The 2019-2020 school year begins in Bethel on Tuesday. This means morning traffic will become heavier again with parents driving kids to the campus and school buses headed through neighborhoods making frequent stops for pickups. With that in mind, Bethel officials wanted to pass along a few reminders to morning commuters. That includes to allow extra time, especially the first week back. Traffic and bus route patterns will become more predictable as everyone settles into their new routines. When the red lights are flashing on the school bus, that means traffic must stop in both directions.
A candlelight vigil will be tonight in Bethel to raise awareness of the opioid crisis. This third annual event is hosted by Bethel United Methodist Church and the HERO Project. HERO stands for Heroin Education to Resist Opiates. Resources related to overdoses will be available. Music, speakers and luminaries for loved ones who have died from overdoses will also be featured. The event will be on the church’s front lawn from 6:30 to 8pm Saturday, which is International Overdose Awareness Day. The movement started in 2001 to commemorate those who died from drug overdoses. Donations will also be collected for the Bethel Community Food Pantry.
Putnam County has launched a new initiative called Hope Not Handcuffs, a program to bring hope to those struggling with addiction. This program brings law enforcement and community organizations together in an effort to find viable treatment options for individuals seeking help. The Hope not Handcuffs Hudson Valley Coordinators trained many community members recently to become volunteer Angels. These Angels will assist participants with paperwork and provide support until a treatment option is found. The Putnam County Sheriff, Kent Police Chief and Carmel Police Chief will all be participating in this program.
Redding's 59th annual Mark Twain Library Book Fair is back. The oldest, and one of the largest in New England, is still one of the Library's principal fundraisers. The Book Fair has over 65,000 books for sale, organized into 75 categories.
Prices as marked on items Saturday 10am to 4pm. Sunday is half price day from 10am to 4pm. On Monday, from 9am to 4pm, people can fill a box for $10, half price for individual books.
The event is at the Redding Community Center on Lonetown Road.
The Library was founded in 1908 by Samuel Clemens, whose pen name is Mark Twain, when he moved to Redding in 1907 and had more books than would fit in his new home. He donated over one thousand titles to help get the Library started; and upon his death, his daughter Clara donated more for sale to build on his fledgling legacy in Redding.
People attending the book fair are asked to consider supporting the Redding Food Bank by donating items including cereals, canned and packaged soups, pasta and other items.
Ridgefield officials have released more details about an Aquarion water main replacement project. The roads impacted by the work are Wilton Road East, Huckleberry, Whipstick, Perry, and Boulder Hill. The water main is expected to be installed by the end of October, but the timeline depends on how much ledge is encountered. To date, there has been a sizable amount of rock that slows progress. Once the main line is installed, they then have to connect each service line to the homes. There may not be enough time to mill and re-pave the road prior to the winter season. If so, the paving will be completed in the spring of 2020.
Putnam County Sheriff Robert Langley and other members of the department have met with the leaders of the Brewster Heights Neighborhood Watch group. Residents were able to meet with Sheriff Langley and talk about ways for members of the community to protect themselves from identity theft, scams, burglaries and how to better protect their community from criminal activity. Members of the Southeast Town Council were also on hand. They addressed concerns such as door to door solicitors and out of district students attending the Brewster schools.
After more than 20 years, the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce announced that it's moving out of their office space at 39 West Street. The Chamber will move to Downtown Danbury’s central business district, into 1 Ives Street. The new office will span the entire third floor, providing a conference center where Chamber members can hold meetings along with offering businesses and entrepreneurs the opportunity for co-working spaces.
Chamber President and CEO PJ Prunty says the Chamber looks forward to continuing their mission to foster a business environment that sustains economic vitality, promotes economic development and enhances the appeal to locate, conduct and grow businesses in the Greater Danbury area
Prunty says the move comes on the heels of a string of recent announcements of continued private investment, including numerous apartments. He added that this move supports creation of a direct connection from Grand Central Station to Downtown Danbury’s proposed transportation hub.
The Chamber office will be closed at 39 West Street on September 26th and 27th, with plans to re-open at 1 Ives Street on September 30th.
During this August recess from Congress, 5th District Representative Jahana Hayes has been holding town hall meetings and delivering keynote speeches at various locations in western Connecticut. Anyone who hasn't had a chance to attend one of the community conversations will have an opportunity to learn more about where Hayes stands on the issues and have questions answered, no matter where they are located. Hayes is hosting a Facebook Live town hall on Saturday at 11:30am. Anyone who can't tune in live is encouraged to leave a question in the comment section of the event on her Facebook page.
The New Fairfield Board of Selectmen has voted to approve $7,000 for lake studies, surveying and weed mapping. The money would partially fund the proposal by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station to monitor invasive plants in Candlewood Lake and Squantz Pond.
The money would be allocated pending support of other surrounding towns.
All three of the town's delegates to the Candlewood Lake Authority have recommended having Dr. Greg Bugbee do this survey and weed mapping, since he has done this study since 2007. First Selectman Pat Del Monaco supported the proposal, and spoke about having consistency with the studies and keeping the same entity conducting the work.
Selectman Kim Hanson voted in opposition. He said the study was redundant and noted that that is has already been done by CLA and Dr. George Knoecklein. Hanson recommended hiring a limnologist if a study really needs to be done.
New Fairfield has approximately $27,000 in the Capital and Nonrecurring fund for lake studies, surveying and weed mapping.
It's been more than a year since a macroburst caused massive amounts of damage in the Greater Danbury area. Brookfield received some reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the emergency response and clean up. New Fairfield Selectman Kim Hanson asked about the status of the FEMA reimbursement from the May 15th 2018 storm. New Fairfield's Finance Director noted that reimbursements are done by categories and New Fairfield has received some funding. It is unclear when additional reimbursements will be received.
A monthly informal meeting with Newtown First Selectman Dan Rosenthal takes place today. The Walk and Talk event meets at the Municipal Center, across from the Community Center on the Fairfield Hills campus. Anyone participating in the gathering with Rosenthal will walk the trails for the last in the series of Walk and Talk events this summer. Participants are asked to meet outside the municipal center at noon. For those interested but unable to walk the trails, Rosenthal will be available in his office from 12:45pm – 1:30pm.
Danbury Hospital and Norwalk Hospital received approval to join NRG Oncology as primary clinical research sites. Officials say patients will have expanded access to the latest breast cancer, radiation oncology, and gynecologic cancer clinical trials and treatments--before they are available to the public. The cancer research organization conducts clinical trials and studies to test new treatments and to advance the field of cancer care. NRG Oncology says Nuvance Health clinicians, researchers and administrative staff are highly qualified to participate in innovative cancer research on an international level. Doctors involved in the partnership say this is important for hard-to-treat cancers like ovarian cancer, which is the deadliest gynecologic cancer.
Ridgefield Police are investigating a report of a stolen vehicle. Police told the Ridgefield Press that the Mini Cooper was taken from an Abbott Avenue driveway overnight Sunday into Monday. The vehicle was unlocked and had the keys inside of it. Police say this is the 3rd car stolen from Ridgefield this year.
Candlewood Lake Authority representatives joined members of the Lake Waramaug Task Force yesterday to learn more about some of the projects and initiatives they're implementing at the lake neighbor to the north. CLA's Director of Ecology fed their Zooplankton farm that is a tool they use against blue-green algae. New Fairfield delegate Jeff Main also examined a Zooplankton sample taken from the lake on board their new research boat.
A Danbury woman has been arrested on several charges for allegedly committing return fraud at Newtown Road businesses. The Newstimes reports that 28-year old Shayra Sanchez was charged last week after an investigation into a complaint filed by a private investigator hired by TJX. Sanchez allegedly stole from Marshalls, TJ Maxx and Home Goods between March and June by making fraudulent returns. The companies allow items to be returned without a receipt, for merchandise credit. Sanchez was charged with forgery, and larceny. She was also charged with identity theft for using someone else's ID and with risk of injury to child because a juvenile was with her on one occasion. Total loss was about a thousand dollars. She was arraigned and released on bond for a court appearance September 26th.
The Candlewood Lake Authority is seeking a special allocation from the 5 towns surrounding the lake. CLA is asking for $20,000 so they can hire the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station to continue mapping weeds. The lake's owner, FirstLight Power Resources, hired Northeast Aquatic Research this year to do mapping and determine if sterile grass carp are working to manage the invasives. Their bid was less costly and the decision was supported by other lake authorities. The CLA says the state organization is an independent entity, and is concerned the new company, which sells chemical treatments, won't be objective. New Fairfield and Brookfield have agreed to cover some of the expense. FirstLight Power Resources is required to map the weeds in the lake as part of its federal license.
The Danbury Public Works Department is doing road paving, closing Brushy Hill Road for several days. The road reconstruction started at 7am and will continue tomorrow, taking the long weekend off and resuming on September 3rd. Detours will have to be made during this period. During the paving project, no on-street parking or through traffic will be allowed. The work should last just the three days.
New Milford Police officials are crediting a K-9 officer in the arrest of a local drug dealer. Chief Cerruto posted on the department's social media pages that Officer Shaw and K-9 Officer Mattis helped find heroin, cocaine, and cash, which led to the dealer’s arrest. The suspect, whose name was not immediately released, was arrested on several felony charges including possession with intent to sell. Cerruto says the New Milford Police Department is targeting drug dealers and will do all they can to bring them to justice. The posting said he wanted to send a strong message, if you are dealing drugs, police are coming to get you.
This past Sunday two Waverunners were reported stolen from their respective docks on North Lakeshore Drive in Brookfield. Police say that makes a total of 4 Waverunners have been stolen from Brookfield this boating season.
Several more have been reported stolen from other towns surrounding Candlewood Lake. Police from the area towns are working together to recover the waverunners and identify a suspect.
Brookfield Police are asking for the public's help. Anyone seeing a Waverunner being towed after dark is asked to call police. While it's not uncommon as they often break down, or that it's after sunset, but it could be suspicious. Any North Lakeshore Drive residents with a security camera recording from the overnight hours on August 24th is asked to share the footage with Brookfield Police.
Anyone with a Waverunner is encouraged to secure it with a chain and lock. Home security and portable trail cameras can help identify suspects. A low-cost GPS capable device, such as a Tile, could help with recovery.
Danbury Director of Veterans Affairs Danny Hayes has been promoted to the position full time. He had been a part-time City employee, but was putting in full time hours to meet the increasing need. The promotion came during the Danbury Veterans Council meeting this week. Hayes served during Operation Desert Storm and earned a Bronze Star. Along with the promotion, Hayes was presented with a mayoral citation. He will be making a renewed push to reach out to new veterans who are returning from duty, and to organize volunteers to help veterans in situations not covered by benefits programs.
Hunt Hill Farm in New Milford has closed. Also known as “The Silo”, the cooking school, museum, and art gallery, closed its doors on Monday. Hunt Hill Farm was an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. The Board of Directors determined that revenues were unable to keep pace with expenses and not enough money remained in the general fund to continue operations. Hunt Hill Farm dates back to 1968, and was owned by New York Pops founder Skitch Henderson and his wife, Ruth. It became a 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2013. 83 acres were preserved as open space.
A few days before one of the busiest travel weekends of the year, food service workers at Connecticut’s highway service plazas held a Labor Day-themed rally. They also announced that they are organizing with SEIU and filing wage theft complaints with the Connecticut Department of Labor. Workers also reported facing retaliation for standing up for themselves, and many have reported harsh working conditions with severe understaffing, burns on the job, and dangerously hot conditions in the kitchens.
The complaints allege that employers have systematically underpaid workers by failing to provide benefits or the additional payment required by the Connecticut Standard Wage Law. Companies contracting with the state must provide workers with appropriate wages under the Service Contract Act, as well as the prevailing rate of benefits to workers, which is 30% of the minimum rate of pay. The dozens of complaints outline a pattern of noncompliance suggesting millions of dollars in unpaid wages to food service employees working at rest stops along Connecticut’s highways.
The state owns the land on which all 23 of the state’s service plazas operate. Through a concession agreement, national brands work with private franchisees who ultimately employ nearly 900 food service workers.
Danbury State Senator Julie Kushner says it's more incumbent on elected officials to call on those who do business with the state and benefit from that business that they must comply with Connecticut laws. The former UAW leader says the concessioners are obstructing the rights of workers.
Kushner touted progress in the last legislative session to raise the minimum wage and to implement a paid family leave program. But she says more needs to be done. Kushner had introduced legislation to protect workers looking to unionize. She called for a neutral environment for workers to gather and decide if they want to be part of collective bargaining to help change their working conditions.
4th District Congressman Jim Himes also made remarks at the rally.
The food service workers say the cleaners and maintenance workers are better paid, receive benefits, and are protected from capricious mistreatment because they are members of SEIU and have a collective voice.
An update is being provided on an Aquarion water main installation project in Ridgefield.
The contractor, Burns Construction, estimates being done by the end of October. But the timeline depends on how much ledge or rock they encounter. To date, there has been a sizable amount of rock that has slowed progress. Once the main line is installed, they then have to connect each service line to the homes.
There may not be enough time to mill and re-pave the road prior to the winter season. If so, the paving will be completed in the spring of 2020.
Aquarion will be cleaning water mains in Ridgefield from now through October 18th.
During this time, customers might notice drops in pressure and some discoloration in the water. The discoloration results from the temporary disturbance of the water flow, which stirs up naturally occurring minerals that settle in water mains.
Ridgefield residents are encouraged to store tap water in the refrigerator for drinking and cooking. If water is discolored, delay washing clothes.
The cleaning this week includes mains on Aspen Ledges Road, Old Stagecoach Road, Bennetts Farm Road, Revere Drive and Peaceable Hill Road.
The founders of Sandy Hook Promise say thousands of schools are committing to training and activities next month in their Start with Hello program. Nicole Hockley, whose son Dylan was killed on 12/14, says the goal is to reverse the trends of social isolation that many young people are feeling. The organization's new digital Start with Hello program, underwritten by Disney, will teach empathy and compassion to elementary school students nationwide through a virtual storybook, videos, games and other initiatives.
The 47th annual Women’s Equality Day was commemorated earlier this week, honoring the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Wilton Senator Will Haskell says the fight for equal treatment under the law is not yet won for people of all sexes and genders. But he says some progress was made in Connecticut. He cited approval of a paid family and medical leave policy and passage of the “Time’s Up” bill, which will create safer workplaces for all and impose strengthened penalties on harassment in the workplace.
For the fourth time, Monroe State Representative JP Sredzinski is being recognized for his attendance record in the Legislature. Sredzinski, whose district also includes part of Newtown, cast a vote on all 388 pieces of legislation that came before the House of Representatives during the 2019 Session. The House Clerk’s Office reports that only about 20% of legislators achieve a perfect record in any given year. Sredzinski says it can be a challenge as debates go late into the night, and schedules are often made last minute, especially with a family and a full-time job.
The Brookfield Police Department is trading their badges for aprons this weekend. The annual Tip-A-Cop event takes place Saturday at Down the Hatch on Candlewood Lake Road from 1 until 6pm. 100% of "tips" members of the Brookfield Police Department earn during the event will be donated to Special Olympics Connecticut. The organization provides year-round programming for over 12,000 athletes across the state.
The City of Danbury is looking into the possibility of declaring a parcel of land, currently being used a parking lot, as surplus. That would allow the City to sell off the property and put it back on the Grand List. The land is located off Main Street on Liberty Street, behind the Family Dollar store.
Planning Director Sharon Calitro says there is a fenced off cut through which, according to plans from 1990, was meant to be a pedestrian walkway. There are easements there as well for utilities and electric lines, which Calitro says would have to remain clear. Normal parking requirements for developments are relaxed in the Downtown Revitalization Zone. Any development could use its proximity to the garage to get an exemption.
(Photo: Google Maps)
City officials believe developing the walkway would increase pedestrian use of the area, which is seeing an increase in students walking to Naugatuck Valley Community College campus nearby.
If there's a developer City officials have in mind, the City Council could hold a vote and sell it to someone specific. City Counsel Les Pinter says the ordinance prefers putting out a request for proposals.
Parking Authority Executive Director Debbie Pacific says there is plenty of parking downtown, so while Danbury does make money off the meters and permits, the 42 spaces aren't needed. The lot includes 24 metered and 18 permit spots. Annual maintenance on the parking lot is minimal. On ay given day, Pacific says the Patriot Garage is three-quarters filled. There are 515 spaces, with another 386 at Bardo garage, which is about half filled on an average day. She notes that the numbers drop significantly at night because most are commuters.
The parcel is in the middle of a designated Opportunity Zone. 72 tracts of land were recently approved by the U.S. Department of Treasury to get a federal tax incentive for investors to re-invest unrealized capital gains into the area. Investors are able to then decrease their federal tax burden through the preferential treatment of capital gains.
A Waterbury man has been arrested for a series of larcenies from motor vehicles in Sherman.
The Resident State Troopers Office launched an investigation nearly a year ago, which ended last week with the arrest of 19-year old Joshua Stallings. State Police served the warrant at Danbury Superior Court on Thursday. Stallings was charged with 5 counts of credit card theft, 3 counts each of burglary and simple trespass, and 1 count of larceny.
Stallings was arraignment Thursday and held on bond. He is due back in court on September 24th.
The first day of school for Region 12 students has been delayed even before the year was scheduled to begin. The Bridgewater, Roxbury and Washington district was slated to hold classes tomorrow, but schools will now open after Labor Day, on September 3rd. Region 12 was getting ready to open the new Agriscience Academy at Shepaug Valley High School but construction material took longer to get to the site than planned. The material has since arrived and is still being installed. The addition will be completely finished by the end of the calendar year.
A tractor trailer and box truck collided in Brewster Monday afternoon at the intersection of Danbury Road at Dingle Ridge Road. The crash happened just after 4pm, with the westbound lanes of Danbury Road totally blocked and just one eastbound lane getting by. Brewster EMS treated and transported the one injured driver. Brewster firefighters controlled leaking fluids and secured the scene until tow trucks arrived. Brewster Fire/Police handled the traffic situation during a busy rush hour on Danbury Road.
(Photo: Brewster Fire)
New Fairfield is initiating a “Military Hometown Hero Banner Program” to honor and recognize hometown Veterans and active duty members of the United States Armed Forces. Banners will display the official military photo, name and service branch of the active duty or veteran who currently lives in New Fairfield--or has an immediate family member residing in New Fairfield. The first group of banners will be hung in the center of Town in mid- October in honor of Veterans Day. The deadline to have a banner included in this first group is September 27th. Sponsors are asked to donate $40 for the cost of the banner. They will be displayed periodically throughout the year. After this first group, requests will be accepted on a year round basis and banners will be printed when the required minimum quantity is reached.
Brookfield Police are investigating a jet ski theft from Candlewood Lake. Police say a 2016 Sea-Doo RXT-X300 was stolen from a dock on Candlewood Lake in Brookfield, though did not specify a time. The Connecticut boating registration number on the Jetski at the time of the theft is CT 3028BK. Anyone with information is asked to contact Brookfield Police.
Details have been released about the fatal stabbing in Bethel. According to a Bethel Police arraignment report obtained by Hearst Media, the victim's brother called 911 early Saturday morning, saying there was a lot of blood. Police found the victim at the bottom of a staircase near the front door, with numerous deep lacerations to the neck, torso and legs. Around the same time, 34-year old David MacDowell walked into the police station, laid down and said he had just killed someone. He didn't have shoes or a shirt on, and was covered in blood. According to the report, MacDowell had been drinking and said they got into an argument, he wanted to call police but the victim made fun of him. He remembered the victim saying “Stop it hurts.” He could not remember other specifics. Police also reportedly found a significant amount of blood in the bedroom, along with knife blades.
There was an unusual rescue in Danbury yesterday afternoon. Danbury firefighters were called on to rescue a small feral cat that got itself stuck in the undercarriage of a car. Engine 25 and Rescue 1 were able to free the kitten. The cat was taken to Danbury Animal Welfare.
A pre-trial hearing for a man charged with negligent homicide for a boating accident on Candlewood Lake has been continued again. The case against 67-year old Gary Morrone was in court Friday, but the hearing was continued to October 2nd. He was also charged with reckless boating following the death of 38-year old Wanda Tirado last June. She was thrown from a pontoon boat Morrone piloted and was injured by the boat's propellor. Investigators found inconsistencies in his description of the events that led to Tirado’s death.
Suspicious activities that occurred around the changing rooms of a store in Danbury Mall is under investigation. Danbury Police are looking for the public's help in identifying a man who may have information about the activity around FOREVER 21 yesterday evening, at about 5pm. Anyone with information is asked to contact Officer Katkocin at 203-797-4611 x 618. All calls will be kept confidential.
Newtown students started classes yesterday. Student in New Fairfield and New Milford are back in school today.
Most Greater Danbury area districts start tomorrow. The first day of school in Brookfield, Danbury, Redding and Region 9 is Wednesday.
Danbury School officials plan a study of facility needs to account for a continued growing enrollment. An equity and access study to increase student achievement will also get underway this year. After years of asking for repairs, a new Danbury high school track will be unveiled.
More school districts in the Greater Danbury area are starting classes Thursday. Region 12 students are back in school, including those attending the Agriscience Academy at Shepaug Valley High School. Ridgefield students are also back in class. There are new drinking fountains in all of the schools.
The last district to go back to class is Bethel. Students return after Labor Day, on September 3rd. This allows an extended window for construction at Rockwell and Johnson schools, which are being renovated.
A person suffered a broken leg near Chicken Rock on Candlewood Lake yesterday afternoon. Brookfield Volunteer Fire Candlewood Company responded to the area in New Milford, with a paramedic and two boat trained EMTs.
The patient was found, still in the water, near the shore of Green Island being treated b two off-duty EMTs. The Medic and EMTs on board Marine 25 jumped in and extricated the patient from the water. The patient was brought back to the Candlewood Shores boat launch to the awaiting Brookfield Ambulance, and taken to Danbury Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
DEEP was contacted. A call for mutual aid from Sherman was cancelled. Marine 25 was back in service about an hour later.
(Photo: Candlewood Company)
The Bethel Police Department has recently responded to several reports of entry into unlocked. Anyone believing their vehicle has been disturbed or broken into, is asked not to touch the car and instead contact Bethel Police Dispatch. While officers are working to identify the persons responsible, police are requesting the community's help with preventing further incidents.
Residents are reminded to never keep any valuables inside an unoccupied car and hide or remove items such as phone chargers or smart accessories. Police says that should be done to prevent criminals from believing that the vehicle may contain an electronic device. Loose change should also not be visible. Most importantly, police say lock unoccupied cars.
Anyone with residential video surveillance systems is asked report any suspicious activity seen on the footage.
Redding residents have approved a request for $2.95 million for road reconstruction. The referendum vote was 320 in favor, 188 opposed. 13 miles of roads over a 3-year period will be reconstructed. In 2013, all roads in town were inventoried and rated on a scale from 1-10, with 1 being bad. Roads were rated on pavement condition only and not drainage. Of the town’s 48 through roads, approximately 20, or 48%, were rated below 5. Of the 33 main roads, 11 or 33%, were rated “in need”. Of the 174 “no outlet” roads, like cul de sacs, 68 or approximately 40% were rated below 5.
Newtown Middle School Resource Officer William Chapman has a message at the start of this school year.
With the school in the middle of a downtown area, students are a big part of the community. He says the staff is not equipped to supervise students who walk to and from school once they leave campus, adding that the police department will do the best to patrol the center of town at dismissal time. Chapman noted though that there are 57 other square miles in town to focus on.
Chapman called on parents to have a discussion with their kids about pedestrian safety, reminding them to cross in crosswalks, obey traffic signals, looking both ways before crossing and not being on the phone in busy parking areas and intersections.
Since there are businesses nearby, the SRO asked that kids not congregate in the driveways of businesses and be respectful to staff and patrons.
The New Milford Board of Education has voted to pay $350,000 to teachers who worked during the 2015-16 school year, in line with a state Supreme Court ruling. The court ruled in favor of the teachers union, which said the Board of Ed violated their collective bargaining agreement by extending the workday for teachers on multiple occasions. When the legal battle waged, the money was put in escrow so it does not impact the budget this year. The teachers will be paid based on their salaries for the uncompensated 20 additional hours they worked during the 2015-16 year. 10 student early release days had been eliminated that year, filling the time with open houses and evening events.
Concerns are being raised by Connecticut's municipal leaders about the lack of state borrowing authorizations. They note the slowdown has affected local repaving and other transportation-related projects. Lawmakers have yet to finalize the general bonding portion of the state budget.
The state releases Town Aid Road funds in two payments; one in July and one in January. To date, the state has not disbursed these funds to Connecticut municipalities. This funding was included in the Governor’s budget and approved by the legislature. Redding First Selectwoman Julia Pemberton says the delay is a real problem for municipalities relying on the funding to supplement their operating budgets.
The State Bond Commission, which ultimately doles out the capital funding, has met twice since Governor Lamont took office in January. The meeting set for Friday has been cancelled. No meetings have been scheduled yet for the rest of the year.
The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities notes that cities and towns are reliant on the state funds and are being forced to cover the cost of repaving and other projects.
A spokesman for the governor says the Bond Commission can release previous unspent allocations for projects without a new bond package in place.
5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes has released a statement clarifying remarks reported earlier this month in Connecticut newspapers. Hayes was asked about threats against her office as part of larger interviews about the first 200 days in office with the Connecticut Mirror and Republican-American. She says the 'clickbait' is an attempt to drive a narrative that she's using race as a dividing card and to generate controversy. While her office, like others nationwide, have received the occasional harassing email or phone call, she has not been directly threatened. Hayes released recordings of the interviews backing up that she never used the work racist, and was talking about security in general. Hayes said she has been the target of vile and racist phone calls, emails and social media posts, but did not give specifics.
Members of the Putnam County Traffic Safety Board are spending these last weeks before school opens to meet with the bus drivers, monitors and Transportation Supervisors of the Putnam County School Districts to talk about how they can help with bus safety and motorists passing stopped school buses with their red flashing lights and stop sign in operation. Members of the Board met with the Mahopac and Brewster School Districts last week. More meetings are set for this week. Their goal is community education and awareness to keep children and drivers safe.
In its annual School’s Open – Drive Carefully message, AAA Northeast encourages drivers to be during mornings and afternoons when children get on and off school buses. Spokeswoman Fran Mayko says kids get caught up in the excitement of ‘back-to-school’ and sometimes forget to look for cars, even though drivers are required to yield and stop for school buses with activated lights.
Mayko says kids may dart into streets as they have trouble judging traffic speed and distance.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the greatest risk to children isn’t riding school buses; it’s approaching or leaving them. Between 2008 and 2017, 264 school-age children were killed in school transportation-related crashes, primarily when they waited at bus stops or crossed streets.
While drivers need to be aware that school is starting back up this week. Mayko says parents should teach school-aged children to cross at corners, use crosswalks if they’re available, and look both ways before crossing. Kids should also eliminate electronics such as headphones and cellphones when crossing.
Newtown Police are investigating another case of mailbox vandalism. The Newstimes reports that for at least the 3rd time in several months, a mail drop box was broken into and all the mail inside was taken. The latest incident happened outside Edmond Town Hall overnight on August 19th. Mailboxes are considered federal property. The United States Postal Inspection Service says vandals face up to 250-thousand dollars in fines or up to three years in prison. People who used the drop box are asked to monitor their financial/credit activity Anyone with information about the vandalism is asked to call the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 1-877-876-2455.
Wilton Police are alerting residents that the Citizens Campaign for the Environment will be conducting their annual door-to-door canvass in the Town. The organization is exempt from Wilton's Peddling and Soliciting ordinance. because the Citizens Campaign for the Environment is an approved 501(c)4 not for profit organization and is registered with the state Department of Consumer Protection as a Public Charity. The canvass will consist of petitioning, a letter writing campaign, and fundraising. This will be done on weekdays 4pm to 9pm and 11am to 4pm on Saturdays. Each day of the canvas, the Police Department will receive the names of individuals who will be going door to door along with where they will be within Wilton.
Brookfield Volunteer Fire Department Candlewood Company is providing more details about an incident last Sunday about the search for a boat in distress with a potentially severe thunderstorm approaching. Danbury Fire Department called on Candlewood Company for mutual aid last Sunday around 9pm on a report of multiple people on board near Deer Island. Marine 25 was deployed a day before it was officially scheduled to go into service, but members had been training with the vessel and were ready for any fire and rescue calls on the lake. Emergency responders came upon two boaters who said they towed a vessel to a dock near Sherman. The boat was located and confirmed they no longer needed emergency assistance.
The New Milford Senior Center provided assistance to 78 individuals last week with food insecurity, medical, financial, CHORE services, and health and safety issues. The senior center provided 135 lunches. 207 rides were provided to 54 clients and there were 77 Volunteer Hours. The Lion's Club hosted their annual Senior Picnic to wrap up the summer. Over 90 seniors and Lion's club members and volunteers will attended the bbq and bingo at Harrybrooke Park. The Youth Agency spent an afternoon with seniors for their monthly Game Days. One of the senior gamers had just celebrated his 90th birthday the previous week and taught the youth gamers how to play checkers.
A motorcyclist was injured in an accident in Danbury involving a pickup truck. Danbury Police say the crash happened Saturday afternoon on Federal Road. The motorcyclist, a 25-year old Brookfield man, was partially trapped under the vehicle with possible injuries to his lower extremities. Firefighters said the motorcyclist was conscious but confused. Within minutes, the motorcyclist was transported to the hospital. Police say the motorcyclist hit a pickup driven by a 51-year old Port Chester, New York man, who was uninjured. The collision remains under investigation.
Three members of the Southbury Police Department got into a messy situation over the weekend--for a good cause. They participated in the 4th annual pie eating contest, hosted by Leo’s Restaurant, to raise money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. Corporal Armeno, Officer Alfano and Officer Pierce participated. Diane Owens, who coordinated the event, says it's held in honor of her son, Alex, who was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis in 2013. NF is a genetic mutation that causes tumors to grow along any nerve in the body, and can lead to numerous complications including deafness, blindness, learning disabilities, pain, and cancer. Severity ranges from mile to fatal and there is currently no cure.
A 34-year old man has been charged with manslaughter for a stabbing in Bethel over the weekend. Bethel Police responded to Plumtrees Road shortly before 1am Saturday on a report of a female victim suffering from several stab wounds. EMTs provided aid, and the woman was transported to the hospital, where she succumbed to the injuries. Within minutes of officers arriving at the home, the suspect, David MacDowell, showed up at the police station. He was later arrested and held on $1 million bond. MacDowell will be arraigned this morning in Danbury Superior Court. Detectives are still actively investigating the incident and plan to release further details once the victim's family has been notified.
Redding residents are voting today on a request for $2.95 million for fund a road reconstruction plan. The referendum is at the Redding Elementary School gym until 8pm.
When the budget was being considered last Fall and the referendum scheduled for this past May, funding was available to carry the Phase III paving program into Spring 2020. But the money was used more quickly than expected and all the roads that were on the plan are complete. There are additional roads, however, that have fallen into serious condition since that time, for a variety of reasons, and should be repaved this fall.
13 miles of roads over a 3-year period will be reconstructed, if the funding is approved.
In 2013, all roads in town were inventoried and rated on a scale from 1-10. A rating of 1 is bad. A rating of 10 would indicate a new road. Anything below 5 is considered needy. Anything 5 and above is at the better end of the spectrum. Roads were rated on pavement condition only and not drainage. Of the town’s 48 through roads, approximately 20, or 48%, were rated below 5. Of the 33 main roads, 11 or 33%, were rated “in need”. Of the 174 “no outlet” roads, like cul de sacs, 68 or approximately 40% were rated below 5.
First Selectwoman Julia Pemberton says Redding’s roads had deteriorated significantly over many years and many had not been built to modern standards to begin with, lacking a good base and adequate drainage. She noted that road reconstruction is different from road maintenance, which is funded in the annual operating budget and through state town aid road funds. While reconstruction is expensive, the life of a new road is expected to exceed 20 years.
A pick-up truck lost control in Brewster and rolled over taking down a utility pole and power lines early Sunday morning. Brewster Fire Department officials say residents in the Lake Tonetta area lost power just after midnight. The accident resulted in a fire at the intersection of Tonetta Lake Road and North Brewster Road. The driver was transported to Putnam Hospital and Brewster firefighters remained on the scene well into the morning until NYSEG was able to secure the situation.
(Photos: Brewster Fire Department)
Years of vandalism, car break-ins and illegal dumping has prompted the Sherman Board of Selectmen to propose funding for security cameras at some parks in town. Surveillance cameras could be added to Volunteer Park. Sherman residents will have to vote on capital funding at a yet to be scheduled town meeting. The Board of Selectmen is aiming for a vote on September 14th when other capital items will be decided. The pilot program for the cameras would cost about $1,250, but residents will be asked to approve $2,000 so there's a contingency. People have driven over the grass causing damage. There were issues at Veteran's Park with people littering and reports of car break-ins.
Bethel Public School officials are hosting a Parent Session on renovations at Rockwell and Johnson schools. The forum on “What to Expect” takes place Monday, August 26th at 6PM in the Bethel Middle School Auditorium. Superintendent Dr. Christine Carver, the principals of the two schools and representatives from RIzzo Corporation have an informative presentation prepared. Parents in attendance will be able to ask any questions they have on the projects. There will also be an informal Rockwell Open House on Friday, August 30th from 1 to 3PM for parents to see the changes and know what to expect.
Newtown Police are investigating reports of stolen jet skis. Police say two personal watercrafts were taken from the docks at Lake Lillinonah on Lake Road. One was reported stolen last Sunday from a residential dock. The SeaDoo is black and blue. The other reported theft was called in the week before. The Bomba watercraft is black and white. Anyone with information is asked to contact Newtown police at 203-426-5841.
One person has been fatally stabbed in Bethel. Police have a suspect in custody. Bethel Police responded to Plumtrees Road shortly before 1am on a report of a stabbing. Officers located the victim, EMTs provided aid, and the victim was transported to the hospital. The victim was later pronounced dead. Police say more details will be released once the next of kin has been notified.
Anti-Semitic graffiti has been found on a Newtown temple. An officer performing building checks this morning discovered the graffiti painted on the front and side walls of the Adath Israel Synagogue on Huntington Road.
Newtown Police are working with officials from the synagogue to address their safety and concerns. The town provided assistance from its Public Works Department to remove the graffiti and repaint the damaged areas of the Synagogue prior to the start of scheduled services.
Police Chief of Police James Viadero has been in contact with the Anti-Defamation League and they have offered a reward of up to $2,500 for information that would lead to the arrest and conviction of the suspect or suspects responsible for this disturbing crime.
Police spokesman Lt. Aaron Bahamonde says as an agency they are extremely disturbed at this act of defacing a house of worship, in particular the meaning and symbolism painted on the walls of the synagogue espouse hatred which is not indicative of this community. He continued, saying this serious hate crime will be given the full attention of the department, while utilizing other law enforcement resources to determine the identity of those responsible. Bahamonde added he congregation has been assured that enhanced patrols will continue in the area and that there will be a police presence during scheduled services.
Anyone with information on this crime is asked to contact the Newtown Police Department at 203-270-4255
First Selectman Dan Rosenthal commented," This morning I viewed the hateful desecration of Congregation Adath Israel with sadness. The congregants of Adath Israel have contributed to the fabric of this community immeasurably for over 100 years. Newtown has always been a place where people of all religions are welcome and have worked together hand in hand to build a better community and the hateful actions of an individual or individuals will not change that. i look forward to personally asking the courts to offer no leniency when the vile individual is apprehended"
As part of the planning phase of the I-84 Danbury Project, the project team released a Needs and Deficiencies Report. It identifies several deficiencies in the corridor including considerable traffic congestion.
The ramps contribute to many of the congestion and safety problems in the corridor, according to the report. They are closely spaced and some use the same lane for entering and exiting traffic, which causes weaving. Another problem identified in the report is the incomplete interchange at Exit 6, which does not allow sufficient access to Danbury Hospital, a major regional employer.
A lot of congestion happens near the Route 7 merge, so that roadway was also examined.
The report determined that I-84 itself has substandard geometry. In many areas, the curvature of the roadway does not provide drivers adequate sight lines, especially for slowing and stopping. The steep grades prohibit large trucks from reaching their desired speeds in many areas.
A goal is also to find a set of solutions to address broader issues including the lack of travel demand management programs like commuter parking, carpool, vanpool and other employer driven opportunities within the region.
The Still River Greenway extension project through the Brookfield Town hall campus is moving forward. Town officials received a letter with the commitment to fund the work from the state, and the required environmental screening. Next steps include working with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to ensure there are no endangered or threatened species in the area of construction. This project will include a half mile extension to the already existing greenway with more parking, Americans for Disability Act compliance, and a small picnic area.
The Bethel Police Department Car Seat Unit will be holding a car seat clinic on Sunday August 25th. The clinic will be held at the Stony Hill Fire Department, by appointment only. People needing help installing a car seat, or want to have their installation checked, should visit the Bethel Police Car Seat Unit page to make an appointment.
Today is move-in day for West Conn freshmen and transfers students. The university is welcoming the class of 2023. First year and transfer students were assigned a West Conn email address and sent information about specific move-in times. With students moving into dorms to start another semester, the Danbury Fire Department is offering some College Campus Fire Safety Tips from the National Fire Protection Association and the Danbury Fire Marshal's Office. These include making sure the dorm room has a smoke alarm, or suites have a smoke alarm in each living area as well as the sleeping room. For the best protection, all smoke alarms in the dormitory suite should be interconnected so that when one sounds, they all sound. Students living in houses off campus should make sure smoke alarms are installed in each sleeping room, outside every sleeping area, and on each level of the house.
Water Witch Hose fire company of New Milford has taken delivery of their Pierce Velocity Tower Ladder. The apparatus was backed into it’s bay at the Prospect Hill Firehouse for the first time yesterday afternoon. The company spent the evening checking out the truck and all the equipment that’s been installed over the past few weeks and today begins training with the Pierce factory reps. Over the next three days, operators will be learning about the rig with the men who designed and built it.
New Fairfield Library is hosting an Historical D-Day Display. The tribute highlights Joseph Letizia and his participation in D-Day. The U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class was with the 1st Naval Amphibious Forces, which was part of the 3rd wave to land on Utah Beach on June 6th 1944. Letizia is a long time New Fairfield resident and active in the Veteran’s Association and a member of the Zoning Commission. The display also contains an WWII Army Uniform, a 1st Naval Amphibious Forces uniform, and other items of interest about Letizia and D-Day.
The Democratic candidate for Mayor in Danbury is calling on the Republican incumbent to sign a letter from the U.S. Conference of Mayors on national gun safety legislation. Challenger Chris Setaro say he supports the call for action, and the implementation of universal background checks.
Mark Boughton, as the incumbent is a member of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and said he would read the letter and review two background check bills awaiting U.S. Senate action.
Setaro says Connecticut's laws are a model for the nation that Congress should adopt. He added that this is no time for leaders to be silent.
The two background check bills which passed the U.S. House would require all firearm purchases to undergo a NICS background check and prohibit unlicensed transfers of guns through unregulated secondary sales.
A traffic engineer, who is also the I-84 Danbury Project Manager, recently took a couple of helicopter rides over the highway to see where traffic congestion is the biggest issue. The team was surprised to see that there was only one pinch point area in the morning, but the whole corridor gets bad in the evening. Sharat Kalluri called it eye-catching that the evening commute was broadly and consistently difficult from the New York State line to Exit 7. No surprise to local motorists, that's over seven miles of congestion. The flight videos were presented to the Project Advisory Committee recently and are available on the project website.
A Stamford man, currently living in a Bethel hotel, has been arrested by police on an outstanding warrant. While conducting a routine traffic stop last week, Bethel Police learned that 30-year old Andrew Coke was living at the Howard Johnson Hotel. He was arrested on drug possession charges in 2017, but failed to appear in court and a re-arrest warrant was issued. Detectives saw Coke leave the hotel last Thursday and get into an UBER, and stopped him. Coke was then turned over to Danbury Police, who also had a warrant for his arrest.
A local lawmaker is touting a bill signed into law by the Governor this summer. Danbury Representative David Arconti says the bill is about Epi Pens and similar injectors. In the fall of 2016 a constituent, Christina Ilardi, reached out with an idea to increase access to these devices to address life threatening reactions to food allergies. Arconti says this is a great example of how representative government works for the people.
If a person has received specified training and acts with reasonable care, the bill allows them to administer epinephrine auto injectors to someone experiencing an allergic reaction. The bill also grants these individuals civil and criminal liability immunity if they act with reasonable care.
Additionally, the bill allows prescribing practitioners to issue standing order prescriptions for EpiPens to individuals who do not necessarily need them, and it allows pharmacists to dispense them. Previous to this law, in Connecticut you could only get an Epipen with a prescription from a doctor. Public places, like restaurants and sports arenas, can only stock up if they have permission from a doctor.
New Milford students return to class on Tuesday August 27th. New Milford Police say they will have officers out in force before and after the school day to strictly enforce the rules of the roads. With school buses back on their routes, police are reminding drivers to stop for flashing lights and to not pass stopped buses.
The first day of school for many other students in the Greater Danbury area is next week and Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company is reminding motorists about school bus laws and safety. Drivers following or approaching a bus should stop 10 to 20 feet from it when it’s red lights are flashing.
Motorists should not pass a bus until the lights are off. Drivers should keep an eye out for children crossing in front of the bus and potentially after the bus drives away.
Fines for passing a school bus that has its flashing red warning lights activated starts at $465 for a first offense. Repeat offenders will have another fine of $500 to $1,000 and face up to 30 days in jail.
A Brookfield resident has raised concerns with town officials about Brooks Quarry. The elderly affordable independent living housing complex is owned by the Brookfield Housing Authority. It consists of nine ranch style cottages on 16 acres off Laurel Hill Road. Residents must be at least 62 years old or designated as disabled by the Social Security Administration.
First Selectman Steve Dunn says the town has two Small Cities Grants. One was for $400,000 and all of the money has been loaned out. He thought there was additional need since a lot of people showed up looking for assistance. The town then got a second $400,000. In the last 18 months, Dunn says they've been unable to find anyone who qualifies under income guidelines and the house not being underwater on the mortgage.
Brookfield still has about $300,000, and they want to ask the state to give that money to Brooks Quarry. He's not sure they can legally do that. Dunn noted that the town paid for half the paving done last year and contributes as much as it legally can, but it's a separate legal entity and not part of the town of Brookfield.
A Newtown man camping on an office building's property in Bethel has been charged with criminal trespass. Bethel Police responded to 24 Stony Hill Road last week on a report of a man at the rear of the building, who had previously been told not to return to the property. William Garrison Jacobs Jr. was issued a misdemeanor summons. He was released on a written promise to appear in court on Tuesday.
While investigating a disturbance in the front parking lot of the Target in Bethel, Police arrested a man who had two outstanding warrants. Bethel Police responded to the store on Sunday. The charged 26-year old Miguel Lizardi of Bethel with two counts of failure to appear. He was held for arraignment.
An FDNY Lieutenant has led a seminar for Bethel and area firefighters. The class was hosted by Bethel Fire & EMS last night at Bethel High School and taught by Ray McCormack. Members of fire departments across the state learned about Engine Operations in the Modern Fire Environment. Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Company officials say the Engine Company is the workhorse of the fire department and is responsible for getting water on the fire. While it sounds like a simple concept, they say there is a lot of science, technology, and muscle needed to get the job done. Controlling and extinguishing the fire is job #1.
It was a tough commute last night for Metro North riders. All three of the main lines were running with delays because of switch issues in Harlem. The Danbury branch was delayed because of late-arrive equipment. Shortly before 11pm, Danbury Branch service was delayed due to a vehicle on the tracks near Redding. At least one train from Danbury to South Norwalk was operating 45 to 50 minutes late. The train headed from South Norwalk to Danbury only had delays of about 20 to 25 minutes. Metro North reported Danbury Branch service was back operating on or close to schedule around 12:45am.
The Danbury Fire Department has gotten an update from raptor rehabilitation center Christine's Critters about an injured red tailed hawk rescued from city streets. The hawk was taken to South Wilton Vet Group where doctors determined that she has a fracture in her wing. They are hopeful that it will heal and she can return to flight. The hawk was found by a passerby and brought to Danbury Fire Headquarters, wrapped in the man's suit jacket. Firefighters removed the large, aggravated hawk and placed it in a makeshift carrier. Danbury Police arranged to have an Animal Control Officer take the injured bird to Weston.
A final revision to New Fairfield's Short Term Rental Regulation has been posted on the town's website. An amendment to Zoning Regulations allows Short Term Rentals, provided that the leasing or use of a residential site by someone other than the title owner, is for six days or less. Other requirements include issuance of Zoning Permit based on a site plan approved by the New Fairfield Zoning Commission. The permit is $500 for 24 months. The property owner must be in residence on the property or an abutting property. A certificate of Insurance for the Proposed Use must be obtained. Occupancy is limited to 2 people per bedroom.
A Brooklyn, NY man has been arrested for an alleged larceny in Ridgefield. Police yesterday said they responded to CVS on Branchville Road when a man set off an exit alarm. Namor Clarke was seen leaving the store with two bags of merchandise that he had not purchased. The suspect vehicle was later located in the parking lot of the CVS on Main Street. The 27-year old was allegedly attempting to take merchandise from that location. When he saw officers in the parking lot, he left the items in the store. Clarke was charged with larceny and is scheduled to appear in Danbury Superior Court on September 3rd.
Brookfield Volunteer Fire Department Candlewood Company has officially launched their new boat. Marine 25 went into service Monday night. The company's boat committee handed over the new 24-foot landing-craft style fire/rescue boat to the Chief for service on Candlewood Lake.
Boat Committee officials say the vessel has better maneuverability and precision, has side and downscan sonar to assist with underwater searches and the bow gate can be lowered below the waterline for easy access to patients or divers. The vessel also has Solar Panels, emergency lights and siren and a full complement of firefighting and rescue tools.
Firefighters, along with members of the Brookfield Police Department spent the last few weeks training on the new vessel by becoming familiarized with its operation and equipment.
Marine 25 will be docked at the Candlewood Shores beach during the boating season.
The Brookfield Water Pollution Control Authority is looking into septic waste in Candlewood Lake. During their meeting tonight, the group will discuss how to prevent damaging nutrients from entering the lake through septic systems of 1,500 properties around Candlewood in the drainage area.
Sites proposed for field testing to determine septic nitrogen and phosphorous contributions to Candlewood Lake will also be discussed. Researchers plan to explain to property owners in the proposed study area about reviewing the initial findings for their lot and give them an opportunity to speak with project engineers.
The $320,000 study is being paid for by the WPCA, with a 55-percent state Connecticut Clean Water Fund grant covering about half. The Candlewood Lake Authority says Brookfield is the first of the five towns surrounding the lake to engage in this kind of study.
Tonight's meeting is at 7 o'clock in Room 133 of Brookfield Town Hall.
Future meetings will be held to determine needed improvements on lot by lot basis. That meeting is tentatively scheduled for November or December. In February or March, a meeting will be held on proposed solution scenarios for addressing needs, along with capital and annual O&M costs. Next May, a meeting will be scheduled to discuss a Preferred Scenario Plan, along with refined cost estimates and Implementation Plan.
Danbury-based FuelCell Energy has appointed Jason Few as its new President and Chief Executive Officer. He joined the FuelCell Energy Board of Directors in November 2018. Few, along with the Company’s executive leadership team, will be responsible for the revitalization and advancement of FuelCell Energy, including its ongoing restructuring efforts, its efforts to enhance commercial activity, and its efforts to improve operational effectiveness. Few has over 30 years of experience increasing enterprise value for global Fortune 500 companies, as well as privately held technology, telecommunication, and energy firms.
Work continues on plans to extend the Still River Greenway to New Milford. Committee chair Jay Annis recently gave an update to the Brookfield Board of Selectmen on their activities and plans. The group is meeting with Brookfield Town Center for Business Committee. One of the challenges will be determining how and where to cross the Four Corners. Annis says any way you look at it--it presents issues. He hopes an engineer can help work out some of the details. Another challenge will be obtaining easement from Riverview Condominiums. Without an easement there will be a hole in the route north. The committee has received more than 400 responses to a survey about trail usage. Most were from people age 35-64. The use the trail is almost evenly divided between people who go two to three times a week, or two to three times a month. The majority of respondents said they spend half an hour to an hour on the Greenway. Only a handful said they walk to the Greenway, while the overwhelming answer was that people drive there and park.
An injured red tailed hawk found in the street by a passerby was brought to Danbury Fire Headquarters last night. The firefighters found a box and made a makeshift carrier for the hawk. Firefighter James Croswell helped the man removed the large, aggravated hawk from being wrapped with his suit jacket, and placed him into the box. Officials called Christine's Critters in Weston, a raptor rehabilitation center, which accepted the hawk. Connecticut Environmental Conservation Police were on another call, so Danbury Police arranged to have Animal Control Officer Craig Simone take the injured bird to Weston.
The New Fairfield Economic Development Commission has prepared a short survey for residents. The new Commission launched the online survey to learn about how to prioritize initiatives. The group's chairman said filling out the survey is the way to have many voices heard by the committee.
Religious displays will be allowed on public land in Bethel.
The Board of Selectmen adopted regulations last night calling for applications to be entered into a lottery if there are too many seeking the same parcel of land. Selectman Rich Straiton voted in opposition, saying no displays should be allowed, concerned it would lead to a lawsuit or displays that some find offensive. He believes the displays should go on private property.
The issue came up after a resident applied to hang a banner, wishing a "happy holidays from your friendly atheist neighbors" on the same property at the same time as a creche. The Religious Display Committee recommended that the creche and banner be grandfathered in and always allowed, with every other applicant put into a lottery. But First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says the town could not legally give special treatment to certain displays.
Other regulations adopted last night are that a Bethel resident or organization can apply, the application period is October 1st to November 7th. The holiday displays will be allowed on P-T Barnum Square between the Tuesday before Thanksgiving through January 7th. Displays can only take up a third of the total square footage of the property. Applicants must have insurance.
The Selectmen noted that applications can be rejected for public safety concerns.
A citizen of the Dominican Republic has been sentenced for illegally reentering the U-S after being deported. 36-year old Oliver Joan Ubiera Maleno, last living in Danbury, was ordered yesterday to 16 months in prison, time already served, Ubiera Maleno was a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. in 2002, but he was sentenced in Alaska to prison time for possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. The following year he was sentenced to prison time in Texas for possession of cocaine. He was deported in 2009 but returned. Danbury Police arrested Ubiera Maleno for drug sale offenses last April. He's been detained since his arrested. The state charges are pending.
A Danbury woman has been arrested on drug related charges after neighbor complaints about illegal drug sales in the City. Police conducted a several month long investigation into 42-year old Claudette Prior and her Dean Street apartment. Search warrants were carried out yesterday afternoon when investigators followed Prior from her home to a nearby gas station. Police say she had cocaine in her possession. A search of her car and residence revealed no further evidence. Prior was charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession with intent to sell, and two counts for possession and intent to sell within 1500 feet of a school.
Ridgefield School District will start the new year with an interim Superintendent. Dr. William Collins has resigned from the position due to medical complications. Collins has been out on medical leave since mid-May. The official resignation was announced at the Ridgefield Board of Education meeting Monday. Dr. JeanAnn Paddyfote will continue as Interim Superintendent until further notice. Collins was hired in December 2018, and took over as Superintendent in February of this year.
A New Milford father and son are among the nearly 1,300 people who attended a summer orientation session at Western Connecticut State University in July. Doug and Brandon Muckerman both attended as incoming students. University officials say 11-percent of West Conn's incoming undergraduates are nontraditional students like Doug, who is 48-years old and works at Cartus. He recently completed an associate degree at Naugatuck Valley Community College and transferred his credits to West Conn to pursue a CPA designation in accounting. 18-year old Brandon, who was a third baseman on New Milford High School’s baseball team, is interested in studying Criminal Justice. The elder Muckerman committed to West Conn first, saying he didn't want to leave school with a lot of debt. They don't expect to have any classes in common, but if they see each other on campus, the pair plan to say hi and keep moving.
A Public Hearing will be held tonight in Ridgefield. Residents can comment on whether the Aquifer Protection Agency should be under the jurisdiction of the Planning and Zoning Commission, or the soon to be elected Inland & Wetland Board. A Charter revision approved last year separated the Board from the Commission. The oversight question for the APA came up because of language in the ordinance creating it, which says obligations are assigned to members of the Planning and Zoning Commission in their capacity as the Inland Wetlands Board. Tonight's hearing is at 7:30 in the Veterans Park Elementary School Auditorium. The Board of Selectmen will eventually a recommendation to send to voters at a town meeting, likely in September.
Families new to the Danbury Public School District are taking part in a Making a Smooth Transition event tonight. The introduction to the school system was postponed from last week. The seminar to help new families will teach them about the district’s expectations, various forms of communication and resources available to them. It will be held 6 to 7:30pm at Rogers Park Middle School. Parents of children entering pre-K to high school are invited and encouraged to ask questions about the information presented. Child care and activities are planned for children.
The Alzheimer's Association has led a training session for the Sherman Volunteer Fire Department. During the event last night, the firefighters heard about responding to incidents involving patients with Alzheimer's or dementia who wander. The Alzheimer's Association has partnered with MedicAlert to provide a service called "Medic Alert + Safe Return". Through this program, individuals who are at risk for wandering wear a MedicAlert bracelet which contains an identification code and toll free number. In the event that a person wanders off the bracelet helps first responders identify them and provides a means for notifying the appropriate care giver through the ID number.
A freshman lawmaker did not miss any vote during his first session in the Connecticut General Assembly. Danbury State Representative Ken Gucker was present and voted 100% of the time during the 2019 Legislative Session. Gucker says he was honored to work on behalf of the people in his district that sent him to serve in Hartford and looks forward to continue working diligently for all state residents.
Gucker is a member of the Banking, Environment and the Planning and Development Committees.
Members of the state House of Representatives were called to vote on 392 legislative items throughout the 2019 legislative session. New Milford Representative Bill Buckbee participated in every vote, earning a perfect 100-percent voting record.
Only 26% of the members of the House earned this achievement.
Buckbee says without participation, government simply does not work, adding that it's important when given the chance to weigh-in and take action on a legislative matter, he is present and able to do so for residents the district. Buckbee has not missed a single vote since being elected in 2016.
He currently serves as the Ranking Member to the Internship Committee, and is a member of the legislature’s Commerce and Energy & Technology Committees.
The Town of Newtown is seeking federal funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration. The money would go to constructing an updated and improved sanitary sewer system at the Fairfield Hills Campus. The administration is conducting an assessment of potential of the proposed project to affect the environment and/or historic properties, because the project is proposed to be in, or may affect, a floodplain and wetland. Comments are being accepted by the EDA Regional Office by August 24th.
The Danbury Public Works Department is in the middle of a road construction project at night on Kenosia Avenue and Sugar Hollow Road. This construction will not result in road closings, but, there is the possibility of travel restrictions and detours during this work period. Construction started last Monday and should last approximately 3 to 4 weeks. During this period there will be no on-street parking.
The Technical Coordinator at Western Connecticut State University's School of Visual and Performing Arts offered the facility to the Danbury Fire Department for training exercises. Members of B Group Rescue Company planned and organized an urban, high angle technical rescue drill at the building yesterday. The crew developed a list of training scenarios involving the complicated, high elevation structure of the performance stage area. B Platoon will continue today to pre-plan and conduct hands on, complex training in the unique structure.
Ridgefield will begin surveying ash trees, and will ultimately remove the dead ones. In September members of the Community Emergency Response Team and other volunteers will hit the streets looking for dead trees, which can become hazardous, threatening power lines and roads. The Ridgefield Office of Emergency Management will inform residents of the dates of the scouting and what to expect when volunteers are looking at the public right of way. An email address is being set up to give Ridgefield residents an opportunity to report trees directly. Trees on private property are the responsibility of the homeowner. Ash trees have fallen victim to the emerald ash borer, which first appeared in Connecticut in 2012. The pests have been gradually decimating the ash population across the country.
Plumtrees Road in Bethel will be paved tomorrow. The road will be closed between Rockwell Road and Old Hawleyville Road. Residents will be access, but for other motorists, detour signs will be in place.
A fight involving a machete and a baseball bat has led to charges for two Bethel residents. Police say a fight broke out early Saturday morning on Juniper Road. An officer saw 19-year old Jeimy Mendez smash a car window with a bat, and stepped in to stop her. Police also detained 27-year old Rory Rodriguez-Nunez, who was waving a machete. He allegedly hit the woman with the broad side of the weapon before police arrived. She then hit the windshield. Mendez was charged with criminal mischief. Rodriguez-Nunez was charged with beach of peace, assault and possession of a dangerous weapon.
A man accused of a road rage incident in New Milford earlier this month will be arraigned today. 48-year old Frank Conklin was charged August 10th with having weapons in his vehicle, possession of pot and drug paraphernalia, and breach of peace. He was arrested after New Milford Police responded to Park Lane on a call of a road rage incident. Police say the caller stopped to make a turn and Conklin passed on the right, allegedly yelling out his window and pointing a black object at the complainant. Police located the suspect vehicle and could smell marijuana coming from the car. Two knives, packaging material, a pipe and grinder were located.
The Washington Ambulance Association is hosting a Narcan training class tonight for first responders and members of the public. Narcan is a life-saving medication for those experiencing an opioid overdose. It's the brand name of the generic drug naloxone. There will be a brief discussion of prevention strategies, signs and symptoms of overdose, how to administer naloxone, the Good Samaritan Law, and an overview of the opioid crisis and recent drug trends. The training is being held at the Washington Fire Station from 7 to 9pm. Reservations are requested. Narcan kits will be available to those in need.
The Brookfield Veterans of Foreign Wars has renamed their new location after a Brookfield native who was killed while on duty in Iraq. 30-year old Jason Lewis, a Navy SEAL, was killed in July 2007 by an improvised explosive device during a combat mission.
The VFW space in the Sokol Lodge’s building on Candlewood Lake Road was dedicated in Lewis' name during a ceremony this weekend. The Brookfield VFW started a GoFundMe page to raise $5,000 for a plaque/memorial, shadow box, and the dedication ceremony.
Among those on hand for the dedication was Lewis’ family, VFW dignitaries, former Governor Jodi Rell, representatives for 5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes and Senator Chris Murphy, and Navy SEALS who served with Lewis.
The VFW retired their old flag and raised their new one bearing Lewis’ name. A bronze plaque mounted on a stone monument was unveiled. The dedication event was invitation only. A shadow box containing his image, as well as awards provided by his wife, will be on display.
Lewis was selected for the honor from 44 Brookfield residents who died from injuries sustained on the battlefield since the Revolutionary War.
A box of patient records being shipped to the state Department of Public Health by Western Connecticut Health Network was sent back to the hospital opened, with some contents damaged. The box was mailed via the U.S. Postal Service and broke open in June, and it was returned July 9th. Nuvance Health says out of an abundance of caution in this privacy incident, they're sending a letter to patients who may have had their name, address, date of birth, and medical record data compromised. Officials say there's no evidence the box left USPS custody until it was returned. There's no evidence the information was misused. Anyone believing they were affected by the incident, but doesn't receive a letter by August 30th is asked call (833) 762-0225, Monday through Friday, 9am - 6:30pm.
A fourth-grade math teacher at the Academy of International Studies in Danbury has been named Danbury Public School's Teacher of the Year. Matthew Calvanese says he wants students to know that math is for everyone, even if it doesn't come easily for them. He asks students to write down how they feel about the subject at the beginning of the year. By the end of the year, Calvanese says most of the negative feelings have waned and students find they enjoy math. Calvanese has been teaching in the district at AIS since 2010, was a substitute for a year before that and did his student teaching in Danbury. He earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education/psychology from Western Connecticut State University, a master’s in educational leadership from Quinnipiac University and a sixth-year certificate also in educational leadership from UConn.
A road in Bethel has been changed to one way travel. Bethel Police say vehicles on McNeil Road can only travel southbound from Hawleyville Road to Route 6. The Police commission approved the change recently, it went into effect about a week ago and signs are now in place alerting motorists to the change.
The Brookfield Public Works Department has updated the paving schedule for the remainder of the road work season. Beverly Drive is under construction while paving started last week on Obtuse Road North. Work will move to Kimberly Drive next week. Brookfield officials added Obtuse Rocks Road to the schedule. Falls, Cherry, Pasture and Old Grays Bridge road work is to be determined. The town is trying a process called Fiber Mat. If it works out well, officials say it will be a good alternative to the micro paves the town has been doing.
The Southbury Police Department is warning people holding an estate sale, and put up signs advertising the location, that they are telling everyone there are things of value at the house, which is likely to be unoccupied. This month Southbury Police responded to two burglaries at homes before an estate sale. Police are still investigating one that happened overnight on the 8th into the morning of the 9th on Homestead Road. Police say precautions should be taken, like having someone stay at the house, in order to prevent these incidents.
A Bridgeport man has been arrested for a road rage incident in Wilton. Police received a 911 call Friday morning about a vehicle that struck the side mirror of his car and continued driving aggressively. Wilton Police say the suspect eventually pulled over, got out and approached the victim on foot, holding his hand behind his back, claiming he was going to shoot the victim. 36-year old Kirk Anderson was taken into custody and no firearms were located. He was charged with Breach of Peace and Threatening, and held on bond.
The Bethel Planning and Zoning Commission has approved a water tank Long Meadow Lane and Briar Cliff Manor. The tank located in the woods of a residential area would be able to hold 500,000 gallons. The approximately $1.8 million project is expected to be paid for with a state Department of Public Health loan, paid back by water customers. The tank would provide water in the Chestnut Ridge area on peak days and during emergencies, such as a fire or water main break. Some state and local approvals are still needed.
WILTON, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut town has halted guardrail improvements following complaints about the look of new, steel barriers on some residential streets.
Wood and wire guardrails traditionally have lined the roads in Wilton, a Fairfield County town on the line with New York state. First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice imposed a moratorium on upgrades this month after residents raised issues with the aesthetics of the steel replacements.
The town had been installing steel guardrails in sections, such as along bends and near culverts, on two roads where the old guardrails were showing their age.
Public works officials say the moratorium will provide an opportunity to conduct engineering studies and assess alternative guardrail styles and whether guardrails are even needed on those roads.
Brookfield Police and EMS helped an elderly woman change a flat tire Saturday. The woman pulled into the Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company Center Station on Route 133 in the afternoon. The EMS crew from Vintech Management Service, and an off duty Brookfield Police official, jumped into action and changed her tire and got the woman on her way in short order. Fire officials say the EMS team is mission driven and community service minded, even if it means becoming a pit crew for a stranded motorist.
Nearly $3 million in bonding is up for a vote in Redding next week. Absentee ballots are now available for the special referendum on $2.95 million for road work over three years. The August 26th referendum is from 6am to 8pm at Redding Elementary School. Since the referendum is a week away, absentee ballots cannot be mailed. Voters must pick up an application for an absentee ballot in the Redding Town Clerk’s office or complete an application downloaded from the town's website and brought to the Clerk's office. Completed absentee ballots may be either hand-delivered or mailed to the Town Clerk’s Office by 5:30pm on the day of the referendum.
A Bronx man has been arrested for illegal dumping in the town of Southeast. The Putnam County Sheriff's Office says a deputy was on patrol recently along Barrett Road and came upon a large quantity of trash and construction debris dumped on County-owned property adjacent to interstate 84.
The Deputy photographed the scene and then searched through several bags for identifying garbage in order to locate the owner. In one of the bags, paperwork belonging to a Lake Carmel man was located.
The man was found and determined that the contractor had paid an independent contractor to remove waste from a construction site in Yonkers. There were roofing shingles, car tires, lawn mowers and household garbage so an Environmental Conservation Officer was called to help.
The independent contractor, 56 year old Antonio Ortiz-Zayas, later told authorities he thought Barrett Road was a free dumping site. He was issued a Littering summons and an Unlawful Disposal Summons and is due in Southeast Justice Court on August 27th. The garbage was picked up and removed by Ortiz-Zayas.
The Redding Board of Selectmen has met to discuss the Eversource Vegetation Management Program. First Selectwoman Julia Pemberton noted that Redding has 100 miles of lines and two main circuits included in the tree trimming program. The routine maintenance is done every four years.
Options to keep town residents informed of the project were discussed, including a mailed letter or door hanger, the Frequently Asked Questions section on the town website and informational sheets on types of tree trimming.
Eversource is doing enhanced tree trimming along major circuits, but in Redding most of the work is standard maintenance. There are major lines that run across town, and places off Old Redding Road, and that's where more major trimming will occur. Pemberton received a letter in the mail since her home is along the trimming route. She then received a door hangar with the name of the person to call if there are questions.
Selectman Peg O’Donnell confirmed that right-of-way plantings were completed, but said crossings were still sparse. Pemberton responded that Eversource informed the town that mountain laurel can be planted in areas if needed. Samantha Sojka from Eversource attended the meeting.
Pemberton noted that the upside to the tree trimming, is that the utility is doing a lot of work that Redding would like to do, but doesn't have the budget to complete. Eversource is taking out every dead ash tree that's a danger to their lines, including those on the opposite side of the street and in danger of falling on the lines.
Representatives from the State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection have given an update on what's being done to help municipalities that could be impacted by the opening of the Cricket Valley Energy Center next year in nearby Dover, New York. Kent Representative Maria Horn says a bill signed by the Governor this summer requires certain assistance. Horn says DEEP is already looking into the kinds of assistance that can be provided. Local officials and advocacy group say a baseline measurement needs to be established in order to see how air quality might be degraded in the coming years. Air quality monitoring devices measure ozone, fine particulate matter and oxides of nitrogen. DEEP has conceded that natural gas powered plan will contribute more pollutants into the air in at least a 50-mile radius of the facility, they just don’t know exactly where, and how much.
An act prohibiting the distribution of unsolicited marketing flyers to homes stalled in the General Assembly. It was aimed at preventing litter and the blockage of catch basins, while also limiting sales solicitations. Danbury Representative Ken Gucker advocated for the bill. A similar proposal is being considered by the Danbury City Council. They were looking into whether the City's current litter ordinance is strong enough or if a new law is needed. The group wants an ordinance worded in a way that the penalty for disobeying it will act as a preventative measure to offenders. Some Council members are concerned that unsolicited materials are a blight issue, others see it as an environmental concern. Council President Joe Cavo says there should be a new ordinance that addresses the willful throwing out of paper items from cars on to the streets.
Kent Representative Maria Horn voted for two bills during the recently completed General Assembly session dealing with bears. But neither made it further. Horn says she was disappointed and notes that there is more work to be done. She asked for constituent input and to share their stories with her about any bear interactions.
Black bears are becoming increasingly common in Connecticut as the population continues to grow and expand. Reports of bear sightings, even in heavily populated residential areas, have been on the rise. The Wildlife Division has also seen an increase in the number of reported problems with black bears. The primary contributing factor to bear nuisance problems is the presence of easily-accessible food sources near homes and businesses. Fed bears can become habituated and lose their fear of humans.
In the Greater Danbury area, New Milford had the highest number of bear sightings over the past year at 227. There were also 168 in Brookfield and 119 reported in Newtown. There were 74 reported sightings in Redding and 48 in Danbury.
A bill that would create a new tax credit for Connecticut employers that offer student loan repayment assistance has been signed into law. Wilton Senator Will Haskell says the goal is to relieve recent graduates from student loan debt and retain the state’s next generation of workers.
Individuals who refinanced their student debt through the Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority would be eligible. Employers making loan payments directly to state loan authorities, starting in 2022, can claim a credit equal to half of the payments they make during any given year.
A qualified employee must be working at least 35 hours per week at a Connecticut company, and lived in the state at least five years since graduating college. The 22-year-old freshman lawmaker says the nation’s student debut crisis is at a breaking point and that they need to come up with creative solutions for problems like these. He says this kind of strategy – which supports both employers and employees – will help.
Connecticut Realtors testified in support of the bill saying first-time homebuyers are delayed in making a purchase an average of seven years in large part due to student loan debt.
Jericho Partnership in Danbury is changing it's mission to focus on at-risk youth. Jericho 2.0 represents a renewed focus on and expanded support for students across Danbury. Officials say they will be working to close the achievement gap and helping kids overcome the obstacles they face. School administrators have invited Jericho to expand their CityServe Reading Buddy program into two, possibly three, additional elementary schools when the school year starts later this month. They will continue expansion next school year as well. Research has shown that reaching students early will give more kids the opportunity to succeed in the future. Jericho plans to also focus on expanding their Academic Tutoring Program, along with its foundational Pathways’ mentoring programs.
The New World Language Lab at a Brookfield school provides real time feedback. All Whisconier Middle School students will be able to enhance their Spanish and French education with the new World Language Mobile Lab. Officials say this technology platform will improve teachers' lab instructional time, increase language classroom use and enable communication to begin as soon as both students and teachers are logged into the platform. Students will benefit from being quickly paired up with peers for speaking practice, which will maximize class time. Teachers will be able to record and collect students' work to review and give feedback. Students also will be able to review their work products with teachers' comments to self-reflect, correct and move forward.
Brookfield Police are hoping to interact with a lot of residents today, but not for the reason you might think. The Brookfield Police Department is hosting another Coffee with a Cop event. The Department has partnered with Jesters Coffee to bring another Coffee with a Cop event to the community on August 12th. Brookfield Police encouraged residents to attend the event from 9am to 11am at the Federal Road cafe. The nationwide movement has a goal of increasing transparency and breaking down barriers between law enforcement and the community.
A special town meeting in Brookfield has been held about streetscaping. Brookfield is now competing against other projects from across the state for grant funding. After extensive review by the Western Connecticut Council of Governments, the Brookfield streetscape Phase IV was voted the top project in the region.
Town officials applied for a grant through WestCOG to pay for 80% of Phase IV, which will run from the intersection at the gas stations all the way up to Newbury Village. They plan to start this project in spring of 2021.
The Brookfield Zoning Commission recently voted to codify all of the streetscape design amenities. Project Manager Greg Dembowski says that was important so that any commercial development in this zone would have to match the amenities done in Phase I.
Two commercial developments proposed in the Phase IV area, Green Acres and the Enclave, have 600 liner feet of roadway frontage. The Enclave will be completed before the streetscaping project is done. A Special Town Meeting will be held to approve the proposed TAP grant amount of $2.4 Million. A town match of up to 20% is required, with the amount not to exceed $480,000.
The Selectmen forwarded an 8-24 Referral to the Planning Commission for the proposed Streetscape Phase IV Project. Dembowski says the $2.4 million grant does not allow for streetscaping in that 600 feet of roadway. If the development falls through or streetscaping gets ahead of the Enclave, Brookfield officials will either have to seek more money or not do streetscaping in that section.
DanburyWORKS, a collaboration of 14 community partners, has officially launched. The goal is to improve equity and the quality of life in the City. This collaboration stems from the Boston Federal Reserve’s Working Cities Challenge Grant of $450,000 awarded to Danbury last year. United Way of Western Connecticut CEO Kim Morgan says under the umbrella of DanburyWorks, people are coordinating their efforts to address the challenges of Danbury’s residents. There will be an emphasis on creating more affordable licensed childcare, with a focus on infant and toddler care. Another goal is to help people navigate English as a Second Language pathways so they can become fluent in English and improve their employability and financial stability. Officials say there's a focus on building an infrastructure that supports and builds trust.
Today is a free fishing license day. It's the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's annual saltwater fishing day. Anyone can obtain a free one-day fishing license to fish this day.
Redding officials say the free one-day license can be obtained through DEEP's website.
Connecticut has just about every type of fishing within 25 miles of just about every resident including trout, bass, pike, panfish, and saltwater species including striped bass, fluke, porgy or bluefish. Combining the annual Saltwater Fishing Day with Free Fishing License Day provides families the opportunity to plan an outing focused around fishing together as each family member 16 years of age or older can obtain a free one-day fishing license.
Presented by the Danbury Music Centre, The Charles Ives Concert Series, led by artistic director Paul Frucht and associate artistic director Jonathan Cziner returns for the final performance tonight. The Series closes at 7:30pm in a collaboration with the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra at the Ridgefield Playhouse. Ives Series Artist-Faculty and Guest Artists, led by the RSO Music Director will perform a program titled 'Transfiguration.' It will feature works that transform a traditional musical idea in a new and interesting way or that transform non-musical ideas and sounds. The four concerts featured Ives Series Guest Artists and Artist-Faculty who are recent graduates of Juilliard and several of the country's other major conservatories.
The Friends of the New Fairfield Senior Center is hosting their annual Penny Social tomorrow. The family event offers auction tickets in exchange for admission. The event is from noon to 4pm, with the raffle ending at 2pm. All proceeds benefit the New Fairfield Senior Center.
The Hubbell House Museum, located behind the New Fairfield Senior Center, is open this Sunday and again on the 25th from 1-3pm. People were urged to visit Preserve New Fairfield and find out about their next telling documentary project. Plows to Power, the current documentary on the making of Candlewood Lake, will be showing.
An investigation into marijuana trafficking in New Milford has led to the arrest of a Newtown woman. 60-year old Jeanne Abric was charged on Wednesday with possession of marijuana with intent to sell. Chief Spencer Cerruto credits the work of Police K-9 Drake and handler Officer Williams. Drake alerted to a large amount of marijuana inside the passenger compartment of the woman's car. One pound of pot was seized. New Milford Police worked with the Statewide Narcotics Task Force on the investigation. Abric was released on bond for a court appearance on the 20th.
A committee of the Danbury City Council recommended that a Charter Revision Commission be established, but at their meeting Tuesday night the item was sent back to the committee. There were additional questions about the scope of their work. City officials are polling department leaders about how to streamline government operations and any problems they face with the Charter. Not all of them have submitted that data. The Commission could be made up of 3 Republicans, 3 Democrats and 3 unaffiliated members. The City Council will vote on which recommendations to send to voters. There is no time frame for the work to happen.
The Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce is hosting a breakfast event with 5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes later this month. The first term lawmaker will talk about creating a new footprint for the district in DC. She will be the featured speaker at the breakfast on the 20th. The event is at 8am at the Candlewood Inn. Reservations are required.
Newtown Police Officer Felicia Figol has received the American Legion “Law Enforcement Officer of the Year” award for the state of Connecticut. Figol is a K9 handler in the department. Representatives Raghib Allie-Brennan and Mitch Bolinsky presented her with a proclamation recognizing her promoting public trust within the police department and for going above and beyond to protect, serve and keep Newtown residents safe.
A Bethel resident has petitioned his way onto the November ballot to run for First Selectman. Bill Ochs filed to run as an unaffiliated candidate. He is challenging Democratic incumbent Matt Knickerbocker and Republican Pat Rist, a Planning and Zoning Commission member. Ochs retired from a marketing job with Merkle, Inc. to run for office. He garnered more than the needed 48 petition signatures to appear on the ballot.
$130,000 raised by teachers, parents and the Danbury community for a handicap-accessible playground at Pembroke Elementary School will be matched by the City. The City Council accepted the donation last night and agreed to allocate $140,000 from a previously approved recreation bond to meet the needed amount.
Mayor Mark Boughton says when he was approached about this project, he knew it was something the city needed to make a reality. He added that it took some thought and creativity, but City officials were able to provide the rest of the funding needed. Boughton says he's proud to see the kindness from residents and businesses who donated to this project out of a sense of community action.
Democratic Mayoral candidate Chris Setaro congratulated Special needs teacher Leigh Viviano on their hard-fought campaign to build a playground accessible to students of all capabilities. But he added that he's deeply concerned that Mark Boughton - 90 days before an election - has decided it's time to fund a playground at a public school after 18 months of parent-organized bake sales and events to raise funds. Setaro says Danbury children should not have to go to neighboring communities just to find play equipment that is accessible.
The playground will be available to the public after school hours and on weekends.
Jericho Partnership is closing their shelter at the end of this month. Danbury City Councilman Bob Taborsak is concerned that the City is losing 14 beds for the homeless. He volunteers with Dorothy Day and sees the need for services.
The homeless shelter at 13 Maple Avenue in Danbury, operated by Good Samaritan Mission, ended day-time engagement operations on August 2nd. Health and Human Services Department Director Lisa Morrissey says they've been working with other community providers to see what resources are available. She's also been working with the state to see what funding can be granted to alleviate some of the burden the community will face.
Danbury has increased the hours at the city shelter and officials are looking to see what staffing capacity there is to meet the needs. Taborsak said he didn't know if it was true or not, but was told by visitors to Dorothy Day that the City shelter has stopped offering showers. Morrissey said she wasn't aware of any issues of people being denied showers, but would look into it.
The closure stems from Jericho’s mission realignment and renewed focus to serve Danbury’s at-risk youth and, by extension, their families. Discipleship House, a Jericho-run residential program for homeless and addicted men located at 22 Maple Avenue, will continue operations.
Jericho President Carrie Amos said in a statement on their website that the Executive Board determined that the programs that truly lead to life-change are CleanStart and Discipleship House, and not the shelter itself. Jericho staff is working to place people in other local or regional shelters; a small number of them will be invited to move into Discipleship House and engage in the long-term addiction recovery program there.
A decision on rules for religious displays on town-owned land in Bethel has been put off. The Bethel Board of Selectmen tabled the issue for more legal research.
The Committee making recommendations backed the idea of previous displays being grandfathered into their locations if they apply in future years, and every other applicant going into a lottery. The town's Attorney is looking into the proposal and was directed to report back to the Board.
The committee was formed after an uproar last December when an atheist group applied to put a banner up at PT Barnum Square wishing the town a happy holiday. It was placed near a nativity scene. Now, a resident is raising money for a menorah to celebrate Hanukkah. First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker said in a comment on the fundraising social media post that it was his opinion they shouldn't solicit funds or spend money until the policy is developed at the issue resolved.
Knickerbocker cautioned that they are taking their time in making a decision, because if they get it wrong, taxpayer dollars will be spent on legal fees. He says the Board has two options, noting that both require people to accept that a long standing cultural tradition will change.
One is to allow all holiday displays, religious or otherwise. They would need to meet certain requirements, already in place. Knickerbocker said this is truly an "all or none" proposition because the town would not be allowed to deny or censor displays based on the beliefs of the person or group who want to use the property. The other option is to not allow any religious displays on public property. He added that while the Constitution speaks to the freedom to practice religion, courts have found that there is also a duty to respect other citizens desire to be free from religion, if they so choose.
Knickerbocker wrapped up his comments by saying he will not knowingly recommend a policy that will cost tens of thousands of tax dollars in legal defense when there are other needs to attend to in town.
The New Milford Police Department will be holding an active aggressor training next week at Schaghticoke Middle School. Classes are not yet in session, so the training will take place in the area of the building that is empty, where summer staff will not be working.
Police Chief Spencer Cerruto wanted to let residents know about the training activity at the school, so they are aware that it's just an exercise. He said given the ongoing and recent tragedies across the country, they wanted to further evaluate and assess the department's level of preparedness.
He also wanted to assure parents before the school year starts that they are focused on protecting children. He notes that they are aware of the evolution and increasing frequency of these events, and have tailored their response to these situations to take immediate action to protect lives.
The police department is coordinating with Mayor Pete Bass and Superintendent Kerry Parker. Cerruto says the New Milford Police Department is committed to continually training officers to respond to all types of critical incidents, including active aggressors.
A local business is donating thousands of dollars in supplies to help fix up one of the Danbury Fire stations. The Fire Department received a donation of about $14,000 in cabinets and countertops for the kitchen of Engine 25. The donation is from Omega Kitchens and Granite. Engine 25 operates out of rented space on South King Street. They have a 20-year lease agreement from King Street Volunteer Company #14. The career portion of the building is independent with a backup emergency generator, diesel exhaust system, and a separate septic system.
A group of Danbury City Council members will look into a request for nearly $1 million to acquire two parcels of land near the airport. The Airport Administrator requested about 815-thousand dollars for the land at 89 Wooster Heights Road and 25 Miry Brook Road.
The blighted property is within the flight path of the airport and continues to be the subject of enforcement actions by the City, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and others.
The City is applying for a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration and Connecticut Aviation Administration for reimbursement. When asked why the grants aren't being sought first, officials said the FAA wants to minimize the level of uncertainty for airport projects before formally awarding a grant.
The FAA would pay 90-percent while the CAA pays 7.5, leaving the City to cover 2.5 percent. Environmental studies are needed. The estimated cost doesn't cover legal fees.
The New Fairfield Historical Society is celebrating “50 years of History” this year. The organization is hosting an Open House at the Little Red Schoolhouse on Brush Hill Road on Sunday, from 1pm 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. The schoolhouse offers a glimpse of education "days gone by" when New Fairfield was a thriving farming community.
A garage fire in Ridgefield caused big delays on Route 7 at the start of yesterday evening's commute. Firefighters responded to a single family home on Old Still Road around 4:30pm. Smoke could be seen coming from the structure, though fire officials say flames did not appear to reach the two-story home from the attached garage. No injuries were reported. The residents were not at home at the time. Firefighters were on scene for more than an hour.
Jericho Partnership in Danbury is realigning their mission, to better serve at-risk youth. Stewardship Coordinator Mark Lounsbury has been named Director of Youth Ministries, with oversight for all youth-related ministry activities. Mark Grasso, currently Executive Director of Good Samaritan Mission, will be Jericho’s Director of Operations, with oversight of adult ministries. Those services are currently under review and are being reduced.
A vigil is being held tonight at the United Methodist Church in Newtown. It's being hosted by Connecticut Against Gun Violence, Moms Demand Action and Newtown Action Alliance. The groups are calling for action in response to the latest mass shootings in Gilroy, El Paso and Dayton. The vigil is from 7 to 8pm.
Earlier this week, Monroe First Selectman Ken Kellogg was in contact with the State DOT Commissioner’s Office about the delays in addressing concerns with the landscaping at the roundabout and the lack of maintenance. The DOT has apologized to the Town of Monroe for the current conditions and the delay in response. The DOT said the contractor will clean it up by the end of this week.
A Ridgefield man who was charged with a number of crimes when police found a cache of weapons in his home is facing one less charge. A count of disorderly conduct was dropped against Mark Albin. Police responded to a domestic disturbance call from the 50-year old's son on March 28th. 16 assault weapons, 76 unregistered high-capacity magazines and 6 silencers were found. Albin still faces charges of illegal bomb manufacturing, possession of a sawed-off shotgun/silencer, illegal possession of an assault weapon and illegal possession of a large magazine. He has pleaded not guilty and is due back in court September 27th.
A one week continuance has been granted in the case of a Bristol man accused of assaulting people at MCCA in Danbury. 31-year old Aaron Bouffard was later shot and injured by police after he allegedly refused commands to drop two large butcher knives. He was unable to make yesterday's court appearance due to a medical appointment. Bouffard was charged with breach of peace, disorderly conduct, assault and threatening for allegedly fighting with staff members and clients of the alcohol and drug rehabilitation center on Old Ridgebury Road July 3rd. Bouffard is due back in court on the 14th. State Police say charges are pending related to the officer-involved shooting.
The Brookfield Police Department's dive team managed to do some good while conducting a training exercise at Candlewood Lake on Tuesday. They found two Apple watches in 25 feet of water. The watches still worked and were returned to their owners. Police say they were told the watches had been in the water for two weeks. This is not the first time Brookfield Police divers recovered lost items in the lake. Three Apple watches were also found in September 2018.
Aquarion Water Company is requesting that the City provide water to the company's Pearce Manor System. Danbury has provided a temporary Interconnection due to recent water quality concerns.
The system provides water service to 51 Danbury residents on Saddle Rock Road and Abigail Road. The average daily demand is about 6,600 gallons. Aquarion has requested entering into a long term agreement with the City.
Aquarion plans to abandon the wells due to ongoing water quality concerns and low pressure in the system. Customers would be served entirely from purchased water supplied by the Danbury Water System if an agreement is reached. The city has reached similar agreements for other lake communities.
The issue was sent to an ad hoc committee of the City Council.
Work continues at Danbury High School to resurface the track. Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola says they ran into some unforeseen conditions, requiring additional work. The crew is working almost 7 days a week to get the job done, and working with the school to try to accommodate sports practice and competitions. He says everyone understands the scope of the work and that there needs to be some compromises on the football field's use. Classes resume August 28th.
As New Milford officials continue to look at ways to improve Park Security for the health of our residents, animals, and the environment some new protocols have been put in place. Mayor Pete Bass is highlighting changes at Carlson's Grove and Clatter Valley aimed at keeping the parks safe and maintainable for use. Any New Milford resident can show a driver's license or other photo proof of residency and will be admitted at no charge. Any other person wanting to use the parks is asked to go to the Parks and Rec office at Pettibone Community Center and purchase a permit sticker. That's also the requirement at Lynn Deming and Addis Park. New Milford Police and the Park Ranger will continue to monitor the Parks and enforce the rules. There is no alcohol nor loud music allowed in the Parks.
The Danbury Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team has Clean Start work crew on duty with them every other week to complete various clean up tasks around the city. The program provides homeless people with gift cards for supervised litter collection. UNIT officials told members of the City Council Tuesday night that the crew was instrumental in completing exterior landscaping improvements at the Fire Training Academy on Plumtrees Road, cleaning graffiti off of bridges, signs and walls, cleaning litter and garbage dumped on streets and neighborhoods, and cleaning up a homeless site. There was a tattered tent, old clothes, and garbage found in an area hidden in the woods. UNIT officials say while the clean up might not be noticed by residents, it sends a message to the homeless population that it will not be tolerated.
The Ives Series continues in Danbury tonight at 7:30pm at the Marian Anderson Recital Hall at the Danbury Music Centre for a concert entitled 'Celestial Mechanics.' It's built around George Crumb's famous piece, a four-hands piano work from which selections will be performed. The piece physically alters the sound of the piano to create a unique sound. Other pieces that thematically deal with ascent and/or descent into the heavens, will also be performed.
West Conn students could again be used for some work in the Danbury Health and Human Services Department. The City Council has signed off on a Student Educational Training Affiliation Agreement.
The resolution is a renewal of an agreement with West Conn to have students work on the various services of the Department, as part of their instruction and education program. Health Director Lisa Morrissey says if the students were paid employees, the average value is just over $60,000 a year.
The students put in 450 hours over the course of a semester. Students come to the City for the fall, spring and summer sessions.
Morrissey says this provides a training and educational experience outside the classroom for a variety of disciplines. The students are typically in degree programs like nursing, health administration, business and communications.
The Ridgefield Police Department continues to investigate the string of criminal mischief incidents that happened last month. Car windows were smashed, mailboxes damaged and American flags burned on the night of July 8th on Barrack Hill Road, Golf Lane, Armand Place, Walnut Hill Road, and Pin Pack Road. Witnesses described a suspect vehicle as being a gray Jeep Wrangler. One suspect may have had dark hair and the other blond, curly hair. Ridgefield Police have interviewed victims and witnesses, canvassed the area, researched similar vehicles, and examined photos and surveillance video. At this time no probable cause has been developed. Anyone with information is asked to to call Capt. Terzian at 203-438-6531.
The Redding Town Clerk is reminding college students that now is the time to complete an application for an absentee ballot. Any students headed away for school in the fall, but want to vote in the November municipal election, should drop off the application or mail it to the town clerk's office. The ballot will then be mailed out around October 4th. Anyone not registered to vote can complete a registration form at the Redding Town Clerk’s Office, download the form from town website, or register online through the state's website.
The United Way sponsored Mobile Food Pantry will be in New Milford on Wednesday from 5:30 to 6:30 pm, in the north parking lot of Faith Church. Everyone is welcome to participate in the free food distribution. Participants are asked to bring shopping bags.
Dog waste stations have been re-installed on the rail trail in Ridgefield. They were removed in the spring because they weren't being emptied and were over run with filled bags. The Ridgefield Press reports Tim McClean, a 2012 Ridgefield High School graduate, volunteered to change out the dog waste bags around town that had gone unattended. The signs and waste baskets have now been re-installed.
$130,000 raised by teachers, parents and the Danbury community for a handicap-accessible playground at Pembroke Elementary School will be matched by the City. The City Council accepted the donation last night and agreed to allocate $140,000 from a previously approved recreation bond to meet the needed amount. If more donations to the project are received, the City could lower its contribution.
The Department of Public Works will provide labor for this project and plans to have it completed this fall. The City's Finance Director did not have an estimate of how much that would costing, noting there is a lot of volunteer work that will be done. Some Council members questioned using open space bond money for this purpose, but were reminded that it's an open space and recreation bond.
Special needs teacher Leigh Viviano led the fundraising initiative to addressed repair needs, and bring an ADA compliant playground to students with special needs--so they could have a safe place to play.
The playground will be available to the public after school hours and on weekends.
Selected areas of Lake Zoar in Newtown will be chemically treated with Diquat herbicide, targeting the aquatic nuisance plants Eurasian watermilfoil and curlyleaf pondweed. The treatment is tentatively scheduled for Thursday.
The lake shoreline in the treatment areas and at public access sites now have printed signs up alerting visitors. A map showing the specific treatment areas has been posted at the State Boat Ramp and at other public access sites.
The signs also list temporary water use restrictions including no swimming in treated areas on the day of treatment. There should be no use of treated lake water for drinking purposes, irrigating turf or ornamentals for 3 days, no use for livestock or domestic animal consumption for 1 day, and no use for irrigating food crops or production ornamentals for 5 days.
These temporary water use restrictions apply only to the areas treated and affected by treatment.
After the carnival at the mall left Danbury, it was noted that a significant amount of garbage had been left behind near the train tracks where the trailers had been parked. The Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team spent a morning cleaning the area and sent a note to mall management requesting assistance to ensure that it does not happen again. UNIT Director Shawn Stillman says they apologized and contacted the carnival company, getting an assurance that it would not happen again.
The Connecticut Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security is hosting Ice Jam Workshops for town personnel and residents. The Division is working with Connecticut Silver Jackets Team, an interagency flood risk management team to offer the workshops for free.
They will be held in municipalities along the Housatonic and Connecticut Rivers. Two of the workshops are being held at the Kent Fire Department on Maple Street this afternoon and tonight.
Subject matter experts from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory and the National Weather Service will cover a variety of mitigation and response topics.
An ice jam last January was two miles long and caused Route 7 to close for several days. Students were evacuated from the Kent School as the private boarding school campus flooded.
(Photos: KVFD Assistant Chief Gary Hock, Facebook)
A funding reduction has been approved for the design phase of the Redding Telecommunications Upgrade Project. There was a change in the scope of the project. First Selectwoman Julia Pemberton says that's led to a reduction of $4,680, split by the four involved parties. Selectman Mike Thompson questioned if all fire departments were on board with the project and was told that this is just a reduction in the design phase. He suggested a meeting with representatives from all fire departments. Pemberton noted that Northeast Communications is available to advise where technical competency is needed. PerCon will be invited to attend a meeting in September.
A fire at Brookside Commons in New Milford has displaced 4 families. A kitchen fire in one unit on Thomas Lane was reported Monday night. The sprinkler system and homeowner extinguished the grease fire, but the sprinkler water got into the three apartments below. The 4 units housed 5 adults and 3 children. The American Red Cross is providing assistance to the families.
A 4th and final arrest has been made in connection to a Wilton jewelry store heist in 2017. Police took 39-year old Jorge Miranda into custody at a correctional center in New York. The Astoria Queens man was extradited back to Connecticut to face felony larceny charges. Police say Miranda and three others carried out a distraction-type theft at Campus Jewelers in Wilton. They made off with $21,000 worth of merchandise. He is due in Court on the 15th.
With Congress on recess, 4th District Representative Jim Himes is spending the day travelling around southwestern Connecticut. He made a stop in Wilton at the YMCA to see the progress of their $8-million renovation project.
When the Building New Stories Project is completed this coming, the state-of-the-art facility will feature a wellness center, double it's current size. It will have new strength and cardio training equipment as well. The locker rooms are being modernized, close to the new Fitness Center and the 25-yard pool with large family changing areas and accessible space for seniors and people with special needs. The YMCA is also constructing four dedicated group exercise studios, a Kids Club room for babysitting and an expanded lobby.
There will be a new drop off zone in the parking lot with a walking path from the bridge to the main entrance.
A Southbury Girl Scout is working on her Gold Award, the highest achievement in the scouts program. Pomperaug High School senior Grace Steenburgh installed a sign in the Southbury Police Station parking lot to create a "Safe Exchange Zone." The well-known area under complete video surveillance can be a place for people to complete an online purchase, through Facebook tag sale, Craigslist, and other similar sites. It could also be a safe area for child custody issues. Steenburgh hopes this helps Southbury residents better their education about the dangers surrounding certain exchanges and what to do to prevent that danger.
More details are being released by the Danbury Fire Department about an incident of fireworks burning out of control, firing on their own. In a report to the City Council tonight, fire officials described their response to a private fireworks show on July 6th on the JV baseball outfield, behind a home on Beckerle Street. Some of the cakes were misfiring from the side of the tubes. Danbury Police, a bomb technician and the State Police Fire Marshal’s division were also on scene. State Police bomb technicians disposed of the undetonated material, the remaining were soaked with water and disposed of in an on-site dumpster.
Prostitution related charges have been brought against a Danbury man and woman. Police responded to a call about suspicious activity in the West and Stevens streets area Thursday night. Police charged 34-year old Marcos Ribeiro-Morais with patronizing a prostitute and breach of peace. 37-year old Jennifer Bailey, who is homeless, was charged with prostitution, larceny and breach of peace. She was arraigned yesterday. Ribeiro-Morais will be in court tomorrow.
4th District Congressman Jim Himes recently returned from a visit to the Republic of Colombia and Panama where he met with government officials and United States support staff working to end the drug trade and associated violence in South and Central America as well as the United States.
Himes also visited the Venezuelan border with Colombia. Himes says instability in Venezuela has helped contribute to the strength of the drug market and cartels as well as ease the flow of drugs into Mexico and, subsequently, the United States. In 2018, more than 2,000 tons of cocaine came out of Colombia, which accounts for more than 70% of the world supply. It’s estimated that the number of cocaine users in the United States has risen by 40% between 2014 and 2017. During the same period, deaths from cocaine increased 160%.
Himes noted that it's not just cocaine coming into the US through shipping containers and fast boats; it’s also Fentanyl, which is deadly on its own and sometimes cut into cocaine.
A car break in is under investigation in Sherman. The Resident State Trooper received a call Saturday morning from a Quaker Ridge Road resident of a theft from their car. State Police Troopers discovered that the homeowners vehicle had a broken front passenger window, and that the vehicle had been rummaged through. Items were taken between midnight and 10am. Anyone with information is asked to contact Trooper Tate at 860-354-3715.
A 10-wheeler has rolled-over in Redding. The accident happened shortly after noon yesterday on Georgetown Road at the intersection of Routes 57 and 107. Redding police, fire and EMS responded to the scene, with mutual aid from Bethel and Georgetown EMS. The male truck driver had to be extricated from the vehicle. A guide rail appeared to have been damaged in the crash. The road was closed well into the evening.
Another of the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce, Women's Business Council Mini-Conversations Series takes place tonight at Danbury Hospital. The Let's Talk Ladies, women's health event features a question and answer session with medical experts and is a chance to connect with women's health professionals. Topics for the evening will include cancer care, cardiac care, gynecological care, sexual health and primary care medicine. Participants are asked to park in the Rizzo garage and take the elevator to the first floor, following signs to the Gerard D Robilotti Conference Center. Refreshments will be served. Participants are asked to RSVP online. It's from 5 to 7pm. Free for chamber members, $10 for non-members.
The Bethel Board of Selectmen is slated to discuss recommendations tonight from the Religious Display Committee. The group voted to recommend that displays on P.T. Barnum Square and other town approved property only take up a third of the designated property. The committee also narrowly 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. Tonight's Board of Selectmen meeting is at 7pm in the Bethel Municipal Center.
KENT, N.Y. (AP) The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing a Superfund cleanup of a neighborhood in Putnam County contaminated with arsenic from a 19th-century mine.
The contamination first came to the agency's attention in 1987 when two residents were hospitalized with arsenic poisoning from their well water in Kent, 50 miles north of New York City.
The EPA installed a tank for trucked-in water at their home. Officials did soil testing in 2017 after the alternative water supply was contaminated with arsenic.
High soil levels of the toxic metal in the 12-acre area prompted a health advisory this past April. EPA crews covered some yards with wood chips and stone to prevent contact.
The agency says it didn't propose a soil cleanup in the 1980s because it was asked only to investigate and protect drinking water.
But the recent discovery of contaminated soil has it taking further steps now.
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 protest tonight outside City Hall. 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. The demonstration is 6 to 7:30pm, leading up to the City Council meeting. Only two municipalities in Connecticut have a ban on animal circuses. They are Bridgeport and Stamford.
Funding has been approved for the Redding Mile of the Norwalk River Valley Trail. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has granted the town $300,000 for the construction. Stuart Green of the Conservation Commission said estimates and proposals will be submitted. First Selectman Julia Pemberton says possible design/engineering and construction firms need to be reviewed. The state Department of Transportation requires full drawings and maps of the entire section. The town also wanted a legal review of the environmental hazard clause in the contract. Timber and Stone prepared construction documents about three years ago, and cost increases since then were factored into when applying for the grant.
Given the shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Connecticut State Police are reminding residents that if they find themselves in an active shooter situation, RUN HIDE FIGHT, whichever is the safest. People should call or text 911 when it’s safe to do so.
Connecticut State Police say there was no known threat to the state. Emergency officials say the public should remain vigilant, aware of their surroundings at both public gatherings and businesses.
Governor Lamont has directed flags to be lowered as a mark of solemn respect for the victims of this weekend’s mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton. U.S. and state flags in Connecticut will fly at half-staff until sunset on Thursday.
Senator Richard Blumenthal believes Congress should be called back into session, cutting short the August recess, in order to take steps to stop gun violence. He believes Extreme Risk Protection Orders, like Connecticut's Red Flag law, is within realist reach. Republican Senator Lindsay Graham also called for Emergency Risk Protection Orders. Blumenthal says momentum is building for more states to deal with people who are dangerous to themselves or others—taking forceful action to forestall imminent risk and fulfill due process.
He says Congress must seize the moment.
Senator Chris Murphy released a statement on Sunday following the shootings over the weekend in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. He says this carnage is preventable and called on his colleagues to go beyond expressing words of sympathy and concern. He acknowledged that they can't fix the entire gun violence epidemic – which took dozens of other lives this weekend, in homicides, suicides, and accidental shootings – overnight, but can at least try to start.
He questioned why members of Congress run for office if they aren't prepared to pass laws that make people safer.
A Putnam County Police K9, usually used for accelerant detecting, took to the water of Lake Mahopac. The Sheriff's office says K9 Char found a way to beat the heat by accompanying his handler, Sgt. Lombardo, as he patrolled the lake. Char was wearing a safety vest and the Sheriff's Office encouraged people to follow the safety trend and wear their own life jacket while out on the water.
A large gasoline spill in Brookfield closed part of Route 7 yesterday afternoon. Brookfield firefighters responded to the southbound lanes to help clean up the spill from a truck. 15 to 20 gallons of fuel leaked from a ruptured tank leaving puddles of gas along the shoulder. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and State Police were notified. About a quart mile of roadway was blocked off to slow traffic on the highway to protect crews cleaning up the spill.
Guide rails have been put up along part of Federal Road in Brookfield. Police say they were placed along the east shoulder of the roadway, from just North of the northbound exit 12 ramp to just beyond the intersection of Laurel Hill Road. Police say this will help keep errant vehicles from leaving the roadway and traveling down the embankment in the direction of the Still River Greenway Trail as it parallels Federal Road in this area. The installation was the result of discussions between the Town of Brookfield and the Connecticut Department of Transportation.
Volunteer Fire officials in Oxford are looking for information about who may have vandalized a field where their annual carnival is held. The Quaker Farms Fire Company sets up the carnival at the schools, and is responsible for maintaining the grounds. After the fireworks on Thursday night, someone drove over the field. Officials say it's going to cost more to re-sod the field than they made in profit during the entire carnival.
Sandy Hook Promise just helped introduce new legislation in Congress to prevent school shootings and protect more children from gun violence. The bill is called the STANDUP Act, and it would bring gun violence prevention programs to more school nationwide. This includes ones like their Know the Signs programs, which has helped avert multiple shooting threats. Sandy Hook Promise officials say school shootings are preventable, with gunmen telling someone about their plans beforehand in 80% of cases. This bill would allow more students and educators to access violence prevention programs so they know how to recognize those warning signs and intervene in time to save lives.
New Milford Police, Parks and Rec and others have been working with Eversource and First Light Power on littering and safety issues at Carlson's Grove and elsewhere. Additional signage has been posted alerting users that the permitted Park requires a Town Sticker/Proof or residence. Non-residents must register and pay a permit fee at the Park and Rec office.
There is no Alcohol or Loud Music allowed. Video surveillance along with additional police and Park Patrols will monitor the area.
More garbage cans have also been installed after an inspection turned up broken glass, garbage and human excrement. New Milford Mayor Pete Bass called it a safety issues that effects residents, animals and the environment. Anyone not obeying Park Rules will Be removed.
There are littering and safety issues at the Gaylordsville pull off as well. It's private property, so New Milford is working with Eversource to put up proper gating and signage. New Milford Police will also be stepping up patrols to monitor the area, and tow illegally parked cars.
A young man was trapped beneath a vehicle after the jack failed Saturday afternoon. Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Company responded around 2:30pm and found the man conscious and alert, but unable to move. Firefighters used their HURST Jaws of Life hydraulic spreaders and the T and J Rescue Enterprises TL-9 stabilization device to lift the vehicle off the young man. The patient ultimately refused transport to the hospital after being evaluated by EMS on scene.
SOUTHINGTON, Conn. (AP) - About 500 children from across Connecticut swam, bicycled and ran in the sixth annual statewide Race4Chase youth triathlon.
Saturday's event at the YMCA's Camp Sloper marked the finale of a summer fitness program founded by the family of a boy killed in the Sandy Hook shootings.
Seven-year-old Chase Kowalski had competed in his first youth triathlon just months before he was shot to death along with 25 others at the Connecticut elementary school in December 2012.
Rebecca Kowalski says she and her husband, Steve, started Race4Chase because they wanted to honor their son's memory with something that focused on families, health and wellness.
The program has expanded from three camps in 2013 to 27 sites in Connecticut, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Washington D.C.
DANBURY, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut prison guard is facing her first court appearance since being accused of improperly exchanging letters with an inmate and lying about a bringing a cellphone into the facility.
Oxford resident Jennie Reese is set to be arraigned Tuesday in Danbury Superior Court on charges of taking unauthorized items into Garner Correctional Institution in Newtown and making a false statement.
Reese is accused of sneaking in a phone to show explicit photos to an inmate who alleged he had a sexual encounter with her.
Reese has denied having inappropriate contact with the inmate. She’s been free on $1,000 bail since her July 23 arrest.
Correction Department officials say officers are not allowed to have phones in the facilities and corresponding with inmates is prohibited unless they have written authorization.
The Dominican Softball League has donated material and labor for a batting cage in Danbury. It would be placed between the tennis courts and Field 1 at Rogers Park. The donation is valued at $1,400. The Danbury Recreation Department says this is an important addition to the complex, allowing an area for players to warm up before games, while improving the safety of spectators. Councilman Fred Visconti says there are enough quality of life issues in the area during the summer and believes the improvement would only bring more crowding and noise problems. Visconti asked for the Parks and Rec Director, or someone from the police department, to look into the double parking on Lions Way during the weekend and on weekends. He commended police for controlling noise and street racing.
Brookfield is looking to make the Energy Ad Hoc Committee a permanent body. Attorney Tom Beecher drafted an Ordinance to create a permanent Energy Advisory Board. A Public Hearing has been scheduled on the item for tonight at 6:45pm. The new, five-member board would give feedback on renewable energy and how the town could be more energy efficient.
Danbury Police have arrested a Stamford man for an alleged 2013 sex assault of a child. Police charged 40-year old Larry Bowman with two counts for having sex with a victim between the age of 13 and 15. The Connecticut Post reports that Police had the warrant since 2013, but it was only served when Bowman was arrested in Stamford last week and that department determined there was a warrant for his arrest from Danbury. Police there were responding to a medical call. He had outstanding warrants in Stamford as well, for burglary and larceny. He was held on $100,000 bond.
The Danbury Police Department is among the law enforcement agencies participating in the "U Drive. U Text. U Pay." campaign. Now through August 15th, officers will be out in force. Fines in Connecticut for violations begin at $150 for a first offense, increase to $300 for a second offense, and are $500 for subsequent violations. Danbury Police say texting has become one of the most common, pervasive forms of distracted driving, and too many drivers are succumbing to this deadly and illegal habit.
The New Fairfield Senior Center is hosting an informational about a state program offering low income seniors a way to obtain necessary services without being placed in a nursing facility. The event is sponsored by New Fairfield Social Services. Connecticut Community Cares Inc., a care management organization, has partnered with the state for this program. A Care Manager will make the presentation at the New Fairfield Senior Center Library at 1pm on August 12th.
The 13th Annual Danbury Railway Days are this weekend. The event features free train rides and a chance to operate a vintage locomotive. The educational activities start at 10am Saturday, noon on Sunday, ending both days at 5pm. Train rides will beheld hourly. Admission to the museum is $12 for ages 3 and up, free for current or retired railroad employees showing proper identification. The train will stop at the old New Haven RR turntable, built circa 1914 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, where visitors will detrain and hear a discussion about the use and history of the only power-operated turntable in Connecticut, currently undergoing a significant restoration.
As the summer months progress, Redding Police caution that there will be a number of charity rides and foot races in town and to plan travel accordingly. The Freedom Isn’t Free Ride fundraiser for veterans will take place today. Hundreds of motorcyclists will be riding through area towns. Impacted roads will be Routes 58, 107 and 53.
5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes, a former teacher, assigned her interns a capstone project. The project serves as a culminating academic and intellectual experience for students, typically during their senior year of High School. One intern, Maggie O'Leary, planned and executed a self-defense presentation in partnership with Jane Doe No More and Girls Inc of Western Connecticut. Hayes says the goal is to leave the students better than when they came.
Demolition of the old train station canopy in Bethel has begun. First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says the historic structure will be rebuilt to its original specifications in a few weeks.
He spoke with Metro North officials earlier this year about getting a trained flagger for the work, but was told there was so much construction along the branch line that there weren't enough to go around. That was according to federal railroad rules. That prompted the delay, until now.
Track resurfacing is under way at Bethel High School. Knickerbocker says the work is scheduled to be completed and the track reopened to the public by weeks end.
A chain reaction crash on I-84 in Danbury yesterday afternoon sent 5 people to the hospital and caused lane closures and heavy traffic.
State Police say 37-year old Edan Kaminsky of New Jersey rear ended a van, which was slowing for traffic, between exits 4 and 5. The van was pushed into two other vehicles. He was issued a ticket for following too closely.
The van's driver, Kaminsky and his three passengers -- an adult, an infant and a toddler -- were all transported to the hospital.
The accident eastbound happened around 2:45pm. The van sustained significant damage to both its hood and rear end. Two cars were able to be driven from the scene, while the rental car and the van were towed. A couple of ambulances were dispatched to the scene.
There were also rubbernecking delays westbound.
A New Milford man has been arrested for allegedly stabbing another man yesterday at a Grove Street home. Police responded to reports of an altercation between three men shortly after 8:30am yesterday. Police determined that 27-year old Dion Bernier stabbed the 28-year-old victim with a large folding knife. The victim was transported to the hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. Bernier was also charged with tampering with evidence. The incident remains under investigation. Bernier is due in Danbury Superior Court today.
The state Department of Transportation has announced that the new contractor for the Route 37 widening and realignment project will begin mobilizing to restart the work on Monday. An informational meeting was held earlier this week by Representatives Ken Gucker and David Arconti to give residents a chance to ask question about the stalled project in the Stacey and Barnum roads area. The work is expected to take a year to complete. The current y intersection at Stacey Road will be made into a signalized t-intersection. Barnum and Route 37 will be widened to allow traffic to pass by cars waiting to make left turns. Sight line improvements are also planned.
A Sandy Hook man who reportedly flashed a gun at another driver during an alleged road rage incident has been charged. Newtown Police responded to the call Tuesday evening. The Newstimes reports that the victim said a man on a motorcycle unsnapped his gun holster as she watched near Ole Bridge Road at Bancroft Road. Police investigated and determined that the gun was not removed from its holster. But 51-year old Robert Stone was charged with illegal possession of a large capacity magazine and breach of peace. The magazine was obtained prior to April 5th, 2013, so Stone was issued an infraction. He is due in Court August 13th.
Monroe police have arrested a Waterbury man for a 2015 attempted motorcycle theft. The Connecticut Post reports that 33-year old Andrew Dwyer was connected to the crime through DNA evidence processed by the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection’s Scientific Services Division. Police say two men tried to steal a motorcycle from a Maple Drive home in April 2015. The men were scared off and ran into the woods, but only one was found. Dwyer was charged Monday with criminal attempted larceny, conspiracy to commit larceny, burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary, criminal mischief and criminal trespass. He was held on bond for an August 8th court appearance.
Gender neutral leadership titles for people in Southbury town government are being recommended by the Board of Selectmen. The idea was presented to the Board at their meeting last night as part of proposed Charter revisions. The Board asked that the town counsel work with the commission to make sure the powers and responsibilities of the current board stay in place while the change is made. The change could mean a Select Board, Selectperson and chairperson, though the actual titles haven't been finalized. Charter revisions will be voted on by Southbury residents in November. Proponent say gender specific language is not inclusive, outdated and could discourage women from seeking municipal positions. Opponents say the change is not needed.
Newtown officials are highlighting an ordinance that's already in effect, but has a grace period. The legislative Council adopted the Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance June 5th. Public notice was issued the same month, and took effect June 28th. The language gave a 4 month time period to allow retailers to use up their existing inventory. The "operative date" in the ordinance is October 28th. The ordinance text is posted online in the Code Book section of the town website under "new laws" and copies are available in the Town Clerks Office.
Good Samaritans have helped to save a man's life in Newtown. Police were dispatched to Mt Pleasant Road Saturday morning to investigate the report of a possible pedestrian struck by a motor vehicle.
A police investigation determined that the man had not been hit by a car, as first thought, but had suffered some type of a medical emergency as he was riding his bike up the hill.
Bystanders were performing CPR, but when Police arrived in the area of Tory Lane they took over. Hawleyville Firefighters arrived with an AED machine and provided shocks to man. Newtown Ambulance arrived to provide further medical assistance and transport the man to Danbury Hospital.
The man survived and is expected to make a full recovery and already has made arrangements to have his bicycle picked up from the police department.
Newtown Police spokesman Lt. Aaron Bahamonde says he's been around a long time and has never witnessed an individual in this man's condition come back the way he did. He said it truly was a miracle and the direct result of good Samaritans, first responders and help from above coming together that this man is alive today.
The Gas Pump Canopy installation at the Brookfield Town Garage is substantially complete. Officials say it will keep the users dry during inclement weather, and prolong the life of the pumping mechanism and controls. The canopy is lighted for night use when the Brookfield Public Works crews are out on snow plow duty during late night winter storms. Meanwhile the state Department of Transportation has agreed to a request by the town for the part of the Still River Greenway abutting a state road. The DOT will place a guardrail along Federal Road, coming into the Town Center.
Burnham Library in Bridgewater is undergoing a massive renovation. The lower level Junior Library is getting an overhaul. Library officials say the project has been made possible by the generosity of a Bridgewater resident and pediatrician, and the facility will be named in her honor. The new Susie Beris M.D. Youth Learning Center will offer a fresh, inviting and flexible space complete with a revised layout, new circulation desk and other furnishings, makerspace and a play area for children. There will also be a computer and study area, as well as a meeting/programming space and kitchenette. The project is expected to be completed in mid-October. A selection of Junior Room materials will be available in the temporary Junior Room Annex in the Vestibule of the Burnham Library during construction.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The maker of the rifle used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its appeal of a Connecticut court ruling that reinstated a wrongful death lawsuit against the company.
Remington Arms filed its request Thursday. It cited a 2005 federal law that shields gunmakers in most cases from liability when their products are used in crimes.
The gunman used a Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle in December 2012. A survivor and relatives of nine victims sued the Madison, North Carolina, gun maker.
The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in March that Remington could be sued under state law over how it marketed the rifle to the public.
The Danbury City Council has given the Mayor the authority to secure funding for a study of connecting the old Maybrook line to the Southeast Metro North train station.
Councilman Irving Fox noted that a joint Task Force was set up with Putnam County, primarily to extend the sewer line up Route 6, and says the group could be used to get regional cooperation. He says that would provide a larger voice to get this project done. Fox added that it would primarily be used to get commuters to New York, but it could work in reverse to bring people to downtown Danbury.
Councilman Bob Taborsak was concerned with language in the proposal, specifically where it said that the Mayor would be authorized to take any further necessary steps. He questioned if a City allocation is needed, if the Council would get to vote. Taborsak was told that the Council would have to act on any further activity.
Councilman John Esposito supports the study, but wondered if the proposal includes a traffic impact study. It's a full analysis of ridership, impact on I-84, impact on the Southeast station and what physically needs to happen to the old rail line. The downtown traffic study could be an addendum.
A person was stabbed in New Milford this morning. Police and EMTs were dispatched to a home on Grove Street around 8:45 this morning. A man was reportedly stabbed in the stomach in an incident reported as a domestic dispute. The man was transported to Danbury Hospital. New Milford Police say they have made an arrest.
Bethel firefighters participated in a training exercise yesterday. Connecticut Custom Fire Training hosted the Rapid Intervention class using a system to remove an unconscious firefighter from above grade. Members learned how to cutdown a window for rapid removal of a downed firefighter. A Bethel construction company owner, Steve Demarco, allowed firefighters to use his building for the real life hands on training that can’t be duplicated at any fire school.
There was an attic fire in Easton last night. Firefighters were dispatched to a home on Tuckahoe Road just before 6pm. Firefighters could see heavy smoke across the road and fire showing from the home's eves. Crews from Easton and Trumbull gained entry and moved to the second floor to attack the fire knocking, down the flames. Crews from Easton Trumbull and Fairfield overhauled the area to ensure the fire was contained to the attic. Weston Fire covered the fire station.
A gas line was struck at a senior living complex in Ridgefield yesterday. The construction crew at Atria hit the line shortly after noon, forcing the closure of Old Quarry Road. Officials say this is the second time in a month that the contractor hit a gas line and caused the road to close. The other incident was July 8th.
RIDGEFIELD, Conn. (AP) The Chefs' Warehouse Inc. (CHEF) on Wednesday reported second-quarter net income of $7.7 million.
The Ridgefield, Connecticut-based company said it had profit of 26 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs, came to 33 cents per share.
The distributor of specialty food products posted revenue of $411.4 million in the period.
Chefs' Warehouse expects full-year earnings in the range of 96 cents to $1.05 per share, with revenue in the range of $1.57 billion to $1.61 billion.
Chefs' Warehouse shares have climbed 14% since the beginning of the year. In the final minutes of trading on Wednesday, shares hit $36.47, a rise of 35% in the last 12 months.
DANBURY, Conn. (AP) Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. (ETH) on Wednesday reported a fiscal fourth-quarter loss of $3.3 million, after reporting a profit in the same period a year earlier.
The Danbury, Connecticut-based company said it had a loss of 12 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs, came to 46 cents per share.
The results did not meet Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of three analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 50 cents per share.
The home furnishings company posted revenue of $183.9 million in the period, which also did not meet Street forecasts. Three analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $198.6 million.
For the year, the company reported profit of $25.7 million, or 96 cents per share. Revenue was reported as $746.7 million.
Ethan Allen shares have climbed 17% since the beginning of the year. In the final minutes of trading on Wednesday, shares hit $20.59, a drop of 8.5% in the last 12 months.
A public hearing for the proposed school building projects in New Fairfield will be held tonight. The New Fairfield Board of Education will host the discussion at the high school auditorium at 7pm. A new Consolidated School could be located near Meeting House Hill School and that the High School would be razed, with a new building constructed nearby. Municipal official say because the state is more likely to contribute grant funding for new construction, rather than repairs, it would be more economical to construct new buildings.
The Redding Highway Department will be doing road work on Topstone Road and Diamond Hill Road today. Motorists should expect delays and temporary closures, and should seek alternate routes if possible. All of the work is weather dependent. Topstone is part of the detour route for people to get around work being done at the Long Ridge Road railroad crossing. The 18 day closure for that project comes to an end Monday.
Days after Danbury Police launched an investigation into dogs being sold under false pretenses, an eviction notice has been posted at Puppy Kisses. The notice says the pet store must vacate the Federal Road space by next Thursday. The business is owned by a Missouri couple, Ray and Alysia Rothman. The landlord, who owns Widow Brown's Cafe next door, told the Newstimes that they didn't pay July rent, were late on rent the last couple of months, and hadn't paid the garbage hauling fee for three months. 20 to 30 puppies were allegedly sold for 100 dollars each under false pretenses over the weekend. No one has been charged with wrongdoing in the case.
A Bethel man pulled over for a routine traffic stop ended up giving police his brother's name. State Police say a Trooper saw an unsafe lane change on I-84 in Southbury Monday night, and discovered the license plate belonged to another vehicle. The driver was pulled over and later determined to be 37-year old Jesse Belansky. He was found in possession of 10 bags of suspected heroin. Belansky was charged with possession of a controlled substance, improper passing, misuse of a marker plate, criminal impersonation, operating an unregistered vehicle, and failure to have insurance. He was arraigned Tuesday and due back in court August 13th.
The Brookfield Police Department has again partnered with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Connecticut Department of Transportation for a "spotter based" distracted driving enforcement. Brookfield Police officers will be out in full force today through August 15th for the campaign, which is a national high visibility effort to enforce distracted driving laws. Police say this campaign is conducted with zero tolerance for those violating Connecticut’s distracted driving laws and reminding drivers: cellphone in one hand, ticket in the other.
The town of Brookfield has hired the contractor for Phase II of the Streetscape project, which will extend improvements on both sides of Federal Road from Best Buys Discount Tires to the former Hearth restaurant. The town has a grant that covers more than two-thirds of the cost.
Construction started earlier this month. Four loads of granite recently got delivered. Construction should be completed within three months.
The lowest qualified contract of five that came in was from the same contractor that did Phase I. The biggest difference between the two sections is a crosswalk with flashing beacons, bus shelter and shrubbery among other amenities.
Phase I of the Streetscape project set the model for future portions.
Phase III is the first part that will be mostly on a town-owned road, not a state-owned road. Project Manager Greg Dembowski says that will give Brookfield officials more flexibility on what can be done in order to save money. He says that could mean narrowing the road or shifting the road to avoid moving a lot of utilities.