Kovacs-Hardy
  Democrat Elvis Novas
     
Ward 3 Republican Joe Cavo*
  Republican Christopher Arconti* 
 

Democrat

Mary Consoli
 

Democrat

Carol Thibodeau

     
Ward 4 Republican Erin Domenech
  Republican Alexander Rodriguez
  Democrat Farley Santos*
  Democrat

John Esposito III*

     
Ward 5 Republican Matthew Orr
  Republican Delvin Rodriguez
  Democrat Fred Visconti*
  Democrat

Duane Perkins*

     
Ward 6 Republican Rachel Mary Halas
  Republican Andrew Wetmore
  Democrat Ben Chianese*
  Democrat

Paul Rotello*

     
Ward 7 Republican

Nancy Cammisa* 

  Republican

Joseph Scozzafava* 

  Democrat Rich Molinaro
  Democrat

Fidel Hombra

     
City Council At Large Republican Bruce Bennett*
(7 members from either party) Republican Philip Curran* 
  Republican Michael Esposito*
  Republican Warren Levy*
  Republican Colleen Stanley*
  Republican Emile Buzaid Jr.
  Republican Rachel Chaleski
  Democrat Roberto Alves 
  Democrat Helena Abrantes
  Democrat Wilson Hernandez 
  Democrat Anjali Illescas
  Democrat Frank Salvatore
  Democrat Tim Gaburungyi
  Democrat

Robert Taborsak*

 

Democrats have nominated Zoning candidates: Sidney Almeida, Candace Fay, Richard Jowdy, James Kelly, Theodore Haddad Jr., Henry Hall, Ryan Hawley, and Wayne Skelly.  Republican candidates are Luis Bautista, John Carreiro, Milan David, Sally Estefan, Angela Hylenski, Michael Masi, Robert Melillo, Joseph Raya, and Juan Gabriel Rivas. 

Democratic Zoning Alternates are Rolando Castro and Nelson Merchan.  Republican Alternates are Michael Henry, Robert Laber and Thomas Nejame.

Board of Education Democratic candidates are: Joe Britton, Kate Conetta, and Gladys Cooper.  Republicans are Albert Russo, Veasna Rouen, Ralph Pietrafesa, Kathryn Hodgdon, Loren Daly, and Maegen Bollin.

2-year term BOE Democratic candidates are Joseph DaSilva Jr. and Kathy Molinaro.  Republicans are Eileen Alberts and Patrick Johnston.

Democratic Constable candidates are: Butch Coladarci, Francis Kieras, and Nicole Cossitt-Levy.  Republicans are Michael Halas, Louise McMahon, and Michael Safranek.

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Phone surveys start about Ridgefield Plan of Conservation and Development

As part of the process of updating the Ridgefield Plan of Conservation and Development, the Planning and Zoning Commission has authorized a telephone survey of residents.  For the survey, randomly selected Ridgefield households will be contacted to get input and feedback on possible strategies being considered for inclusion in the Plan.

Phone calls will be made through Saturday, the 27th. The caller ID will display “GreatBlue Research” and/or will come from prefix 860-740-400*.

If no one answers, another Ridgefield telephone number will be randomly selected.

The survey has protocols for gender, age group, and neighborhood to help ensure a sample which is representative of the community.  The results of the survey will be integrated into the Plan of Conservation and Development which is slated for adoption in 2020. The current Plan is available on the Town website.  It's meant to protect the resources important to residents, guide growth and change, and identify facilities and services needed to support the community.

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Eversource asks Newtown residents for permission to start tree cutting

Eversource contractors are in the process of trimming trees along approximately 100 miles of Newtown roadways to keep wires clear to help mitigate future storm impacts.  Any homeowner with property in the path of the trimming effort should have gotten a permission form attached to the mailbox by Eversource.  Residents are asked to complete the form, indicating whether or not there's approval of the work so Eversource can proceed in a timely fashion.

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Food truck ordinance in New Milford updated

An updated food truck ordinance has been approved by the New Milford Town Council.  The food entities will be allowed on private property if a business hosts them, but that business can not have a kitchen.  Among the changes is a charge of  $80 to operate for 5 days, or $160 for the month.  There is an existing requirement for a health permit and fire department fee, if propane is used.  The ordinance requires the mayor, police chief and health director to approve the permit.  Previously, food trucks are allowed on private property no more than four times a year. 

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Bridge closure in Kent announced

Another bridge in Kent will be replaced soon.  First Selectman Bruce Adams says a contract was signed yesterday to replace the bridge on Carter Road.  The road will be closed to through traffic starting Monday, July 29th. The work site is about 1-and-a-half miles up from Route 7, past High Watch. The closure should be about 2 months long, but could be less. Fire, Ambulance, Police and Post Office Departments are being notified.

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Brookfield man arraigned on charge stemming from alleged harassment of teen

A Brookfield man charged with harassment for allegedly sending inappropriate messages to a 14-year old Sherman girl was arraigned yesterday.  26-year old Nicholas Mazur was arrested last week on a warrant stemming from the complaint made against him.  State Police launched an investigation in March.  The teen told Troopers that she made a complaint against Mazur in December about inappropriate messages, and he stopped.  But then she said she felt guilty and allowed him to contact her so they could remain friends.  Then the messages started again, and the teen says Mzur started contacting her younger sibling.  Mazur is due back in Danbury Superior Court August 13th.

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Bethel gets check, premium reduction from insurance carrier

An insurance premium for the town of Bethel is being reduced and the town's insurance company is giving Bethel more than $72,900.  Officials say the check is from the equity distribution program offered through Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency, the town’s property, liability and workers compensation insurance carrier.  The town's worker’s compensation premium for this year has been reduced by 5-percent, a nearly $46,000 savings in the budget.  First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says the lower premium stems from the town’s risk management program, which started last year. The program includes efforts to teach employees about cybersecurity and requires department heads to participate in safety training seminars.

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Design work approved for still River Greenway extension to firehouse

Brookfield officials have approved funding to do design work on an extension of the Still River Greenway.  Brookfield was granted $207,000 from the state for the additional 2,500 feet to connect the trail to an existing 25-car parking lot at the firehouse on Pocono Road. 

First Selectman Steve Dunn says they need to do design work so it's ADA compliant and meets all of the grant requirements.  The Board of Finance signed off on up to $20,000 for the designs.  Dunn says the estimate of $207,000 was done three years ago so it's likely to cost more now.  But he says even if the grant covers only 80-percent of the work, it's still a worthwhile investment.

The 8 foot wide trail would allow handicapped residents to easily attend town concerts at the bandstand.  The campus also includes the senior center, post office and multiple playing fields and venue for the Farmer's Market, Summer Concerts and other community events.  

The state funding comes from the Community Connectivity Program. 

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Lightning strike ignites pile of macroburst debris in Brookfield

Tree debris from last year's macroburst ignited in flames yesterday in Brookfield when a tree was struck by lightning.  While Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company members were reporting for storm standby, firefighters was dispatched to 11 Ina’s Drive for a report of a brush fire. Units arrived to find a substantial fire in the rear yard from a lightning strike.

(Photo: BVFD)

A tree was hit and the lightning travelled down to a large pile of dead trees and brush from last years Macroburst.  Firefighters operated for 30 minutes and the blaze was extinguished with 1000 gallons of water.

There was another lightning strike reported at the same time on Windwood Road.

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Swimmer missing in Lake Carmel identified as Redding man

The Connecticut swimmer found in Lake Carmel Monday has been identified as a Redding resident.  Police officials recovered the body of 54-year old Jeremy Kipnis Monday morning.  He went swimming Saturday afternoon and didn't return home that evening, so his wife reported him missing to police. His cause of death is still under investigation. 

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Public hearing in Bethel tonight on proposed water storage tank construction

A public hearing is being held in Bethel tonight about construction of a water storage tank between Long Meadow Lane and Briar Cliff Manor.  The Town is applying to the Planning & Zoning Commission for a site plan and special permit.  Comments can be made in person or submitted in writing at tonight's meeting.  Plans for the project are available at the Bethel Land Use Office.  Tonight's Public Hearing is at 7pm in the Municipal Center.

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Dog with signs of abuse rescued from highway gets adopted from pound

A dog picked up by Danbury Animal Control off of I-84, who appeared to have been abused, has been adopted.  Animal Control officials said a week ago that the dog's snout appeared scarred from either being tied or tie wrapped shut, but he showed no sign of aggression.  Three days ago, Danbury Animal Control said they had very little response about adoption.  Now, they have announced that the 2 to 3 year old dog has found a forever home.

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Cause of hotel fire in Ridgefield remains unknown

The cause of the fire at the Days Inn by Wyndham on Route 7 last month remains unknown, but the Ridgefield and West Redding Fire Marshal says the blaze started in the bottom of a refrigerator.  Flames extended up the wall, and could have been an electrical anomaly. The fire was reported June 20th. While the hotel is in Ridgefield, Redding firefighters were first to respond. The sprinkler system was activated automatically.  There were no reported injuries.

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Citizen of Dominican Republic pleads guilty to reentry of a removed alien

A citizen of the Dominican Republic has pleaded guilty to an immigration charge.  58-year old Freddy Antonio Marte Jerez, last living in Danbury, was charged with reentry of a removed alien. 

He married a U.S. citizen, but his application for permanent residency was denied because of a narcotics conviction in Rhode Island.  He was then convicted in Danbury in 2007 for sale of illegal drugs and deported after serving jail time.

Marte Jerez illegally reentered the country and was arrested while using the name “Antonio Nunez” in Danbury.  In December 2015, Marte Jerez was convicted of burglary.  Because of the different name, the arrest wasn't known to ICE. 

He used another name when he was arrested last March in Danbury for motor vehicle offenses, and his true identity was discovered.   He has been detained since his arrest. 

When he is sentenced, Marte Jerez faces a maximum of 10 years in prison for illegal reentry.  A sentencing date is not scheduled.

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Storm brings flooded roads, downed trees, power outages

Localized flooding, downed trees and power outages all resulted from the storm yesterday in the Greater Danbury area.  The heavy rain was coupled with strong wind in the afternoon, with some spots of lightning. 

In New Milford, the traffic light at Route 7 and Bridge Street was on flash due to the storm. 

Typical places that flood in Danbury, including Main Street and under the railroad overpass on Lake Avenue experienced some standing water on the street.

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Easement approved by New Fairfield officials for Aquarion access

Aquarion Water is looking to obtain an easement in order to come onto property owned by New Fairfield when necessary to install or repair tanks and equipment for the water system. Selectman Khris Hall recommended that there be a provision saying Aquarion must notify the town as to when they will be on the property and for what reason.  She says this will enable New Fairfield to validate to make sure that the work does not interfere with the rights of the town.  The town's attorney will review draft language of an amendment to the contract.  The Board of Selectmen approved the easement for Aquarion, subject to the amendment.

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Fire Marshal: Clarke Business Park fire started accidentally

The Bethel Fire Marshal's Office has determined that the massive May fire at Clarke Business Park likely started because of an electrical issue with a heat tape machine, for shrink wrapping material.  The fire started accidentally.  It was a Sunday and took more than 100 firefighters 8 hours to extinguish.  Adhesive tape company ATP remains displaced from the front of the building, where the fire started.  The back of the building sustained smoke and water damage because it was protected by a firewall.  Intersurface Dynamics reopened a few days after the fire. 

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Digital Bookmobile to make stop in Danbury today

The Digital Bookmobile, a nationally touring interactive experience from the public library, is visiting Danbury today.  Ebooks and audiobooks continue to grow in popularity and libraries provide them to their communities for free. 

The unique traveling exhibit is showing up at libraries around North America this summer.  The free event at Kennedy Park, from 10am to 4pm, features an interactive reading experience to learn about and try ebooks and audiobooks available through Danbury Public Library. 

Readers can learn how to browse and borrow from the collection by using workstations onboard the air conditioned RV.  There are video tutorials, touchscreen activities, devices to sample titles and other highlights.  Library staff and eReading experts will be available to guide visitors. 

The Digital Bookmobile is ADA accessible for people in a wheelchair, or a parent with a stroller.

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Connecticut swimmer's body found in lake in New York

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The body of a missing Connecticut swimmer has been found in a lake in New York.

Police officials have recovered the body of a man in his 50s Monday morning after he was reported missing by his wife over the weekend.

The man went swimming in Lake Carmel in New York on Saturday afternoon. When he didn't return home that evening, his wife reported him missing to police.

Police have not yet released the identity of the swimmer. They say the cause of death is still under investigation.

Beaches were closed and swimming and boating were declared off-limits until further notice as well.

Lake Carmel is about seven miles from the Connecticut border.

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19-year old injured in fall from cliffs in Ridgefield

A 19-year old was hospitalized after a fall from the cliffs at Richardson Park in Ridgefield yesterday afternoon.  Fire officials say the man was conscious when paramedics encountered him on the trail coming down from the cliffs.  Initial reports in the Ridgefield Press were that the man fell some 20 to 30 feet.  He was moving with help from his friends, and was in fair condition.  Witnesses said they were jumping in the water at the time of the incident.  It's unclear if the 19-year old hit rocks

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Lightning strikes tree near historic home in New Milford

A small storm quickly passed over New Milford last night, with lightning striking a tree in front of a historic home on South Main Street.  The strike brought several curious neighbors out of their homes, and several more as firefighters arrived to investigate an odor of burning and a slight haze of smoke in the home. 

Northville Fire was called to provide relief manpower due to the extreme heat, and New Milford Ambulance was called as a precaution for all working.  An extensive search of the home using thermal imaging cameras determined that the damage was limited to a pair of circuit breakers and a few roof shingles. 

Some firefighters were diverted to cover a report of wires down and burning along Aspetuck Ridge Road. 

A third call came in as firefighters were leaving the home for a vehicle fire on Danbury Road.  Officials say the issue turned out to be a non emergency.

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Monroe basement fire quickly extinguished

There were no injuries reported in a Monroe basement fire over the weekend.  Firefighters responded to Wheeler Road around 4:30am Saturday and quickly extinguished the flames.  Monroe Volunteer Emergency Medical Service and AMR Bridgeport, CT provided medical care to Firefighters due to the extreme heat outside.  The Monroe Fire Marshal is investigating the cause and origin.  Shelton provided a tanker, engine, and ladder company, as well as station coverage. There were no hydrants so the Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue tanker was also requested, but they ultimately were not needed.

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New Milford Senior Center staff work being highlighted

New Milford Mayor Pete Bass is highlighting the work of Senior Center staff.  Municipal Agents/Elder Advisors provided assistance to 45 individuals last week with food insecurity, medical, financial, and health and safety issues.  The Senior Center also partnered with the library for an evening program where an attorney spoke in depth about Estate Planning.  The Senior Center provided 115 lunches, 178 rides to 42 clients, and  67 Volunteer Hours.

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New Fairfield officials launch survey about Drop Off Center

New Fairfield officials are looking to get feedback from residents about the Drop Off Center.  They've launched a brief online survey on the town's website about use of the DOC, and suggestions for improving use and convenience.  Questions include the types of items disposed of, like household trash landscape waste or recyclables, and how much time people spend at the facility when they use it.  A couple of the questions deal with the hours and days the Drop Off Center is open, whether it's convenient or if there are more convenient hours.

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Household hazardous waste collection day ends early due to heat

Saturday's household hazardous waste collection event in Brookfield closed early, at noon, due to the heat and humidity.  Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says a couple of volunteers had to be taken to the hospital due to heat exhaustion.  Brookfield Police asked HRRA to close the regional event early for safety reasons.  Bethel SummerFest and CityCenter Danbury's fourth annual Country Music & Food Truck Rally had been cancelled before the events started.

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Center School Use Committee appointments delayed

The Brookfield Board of Selectmen will take some more time to appoint a Center School Use Ad Hoc Committee.  During their meeting earlier this month, they noted that the applicants could have to be narrowed down.  10 people have expressed interested in being part of the group, but the Selectman were looking to keep membership at 5 to 7 participants.  The Committee will be tasked with determining the best use and purpose of the old school building, and possibly the Brookfield Library building, once the New School Project is underway.  Center School students will be moving into the new facility on the Huckleberry Hill campus.

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Bridge crossing I-84 on Old Hawleyville Road closed this week

It's summer construction season.  Another road closure in the area has been announced.  Newtown Police say the bridge that crosses I-84 on Old Hawleyville Road will be closed for all traffic this week for repairs and paving.  In Danbury, Triangle Street remains closed.  Long Ridge Road in Redding is closed for 18 days for repairs to the Metro North tracks.

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EMT injured in oxygen regulator explosion at hospital

There was an explosion in the Norwalk Hospital emergency room this weekend.  An oxygen regulator being transported on a gurney at the facility, which is part of the Western Connecticut Health Network, was the cause.  Police say two attendants were transporting a patient when the explosion happened.  An EMT attendant was treated and released.  There were no other injuries reported.  Burn marks on the wall and ceiling resulted from the explosion.  A fire extinguisher was used at the scene.

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CT Ride seeking Bicycle-Friendly Community status applications

CT Rides is looking to recognize communities that make bicycling a real transportation and recreation option.  The Western Connecticut Council of Governments, the regional planning agency for towns from Sherman down to Stamford, says applications for Bicycle-Friendly Community status are due August 8.  This program also provides a roadmap and hands-on assistance to employers and municipalities implementing bike-friendly measures.  The status is not required by Sustainable CT but can help a community achieve a higher rating under the program.

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Bethel officials sign off on Chamber of Commerce event

Bethel officials have signed off on a Chamber of Commerce event, which last year drew more than 600 people.  Bethel Chamber Director Brad Koltz updated the Board of Selectmen on Beerfest 2019, which will be held Friday, July 26th from 6pm to 9pm on the Municipal Center lawn.  There's a maximum of 600 attendees, tied to the license and police commission stipulations.  Last year there was a standby area.  First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker said the past few years the event has been well controlled.  People who've attended from out of town said they then discovered local restaurants and have returned to visit those establishments, while some restaurants reported a boost in sales on the evening of the event last year.

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Republicans nominate woman for Bethel First Selectman

The Bethel Republican Town Committee has nominated candidates to run for municipal offices in November.  Patricia Rist gained the unanimous endorsement from the Republican Caucus to run for First Selectwoman.  Her running mate for Selectman will be incumbent Paul Szatkowski.

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Congresswoman lets staff take over social media for the day

5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes has let her district office take over her social media pages for a day.  She says it was a chance for constituents to see what staff has been up to.  They met with the U.S. Census Bureau to discuss practical initiatives to educate people about the 2020 census.  The Bureau is recruiting for full-time and part-time positions in Connecticut for the count.  On their lunch break, staffers dropped off non-perishable food items at New Opportunities of Greater Meriden, and then supported local businesses by dining out. 

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Bethel officials alert residents to Yellow Pages opt out method

The Town Of Bethel has been notified that delivery of the new Fairfield County Yellow Pages books will begin in late November. Residents who wish to OPT OUT and not receive printed yellow pages books are advised to visit www.YellowPagesOptOut.com. The deadline for submitting requests is September 19th.

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Himes votes to hold Administration members in contempt

4th District Congressman Jim Himes has voted to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for their refusal to comply with subpoenas.  Congress is attempting to investigate the process of trying to add a citizenship question to the Census, but has been stonewalled.  There could be more votes soon to hold members of the Trump Administration in contempt of Congress.  Himes says advisor Kellyanne Conway has made numerous violations of the Hatch Act, a law designed to stop those in power from abusing their official positions for political purposes. 

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Danbury Animal Control receives complaints of dogs left in cars

Danbury Animal Control officials say they are receiving numerous complaints of dogs being left in vehicles.  Temperatures can rise in a vehicle in a very short time. Over the next few days the state will be under a severe weather advisory.  Officials say, per state statute, all dogs should be kept inside with plenty of fresh water. 

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New York State Police investigate highway crash

A van rear ended a passenger car slowing for traffic Wednesday morning in Carmel sending two people to the hospital.  New York State Police say a preliminary investigation determined that 55-year old Bubacarr Dukureh of the Bronx was headed westbound and slowing down, when his car was struck by 50-year old Christopher Saas of Patterson. Dukureh is currently being treated for serious injuries, and Saas sustained non-life threatening injuries.  The westbound lanes were closed for over an hour due to the collision with traffic moving slowly on the shoulder.  This investigation remains on-going.

(Photo: NYSP)

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Detour set up in Redding for track work

The Connecticut Department of Transportation has announced the start of the 18 day detour for construction activities for the realignment of Long Ridge Road in Redding at the  Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing.  The detour and closure is now in place and will last until 5am August 5th. Signing and portable message boards will be in use to help direct traffic.  The Contractor is allowed to fully detour traffic around the railroad crossing using the following roads: Simpaug Turnpike, Topstone Road, Route 7(Ethan Allen Hwy), West Starrs Plain Road, Starrs Plain Road, West Redding Road, Long Ridge Road, Reservoir Road, Reservoir Street, Route 53(Grassy Plain Street, Turkey Plain Road, Redding Road), and Side Cut Road.

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Ridgefield Police receive hundreds of survey responses

The Ridgefield Police Department has received more than 550 response to an online survey about crime and safety in town, along with questions about Department response to concerns.  The survey closes on Friday.  Ridgefield Police say they will then analyze the responses and create plans for the future.  So far speeding and districted driving are the top two community issues.  Police say they will continue to address these problems.  Department officials also noted that they've received positive feedback from survey participants and thanked respondents for the kind words.

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New Milford Mayor nominated for reelection by GOP caucus

The New Milford Republican Town Committee has nominated candidates to run for municipal offices in November.  Incumbent Mayor Pete Bass was backed to run for reelection.  The GOP caucus also nominated 6 people to Town Council, 3 for the Board of Education and two for the Board of Finance.  Other positions on the ballot in November will be Town Clerk, Tax Collector, Planning Commission members, the Zoning Board of Appeals and Board of Assessment Appeals.

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Demonstration planned in Danbury for ban on animal circuses

A demonstration is planned in Danbury by people who want a ban on animal circuses adopted. Animal welfare activists from Redding and Bridgeport are organizing the tomorrow's demonstration at Danbury Library Plaza from 2 to 5pm. They protested in April when the Garden Brothers Circus held shows over three day at the Danbury Ice Arena. The facility has new owners who say animal circuses will no longer be held there.  Only two municipalities in Connecticut have a ban on animal circuses. They are Bridgeport and Stamford. 

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Newtown Police investigating vandalism incidents

Newtown Police are investigating vandalism incidents along South Main Street.  Police received several complaints earlier in the week of property damage from Mile Hill Road to Main Street.  The vandalism happened between 11:30pm Saturday and 7am Sunday.  One incident involved a chair thrown through a window.  Anyone with information is asked to contact Newtown Police at 203-426-5841.

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Three men charged for drug sales, possession in Danbury

Three men have been arrested on drug charges after neighbor complaints in Danbury.   Police launched an investigation months ago into 34-year old Amarpreet Sidhu of Bethel selling drugs from the area of 7 Padanaram Road and throughout the City. 

Search warrants were issued for the condo unit of 34-year old Patrick Rodrigues.  The warrant was carried out yesterday afternoon. 

  

Several ounces of powder cocaine, crack cocaine and fentanyl were seized. Packets of suboxone, a substantial quantity of LSD, several hundred dollars cash and a loaded 9mm pistol were found in the condo unit. 

A third man at the apartment,  37-year old David Snyder of Brookfield, was in possession of a small quantity of crack cocaine and was charged.  He was released on a written promise to appear in court at a later date. 

Sidhu and Rodrigues were each charged with five counts each of possession of a controlled substance, possession with intent to sell, possession within 1500 feet of a school, and possession with intent to sell within 1500 feet of a school, two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, two counts for possession of drug paraphernalia within 1500 feet of a school and two counts of criminal possession of a firearm and ammunition.  They were each held on $250,000 bond.

Brookfield Police had an outstanding arrest warrant for Sidhu for drug sales.  He is on parole for a previous conviction and will be remanded to the Department of Corrections. 

Investigators were assisted by the Danbury Regional SWAT team, members of the Patrol Division and members of the Brookfield Police Department.

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Ribbon cutting today for Newtown Community Center, new Senior Center

A ribbon cutting ceremony is being held this morning to officially open the Newtown Community Center and the new Senior Center. 

Executive Director Matt Ariniello says they're looking forward to opening the doors and showing off everything the facility has to offer.  Representatives from General Electric will be on hand for the ceremony.  The company donated $15 million to Newtown shortly after the shooting at Sandy Hook School, $10 million to build and $5 million to operate for at least 5 years.  The town bonded $5 million for the community center and $3 million for the senior center, which will then hold a ribbon cutting in their portion of the building. 

The combined center is on Simpson Street, adjacent to the Municipal Center at the Fairfield Hills campus.  

The community center has an arts and crafts room, six multipurpose activity rooms, a commercial kitchen, a cafe, a banquet room and outdoor connections to the surrounding area.  The aquatics portion includes a six-lane, 25-yard pool and a zero-entry activity pool.  The senior center is 9,450 square feet of the building.

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Wilton Police investigate reports of car theft, vehicles entered

Wilton Police are investigating 5 reports of thefts from vehicles and 2 stolen vehicles in the South Wilton area.  The reports were made overnight Wednesday into Thursday in the Salem Road, Ivy Lane and Whipple Road area.  Anyone along those streets is asked to check home video systems for activity during the overnight hours and contact Wilton Police if observed.  Police also reminded residents to Lock it or Lose it.

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Newtown man allegedly punched coworker

A Newtown man allegedly punched a co-worker in the face on Wednesday.  Newtown Police responded to a business complex on Dusty Lane on a report of a verbal dispute.  The incident escalated and 50-year old Brewster Eddy Heatley allegedly hit his coworker.  Heatley was charged with assault and is due in Danbury Superior Court on August 6th.

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Aircraft lands safely at Danbury Airport after alert yesterday

It turned out to be a safe landing, but there was an emergency response to Danbury Airport yesterday morning.  Firefighters responded to an Alert 1, which officials say is when there is a minor incident with the aircraft.  The pilot reported the plane running rough and decided to come back to the airport shortly before 9am.  Having firefighters respond is standard protocol as a precaution.  The plane was spotted through the clouds and landed safely.

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Household hazardous waste collection day Saturday in Brookfield

The next Household Hazardous Waste Day Drop-off is Saturday, from 9am to 2pm, at Brookfield High School.  First Selectman Steve Dunn says they had $8,000 in the town budget and HRRA provided a $10,000 grant.  Last time there were almost 600 people who participated.

Residents of Bethel, Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, Newtown and Ridgefield can load up vehicles with unwanted chemicals and paint among other items.  Volunteers will empty people's cars if needed. 

Electronics, pharmaceuticals and medical waste are among the items not accepted.

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Truck fire snarled morning commute through Newtown

A truck hauling pallets caught fire early this morning on I-84 eastbound in Newtown.  The incident was reported shortly after 7:30 this morning just prior to Exit 10. 

Flames were quickly knocked down, but firefighters stayed on the scene for a while to do overhaul operations.  At least one lane was closed through the morning commute.  Traffic was stalled back to about exit 7.  Rubbernecking delays had traffic backed up to exit 14. 

The driver appears to have escaped injuries. 

During the tie ups, emergency responders also received a report of a driver possibly having a medical issue.  The car was turned off and others were moving around it.  Officials say the driver may have been sleeping waiting for the roadway to clear.

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14-year old killed in ATV accident in Bethlehem

A 14-year old boy has been killed in an ATV crash in Bethlehem.  State Police responded to Wood Creek Road yesterday and say the teen was riding a quad where his father was working on a course further into the woods.  Steven Palmer and the property owner went searching for Tyler when he hadn't been seen for some time and found him pinned under the quad.  State Police say it's believed Tyler tried to jump the ATV over a ramp, lost control, was ejected and pinned by the quad.  He was unresponsive and transported to Waterbury Hospital with life-threatening injuries.  State Police declared the accident as a fatal incident this morning.
 

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Lawsuit against three Danbury Police Officers can go forward

A lawsuit against the Danbury Police Department can proceed. Kelly Novo filed the suit last May, alleging three officers acted recklessly when they entered her Fleetwood Drive house in December 2016 without a search warrant.  They were responding to an alleged domestic dispute with her daughter.  Connecticut Law Tribune reports that Novo's daughter called police and let them in unbeknownst to her.  The 55-year old denied the police access, but they allegedly came in physical contact with her, injuring her arm and knee.  A breach of peace charge against Novo was later dropped.

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Bethel school officials tour construction sites at Rockwell, Johnson

Bethel Public Schools Superintendent and the Principals of Rockwell and Johnson took a tour of their construction sites yesterday.  A lot of progress can be seen on each campus.  Superintendent Christine Carver says the new portable classrooms are in place at Rockwell, the front staircase is gone and a new one will be installed by the end of the month. Rooms in the current building will be rearranged, including administrative offices in the former first grade wing.  The foundation for the new addition at Johnson has been poured and the main Staircase at Johnson is gone.  A new one will be installed at the end of the month. 

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Officials remind people to check on neighbors, pets in extreme heat

The Putnam County Commissioner of Health is cautioning people that heat stroke, which is also sometimes called sun stroke, is the most dangerous type of heat-related illness.  When a person’s body temperature goes over 103 degrees, serious problems can occur, including damage to the brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. 

Signs of the less severe heat exhaustion include cold, pale, clammy skin, dizziness, fainting, nausea, muscle cramps or headache.  With heat exhaustion, drink sips of water every 15 minutes for one hour.

Newtown officials are reminding residents that the library, municipal center and other facilities are open during regular hours and will have air conditioning during the extreme heat.  First Selectman Dan Rosenthal asked residents to check on elderly or frail neighbors. 

Residents are being reminded to monitor pets during this extreme heat.  People are reminded to keep pets out of the sun and not leave them in hot cars. 

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Danbury man sentenced to 5 years in prison on gun, drug charges

A Danbury man has been sentenced for having a gun and drugs in a secret trap compartment in his car.  28-year old Ernando Rodriguez was sentenced to 5 years in prison for illegally possessing a firearm in connection with his drug trafficking activities.  Stamford Police arrested the Danbury man when he showed up to conduct a drug sale in September.  His backpack had 58 grams of cocaine and 116 grams of marijuana in it.  The secret storage area had another 100 grams of cocaine, a handgun and a loaded 9mm magazine.  Rodriguez has been detained since his federal arrest in January.

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Bethel man arrested for allegedly groping child while babysitting

A Bethel man has been arrested for the sexual assault of a child.  Bethel Police arrested 42-year old Nathan Shupp yesterday for assault and two counts of risk of injury.  A 10-year old reported that Shupp had inappropriate contact with the intimate parts of the victim's body in the form of groping while he was babysitting.  The alleged incidents occurred at Shupp's home while he was watching the child.  He is being held on 50-thousand dollars bond and will be arraigned today.

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Ridgefield Police investigate counterfeit bill used at local store

Another incident of fake money being used at a Ridgefield store is under investigation.  Ridgefield Police say a local business received a counterfeit $20 on Tuesday night.  Police say it appears that the bill came from a store in Norwalk.  In late June, Ridgefield Police arrested a New York resident on a Forgery charge for passing counterfeit bills.  In that case, a Brooklyn teen was charged for allegedly trying to use a bogus $20 bill at a gas station on Danbury Road.  At that time Ridgefield Police cautioned businesses to use tools at their disposal to determine whether cash is legitimate. 

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Two vehicle crash closed westbound I-84 in Carmel

A serious two car crash closed part of the westbound highway in Carmel early yesterday afternoon.  A van and a passenger car collided just east of Route 312, exit 19 shortly after 11am. Both drivers were transported to Danbury Hospital.  Police say a truck that tried to stop in the stalled traffic near the 684 interchange went off the road. The truck driver was uninjured.  

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Greater Danbury area towns to open cooling centers

Due to the forecasted weather conditions for this upcoming weekend, Wilton officials say the Comstock Community Center will be open as a cooling center on Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm. Residents can use the gym and classrooms. The Senior Center will also be open.  A building monitor will be on hand. 

Sherman officials say the senior center will be available and cool from 9am to 8pm today through Sunday. 

In Redding, the community center will be open 9am to 8 pm Friday, 10am to noon Saturday and 8:30am to 2pm Sunday.  The library is open Friday and Saturday 10am to 5pm.  

New Milford is set to open the Town Cooling station at 25 Church Street on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Opening hours vary--5pm on Friday and 1pm on the weekend, with the facility closing at 8pm each evening. 

Staying cool and hydrated is the key to staying healthy and safe in a heat wave. Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell says several facilities will be open as cooling centers during normal operating hours including Mahopac Library, Patterson Rec Center and Putnam Valley Senior Center. 

A heat-related illness can affect anyone–even those who are young and physically fit, but those at highest risk are infants, young children and the elderly. During hot weather, especially when it lasts a few days or longer, outdoor activities are best done in the early morning or evening hours when it is coolest.

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Public funding. licensing to be withheld if schools have enrollees waive rights

Governor Ned Lamont has signed a bill into law making certain higher education institutions and private occupational schools ineligible for public funds and licensure.  Senator Tony Hwang, whose district includes Newtown, says the goal is to prevent funds and licensing from the Office of Higher Education for for-profit colleges and occupational schools if they require students to waive certain rights as a condition of enrollment.  Beginning January 1, 2020, this bill imposes disclosure requirements on for-profit colleges and universities and private occupational schools that require students to enter into agreements as a condition of enrollment that limit their right to legal recourse in claims against the institutions. Under the bill, these institutions must disclose the nature and status of certain legal claims against them as part of their applications to the Office of Higher Education.

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Danbury Animal Control rescues dog from I-84, suspect abuse

A dog picked up by Danbury Animal Control off of interstate 84 is now up for adoption because his statutory hold is up.  They've received no calls to reclaim him. 

Officials say he appears to have been abused, with his snout scarred from either being tied or tie wrapped shut.

(Photos: Danbury Animal Control)

Danbury Animal Control says a municipal pound is no place for a little dog, who has shown no signs of aggression and they believe would get along with another dog his size. They believe the dog is approximately 2 to 3 years old.  More information and applications can be obtained by contacting Danbury Animal Control.

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Danbury accepts land donation from estate of City resident

5 parcels of land on Bear Mountain Road have been officially acquired by the City of Danbury.  The City is the beneficiary of the estate of the late Victor Westman.  The nearly 27 acres will become open space land known as Westman Park. 

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Danbury Democrats nominate Mayoral candidate

The Danbury Democratic Town Committee has held its nominating convention for municipal candidates.  They officially nominated Chris Setaro to run for Mayor in November, challenging long time incumbent Republican Mark Boughton, who is expected to be nominated to seek another term in office.  The Democrats also nominated a full slate of candidates for City Council and other positions on the ballot in a few months.

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Man injured in fall at Kimberly Place gets settlement

The companies that maintain the Kimberly Place apartment complex parking lot in Danbury have agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by a man who injured himself in a fall on ice.  69-year old Andres Reyes injured his head, wrist and shoulder.  The Connecticut Law Tribune reports that Kimberly Danbury Limited Partnership and Kimberly Danbury Management agreed to pay $190,000.  The suit alleged negligence and carelessness in allowing snow and ice to accumulate in the parking spaces.  His attorney says they could have shoveled or applied sand and salt after plowing for vehicle traffic.

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Tails of Courage investigated by Wolcott Animal Control

Wolcott Police are investigating Tails of Courage, which moved to that town from Danbury after the City filed a lawsuit for health and zoning violations in 2018.  Wolcott's Animal Control Officer told NBC that 6 puppies are sick and two have died from suspected parvovirus. 

Officials believe they were shipped from Texas to the animal rescue organization.  Preliminary testing on one of the deceased puppies also showed dehydration and emaciation. 

When officials did a check last week, things looked ok until they heard puppies in an isolation and food room.  A Watertown veterinarian treating three sick dogs told NBC he heard they were just being given subcutaneous fluid which in his opinion is inadequate, substandard care. 

Wolcott Animal Control says the land owner was told by Tails of Courage will be leaving his property by the end of the week.

The Danbury lawsuit was withdrawn this spring when Tails of Courage promised to no longer conduct business in Danbury.

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New Milford to open cooling stations this weekend

With expected extreme high temperatures and humidity this weekend, New Milford is make preparations.  The Mayor and Emergency Operations Command have decided to open the Town Cooling station at 25 Church Street on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Opening hours vary--5pm on Friday and 1pm on the weekend, with the facility closing at 8pm each evening.  During the week New Milford library and town hall are available during opening hours.  Mayor Pete Bass reminded residents to drink plenty of liquids to stay hydrated.

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Ridgefield Police seek community input in online survey

The Ridgefield Police Department is looking for the public's input in a new community survey about how they're doing and to make suggestions.  Th online community survey asks residents and people who work in town if they feel safe, if they've ever been a victim of a crime and if their neighborhood has a crime watch group.  Respondents are also asked to rate several issues in order of seriousness--including vandalism, drug use, domestic violence and unnecessary noise.  People are also asked to rate quality of life issues such as speeding, DUIs, identity theft, bike safety and distracted driving.  There is also a series of question about the police department response to various scenarios.

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Newtown Police look to hire school traffic agent

The Newtown Police Department is looking for a School Traffic Agent. Duties will include directing traffic flow and school bus movement into and out of school parking lots during the school year. Traffic agent works about 15 hours per week.  The uniform and training are provided, with an hourly salary of $16.  Applicants must be 18 years or older, have current driver’s license and undergo background investigation.  Interested people can apply to the Newtown Police Department via email, fax, post office or turned in by hand. Applications can be downloaded from the town's website.

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Redding Fire Department looks to install dry hydrant on town owned property

The Redding Fire Department is looking to have a dry hydrant installed on town owned property.

Dave Hermenze of the Redding Fire Department reviewed the proposal with the Board of Selectmen recently to install a dry hydrant at Lonetown Marsh Pond for faster, safer and more reliable operations. The 7.39- acre parcel, across from Redding Elementary School, is estimated to be able to provide 1 million gallons of water.

It has been used as a drafting site since at least the 1940s. There's a reinforced surface to pull up a fire pumper and access to the pond through the bushes.  Firefighters have to extend suction hose into the water, hook it up to the pumper and a vacuum is created to get the water onto the apparatus.

A dry hydrant is a pressurized pipe that extends underground into a water source.  The only ones in Redding are in the Georgetown section of town.  The installation has a pipe sticking up out of the ground, empty of water.  The hose can then be hooked up to the dry hydrant, rather than going directly to the pond.

The Board provided a positive response to the proposal that will move on to the Conservation Commission.

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Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island governors meet

Transportation, improved data sharing and renewable energy are some of the issues where the governors of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island say they've found common ground, promising to work together.

The two Democrats and one Republican met Tuesday for two hours during a private lunch at Eastern Connecticut State University. The three say they found the meeting beneficial and agreed to meet again in Providence this fall.

The event was organized by Governor Ned Lamont, a former businessman who said he believes developing personal relationships with Connecticut's neighbors is important.

Lamont, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island all spoke of the challenges they face addressing transportation infrastructure needs. Raimondo urged Lamont not to give up on enacting electronic tolls.

Senate President Martin Looney is bringing back the idea of truck only tolling.  Lamont's spokeswoman said the Governor is open to a number of options, but doubts the idea could win federal approval.

Transportation Committee chair Roland Lemar says a limited approach that meets the very basic needs of the state might be the right approach at the moment.  If toll gantries were to be placed only on bridges, only certain ones meet federal criteria.  Washington would have to sign off on plans for a major repair or a replacement before a gantry can be installed.  Once the project is complete, the gantry could stay up to fund other projects or it can be taken down.

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Online pre-ticketing program to start this week for access to Squantz Pond State Park

An online pre-ticketing program is being implemented for access to Squantz Pond State Park in New Fairfield, according to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.  Once ticket sales reach capacity, park closures will be announced online.  After the system has been tested and up and running for a while, no vehicles will be admitted without a ticket. 

First Selectman Pat Del Monaco says the nice weather on Independence Day again frustrated New Fairfield residents who travel on Route 39 near Squantz Pond.  The Park Supervisor opened an hour early on the 4th because there were already 200 cars waiting to be let in. 

State Police sent four Troopers to assist the four ENCON police already in place, and by about 9:30, the congestion had cleared. 

Del Monaco says the DEEP Bureau Chief of Outdoor Recreation has agreed to open the park as soon as traffic begins to back up on Route 39. Hammonasset State Park, which has never before filled to capacity, also experienced capacity crowds and traffic issues on the Fourth this year.

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Wilton, Torrington Police experience phone outages

Wilton Police experienced an issue Sunday morning where their phone and internet systems went down.  The 911 system remained functional.  A back up non-emergency line was established.  Within 3 hours phone and internet service was restored.  Torrington police said this morning their phone lines were down and asked the public to refrain from using its emergency phone system for routine calls.  Police say they don't know what caused the problem Tuesday morning.  The 911 system is operational.  The Torrington department established a temporary line for routine calls.

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Vote on recommendations from Religious Display Committee postponed

The Bethel Board of Selectmen has postponed discussion of recommendations from the Religious Display Committee until next month.  Members of the committee could not make tonight's meeting.  The group recommended that applications approved in past years, the creche and atheist banner, be given priority if their applications are completed again in future years.  New applicants for PT Barnum Square would go into a lottery to determine where their display would be placed, if there's not enough room on the property.

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Construction continues on campuses of Bethel, Region 12 schools

The Town of Bridgewater is highlighting major additions to Shepaug Valley High School in neighboring Washington.  The towns are part of the Region 12 school district.  The renovations have been underway for several months and a youtube video posted to their Facebook page with a view of the construction inside and outside several buildings being created for the new Agriscience/Science Labs center.

Claris Construction has provided an update for the Bethel High School indoor Track & Field Training Center.  Drone footage shows the skeleton of the facility. Butler Manufacturing steel is erected and the roof has started. Concrete on mezzanine is also in place. The footage shows where the 200m track will be looking down on the space below.  A concrete slab on lower level is being poured.

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Carmel residents charge with criminal mischief as a hate crime

Two Carmel residents have been arrested for criminal mischief as a hate crime among other charges for an incident in Somers last weekend.  New York State Police responded to the Chili's restaurant on Route 6 July 6th on a report of a domestic dispute. 

An investigation revealed at 50-year olds Antonio and Gina Vuksanaj blocked the victim from leaving, tried to pull the victim from a car and damaged the victim's vehicle with a tire iron.  Police say the crimes appear to be biased in nature due to the victim’s sexual orientation. 

The pair were also charged with criminal contempt for violating an order of protection, unlawful imprisonment and harassment.  Antonio Vuksanaj was also charged with criminal possession of a weapon, a felony, due to a previous weapon related conviction.  Both were arraigned and ordered held on bond. 

An additional full stay away order of protection was granted by the Court. 

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Cars ticketed, towed for illegal parking around Squantz Pond

45 tickets for illegal parking around Squantz Pond have been issued by New Fairfield officers and State Troopers between the 4th of July and this past weekend.  First Selectman Pat Del Monaco says 7 unattended illegally parked vehicles were also towed. 

She says the town is continuing to work with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to improve traffic issues associated with the park.  

Del Monaco notes that since No Parking signs have gone up, and enforcement increased, there has been a dramatic decrease in illegal parking on town roads and private property.  There's also been a decrease in littering along the roadside.

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Redding man identified as man killed in head-on Easton crash

A Redding man has been identified as the driver killed in a head-on crash on Route 59 in Easton Sunday night.  Police say 36-year old Andy Rivera was pronounced dead on the scene.  5 other people were injured in the accident.  Easton Police Chief Tim Shaw says two of his family members, a 62-year old woman and a 6-year old girl were injured.  The occupants of the other car, a 50-year old woman and two 17-year olds, her daughter and another girl, were also injured. Shaw identified them only as international visitors on vacation.  The crash remains under investigation.

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'Abolish ICE' graffiti found on Brookfield church

Graffiti has been found in Brookfield.  The words Abolish ICE were found written on the side of St. Joseph's church over the weekend.  Brookfield Police alerted the Roman Catholic church on Whisconier Road about the vandalism early Sunday morning.  Workers placed a tarp over the graffiti and started scrubbing off the spray paint yesterday.  Church leaders said because the side of the church faces a busy roadway, it represented "a billboard that they did not need."

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Headstones knocked over in Easton cemetery

Over forty headstones have been knocked over and damaged at Union Cemetery in Easton.  Police were called about the large amount of vandalism on Sport Hill Road on Friday.  The town of Milford had a similar incident happen on June 28th.  Anyone with any information is asked to contact Easton Police at 203-638-0595.

(Photo: EPD)

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Task force set up to study mental health services at Conn. colleges, universities

Governor Lamont has signed a bill into law creating a task force to recommend a state-wide policy for and study the prevention and treatment of mental illness at institutions of higher education in the state.   The task force must submit a report on its findings and recommendations General Assembly committees no later than January 2020.  The group must look into how schools inform students of the availability of mental health services and the rate at which the mental health services are used in comparison to the total student body.  The group must also look into the way the services are delivered to students, including whether they're available online, through individual counseling sessions or group discussions and a listing of the types of mental health care providers available to students.  Ridgefield state Senator Will Haskell, a recent college grad, backs the measure.  He says public policy makers too often overlook the mental health crisis that exists among young people.

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Governor signs bill to accelerate 5G wireless technology

Connecticut's governor has held a ceremonial bill signing for legislation to accelerate the deployment of high-speed, 5G wireless technology in the state.

The bill establishes a Council on 5G Technology to review wireless carriers' requests to use state property for the placement of 5G wireless service facilities.

Governor Ned Lamont says that access to ultra-fast internet speeds is critical to Connecticut's economic future and the creation of good-paying jobs for the state's residents. He added that this could give businesses access to the telecommunications services they need to conduct business in a 21st century economy. 

There is already a process in place so 5G infrastructure can be placed on utility poles and wires.  But, he says, utility lines are underground in many high-density areas and alternative sites are needed to ensure adequate coverage.

When compared to today’s wireless networks, 5G networks are up to five times more responsive, up to 100 times faster, and allow up to 100 times more devices to be connected, opening up a multiple benefits for residents, businesses, public safety departments, and educational institutions.

The legislation sets up a process to set 5G infrastructure on state property, and also establishes a process for municipalities that are interested in taking advantage of the technology.

The bill was drafted in consultation with industry experts about how accelerate the deployment of high-speed, 5G wireless technology in Connecticut. 

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Brother of slain Sandy Hook student plans to run for office

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) - The 19-year-old brother of a Sandy Hook school shooting victim and outspoken advocate for greater school safety measures says he's running for the Connecticut Senate.

Republican JT Lewis of Newtown posted a video on Twitter Monday, announcing plans to challenge Republican Sen. Tony Hwang of Fairfield. The next legislative election is in 2020.

Hwang has served in the Senate since 2015 and previously in the House of Representatives.

Lewis recently finished his freshman year at the University of Connecticut and says he's running for office to honor his late brother, Jesse Lewis, one of the 20 first graders killed in 2012.

In his video, Lewis accuses political leaders of falling short of stopping the violence his family experienced. Lewis participated in a 2018 discussion on school security with President Donald Trump.

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Water main break reported in Brookfield

Earlier this morning, a Water Main broke in Brookfield, along Federal Road.  Water supply in the Four Corners area was affected. Aquarion Water is on the scene and repairs are under way.  Service restoration is estimated by 3:30PM.  Brookfield Police say drivers should expect traffic delays on Federal Road in the area between the old Hearth Restaurant and the 4 Corners intersection because of the break. Motorists are asked to use an alternate route if possible.

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Former Norwalk Mayor to seek First Selectman nom in Ridgefield

A former Norwalk Mayor is looking to become the next First Selectman of Ridgefield.  Board of Finance member Dick Moccia is seeking the Ridgefield Republican Town Committee's nomination.  Moccia is also a former town Parking Authority member and served as Mayor of Norwalk for 4 terms.  The RTC is meeting July 23rd.  Democratic incumbent Rudy Marconi, who ran unopposed 4 years ago, is seeking reelection as First Selectman. 

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Carmel teen raises funding for Civil War veteran monument

A Carmel teenager has seen the realization of a goal with the dedication of a Civil War Veterans Monument at the Veterans Memorial Park in the Putnam County town of Kent.  The monument was backed by 18-year old Tyler Dicembrino, who learned there was no public recognition of Putnam County residents who served in the Civil War. He raised close to $800 and received permission to have a monument made in their honor.  Putnam County Sheriff Robert Langley says they are fortunate to have a new generation of young people who are interested in the County’s history and bring honor to those who fought so valiantly.

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Sheriff Deputies charge two shoplifters in same day in same shopping plaza

A New York woman has been arrested following a shoplifting attempt in the town of Southeast.  Putnam County Sheriff Deputies were dispatched to Kohl's last Monday for a report of a disorderly person. 

28-year old Kasey Battaglia of Newburgh was located in the parking lot of the nearby diner.  Loss Prevention told Deputies that Battaglia stole a purse, but dropped it and ran when the alarm sounded.  She was charged with petit larceny and released for a future appearance in Southeast Court.

A man who allegedly stole a lawn mower and air conditioning unit from a Home Depot store has been arrested. Putnam County Sheriff Deputies were dispatched to the store in Southeast, later in the same day, on that report of a larceny. 

The suspect, 70-year old Mark Vujevic of Carmel, was in the loss prevention office.  He was transported to Putnam County Correctional Facility and charged with Petit Larceny.  Vujevic was released for a future appearance in Southeast Court.

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1 dead, several injured in head-on crash in Easton

Easton Police say one person died and several others were injured in a head-on crash on Route 59. The two-car crash happened around 5:30 last night.  

A male driver of one of the vehicles was pronounced dead at the scene. Several other victims were taken to St. Vincent's Hospital and Bridgeport Hospital. The exact number was not made public. 

Chief Tim Shaw says the Jaws of Life were needed to get some victims from the vehicles.   The state medical examiner is assisting in the ongoing investigation. 

The Easton Fire Department, along with Monroe Fire and Police responded to the scene.  EMS from Easton, Monroe, Newtown, Echo Hose, Nelson EMS and Valley were all on scene assisting.

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Sen. Chris Murphy writing book on gun violence

NEW YORK (AP) One of Washington's leading advocates for gun control, Sen. Chris Murphy, has a book coming out next year.

Murphy's ``Violence Inside Us: A Brief History of an Ongoing American Tragedy'' will be published Jan. 20, Random House announced Monday. Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, said in a statement that the book was an exploration of the roots of violence and ``a deeply personal journey'' of his own battle against gun violence. His journey begins with the 2012 shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, when a gunman killed 20 first graders and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Murphy added that he hopes his book will lead to a ``fresh, less polarized conversation.''

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Danbury firefighters take care of dog for driver being treated for medical condition

Danbury firefighters took care of a dog while the driver of the truck it was riding in was treated at the hospital following a medical incident.  Danbury Fire officials say Engine 24 responded to help EMS on Friday morning at the incident where an over-the-road truck driver was injured.  Firefighters noticed the driver had a copilot, a  a Chihuahua named Camilla. The crew offered to take the dog back to the station. Camilla got to enjoy a ride in the fire truck and offered some cold water and snack at the station.

(Photo: DFD)

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Existing religious displays in Bethel could be grandfathered in for future years

The Bethel Religious Display Committee has wrapped up its work and is making recommendations to the Board of Selectmen. 

While there were some areas of agreement, the most controversial topic was only approved when one member abstained.  The group agreed that there should be displays allowed on P.T. Barnum Square and other town owned, town approved property.  They also agreed that displays should only take up 1/3 of the designated area, and 2/3 of the property used for traffic and movement. 

Deciding how locations are assigned was the biggest sticking point. 

The group voted that pre-existing displays, the creche and the atheist banner, would remain in their original spot if they apply in the future.  Remaining areas would be offered to new applications by lottery. 

A suggestion was made that if applications exceed the square footage of available land, all displays would be entered into a lottery.  If an application was not selected, it would be first on the list of the next year.  The motion failed due to a tie. 

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Grade crossing upgrade in Wilton to halt train service this month

The state DOT is preparing for upgrades at the railroad crossing on Cannon Road in Wilton.  The railroad carries Danbury Branch of Metro-North over Long Ridge Road in Wilton. 

The project will begin on July 26th.  Cannon Road will be closed at the crossing starting at 10am.  The closure will continue through Wednesday July 31st at 4pm. 

There will be an increase in noise levels in the vicinity of the railroad crossing due to the construction.  There also will be construction activities occurring at night starting Friday, July 26th, until Monday morning, July 29th. Work will be confined to the area of the at-grade crossing. 

A detour will be set up.  On the weekend of July 27th and 28th, there will be no train service between Danbury and Norwalk.  Alternate bus service will be provided.  Train service is expected to resume on schedule on Monday, July 29th.

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Gov. signs bill allowing kids to access preventative medication for HIV

Governor Lamont has signed a bill into law allowing young people to receive preventative medication for HIV infections without their parents' consent.  The measure was co-sponsored by Danbury Representative Bob Godfrey, who is on the Board of Directors for APEX, formerly AIDS Project Greater Danbury. 

While some parents expressed concern about being cut out, the bill passed overwhelmingly in the House and got just one vote against it in the Senate.  Advocates say such legislation could help those seeking the drug but don't feel comfortable discussing their sexual activities with their parents.  

Current state law allows minors to be tested for HIV, and receive treatment if they test positive without parental consent. This bill would allow the preventative drug, referred to as pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP, to be prescribed.  With the brand name Truvada, the medicine consists of a single daily pill.

The Centers for Disease Control said PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection in high-risk individuals by up to 92 percent, when taken consistently. Patients are urged to follow up with a health care provider every three months.  According to the federal agency, minors can access PrEP independently in 16 states, based on explicit language in state law and regulations. The age for access varies by jurisdiction.

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Newtown hires consultant to study speed mitigation for Toddy Hill Rd

The recurring problem of drivers speeding along Toddy Hill Road in Newtown will be looked at by a traffic engineering firm.  Newtown has contracted with Frederick P Clark Associates to conduct an independent traffic study and then help come up with plans to resolve the issue on the road linking the Sandy Hook section of town to Botsford.  The Newtown Bee reports that Toddy Hill Road experiences about 7,000 vehicle trips daily.  The 30-mile an hour roadway is a shortcut on north/south trips, rather than taking South Main Street.  Data collection has started for the traffic study.  In response to resident complaints on Queen Street and Key Rock Road, traffic calming techniques called speed tables were installed.  The broad speed bumps are aimed at having drivers observe the posted speed limit.  Police Chief James Viadero said in the published report that an electronic speed display and having police posted there has decreased speeds.

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two women arrested for stealing from parked cars near Putnam County trails

Two women have been arrested for allegedly stealing items from parked cars in Putnam County and using credit cards in Danbury, and businesses in Westchester, Dutchess and Orange counties.  During the past 3 weeks, the Sheriff's Office and New York State Police received complaints from hikers who returned to their cars, and discovered they had been rummaged through.  Loose change, pocketbooks and wallets were reported stolen.  Security footage helped police develop a description of two women, later determined to be 25-year old Megan Gonzalez and 24-year old Kimberly Greer, and a vehicle they were using.  On Wednesday, the suspect car was spotted at Fahnestock State Park in Putnam Valley and Park Police saw two women emerge from a trail.  The Fishkill women were arrested on multiple counts of Grand Larceny.  The thefts happened in the area of Route 301 through Fahnestock State Park and along the Rt. 9D corridor from Sandy Beach/Stony Point to Breakneck Mountain. 

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Appeals court sides with Newtown in school shooting lawsuit

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut appeals court has upheld a lower court decision to throw out a lawsuit filed by the parents of two Sandy Hook School shooting victims against Newtown and its school district.

The appeals court agreed in a Friday ruling with the lower court's determination that the town is protected by government immunity.

The wrongful death lawsuit was brought by the parents of Jesse Lewis and Noah Pozner. It alleged that school officials failed to follow a mandated security protocol and order a lockdown that may have saved lives immediately after the gunman shot his way into the school. They also faulted the school for having classroom doors that could be locked only from the hallway.

The town's lawyers argued that ordering a lockdown was discretionary and school officials initially were not sure what was happening.

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New Fairfield Historical Society celebrating '50 years of History'

The New Fairfield Historical Society is celebrating “50 years of History” this year.  An Open House is being held tomorrow at the Little Red Schoolhouse on Brush Hill Road, across from St. Edward’s Church.  It will take place from 1 to 3pm. The Little Red Schoolhouse is a one-room school that the Historical Society maintains as part of New Fairfield’s living history. This school was originally one of seven built in New Fairfield to educate the town's children. “Open School House” will continue in the months of August and September on the second Sunday of the month.

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Animal adoption event being held in New Fairfield

The New Fairfield/Sherman Animal Welfare Society is hosting an adoption event today.  It's from 11am to 2pm.  The dogs and cats have had their health checks.  People looking to adopt need to complete an application, which can be submitted in advance for pre-approval and families can take a new pet home on Sunday.

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Gov. signs LGBTQ Health Network bill into law

A bill has been signed into law by Governor Ned Lamont to create an LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network.  The Department of Public Health is being directed to look into the needs of the LGBTQ community. Bethel Representative Raghib Allie-Brennan says there are unique challenges to the community, which the state should help to address. 

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Newtown Rep. has record year for bills signed into law

Newtown Representative Mitch Bolinsky says the General Assembly set a record with 6,000 bills being proposed.  Only about 600 though made it to the House and Senate for votes.  Some of the proposed bills were duplicated and combined.  7 of the bills proposed by Bolinsky have been signed into law, up from the five signed in 2018.

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Danbury officer, under investigation for shooting this month, cleared in deadly 2018 shooting

The State's Attorney investigating the December police-involved shooting in Danbury has issued a report.  Richard Colangelo of the Stamford/Norwalk District determined that Officer Alex Relyea was justified in his use of deadly force upon Paul Arbitelle.  He says Relyea believed the use of deadly force was necessary to defend himself from the imminent use of deadly physical force by Arbitelle. 

The investigation determined that Relyea acted in conformance with the Danbury Police Department Procedures and Policies and Connecticut law.  Colangelo concluded that the use of such force was both reasonable and justified under the circumstances.

The Division of Criminal Justice will take no further action with respect to the use of force in this case.

Relyea and Officer Regina Guss were working patrol on December 29th when they responded to 33 Rocky Glen Road for a report of an intoxicated person, identified as Arbitelle.  He left the scene and the officer, with Relyea's K9 partner Gunner, proceeded to the Glen Apartments a short distance away, to Arbitelle’s mother's apartment. 

Officer Relyea and Officer Guss state that they had previous encounters with Paul Arbitelle where he was volatile and combative with officers.  Officer Relyea noticed that the two Officers dispatched to this incident had very little road experience in the City of Danbury and were likely unfamiliar with Arbitelle’s extremely violent history towards police and citizens. He notified dispatch that he would be responding to this call, believing it was necessary to have more than two officers on the scene for officer safety reasons

No cameras in the Glen Apartments complex cover Unit #73 or of the surrounding apartments so the incident was not captured on video.

When he opened the door, Arbitelle was seen tensing his arms and shoulders in what was described as an aggressive fighting posture. Officer Relyea spoke first and said something like, “Is that how this is going to go?” Arbitelle immediately responded by saying something like, “yeah, it is.” Arbitelle then quickly raised a knife with his right hand directly in front of his face and twisted his wrist, which moved the knife briefly so Officer Relyea could see the reflection from the metal blade.

Officer Relyea reported that Arbitelle kept eye contact with him and kept the knife displayed while trying to open the outer door with his other hand. While attempting to open the door, Officer Relyea took several steps backward and called dispatch on his radio informing them of the party having a knife and requesting additional units. Also during that time, Officer Relyea gave several clear and loud commands for Arbitelle to drop the knife and drew his assigned duty pistol from his holster and pointed it toward Arbitelle. At one point Officer Relyea warned Arbitelle that he would use deadly force if he did not follow his commands.

Seeing Arbitelle exit the apartment with knife in hand and advance toward Officer Relyea, Officer Guss deployed her TASER, which proved ineffective. 

Arbitelle's blood alcohol content at the time of the autopsy was .18 percent. One bullet perforated the liver and right kidney, one entered the lateral lower chest and the last entered the chest cavity and exited the left lateral chest.

Linda Arbitelle said that Paul was arguing on the phone and said “That’s how you want it”, or, “That’s how it’s going to be” or words to that effect. She heard a jingling noise, recognized it as the silverware drawer, but did not see anything in his hand as he passed.  Paul then walked to the door and opened it. Linda Arbitelle then felt an impact on the right side of her stomach, saw a form and asked, “Why did you shoot me”?  She remembers asking the police, twice, to call her daughter so she could get her dog, Fred.

Charles Pickel, the caller who reported Paul Arbitelle to police, noted that he and Arbitelle exchanged words shortly after Christmas.  He believe Arbitelle was intoxicated and saw the handle of a large hunting knife sticking out of his backpack.  Pickel had seen him with the knife before.  Arbitelle reportedly said to him “I’ll be back, I’ll take care of it and that will be the end of it tonight”.  Pickel said in a statement that he believed Arbitelle would be back to harm him, his family or his property and called police.

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Office of Tourism seeks pamphlets for newly opened rest areas

The Connecticut Office of Tourism is looking for brochures to help provide information of things to see and do this tourism season as the state reopens the 5 Welcome Centers, including the one in Danbury off I-84 eastbound at exit 2. Organizations should send, at minimum, 500 pieces of literature to the various welcome centers.  Places sending in the brochures should include contact information so staff can request additional supplies as needed.

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Lights for Liberty to be held tonight in Greater Danbury area

Nearly two dozen Connecticut communities are hosting vigils tonight.  Lights for Liberty organizers say they hope to shine a light on the conditions in detention centers on the border.  People will gather at the Redding Town Green at 7:30pm to listen to community leaders, immigration experts, and medical and legal professionals.  At 9pm, a silent sea of candles will light up the town green.  The nationwide movement is meant to protest the inhumane conditions faced by migrants.  The event in Bethel is 7:30 to 9 pm at the municipal center.  The one in Kent will be in the yard of St. Andrew’s Church from 8:30 to 10:30pm.

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Drugs may have played role in naked man jumping into truck on Route 7

More information is being released by police about the circumstances leading up to a naked man jumping out of a moving pick up truck in Wilton on Sunday.  Redding Police Chief Mark O’Donnell told the Ridgefield Press that John Rodas was doing drugs in his room at the Days Inn before he got naked and ran out onto Route 7.  The man suffered life-threatening head injuries after jumping out of the truck.  Wilton is investigating that aspect of the case. Redding is investigating evidence in the hotel room.

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Blumenthal introduces Holocaust education bill

A bill has been introduced in Congress, similar to a measure passed recently in Connecticut, about education requirements about the Holocaust. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Marco Rubio introduced the Never Again Education Act, to establish a dedicated federal fund to provide teachers with resources and training necessary to teach students the lessons of the Holocaust. 

Blumenthal says it can be a difficult issue to talk about, especially with younger students, but the resources will help educators thoughtfully teach about one of the darkest chapters in human history.  He added that ensuring the past horrors of the Holocaust aren’t forgotten will help combat anti-Semitism and hate in the present and future. 

The grants for public and private middle and high schools could cover training for educators, textbooks, transportation and housing for teachers to attend seminars, transportation for survivors to be brought to a school, and field trips. The bill would also direct experts at the Department of Education to work with trained Holocaust educators to conduct regional workshops to help teachers incorporate the sensitive subject of the Holocaust into their classrooms.

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Danbury Democrat continues record setting fundraising in mayoral race

Financial filings for the last quarter show Danbury Democratic Mayoral candidate Chris Setaro has raised more than any Democratic mayoral candidate in the city for the past two decades.  He's collected more than 700 donations totalling about $129,000.  Setaro says the grassroots support is overwhelming.  He added that he wants to move Danbury forward with a plan that puts the City on a path to be as remarkable as its people.  Setaro says he's thankful and humbled by the outpouring of support for his campaign. He notes that he's been hearing every day about kitchen table issues that people care about, and believes he can make a difference in the lives of every Danbury residents.

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Official: Deadly use of force justified in Dec. officer involved shooting

The State's Attorney investigating the December police-involved shooting in Danbury has issued a report.  Richard Colangelo of the Stamford/Norwalk District determined that Officer Alex Relyea was justified in his use of deadly force upon Paul Arbitelle.  He says Relyea believed the use of deadly force was necessary to defend himself from the imminent use of deadly physical force by Arbitelle.  The investigation determined that Relyea acted in conformance with the Danbury Police Department Procedures and Policies and Connecticut law Colangelo concluded that the use of such force was both reasonable and justified under the circumstances. The Division of Criminal Justice will take no further action with respect to the use of force in this case.

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Renowned forensic scientist's testimony comes under question

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Forensic scientist Henry Lee, who became famous for his testimony in the O.J. Simpson trial and his work on other high-profile murder cases, defended his reputation Thursday after lawyers this week again questioned the accuracy of blood-evidence testimony he gave decades ago.

Wendall Hasan has been in prison since 1986 for the murder of George Tyler, of Darien, Connecticut. Hasan’s lawyers filed court papers Tuesday arguing he should be freed after tests done in 2014 found no blood on a pair of sneakers that Lee testified were bloodstained.

That move came after the Connecticut Supreme Court criticized Lee last month when it overturned the convictions of two men for a 1985 murder.

“I stand behind my scientific merit,” Lee said during a news conference at the University of New Haven’s Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science. “If the person’s really innocent, definitely, they should set them free. But, just trying to smear my reputation to get (their appeal) advanced, that shouldn’t happen.”

Lee said, for example, that the blood from the shoes in the Hasan case likely was used up during his earlier testing, though he acknowledged he has not been able to review the file. It’s also possible, he said, that any other blood on the pair of Pumas might have degraded over the decades.

“You cannot say that 30 years ago it wasn’t there,” he said. “The bloodstain was tested in 1986.”

Lawyers for Hasan issued a statement Thursday saying they would not comment on the details of the case but look forward to questioning Lee in court.

The convictions of Sean Henning and Ralph Birth were set aside last month based on testing that showed stains on a towel, which Lee had testified were consistent with blood, were something else. The men served more than 30 years in prison for a murder in New Milford.

Lee also faces criticism over the conviction of David Weinberg in the 1988 murder of a Connecticut teen, Joyce Stochmal. Lee testified in that case that he could not determine the source of blood that was found on a knife linked to Weinberg.

But Weinberg’s lawyers, who successfully petitioned for his release on time served two years ago, said Lee knew that tests done on the knife and on hair fragments showed the blood was from an animal, not a human.

“This is not a problem with the science at the time,” said Darcy McGraw, the director of the Connecticut Innocence Project and Weinberg’s attorney. “This is 100 percent a problem with Dr. Lee.”

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Invasive Stamp fee, Candlewood Lake noise enforcement bill signed into law

A bill requiring boaters to pay a fee to help cover the cost of combating invasive aquatic plants has been signed into law.  The measure imposes a $5 fee for Connecticut residents and a $20 fee for out-of-state individuals who register vessels intended to operate on state waters.  Danbury state Representative Ken Gucker says some of the funding could be used for education to alert boaters about the law.

New Fairfield Inland Wetlands Commissioner Carolyn Rowan testified on the bill during a public hearing that the only scientific way of monitoring for zebra mussels is through West Conn students. 

Right now the only Eurasian Water Milfoil controls on Candlewood are deep drawdowns and sterile grass carp.  New Fairfield Selectman Khris Hall testified during a public hearing that Candlewood's owner switched from an independent consultant to one using less data so they're not sure what they'll get out of the mapping.  She says having outside money would help them to define the problem and how best to deal with it.  Rowan says town beaches have to be weeded by divers every year at a great expense.  Lakefront homeowners go through big expenses to rid their dock and swim areas of milfoil. 

Rowan says invasive weeds can get tangled in people's boats, damaging their vessels.  She added that property values are contingent on the health of the lake.  Rowan says people can't sell their homes along certain coves because they are filled with milfoil and unusable for recreation.

The General Assembly's Office of Fiscal Analysis estimates the fee will generate approximately $400,000, to be used by Department of Energy and Environmental Protection for various invasive species programs, including grants for research on managing state lakes, rivers and ponds.  A one-time $50,000 cost would establish the program. 

An amendment to the law, offered by New Fairfield Representative Richard Smith, is meant to improve quality of life for residents living around Candlewood Lake.  Any environmental conservation police officer of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection was given the authority to enforce noise ordinances on the waters of any municipality that abuts Candlewood Lake.  If there are different noise ordinances in the towns, En Con officers can enforce the one that establishes the most restrictive standard for noise. 

Municipalities are not required to adopt a noise ordinance under this bill.  DEEP is not required to hire additional personnel to enforce the local ordinances. 

Smith says this was prompted by a group of boaters who tend to group together and blast music, not far from the shoreline.  He says that not only has become a nuisance for other lake users around them, but also residents who have to close their windows during the summer.

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Barn fire displaces Newtown family, horses evacuated safely

A barn fire in Newtown early yesterday morning has displaced a family.  All five of Newtown’s fire companies, with mutual aid from Monroe, responded around 5am to Meadowbrook Road. 

The residents were able to evacuate, and get their horses out.  When firefighters arrived, the flames were through the roof.  Firefighters helped to evacuate other animals, including chickens.  It took about half an hour to extinguish the blaze.  Water was shuttled to the scene on tankers, filled from the hydrant in front of Botsford’s firehouse. 

Long Meadow Horse Farm barn has been deemed a total loss. 

Southbury and Stony Hill provided station coverage for the Newtown crews.  A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family.

(Photo: Stepney FD)

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Suspicious men in Somers, NY turned out to be sworn investigators

It turns out the two men who were spotted in the Somers-Katonah area on Monday and showing a badge, which prompted concern, were sworn investigators from the Westchester District Attorney's Office. 

New York State Police say the men were investigating a case, but a homeowner reported two men asking if they had a security system in place.  The DA's Office say the men were surveilling a property Monday.  A search warrant was executed Wednesday. 

Michael Gagliardi of Somers was arrested and arraigned on child pornography charges.  He allegedly downloaded explicit images of a girl, approximately four to six years old. The download was done on February 27th.  Gagliardi is due back in court on July 29th.

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Changes for New Fairfield Library, FAITH Food Pantry due to work

New Fairfield Library will be open with limited resources today.  The town's IT infrastructure is being upgraded, and as a result, there will be no internet and no phone service.  New Fairfield library patrons should present their library card to to check out materials. 

In Newtown, FAITH Food Pantry will be closed next week due to paving scheduled at St Rose of Lima Church.  The nonecumenical food pantry, in a separate building, will be closed Tuesday morning and Thursday evening. The food pantry offers food and toiletries to Newtown residents, who can visit once each month. Proof of residency is required, proof of need is not required.

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State of the Lake conference set for New Fairfield

The Candlewood Lake Authority is hosting their Annual State of the Lake this weekend.  It will take place on Saturday July 13 at the New Fairfield Company A Volunteer Fire Department.  The timing is a change, as it has not been held during the summer in years past.  CLA hopes this will give more of the Candlewood Lake community an opportunity to attend.  Topics will include water quality, invasive species and public safety.  CLA official also  want to hear from residents.  The event beings at 9:30 AM and should be done by 11:30.

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Brewster Fire Department mourns passing of Deputy Chief

The Brewster Fire Department is mourning the passing of Life Member, Deputy Chief and Commissioner Joseph Toscano.   A funeral will take place at Mission Church in Holmes, NY, at 10 AM, with the burial to follow at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Port Chester.  Toscano joined the Department in 1985 and rose quickly through the ranks, ending his tenure as Chief of Department in 2002.  Toscano continued to dedicate his time to the Department by holding various key posts such as the Training Officer and to the Brewster-Southeast Joint Fire District by being elected as a Commissioner in 2014, a post he held till his passing.

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Hayes seeks Congressional interns

5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes is looking for students to take on paid fall internship opportunities in her Washington, DC and Waterbury offices. Internships are designed to offer students and recent graduates direct participation in public service through supporting constituent engagement and services, administrative responsibilities, and research.  Qualified candidates must be  organized  and be able to multitask in a fast-paced environment.  Fall internships are available from mid-August through mid-December. Internship hours follow the floor schedule in Washington, DC, and run 9 to 5 in Waterbury.  Applications are due by August 1st.

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Barn destroyed by fire in Newtown

A massive fire destroyed a barn in Newtown early this morning.  Firefighters from several departments responded to Long Meadow Horse Farm on Meadowbrook Road, including Stevenson and Stepney mutual aid.  All of the animals are safe, no one was injured.  The cause of the fire is under investigation.  Newtown is bringing in an excavator to tear down the remainder of the building.

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Wilton Police investigate vandalism cases

Over the past week, Wilton Police have received 9 reported incidents of damage caused to vehicles parked in the road, mailboxes, and residential light fixtures. A majority of incidents are concentrated in North Wilton area and occurring between 10pm and 12am. Anyone with information is asked to contact Wilton Police.

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Hockey coach gives players talk about respecting anthem

The assistant coach of the new Danbury Colonials minor league hockey team is making headlines for a speech to players during the first day of training camp.  John Krupinsky, who is a Danbury Police Sergeant, told the players they are not women's soccer, not the NFL and said if there's anyone who would be disrespectful to either the American or the Canadian national anthem, they could get their gear and get out.  Though he used stronger language than that.   He was referring to players in other sports taking a knee during the national anthem.  Kurpinsky continued by saying they don’t have that problem in hockey, but there was no sense in wasting anybody’s time if that was going to happen.  In the locker room video, he told the players that hockey is the most patriotic sport they have out there.

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Amaresco calls on New Milford officials to work with them on Candlewood Mt project

Ameresco’s director of development is asking New Milford officials to work with them on the controversial 20-megawatt Candlewood Solar project on Candlewood Mountain.  At Monday's Town Council meeting, Rob Jackson said assuming the state signs off on all plans, they will be a taxpayer in New Milford and want to be a good neighbor.  But he says the town has not been responsive to their stormwater management plan, submitted to DEEP.  Mayor Pete Bass says the plan was rejected by DEEP and changes have yet to be submitted by the company.  A lawsuit filed by a group of residents is pending.  Plans for the project call for clear cutting 80 acres.  That prompted concerns about erosion, wildlife habit removal and glare for pilots at the adjacent airport.

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Bethel Police hold open house for potential officer candidates

The Bethel Police Department is hosting an open house tonight for people interested in a career in law enforcement.  This is the first time they're holding an informational. Participants will be able to ask some of the men and women of the Bethel police force about the Department and the job.  The event is from 5pm to 7pm at the Bethel Police station.

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Cat in Carmel shot, information sought about animal cruelty incident

A cat was shot with a high powered pellet or a small caliber bullet in Putnam County and now an investigation is underway into the case of aggravated cruelty.  Officers of the Putnam County SPCA Law Enforcement Division say a domestic 7-year-old black cat that lives in Carmel was shot sometime between July 2nd and 4th while loose and away from its owner. 

Simon returned home with an injury to its hind quarters. 

Doctors at Brewster Veterinary Hospital found metal fragments throughout the midsection and the projectile caused a broken femur bone and pelvis.  The projectile caused extreme pain and permanent physical impairment of the cat’s hind legs. 

The animal resides in the Drewville Road area in The Town of Carmel near the cross streets of Hickory Bend Road and Crafts Road. 

The Putnam County SPCA Humane Law Enforcement Division is investigating this crime and asks anyone having any information to please contact us at 845-520-6915. All calls can remain anonymous.

The New York State Humane Association, headquartered in Kingston, is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for shooting “Simon” who had been allowed to go outside just prior to July 4th. NYSHA president Pat Valusek stated, “The individual(s) responsible for this heinous assault on a family pet must be brought to justice.”

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Detours set up in Danbury for Triangle Street bridge work

A bridge rehabilitation project in Danbury has started.  The Triangle Street bridge is located near the intersection with Lee Mac Avenue and over the Still River.  The work started yesterday.  The width of the traffic lanes, one in each direction, over the bridge has been reduced to two ten-foot wide lanes.  The speed limit is now 20 miles per hour.  Delays should be expected and drivers are recommended to avoid using the bridge.  Detour signs are set up to direct drivers to use alternate routes.

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Danbury changes Keeler Street to One Way

With little fanfare or notice, Danbury has changed Keeler Street to being One Way.  Drivers will still be able to turn from Main Street onto Keeler, but motorists will not be allowed up Keeler from Liberty Street toward Main.  Signs have been posted at that corner cautioning drivers.  Strangely, there are also Do Not Enter signs at the end of the One Way street.

(Photo: CityCenter Danbury)

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Southbury attorney sentenced for defrauding elderly clients of $2.4 million

A Southbury attorney has been sentenced for stealing from elderly client trust accounts.  78-year old Robert Barry of Woodbury was ordered to 21 months in prison following by 3 years of supervised release, the first 6 months in home confinement. 

Barry was a partner in the law firm of Sturges and Mathes, located in Southbury, specializing in trust and estates work.  He stole more than $2.4 million and filed false federal estate tax returns.  He was ordered to pay restitution and $1.5 million to residual beneficiaries. 

He drafted trust agreements for clients designating himself as successor trustee in the event of the client’s death or incapacity.  He also prepared wills for clients that named Barry as executor of the client’s estate upon death.  In addition to having money deposited into accounts he controlled, Barry sent false and misleading statements to be sent to the victim and the victim’s residual beneficiary about the disposition of assets. 

Barry was ordered to report to prison on September 3rd.

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Windows of cars parked in Ridgefield broken

Multiple vehicles parked in Ridgefield have had their windows broken.  The Ridgefield Police Department is investigating multiple incidents in the Barrack Hill Road area.  The incidents happened during the early morning hours Monday.  A witness described the individuals as two young white males, one with dark hair and the other with curly blond hair, who fled in a Jeep Wrangler with two other occupants. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Ridgefield Police Department at 203-438-6531.

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Mother of man shot by Danbury Police questions use of force

The mother of a 31-year old shot by Danbury Police last week is questioning the use of force and why the Department doesn't have body cameras. 

State police say Aaron Bouffard was shot three times as he advanced toward officers, armed with two large knives after an alleged assault at Midwestern Connecticut Council on Alcoholism.  But his mother, Sherry Bouffard, says her son was shot five times.  Aaron Bouffard struggled and was hunched over using a walker as he entered the courtroom yesterday.  

After her son was arraigned at Danbury Superior Court yesterday, she told Fox 61 that he should be in a hospital until he mends and then "put him in jail for what he's done."

Bouffard told News 12 that her son didn't hear commands to drop the weapons.  He told her he took a step, he was shot in the side and he went down on one knee.  He then told his mother that he was shot again and went down on his second knee.  She questioned why he would then be shot three more times.

Bouffard told reporters outside the courthouse that her son was neither prescribed nor taking medication for a bipolar diagnosis.  He was at MCCA to get off meth. 

Aaron Bouffard is scheduled to be in court again today in Waterbury and Friday in Bristol on probation violation charges.  According to court records, he has 14 criminal convictions to date.

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Court to review sanctions against Infowars host Alex Jones

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut's Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether a judge properly sanctioned conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for remarks he made about a lawyer for the families of children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting.

Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis in June ordered Jones to pay some of the relatives' legal fees and prohibited him from filing motions to dismiss their defamation lawsuit, as punishment for comments he made in a webcast about attorney Christopher Mattei.

Jones attorney, Norm Pattis, appealed, arguing those comments are protected speech.

Jones, who had supported claims the shooting never happened, went on a tirade against Mattei on the webcast, suggesting the lawyer had planted child pornography that was found in emails Jones submitted as evidence in the defamation case.

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Truck driver clipped another tractor trailer while switching highway lanes

Two trucks crashed on I-84 in Danbury yesterday afternoon snarling traffic westbound for several hours.  A truck driver, 65-year old Samuel Miller of Rochester, moved from the left lane into the center lane and hit the left rear corner of another tractor trailer around 12:30pm. 

Miller veered out of control off the right shoulder and hit a large DOT sign.  The other driver, 54-year old Timothy Linehan of New Hampshire, swerved in the roadway and his tractor trailer came to a rest ahead. 

No injuries were reported. 

Immediate DOT response was required with a payloader to remove the large exit 4 sign from the right shoulder off the roadway. 

Miller was charged by State Police with failure to drive in the established lane. 

In that same area there was an overturned tractor trailer accident reported shortly before 4pm.  The center and right lanes were closed.  At least one person was injured in that accident.  The crash was cleared shortly before 6pm.

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New Milford officials consider changes to food truck ordinance

The New Milford Town Council is looking into the town's food truck ordinance, allowing operation on private property if a business hosts them.   Businesses with kitchens are not allowed to host food trucks.  Among the proposed changes is a charge of  $80 to operate for two weeks, or $160 for the month.  There is an existing requirement for a health permit and fire department fee, if propane is used.  The ordinance requires the mayor, police chief and health director to approve the permit.  Currently, food trucks are allowed on private property no more than four times a year.  Food trucks are not allowed within 250 feet of an established restaurant, but possible changes being considered would shorten that stipulation.  The ordinance will be discussed at their July 22nd meeting.

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Bethel awaits delivery of fire truck, Brookfield says goodbye to Engine 11

Members of Bethel Fire & EMS are expecting the delivery of their 2019 Seagrave Marauder truck today.  The department thanked people who helped and supported them through the budget and build process. Bethel officials say the fire engine will help greatly improve service to the town for many years to come. 

After 34 years on duty, the Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company is removing Engine 11 from service.  It has been kept as a reserve apparatus after the arrival of their current Engine 1 in 2016.  Brookfield will be selling the fire engine.  The last apparatus the department sold found a second life at the Fire Engine Pizza Company, a restaurant in Bridgeport.

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State Police release audio from 911 calls, police radio during officer involved shooting

State police have released audio from the police involved shooting that happened last week in Danbury.  It started with an altercation at Midwestern Connecticut Council on Alcoholism on Old Ridgebury Road July 3.

A woman called 911 to say there was a "client here that’s fighting with other clients” noting that he jumped in a staff’s face. He was separated, but then a new report came in that he was fighting with other clients.  20 people were outside on a deck, some had been separated, leaving 14 people outside while 31-year old Aaron Bouffard attacked someone. He left the facility, but returned with a knife. 

One 911 caller said they needed an ambulance and "police here stat.”

Over police radio, one officer said they would need "every unit you've got. He's walking right toward us. He's  not listening to any commands.”  One officer was recorded shouting that shots had been fired. Then later, “one down. Suspect down. Handcuffed.”

Danbury Police do not have body worn cameras.

The Bristol man has been arrested by State Police on assault and threatening charges.  Bouffard was also cited for breach of peace and disorderly conduct when he was released from Yale-New Haven Hospital where he was treated for non-life threatening wounds. 

Bouffard was shot by Danbury Police Officer Alex Relyea.  Police say the man, later identified as Bouffard, refused to obey commands to drop the two large butcher knives as he approached officers.  Relyea shot Bouffard in the thigh, pelvis area and finger. 

Bouffard will be arraigned today.  He was held on $250,000 bond.  He was also charged with two violations of PRAWN warrants.  State Police say additional charges related to the officer involved shooting are pending.

Officer Relyea was also involved in another use of force incident which occurred on December 29, 2018 where he was encountered by a male armed with a knife. Officers attempted to deploy a Taser which proved to be ineffective at controlling the subject. To prevent the imminent use of deadly physical force against themselves and any members of the public, Officer Relyea discharged his service pistol at the subject three times.  Despite efforts, the man succumbed to his injuries.

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Carmel High School student with Autism receives standing silent ovation at graduation

A Carmel High School graduate who has autism received a silent standing ovation during commencement.  Jack Higgins approached the stage in West Conn's O'Neill Center to receive his diploma with his fingers in his ears to block anticipated applause and cheers. 

The Principal asked that everyone keep quiet and offer only a soft clap.  Higgins was then met by silence.  With his form of Autism, he is sensitive to noise. 

His parents spoke with a teacher for the special program he was in about concerns he'd be overwhelmed.  Carmel High School staff were able to make it so the family had the same experience as every other graduate. 

The Principal said giving people the opportunity to rise to the occasion was all it took. Lou Riolo called the students a class act and says they superseded expectations by rising to their feet, which was not preplanned.  He added that Higgins, who is very limited verbally, also rose to the occasion.  Riolo said it was so brave of him to take that walk which must have seemed like forever and he did it with grace, class and strength.

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Night road work underway on Route 7 in Brookfield, Danbury

A nighttime pavement markings project has started on various routes in western Connecticut.  The state Department of Transportation is working on Route 7 north and southbound in Danbury and Brookfield as well as other locations in Litchfield County.  The project is expected to last through August 31st.  It's a roving operation which will require intermittent closures of lanes. Motorists are asked to use caution around these operations as vehicles will be moving slower than the posted speeds. The regular schedule for this project is 8pm to 5am, Sunday through Thursday evenings. 

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Wilton Police report huge reductions in thefts

Wilton Police are reporting an 80% reduction in thefts from vehicles and a 100% reduction in stolen vehicles when compared to this time last year.   Police officials say residents and visitors have heeded their catchy reminder to Lock it or Lose it.  But Wilton Police cautioned that people should remain vigilant because the theft activity is still occurring in surrounding communities.

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NY Police search for two men posing as police detectives

Two men posing as police officers are being sought by New York State Police.  Troopers from the Somers barracks began investigating a suspicious incident Monday after the men asked homeowners if they had security systems in place.  The men were seen in a grey 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee, driving around Somers and Katonah.  They identified themselves as detectives, using a fake badge, and said they were looking for video evidence of burglaries in the area.  When the homeowner pointed out the home surveillance cameras the subjects promptly left.  

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Bristol man arrested for incident at MCCA in Danbury

A Bristol man has been arrested by State Police on assault and threatening charges.  31-year old Aaron Bouffard was charged following an altercation at Midwestern Connecticut Council on Alcoholism old Old Ridgebury Road in Danbury.  He was also cited for breach of peace and disorderly conduct when he was released from Yale-New Haven Hospital where he was treated for non-life threatening wounds. 

Bouffard was shot by Danbury Police Officer Alex Relyea on July 3rd. 

Danbury Police responded to a report of an assault at MCCA and learned that the suspect fled the scene.  He had been armed with large butcher knives.  Police say the man, later identified as Bouffard, refused to obey commands to drop the knives as he approached officers.  Relyea shot Bouffard in the thigh, pelvis area and finger. 

Bouffard will be arraigned Wednesday.  He was held on $250,000 bond.  He was also charged with two violations of PRAWN warrants.  State Police say additional charges related to the officer involved shooting are pending.

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State Police identify Danbury Police Officer involved in use of force incident

State Police have identified the officer who shot a suspect in Danbury last week.  The involved Danbury Police Officer has been identified as Alex Relyea, who is currently on paid administrative leave.

Officer Relyea was also involved in another use of force incident which occurred on December 29, 2018 where he was encountered by a male armed with a knife. Officers attempted to deploy a Taser which proved to be ineffective at controlling the subject. To prevent the imminent use of deadly physical force against themselves and any members of the public, Officer Relyea discharged his service pistol at the subject three times.  Despite efforts, the man succumbed to his injuries.

The July 3 incident began in response to a disturbance at the McDonough House, MCCA.  31-year old Aaron Bouffard was a client of the treatment facility for those struggling with substance abuse.  He allegedly assaulted individuals at the facility and escalated as he began wielding two “butcher” knives in the vicinity of victims.

Danbury Police encountered the suspect near a recreational soccer field walking towards them with the knives still in hand.  Despite attempts made by officers to verbally deescalate the incident, the suspect continued to advance towards officers refusing to adhere to any directives given to lay down the knives.

Bouffard was shot in the thigh, pelvis area and finger.  He was transported to Danbury Hospital and later transferred to Yale New Haven Hospital where he currently remains for further evaluation.

No arrest has been made in the use of force incident, but charges for the suspect are pending.

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Donation page set up to help Bethel family displaced by weekend fire

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help a Bethel family who lost their house in a fire over the weekend.  In about a day, more than   $13,000 has been raised for the Serfilippi family.  Their dog Henry died in the blaze at their Country Way home Saturday night.  The parents and their child were not home at the time.  Donations can be made through through the GoFundMe page, while items can be dropped off at the town clerk’s office.  The family is staying with relatives nearby.  The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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Fireworks used to vandalize mailbox in Sherman

A mailbox in Sherman was damaged by fireworks.  The Sherman Resident Trooper is investigating the vandalism incident which happened some time between 9pm on Sunday and 9am Monday.  The incident happened on Wimisink Road.  Anyone with information is asked to contact State Police Troop A or the Sherman Residents Trooper Office. 

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Bethel Republican seeks party nomination for First Selectman

Bethel Republican Pat Rist is seeking the party's nomination for First Selectman.  She is looking to challenge Democratic incumbent Matt Knickerbocker.  Rist is the longtime chair of the Planning and Zoning Commission and president of the Bethel Historical Society.  Rist got the Town Committee's endorsement in 2015, but lost in a primary to Will Duff.  Knickerbocker is seeking his sixth term in office.

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Naked man seriously injured after jumping from pickup truck identified

WILTON, Conn. (AP) Police in Connecticut say a naked man was seriously injured after he jumped out of the back of a moving pickup truck.

Wilton police say 34-year-old John Rodas, of Gardiner, New York, was taken to a hospital with a life-threatening head injury after Sunday's incident on Route 7. He remained hospitalized Monday. His condition was not released.

The pickup driver told officers a naked man jumped into the back of his truck after unsuccessfully trying to open the locked doors. Police say the man later jumped out of the truck while it was moving and landed in the road.

It was not immediately clear if Rodas has a lawyer who could respond to the allegations.

Connecticut records show Rodas has a criminal record that includes assault and drug convictions.

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Suspect in officer involved shooting in Danbury identified

The man shot by police as he wielded knives and refused commands has been identified.  31-year old Aaron Bouffard was shot by an officer Wednesday morning in the area of Old Ridgebury and Reserve roads.  The officer’s name has not been released.  State Police are investigating the officer involved shooting.  Danbury Police are investigating an assault of several people at MCCA by the man.  That incident led to a two hour manhunt for Bouffard.

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Carmel woman arrested for alleged embezzlement from car dealership

A Carmel woman has been arrested on a larceny charge for allegedly stealing more than $120,000 from a local car dealership.  40-year old Larnell Colontonio turned herself in to Danbury Police last week.  She is facing an embezzlement charge for allegedly misappropriating tens of thousands of dollars from Kia Motors of Danbury over nearly five years.  Police launched an investigation last year after an office manager noticed the dealership was missing more than $200,000.  Colontonio worked as a bookkeeper and accounts receivables clerk from March 2012 through January 2017.  There was also a $45,000 discrepancy discovered.  According to court documents, an accountant believed Colontonio intentionally misappropriated the money by creating receipts with numbers either omitted or entered in a lesser dollar amount.  She is due in court August 14th.

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Fresh Air Fund kids arrive in Ridgefield for summer

New York City children have arrived in Ridgefield to spend one or two weeks with volunteer host families in New Canaan, Redding, and Ridgefield.  The Fresh Air Fund Southwest Coast Connecticut Committee welcomed the children at Jesse Lee Memorial Church on Friday.  The children are aged 7 to 18.  Some children are leaving home for the first time, while others are returning to visit the same host families for consecutive summers.  The Fresh Air Fund, a not-for-profit  has provided free summer experiences to more than 1.8 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. 

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Connecticut Whale to move home games from Stamford to Danbury

The National Women's Hockey League is moving the Connecticut Whale team to the Danbury Ice Arena.  General manager Bray Ketchum says the Whale will host all of their practices and play their home games at Danbury Arena, which was also announced last week as one of the venues for Junior Rangers Girls Hockey, the new initiative of the New York Rangers.  The venue is also hosting the Danbury Hat Tricks of the Federal Hockey League and Danbury Colonials of the NA3HL.  The schedule for the 2019-2020 women's season is expected to be announced by the end of July.  Arena Managing Director Herm Sorcher says they are proud to partner with the Connecticut Whale.  He says they understand the power of women’s sports and have deep respect for the players and role models that represent the Whale and the league.

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Funeral planned today for 100-year old WWII veteran

A funeral is being held this morning for a 100-year old New Fairfield veteran who passed away last month.  Lou Russo fought in World War II.  He will be laid to rest with full military honors at 10am at the State Veterans Cemetery in Middletown.  Russo gained local fame after he successfully fought for independence from a nursing home where he was confined against his will, with the help of friends and veteran advocates.  A conservator exploited Russo and a judge later ordered the man to repay Russo.  He lived out his final years in his Hammond Road home, which was fixed up by volunteers.

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Grief counseling offered for Bethel Middle School community impacted by death of 7th grader

A 7th grader from Bethel has passed away.  Middle School student Manuela Silveira died Saturday at her home.  Superintendent Dr Christine Carver says their condolences go out to Manuela's family. 

In a letter to school district parents, she said the death of a child is a difficult topic to discuss and encouraged parents to utilize enclosed resources to help with the conversation.  The Bethel School District is providing grief counseling for any students or staff from 2pm to 4pm at Bethel Middle School. 

Carver has been in regular contact with the family and will let her know when services have been scheduled.  Any child under any type of stress given this passing, she encouraged parents to contact the child’s pediatrician for a counseling referral or outside counselor.

Any parent with a concern about a child’s immediate well-being and safety, may call 211, a crisis response hotline which will immediately connect families to local resources.

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Veteran Awards ceremony to be held in Brookfield

A Veteran’s Awards Ceremony is being held in Brookfield Monday.  This is the Korean War Veterans’ recognition for their patriotic service.  The ceremony on July 8th is at 5pm at the Brookfield High School Auditorium and open to the public.  The ceremony will be officiated by Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz and Commissioner Thomas Saadi of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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Wilton Police search for tool thief

The Wilton Police Department is looking to identify the vehicle and driver of of a blue pick up truck involved in multiple thefts.  Police say it's been thefts of landscaping equipment in Wilton and other towns. Anyone with information is asked to Contact the Wilton Police Department at 203-834-6260

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Ridgefield First Selectman to seek 11th term

Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi will seek re-election.  The Democratic caucus is set for July 22nd and expected to nominate Marconi for an 11th term.  Republicans will caucus on the 23rd and expect to field a full slate of candidates.  This November, Ridgefield residents will also vote for town clerk, tax collector, town treasurer and several boards and commissions.  Those include Planning and Zoning, Finance, Education, Police, Assessment Appears and Zoning Appeals 

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Several Republicans seek New Fairfield First Selectman nomination

The New Fairfield Republican Town Committee will have at least three candidates to select from when it comes to their nomination for First Selectman.  Former First Selectmen John Hodge and Susan Chapman are seeking the nomination.  The Republican Town Committee chair says another person, who has not publicly announced their intention, is interested in running.  Chapman told the Newstimes she is running to curtail spending and growing town government.  The budget for this new fiscal year includes a new Public Works position, overnight EMTs, a school resource officer and school safety dispatcher.  Democrat First Selectman Pat Del Monaco said in the published report that much of the spending is for things in the interest of public safety. Hodge served as First Selectman from 2005 to 2013 and Chapman served from 2013 to 2017.

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Danbury adopts controversial stormwater discharge law

Danbury officials have adopted a resolution to track pollution found in local waterways back to their source.  The stormwater discharge ordinance has been contentious. 

Councilman Paul Rotello voted against the measure saying the pendulum has swung too far toward making life next to impossible for residents.  He says there's room for less restrictive language while achieving the goals of meeting EPA and state environmental regulations. 

Councilman Bob Taborsak was concerned about its vagueness.  He pointed specifically to the part about inspectors making a reasonable attempt to provide notice to an owner before entering private property.  He says what is a reasonable attempt could be spell out since there are other time specifics in the ordinance. 

Councilwoman Colleen Stanely told the group she was assured that the Public Works Department would have an educational component about Clean Water Laws.  But she hopes property owners aren't educated by way of fines.  She says it's unfortunate that the ordinance had to be enacted before education could take place. 

The regulations are connected to Danbury's municipal separate storm sewer system general permit from the state.  

Rotello says it was intentionally vague so code enforcement officers could use their discretion on violations, but it could mean everyone in Danbury with a driveway has an illicit connection to the stormwater system.  He added that the ordnance could be interpreted as anyone with grass clippings that blow into the street or soap from a driveway car wash could be counted as an illicit discharge. 

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Dog dies in Bethel fire, house deemed total loss

A Bethel house has been deemed a total loss from a Saturday night fire.  Stony Hill and Bethel firefighters responded to a Country Way home around 8:15pm and found heavy fire in the rear of the house.  There were flames in the attic, coming through the roof. 

Members aggressively battled the well advanced fire, shuttling water to the scene via tankers. 

There were no reported injuries and nobody was home at the time.  A dog did perish in the fire.  The American Red Cross is assisting the two adults and one child displaced by the fire. 

Mutual aid to the scene and for station coverage included West Redding Volunteer Fire Department, Georgetown Volunteer Fire Department, Redding Fire & EMS Company #1, Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company, Phoenix Hose Company Inc. Engine 8 Danbury, CT, Germantown Volunteer Fire #10, Beaver Brook Fire Co, Water Witch Hose Co. #7, Beckerle Fire Hose Company Engine 9, Hawleyville Volunteer Fire Company #1 Wooster Hose Co No 5 and Dodgingtown Volunteer Fire Company, No. 1. Inc.

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Naked man sustains injury in jump from pickup truck

A naked man who jumped into and out of a pick up truck on Route 7 has sustained head injuries.  The incident started around 9:15am yesterday when a naked man was reported coming out of a wooded area near the Days Inn in Redding.  The man tried to open the doors of a vehicle stopped in traffic, but they were locked.  When traffic started moving toward the Wilton line, he jumped into the bed of the pickup truck, the driver called 911, and the man hopped out.  Wilton Police responded and found blood on the ground and said the man's injuries seemed serious.  He was transported to Danbury Hospital.  Since the man had no clothes on, he didn't have ID and Redding Police are investigating the case. 

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Newtown Police revive two people suffering drug overdose

Newtown Police revived two people suffering from drug overdoses Friday night.  Newtown Police officers responded to the I-84 exit 11 off-ramp around 10pm on a report of two people overdosing in a vehicle.  The driver and passenger were found unconscious.  Both officers provided aid and required 6 doses of Narcan to revive the two individuals. Newtown Ambulance transported the individuals, both from New York, to Danbury Hospital for further evaluation. Due to the incident occurring on a state highway Connecticut State Police took over the investigation.

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Contractor to start fixing Danbury sinkhole

A contractor has finally been lined up to do a permanent repair of a Danbury street where a sinkhole opened up last month. The project on Shelter Rock Road will begin today.  The work is expected to take 2 to 3 weeks to complete.  Highway Department officials say there will be possible road closures.  There are a great deal of utilities on that road so work crews might have to put detours in place.  It's also a heavily traveled road.

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Discussion on possible of Cricket Valley to be held tonight

A discussion about possible downwind pollution from Cricket Valley Energy Center in Dover Plains, will take place in Connecticut on July 8th.  The Democratic Coalition of Northwest Connecticut is hosting the forum at pm at Cornwall Library. 

The featured speaker will be the director of standards for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Air Management.  Kent Representative Maria Horn will also be answering questions about air-monitoring devices some towns and groups are looking to install.  The one at Kent School, coordinated by the Western Connecticut Clear Air Action group, is currently operational.

Additional stations are in New Milford, Sherman, Warren, Sharon, Cornwall,and the town of Washington.   The monitors measure ozone, fine particulate matter and oxides of nitrogen.  The power plant is scheduled to begin operating in 2020. 

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Opioid Addiction Round-table, Narcan training in Kent

An Opioid Addiction Round-table Discussion and Narcan Training is being held in Kent on July 8th.  A group of legislators and local residents will discuss the opioid epidemic in the Parish House of Kent First Congregational Church at 10am.  The panel includes 5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes and Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz.

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Bill fails on alleged deceptive advertising by crisis pregnancy centers

An effort to pass legislation that attempts to clamp down on alleged deceptive advertising by crisis pregnancy centers in Connecticut has fizzled.

The bill died in the Senate after lawmakers failed to take the bill up for a vote, which previously cleared the House.

The bill would have prohibited the typically faith-based centers from making false or misleading statements about the services they provide, while allowing the Attorney General to seek a state order to stop such deceptive advertising. Opponents claimed the bill unlawfully violated free speech rights.

Proponents say some centers misrepresent themselves as medical facilities and are designed to discourage women from seeking abortion, claims the centers deny.

Kent Representative Maria Horn says some centers use the same typeface as known facilities that provide abortion services, their volunteers wear lab coats and clients are given a form that looks like a HIPAA form.  She says that paints an overall picture that this is a health center.

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Gov. signs bill increasing tax abatement for volunteer emergency responders

Any municipality offering property tax relief for a nonsalaried local emergency management director, volunteer firefighter, fire police officer, EMT, paramedic, civil preparedness staff, active member of a volunteer canine search and rescue team, volunteer underwater search and rescue team, or ambulance driver--can increase the benefit.  Governor Lamont has signed a bill into law cosponsored by Danbury Representatives Bob Godfrey and Ken Gucker, Steve Harding of Brookfield, Ridgefield Representative John Frey and Bill Buckbee of New Milford to increase the amount from $1,000 to $1,500.  It also applies to the abatement offered to a retired volunteer firefighter, fire police officer or EMT who completed at least 25 years of service as a volunteer firefighter, fire police officer or EMT in the municipality.

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New fire apparatus en route to New Milford

Water Witch Hose of New Milford is getting a new fire apparatus delivered soon.  The new Tower 25 spent Independence Day trucking across the country on it’s way from Pierce Manufacturing in Wisconsin.  The truck  was spotted on I-80 in Pennsylvania by a volunteer firefighter who shared a pic with the local fire company.

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Boat fire reported at Brookfield Bay Marina

A boat fire at a marina in Brookfield early this morning has been extinguished.  Firefighters responded to Candlewood Lake Road shortly before 3am and found a fully involved boat fire, with exposures to surrounding vessels.  Multiple fire crews extinguished the blaze from both sides of the cove.  There were no reported injuries.  New Fairfield responded with mutual aid and Danbury brought in additional Hazmat resources. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection was also called.  The cause of the fire is under investigation.

  

(Photos: BVFD Candlewood Company)

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Report of jet ski operator in distress on Housatonic unfounded

Around 1:30 Wednesday afternoon, Water Witch Hose of New Milford was dispatched to the Housatonic River for the report of a party on a jet ski in distress.  Their Zodiak, Marine 1, was launched from Addis Park within minutes followed by Brush 23 with a second boat. Marine 1 searched the river south through the gorge at Lovers Leap and quickly determined that the call was made with good intent but no problem was found.  All units were clear by 2pm. 

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Former Philadelphia mayor appointed to Sandy Hook Promise Board

A former mayor of Philadelphia who is critical of the NRA’s proposal to put armed guards in every school has been named to Sandy Hook Promise’s board of directors.  Michael Nutter served for eight years until he left office in 2016.  The board is made up in part of family members who lost loved ones on 12-14.  The nonprofit offers free gun violence prevention programs.  Nutter was added to the group in part because of his initiative to reduce violence and crime among black males.  He also serves on the Council of Criminal Justice, among other organizations.

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Greater Danbury area towns mark Independence Day

New Milford will host It's Fireworks Celebration on Saturday.  Mayor Pete Bass says this is done in coordination with the Lions Club Carnival on Young's Field.  The opening ceremony begins at 6:30pm and the Greater New Milford Women's Club will have their Giant Birthday Cake in celebration of America's Birthday.  At 7pm, Songhorse will performs on the Bandstand.  The event is hosted by the New Milford Chamber of Commerce.  The Fireworks Celebration at the Town Green is set for 9:30 p.m. The Rain date is Friday, July 26.

The New Fairfield Lions July 4th Parade was held yesterday.  Spectators gathered in the middle of town before the 9am start time.  Route 37 was closed so marchers and floats could make their way to Memorial Field, where the parade ended. New Fairfield Senior Center won Best Float while the Girl Scouts took the prize for Best Theme.

Fireworks went off without a hitch at Ridgefield High School last night.  As did Weston's Family 4th Celebration at Weston Middle School.  There were also fireworks at Wilton High School at dusk.

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Two Republicans seek nomination for 5th Congressional District seat

Two Republicans have filed paperwork for the 2020 Congressional election, vying to unseat Democratic freshman 5th District Representative Jahana Hayes.  Waterbury resident Ruben Rodriguez, a Puerto Rico native, is a meter technician for New Britain’s Water Department.  David Xavier Sullivan, a former assistant U.S. attorney from New Fairfield, retired from the Department of Justice last month after 30 years.  The state Republican party will hold nominating conventions next year. 

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Truck overturns on I-84, blocks all eastbound lanes

Brewster firefighters were on the scene of a tractor trailer rollover on eastbound I-84 at the I-684 interchange last night.  All eastbound lanes were blocked. Croton Falls sent an engine to assist at the scene. Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services also responded.  Traffic was only getting by on the shoulder until the truck could be righted. 

 

(Photos: Brewster Fire Department)

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Police investigate theft from car in Sherman

State police are investigating a theft from a car in Sherman.  The Resident State Trooper's Office says the report came in on Sunday morning from Curtis Drive.  The theft occurred between 2am and 8am.  Residents are reminded to lock their vehicles when left unattended. Anyone with any information is asked to contact Troop A at 203-267-2200.

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Fish survives tank fire at Brewster home

A fish survived a tank fire in Brewster earlier this week.  On Tuesday afternoon Brewster firefighters were dispatched to a house fire on Acorn Road. While en-route Putnam County sheriffs on the scene confirmed a fire in the basement.  Putnam Lake firefighters were called to assist. The fire apparently started and was confined to the area of a large fish tank. The one fish in the tank was removed and is recovering.

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New Milford Police step up patrols at parks for summer season

Starting this holiday weekend, New Milford Police will be monitoring all of the parks in town, especially Lynn Deming and Addis Parks.  Mayor Pete Bass says park security and the parks and rec team will also be monitoring for the safety of residents.  Additional security measures have been added at Lynn Deming.  Residents must have the proper sticker, which can be purchased from the parks and rec department.  No parking will be allowed on Candlewood Lake North by Lynn Deming.  Violators will be towed.  Bass says there will be zero tolerance for anyone not obeying the Park rules.

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Pawling woman arrested on fraud charge

A Pawling woman has been arrested for welfare fraud.  The Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office says 49-year old Janet Rodriguez allegedly illegally obtained nearly $7,000 in public assistance and SNAP benefits between July 2016 and September 2017.  She allegedly concealed the fact that she was employed.  Rodriguez was arrested on Tuesday and also charged with grand larceny and filing a false instrument.  She was arraigned and released for a court appearance on the 16th.  The Investigations Division of the Dutchess County Department of Community and Family Services aided in the investigation.

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Sherman firefighters caution residents to phone donation solicitation

Sherman Volunteer Fire Department is cautioning residents to phone calls asking for donations.  Anyone receiving a call for donations to the Firefighters Support Alliance are being cautioned that these contributions do not go directly to any local fire departments.  The organization is a lobbyist for legislation and referendums geared towards keeping firefighters safe.  Contributions are non-charitable and not tax deductible.  Sherman Volunteer Fire officials say while legislation supporting firefighters is important, they caution residents not to be misled into believing that a contribution will be directed to any local agency.

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Fire officials urge safety around fireworks this Fourth of July

Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company is sharing some statistics this 4th of July.  Fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and nearly 17,000 and other fires. These fires caused an average of three deaths, 40 civilian injuries, and an average of $43 million in direct property damage.

In 2017, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 12,900 people for fireworks related injuries.  More than half of those, 54%, were to the extremities and 36% were to the head. Children younger than 15 years accounted for more than one-third of the injuries.

The statistics came from the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2015 Fireworks Annual Report.

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Brookfield firefighters share grilling fire statustics

With July 4th here, the Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company is sharing information about grilling safety and statistics.  July is the peak month for grill fires, including both structure, outdoor or unclassified fires. 

Gas grills were involved in an average of 8,700 home fires per year, including 3,600 structure fires and 5,100 outdoor fires annually.  Leaks or breaks were primarily a problem with gas grills.  11% of gas grill structure fires and 23% of outside gas grill fires were caused by leaks or breaks. 

Charcoal or other solid-fueled grills were involved in 1,100 home fires per year, including 600 structure fires and 500 outside fires annually.

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Danbury Fire Department shares swim safety information

As summer gets underway this July 4th weekend, swimming may be part of activities for children and families.  The Danbury Fire Department is offering some statistics and safety information.  The Office of Child Advocate found that between 2011 and last year, 39 children died from drowning in Connecticut.  Babies can drown in just one inch of water and small children are curious about water and don’t understand the dangers. 

Drowning is a leading cause of child injury and death. 

The data found that minority children are dis-proportionally affected by drowning and children with disabilities are at higher risk for drowning.  Teens are at risk if they lack swimming skills and knowledge about water safety. 

Danbury Fire Department is sharing information included in the Public Health Brief about how to prevent childhood drowning.  Prevention strategies include vigilant supervision when kids are in or around water at all times.

Prevention tips also include learning to swim, learn CPR and fence off all pools.  Any water in tubs, buckets and kiddie pools should be dumped out after use.

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State Police step up patrols for Independence Day weekend

Connecticut State Troopers have stepped up patrols as thousands of drivers will be traveling the roads across the state this long holiday weekend.  With July 4th on a Thursday, this means a four-day weekend for many people going to beach outings, cookouts and fireworks displays. Troopers expect traffic to increase through Sunday.  State Troopers will conducting DUI roving patrols and spot checks over the holiday weekend.  State Police remind drivers that obeying the rules of the road is everyone’s responsibility: occupants should buckle up, drivers should adhere to the speed limit, put down cell phones, and concentrate on driving.  Anyone on the road and suspects a drunk driver, call 911, as this is a true emergency.

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Man shot by Danbury Police after assault at MCCA

A man was shot by Danbury Police Wednesday morning.  The incident happened after officers responded to Midwestern Connecticut Council on Alcoholism on Old Ridgebury Road near The Reserve. 

The white man, in his 30s, was armed with two large knives.  He was not a Danbury resident.

Police initially responded to a report of the man assaulting several people at MCCA.  Chief Patrick Ridenhour says the suspect did not listen to police commands and then shots were fired.  The man was down, and handcuffed. 

The suspect was treated at the scene and was conscious when he was transported to the hospital.  The officer who fired the service weapon was also taken to the hospital for an evaluation. 

The Danbury State's Attorney was called to investigate.  Danbury Police are overseeing the assault investigation while State Police took over the police involved shooting investigation.

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Brookfield firefighters respond to two car crash

A two-car crash in Brookfield closed Route 25 last night.  Firefighters responded to the area of White Pine Drive and found both drivers were out of their cars and were in need of medical attention.  One car went into the woods, the other rolled on its side.  Danbury ambulance responded with mutual aid. Route 25 was closed for a short time while the vehicle was removed and a small fluid leak was handled.

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Hayes opposes Department of Education regulation repeal

The U.S. Department of Education will repeal the Gainful Employment rule, approved in 2015.  5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes was critical of the decision because the law required vocational programs at for-profit higher education institutions and non-degree programs at community colleges prove their graduates were financially able to pay back student loan debt in order to receive federal funding for student aid. 

The regulation will be repealed effective July 1, 2020. 

Hayes says the decision by Secretary DeVos demonstrates that this Department would rather bolster the bottom lines of low-quality, for-profit colleges than protect the interests of students.  She called it shameful, but not surprising given the Department’s history of rolling back and watering down regulations meant to protect students who attend for-profit colleges in higher numbers.

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New passes required for Kent Transfer Station

New passes are required for the Kent Transfer Station.  Applications were mailed out to all 2018-19 pass holders last month.  First Selectman Bruce Adams says now is a good time to make the switch from curbside pickup as a growing number of residents are using the transfer station.  Permits are $150 for the year, $135 for seniors.

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Brookfield officials approve funding for extra teacher

The Brookfield Board of Selectmen has approved an allocation for the schools to hire an additional kindergarten teacher.  The Board of Finance will next consider the $84,500 request.  The Board of Ed says there is higher than anticipated enrollment and another teacher is needed to keep class sizes between 17 and 20 students.  The budget planned for 8 kindergarten teachers.

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Connecticut Democrat Jahana Hayes is endorsing Sen. Kamala Harris for president

WASHINGTON (AP) Connecticut Democrat Jahana Hayes is endorsing Sen. Kamala Harris for president.

Hayes posted an op-ed in Essence on Wednesday ahead of the magazine's annual gathering this weekend in New Orleans. Hayes cited Harris' story of being bused as a young girl in Berkeley, California, which the California Democrat spoke about in last week's Democratic presidential debate.

Hayes says ``that resonated'' because ``that was me.''

Hayes was among the wave of freshmen women, particularly women of color, who swept into Congress during the 2018 midterms. Hayes is the seventh member of the Congressional Black Caucus to endorse Harris. Former Vice President Joe Biden has support from five CBC members.

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Officer involved shooting reported in Danbury

There was an officer involved shooting in Danbury this morning.  Old Ridgebury Road will remain closed between The Reserve and Mill Plain Road for several hours while State Police investigate.  Officials say there is no danger to residents living in this area.

A man armed with two large knives reportedly caused a disturbance at MCCA. The man was said to be fighting with individuals outside the facility.  Danbury Police responded, the man left, but later returned with the knives. 

According to Police scanner reports, the suspect was not listening to commands and then shots were fired.  The man was down, and handcuffed.  An ambulance was called to Reserve Road in the area of the soccer field. 

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Danbury City Council considers resolution against tolls

In response to proposed highways tolls in Connecticut, the Danbury City Council took up a resolution last night in opposition to tolling.  Councilman Ben Chianese asked that it go to committee.  He says the true impact of a toll is still unknown.  Chianese added that the plans keep changing and he's not comfortable adopting a resolution without any details.

Governor Ned Lamont, in Danbury to reopen the rest area Monday, was asked about this.  He said there are only two choices to pay for transportation upgrades: bonding or tolls.  Lamont says maybe Danbury City Council wants to borrow more to do that.

The lawmakers at Monday's event, Democratic Representatives Bob Godfrey, Ken Gucker, and Raghib Allie-Brennan and Senator Julie Kushner, said they still oppose tolls.  Legislative leaders have not scheduled a special session on the matter. 

Lamont was asked if tolls come to fruition, where the first gantry would be placed.  He wants to sit down with City officials to discuss that.  He understands the importance of the shopping center and doesn't want to discourage out of state traffic from getting off at exit 3.

But Council President Joe Cavo says tolls will have a damaging effect on drivers, businesses and taxpayers.  He proposed the resolution in hopes of having the legislature and Governor reconsider the idea.  The Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce has already proposed a similar resolution.  The resolution says that highway users would have little knowledge of present or future costs if they are charged according to a system subject to budget vagaries and political processes.

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Man imprisoned for 30 years in murder case ordered freed

TORRINGTON, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut judge has ordered the release of a man who has been imprisoned for more than 30 years for a murder conviction that was overturned last month by the state Supreme Court.

Judge John Danaher in Torrington on Tuesday ordered the release of Ralph Birch as prosecutors decide whether to retry him and another man in connection with a killing in 1985. The other man, Shawn Henning, was released on probation last year.

The victim, 65-year-old Everett Carr, was stabbed 27 times, his jugular vein was severed and he suffered head trauma. He was killed in his New Milford home.

The state Supreme Court ordered new trials for Birch and Henning, citing incorrect testimony about blood evidence by forensic expert Henry Lee, who defended his work.

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Brookfield Principal accused of looking at AP exams before submission to College Board

The Brookfield High School principal has been accused of looking at students AP exams before they were submitted to the College Board.  The Newstimes reports that the complaint was filed by Do Min Jun, whose son graduated this year.  She based the claim on text messages between her son and another student who said the proctor may have opened his exam and read the answers. 

According to text messages, Principal Marc Balanda planned to contact the College Board about “ungradable” answers on one test and wanted to speak to another students about not trying on her test. 

A spokesman for the College Board says they received a report from the school and they're following up.  College Board policy states that if the testing experience doesn't meet their standards, even if it wasn't the student's fault, the score could be cancelled and the student would have to take the test again.

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Save-A-Suit hosting fundraisers to help veterans

Save-A-Suit, a Bethel-based nonprofit, is holding two fundraising efforts.  The group's mission is to give veterans suits and other professional attire to wear while they are going through the process of reintegration into civilian life.  The first fundraiser is tonight at 99 Restaurant on Newtown Road in Danbury from 4-9pm.  Customers who present a printed voucher, which can be found on the non-profit's social media pages, will have a portion of their order total donated to Save-A-Suit.  The second event is July 18th at Wayback Burgers on Newtown Road in Danbury from 4-8pm.

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Ridgefield firefighters offer fireworks safety reminders

Ridgefield Firefighters are asking that residents keep a few things in mind this 4th of July holiday.  Only sparkler effect fireworks are legal in Connecticut.  Purchasers should only buy from licensed dealers.  Children should be closely supervised around fireworks.  Only adults should be the ones to light them and they should be pointed away from people and buildings.  Only one firework should be lit at a time.  A bucket of water should be kept close by and used fireworks should be soaked in water before being thrown in the trash.  A dud firework should never be re-lit.   

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Complaint filed against Eversource over tree trimming in Redding

A complaint has been filed against Eversource over tree trimming in Redding.  Resident Nancy Burton filed the complain over what she called a 2015 massive tree cutting campaign resulting in the lost of the sides of trees that were at least 30 feet tall.  The tree trimming led to complaints that the work was too aggressive, especially along scenic roads.  A judge Monday denied her request that this summer's vegetation management be delayed.  An Eversource spokeswoman said they have voluntarily suspended work near Burton's home, but that there are trees in contact with electric lines.  Eversource says trees that touch the lines could cause power outages, electrical fires or other issues.  The case will be back in court on the 22nd.

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Hayes tours migrant detention facility, voices concern

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes says she cannot support facilities like the for-profit center in Homestead, Florida, where more than 2,000 unaccompanied minors are being held.

The first-term member of Congress joined seven fellow Democrats on Tuesday on a tour of the facility, the nation's largest minor detention center.

Hayes, a mother and former educator, said what she saw inside the center was "not anything I would want for my children."

Hayes also noted how the beds were perfectly made for the congressional visit. She says she's skeptical about that, noting it was "almost too perfect."

The private company that runs the site has said it provides "vulnerable, unaccompanied youth people" with shelter and services, including classes, recreation and medical care.

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Architect selected for new Brookfield school project

Tecton Architects has been hired to design the new Huckleberry Hill School in Brookfield.  The next phase of the project includes public forums this fall to provide input to the architects.  Dates have not been determined yet.  A special email address has been set up through the schools to take any input or questions relating to the project.  Procedural questions will be answered regularly. Specific questions and suggestions involving technical expertise will be forwarded to Tecton for consideration.  newschoolproject@brookfieldps.org.     

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Apex International Education Partners seek host families in Greater Danbury

Apex International Education Partners places international students with host families and in independent schools throughout Connecticut. They have more than 350 students statewide.  For nearly a decade, AIEP has given students, mostly from China, the opportunity to live and learn with families in Connecticut and five other East Coast states. 

Local coordinator Jeannette Bonfiglio says the host families help assimilate these students into their schools and communities.  Requirements of becoming a Homestay Family include having an extra bedroom, access to school transportation and a safe and caring environment.  Meals for the students must also be provided.  AIEP provides a monthly stipend of $1,000 for host families.  They can host up to two students each year.

Host Family member Irene Seguin says a neighbor was a host parent and asked that she do some tutoring in English.  As an empty nester, she decided to become a host parents this year.  Seguin wants to help the student visitor with his grades, while providing a cultural experience.

AIEP is looking for host families in the Greater Danbury area to house students attending Immaculate High School, Wooster School and Kennedy Catholic in Somers, New York.  Anyone interested can contact AIEP 203-992-AIEP or AIEPusa.com

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New escape room teaches Connecticut's native history

WASHINGTON, Conn. (AP) — Griffin Kalin has a very particular set of skills.

They were passed on in childhood from his parents, who own a business recreating the material culture of prehistoric Native American life.

And they made him an especially suitable candidate for the unusual task he was handed in February 2018: Create a Wigwam escape room at the Institute for American Indian Studies, in Washington, that puts players into the pre-European-contact world of the Native Americans who once inhabited the region.

“Probably the biggest challenge, in terms of designing it, was trying to find ways around the fact that there was no written language, there was no metal for the most part. A lot of the norms for building escape rooms were outside of the realm of what we could do because of the context we chose to put it in,” Kalin says, on a recent Wednesday, standing in the 20-by-20-foot room located within the museum’s Research Center, beside the wigwam he built and his creative partner, Lauren Bennett.

Kalin, the museum’s creative director, and Bennett, the Wigwam Escape coordinator, are high school friends who linked up last year to oversee the room, which is an attempt by the museum to attract a more diverse group of visitors.

According to Executive Director Chris Combs, in its early years, the small museum, tucked in a remote section of the Litchfield Hills, would draw upward of 20,000 visitors annually. But that the opening of Mohegan Sun and Foxwood casinos, including the latter’s Mashantucket Pequot Museum, on the other side of the state in the 1990s precipitated a drop off. Now, Combs says, the museum is mostly visited by school groups and people over 65. So he sought to attract new demographics.

“We opened the escape room basically because of demographics I saw,” Combs says. “Millennials like escape rooms, parents like escape rooms.”

Combs enlisted Kalin, who, in addition to primitive skills, has an interest in gaming and exploration-style learning, and Bennett. They in turn brought a fellow Nonnewaug High School graduate and artist, Jesse Stevens, and opened the room in December.

“Jesse was around and could paint the walls, and Lauren was thinking of coming back around. Lauren’s really good at facilitating dialogue, guiding people through things and talking about experiences. Jesse had been working on sets of movies for a while, so he and I had some really interesting ideas about how to construct some of the wall stuff,” Kalin says. “We had the people we needed, which was super cool.”

The game mirrors other escape rooms in that players have 60-minutes to complete a series of tasks and exit the room. It’s meant to induce an empathetic response to history through immersion, Bennett says.

In addition to the wigwam, native flora and fauna native and objects common to an Algonquin village of the time dot the room. Stalks of corn were fashioned out of masking tape painted green and plastic gourds were 3-D printed in the University of Connecticut Maker Studio. Stevens’ mural depicts mountain laurels, mushrooms, lush forests and a native village. In one corner, a stuffed deer peers over some brush. Played on the loudspeakers are the calls of hawks, loons and, as the end of the challenge is approaching, owls. The clap of thunder signals that Bennett and Kalin, who track the progress of participants from a monitor outside of the room, want to offer players a hint.

Before entering, all visitors must forfeit their technological devices. They’ll find no clocks or timers on the inside — instead, time is told based on a light display that simulates the passing of a full day. The tasks force players to think critically about how people living in that place, at that time, would’ve interacted with their environment and secure the resources they needed to survive.

“You’re going to find yourself in the year 1518 in a Native American village in the Eastern woodlands. You’ve recently received word from a neighboring village of Metachiwon that they’re being affected by an illness and they’re asking for help,” Bennett explained. “So the main part of the game is gathering supplies for that journey. You need water, two different kinds of cooked foods and medicine.”

The hour ends with popcorn, a traditional Native American snack, and a debriefing in the Research Center lobby, which is meant to reinforce the cultural and historical lessons learned over the course of the hour.

“It’s rewarding when we talk to people, because our mission of educating people is coming through,” Combs says.

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State of the Lake conference set for New Fairfield

The 2019 Annual State of the Lake discussion will be hosted by the Candlewood Lake Authority later this month.  Area residents are called on to attend the meeting to learn about ongoing projects, initiatives, and water quality monitoring, as well as upcoming projects.  The event will be on Saturday July 13th from 9:30am to roughly 11:30am at the New Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department: Company A Firehouse on Ball Pond Road.  If the parking lot is full, overflow parking can be found next door at the Consolidated School.  Participants are asked to register to attend so organizers can prepare.

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Uber driver cited with DUI after police encounter in Monroe

Monroe Police have arrested an Uber driver on a drunk driving charge they thought was going to pull a weapon on officers.  Police were called about a suspicious vehicle parked on Old Tannery Road last week, with the windows fogged up.  The Connecticut Post reports that officers found Eliot Buenano-Andrade masturbating.  The West Haven man told Monroe Police he worked for Uber and when asked to recite the alphabet, police say he started at “D” and ended at “K.”  The 48-year old was ordered from his car and reached into his pants.  The object turned out to be a sex toy.  Buenano-Andraded was charged with DUI and interfering with police

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Police release details about fatal Pawling crash

Details about a fatal car accident in Pawling over the weekend have been released.  The Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office says a preliminary investigation has revealed that 64-year old Paul Pitt of Ulster Park was headed east on Route 55 near Route 22 when he cross the center line and hit another car head on Saturday afternoon.  Pitt was later pronounced dead at the hospital.  Police believe a medical issue was the primary factor in the crash.  The other driver, a 49-year old Pawling woman, was airlifted to Westchester Medical Center with serious injuries. Both needed to be extricated and were the only occupants of their vehicles.  The investigation is continuing.

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Sherman Resident Trooper to increase speed enforcement efforts

The Sherman Resident State Trooper is stepping up speed enforcement on Wakeman Hill Road.  State Police received several complaints of speeding in the area. The road is a 25mph zone, and Troopers asked that drivers obey all traffic signage.

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Gov. attends Bethel town hall meeting, walking tour of businesses

Governor Ned Lamont held a town hall meeting in Bethel yesterday afternoon.  He was met by demonstrators from No Tolls Connecticut.  Implementation of electronic highway tolls was a major topic, as were taxes.  Joining Lamont for the question and answer session was the bipartisan group of lawmakers representing Bethel, including Stephen Harding, Raghib Allie-Brennan and Julie Kushner.

Lamont then went on a walking tour of downtown Bethel businesses.  They were joined by Senator Julie Kushner for stops at Byrd's Books, run by former First Selectman Alice Hutchinson, and lunch at Jacqueline's.

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Former Danbury FCI inmate pleads guilty to contraband charge

A former Danbury Federal Correctional Institution worker has pleaded guilty to providing contraband in prison.  38-year old Eric Williams of Danbury worked in the Food Service Department.  According to court documents, Williams tried to smuggle four cell phones and an electric beard trimmer into the prison in July 2017 by hiding the items in his hat as he entered the facility through the staff entrance.  When a corrections officer screened him for admission, Williams aborted the effort and left his hat, with the contraband, inside the entrance area.  A supervisor found the hat and questioned Williams, who denied it was his.  He was arrested last July and was released on bond.  Williams faces up to 6 months in prison and a fine of up to 5-thousand dollars when he is sentenced at a future date.

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NY teen arrested for passing bogus bill at Ridgefield gas station

A New York teen has been arrested in Ridgefield for allegedly passing counterfeit money.  Police told the Ridgefield Press the teen from Brooklyn tried to use a bogus $20 bill on Thursday at the Valero gas station on Danbury Road.  The cashier used a counterfeit detecting pen on the bill and determined it was fraudulent.  Ridgefield Police say the incident appears isolated, but cautioned that businesses should use tools at their disposal to determine whether cash is legitimate.  The teen was released on bond for a July 10th court appearance.

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Blue-Green Algae monitoring starts up again on Candlewood Lake

Blue-Green Algae monitoring has started on Candlewood Lake.  As in past years, Western Connecticut State University is conducting weekly Blue-green algae monitoring at the public beaches on Candlewood and Squantz Pond to ensure that measurements are within state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection defined limits.  The Candlewood Lake Authority plans to post the results of this monitoring on their Facebook Page and website for the community to keep an eye on through the season.  Brookfield Parks and Recreation staff will take also weekly samples of beach water.  High levels of toxic algae or coliform bacteria could lead to closing the beach to protect the health and safety of residents.

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Brookfield gets bond rating upgrade

Brookfield is getting a ratings upgrade.  Moody’s has upgraded Brookfield’s AA2 rating by removing the negative outlook it placed on the town’s debt three years ago.  Moody's says Brookfield benefits from long-term financial planning, improved and strengthened policies and procedures, and projected positive operating results in fiscal 2019.  The rating agency also took into account improved accounting and financial monitoring practices.

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Sen. Murphy starts annual Walk Across Conn. event in New Milford

Senator Chris Murphy has started his now annual summer Walk Across Connecticut.  He is headed west to east this year and began the 5-day trek in New Milford yesterday afternoon.  A couple met him at the top of his first big hill with ice water.  He also spoke with a group of kids who said they were on board with efforts to raise the age for tobacco purchases to 21.

Murphy headed to Woodbury where he met with a couple out for a walk.  They said health care costs are hurting their small business, but were not in favor of Medicare for All.  Murphy recently introduced the Choose Medicare Act, which would allow anyone to enroll as an individual.  It would also open Medicare to employers of all sizes. 

He also with a group of men working on a house.  They noted that they were Republicans and talked about taxes being too high.  They were working an emergency job for an elderly woman being released from the hospital, who needed a ramp installed. After lett them get back to work, and heading up another hill, one of the men pulled up and handed Murphy a cold bottle of water.

He says too often people are judged on their politics, but everyone he met seemed like a good person.  Murphy says he learned that everyone would be better off if there was not an assumption of knowing someone because of who they vote for.

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Gov. sent bill on school climate, bullying

A bill co-sponsored by two Greater Danbury area lawmakers has been sent to the Governor for his signature. 

The School Climate and Bullying law makes changes to the school guidelines, including establishing a 33-member social and emotional learning and school climate advisory collaborative.  The group is tasked with directing resources to support statewide and local initiatives aimed at fostering and improving positive school climates.  The law also modifies the definition of bullying by, among other things, eliminating the requirement that the action occur between students. 

The bill was cosponsored by Ridgefield Representative John Frey and Mitch Bolinsky of Newtown.

The new definition of bullying states that it's a direct or indirect act and severe, persistent or pervasive, which causes physical or emotional harm, places an individual in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm or infringes on the rights or opportunities of an individual at school.

During a meeting of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, Bethel Superintendent Christine Carver asked if it applies to action between an adult and a student or between two adults at a school.  CABE official Patrice McCarthy said it would apply in the first case, and they'd have to research if it applies in the second scenario.

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Infrastructure work continues in New Milford

A lot of infrastructure improvements are getting done in New Milford.  Work has begun on roof repairs at Sarah Noble School.  Town officials are currently going through the final phases of pre construction for the library project.  Bids will be awarded for the project, tentatively, in the middle of this month.  A public hearing on the permit will be held at New Milford Town Hall at 7pm on July 9th.

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New Milford man dies after being pulled from Bantam Lake

A man has died after being pulled from Bantam Lake on Sunday.  19-year old Leonel Salvador of New Milford was pronounced dead at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital.  The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, State Police, and a fire department dive team responded to the lake around 3:30pm on a report of a swimmer not resurfacing.  The man was found by members of the Goshen dive team about 50 yards from shore, in water 12 feet deep, near Point Folly campground.

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Man dies after falling into Norwalk River from boat

NORWALK, Conn. (AP) Police say a man has died after falling off a boat in the Norwalk River.

The victim was identified Monday as 62-year-old Jozef Gorski, of Easton.

Witnesses said Gorski appeared to slip while stepping off a boat onto a dock in Norwalk at about 9:30 p.m. Sunday.

First responders conducted a search of the river when he didn't initially resurface. He was later found and taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The death remains under investigation and results of an autopsy are pending.

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Danbury firefighters rescue 10 ducklings from storm drain

Danbury firefighters have made a successful late night rescue.  A family of ducklings fell into a storm drain at fire headquarters on New Street last night.  The mother duck led firefighters to the storm drain and 10 ducklings were pulled to safety.

 

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Brookfield officials asked for special allocation to hire additional kindergarten teacher

The Brookfield Board of Education is looking to hire an additional kindergarten teacher due to higher than anticipated enrollment.  In a letter sent to the Board of Selectmen, the Board said that requires a special appropriation of $84,490 for this new fiscal year.  The item is on tonight's agenda.  The Board of Finance will also need to vote on the appropriation.  Enrollment is projected at 171 students, but the district's initial estimate was about 147.

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Gov. Lamont to visit Bethel, Danbury today

Governor Ned Lamont will be in Bethel at the Municipal Center on July 1st.  Town officials invited residents to join the question and answer session at 11:30am.  He'll then continue his listening session with a walking tour of downtown businesses along Greenwood Avenue.  Earlier in the morning Lamont will make a stop at the exit 2 rest area in Danbury to mark the reopening of the facility around the clock.

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Sherman man accidentally shoots self with gun

A man accidentally shot himself in Sherman over the weekend. State Police Troopers responded and provided first aid to the 23-year old man who was holstering his weapon Saturday when it went off.  Foul play is not suspected.  The incident happened shortly before 5pm on Sail Harbour Drive.  The name of the man has not been released.  State police are still investigating.

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Sheriff cautions that fireworks could cause stress for veterans with PTSD, pets

It's fireworks season.  While Independence Day is a time to celebrate, Putnam County Sheriff Robert Langley is urging people to be mindful of veterans and refrain from the use of fireworks that may cause unnecessary stress to those who served and now suffer from PTSD. 

For those with pets, they should be safely secured indoors because it's not uncommon for a pet to break out through a screen door or window in an attempt to escape from the noise since they don't understand what the loud explosions are or where they come from. 

Fireworks are not permitted with the exception of sparkling devices which are ground based or hand held and produce a shower of sparks. Other effects may include a colored flame, smoke, a crackling sound, or a whistle effect. They do not rise into the air like Roman candles nor do they explode.

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Cause of two fires in New Fairfield determined

The New Fairfield Fire Marshal's Office has determined the cause of two house fires in town last week.  A dehumidifier caused a fire at an Ansonia Road home Tuesday afternoon.  Fire officials said at the time that an electrical appliance caught fire while two people were home.  Damage to the home was minor and there were no injuries.  On Sunday morning, there was a fire at a Ball Pond Road home caused by an unattended candle outside the house.  It was ruled accidental.  That fire displaced 7 people.  One of the family's 5 children reportedly jumped from a second story window to escape the smoke.  There were no injuries reported.

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Danbury man charged for crash by mall

Danbury police have arrested a man for a two-car crash last week that knocked out power around the mall.  21-year old David Turcios was charged with reckless driving, improper passing and failure to obey signs and road markings.  He crashed head on into a pickup truck at the intersection of Park Avenue and Segar Street Thursday afternoon.  Witnesses said the BMW appeared to be racing a vehicle on Park Avenue as the truck turned left onto Segar.  Police are searching for the driver of the other vehicle, which reportedly left the scene.  Turcios also hit a traffic control box, knocking out power to the traffic light. 

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Greater Danbury area towns plan extra household hazardous waste collection days

The New Fairfield Board of Selectmen has voted to create an HRRA Household Hazardous Waste Fund.  All participating towns will contribute to the registration fee for three extra household hazardous waste days.  Selectman Kim Hanson was concerned that none of the extra collection days are located in Danbury and questioned whether or not a lot of New Fairfield residents would participate.  there was a suggestion of possibly having a collection day in New Fairfield.  A representative from HRRA noted that there would be 6 household hazardous waste days per year instead of the current two.  Hanson suggested trying this for one year and reviewing the cost benefits.

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Uncle Sam statue dedication to be held soon

More than $17,000 in cash donations has been accepted by the Danbury City Council toward the purchase and restoration of the 38-foot Uncle Sam statute now standing that the Railway Museum.  Mayor Mark Boughton says a ribbon cutting ceremony will be held around the 4th of July.  The plaques are in the process of being made for the dedication event.  City officials are still tallying all of the in-kind donations, which runs close to $100,000.  That work is being done by Rizzo Electric for the lighting, Mariano Brothers for the hauling and Jim's Welding for the installation.  By an Act of Congress on September 13, 1989, it was declared that the day be known as Uncle Sam Day in America.  Every September 13th, Boughton says they will host a ceremony there and do a wreath laying.

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LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network to be created in Conn.

An LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network will be established in Connecticut.  There's language in the budget signed by Governor Ned Lamont that the group make recommendations to the state legislative, executive, and judicial branches about health and human services delivery to LGBTQ people in the state. It also requires the Department of Public Health, within available appropriations, to help conduct a needs analysis and award grants to organizations that further the network’s mission. 

Bethel Representative Raghib Allie-Brennan says 23-percent of Connecticut's homeless youth is LGBTQ, even though the community represents 4-percent of the state's population.  He added that 22-percent reported being food insecure and a similar share of that same population reported having an annual income of less than $24,000. 

Allie-Brennan says 15-percent of all hate crimes victimized people that were LGBTQ, according to FBI 2017 data.  He says another challenge is finding a care provider in the medical field who will understand the lived experience the community faces.

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