Local Headlines Archives for 2019-10

Putnam County Sheriff's Office supporting United for the Troops

The Putnam County Sheriff's Office is supporting United for the Troops.  The organization sends care packages to members of the armed forces, that they say they missed the most.  United for the Troops asks for single serving sizes of food items, but no glass jars or aerosol cans.  Among the items requested are chex mix, instant oatmeal, gum and lifesavers, and deodorant, chap stick and eye drops.  Anyone who would like to donate should use the drop off box at the Sheriff's Office.  They are collecting until November 15th.

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Household Hazardous Collection Days scheduled for Saturday

The final Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Day of the year will be held on Saturday. 

It's for residents of the HRRA region: Bethel, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Danbury, Kent, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Redding, Ridgefield and Sherman.  The collection is from 9am to 2pm at the Danbury Public Works Garage on Newtown Road.  It's free to dispose of most items, though there is a $20 flat fee for disposal of Fluorescent Bulbs, Motor Oil & Antifreeze, Auto Batteries and tires, and propane tanks.

A regional household hazardous waste collection day is being held on Saturday.  The towns of Monroe, Trumbull, and Easton are sponsoring the collection day. Drop off is at 307 Indian Ledge Park Drive in Trumbull from 9am to 2mp.

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Kent Boy Scouts to collect donations for Kent Food Bank

Kent Boy Scouts’ "Scouting for Food: Holiday Food Drive" will take place on November 10th from 9am to 1pm at Davis IGA. Donations will benefit Kent Food Bank holiday basket program. Shopping lists with suggested items to donate will be available that morning. The Scouts ask that residents only donate items that are non-perishable and unexpired. Monetary donations are also being collected.

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Danbury Police offer Halloween safety reminders

The Danbury Police Department has issued some Halloween Safety reminders for parents if they're taking children out trick or treating this evening.  With wet leaves on driveways and walkways, homeowners should turn on exterior lights and remove objects from the yard that might be a hazard to visitors. 

Danbury Police say Halloween can be fun, but there are some worries that can cast a spell on the evening's festivities.  But there are some tips to combat that.  Some of the yearly reminders include going out in a group, mapping out a route and telling older kids when they are expected home.  Parents should check flashlights for working batteries, put reflective strips on costumes and be sure any masks don't obstruct vision. 

When kids are back home from trick or treating, inspect fruit and homemade goodies, and remind kids not to eat opened candies or treats not in their original wrappers.

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Petitioning candidate makes for 3-way race for Bethel First Selectman

Bethel Democratic incumbent First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker is seeking another term in office. He is in a three-way race with Republican Pat Rist and petitioning candidate Bill Ochs.

Rist has been a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission for 21 years, the past 10 as chairman. She runs the Bethel Historical Society. Their biggest program is taking all second graders on a tour of Bethel. The third grade teachers recently asked that the group run classes at the one room schoolhouse on Plumtrees Road, and now do so. Rist was chair of the Route 6 Study Commission, which developed the guide for development, and is also on the Board of the Chamber of Commerce.

Ochs is a WCSU grad was a Police Commissioner and is a softball, soccer and basketball coach.

Knickerbocker is looking forward to seeing through the two school renovation projects, currently underway. But he cautioned those projects will add to the debt load for another year. For the immediate future Knickerbocker is not proposing anything new and is planning for a status quo budget. He added that the town will look for savings, where possible, so there’s no shock from the school renovation costs.

The main issues for Ochs are to keep taxes under control, keep Bethel affordable, and controlling growth of multi-family housing. He also wants to keep the schools at their current high level. He wants to bring more businesses into Clarke Industrial Park to offset the taxes paid by residents. Ochs says Bethel has focused on building up residential communities in the last few years, but would have preferred those locations be developed as commercial. He notes that more residents means more congestion on the roads and more demand for services from fire, police and the schools.

Knickerbocker says it’s important to plan for the future though, including an expansion of Clarke Business Park. The park hasn’t been expanded since it was created some 25 to 30 years ago. Knickerbocker says that was in part due to insufficient water for fire protection, along with wetland and open space issues that had to be resolved. After construction of the Eureka Water Tank five years ago, Bethel secured a development grant from the state to create plans to extend Trowbridge Drive. Knickerbocker says 4 lots are ready for sale and there’s already interest. He notes that they are waiting to hear back from the state on another grant to pay for the infrastructure. Knickerbocker says commercial development is a win- win because it brings in tax revenue without putting a strain on services.

Rist believes the biggest change that needs to comes to Bethel is bringing down the tax rate. She touted the developments in the Big Y complex, Maplewood on Route 6 and Toll Brothers. Rist says those commercial developments have helped to hold the mill rate down, but there’s more that can be done. In talking with residents, Rist has heard that they don’t want their taxes to go up. She reiterated that the town has to look for economic development issues to grow the tax base and hold the mill rate level.

Ochs calls for more transparency and for more meetings to be held at a convenient time for residents to be part of town government.

Knickerbocker touted the solar farm, built at no cost to the town, but providing savings on energy bills. He added that there are on going discussions about putting solar on the two schools currently under construction. He noted that there’s a possibility of putting a microgrid on the school campus to power all five schools and the police station. He says that would also protect the senior housing complex nearby, Reynold’s Ridge.

Rist says the Parks and Rec Department has a consulting firm working on a plan for what can be done in Bethel. She says some of the school fields need work and a turf field recently came up. Part of the plan of conservation and development is to identify property that could be turned into green space. Rist would like to see a pocket park where the public can sit for a bit and lounge. She says the town doesn’t really have any right now, and that would be ideal.

On a long-term basis, Knickerbocker says the town should focus on recreational facilities. He says the fields are over scheduled. The Board of Selectmen recently completed a draft of a 10-year plan to improve the parks. Knickerbocker says Parloa Park could get an overhaul. It has a field, baseball diamond, basketball court and playground equipment. He says a consultant suggested that if a facility is used more by one particular age group, to really focus on that group. Basketball courts could be moved to a place that makes more sense, with older kids and young adults separate from younger kids. While there’s an upfront cost, Knickerbocker says a turf field will cost less to maintain in the log run and will allow more hours of playing time.

When it comes to infrastructure, the next big spending by Knickerbocker would be for the Fire Department. While they are volunteer organizations, taxpayers do providing funding for the building and their heavy equipment—trucks, turnout gear and breathing apparatus. The town only owns one ladder truck.

As for infrastructure work, Rist says the Fire Department recently mentioned needed a ladder truck. She wants to have research done on whether a brand new one is necessary, or if there are parts available to refurbish the current truck.

Ochs says the Fire Department needs a new ladder truck and says safety should be the main focus of the Board of Selectmen. He’d also like to see more recreation opportunities in town, like a turf field. But he says saving for these items will take time and called for a strategic plan to be put in place. Ochs says having that cushion will mean there are better services, taxes won’t go up and quality of life will improve.

Knickerbocker says the bridges have been reconstructed in the last 10 years and more than half of the roads have been rehabilitated. He says they’ll continue with the paving schedule. In terms of school funding, Knickerbocker says they’re always afraid that the state will cut the Education Cost Sharing funding. He says Bethel gets treated as a wealthy town, simply because the town is located in Fairfield County.  A long-term goal for Knickerbocker is to make the town budget sustainable and capable of paying for most things.

Rist says the Board of Ed is getting the schools are getting to the point where they need to be. She notes that some haven’t been rehabbed in a long time. Rist touted the schools reputations and the work done by Superintendent Christine Carver to raise their profiles. Rist was a literacy volunteer for several years, helping English Language Learners. She notes that it is more than just teaching language. Rist says they helped people with every day tasks like navigating the grocery store, using the HART bus system, understanding their bills and filling out paperwork.

Bethel has a growing enrollment in the schools. Ochs says the student population isn’t as big as it was in the 80s and 90s. He believes the school infrastructure will be sufficient when the Rockwell and Johnson projects are complete. But he says there are some students in the schools who aren’t residents of Bethel. He wants to come up with a better way to vet residency.

Knickerbocker says a feature of the Transit Oriented Development Plan is to lower the speed limit of Greenwood Avenue and make it more pedestrian friendly. But that requires moving the parking off the street. Knickerbocker says one of the biggest problems is a pedestrian stepping out from between parked cars or a parked driver opening their door along the narrow street. He says there are portable speed trackers and signs that collect data, which has been analyzed by officers. The Police Commission now has a roving targeted enforcement underway to crack down on speeders in those locations.

Rist would like to implement a ’20 is Plenty’ plan. The thought is that the speed limit should be 20 miles an hour along Greenwood Avenue. There are crosswalks, but she says drivers simply don’t pay enough attention.

Greenwood Avenue is a state road, so Ochs says getting more crosswalks and the like is a difficult task. With new housing, he says there will be more traffic. He wants the state to reevaluate the roadway. With more people parking downtown to go to restaurants, Ochs says the crosswalks may not be visible or in the best location.

Some sidewalks are going in in the Stony Hill section of town, as developers build they are required to put in sidewalks. Rist says the Plan of Conservation and Development will be focusing on the Route 6 corridor. She believes that is where a lot of commercial development can go in there, with some housing complexes as well. But she warned against sprawl, noting that guidelines are analyzed on a routine basis.

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O'Rourke's Newtown visit interrupted by gun rights advocate

During a roundtable discussion at the Newtown Community Center last night, Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke met with gun control advocates. 

As he entered the event, O'Rourke said he wasn't there to pitch himself, not to lay out a platform, not to campaign, but to listen to the people of Newtown. 

O’Rourke believes Connecticut can offer important solutions to the rest of the country, calling this a defining moment of truth for Americans.  He said the people of this community understand this better than perhaps almost any other community in this country, and not just the devastation and the grief and the lost, but what those solutions are. 

During an expletive-laced outburst, a Newtown woman confronted O'Rourke on his September remarks about supporting gun confiscation.  Rebecca Carnes says it's about mental health and the war on boys and masculinity.  She repeatedly called on O'Rourke to answer her questions and debate her.  Carnes also said the Democrats have been in charge of urban communities and cities for decades, and have failed, and don't care.  She added that O'Rourke doesn't care about urban gun violence, which is why he was in Sandy Hook.

During a September debate, O'Rourke called for taking people's AR-15 and AK-47 rifles . His comments came in the wake of several high-profile shootings, including two in his home state. Besides a national buyback program for banned guns, he supports universal background checks and other measures.

A Guildford man whose 15-year-old son Ethan died in an accidental shooting last year also attended last night and asked if O'Rourke supported a  federal version of Ethan’s Law.  He responded that he would require adults safely store their guns when children are in their homes.

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Ridgefield Police report theft of and from cars

Ridgefield Police continue to experience larcenies of and from motor vehicles. Police are asking for the public's help in making it difficult for the criminals.  They are again reminding residents to lock cars, set alarms and be vigilant.  Anyone who hears or sees anything suspicious should call police. 

Two cars were stolen from a Conley Court home during the early morning hours yesterday. One was recovered after being abandoned in Bridgeport.  Both vehicles were unlocked with the keys inside. 

Ridgefield Police say three cars at the Fox Hill condominiums were entered overnight into Wednesday.  Two were unlocked, all three had wallets taken from them.  

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Danbury street to be temporarily closed for trick or treating

The Danbury Police Department is cautioning drivers to a road closure tonight.   Deer Hill Avenue will be temporarily closed from 4:30pm to 9pm for children to "trick or treat".  The closure is from West Wooster Street to Southern Boulevard.  Motorists are asked to use caution while driving and to expect heavier than normal traffic.  Even though the weather looks frightening, the Danbury Police Explorers will still be handing out candy in the front lobby of the Police Department starting at 4pm.

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Conn. man pleads guilty to charges stemming from fight at MCCA

A Connecticut man has pleaded guilty to charges stemming for an incident at MCCA on July 3rd.  31-year old Aaron Bouffard was charged with breach of peace, disorderly conduct, assault and threatening for a fight at the alcohol and drug rehabilitation center.  He later fled and reportedly refused police commands to drop his knives, and was shot by a Danbury Police Officer.  Bouffard’s mother has  said her son told her he didn’t hear police orders.  State Police say additional charges related to the officer-involved shooting are pending  A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for November 20th.

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Danbury lawmaker joins janitors as negotiations start on union contract

Danbury State Senator Julie Kushner joined with a bargaining committee of janitors yesterday as they started negotiations on a new union contract.  The union represents nearly 3,000 men and women who clean and maintain buildings in Fairfield County and in the Hudson Valley in New York.  The workers who clean 228 properties – almost 90% of the large office buildings in the region are fighting for a wage increase and protection of their employer-supported benefits.  An SEIU official says at a time when many of the corporations they clean have enjoyed massive tax breaks and record profits, these workers need a sensible wage increase.  The negotiations are happened with a consortium of contractors and building owners.

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Easton Trunk or Treat event moved indoors, bonfire canceled

The Easton trunk or treat event has been moved indoors to Samuel Staples Elementary School.  The planned bonfire has been canceled.  The event sponsored by the Lion's Club, Parks and Rec, and the Easton Girl Scouts, is from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.  Parents, seniors and community groups have decorated tables to hand out treats to children in costume.  Girl Scouts have volunteered to hand out candy for parents, or take their children around the event. 

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Drainage project in Bethel set for today

The drainage project in Bethel has started so Plumtrees Road is now closed  just south of Blue Spruce Court. It will remain closed until late this afternoon or early this evening.  Drivers should use Maple Ave Extension as a detour.  The concrete structure was not delivered for yesterday's scheduled start to the project by Toll Brothers, prompting the one day delay.  School buses will have access from the old police station up to Blue Spruce Court where they can turn around.

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State Trooper and Easton firefighter each killed in line of duty are remembered

In a tribute post on Facebook yesterday, State Police remembered a Trooper who was killed 59 years ago in Bethel.  On October 29th 1960, Trooper James W Lambert was fatally struck by a drunk driver.  The 26-year old was on the job just seven months when he was killed, but State Police say his brief presence left its mark.

The agency’s Trooper James W. Lambert Award is presented to any person under age 21 who has exhibited exceptional courage and extraordinary decision making.  Part of Route 6, which goes past the Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Department is named after Lambert.

Easton Volunteer Fire Department is remembering Lieutenant Russ Neary, who died in the line of duty on October 29th 2012.  He was helping residents during the height of Hurricane Sandy.  The 13-year veteran volunteer fireman was also an emergency medical responder with Easton Volunteer Emergency Medical Service.  Members of the Easton Volunteer Fire Company, EMS and police department gathered last night to remember Neary.

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State lawmaker meets with DCF Commissioner about agency operations

State Department of Children and Families Commissioner Vanessa Dorantes has been on a listening tour of DCF facility across Connecticut.  She started as a social worker in the Danbury region of DCF in 1992.  Danbury State Senator Julie Kushner says she was impressed with her presentation and the dedication of the DCF workers.  Kushner met yesterday with the executive team of the Commissioner to learn more about the agency to better serve families in the area.

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New Milford Library, Redding Gardening Club seek carved pumpkins for display

New Milford Library is asking for residents to drop off carved pumpkins for the Pumpkin Glow.  The Jack-o-Lanterns can be dropped off through tomorrow, during library hours, for display from 4 to 8pm.  The library will provide an LED light.

The Redding Garden Club is decorating the green by Town Hall with carved pumpkins tomorrow.  Residents can bring Jack-o-Lanterns to the Town Green tomorrow for display from 4:30 to 9pm.  LED lights will be provided.  Residents on Lonetown Road are encouraged to display their pumpkins at the end of their driveways. 

Cider and donuts will be served in the gazebo.  Residents can take their pumpkin back after the event, and any that go unclaimed will be discarded Friday.

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Former New Fairfield First Selectman seeks to unseat incumbent, take job back

A former First Selectman is looking to take the office back in New Fairfield. Democratic incumbent Pat Del Monaco is seeking reelection, but faces a challenge from Republican John Hodge.

Hodge was in office for 8 years. During that time, he touted completion of 20 capital works projects including the schools, the senior center and the emergency communications system. He believes that experience in project management best suits the town now that two school building projects have been approved.

One of the top priorities for Del Monaco is to continue working on economic development issues. She says there is some empty commercial space to fill so the recently installed Economic Development Commission will work to identify business that can thrive in New Fairfield. The town was one of the few municipalities without such a commission until recently. Once they figure out the type of business residents would patronize, Del Monaco says they can market the town to attract those businesses. She says there are some unique challenges, including that there is no sewer or natural gas available. She notes that will limit the type of business, and it should be the right match for the character of town.

Hodge also wants to bring business back to the center of town. Hodge says the storefronts in the center of town were mostly occupied, but they have since moved elsewhere. He says flowerbeds and gardens don’t look as nice as they used to and those are the kinds of things that draw businesses to the area.

Del Monaco says one of the priorities over the last two years has been to pay closer attention to infrastructure and do preventative maintenance. That has included tree trimming and roadside mowing. Del Monaco says that will help take care of saplings before they become a problem in strong storms like the recent macroburst. She added that there is a robust tree management program in place to do tree trimming and cutting.

Hodge says Eversource has been working hard trimming trees around town to prevent damage seen in previous storms, like the May 2018 marcoburst. But he says the soil conditions, rock and ledge, make the tree roots shallow. Hodge says the town should look at town properties to make sure there are no trees that could endanger public safety.

One issue recently confronting the town was the proliferation of homeowners putting their properties on AirBnB for short-term rentals. Hodge says there needs to be some sort of balance, maybe requiring a minimum number of nights so that a resident can supplement their income, but bring in a different kind of renter.

Del Monaco says the Zoning Commission has found a good balance when it comes to the rise of short-term rentals. She says they are working within currently regulations to make sure lakeside communities aren’t disrupted by these AirBnBs.

When it comes to water quality, Del Monaco says the sterile grass carp program has been very successful in controlling the invasive Eurasian Water Milfoil.  That coupled with the drawdowns, have helped make progress. She says there are a lot of question marks about what role the weather has played in water quality. Del Monaco says there is a new ordinance now in place which would require a town vote for use of herbicides in a body of water, unless in case of emergency. Then the Health Director can order that but there’s been such a decrease that she doesn’t foresee that emergency arising.

On protecting the waters of Candlewood Lake and Squantz Pond, Hodge says he’s concerned that there’s no roadmap to move forward. He notes that the Candlewood Lake Authority includes some talented people, who have the lake’s best interest in heart, but there are no lake scientists on the board. He would like to seethe town, working with CLA, hire someone with success elsewhere to draw up a lake management plan. He was in favor of a past proposal to supplement the sterile grass carp program with some herbicide management to control Eurasian Water Milfoil. The plan was ultimately not approved. Hodge is also concerned with zebra mussels and blue green algae in the water.

The Town of New Fairfield and the State of Connecticut have been in a stalemate over allowing walk-ins at state parks. Hodge says that makes sense for other parks, but not Squantz where there is no public transportation. He notes that the 250-car limit has mostly worked to control the crowds. The change was put in place after about a dozen drowning deaths over a decade. The calculation was made based on how well the lifeguards could properly observe the crowd. The protected swim area is roped off, but when it’s crowded, people will swim outside the area. The state overhauled the beach to make a gradual decline into the pond. The topography outside of the protected swim area is still unknown. Hodge says someone may be a good swimmer in a pool, but when the ground drops off beneath them, they get in over their heads and panic. He agreed with a carve out for Squantz Pond on where people can swim and how many cars can park, now he’d like to see an exception banning walk-ins.

Del Monaco continues to meet with state officials to improve safety in and around the park. She says it only makes senses that when the park is closed to new cars, that it be closed to new visitors. Once the limit is reached, she wants it adhered to.  If the state regulatory authority is unwilling or unable to make a carve-out for New Fairfield, Del Monaco says there are other avenues to try to keep everyone safe. She met the State Police Commissioner last month about having more Troopers near the entrance to the park to move cars along. She notes that the Commissioner will be at the April planning meeting.

The two school projects are the big capital projects on the horizon. Del Monaco says they will look to manage it very carefully. She says the condition of the schools warranted action because of longstanding issues.

Hodge says there are always infrastructure needs that have to be done in a town. He didn’t oppose the school projects, which were just approved by residents, noting that it is time for the High School to be renovated. But Hodge says he disagreed with the rush to go out and bulldoze the schools, constructing two new ones from scratch. He noted that when he was in office the last time, the town renovated Meeting House Hill School as new. It was about 50 years old at the time, but the project is now 10 years old. He believes the High School could be renovated as new, saving $20 million to $25 million dollars. Hodge says the school project bonding means other things will go by the wayside. He believes that project is going to increase town taxes about 9-percent.

In terms of increasing walkability and providing more passive recreational opportunities, Del Monaco says she continues to work with Danbury about creating a Marjorie Reservoir walking and biking trail. She notes that the Western Connecticut Council of Governments, the regional planning agency for the area, should be starting a corridor study soon. The plan for the trail will link Danbury to
the center of New Fairfield. With the Governor’s so-called debt diet, Del Monaco says it’s more important than ever to try to reduce the town’s reliance on the state. She says New Fairfield is in the best financial shape that it’s ever been in.

Hodge says people are concerned about spending in town. He acknowledged that there have been low tax increases, but spending has gone up. Hodge says some of the expenses paid for through special funds, are now recurring. In 2 years, Hodge says spending has gone up $1.4 million, with $661,000 in payroll increases, before benefits.

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New York man gets year in prison for embezzling $1.5M

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - A New York man who ran a Connecticut-based nonprofit designed to find support and resources for people with chronic pain issues has been sentenced to a year in prison for embezzling about $1.5 million from the organization.

Federal prosecutors in Connecticut say 47-year-old Paul Gileno, of Brewster, New York, was also sentenced Tuesday to two years of probation and ordered to pay full restitution.

Authorities say Gileno, founder and chief executive of the Middletown-based U.S. Pain Foundation, embezzled from the foundation from 2015 until 2017 and failed to pay more than $500,000 in federal taxes on the embezzled money and other income.

Gileno pleaded guilty in June to wire fraud and tax evasion.

He was ordered to report to prison Jan. 6.

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Driver trapped in vehicle down embankment, overturned in river

An SUV went down an embankment in Bethel yesterday afternoon and rolled over into the river. 

Bethel and Stony Hill firefighters responded to Rockwell Road, between Plumtrees and Galloping Hill, around 12:30pm.  The vehicle slid down about 20 feet and the driver was trapped.  The driver was removed from the vehicle by police before firefighters arrived. 

(Photo: SHVFD)

Firefighters deployed absorbent booms and pads to contain leaking fluids from the vehicle. The driver was transported to Danbury Hospital with minor injuries. The vehicle was then removed from the river.

DEEP responded to investigate and remediate the fluid spill into the waterway.

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public hearing scheduled in Bridgewater on Grange Hall

The Bridgewater Board of Selectmen will be holding a public hearing next month on the future of Grange Hall.  During the meeting on November 9th, options will be presented for renovating or replacing the facility. 

The hearing is at 9am. 

In 2016, $312,000 was approved for a newly constructed Community Center, with another $100,000 in the Harris Fund capital fund approved in 2015.  Bridgewater center has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a “Local Historic District” since 2000.  The Grange is considered one of the 61 “contributing buildings” within the district. 

Renovation estimates about a year ago ranged from $1.6 to 1.8 million. If renovated, the old building would essentially be all new, but costing twice as much as a new building because of asbestos and lead paint removal.  First Selectman Curtis Read previously said significant heating oil contamination remains under the Grange since a tank removal in 2016, and that excavation could further destabilize the existing foundation.

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Bethel PTO hosts forum for candidates

The Bethel Central PTO and Bethel Education Foundation will be hosting a Candidate Forum at the high school Auditorium tonight.  It's from 7pm to 9pm.  Candidates for First Selectman and Board of Education have been invited.  The PTO asked for potential questions in advance of the event from parents who have education-based concerns and inquiries.

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Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke to make stop in Newtown

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) - Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke is planning to meet with gun control advocates in Newtown, Connecticut.

O'Rourke is participating in a "conversation on gun violence prevention" on Wednesday with advocates and residents in an event closed to the public.

During a September debate, O'Rourke called for taking people's AR-15 and AK-47 rifles . His comments came in the wake of several high-profile shootings, including two in his home state. Besides a national buyback program for banned guns, he supports universal background checks and other measures.

Former Democratic presidential candidate and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper made a similar visit in May. He has since left the race.

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Toll Brothers drainage project in Bethel delayed

Bethel officials say Plumtrees Road is open today as there was a delay in the Toll Brothers drainage project.  The concrete structure was not delivered, so they will try for tomorrow and Thursday, weather permitting.  When the infrastructure is delivered, Plumtrees Road will be closed between houses 17 and 21. Maple Ave Extension will be used as a detour. School buses will have access from the old police station up to Blue Spruce Court where they can turn around. Houses from the start of Plumtrees down to number 21 can also access the buses at Blue Spruce Court.

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Two occupants injured in three-car crash

While responding to a gasoline spill on Kent Road in New Milford yesterday afternoon, Water Witch Hose company was called to Danbury Road for a report of a 3 car accident in the southbound lane. The vehicles involved came to rest on both sides of the travel lanes, which fire officials say made for a very dangerous scene as traffic continued to pass. With help from New Milford Police Department, and New Milford Ambulance, two patients were transported, vehicles were removed and the roadway was cleaned.

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Ridgefield Planners to look into application for Bed & Breakfast

The Ridgefield Planning and Zoning Commission is slated to take up a proposal tonight to turn an historic Main Street home into a bed and breakfast.  A special permit application has been filed for the two-acre property next to Keeler Tavern Museum.  It's across from Ridgefield’s historic fountain.  The home was built in 1740 and has 8 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms.  Ridgefield only has one bed and breakfast, The West Lane Inn, which was recently sold.

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NY man arrested in New Fairfield for allegedly violating protective order

A New York man has been arrested by the New Fairfield Resident State Trooper for allegedly violating a protective order.  The Newstimes reports that 52-year old Max Sandmeier came by the woman's home despite an active protection warrant.  He's due back in court tomorrow.  They dated for about two months, but recently broke up.  The police report says the Newburgh man was told to leave on April 14th, but he yelled that he was going to kill the woman, who filed a domestic violence report with the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office after Sandmeier allegedly trespassed at her previous home.  The new protective order was issued after Sandmeier allegedly yelled “obscenities and vague threats” at her.

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Newtown Police investigating home break in, search for suspect

Newtown Police are seeking a suspect who had forced entry into a house by pushing in a window.  Police responded to Walker Hill Road around 5:15am yesterday after the homeowner reported being awoken by some unknown person in his home.  The suspect ran from the house on foot when confronted by the homeowner. The only description was that the intruder was wearing a hoodie and jeans.  The K9 Unit and Drone Unit responded to the scene to search the wooded areas around the residence. Police are also talking with neighbors.  Spokesman Lt Aaron Bahamonde says these type of incidents are extremely rare in Newtown and can be extremely unnerving to area residents, but noted that all of the department's resources will be focused on identifying a suspect. Police will also be directing high visibility patrols in that neighborhood.

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Brookfield First Selectman candidates square off in Chamber debate

Brookfield incumbent Democratic First Selectman Steve Dunn is seeking another term in office, and is being challenged by political newcomer, Republican Mel Butow.

In opening remarks during a debate last night held by the Brookfield Chamber of Commerce, Dunn said he’s worked hard over the last several years to bring the Boards of Selectmen, Finance and Education together to discuss budgeting. He says that gives the Finance members a better understanding of what the school needs are, and the Education members an insight into the spending restraints. He plans to work on the capital budget in November and December, and then work that into an operating budget.

During his opening remarks, Butow noted that he is new to politics and new to Brookfield. After Superstorm Sandy struck his home on Long Island, he and his wife moved to Wilton to be near their daughter. They eventually settled in Brookfield. He is a member of the Economic Development Commission and the Planning Commission, and has 40 years of financial and managerial experience. His main reasons for seeking office are because of issues with the budget and high-density housing.

The candidates were asked about affordable housing. Butow says he would pursue a new moratorium on affordable housing when the current one ends in a year and a half. If a new moratorium is not granted, Butow says he would pursue ways to discourage those kinds of developments, including making the developer pay an education fee to offset the impact on town services. He says they moved to Brookfield for the New England charm, which would be destroyed by high density housing.

Dunn says Brookfield had to prove to the state that it made progress is getting affordable housing units before the moratorium could be granted. Brookfield Village was approved before he took office. There was a proposed 7-story development, but he negotiated with the developer and now it’s down to a three-story building. Dunn says it’s better to manage where those developments go, like only on Federal Road, rather than expensive court fights.

On economic development, Dunn touted the work done over the last few years, which resulted in two awards to the town recognizing economic excellence. He said a Starbucks could be coming to Brookfield, and noted that Branson Ultrasonics will be locating their headquarters in town. He called that good development.

Butow says there are a lot of empty storefronts on Federal Road, which sends a bad message to developers. He made the analogy to the movie Field of Dreams, that if strip malls are built, it doesn’t necessarily mean businesses will come.

The pair agreed that once the streetscape plan is finishes, and if a grocery store does commit to the area and create a 60 spot municipal lot, there will be sufficient parking in the town center area.

When asked about protocol for offering businesses tax breaks, Dunn says he has offered only two in the four years that he’s been in office. It would have to be a unique situation, like getting Branson to move its headquarters. The agreement is an abatement, which declines year after year, for six years. The other offered abatement is for the grocery store, which has an agreement in principal with the town.

Butow says he is concerned with Brookfield Village getting a tax abatement and believes the town is getting taken advantage of by the developer. That project has been slow to start and finally getting underway. The tax abatement was offered by the previous administration. Butow says if there are further building delays, the abatement offer should be rescinded. The New York native says sometimes a Brooklyn attitude is needed in Brookfield.

There are some big projects on the horizon for Brookfield, including building a new Huckleberry Hill School, and having the Center School students relocate to that facility. The candidates were asked what they would do with the current Center School. Butow says Danbury children should not be bused there, as suggested by Mayor Mark Boughton in a recent interview. Butow wants to look into the possibility of having the library use the space.

Dunn says he told Boughton they would talk about it when the building is free, which won’t be for at least three years. Dunn says Brookfield has better, higher use for the building than leasing it to Danbury. Unless the price is right. Then he says there could be room to negotiate for Danbury to not only pay a lease, but also to supplement police and other necessary services.

The Police Department is also looking for more space. Dunn says they also need a new emergency radio system. He noted that the current equipment is becoming obsolete and that state police have a program the town could join. As for the police station, Dunn says there are a lot of issues with the current site. That includes no dedicated locker room for female officers and a lack of storage space. Dunn says it would be beneficial to have an emergency operations center, with a generator.

Butow says he has met with the Police Chief about what the needs of the Department would be in a new facility. He says he would do all he could to help them out, noting that if there is going to be more high density housing, there will need to be more police.

A couple of perennial concerns for residents are potholes and road repair. Butow says it’s a capital expense and should not be bonded. He says the town’s credit card should not be used for this type of expense. Dunn agreed, saying the town should be paying cash for more items. He’s put a policy in place where if it’s under $50,000 and the town can’t pay cash, the money should not be spent. But Dunn cautioned that moving off bonding can’t happen overnight or taxes will increase exponentially.

Butow rebutted that there’s a way to pay down debt without raising taxes. He says debt went up 26% this year. Dunn came back saying that debt payments went up by that much, not the debt load. He added that his administration can’t take borrowing back that was made 10 years ago.

In a sort of lightning round, the candidates agreed that the term of First Selectman should be 4 years. They personally oppose tolls. Dunn though clarified that the town shouldn’t take a position since they don’t get a vote in the matter. On the Still River Greenway, Dunn wants to see it expanded and enhanced. Butow does not believe more money should be poured into the facility.

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Danbury drop off location announced for National Guard's Operation ELF

The 18th annual Operation ELF (Embracing Lonely Families) has been launched.

Established in 2001, Operation ELF is designed to support all branches of military families whose loved ones are deployed, preparing to deploy within the next six months, or recently returned from deployment. Over 500 Connecticut National Guardsmen are currently in the deployment cycle, with approximately 280 Guardsmen currently serving overseas and another 140 preparing to deploy in support of operations around the world. 40 members of the 192nd Engineer Battalion, headquartered in Stratford, returned from Kuwait and Afghanistan in July and six members of the 256th Engineer Detachment, headquartered in East Lyme, Conn., returned from deployment in Romania in early October.

“The holidays are a time to be spent with family, friends, and loved ones,” Maj. Gen. Francis Evon, the Adjutant General, said. “However, some families will be missing a deployed service member this holiday season, and with that comes the added challenges of taking care of households and families back at home so a Guardsman can focus on his or her duty. This is our way of giving back, saying thank you to military families for their sacrifices that support or service members, and hopefully taking just a little bit of that holiday stress off their shoulders.”

Donations of gift cards for grocery and department/home goods stores, pharmacies, and gas stations help support military families throughout the year.  Donations of fuel oil, snow removal, and home maintenance services are also needed. New, unwrapped toys for young people of all ages are welcome.

In 2018, Operation ELF distributed nearly $4,500 in gift cards to military families in need. Additionally, Operation ELF is still in need of a caterer for the event on December 14th.

Within ELF is the Adopt-A-Family program.  Its goal is to assist those families who are suffering extreme financial hardship as a result of their service member’s call to Active Duty, as well as help them meet their basic needs and have a fulfilling holiday season. Individuals or businesses may “adopt” a family from this category by funding or purchasing items of need identified by the family.  The name of the family is never revealed to the adopting person or organization. Instead, a summary of the family’s demographics and wish list are provided.  The applicant’s case worker ensures gifts are received in time for the holidays.

Donations may be dropped off at drop-off locations between 8am and 4pm, including at the Armed Forces Reserve Center at 90 Wooster Heights Road  in Danbury.

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2nd person aboard helicopter that crashed near Vegas dies

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Authorities say a second person has died from a helicopter crash in a scenic area west of Las Vegas last week.

The Clark County coroner said Monday that 27-year-old Howard Jameson of New Fairfield, Connecticut died on Friday at a hospital. Jameson was a passenger on a sightseeing flight that crashed Wednesday near Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

The helicopter's pilot, 53-year-old Scott Socquet of Milford, Connecticut, died Wednesday at the hospital.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.

 

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Major milling, repaving project on Carmel's main roads begins

The second phase of a major milling and repaving project on Carmel’s main roads has started.  The project, which will run from Route 6 at Belden Road to Route 52 at Vink Drive, began Sunday night and will continue for seven to 10 days.  Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell says the New York Department of Transportation is focusing on making the corridor between Carmel and Kent as safe as it can be.  The work will be done in sections, and each section will be useable as soon as completed.  The first phase of the project, which repaired Route 6 from Route 312 to the Reed Memorial Library was finished last year.  Officials say the state has patched the road over the years, but it hasn’t been entirely repaved in almost 20 years.

 

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Wilton Police report more thefts of checks from mailboxes

Wilton Police are continuing to experience an increased trend in theft of mail from residential mailboxes. The thieves are stealing legitimate personal checks which are later forged and deposited into suspect accounts. Police recommend that anyone needing to mail a personal check, to mail it directly from the Post Office.  Meanwhile Greenwich Police has arrested two New York City men who stole hundreds of personal checks from more than 200 victims in two states.  The suspects had checks from people living in New York and Connecticut and were each charged with 358 counts of criminal attempt at identity theft, conspiracy at identity theft and larceny.

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Danbury Police tout good turnout for officer assessment test period

Danbury Police say there was a great turnout at this past weekend's CHIP physical ability assessment.  Another test period is being held on Sunday at Immaculate High School.  The registration period is still open for the assessment in Waterbury on the 10th.  Applicants will need a valid CHIP CARD to apply to the Danbury Police Department to become an Entry Level Police Officer.  Earlier this month Danbury released a new recruitment video, which the department hopes will go viral.  Their first video, which also showed off the different units an officer could join in a humorous way, got hundreds of thousands of hits on YouTube.

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Debates in Danbury, Brookfield tonight

The Danbury Volunteer Fire Council is hosting a debate tonight between the two mayoral candidates.  Republican incumbent Mark Boughton and Democratic challenger Chris Setaro will discuss the issues tonight at Germantown Hose station at 7pm.  The event is free and open to the public. Parking is available across the street from the fire house. The Danbury Fire Council includes the 12 volunteer companies in the city and has hosted a debate since the mid-90s.

The Brookfield Chamber of Commerce is hosting a debate tonight between the two men running for First Selectmen. Democratic incumbent Steve Dunn is being challenged by Republican Mel Butow.  The debate is at 7pm at Whisconier Middle School, Doors open at 6:30pm.

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Bethel adds bike lockers to train station

The Bethel train station now has secure lockers to keep bikes safe while commuters are away. There are 10 weatherproof lockers available, and they are located on the north side of the station house. There is no charge, but users will need to bring their own padlock.

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Road in Wilton to be closed Wednesday due to power line construction

A road in Wilton will be closed on Wednesday due to power line construction by a subcontractor of Eversource.  Pimpewaug Road will be closed south of Skunk Lane. All traffic exiting Skunk will be required to head north to Cannon Road.  Traffic will be closed at RT 7 except for the residents or businesses within the work area.  Pimpewaug Road will be closed starting at 9am Wednesday, through 5 or even as late at 7pm.  Wilton Police and flaggers will be on hand to assist with traffic and has coordinated with the school bus company to minimize disruption for buses. The rain date is Halloween.

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Putnam County officials launch Hope Not Handcuffs initiative

Hope Not Handcuffs Hudson Valley launched on the steps of the Putnam County Courthouse. Sheriff Robert Langley, the Chiefs of the Kent and Carmel Police Departments and members of the Prevention Council of Putnam County, among others marked the start to this initiative.  It was started by Families Against Narcotics to bring law enforcement and community organizations together in an effort to find viable treatment options for individuals seeking help to reduce dependency with heroin, prescription drugs, and alcohol.

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Seth Meyers comes to Conn. for charity event, candid conversation

5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes has hosted a candid conversation with Lane Night host Seth Meyers.  The event this weekend was a Shepaug Valley High School in the Town of Washington.  During the charity event, they discussed everything from family dynamics to using comedy to cope with politics.  Meyers also reminisced about his years as “Saturday Night Live’s” head writer and Weekend Update host.  All proceeds from the event will benefit area charities, including Greenwoods Counseling Referrals, which provides mental health services to the area’s most vulnerable residents; Susan B. Anthony, which provides free crisis and support services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault; and New Milford Hospital.

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New Milford Mayor challenged by former legislative candidate

New Milford Republican incumbent Mayor Pete Bass is seeking a second term in office.  He is being challenged for the role by Democratic candidate Tom O’Brien.  O’Brien is on the Board of HART transit.

Bass was asked about his priorities if elected to another term.  He says the opioid crisis is something that need a proactive attack.  He recently convened a meeting of emergency responders, New Milford Hospital, the Senior Center, Social Services team and the Superintendent among others.  He says the first prong is enforcement, the next is a legislative change to crack down on drug dens.  He also wants to look at ways to get people into treatment programs.  Bass hired an at-risk navigator to work with all of the stakeholders to provide assistance to someone in need of treatment.

O’Brien wants to focus on education and quality of life.  He called for more support services for students who are not on the college path.  He says trade and manufacturing jobs are looking for entry-level employees and the schools should be doing more to facilitate the school to jobs pipeline.  O’Brien says Kimberly Clark has an aging workforce and concerned about where they will find new employees.  He wants to organize a trades fair, similar to a college fair.

Bass wants to address town infrastructure.  He says many roads need attention, calling them one of the most valued asset in town.  Bas wants to redo the Northville roof next year, and create an improvement plan for future needs.

O’Brien says there’s a need for more housing downtown.  He helped lead the effort to create the River Trail, to bring more people downtown.  O’Brien says that multi use trail is a big draw for the area.  He also worked on the trail through Sega Meadow Park.

Something that remains controversial in New Milford is the former Pettibone School being turned into a community center.  The previous Mayor retrofitted the building for municipal use, locating the Youth Agency, Social Services and Parks and Recreation in the space.

Bass noted that the public does use gym and cafeteria for various events.   A subcommittee has released a report to him about costs associated with using the building as a Community Center.  Bass is calling for another public hearing, and for a referendum, so the public can decide.  He says it’s important to know the renovation and operating costs.

O’Brien says it’s a better space for the agencies now located in Pettibone.  He acknowledged that that building needs maintenance, but so does every other town-owned building.  O’Brien added that several other surrounding towns have repurposed old school buildings for municipal use.

The East Street School, the Lillis Building, has murals and stained glass form the World War II era.  It’s an historic property.  Bass applied for a planning grant from the state, and that study is being finalized.  He will hold public hearings on usage, and then hold a referendum on what that building should become. 

O’Brien serves on the Board of the Trust for Historic Preservation.  Speaking only for himself, O’Brien noted that they worked with developers on saving other historic buildings while making way for apartments.  He says the same approach can be used with the East Street School. 

Bass touted work to maintain and upgrade town parks.  He notes that security upgrades at Lynn Deming Park were successful this year in protecting quality of use.  He says the Parks and Rec team has done a good job with upkeep and trail maintenance.  New Milford is also testing out rental scooters.  The contractor has all of the liability, not the town.  Bass says they don’t operate after dark to minimize the risk.  The Town Council will review whether the program should be expanded after this pilot period is over.

As for traffic and safety issues along Route 7, O’Brien says he was shocked the state didn’t put in sidewalks when Route 7 was widened, especially because the utility poles had to be moved anyway.  At every intersection with a traffic light, there is a button so a pedestrian can get the right of way, but O’Brien says nobody knows that.  He called for more crosswalks to be painted to make drivers and pedestrians aware of the safety measure.  O’Brien says traffic calming measures are needed.

Bass says state Representative Bill Buckbee is coordinating with the DOT on that front.  He’s also asked the DOT to repaint the crosswalks so drivers can see them better.  But he added that the police department has stepped up enforcement of the corridor.  New Milford has received grant funding for sidewalks along parts of Route 7, by Pettibone and the High School.  Other portions would be headed into the downtown area from Canterbury School.  Zoning regulations now require new buildings to put sidewalks in.

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Road closures planned in Bethel, Newtown

A drainage project in Bethel is prompting a road closure. 

Plumtrees Road will be closed between houses 17 and 21 Tuesday and Wednesday. Maple Ave Extension will be used as a detour. School buses will have access from the old police station up to Blue Spruce Court where they can turn around. Houses from the start of Plumtrees down to number 21 can also access the buses at Blue Spruce Court. This drainage project is part of the Toll Brothers subdivision approval. 

In Newtown next week, the DOT is planning more highway ramp closures. 

The Exit 9 on and off ramps will be closed nightly next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  The Exit 10 on and off ramps will be closed nightly beginning November 7th, until November 11th.  The work takes place 9pm to 5am.

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Candlewood Lake Authority crafting Lake Management Plan

As the 2019 boating season comes to a close, and the buoys are removed from Candlewood Lake.  The Candlewood Lake Authority says progress was made to control Eurasian Watermilfoil.  They credited the Sterile Grass Carp, the drawdown conducted by FirstLight Power, and the new Homeowner’s Guides, but cautioned that the work is over. 

CLA has started work on a new “Lake Management Plan” tailored for Candlewood.  The plan will outline where progress needs to be made,  goals of what that progress will look like in both the short and long term, and strategies to accomplish those goals.  These areas include the fish community, aquatic plant management for recreation, blue green algae, invasive species, water quality improvement, stormwater management, watershed land management, and community engagement and education.

The Lake Management Plan Committee includes representatives of each of the five municipalities around the lake, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, FirstLight Power Resources, and Eversource.  CLA officials say they're also engaging with a network of lake managers and limnologists who have undertaken relevant projects at their lakes, both locally and through the North American Lake Management Society. 

The Candlewood Lake Authority has long collected and analyzed lake data, creating strategies and action plans to address pressures facing the lake.  CLA officials say the management plan will be a “living document” so as scientific discoveries are made, the community continues to change and evolve, and the ecosystem in the lake changes, the plan will be kept up to date.

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Wreaths Across America ceremony scheduled for Center Cemetery

A local woman is looking to collect donations for Wreaths for Center Cemetery.  Jean Mariano's son  Jason Lewis died in Baghdad in 2007 and he is buried in Center Cemetery.  The Gold Star Mom says this year's ceremony is December 14th at noon, and run in conjunction with Wreaths Across America.  That program places wreaths on headstones of the fallen at Arlington National Cemetery.  Marino says the wreaths for Brookfield can be purchased online by selecting Connecticut, and Center Cemetery.  The wreaths cost $15 and 700 are needed.  For every two purchased, the organizers receive an additional one.  Donations can also be made by check to Webster Bank on Main Street in New Milford to Remembering Our Veterans. 

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Public hearing to be scheduled about possible sale of Danbury-owned property

A public hearing will be scheduled in Danbury about the City declaring a parcel of land currently used a parking lot, as surplus.  That would allow the City to sell off the property and put it back on the tax rolls.  The land is located off Main Street on Liberty Street, behind the Family Dollar store.  There are easements there as well for utilities and electric lines, which Planning Director Sharon Calitro says would have to remain clear.  Any developer buying the parcel would be subject to parking requirements, but they're relaxed in the Downtown Revitalization Zone.  Proximity to the Patriot Parking Garage could also be used to get an exemption.  If there's a developer City officials have in mind, the City Council could hold a vote and sell it to someone specific. Counsel Les Pinter says the ordinance prefers putting out a request for proposals. 

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Bethel Police take part in No Shave November

Some members of the Bethel Police Department will be taking part in No Shave November.  It's a fundraiser for Circle of Care.  The organization raises money by recruiting local police departments to participate in the grooming event.  Circle of Care uses that money to help families who have children diagnosed with cancer.  Each Bethel Police officer participating donated $50 to not shave during the month of November.  They're also collecting donations online. https://thecircleofcare.org/events/no-shave.html

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Wilton Police to give tours of headquarters

Members of the Wilton Police Department will be giving tours of the police station on November 5th so residents can see the overcrowded facility.  The Wilton Bulletin reports that the building was constructed in 1974 for 25 male department.  There are now 44 male and female officers and 4 civilians working out of the police station.  The facility also doesn't have smoke alarms or sprinklers, there's no public restroom, the lower level is not handicap accessible and the indoor shooting range is unusable because it does not meet OSHA standards.  A 2016 study determined that the existing building should be renovated and added on to, or a new station with more space should be built.  The tour on November 5th is 9am to 1pm. 

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43rd Kent Pumpkin Run this weekend

The 43rd running of the Kent Pumpkin Run takes place on Sunday.  Organizers say there will be family friendly events, homemade pumpkin soup and a costume contest. One of the oldest races in Connecticut, the Kent Classic attracts both elite runners and those who just want a walk in the Litchfield Hills.  The Pumpkin Run kicks off with a Kids Fun Run at 11:15AM, followed by the five mile race/walk at Noon. In the Halloween spirit, many prizes are awarded for costumes as well as finishing times. There is a Post-race Party as well.

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DOT meets in Ridgefield about bridge replacement project

Representatives from the state Department of Transportation have met with Ridgefield residents to discuss the Portland Avenue bridge replacement project.  Plans for the project include adding a traffic light on Route 7, two through lanes and a left-turn lane for southbound traffic.  The bridge itself will have one lane in to the train station from Route 7 and two lanes out.  The DOT says at least one of the two bridges that connect the Branchville Train Station to Route 7 should be open during the work.  The Depot Road bridge at the north end of the station will have to be repaired and reopened before the Portland Avenue bridge project begins.  The Depot Road bridge was closed earlier this month due to structural deficiencies.

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DHS grad, Naval Officer riding across country for Wounded Warriors

A 2009 Danbury High School graduate is riding across the country to bring awareness to a veterans group. Stuart Armstrong is 28-years old and a 4th Year Med Student at Boston University School of Medicine.  He is looking to serve as a physician in the US Navy once he finishes school. 

The Naval Officer is riding across America, from Boston to Los Angeles, to raise awareness and funds for the Wounded Warrior Project.  He says the men and women helped by that program are always ready to work hard and have a great attitude.  Armstrong says the theme of this journey is that the small actions a person takes on a daily basis can add up to large accomplishments through dedication and persistence. 

He left Wednesday morning, with his father meeting him half way each day for a lunch break.  Armstrong came through Danbury yesterday.  Armstrong plans to ride about 100 miles a day and expects to arrive on the West Coast at the end of November. 

He wants to ride through a few major cities to bring awareness to the Wounded Warriors organization, and will be posting about his trek on Instagram at www.instagram.com/stuarmstrongofficial .

Armstrong hopes to raise $3,000 for Wounded Warriors during his journey.  The fundraising link is: https:www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/small-acts-make-a-big-difference

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Halloween events scheduled in Greater Danbury area this weekend

The Wilton Police Department is alerting drivers to road closures because of an event happening in Wilton Center this weekend.  The Pumpkin Parade for children to trick or treat at local businesses takes place Saturday.  Due to the high number of pedestrians, the traffic pattern in Wilton Center will be altered. Old Ridgefield Road will be closed between the Village Market and Godfrey Place between 2:15pm and 4:45pm. Wilton CERT and Wilton Police will be out to help with the detours.

The Bethel Chamber of Commerce will be holding the annual Trick or TreatStreet event on the Municipal Center Lawn this Saturday.  The Bethel Police Department will have a table at the event and will be running a raffle to win an iPad

Ridgefield officials are alerting drivers to a road closure tomorrow morning for an event.  Main Street will be closed between Governor and Prospect Street from 10am to noon for the Annual Halloween Walk.

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Community conversation to be held in Danbury on cannabis legalization

Bethel State Representative Raghib Allie-Brennan is hosting a community conversation in Danbury Wednesday night on cannabis legalization.  The event will feature a panel of experts followed by audience Q&A.  As the debate continues, Allie-Brennan says he wanted to provide an opportunity for residents to hear about the status of policies, since the next legislative session is several months away.  The Community conversation is from 5:30 to 7pm at the Connecticut Institute For Communities on Main Street.

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Danbury Fire Marshal visits with elementary students

The Danbury Fire Marshal’s Office has been out this month teaching fire prevention to elementary school students.  They also gave out a homework assignment to help Danbury households to be prepared.  The Fire Marshals asked if families had a home escape plan, including two ways out of each room and a family meeting place outside, and then to practice it.  Students were asked to check if their house or apartment number was visible so emergency responders can find it quickly.  Lastly, they were asked if there are working smoke alarms in each bedroom, outside every sleeping area and on every floor of the home.  At least one carbon monoxide detector should also be in the home, especially if the heating system uses fossil fuels like oil or natural gas.

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Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Company takes delivery of new ambulance

Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Company has taken delivery of their new ambulance and it's now in service.  The vehicle was paid for solely through donations and billing revenue.  The 2019 Ford replaces a 2008 GMC that put in almost 12 years of service.  Fire company officials say they look forward to providing care to residents and visitors in this ambulance.

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Parloa Park in Bethel is getting new playground equipment

Parloa Park in Bethel is getting new playground equipment.  The Boards of Selectmen and Finance recently unanimously approved the replacement. Delivery is expected in about 8 weeks.  Just shy of $36,000 for the equipment will be spent from the Capital Non-Recurring Account. 

Parks and Rec Director Eileen Earl presented the proposal to the Boards, noting there's a $14,000 grant available from a company called GameTime. 

The current equipment at Parloa is about 25 years old. 

Earl says the plans call for a rock climbing wall and new features in the toddler playground.  The equipment is aimed at 2 to 5 year olds and 5 to 12 year olds.  The same company that made the equipment at Meckauer Park is doing this work and it's similar to what's there, but upgraded. 

Earl says eventually they'd like to put picnic tables in between to connect the two areas. 

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Newtown retailer violated tobacco sale laws during compliance check

One Newtown retailer violated tobacco sale laws during a recent unannounced compliance check.  Newtown Police, working with the Newtown Prevention Council, hosted the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services’ Tobacco Prevention and Enforcement Program on Wednesday. 

18 inspections were conducted.  Yankee Wine and Spirits was found in violation of sale of Tobacco to a minor. 

In an August sting, 5 establishments in Newtown were found in violation. 

Newtown Police say given the recent deaths and health concerns attributed to e-cigarettes and vaping, the increased use of these products among youth, and the new age restrictions, it was important to ensure the laws are being adhered to.  Newtown Police say this also helps to reveal the risks and reduce the use of tobacco and vaping products.

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Racist graffiti found on lockers at Ridgefield High School

Racist graffiti has been found written on lockers at Ridgefield High School.  Principal Stacy Gross said in a statement to students and staff Tuesday that the N Word was found in the boy's locker room. 

She said that those who create such statements serve to offend everyone in the Ridgefield High School community, and this will never be considered acceptable behavior.  Gross added that these and similar acts toward other groups attempt to weaken the conscience, poison the spirit, and destroy the freedom of all.  

Superintendent JeanAnn Paddyfote said in a statement to parents that the school district denounces hate speech and racist graffiti, adding that the schools promote environments that nurture diversity and inclusion. 

She called on parents to speak with their children about tolerance.

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Bethel students raise money for charities during Homecoming Week activities

Bethel High School celebrated charity day Wednesday during Homecoming week. Each grade picked a charity to support, with proceeds from the shirts purchased given to each charity.  The staff donations are going toward Bethel Social Services.  The Freshman class chose Sandy Hook Promise, the Sophomores picked the Scotty Fund, Juniors donating to Bens Bells-Be Kind and the Seniors selected MLD in memory of Oliver Ciparelli.  MLD is genetic disorder that targets white matter in the brain.  Oliver's father, Chris, is a social studies teacher and track coach.About $3,000 will be donated to these charities.

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Danbury moving Permit Center services online

Danbury is moving more services into the 21st century.  A new electronic permit processing system, powered by Viewpoint, is aimed at offering a centralized, streamlined, technology-based permit process. 

The Permit Center will be holding public seminars for basic training on the new system before to the official launch early next month. 

All permit and enforcement activities will be in a single location, eliminating redundant reviews and pooling of City resources, making for a cost-effective application of all City Codes and Ordinances.  Applicants will be able to apply for permits and make payments without having to go to City Hall.  Users can interact with staff by reading and responding to comments on the project throughout the process. 

The Permit Center in City Hall will remain open. 

The public information seminars are October 29th and 30th at 6pm in the first floor conference room of City Hall.

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Metro North to conduct work on Danbury Branch this weekend

Metro North is making track upgrades to the Danbury Line this weekend.  Crews will install ties, surface track, weld rail joints and remediate mud spots.  Metro North says this work is crucial to maintaining safe and reliable service.  Substitute buses will be provided on the Danbury Branch this Saturday and Sunday, as well as next weekend.  Southbound buses will operate 20 minutes earlier than normal train times. Riders will connect at South Norwalk for continuing train service to and from Grand Central Terminal.

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Elevator in Ridgefield Housing Authority building not working

An elevator in a Ridgefield Housing Authority building isn't working.  The Ridgefield Press reports that the elevator in the 4-story, 34-unit congregate housing facility on Prospect Ridge stopped working last Thursday, the 17th.  There were some intermittent issues the week before, with a notice sent out to residents on the 11th.  Ridgefield firefighters were stationed at the building on Saturday to help residents up and down the stairs.  The Housing Authority Chairman says a second elevator maintenance company is being brought in to figure out what the problem is and how to fix it.  A date and time for the elevator to be working has not been estimated. 

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Newtown Police K9 Officer finalist in grant contest

The Newtown Police K9 Officer is a finalist in a grant contest run by Aftermath Services, a crime scene cleanup and biohazard remediation company.  The grant was founded to reward the unique contributions made by K9 units.  The funding can be used for maintenance, safety equipment, or officer training.  The Grant voting period opened Wednesday and ends November 3rd.  The votes will be tallied and the winning law enforcement agencies will be announced on November 6th.  Winners are determined by community votes.  People can cast an online vote once daily.

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Southbury Police to participate in DEA's RX Take Back Day

The Southbury Police Department is participating in the Drug Enforcement Administration drug take back day on Saturday.  It's a chance for residents to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous, expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.  They can be disposed of at the Southbury Police Department on Main Street South from 9am to 2pm on Saturday.  The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. No intra-venous solutions, injectables, needles or thermometers will be accepted. No illicit substances such as marijuana or methamphetamine will be collected as they are not part of this initiative.

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Wilton teens mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Members of Teen PeaceWorks have placed purple pinwheels on the front lawn of the Wilton Police Department.  It's an awareness initiative for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The 78 pinwheels represent the number of domestic-related calls Wilton Police responded to over the last year.

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Ridgefield Police K9 visits Joel Barlow

Ridgefield Police Sgt Shawn Murray and his K9 Loki recently visited the Joel Barlow School Resource Officer and his Criminal Justice Club. On Tuesday, Murray discussed the important role police canines play within a police department.  The Redding and Easton students saw first hand how police canines are used to "sniff out" drugs.

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Danbury Zoning Commission approves changes allowing Women's Center facility at former hat factory

The Danbury Zoning Commission has unanimously approved changes allowing the former Mallory Hat Factory site to become a transitional housing facility.  The facility will be operated by the Women’s Center of Greater Danbury.  The City Council approved transferring the Rose Hill property to the Women’s Center in November of 2017, for a dollar.  The State Department of Economic and Community Development awarded the Women’s Center a $1.1 million Brownfield cleanup grant for the project.  The site was contaminated with chemicals used in the hatting process and required extensive remediation.  The Women’s Center supports over 20,000 individuals from area communities each year with domestic violence, sexual assault and resource services for adults and children.  The organization was founded in 1975.

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'InsideOut' concert to be held by Danbury Music Centre

The Danbury Music Centre and the Danbury Symphony Orchestra, in collaboration with InsideOut Concerts, will present their very first immersive concert.  Audience members will take part in an on-stage experience by sitting among the musicians during the performance. 

The fundraiser for the Danbury Music Centre will be conducted by InsideOut Concerts director David Bernard. 

Danbury Music Centre Executive Director Barbara Adams Jaeger says the organization's mission is focused on bringing music into the community. By bringing audiences into the full music-making experience, InsideOut Concerts helps us achieve our goals in a new and exciting way. 

Danbury Symphony Orchestra Music Director Ariel Rudiakov says performers have been captivated by the magic of music making and hopes to spread the experience to others  Here, the conductor’s back isn’t turned to the audience, nor is the orchestra elevated on a stage on the other side of the room. Instead, the seats are with the players themselves, in the thick of the violins or right next to a harp. 

The audience regularly rotates to sit with a different section.

The performance is Saturday at 6pm.

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Southbury Police urge drivers to use caution in construction zone

Southbury Police Department is cautioning drivers on Roxbury Road to some work at Bates Rock Road.  Between 7am and 3pm, the road is down to one lane.  The work has been going on for the last couple of weeks. It will continue this way until Friday. This road has a sharp turn on the approach to Bates Rock Road, where Eversource contractors are working.  An officer is directing traffic, but motorists are reminded to slow down in work zones.

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New Milford Police remind drivers to pay extra attention this Halloween

New Milford Police are reminding drivers to pay extra attention this Halloween.  The night poses an especially dangerous threat to pedestrians, as more people are out at night.  The Department is teaming with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to remind motorists that if the night involves alcohol, plan for a sober ride home. 

New Milford Police say with Halloween on a Thursday, they expect more parties throughout the weekend. 

Between 2013 and 2017 there were 158 drunk driving fatalities on Halloween night.  42-percent of people killed were in crashes involving a drunk drivers.  Younger drivers are most at risk,  Even tough it's illegal to drink under age 21, people underage had the highest percentage of fatalities on Halloween night in 2017. 

New Milford Police say alcohol isn't the only issue.  While the campaign Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving has been in use for a few years, the NHTSA is also reminding people that If You Feel Different, You Drive Different.  Drug use can also lead to a DUI.

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Results of traffic study presented to Newtown Police Commission

Results of a traffic study have been presented to the Newtown Police Commission.  The Toddy Hill Road study from a traffic engineering firm cost $5,000.  About 7,400 vehicle trips are made daily on the street.  Some of the recommendations are already being planned by Newtown officials.  They include more enforcement and a large portable electronic speed display along the roadway.  The recommendations call for a permanent display on both sides of the road.  The current speed limit of 30 miles an hour should be maintained, and speed humps are not recommended.  New Stop signs and new stop bars on the pavement should be installed on each side road.   Curve Warning signs are suggested for several locations including the area of Settlers Lane and between Turnberry Lane and Quarry Ridge Road. 

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State Police honor Troopers, civilians for outstanding service

Several local State Police Troopers have been honored for their service.  An awards ceremony was held yesterday at the State Police Training Academy to recognize members for exceptional service in the line of duty. 

The Medal for Lifesaving was presented to Troopers David Tharas and Jaime Olsowy.  On April 20th, New Fairfield Police received a report of a missing man.  A cell phone ping positioned him in a heavily-wooded area on a steep embankment and cliff face adjacent to Candlewood Lake.  The Troopers found the man with extensive blood loss and too weak to move.  He was in the woods overnight with self-inflicted cuts. 

They treated his wounds and got him onto a boat for transport to the hospital.  While attempting to land the boat, Trooper Olsowy seriously injured his knee, yet continued to assist and load the victim without regard for his own injury.

The Commissioner's Recognition Award was presented to a nurse who helped at an accident scene.  The Medal for Lifesaving was presented to Trooper James King, who responded to the report of a pedestrian hit by a car on I-84 in Danbury in February.  King found nurse Julie Ann Falter helping the victim in the area of exit 8, and administered a tourniquet on the victim. 

State Police officials say their rapid intervention and pre-hospital care gave the victim a fighting chance.  She succumbed to her injuries the following day, however.  Their efforts did give family members time to respond to the hospital and allowed for a successful organ donation that gave the gift of life to others.

Trooper Giancarlo Ardolino was presented with the Medal for Lifesaving yesterday.  He was recognized for his response to an accidental shooting at a Sherman home in June.  Ardolino applied a tourniquet to the victim's leg to control the life-threatening bleed. Officials say his quick thinking and calm response resulted in the victim surviving the incident.

Two civilians and a Trooper are being recognized for their response to a motorcycle accident on I-84 in Danbury.  Trooper Anlly Diaz received the Medal for Lifesaving yesterday.  Edward Bell and Patrick Doherty were presented with with Commissioner's Recognition Award.  A motorcyclist who struck a guardrail by exit 8 in June sustained a severe leg injury with heavy bleeding.  The two Good Samaritans arrived just before the Trooper, who applied a tourniquet to stop the life-threatening blood loss.  The victim survived the incident.

An Oxford Police Officer and the Resident Trooper were presented with a Medal for Lifesaving yesterday.  Officer Darren Pavlik and Trooper Ryan Pfeiffrer were recognized for their response to a reported cardiac arrest at a town home.  They found the victim lying on the kitchen floor unconscious, unresponsive and without a pulse.  The pair performed CPR for 8 minutes until EMS arrived and used a defibrillator before transporting the man to the hospital.  The man suffered a severe heart attack and underwent emergency surgery.

A Unit Citation Award was presented to Easton and Weston Police Departments, Western and Eastern District Major Crime Squads and the FBI.  They were recognized for an investigation into a the case of a missing Easton couple.  Jeffery and Jeanette Navin's bodies were located three months later at an abandoned Weston property.  Their son and girlfriend were arrested in connection with the murders.  The investigation included a 26-day search through 35,000 tons of ash at a state landfill by Western & Eastern District Detectives.  Jennifer Valiante accepted a deal, pleading guilty to hindering prosecution.  Kyle Navin accepted a deal, pleading guilty to two counts of murder, last April.  State Police say the successful resolution of the case was a combination of investigative evidence generated by detectives and forensic evidence from the crime scene, as well as the cooperation of the multiple agencies involved.

Sherman Resident State Trooper Wayne Tate was presented with the Medal for Lifesaving for his actions in August.  He responded to a report of a woman struggling in the Housatonic River, near Long River Road, a wooded and remote area. The woman and her husband couldn't swim, she went under water and her husband nearly downed trying to rescue her.  Trooper Tate  worked to pull both parties out of the water to safety.  He performed CPR on the unresponsive woman for more than 10 minutes while waiting for EMS, who was having a difficult time locating the scene.  The male victim was hovering between consciousness and unconsciousness.  The woman later died, but State Police say the man would not have survived without the rescue efforts of Trooper Tate.

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Ridgefield First Selectman candidates debate the issues

Ridgefield incumbent Democratic First Selectman Rudy Marconi is seeking reelection in November.  He is being challenged by former Norwalk Republican Mayor Dick Moccia for the position.  The town’s leader is elected to a four-year term.  Marconi has served a total of 20 years as First Selectman.

The candidates were asked about commercial development sprawl and the 8-30g affordable housing statute, which allows developers to bypass local zoning regulations as long as a certain percentage of units are designated as affordable.  Moccia says what works for Danbury or Bridgeport does not work for Ridgefield.  He wants the state to revise the statute.  Moccia also expressed concern about the impact of development on the wastewater treatment plant.

Marconi says a big question about commercial development that came up recently was whether a proposed winter club on Peaceable Street was commercial, even though it was in a residential neighborhood.  He believes it was commercial.  The rehab facility planned for Old West Mountain Road, despite the application calling for 14 rooms, it would have allowed up to 42 rooms.  He also said that would have been an encroachment.

Marconi says there are a lot of things on the horizon for Ridgefield he’d like to shepherd through over the course of another 4-year term.  One is working with the state on the Route 35/Main Street project.  He says only a minimal amount of trees will be cut and the planned widening was scrapped.  Instead there will be dedicated turn lanes to help with traffic flow.  He called that critical.  Marconi says the Branchville TOD is a good location for affordable housing. 

Moccia says there needs to be a better evaluation of road maintenance over the next four years.  He also wants to look at school maintenance.  Moccia also proposed better customer service when residents have questions and concerns.  He wants to set up a system where residents could get a work order number by sending a photo of blight, potholes or other issues.  He noted that Wilton has a system, called Click Fix.  Moccia says the town should also hire a grant writer on a contingency basis to bring in more state and federal funding.

Marconi says the town has to be careful on spending.  He notes that the Board of Selectmen eliminated 7 positions in order to bring in a flat budget.  He agreed that the roads need attention, but said the quality of paving material has been an issue.

Much of the discussion centered on keeping the small town feeling in Ridgefield, while also allowing economic development.  Moccia says that goes back to lobbying Hartford for changes to the 8-30g program.  He wants to do more to curb truck traffic off Route 35, or at least a weigh station to make sure they’re regulated.

Marconi says land use is a planning and zoning issue, and overall they try to do a good job.  What the Selectmen needs to look at is see how development in New Canaan has changed that town.  He says they need to look outside the box and work with land owners to be proactive to prevent 8-30g developments.  As for economic development, Marconi says he worked hard to keep Boehringer Ingelheim in Ridgebury.  Planning and Zoning worked with him to keep the pharmaceutical company in Ridgefield.

Marconi was asked if the upgrades to the sewer treatment plant are worth the increased fee to users.  He wants to work with the WPCA, but says the upgrade is a state mandated issue.  Marconi noted that users are charged in 35 categories based on water usage.

Moccia says a mixed-use system with commercial also paying in, the increase could be controlled.  He questioned why, if it’s a DEEP mandate for upgrades, it was left to the last minute.  Moccia called for better planning.

The candidates were also asked if the current pension system with police and firefighters is sustainable, and if not, what changes should be made.   Moccia says the Board of Finance looks at the numbers every month.  He notes that the Pension Board has done a great job keeping the pensions in good actuarial shape.  He doesn’t believe there will be a sustainability problem.  Moccia says if the state goes back and has the towns pick up part of the teacher pension costs, that could be a problem.

Marconi says the defined benefit plan several years ago was unsustainable, but after negotiations, a defined contribution system was put in place.  He says that was a lot of hard work.  Every new employee, over the last 5 years, has been part of the new system. 

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Danbury Police to participate in National Drug Take Back Day

The Danbury Police Department will be taking part in the DEA's National prescription drug take back day on Saturday.  Police say this is the time to clean out medicine cabinets and drop off  unused medicines in the front lobby of the Danbury Police Department.  The official collection is between 10am - 2pm, but the Danbury Police Department does have a box in their lobby for round the clock collection.  Police say unused medicines in the home are a leading cause of accidental poisoning.  Flushed or trashed medicines can end up polluting the waters.

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Redding Police participate in No Shave November to help cancer patients

Some Redding Police officers are participating in No Shave November to raise money to support the mission of the Connecticut Cancer Foundation. The funds raised benefit the organization's Cancer Patient Assistance Program to help local patients with basic needs.  That includes rent or mortgage, utilities and food.  Officials say cancer becomes a financial burden when jobs are placed on hold and there's increased medical bills.  Redding Police say patients and their families should never have to worry about going hungry or being evicted from their homes during treatment.  For the month of November, officers will not shave while raising donations for Connecticut cancer patients.

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Redding League of Women Voters is hosting candidate forum

The Redding League of Women Voters is hosting Municipal Candidate Debates tonight.  There are 4 candidates for the Redding Board of Ed and three for the Region 9 Board of Ed attending.  Redding residents will select three members for the Redding Board and two for the Region 9 positions.  The debate tonight is 7:45 to 9pm at Redding Community Center on Lonetown Road.

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Danbury Mayoral candidates discuss how to accommodate overflow student population

A Brookfield school could be used to educate Danbury students.  The Newstimes reports that Mayor Mark Boughton has spoken with Brookfield officials about staffing Center School with Danbury teachers to address classroom overcrowding.  Center School students will be moving into a new Huckleberry Hill Elementary School by 2022.  Democratic Danbury Mayoral candidate Chris Setaro said in the published report that there is an urgent need now, and he would look for space within the City rather than bussing students to another town.  Boughton also proposed a spending proposition to build an as-yet-undetermined number of classrooms. Setaro called for a citywide commission to draft a strategic plan for long-term classroom needs.

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Waterbury man due in court today over alleged rape

A Waterbury man accused of raping and holding a woman against her will last year is headed to trial.  44-year old Ralph Whyte was charged in January after turning himself in to police.  An investigation was launched in March 2018 after an acquaintance reported the alleged incident that happened at his Padanaram Road office. The pair went to dinner and Whyte asked her to help move some things.  According to the affidavit cell phone records showed she searched “sexual assault hotline,” “What is sexual assault,”“Was I raped?”and self defense classes.  The victim called the Women's Center hotline and was advised to go to the hospital for asexual assault kit, and call  police.  Police later obtained a DNA sample, which matched evidence collected in the victim’s sexual assault kit.  Whyte is free on bond and due in court October 23rd.

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Brookfield Police remind drivers to use caution near new crosswalks

The Brookfield Police Department has issued a traffic safety reminder with a special alert for the Four Corners district.  With the completion of Phase 2 of the streetscape project, the Still River Greenway is now connected to the sidewalk network. More pedestrians than ever are walking through the area.  Police are reminding drivers to obey the 30 MPH Speed Limit and be alert for pedestrians.  As for the rest of the roadways in Brookfield, Police say drivers should stop for pedestrians in crosswalks and share the road with cyclists.

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Man gets DUI after crashing into New Milford police cruiser

A 32-year old man has been charged with driving under the influence after hitting a police cruiser.  New Milford Police say the cruiser was stopped, with it's emergency lights activated, on the shoulder of Danbury Road shortly before 1am Friday.  The officer was waiting on a tow truck for another vehicle, when Kyle Buys of Plymouth crashed into the car.  He was also charged with failure to slow or move over when approaching an emergency vehicle, driving while using a hand-held device and following too closely.  The officer was treated at the scene.  Buys was released on bond and due in court on October 30th.

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Danbury man arrested for alleged sexual assault of a child

A Danbury man has been arrested on charged of sexual assault and risk of injury to a child.  32-year old Jhonny Nieves-Tenecela was arrested last Tuesday after a lengthy investigation.  A woman called police in April, claiming her daughter was sexually assaulted.  The Newstimes reports that the child told police she and a fiend went to the Mall, Kenosia Park and St Peter's Cemetery with Nieves-Tenecela.  She said he touched her inappropriately over her clothes while at the cemetery.  He reportedly asked her not to tell her mother what happened.  The girl also told police he touched her under her shirt the summer before.  Nieves-Tenecela was arraigned and released on bond for a November 12th pre-trial hearing.  Charges also include illegal sexual contact.

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Setaro picks up Hispanic Democratic Caucus endorsement

The Connecticut Hispanic Democratic Caucus has endorsed Chris Setaro for Danbury Mayor as he looks to unseat longtime Republican Mark Boughton. 

Setaro spoke yesterday at Kennedy Park, where in 2006, police posed as an employer and lured 11 day laborers into a van and turned them over to federal immigration agents.  Setaro said Danbury's diversity is its strength, and should be embraced.  He called the roundup an unfortunate and ill-advised decision that hurt the Latino community deeply and was the subject of a civil rights lawsuit.  It was settled for $400,000. 

During the Chamber debate earlier this month, Boughton addressed the question of police working with ICE.  He says his administration has diversified the police force to better reflect the people it serves.  Boughton says the strategic partnership with ICE focused on criminal activity, resulting in 20 arrests.  That included someone with 7 DUIs, a person who sexually assaulted a minor and someone taking flying lessons at Danbury Airport.  But the program was ended and Connecticut now has a so-called TRUST Act, which dictates when police can work with ICE.

30 percent of Danbury residents are Hispanic or Latino.  13 Latino and Hispanic candidates are running for office in Danbury.

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Controversy in Southbury over GOP lawmaker's attendance at DTC event

A photo posted by the Southbury Democratic Town Committee last week showing Republican state Representative Arthur O'Neill and his wife listening to the Democratic First Selectman candidate speak at an event has prompted a controversy. 

Incumbent Republican First Selectman Jeff Manville posted on Facebook that "the defection" didn't surprise him and that integrity matters. 

O'Neill responded in a written statement that it's unfortunate a recent Facebook posting mischaracterized his attendance at an event in Southbury that have left some questioning his commitment to fostering individual freedoms, less government interference and common sense leadership. 

The DTC post said that decency, intelligence, credibility, honor and heart are something that all people can appreciate no matter what political party, and that neighbors can all stand in the same room and respect one another. 

O'Neill this week responded that it's regrettable his appearance at the event has created any discord within the Republican party.  He noted that he did not endorse the candidates at the event, did not make a speech and did not contribute any money as it was not a fundraiser. 

There were other Republicans in attendance. 

O'Neill also said that he supported the Southbury Republican Party-backed candidate during the primary this campaign season in Southbury.  Manville is seeking his third term as first selectman, but Jennifer Naylor, who is on the Board of Selectmen, received the party's endorsement.  During the primary, Manville received nearly twice as many votes as Naylor.

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Sherman residents approve spending, ordinance at Annual Town Meeting

Sherman residents have approved about $94,000 in spending at this weekend's Annual Town Meeting.  Residents also unanimously approved a Right to Farm Ordinance. 

$80,000 for electrical work and barn repairs at Happy Acres Farm will be paid for from the Happy Acres Restricted Fund.

$4,100 for emergency fire code upgrades done at at Sherman Playhouse last month, $3,000 for a water purifier at the public works wash station, $4,400 for the town's share of a FEMA grant to the Sherman Volunteer Fire Department for 28 hand-held radios, and up to $3,000 for an antenna at the Emergency Operations Center were also approved.  The money will come from the town’s capital non-recurring fund. 

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Brookfield man was found unresponsive in his vehicle at SCSU

A Brookfield man was found unresponsive in his vehicle in a Southern Connecticut State University parking garage over the weekend.  The school sent out an email Sunday about the death of 22-year old Sean Gallo.  He was found in the West Campus Parking Garage.  The cause of death has not yet been determined, but according to campus police, there appears to be no evidence of foul play.  Gallo was a junior and history major, in his first semester at Southern after transferring from Naugatuck Valley Community College.  The office of the state medical examiner says it could be six to eight weeks before a cause of death can be determined.

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Newtown candidate forum tonight

A Newtown Candidate Forum is being held tonight.  The League of Women Voters of Northern Fairfield County, the Chamber of Commerce of Newtown and the Friends of Newtown Seniors are hosting the event.  Candidates invited to attend are running for the Legislative Council, Board of Finance, Board of Education, Board of Assessment Appeals, Planning and Zoning, and the Zoning Board of Appeals.  The moderated candidate presentations start at 7pm, but starting at 6:30, there will be an informal opportunity to talk with the candidates.  The forum is at the Newtown Community Center from 6:30 to 9pm.  Newtown First Selectman Dan Rosenthal is running unopposed. 

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Connecticut city collects 42 firearms at gun buyback event

NORWALK, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut city's police department says it collected 42 firearms during a weekend gun buyback event.

The Hour reports the unloaded guns were signed over to the Norwalk Police Department on Saturday.

The Wilton Quaker Meeting and the Newtown Foundation partnered with the department on the event.

People who turned in guns received gift cards: $100 for long guns, $150 for handguns and $300 for assault weapons.

The Wilton Quaker Meeting says no public money was used for the buyback. All funds were donated through a public crowdfunding site.

The Newtown Foundation says police will vet the guns to make sure none were used in a crime or are part of an investigation. They will then be melted down and forged into gardening tools.

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SEEC concludes administrative inquiry into embezzlement case in Sherman

The State Elections Enforcement Commission has concluded an administrative inquiry into a nearly $10,000 embezzlement case in Sherman.  The investigation started in February when the Democratic Town Committee chairman filed a complaint in February about their treasurer, Thomas Conley, withdrawing $9,650 for personal use. 

The Hartford Courant reports that the case was dismissed last week, citing Conley alone for violating campaign finance laws and not imposing penalties on the party. 

Conley was killed by his husband, James Maharg, in March.  The SEEC says Conley was keeping all of the records, but he attempted to make restitution which drew the agency's attention for being over the individual contribution limit. 

The SEEC said: “After extensive investigation and review of pertinent documentation in this matter, the commission determines, based on the steps taken [by the Sherman Democratic Town Committee] ... as well as the superseding death of Respondent in the course of this complaint and investigation, that it will take no further action in this matter.”

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New Milford Police investigate burglaries from parked cars

The New Milford Police Department has been getting a number of reports of vehicles being broken into.  Homeowners in the area of Sunny Valley Road and Fort Hill have called police. Officers are reminding people to lock unoccupied cars and take keys and valuables out of the vehicle. Anyone with information about these burglaries is asked to contact Officer McIntyre at 860-355-3133.

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Bridgewater issues advisory about Bulky Pickup and  Drop-of

Bridgewater officials have issued an advisory about Bulky Pickup and  Drop-off.  Smaller items can be dropped off at the Town Garage starting today.  Residents are asked not to leave smaller items or garbage along the roadside.  Mattress should not be put out for pick up.  They can be recycled year round at the Town Garage. If they are left on the roadside, and they get wet and are no longer recyclable.  Mattresses can be brought to the Bridgewater Town Garage on Tuesdays and Saturdays, as well as all week during bulky drop off.

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Debate scheduled for New Milford Mayoral candidates

New Milford Democratic and Republican Town Committees are holding a debate for the Mayoral candidates.  The event will be moderated by The League of Women Voters of Litchfield County.  Republican incumbent Pete Bass is being challenged by Democrat Tom O'Brien.  The forum will be held October 24th from 7 to 8:30pm at the Sarah Noble School cafeteria.  Questions will be from the audience, written on cards handed out upon entry. The cards will be passed from screeners to the Moderator.

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Brookfield firefighters respond to two calls in Four Corners area

Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company responded to two calls at the Four corners area last night and early this morning.  There was an odor of gas reported along Federal Road shortly after 9:30pm, which ended up be unfounded.  Around 1:30am, firefighters responded to an activated alarm at Green Bubbles Car Wash on Station Road.  It turned out to be a system malfunction. 

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Court to hear appeal of HIV test order in trafficking case

The Connecticut Supreme Court is slated to take up a case involving a man sentenced for his role in a Danbury-based human trafficking ring.  The Justices will listen to arguments Monday on whether the court abused its discretion in issuing a pretrial order for Bruce Bemer to undergo HIV testing. 

The issue is whether it was a violation of his right to unreasonable searches. 

Bemer was charged with patronizing a prostitute who was a victim of human trafficking and conspiracy to traffic in persons.  The state was granted a motion before the trial asking for a court order that Bemer submit to testing for sexually transmitted diseases.  Bemer appealed, even though in criminal cases there is generally no appealable final judgment until the court imposes a sentence. 

Bemer argued that testing will not assist the state in the criminal case, or assist the victims or advance the public health. 

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16-year old charged with rape in New York

A Putnam County teenager has been arrested on a rape charge.  New York State Police say the 16-year old was arraigned in Putnam County Family Court on the class D felony, and a charged of felony sexual abuse.  The teen was arrested on Friday and ordered held at a juvenile detention facility on bond.  During the investigation, State Police learned that the crime was recorded and posted to social media.  New York State Police reminded residents that dissemination/sharing/viewing of the video is a crime, and subject to arrest.

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Danbury Police to raise funds during No Shave November

Officers from the Danbury Police Department will be participating in a “No Shave November” fundraising event benefiting Circle of Care. The organization raises money to help families who have children diagnosed with cancer.  One of the ways Circle of Care raises money is by recruiting local police departments to participate in "No Shave November".  Officers will make a monetary donation towards the event and not shave for the month. DPD will be competing against other local police departments to try to raise the most money.

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Local educator to receive Presidential Award for Excellence

Four teachers from each state have been selected to receive Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.  The nominations are facilitated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation, after receiving applications from the state level.  The educators from Connecticut include Kimberly Moran, who teaches at Rogers Park Middle School in Danbury.  Teachers from Fairfield, Colchester and Glastonbury schools will also be honored for their work in math and science, including computer science.  They were selected based on distinction in the classroom and dedication to improving science, technology, engineering and math education.

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WCSU lake symposium continues tonight

The second in a series of West Conn's fall lake symposium lectures is being held tonight.  The subject of this event will be toxic blue-green algae, which has led to beach closures in the Greater Danbury area in recent years.  Two members of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection will lead the discussion about water quality.  An Associate Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences will also talk about his research on Lakes Candlewood, Zoar and Lillinonah.  Blue-green algae can produce a harmful toxin that can cause symptoms from skin irritation to brain and liver damage.  Tonight's discussion is at 7pm in Route 125 of the Science Building on West Conn's midtown campus.

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Brookfield Youth Commission to host candidate meet & greet

The Brookfield Youth Commission is hosting a “Meet Your Municipal Candidates” event this week.  The candidate forum is being held Thursday at 7pm in the Brookfield High School auditorium.  The Youth Commission will ask questions to the candidates for several boards and Commissions.  Residents who have questions are asked to arrive 20 minutes early and write the question down when entering the event.  Candidates for the Boards of Selectmen, Education, Finance, and Assessment Appeals, the Planning and Zoning Commissions, Town Clerk, Treasurer, and the Zoning Board of Appeals are expected to attend.

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Connecticut Farm to School Collaborative at New Milford High School touted

The Connecticut Farm to School Collaborative recently facilitated “Connecticut Grown for Connecticut Kids Week” at New Milford High School. State Representative Bill Buckbee participated in the program this week.  It's designed to raise awareness about the importance of using locally grown food in area restaurants and cafes.

In New Milford High School’s cafeteria, a little over a quarter of all the food offerings have been sourced by local farms. 

While serving 25% of the food in the high school’s cafeteria from locally owned and operated farms is above the state average, Buckbee says this initiative is just a starting.  He wants the goal to be 50%, or higher if possible. 

Buckbee added that when students have a complete understanding of the positive impacts of supporting the local agriculture industry, they will buy locally grown foods on a more frequent basis.

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Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum partners with UConn's Stormwise program

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield is partnering with UConn's Stormwise program.  Forest Management Researcher Amanda Bunce will participate in the exhibition, Weather Report.  Her research will be in dialogue with the artists on view.  The UConn program has a goal of reducing the risk of tree-related storm damage to power lines. Bunce will also be speaking at Weather Report: A Symposium on Art and Weather at Western Connecticut State University today. It's 11am to 5pm in the Science Building on the Midtown campus.

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Congresswoman to speak at NAACP banquet in Danbury

The Danbury chapter of the NAACP is hosting their annual Freedom Fund Awards Banquet today.  5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes will be the keynote speaker at the event later this morning at the Ethan Allen Hotel in Danbury. The theme of the night is “When We Fight We Win,” which is meant to emphasize how informing the electorate can bring progress on issues such as education, criminal justice and immigration reform.

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Danbury Police seek to identify person for questioning about car break-ins

Danbury Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a person wanted for questioning about a series of vehicle break-ins.  The man was captured on home surveillance video checking the handle of a car.  The break-ins have been reported in the Sienna Drive/Woodcrest Drive area. The person pictured may be operating the black SUV seen in the background of the video. Anyone with information is asked to call Officer Katkocin at 203-797-4611 ext.618 or call the confidential tips line at 203-790-8477.

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Right to Farm ordinance up for a vote at Annual Town Meeting in Sherman

A Right to Farm ordinance will be discussed during the annual Town Meeting in Sherman on Saturday.  The proposal is meant to protect farmers from nuisance complaints while allowing regular farming activities to take place. 

The state does already have a Right to Farm ordinance, which is nearly verbatim to the local proposal.  The Board of Selectmen says that's a concern, because it's a repetitive law. 

The state law exempts farms that meet specified conditions, and follow generally accepted agricultural practices, from certain nuisance laws about  odor, noise, and other objectionable farming by-products. 

The local ordinance will be voted on during the Annual Town Meeting at 9am.

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Kent Memorial Library hosting candidate forum

Kent Memorial Library is hosting a candidate forum with the two candidates for First Selectman.  Jean Speck, endorsed by the Democratic Town Committee, and Edward Matson, the Republican nominee, will take part in a civil dialog Saturday.  The pair will discuss their plans and platforms, and then take questions from Kent residents.  The questions may be dropped off at the library or at the event.  The League of Women Voters of Litchfield County will moderate the 1pm event.  Seating is limited, so registration is required through the library.

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Illusionist show to be hosted by Congregation Adath Israel of Newtown

A family friendly illusionist show is being hosted by Congregation Adath Israel of Newtown next month.   “The Magic of Lyn, Master Illusionist,” will be performing on November 2nd at 7pm at Masuk High School in Monroe.  Doors open at 6 for a silent auction and bake sale.  Tickets can be purchased in advance, or at the door. 

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Danbury organizations mark 145th anniversary of the birth of Charles Ives

The Danbury Music Centre and the Danbury Museum & Historical Society are celebrating the 145th anniversary of the birth of Charles Ives.  The free events on Sunday start with a hike up Pine Mountain at 9:30am with a visit to the site of Ives retreat.  Participants are asked to RSVP and meet at Ives Court off Pine Mountain Road in Ridgefield.  At noon, there will be a tour of his birth home at 7 Mountainville Avenue in Danbury.  At 12:30, the Ives Film Experience will be in Huntington Hall of the Danbury Museum & Historical Society on Main Street.

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Two Bethel residents arrested by Danbury Police for alleged drug sales

Two Bethel residents have been arrested for a variety of drug-related offenses in Danbury.  Police launched an investigation months ago into resident complaints about drugs being sold in the Danbury area. 

A search warrant was approved for Francisco Joel Martinez-Soto, his home, car and phone.  The warrants were carried out yesterday evening when he was stopped at a traffic light on Deer Hill Avenue. 

He was found in possession of several ounces of cocaine and more than $45,000 cash. 

Bethel Police found small quantity of cocaine, drug paraphernalia, and several hundred dollars more at his Juniper Road home.  Alise Martinez was also linked to drug sales and both were taken into custody.  She was released on bond while he was held for arraignment. 

Martinez-Soto was charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of controlled substance with intent to sell less than half an ounce of cocaine, possession of controlled  substance with intent to sell within 1500’ of a school, possession of controlled substance within 1500’ of a school, possession of drug paraphernalia and risk of injury to a child. 

Alise Martinez was charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of controlled substance with intent to sell less than half an ounce of cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and risk of injury to a child.

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Man charged for billboard on car displaying topless woman

A report of a billboard, on top of a vehicle, displaying pictures of a topless woman has led to a misdemeanor charge for a New York man.  A Putnam County Sheriff Deputy was dispatched to Putnam County Court House in Carmel Tuesday morning and located the white Dodge SUV, owned by 66-year old Douglas Demasi of Hopewell Junction.  The billboard displayed, among other things, three large photos of a woman with both breasts entirely exposed.  Demasi admitted to putting the billboard up and was taken into custody without incident.  He was charged with Public Display of Offensive Sexual Material and released on a written promise to appear in Carmel Court at a later date.

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Danbury FCI sentenced to probation for attempted cell phone smuggling

A Danbury Federal Correctional Institution employee has gotten probation for trying to smuggle phones into the prison.  A judge yesterday ordered 38-year old Eric Williams to two years probation and to perform 100 hours of community service during that time.  Williams worked in the Food Service Department at FCI Danbury.  He tried to  smuggle four mobile phones and an electric beard trimmer into the prison by hiding the items in his hat as he entered the facility through the staff entrance.  When a corrections officer arrived to screen him, Williams left his hat in the entrance area.  A supervisory officer found the hat and he initially denied it was his. 

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Planned weekend closure of RT 133 called off

The state Department of Transportation has called off this weekend's planned closure of Route 133.  The bridge project in Brookfield and Bridgewater is again on hold.  Brookfield Police say there  are no future weekend detours planned for this year.  The bridge will remain alternating one way traffic, with signals or flaggers, into the month of November for some roadway reconstruction. Crews will still be out paving and working on the bridge joints.  Route 133 was closed last weekend from Friday through late Monday.

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Two dozen municipalities recognized for exercising best practices

The Connecticut Economic Development Association is recognizing two dozen municipalities for exercising best practices in land use and economic development.  Among the 24 towns earning the accreditation are Bethel, Brookfield, New Milford and Newtown.  This is the first year the association has offered the award for showing a commitment to economic development and exemplifying that Connecticut is open for business.  The municipalities will be honored at the association’s annual meeting next Wednesday in Bridgeport.  The group also plans to tout the policies as models for other towns.

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Heart Wellness Clinic for veterans, first responders to be held in Brookfield

A Preventative Cardiology and Heart Wellness Clinic is being held by the Jason Lewis Brookfield Memorial VFW Post next week.  Military Veterans and First Responders an encouraged to attend the clinic on the 23rd, from 6 to 9pm.  It's being held at Brookfield Senior Center. 

The clinic will primarily address the issue of potential heart related conditions.  It has been shown that combat exposure for veterans that have been deployed as well as chronic stress can greatly increase the risk for heart disease at younger ages in combat veterans and first responders. 

Members of the Cardiology Department of The West Haven VA Hospital will conduct personalized risk assessments and recommended treatment plans.  A Connecticut Disabled Veterans Association advisor and a Danbury Veterans Center representative will provide guidance for Veterans not currently enrolled in the VA Program, and answer questions regarding VA Benefits. 

Clinical personnel from Dental Associates of Connecticut will council attendees on the relationship between oral care and heart health. Attendees should bring their service separation paper DD Form 214, if they have it. 

Attendees should RSVP to Van DaCosta at e-mail: i.m.dacosta89@gmail.com or by phone at 203-297-4269 by Friday, October 18. 

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Women's Center of Greater Danbury holds annual Candlelight Vigil of Remembrance

The Women's Center of Greater Danbury's annual Candlelight Vigil of Remembrance has been held.  This is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The vigil was held last Thursday. 

They took time to honor those who have lost their lives to domestic violence and added three statues to represent the deaths that occurred in 2018 in the catchment area. All of the victims were females age 25 or younger.  The “Silent Witness” exhibit showcases silhouette cutouts of women and men who have died due to domestic violence.  Attached to each cutout was the name of a victim and his or her story. 

The exhibit was created in 2006, modeled after a national movement.  The goal is to not only honor and remember, but also to promote change. 

Connecticut has averaged 14 domestic violence homicides annually since 2000.  This accounts for 13-percent of Connecticut's overall murder rate during that period.

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Pick up truck driver seriously injured in crash with construction equipment

A pick up truck driver hit some construction equipment early this morning in Newtown.  Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue along with Newtown Ambulance and Police responded to the area of the exit 11 off ramp shortly before 4am.  The driver required extrication from the truck.  The motorist suffered serious injuries and was transported to the hospital.

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Ridgefield Police to participate in DEA medication take back day

The Ridgefield Police Department is participating in a national prescription drug take-back initiative this month to promote the proper disposal of medications. On Saturday, October 26th, from 10am until 2pm, unused and unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications will be collected at Rite Aid Pharmacy on Danbury Road. 

The Ridgefield Police Department partnered with Rite Aid Pharmacy and the Ridgefield Prevention Council for the weekend collection.  All medications collected will be brought to an incineration facility for destruction by Ridgefield Police officers. 

Police officials say prescription drugs that languish in medicine cabinets create a public health and safety concern because they are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. 

There is a prescription drug take-back box in the front lobby of Police Headquarters available 24 hours a day/365 days of the year. 

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Friends of the Franc Preserve and Bethel Land Trust seek volunteers

The Friends of the Franc Preserve and Bethel Land Trust are looking for volunteers to work at the protected open space.  Volunteers will be doing some trail maintenance and native species protection on Saturday.  Workers can also take a guided tour of the preserve to learn about the plants and animals that inhabit the space.  The clean up event is open to all ages, but volunteers are asked to dress appropriately for the weather and bring gardening or work gloves.  The tour is 10:15am with work parties splitting up at 11am.

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Bethel Registrars remind residents of voter registration deadlines

The Bethel Registrars of Voters are reminding residents about deadlines for being able to vote in the November 5th municipal election.  An in-person voter registration will be held on October 29th at the Registrars office in the municipal center from 9am to 8pm.  All mail in and online registrations must be completed by that date in order to cast a ballot next month.  Young Bethel residents who will turn 18 years old between October 30th and November 4th, or people moving into Bethel during that time, can register in person by 5pm on November 4th in order to vote.  Online Voter Registration requires a State of Connecticut DMV ID.

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New State's Attorney for Judicial District of Litchfield appointed

The state's Criminal Justice Commission has appointed Dawn Gallo as State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Litchfield.  Her appointment is for the remainder of an eight-year term, through mid-2025.  Gallo, a 22-year veteran of the Division, has served as Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Litchfield since June 2014.  The district includes Bethlehem,  Bridgewater, Kent, New Milford, Roxbury, Salisbury, Sharon, Thomaston, Warren, and Washington. The State’s Attorney oversees criminal prosecutions at the Superior Court and Superior Court for Juvenile Matters in Torrington.

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Deadline approaching for entering the first CityCenter Shorts film competition

The deadline for entering the first CityCenter Shorts film competition is nearing.  CityCenter Danbury and the Danbury Library are sponsors of the event.  Filmmakers who set their film in CityCenter Danbury must refer at least once to a character named Charlie Ives.  The films must be between and 7 minutes.  The deadlines for submission is midnight on October 31st.  The films must be a silent film, comedy, drama, sci-fi or thriller and include a recognizable shot of downtown Danbury.  A red carpet screening will take place on November 14th at the Palace Theater on Main Street where the top three winners will be shown and three honorable mentions will be announced. Filmmakers who are Connecticut residents with a library card can use the free video editing studio at the Danbury Library.

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Overnight wind, rain brings down power lines and trees

The strong, gusty winds took down some electric lines overnight leaving hundreds of people in the Greater Danbury area without power.  Eversource is reporting the biggest problems in this region are in Wilton, Ridgefield, Danbury and Redding. 

Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company noted that as the winds picked up, crews were called to an increasing number of incidents.  There was a power issue on Federal Road, caught on dash cam which looked like a blue light from a transformer issue.

In New Milford, Route 109 was closed by Washington Ridge Road because of a tree down.  Redding police say Poverty Hollow Road was closed near the Newtown town line because of a downed tree.  In Wilton, Police say Route 33 between Belden Hill Road and Middlebrook Farm Road and a portion of Sturges Ridge Road were closed. 

Danbury firefighters responded to various electrical problems, including a downed tree on Pembroke Road and Hamilton Drive, which also brought down primary wires across some driveways. 

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Former Newtown man charged for sexual related felony offenses

A former Newtown man has been charged with 22 counts of sexual related felony offenses.  Newtown Police completed extradition and charged Stephen Todd Sanders yesterday on an outstanding arrest warrant. 

The Newtown Police Department was informed that after committing the alleged crimes, the 51-year old was planning to leave the country, with an ultimate destination of the Marshall Islands.  Newtown, Southbury and Waterbury Police along with a Florida Sheriff's Office were granted the 22 count felony arrest warrant. 

Sanders was extradited from Hawaii.

Newtown Police spokesman Lt. Aaron Bahamonde says this case was one that police were not going to let go and worked diligently for over a year to bring Sanders to justice and hopefully bring some closure for the victims.

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Monroe Police investigate theft of mail from blue box

The Monroe Police Department is investigating the theft of mail from the large drive-thru blue mailbox at the Post Office on Monroe Turnpike.  Police are working with the United States Postal Inspection Service on the investigation.  Anyone who dropped mail in that mailbox after 4pm on Monday and before 9am on Tuesday is asked to monitor accounts for fraudulent activity.  If fraudulent activity is found, it should be reported to Monroe Police.  Over the last several months, Newtown Police have been investigating a few similar cases.

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Local lawmaker recognized in D.C. as a 2019 Game Changer

A local lawmaker was one of the 2019 Game Changers recognized in Washington DC last night by Family Values @ Work, a national network of coalitions working in 27 states for legislative public policies. 

Danbury state Senator Julie Kushner, who led the way for creation of a Paid Family and Medical Leave program in Connecticut as well as advocating for an increase in the state’s minimum wage, was honored for her role in creating the new public policies.   Kushner and Representative Robyn Porter were recognized as “Policy Champions” for their leadership. 

Eight states, including five in the Northeast, and the District of Columbia now have paid FML laws on their books. 

Kushner says at the most critical moments in the lives of families –  taking care of a seriously ill loved one or bonding with a new child – she doesn't want them worrying about paying the bills or losing one’s job. 

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Second phase of Brookfield town center streetscape project complete

The ribbon has been cut in Brookfield on Phase II of the Streetscape project, which extends 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.  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.  The biggest difference between the Phase I and Phase II is sections are a crosswalk with flashing beacons, bus shelter and shrubbery among other amenities.

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Invasive insect spotted for first time this year in Connecticut

An invasive insect has been spotted for the first time this year in Connecticut.  The adult spotted lanternfly was reported to the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station on October 4th in Southbury.  A dead adult spotted lanternfly was found in Farmington last year.  The insect is native to China, India and Vietnam, but was first discovered in the U.S. in Pennsylvania in 2014.  The insect can kill grape vines, hops and maple and fruit trees, sucking sap from them.  It produces a sweet excrement that can attract wasps and bees, as well as cause a black fungus to grow. Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station encourages anyone who sees this insects to email information about when and where the sighting happened along with a photo to ReportSLF@ct.gov.

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American Legion Post flag to be carried by Wilton Police Lt. up Mount Kilimanjaro

An American Legion Post flag has been presented to two Wilton Police officer to be carried up Mount Kilimanjaro in February.  Commander Bill Glass from American Legion Post 86 in Wilton Center met with LT. David Hartman and LT. Robert Kluk recently.  The pair will be joining Officers from 7 other police departments in Connecticut and New Jersey to hike to the summit in Tanzania, Africa next year in an effort to bring awareness to the athletes of the Special Olympics.  Wilton Police urged area residents to support the Special Olympics of Connecticut, as well as the officers in their climb, through a tax-deductible donation to the Special Olympics.

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Vaping pens, cartridges to be accepted at National Drug Takeback Day

The Easton Police Department is taking part in the upcoming national Drug Take Back Day on the 26th.  The DEA will now be accepting vaping pens and vaping cartridges in an effort to combat the continued vaping health crisis across the country.  All cartridges will be accepted.  Vaping pens without batteries will be collected, though the batteries must be removed before to being brought to the drop off site.  Vaping pens with batteries that cannot be removed are deemed as hazardous waste and will not be accepted. National Drug Take Back Day on the 26th is from 10am to 2pm.  The Easton drop site is at the Library.

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Public Hearing scheduled in Ridgefield on parking lot expansion

A proposal to add more parking in Ridgefield will be up for a public hearing next month.  The Planning and Zoning Commission will hold the hearing on November 12th on the plan to expand the town-owned, 62-space Governor Street parking lot.  It would add 56 parking spaces to the village area, at the north end of the lot.  The proposal calls for closing the north end, having a circular traffic flow, with entry and exit access at Governor Street.  Several years ago, residents approved 570-thousand dollars to construct a new parking lot on the edge of the village area.  The November 12th hearing is at 7:30pm.

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Wisconsin jury awards $450,000 in Sandy Hook defamation case

MADISON, Wis. (AP) A jury in Wisconsin has awarded $450,000 to the father of a boy killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting after he filed a defamation lawsuit against conspiracy theorist writers who claimed the massacre never happened.

A Dane County jury Tuesday decided the amount James Fetzer must pay Leonard Pozner, whose 6-year-old son Noah was among the 26 victims at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

Fetzer and Mike Palacek co-wrote a book, ``Nobody Died at Sandy Hook.'' A judge earlier ruled Pozner was defamed by statements in the book that claimed he fabricated copies of his son's death certificate.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports Fetzer, a retired Minnesota professor, plans to appeal the award. Palacek reached a settlement with Pozner last month. The terms were not disclosed.

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Informational meeting in Ridgefield tonight about Portland Ave bridge replacement

A public information meeting is being held in Ridgefield tonight about the replacement of the Portland Avenue bridge over the Norwalk River.  The meeting is at 7:30pm in Ridgefield Town Hall. 

The state Department of Transportation says the bridge is functionally obsolete.  The 27-foot span was built in 1928. 

The proposed replacement will have two 11 foot wide travel lanes, a 10-foot wide dedicated right turn lane, two-foot shoulders, and a concrete sidewalk.  The proposed replacement will be precast concrete, supported by integral abutments founded on piles.  The clear span length of the proposed budget will be about 36-feet long, curb to curb.

Construction will require four weekend closures and a one week closure of Portland Avenue.  The detour will use Routes 107/57 and 7.  The project is not expected to start until 2022, based on the availability of funding and environmental permits.  The project is estimated to cost $2.21 million and will be funded with 80-percent federal aid and 20-percent municipal dollars. 

 

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NY man charged for driving 108 mph in a 55 mph construction zone

A Putnam County man has been arrested for driving at twice the posted speed limit in an active construction zone.  New York State police charged 20-year old Nicholas Zervas of Southeast on Sunday.  He was clocked traveling at 108 miles an hour on Interstate 684 in Bedford.  The speed limit is 55.  The construction zone was marked.  Troopers conducted a traffic stop and cited Zervas for reckless driving, speeding in a work zone and two additional vehicle and traffic law violations.  The Traffic Incident Management detail completes over 95,000 hours of dedicated work zone traffic enforcement statewide per year since 2008.

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Newtown legislative delegation hosting forum for businesses

The Newtown state legislative delegation is hosting a forum for businesses on Halloween.  Representatives Mitch Bolinsky and JP Sredzinski, along with Senator Tony Hwang will discuss new taxes, fees, and policies that they say may haunt Connecticut businesses and residents.  They'll talk about the recent minimum wage hike, the state’s new family leave program, and changes to the pass-through business entity tax.  The three say the forum is intended to give attendees the opportunity to ask questions and receive clarity about these new policies.  The informational meeting is in the morning, from 7:30 to 8:30 in the Newtown Municipal Center.  Attendees are asked to reply on Facebook: bit.ly/newtownbizforum.

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Man convicted for 2009 Danbury home invasion will get new trial

A judge has ruled that a man convicted for a 2009 Danbury home invasion will get a new trial.  The judge vacated the 14 year sentence of Lacelles Clue, who filed a Writ of Habeas Corpus claiming ineffective counsel. 

Clue was charged with robbery, assault of an elderly person and larceny after police found a laptop in his home that was reported missing from the crime scene.  During the crime, a masked man held a knife to the throat of a 78-year old woman and threatened to kill her.  An envelop of cash and a laptop were taken. 

Clue was sentenced in 2011.  He claims Attorney Eugene Zingaro failed to call alibi witnesses, failed to investigate third party culpability and failed to consult with a fingerprint analysis expert. 

Hearst Media reports that the judge didn't agree with all claims in the ruling, but determined that not calling alibi witnesses prejudiced Clue in the trial and was objectively unreasonable. Clue remains in prison pending a new trial.

The Chief State’s Attorney plans to appeal the ruling.

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Bethel Planners approve application for 8 apartment units

The Bethel Planning and Zoning Commission has approved an apartment complex for Wooster Street.  8 units on about a half an acre of land bordering the municipal center would be constructed behind a two family home on the property.  The commission said if the apartments are constructed as approved, the project will not be a detriment to the health, safety, and welfare of the neighboring properties.  Plans call for 14 parking spaces.

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Updated state law now in place about municipalities helping veterans

An updated state law is now in place about cities and towns helping veterans.  Under the old law, any municipality that didn't have a local veterans' advisory committee, and did not provide funding for a veterans' service officer, was required to designate an employee to serve as the contact person. 

The new law allows volunteers to serve in this position, and subjects them to all existing training requirements. 

The designated volunteer must live in that municipality, be a veteran or have experience with veterans' issue, and be available for a minimum number of hours per week.  The representative will also be required to file a monthly performance report with the municipality about the services or referrals provided and the names of veterans assisted. 

The local veterans’ advisory committee can coordinate reemployment, education, rehabilitation, and adjustment to peacetime living, help secure services and benefits for veterans and their dependents, and coordinate vocational training services for veterans.

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Danbury Citywide PTO hosting 'Meet the Candidates' forum tonight

The Danbury Citywide PTO is hosting a Meet the Candidates forum tonight.  The PTO says the two candidates for Mayor and the people running for Board of Education positions were invited to participate in the forum.  Both Republican incumbent Mayor Mark Boughton and Democratic challenger Chris Setaro are expected to appear. 

Among the questions the PTO says will be posed, are how they plan to address the needs that come with increased enrollment and goals for education in the City.  They will also be asked what the lobbyist has done or should be doing for the school system, and whether it's beneficial to continue to pay for a lobbyist in Hartford.  Index cards will be provided for audience questions, time permitting. 

The forum is tonight at 7pm in Broadview Middle School.

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City Council holds further discussions on possible land acquisition

A committee of the Danbury City Council is holding another meeting tomorrow night about the possible acquisition of land.  The Danbury Museum and Historical Society approached the Council about the City purchasing the oldest house in Danbury still standing.  Executive Brigid Guertin suggested selling an unused property owned by the City to offset the cost of acquiring the Crofut home.  The ad hoc committee meeting is at 6pm tomorrow in City Hall.

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Business owner discovers three parking spaces are technically in Danbury right-of-way

There's a new owner of a business office in Danbury, and they discovered that some of their parking spaces are illegal.  The three spaces are technically in the City right of way.  The City Council has now signed off on a 10-year lease for a small triangle of land at 34 Mill Plain Road.  The previous owner had been using the land for 40 years as parking.  The lease is for $1,000 a year, making the three parking spaces legal.

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Area firefighters conduct training exercise in Redding

If you saw a lot of firefighters out and about in Redding yesterday night, it was just training.  Firefighters from Redding Fire & EMS, West Redding Volunteer Fire Department, Bethel Fire & EMS, and Miry Brook Volunteer Fire Department of Danbury all participated.  They were in the area of Lonetown Road, Topstone Road, Umpawaug Road, and Limekiln Road.  While fire officials said that residents shouldn't be alarmed by their presence, they should use caution as drivers pass by.

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Information session to be held in Bethel about 2020 Census work

An information session is being held in Bethel on the 22nd about the 2020 census.  People in attendance will learn about the census, available job opportunities and can also apply in person for those jobs.  Representatives from the U-S Census Bureau will be on hand to help.   The forum is from 2 to 4pm at the Bethel Municipal Center, in meeting room A.

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8-year old leads rescuers to injured cousin in Tarrywile Park

An 8-year old was able to call 911 and tell Danbury firefighters where his young cousin had fallen from a rock outcropping in Tarrywile Park last night.  Fire, Police and EMS units responded to the park shortly before 5pm. 

The position was plotted on maps by dispatch. 

(Photos: DFD)

8 Firefighters, 2 Police officers, and a Paramedic made their way into the woods on the Department's Utility Terrain Vehicle and one from the Tarrywile Park Authority. 

The young hiker had a serious fracture of the leg.  Emergency responders tended to the injured hiker, and evacuated him to an awaiting ambulance, and on to the hospital. 

The child was able to describe the injury and helped the crew locate the family in the woods within 30 minutes. 

Fire officials say Chris, who goes to Shelter Rock School, was instrumental in relaying valuable information to the rescuers.

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Construction closes White Street down to one lane in Danbury

There's construction scheduled on White Street Wednesday and Thursday.  Drivers are cautioned to expect heavy delays near the intersection with Moss Avenue by the Court House.  White Street will be down to one lane starting at 7:30am and ending around 3:30pm each day.  Detour signs will be in place and Danbury Police suggest travelers avoid the area and find alternate routes.  Officers will be on scene assisting with traffic flow.

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Study of ways to alleviate traffic congestion on Route 37 in Danbury gets federal grant

A federal grant has been secured to study ways to alleviate traffic congestion on Route 37 in Danbury.  The study will also look at how to improve pedestrian mobility.  Federal funding through the Surface Transportation Block Grant will be used to analyze physical and operational characteristics of North Street and Pembroke Road from the exit 6 ramp in Danbury, to just north of the intersection with Route 39 in New Fairfield. Consulting firm FHI held the first study meeting earlier this month.  The group will recommend future improvements in the corridor.  Another major objective is to promote healthy and environmentally friendly modes of transportation.

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Sherman Volunteer Fire Department purchasing new Fire/Rescue boat

The Sherman Volunteer Fire Department is purchasing a new Fire/Rescue boat for use starting with the 2020 boating season. The boat is funded entirely with department resources and will not be a capital expense for the town.

The landing craft design will be equipped with a pump, a combination will allow for effective water rescue and to serve as a water source for lakeside environments where it is not possible to gain access with a conventional pumper truck. 

The old boat was pulled from service this summer and put up for sale, with a listing on Facebook Friday and by Saturday, the Sherman Volunteer Fire Department announced that it had been sold. The lights, siren and radio will be removed. The motor is in need of repair. 

The new boat is being built by Connor Industries in Parry Sound, Ontario. It's a 22 foot vessel.

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Water main replacement project starts in Newtown tonight

A water main replacement project gets under way in Newtown, starting tonight.  Aquarion Water Company says the work will take place on Church Hill Road between Queen Street and the railroad overpass near Wall Road. 

There will also likely be minor traffic delays and possible detours during the evening working hours of 8pm to 5am.  The project is expected to be completed by mid-December. 

2,100 feet of water main will be replaced as part of an ongoing effort to improve Aquarion’s water distribution system.  The infrastructure replacement project is also aimed at helping to reduce leaks and water main breaks that can cause service interruptions. 

During the project, customers in the area may experience temporary service disruptions or discolored water.  Aquarion recommends customers store water in their refrigerators for drinking and cooking in case these circumstances arise. Customers also should refrain from washing laundry if their water is discolored. Prior to resuming use, customers should run their cold-water faucets until the water appears clear.

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2020 Census informational forum at WCSU Wednesday

The 2020 Census is coming, and the League of Women Voters of Northern Fairfield County is hosting a forum for residents to learn about rights and responsibilities from a Census Bureau official.  The event is on Wednesday at Western Connecticut State University.  The American Association of University Women, Danbury Branch, is a cosponsor. 

The information session will be led by Yvette Trujilo Rose, a partnership specialist in the Field Division of the Census Bureau’s New York Region.  League President Judith Griemsmann says the census provides vital information for every community.  It determines how many representatives each state gets in Congress and is used to redraw district boundaries. Local officials rely on census statistics to plan for services like road paving and schools.  The federal government distributes more than $675 billion annually to states and communities based on Census Bureau data. 

Rose will speak at 7pm in Room 127 of White Hall on the university’s Midtown campus.  The event is free and open to the public, but registration is requested at www.facebook.com/events/241515170113626/.

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Putnam County Sheriff's Office holds awards ceremony

The Putnam County Sheriff's Office has recognized several members of the Department for their above and beyond service.  During the ceremony last week, two new Deputies were sworn in.  Also at the awards ceremony, all seven of the Sheriff's Department K9s received their official badges. Hannah, Char and Flash represented and pawed up for their brothers Sentinel, Kato, Lex and Satch. Funding for these the badges was made available through seized assets and were purchased at no cost to the taxpayer.

(Photos: Putnam County Sheriff's Department)

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Newtown Police unveil Breast Cancer Awareness cruiser

Members of the Newtown Police Department and staff from Town Hall got together recently for the unveiling of the new breast cancer awareness month police cruiser.  Police spokesman Lt Aaron Bahamonde says the hope is that if one woman can be reminded after seeing the pink cruiser to schedule a potentially life saving mammogram, it is well worth it.  Nu-Age Warning LLC made a donation to Newtown for the graphics.  The cruiser is pink and white with a pink ribbon decal.

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Southbury Police beat Fire Department in Battle of the Badges

For the second year in a row the Southbury Police Department beat the Fire Department in the Battle of the Badges.  The final score was 14 - 9, at the event held to help raise donations for the Southbury Food Bank.  Spectators were encouraged to bring nonperishable food items to Ballentine Park Saturday.

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Shots fired turned out to be bubble wrap being run over

A call of shots fired in Ridgefield, turned out to be unfounded.  Ridgefield Police responded to the area of West Lane near Olmstead Lane on Friday morning.  They determined that the sound was actually bubble wrap from someone’s trash being run over and popped by passing cars.  The responding officer was able to safely pick up the bubble wrap without incident.

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Newtown Selectmen propose upgrades to emergency radio system

The Newtown Board of Selectmen has proposed upgrades to the town's emergency radio system.  $7.5 million would improve the dispatching and communications equipment, with a goal of reducing dead zones.  The two year plan would replace major components that are end of their useable life, because they were upgraded in 2001.  New transmission stations would be constructed and analogue equipment would be replaced with digital.  The capital improvement plan must be approved by the Board of Finance and the Legislative Council.  This comes as the town gets set to open a new police station next year. 

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Cease and desist order issued in to Millstone Farm

A cease and desist order has been issued by the Wilton Zoning Enforcement Officer to Millstone Farm.  The order was issued for reportedly converting a home into office space, and building a second kitchen without zoning permits.  The Wilton Bulletin reports that the owner has 10 days to appeal to the Zoning Board of Appeals.  Millstone sought a regulatory changes to permitted accessory use in a single-family district.  The proposal would allow for “agritourism” for offices and a farm or riding stable.  Concerns were raised during the public hearing though about traffic, noise and other quality of life issues and the application was withdrawn.

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Shallow drawdown planned for Candlewood Lake this winter

FirstLight Power Resources will conduct a shallow drawdown of Candlewood Lake and Squantz Pond this winter.  The drawdown season will begin December 1st and run until the opening of fishing season in April 2020.  Water levels will fluctuate throughout the season and drop to minimum pond levels to expose invasive Eurasian Water Milfoil to freezing temperatures, which helps to reduce the annual proliferation of the plant during the recreational season.  Due to unknown weather patterns exact dates and associated lake levels are unavailable.  Homeowners are encouraged to remove their structures, boatlifts, and docks from Candlewood Lake prior to the winter season to prevent ice damage along the shoreline.

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Newtown Police serve search warrant in case of stolen jet skis

The Newtown Police Department’s Detective Unit has served a search warrant on an undisclosed address in Waterbury.  This was part of a search for two jet skis reported stolen in Newtown last week. 

Police say this is still an ongoing investigation and arrests are expected. 

The jet skis were locked and secured to a dock at the rear of a residence, on Lake Zoar, in the area of the Silver Bridge. The jet skis are valued at $25,000. 

Residents along Lakes Zoar and Lillinonah are cautioned to be vigilante and take additional steps to protect their property.  Those steps include calling police if anything suspicious is seen around boat ramps and installing motion sensor alarms, lights, cameras, and GPS units.

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Annual Town Meeting to be held in Sherman Saturday

Sherman officials will convene the Annual Town Meeting this weekend.  There's nearly $100,000 in proposed spending to be voted on during the Saturday gathering. 

The largest portion is $80,000 for electrical repairs and barn repairs at Happy Acres Farm.  That money would come from the Happy Acres Restricted Fund. 

Residents will also decide on $4,100 for emergency fire code upgrades done at at Sherman Playhouse last month, $3,000 for a water purifier at the public works wash station, $4,400 for the town's share of a FEMA grant to the Sherman Volunteer Fire Department for 28 hand-held radios, and up to $3,000 for an antenna at the Emergency Operations Center.  The money will come from the town’s capital non-recurring fund. 

The annual town meeting on Saturday is at Mallory Town Hall at 9am.

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Pedestrian struck and injured in car accident

A pedestrian was struck and injured by a car in Danbury on Friday night.  Danbury Police say 56-year old Kevin Woulfe was walking on Wildman Street shortly before 5pm when he was hit by a pick up truck.  The driver, 29-year old Mauricio Brito-Santos, was also headed northbound and turning when he hit the Danbury man.  Woulfe was transported to Danbury Hospital for treatment of injuries sustained in the crash.  The incident remains under investigation.  Any witness is asked to contact the Traffic Division at 203-797-2157.

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Bethel Inland Wetland Commission denies application for apartments on Goodhill Road

The Bethel Inland Wetland Commission has denied an application for 11 apartments on Goodhill Road.  Neighbors came out in opposition to the plans. 

Developer Tim Draper is looking to appeal the decision and tells the Connecticut Post that he could either re-submit his original proposal or apply to build 24 one-bedroom apartments on the street.  The expanded proposal could move the development out of the upland review area and the purview of the Inland Wetland Commission. 

A “no trespassing” sign on the property reportedly kept the land use department from the site.  According to the denial, the commission could not determine what impact there would be to the land because of conflicting reports by soil scientist. 

Draper applied through the state's 8-30g statute, which allows local zoning laws to be bypassed if developers agree to make a certain percentage of their housing affordable.

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Money approved to pay Boat Dock invoice in New Fairfield

Money has been approved to pay the Boat Dock invoice in New Fairfield.  The metal holding pieces of the dock together has become fatigued over the years and repeatedly repaired.  The geotechnical investigation cost $11,320.  First Selectman Pat Del Monaco says this is part of the same phasing the town has been dealing with to replace the aging infrastructure.  Following this investigation, the town now knows what it's going to take to stabilize the dock, where the anchors should be placed and how many anchors are needed.  The next step is to actually place the anchors.  The first dock to be replaced would be arm 1.  There are four arms to the dock.  Replacing each will likely cost between $200,000 and $250,000.  Del Monaco noted that the investigation didn't turn up anything that would significantly increase cost estimates.

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Congresswoman hosts live streamed town hall meeting

5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes held a Facebook Live Town Hall last weekend. It was the second of such events to be held by the freshman Representative. During the first one, she answer questions which was submitted in advance.  During this town hall event, Hayes took questions live.  Most were about the recent impeachment news. 

Hayes says as a History teacher, she has great respect for the office of the President.  But she says Congress has a duty of oversight.  Hayes says she never wanted to go down this road, and hopes the conclusion is that the President didn't do the things he's accused of doing.  She says more information is needed so there's an unequivocal answer one way or the other.

But Hayes did also spoke briefly about calls to her office, with most from young constituents being about climate change.   

Hayes did credit the President for signing the Autism CARES Act last month.  The bill reauthorizes the previous Autism CARES Act of 2014 and expands government programs to include older people with autism who were misdiagnosed, underdiagnosed and overlooked.  The Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support Act (CARES) allocates $1.8 billion in funding over the next five years to help people with autism spectrum disorder and their families.

Hayes was asked several time why the Democrats are stalling on a trade deal with Canada and Mexico, the USMCA to replace NAFTA.  Hayes noted that it's still in committee.  She raised concerns with it's original language about labor conditions and worker rights.  She noted that while over 200 bills have been passed by the House since being sworn in, only a handful have been brought to the Senate floor.

Hayes also answered a question about getting debt under control.  She called for a repeal of parts of the tax cut law to make sure corporations are paying their fair share and that taxes are equitable.

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2nd annual Battle of The Badges softball game in Southbury

The 2nd annual Battle of The Badges softball game in Southbury takes place October 12th.  The Southbury Police Department is looking to defend their title against the Southbury Fire Department.  Food trucks will be on hand for the event, which is held to help raise donations for the Southbury Food Bank.  Spectators are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items to Ballentine Park at 2pm.

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Sandy Hook firefighters mark end of National Fire Prevention Week

Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue is marking the end of National Fire Prevention Week.  Fire officials suggest residents create different scenarios for practicing a home fire escape plan, such as blocking some exits and conducting a fire drill in the dark. A plan for each situation should be developed.

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Dog gets head stuck in tree stump in Wilton

A dog who got its head stuck in a tree stump was rescued by firefighters in Wilton last weekend.  The Wilton Bulletin reports that the dog had been out for a walk with its owner, when it chased a chipmunk and became lodged in the dead tree stump.  Several dog walkers tried freeing it, but couldn't and Firefighters and animal control were called to the area of the Town Forest.  A large, broken branch was stuck in a tree above the dog, and responders were worried it would fall.  A “spreader” and “cutter” hydraulic tool were used to chip away at a root and free the dog's head.  The animal appeared uninjured.

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Fire in Danbury, Redding last night

Danbury firefighters responded to a small residential fire near the courthouse last night.  The blaze on the 2nd floor porch of a house on White Street was quickly extinguished. The Danbury Fire Marshals Office is investigating the cause of the fire, which is undetermined at this time. There were no injuries reported.

There was some windy weather last night.  The gusts took down power lines in Redding, which sparked and were burning in the trees in the area of Chestnut Woods Road and Topstone Road.  West Redding Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene, along with Eversource.

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Danbury schools seek input on 2020-2025 Strategic Plan

The Danbury Public School District is looking for public input as the Board of Education looks to finalize a Strategic Plan for 2020 through 2025.  The plan that will set the standard for education, learning and the schools in the coming years.  The strategic plan draft has been posted online and parents are asked to answer a brief survey.  The responses will help the overseeing committee formulate a plan that meets the needs of all students and their families.  The survey is available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.


English Version - https://forms.gle/8rdvXcDrc8uMCEb78
Spanish Version - https://forms.gle/mWexgJjCqyowTDQ86
Portuguese Version - https://forms.gle/Ns1mrf5SAbsS6jz16

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Danbury mayoral candidates raise similar amounts to date

The latest campaign filings for the municipal elections are being made.  Danbury Republican incumbent Mayor Mark Boughton and Democratic challenger Chris Setaro are in a virtual tie, each raising $160,000 during the campaign.  While Setaro lead in fundraising during the first quarter, Boughton outraised Setaro in both of the last two quarters.  The pair last faced off for the position in 2001, when Boughton was first elected to the role.  Setaro lost by fewer than 150 votes.

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Danbury Fire Department to hold Touch-A-Truck event Saturday

The Danbury Fire Department will be marking National Fire Safety Week with a touch a truck event at Danbury Library.  Residents can attend the event at Library Plaza on Saturday and see a fire truck and meet firefighters.  There will be a special storytime where participants will learn how firefighters keep the community safe.  The event is 11:30 am - 12:30 pm.

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Danbury Mayoral candidates face off in debate

Longtime Danbury incumbent Mayor Mark Boughton and Democratic challenger Chris Setaro faced off in a debate last night.  Boughton is seeking his 10th term in office.  Setaro is an attorney who served as City Council President.  The debate was held by the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce.  a boisterous crowd clapped for their respective candidates throughout the debate.  There were a few interruptions, especially when the candidates were asked about immigration.

The first couple of questions were about how to retain and grow business in the City.  Boughton said the state doesn't make it easy and touted creation of the small business advocacy.  Setaro says strategic planning is important.  He says small businesses look at things like the schools, roads and quality of life when looking to located to a municipality.  He says the City can be made stronger by focusing on these kitchen table issues.  Setaro also called for assessment deferrals.  Boughton says economic development is not a problem for Danbury, noting that tax breaks are given and the permitting system has been streamlined and put online.

The candidates were next asked about what they would do to help downtown thrive.  Boughton says his administration is in the process of implementing a Transit Oriented Development plan, which includes $2 million from the state for sidewalks.  He highlighted zoning changes that have been made in City Center and a grant to study how to revive the old Maybrook train line, connecting downtown to Southeast train station.  Boughton also touted the learning corridor with Naugatuck Valley Community College.  Setaro says the downtown should be a priority, because it looks the same as it did 18 years ago.  He called for a revitalization of the dining and entertainment district to jump start things in City Center.  Setaro says the city-owned Tuxedo Junction building should be put to use as a performing arts center.

When it comes to residential development, Setaro says Danbury has been overdeveloped with no plan for how to manage that growth.  He says the area on the westside known as The Reserve should have been corporate development property.  Boughton noted that Setaro voted for the sewer and water extension and knew it was going to be residential.  He added that there was a real threat that The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation would have built a casino on that land.  Boughton says they are taxpayers, support local businesses and there's also 200 acres of open space.  As for overcrowding in the schools, Boughton says these are residents who should be demonized.  Setaro fired back unbridled growth is different than running sewer and water over to the west side, there could have been commercial development.  He also doesn't see a rush of casino entrepreneurs lining up in Danbury.

Setaro noted when it comes to education funding, there is currently a crisis with an unexpected jump in enrollment creating a $1.3 million budget shortfall.  He called for a 20 year strategic plan so that Danbury is last in the state on per pupil spending.  He says that's not a badge of honor and doesn't think Danbury needs a lobbyist to bring more dollars back to the City.  Boughton says the education budget has increased every year he's been in office and never presented a budget that forced layoffs. 

Crime and quality of life issues were also addressed by the candidates.  Boughton says the Police and Fire Departments have new infrastructure and touted the centralized dispatch center.  He noted that there are roving foot patrols in the summer and plans for more community policing.  Setaro says Danbury has a police force and fire department to be proud of, but says the police department is understaffed.  He wants to look at the privatized 911 system and called for a street crimes unit to address robbery and auto theft.  Setaro also called on the Mayor to sign onto a letter that calls for universal background checks and waiting periods for gun purchases.  Boughton says Danbury has enough officers, noting the crime is down 18 percent year over year.

On immigration, Setaro says Danbury needs a Mayor who views the City as a set of communities to bring together through inclusive politics.  He says people want to be heard, and it's important to reach out to everyone.  Boughton says he is proud that Danbury is a diverse city and has strived to make sure the workforce is representative of the people they serve.  He noted a diversified police force and the large number of cultural and religious events held in the City.  Setaro says a Mayor should respect diversity, adding that he wouldn't deputize police to pick up day laborers leading to an expensive civil rights violation lawsuit.  Boughton says he didn't deputize the police, they did have a partnership with ICE to focus on criminal activities.  Setaro responded that Danbury has a police department to address criminality.

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Two jet skis reported stolen in Newtown

Two jet skis have been reported stolen in Newtown.  Police say the theft occurred earlier this week, in the middle of the night. The jet skis were locked and secured to a dock at the rear of a residence, on Lake Zoar, in the area of the Silver Bridge. The jet skis are valued at $25,000.  Newtown Police spokesman Lt Aaron Bahamonde says officers are pursuing several leads, but also also ask for the public's help.  Residents along Lakes Zoar and Lillinonah are cautioned to be vigilante and take additional steps to protect their property.  Those steps include calling police if anything suspicious is seen around boat ramps and installing motion sensor alarms, lights, cameras, and GPS units.

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Two vehicles on train tracks along Danbury branch caused Metro North delays

Two vehicles on the tracks along the Danbury branch caused Metro North delays last night.  The first incident was reported shortly after 8pm in Danbury.  A car was on the tracks at the intersection of Wildman and Taylor streets. Firefighters noted that all of the occupants were out of the vehicle and the train was able to stop before reaching the intersection.  The conductor was instructed to go back and drop passengers off at the Bethel station since the train could not proceed to the Danbury station.  The car was removed around 8:40pm.  At that same time, a motorcycle was reported on the tracks near the Merritt 7 stop.

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Public Safety Day to be held in Southbury on Sunday

Public Safety Day is being held in Southbury on Sunday.  The first responder “open house” and community event features the fire, emergency medical service, police, K-9 and animal control departments.  

It's from 1 to 4 pm at the Center Firehouse on Main Street South.

The event is hosted by the Southbury Volunteer Firemen’s Association.  Over a dozen emergency vehicles will be on public display including ambulances, police cruisers, rescue boats, 102’ ladder truck, heavy rescue, engines, tankers, brush truck, gator and others.  

Southbury Fire Chief Brian Warren says the ambulance and fire departments are always looking for volunteers and residents are encouraged to learn about how they can help serve their community.  

At 2pm a rural water supply demonstration will be done with a water tanker to show how water is delivered to areas in town without fire hydrants. A vehicle extrication with fire and EMS personnel and apparatus will occur at 3pm.  

A popular part of the annual safety program is a walk thru of the “smoke room” simulating realistic smoke conditions.  The fire department’s Ladies Auxiliary will be distributing free 9-volt batteries for smoke detector to promote “the change your clock, change your battery” campaign.  Children will receive a prize package for participating and visiting the numerous event “stations.”  

The Southbury Ambulance Association will be providing tours of their ambulances along with providing blood pressure readings, medical and safety information.  Southbury Police will have a wide variety of tools and information available including radar, traffic enforcement equipment, along with public safety and drug awareness information.  

The programs are all free and open to the public.  Parking will be provided at the adjacent town hall parking lot and behind the firehouse. 

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Stony Hill Fire Company recognizes Exchange Club Firefighter of The Year

Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Company is recognizing Bethel's 2019 Danbury Exchange Club Firefighter of The Year.  Engineer Zach Britton joined the department in high school, at 16 years old.  He has earned numerous certifications including Haz Mat operations and Emergency Medical Responder.  Britton was selected for the award due to his unwavering dedication and commitment to the department and the wellbeing of the Town of Bethel.  Stony Hill officials say he is the epitome of what they expect from their membership.

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Redding Elementary School educator named 2020 Anne Marie Murphy Paraeducator of the Year

A Redding Elementary School educator has been named as the state Department of Education's 2020 Anne Marie Murphy Paraeducator of the Year.  Jaime Bairaktaris, or Mr. B as he's known to his students,  is in his third year at RES which he attended as a student. 

The award was renamed in 2013 to honor of Anne Marie Murphy, a special education paraprofessional who was killed at Sandy Hook School. Redding Elementary School’s principal, Natalie Hammond, survived the shooting and was a friend of Murphy.  The celebration this week not only honored an exceptional paraeducator, but also acknowledged the commitment of Hammond in her continued dedication to students. 

Bairaktaris had a vision to transform some under-utilized space in the school cafeteria into ‘The Living Room’, a space where students can relax in a safe, supportive environment and meet their Social/Emotional needs during lunch.  Students can read in handmade reading boxes, collaborate with other students to solve puzzles, or get creative and work on art projects.  Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona took a tour of the space Tuesday. 

The Westport resident provides support to students in math, assists with students who need 1:1 support, and has been trained to assist behavior technicians.  Bairaktaris believes that age does not affect one’s ability to help others as long as they are passionate. State officials say his passion for helping others was built during his own childhood by his teachers and paraeducators, and he now strives to instill that same sense of kindness and confidence in his own students. 

The Anne Marie Murphy Paraeducator of the Year Program selects one exceptional paraeducator - narrowed down from approximately 14,000 public school paraeducators - through a rigorous process that includes interviews conducted by representatives of the School Paraprofessional Advisory Council and representatives from educational organizations and collective bargaining.

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Bethel Public Works Department issues 2019 Leaf Pickup Schedule

The Bethel Public Works Department is out with their 2019 Leaf Pickup Schedule.  Curbside pick up of leaf bags will begin on Monday, October 21st and end on Friday, December 13th.  Residents are asked not to rake leaves into the streets, as this will cause storm drain clogging and localized flooding. 

Bethel residents can also bring bagged leaves to the transfer station at no extra cost while this program is in effect. 

Household garbage will not be accepted with the leaves.  No plastic bags will be picked up.  Tape should NOT be used to close and seal the leaf bags.  Leaves placed after the scheduled pick-up date will be collected on the next rotation. There will be NO special pick up on demand.

The schedule is as follows:

Week of October 21st, November 4th, November 18th and December 2nd:

Almar Dr., Ann Terrace, Apollo Road, Ballfield Rd., Blue Spruce Ct., Brookwood Dr., Cawley Ave., Chelsea Rd. Cindy Lane, Durant Ave. Farm Ct., Gemini Rd., Golden Hill Rd., Grandview Ave., Greenwood Ave., Hickok Ave., Judd Ave., Juniper Rd., Kayview Ave., Keeler Ave., Library Pl., Main St., Maple Ave., Maple Ave. Extn., McKay Rd., Milwaukee Ave., Oxford St., Plumtrees Rd. (Maple Ave. Ext. to Whittlesey), Prospect St., P. T. Barnum Sq./Fountain Pl., School St., Seeley St., Simeon Rd., Whittlesey Dr., Wooster St.

Bethpage Dr., Cherry Lane, Church Camp Grounds, F.J. Clarke Circle, Fairchild Dr., Granite Dr., Knollwood Dr., Laura Lane, Melillo Dr., Oaktree Court, Oven Rock Rd., Plantation Ct., Pleasant Rise, Rotella Dr., Second Lane, Sharon Ct., Tremont Ave., Trowbridge Dr., Turnage Lane, Vera Dr., Whitlock Ave.

Beach St, Benson Rd., Blackman Ave., Bonnette Dr., Bonnette Dr. Ext., Depot Pl., Diamond Ave., Division St. Drummers Lane, Elgin Ave., Elizabeth St., Farnum Hill, Fleetwood Ave., Fleetwood Park, Front St., Glenwood Dr., Grace Ct., Grand St., Grandview Terrace, Grassy Plain Street (Route 53), Grassy Plain Terrace, Griswold St., Henry St., High St., Highview Terrace, Hudson St., Lindberg St., Mansfield St., Maple Lane, Martino Lane, Oakland Heights, Paul St., Pleasant St., Pleasant View Terrace, Rector St., Reservoir St., Saxon Rd., Second Lane, South St., Summit Lane, Sycamore Ct., Winding Brook Drive, Whitney Rd., Willow St., Aunt Pattys Lane W., Buckboard Ridge Road, Carriage Dr., Codfish Hill Road, Codfish Hill Road Ext., Cross Hill Rd., Eastbrook Ct., Falls Lane, Hillside Ct., Ichabod Lane, Jacklin Lane, Katrina Circle, Legend Dr., Old Dodgingtown Rd., Phillip Dr., Ravencrest Dr., Settlers Lane, Twin Maples Dr., Valley Ct., Wagon Rd., Windaway Rd., Wolfpits Rd. (Codfish to 302).

Aunt Pattys Lane E, Birnam Woods Rd., Briarcliff Manor, Canaan Dr., Chestnut St., Chestnut Ridge Rd., Crestview Dr., Daniska Dr., Dittmar Rd., Four Gables Rd., Good Hill Rd., Jacobs Lane, Judy Dr., Long Meadow Lane, Mt Orchard Rd., Nashville Rd., Nashville Rd. Ext., Putnam Park Road, Sunset Hill Rd., Taylor Ave., Van Campen Lane, Webb Rd., Williams Rd., Wolfpits Rd. (Codfish to S.S.).

Week of October 28th, November 11th, November 25th, December 9th :

Adams Dr., Benedict Rd. (Ridgedale to Rte. 6), Brookview Ct., Budd Dr., Buff Lane, Castle Hill Rd., Chimney Dr., Dodgingtown Rd/Rte. 302, Far Horizon Dr., Fox Den Rd., Green Pasture Road, Hearthstone Dr., Hollyberry Dr., Meckauer Circle, No, Hearthstone Dr., Old Field Dr., Old Turnpike Rd., Patridge Dr., Payne Rd., Quaker Ridge Rd., Ridgedale Rd. (Benedict Rd. to Sky Edge), Sand Hill Rd., Shelter Rock Rd., Sky Edge Dr., Sky Edge Lane. Walnut Hill Rd. (Plumtrees to Shelter Rock Rd.), Westview Dr., Woodlawn Dr.

Autumn Dr., Birch Dr., Cedar Dr., Clearview Dr., Devine Terrace, East Lane, Evergreen Dr., Farmview Dr., Garella Rd., Hawleyville Rd., Hilldale Rd., Laughlin Rd., Long Hill Rd., Maple Row, McDonnell Dr., McNeil Rd., McNerny Rd., Meadow Lane, North Rd., Oakridge Rd. Old Hawleyville Rd (Walnut Hill to Brookfield), Redwood Dr., Ridge Rd., Terrace Dr., Vail Rd., Weed Rd.

Appletree Rd., Benedict Rd. (Walnut to Ridgedale), Colonial Dr., Cortland Dr., Empire Lane, Grove Place, Hillcrest Dr., Hoyt Rd., Karen Dr., Kristy Dr., Northern Spy Court, Old Hawleyville Rd. (Walnut to Plumtrees), Old Shelter Rock Rd., Pound Sweet Hill, Pondview Dr., Ridgedale Rd. (Walnut to Benedict), Rita Dr., Rockwell Rd (Walnut to Plumtrees), Sunny Acres Rd., Taylor Rd. (Walnut to Plumtrees), Walnut Hill Rd. (Shelter Rock to Line), Wine Sap Run.

Allan Way, Bayberry Hill Rd., Dodgingtown Road (Route 302), Edmond Dr., Galloping Hill Rd., Honey Hollow Dr., Kellogg St., Limekiln Ct., Linda Lane, Marvin Pl., Old Lantern No., Old Lantern So., Old Hawleyville Rd. (Plumtrees to Rte. 302), Old Town Lane, Pell Mell Dr., Plumtrees Rd., Racebrook Ct., Roberts Rd., Rockwell Rd. (Plumtrees to Rte. 302), Rocky Lane, Shelly Rd., Taylor Rd. (Plumtrees to Rte. 302), Terry Dr., Vining Rd.

Andrew St., Country Way, Fawn Rd., Gale Ct., Governors Lane, Gretchen Lane, High Lake Dr., Highland Ave., Hoyts Hill Rd., Midway Dr., Sara’s Way, Short Dr., Spring Hill Lane, Starr Lane, Stone Dam Rd., Topstone Dr., Waterhorse Brook Dr., Whipporwill Dr., Winthrop Rd.

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2019 Candlewood Lake boat count complete

The 2019 Boat Count on Candlewood Lake is complete.  The Candlewood Lake Authority conducted the annual count of resident boats in mid-August.  One major decrease is seen in the unregistered boat category, which includes kayaks, canoes and the like.  That's partially because stand-up paddle boards are no longer included in the count.  There was also a decrease of roughly 100 boats in both the registered boats and boats with cabins categories.  The count showed a modest increase of about 20 Personal Watercrafts like jet skis. 

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Redding to hold Residential Paper Shred & E-Waste Day

The Town of Redding is sponsoring a Residential Paper Shred & E-Waste Day this Saturday from 9am to noon at the Town’s Recycling Center on Hopewell Woods Road.  The event is free to Redding residents, with proof of residency.  It's not for businesses or in-home offices.  Shredding is done by Oak Ridge.  Mobile shredder will cross shred documents while you watch.  Staples and paper clips are OK; binder clips and file hangers are not.  There is a 5 file box limit per person.  E-Waste can be dropped off at Transfer Station, including computers, hard drives, monitors, record players, televisions, radios, cassette players, DVD/CD/VCR players, Beta, 8-Track, phones, cords and other electronics.  Participants are cautioned they should be prepared to wait up to 10 minutes in line.

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Friends of the Danbury Library book sale this weekend

The Friends of the Danbury Library’s annual book sale is this weekend.  Admission is free for the sale, except the early bird entry Saturday at 8am-which is $15.  The fundraiser is at the Danbury Police Activities League Building from 10am to 5:30pm.  On Sunday, the sale ends at 5pm and books are half price that day.  On Monday, the book sale is 10am to 2pm and people can get a bag of books for 10 dollars.  On Monday from 3pm to 7pm, books are free.

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Danbury emergency responders hold training drill at Airport

The Danbury Fire Department has conducted their annual Aircraft Rescue Firefighting training at Danbury Municipal Airport.  The Police Department and Danbury Hospital EMS also took part in yesterday's event.  The weather forced them to change their plans for a full scale drill, but they still did training exercises.  Participants learned how to tug planes out of a hangar, where power system shut offs are in different types of planes, how to open hangar doors, and how to communicate with the Air Traffic Control Tower.

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Hazard buoys to be removed from Candlewood Lake, marine officers sought

The Candlewood Lake Authority will begin the hazard and navigation buoy removal process in the days after Columbus Day Weekend. Anyone planning to be out on the lake after that time is asked to take the necessary precautions.

The Candlewood Lake Authority Marine Patrol is accepting applications for new Officers for the 2020 boating season.  The part time work has openings for positions for Police Officer Standard Training Certified and non-POST Certified officers. Applicants must be at least 21 years of age. Applications with resumes must be faxed or postmarked by Tuesday.  Application can be found online.

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New Milford Public Works Director resigning

The New Milford Public Works Director is resigning.  Michael Zarba, in his resignation letter, says for the first time in 13 years he feels that he is not fully in charge of his department, and has been left out of the decision making process over the past year and a half. 

Zarba said in the letter, which was posted on social media, that he will not be responsible for decisions being made without his involvement.  Zarba cited non-justified firings and hirings, arbitrary road and bridge design criteria, and equipment and software purchases. 

He also claims the Mayor has non-town employees he has more trust in, and they have more power and influence over Public Works issues.  Zarba says he can no longer work under such a haphazard, confusing and illogical decision making process. 

He noted that he feels he is no longer being allowed to make all operational and management decisions necessary to effectively run the department. 

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Change in Route 133 Bridge closure planned for this weekend

There is a change in the Route 133 Bridge closure planned for this weekend in Brookfield and Bridgewater.  The detour road closure is scheduled to start Saturday at 7am and last until 5pm on Monday.  The DOT Contractor is allowed to fully detour traffic around the bridge using Routes 133, 67, 7/202 and 25. Signs and portable message boards will be in use to help direct traffic.  Brookfield Police are reminding drivers to plan accordingly for weekend and keep in mind that this will impact the Monday morning commute.

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Chimney fire extinguished in Brookfield

A fire has been extinguished in a Brookfield home.  Firefighters were called to Lakeview Road around 10:30 yesterday morning on a reported chimney fire.  Fire was found in the walls and the roof area around the chimney.  Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Company, Danbury Fire Department, and Water Witch Hose of New Milford responded with mutual aid.  Firefighters were on scene for about two hours.  There were no injuries reported.  The cause is being investigated by the Brookfield Fire Marshal's Office.  Hawleyville firefighters covered Brookfield firehouses during the response.

(Photo: BVFD)

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Job fair in New Milford tonight

A job fair is being held in New Milford tonight by State Representative Bill Buckbee.  The event is at the Pettibone Community Center from 4pm t o 7pm.  Buckbee says this is a way to let residents meet with businesses and discover resources that may help them find a new job.  The state Department of Labor will be on hand for the event.  Among the regional employers at the jobs fair will be Danbury and New Milford hospitals, Kimberly-Clark, the Navy and Army.  WestConn and the Naugatuck Valley Community College will also be present.

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Wilton Domestic Violence Task Force hosts event tonight

The Wilton Domestic Violence Task Force, Wilton TeenPeaceWorks, and Wilton Library Association is hosting a "Her-Self Awareness Lecture" given by Donna Cimarelli, CEO/Founder of the The Maren Sanchez Home Foundation.  The discussion takes place October 10 at 7pm.  People in attendance will learn how to teach young people to trust and follow their instincts to avoid dangerous situations and learn how to be an active bystander. Registration can be done through the Wilton Library website.  The Maren Sanchez Foundation is named for a Jonathan Law High School student stabbed to death by a classmate after turning down a prom invite.

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Teen recognized for saving two children from house fire

A Monroe teen has been recognized during this National Fire Prevention Week for saving two children she was babysitting for from a house fire. 

Stepney Fire Department recognized Olivia Cross last night for her actions on April 27th.  Shortly after putting the two children to bed, Olivia discovered a fire spreading rapidly on the back deck of the Sheep Meadow Road house. She immediately awoke the children, calmly got them out of the house and then called 911.  The fire extended into the kitchen, displacing the family. 

The Monroe Volunteer Firefighters presented Olivia an award for recognizing the hazard and taking quick action. 

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Traffic light in Monroe to stay in place

A traffic light in Monroe will stay in place.  The signal is at Main Street and Bradford Drive.  First Selectman Ken Kellogg says the state DOT advised him yesterday that the existing traffic signal will stay.  Their analysis does not support the upgrades that were originally planned, but they have agreed to continue to own and maintain the light.  Several public meetings were held to provide input to the state DOT.

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Sherman decides not to merge senior centers with New Milford

Sherman and New Milford have been considering merging senior centers.  Sherman First Selectman Don Lowe was approached about the idea and had some preliminary meetings about a regional facility.  He says this merger would allow for more services for Sherman seniors, but noted that transportation may be a problem.  The Board of Selectman decided at their meeting last month that Sherman wants to keep its own senior center and not to pursue a regional merger.

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Investigation launched into Southbury crash involving off duty State Police Sgt

A lawsuit is being planned by the family of a mother and daughter injured in a Southbury crash, by an off duty State Police Sergeant who allegedly ran a stop sign.  A field sobriety test was not administered to John McDonald of the Western District Major Crime Squad because he refused medical treatment at the hospital. 

Witnesses said there was a state police retirement party at the Black Hog brewery in Oxford.  State Police are working to determine if he was under the influence.  Investigators have issued warrants for the hospital’s surveillance footage, and are looking at body cam video as well as footage from the ambulance and brewery. 

The crash happened September 25th on Route 188 near Waterbury-Oxford Airport, pushing a car into a wooded area off the roadway.  A woman, her teen daughter were seriously injured. 

So far, no charges have been filed, and the sergeant remains on duty.

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Sherman Board of Ed considers future use of the Sherman School

The Sherman Board of Education is examining plans to address current and future needs.  In a presentation to the Board of Selectmen last week, members said the focus is on the kindergarten wing, which hasn't been used since February 2015.  The Board of Ed says there are also problems with potable water, and upgrading of playgrounds.  The Board of Education has contracted with an architect, who completed a facilities report in May 2018.  Committees have been formed to evaluate ideas for community outreach programs and options for the future of the Sherman School.  The Board wants to maintain a K-8 school and will consider proposals with focus groups for a redesign of the school.  They'll then return to the Board of Selectmen with their recommendations and requests.

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Danbury City Council backs resolution in opposition to tolling

As Governor Ned Lamont gets set to roll out yet another proposal on how to pay for long term transportation infrastructure improvements, the Danbury City Council is weighing in. The group has approved a letter in opposition to tolling.  The proposal was made by Council President Joe Cavo.  But Councilman Bob Taborsak said at their meeting last week that the resolution was premature.  There's been no real movement since the legislature adjourned in June about how to pay for long term infrastructure improvements.  He was the only one to vote against it.  Councilman John Esposito says there could be other ways to fund needed work, including by the state adopting sports bettering and legalizing and taxing recreational marijuana. 

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Sherman officials get update on Happy Acres Farm reorganization

The Sherman Board of Selectmen have discussed the Happy Acres Farm reorganization.  Phase one of the plan is aimed at moving toward a simplified agreement between the town and the farm.  Meetings have been held with attorneys to draw up contracts, selling the cows, and holding sessions to chose a site manager.  

The Sherman Selectmen will hold a Town Forum on Sunday, October 20th at 2pm to present Phase 1 and to listen to input from residents. 

As for the barn, there was discussion on the repair work to be done, as well as required electric safety work.  Dan Havens has been awarded the bid for the barn repairs at a cost of $62,051. Audette Electrical Services has submitted a bid for $9,570 to complete the electrical safety work. First Selectman Don Lowe suggested a town meeting on up to $80,000 from the Happy Acres Farm Restricted Fund for the barn repairs and electrical safety work. 

An engineer will manage the Happy Acres silo degeneration and help negotiate funding from the cell companies. The plan may include a new antenna on the same footprint as the old one.

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Community called on to attend funeral in Carmel for Army veteran with no immediate family

The community is being called on to attend a funeral for a veteran who has no immediate family.  Army Veteran Ambrose Jacob will be remembered in Carmel today at 9:30am at Cargain Funeral Home on Fowler Avenue.  The Putnam County Veterans Agency says there are few events as sad as a Veteran dying alone and being forgotten, and hope many people honor this Vietnam Veteran.  Judy Fitzgerald of the NY Riders says they have been requested to do a 1/2 hour flag line for the service.  This was once part of the VFW Funeral Ritual, but their ranks are getting thinner.  Jacob was a Communication Center Specialist with the 44th Signal Battalion and eventually settled in Kent, New York.  While service in the Army he was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Ribbon with device-60 and Vietnam Service Ribbon with three overseas service bars.

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Danbury Hat Tricks Use Opening Weekend to Fight Pediatric Cancer 

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., Oct. 7, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Max Cure Foundation and The Danbury Hat Tricks are proud to announce they are partnering on the team's Opening Night & Weekend. Fans in attendance on Friday & Saturday, October 25th & 26th will be able to participate in a pre-game party at Two Steps Downtown Grille and various silent auctions and raffles throughout the night for fantastic prizes and experiences. Proceeds from the night's festivities as well as 50% of the revenue from tickets purchased with the Max Cure code will benefit the Max Cure Foundation, a nonprofit national childhood cancer foundation.

Attendees on these nights will have the chance to bid on one-of-a-kind auction items such as a Zamboni ride, practicing with the team for a day, and a team autographed stick from Opening Night.

"We're so excited for this amazing weekend with the Hat Tricks," commented Max Cure Foundation Executive Director Jonathan Agin. "We hope fans have a great time at the game and together, we can all 'Roar for a Cure!'"

The Max Cure Foundation has been funding research for the development of pediatric cancer drug therapies since 2008. They focus on the discovery of less toxic treatments for children; financially assisting low-income, military and first responder families battling cancer in their children; and pursuing legislative and regulatory changes that seek to benefit children with cancer. They have donated over $1.6 million to pediatric cancer research to date and provided over $770,000 in financial assistance to families in need who have a child in active treatment. Childhood cancer is the number one cause of death by disease of children 1 to 19 years of age in the United States. Approximately 1 in every 285 children in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer before the age of 19.

Puck drop for both nights is scheduled for 7 p.m. as the Hat Tricks take on the Port Huron Prowlers. Tickets can be purchased at danburyhattricks.com/tickets or by calling 203-794-1704. Be sure to use Max Cure in the code box when purchasing your seats.

Pre-game festivities will be held at Two Steps Downtown Grille starting at 5:00 PM both evenings with 15% of the revenue to support the foundation. Visit the Facebook Event Page for more information.

For more information on Max Cure Foundation, visit maxcurefoundation.org.

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NY Police investigate identity theft case

New York State Police Troopers are investigating a case of a resident's personal information being used illegally in Danbury.  Police launched an identity theft complaint investigation on September 21st after a man made two  MoneyGram order purchases at the Walmart on Newtown Road using account information from the New Yorker.  Each money order for $1,000.87 was placed using a stolen Chase debit card.  Anyone with information about the identity of the man is asked to contact Investigator Melilli of SP Poughkeepsie, at (845) 677-7300 and reference case #9164171.  All calls can be kept confidential.

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Two people charged for alleged attempted theft of legal hemp plants in Easton

Two people have been arrested in Easton for attempting to steal legally regulated Hemp plants, which are used to produce CBD oil.  Easton Police were called to a Sport Hill Road farm early yesterday morning on a report of suspicious people on the property. 

A responding officer approached a dark colored Honda with a New York registration parked near the scene, but the driver fled.  The vehicle crashed near the Merritt Parkway on ramp during the pursuit.  The passenger was transported to the hospital and the driver fled on foot. 

An investigation determined that the vehicle was actually stolen from East Haven on September 26th.  A Connecticut State Police Trooper apprehended the suspect alongside the Merritt Parkway a few hours later. 

19-year old Josue Gonzalez-Vazquez of New Haven was charged with larceny, engaging in pursuit, misuse of plats and other motor vehicle charges.  19-year old Jacob Castro of Hamden was charged with conspiracy to commit larceny.  Both were held on a $10,000 bond and transported to court for arraignment.

The investigation is continuing into two other suspicious incidents at the farm in recent weeks. 

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Bridgewater Food Pantry seeks donations

The Bridgewater Food Pantry is in need of donations.  Town officials say the facility is under stocked.  There is a particular need for items like Peanut Butter and jelly, tuna, cereal, coffee, paper towels and garbage bags.  Items can be dropped off at the Congregational Church, Bridgewater Town Hall, Hilltop Senior Center, and the Library.

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Sandy Hook firefighters mark Fire Prevention Week

Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue is marking Fire Prevention Week.  They're urging residents to make sure everyone knows what to do in a real fire situation.  A home escape plan includes two exits from each room of a home, typically a door and a window, according to the National Fire Protection Association.  Sandy Hook fire officials say those exits should always clear of clutter and windows easily opened.

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Danbury PTO seeks parents for City Task Force

The Danbury City-Wide PTO is looking for elementary school parents to be involved on the 2020 task force.  The Mayor is calling a meeting of the 2020 Task Force, which was created in 2008, to study strategies for short and long-term facility management, space utilization and capital improvement planning.  A member of the Citywide PTO will serve on the committee and the Superintendent suggested an elementary parent. The first meeting is tentatively scheduled for October 8th, 6pm at City Hall.

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Danbury Police launch recruitment campaign with new video

The Danbury Police Department has launched a new recruitment campaign with a new hiring video that takes a light-hearted approach to the hard work of Danbury officers. 

Chief Patrick Ridenhour says they hope to see the same success that they had in the last campaign. Two years ago, the Department went viral in a video that has received nearly 133,000 views on Facebook and YouTube.  Over 500 applications were sent in during that campaign. 

Applications to become a Danbury Police Officer will be accepted on POLICEAPP.com from October 21st through December 2nd.  There are currently at least 10 vacancies to get the Department to full staffing levels, with several retirements expected by the end of the year. 

In this video, Lt  Vincent Daniello goes out with the bicycle patrol unit, dive team, K9 handlers and others as he avoids a meeting with the chief.  He also interrupts crime scene detectives, jumps in a helicopter and ends on horseback, suggesting a new mounted unit.  Ridenhour, who ran after him when handed a bill for the helicopter, assigns him to shovel manure. 

Ridenhour says he hopes people will see the different facets of the department, but also how fun and rewarding a career with the Danbury Police Department can be. 

Applicants must have a valid C.H.I.P. card to apply.  Information session will be held from 7pm to 9pm on October 23rd and 10am to 12pm on November 16th at the station. The Recruitment Video details all application requirements.

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Citizen of the Dominican Republican sentenced for illegal reentry

A citizen of the Dominican Republic last living in Danbury has been sentenced for illegally reentering the U.S. after being deported.  58-year old Freddy Antonio Marte-Jerez was sentenced yesterday to 15 months in prison, time served. 

In 1998, Marte's wife provided documentation that she was a U-S Citizen and the petition was approved.  Marte filed for Permanent Residence, but was denied because he failed to disclose a prior narcotics conviction in Rhode Island.  In 2000, Marte appeared before an immigration judge and was released while awaiting a hearing date. 

In 2007, he was convicted in Danbury for selling drugs.  He finished his sentence in 2010 and was deported, but  illegally reentered under a different name.  In 2015, Marte was convicted in Danbury on a burglary charge.  Because of the false identity, his arrest and conviction did not come to the attention of ICE. 

Last year, using another name, Marte was arrested in Danbury for motor vehicle offenses.  His true identity was discovered and ICE took him into custody.  Marte has been detained since his arrest. 

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Overnight roadwork closes Newtown highway ramps

There's overnight roadwork in Newtown for the rest of the week.  The state Department of Transportation is closing the I-84 westbound Exit 10 on and off ramps evenings through Friday.  The closure is 10pm to 5am as part of a construction and safety improvement project.  The detour for the off ramp is to take exit 9 and follow Routes 25 and 6.  The on ramp detour is to follow the signs to Routes 6 and 25.

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Former U.S. solicitor general hired by 10 Sandy Hook families to argue in SCOTUS

10 Sandy Hook families have hired a former U.S. solicitor general to argue their wrongful death lawsuit against gunmaker Remington.  Donald Verrilli Jr, a Wilton native, has filed a 40-page brief with the U.S. Supreme Court asking that the justices deny Remington’s appeal of a Connecticut Supreme Court ruling from March.  The state's highest court ruled 4-3 to overturn a lower court ruling that threw out the families’ wrongful death case against Remington and returned the family’s case to trial court.  The families’ argument that Remington inspired the shooter with illegal marketing of its AR-15-style rifle has landmark potential, because federal law protects gun manufacturers from most liability in criminal cases. Verrilli argued the Affordable Care Act and the Defense of Marriage Act before the U.S. Supreme Court while he was U.S. Solicitor General under President Barak Obama.

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Man accused of assault on Candlewood Lake dies, has case dismissed

One of two men charged with assaulting a person on Candlewood Lake this summer has died and his case was dismissed.  The courts dismissed the case yesterday against 29-year old Neil Yandow.  He and 41-year old Richard Nigro were charged for allegedly strangling and punching a 25-year-old man on Sand Island in New Fairfield on July 14th.  The cause of death for Yandow has not yet been disclosed.  According to arrest warrant affidavits, the victim sustained facial disfigurement over a misunderstanding.  Police say the owner of a boat made a comment about the bathing suit of a woman they were with coming off as they jumped in the water.  The woman was Nigro’s wife and Yandow’s sister.  The pair allegedly attacked the victim because they thought he made the remark.  Nigro has a pre-trial hearing scheduled for October 23rd.

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New security cameras installed at Newtown schools

New security cameras have been installed at Newtown schools, replacing older ones.  The cameras began recording 24-hours a day ahead of the start to the new school year.  Prior to 12-14, cameras were only located at the high school.  The Newtown Bee reports that after the shootings, companies including  Panasonic, Sony, and Advanced Security Technologies of Stratford bolstered grants to install cameras in all of the town's schools.  There is interior and exterior monitoring through nearly 500 cameras across the district.  Verkada, a cloud-based system, had an equipment cost of $484,886.  The installation cost was $79,200.  Security and building administrators are able to look up images from the cameras, and the authorized users can switch between camera views.  The Newtown Police Department has access to all schools and cameras live and in play-back mode.

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Annual Domestic Violence Awareness Month Vigil in Easton tonight

The Center for Family Justice, Easton Police Department and community leaders are hosting the annual Domestic Violence Awareness Month Vigil.  It's being held in support of victims and survivors on October 8th at 6pm at the Easton Community Center gazebo.  Easton Police says the always meaningful event will include a remembrance of victims who have lost their lives to domestic violence during the last year.

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Women's Center of Greater Danbury holds annual Safe Walk

The Women's Center of Greater Danbury has held their annual Safe Walk to end violence.  The 4K indoor walk also honored people in the community who have been or are affected by domestic or intimate partner violence. 

For the first time this year, the Women’s Center was joined by other domestic violence organizations, via the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, in state-wide walks dedicated to recognizing and breaking the cycle of abuse.  Funds raised during the walk yesterday at the mall benefits the Women's Center services to victims displaced by domestic violence through crisis intervention, emergency shelter, and safety planning.

This year there was no registration fee, instead the Women's Center asked that attendees set a fundraising goal.

5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes joined the Women’s Center.  She noted voting for a bill this April. The Violence Against Women Act includes new provisions protecting transgender victims and banning individuals convicted of domestic abuse from purchasing firearms.

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Progress seen on Bridgewater on the Center Street reconstruction project

Progress is being made in Bridgewater on the Center Street reconstruction project.  The work is being funded by state grant awards. The project features a “Bike Friendly” component.  The masonry work was recently completed and a stone bench memorial to Don Gowan was cleaned and moved from nearby.  Bike racks and a kiosk displaying a map with family oriented bike routes in Bridgewater will be added in the near future to the rear of the flagstone patio. Other work on Center Street including the sidewalk extension, one way traffic pattern and diagonal parking.  Those features are scheduled for completion in 2020.

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Exchange Club of Ridgefield recognizes volunteer, career Firefighters of the Year

The Exchange Club of Ridgefield has recognized the volunteer and career Firefighters of the Year.  The honors were presented on Wednesday during an Appreciation Buffet at the Leir Retreat Center.  Fire Chief Jerry Myers read the commendations citing service above and beyond the call of duty for an extended period of time.  Career firefighter Edward Marchitto and Captain Craig Dibble were lauded for exceptional services. The Exchange Club’s Connecticut District will recognize all local honorees at the Astro Turf in Southington on October 17th.

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Car strikes home in Monroe, bursts into flames

A car struck a home in Monroe and then fell about 6 feet onto the driveway down a sloping property.  Stepney Fire Department says firefighters responded to the report of an accident with fire around 10:45pm Saturday.  A car with 4 occupants, left the roadway, struck a house and came to rest in the driveway.  When emergency responders arrived, the the car was fully engulfed in flames.  Firefighters say there was a risk of the fire spreading to the house. Several occupants were injured, but there were no fatalities.

(Photo: SFD)

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Bethel to host interactive substance abuse prevention program for adults

The Town of Bethel, the school district and Bethel Police are hosting an event for parents called "Hidden in Plain Sight: What are you not seeing?".  The interactive substance abuse prevention program was created by the Connecticut Association of Prevention Professionals.

Parents, educators and other adults who work with youth will be challenged to find drug and alcohol related items that most adults would never be able to find in a mock teen bedroom.  Adults will be able to walk through and experience a hands-on search for clues of high risk behavior.  

The HERO Project is also a partner in this presentation about youth drug and alcohol trends. 

A police officer will be in attendance to answer questions about concealment areas, hidden containers, clothing, paraphernalia, logos and related areas.  The event is free, but there are limited spots for participants.  It's Thursday October 10th from 6:30pm to 8:30 in the Bethel Middle School auditorium. 

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Carmel man arrested for possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child

A Carmel man has been arrested for possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child.  An investigation was launched last August after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security notified the Putnam County Sheriff's Office that they had been monitoring an IP address for possessing child exploitation videos.  A search warrant was obtained last October and over 75 electronic devices were seized.  Deputies analyzed the devices and identified the computer and used responsible.  Last Tuesday, 45-year old Jason Dance was arrested on three felony counts.  He was arraigned and released for a future court appearance.

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Newtown woman killed in Southbury crash

A Newtown woman was killed in a crash on Friday afternoon.  Southbury Police say 37-year old Pamela Sheehan was headed south on Southford Road and collided with a truck, which was headed north.  Sheehan was pronounced dead on scene around 4pm.  The crash remains under investigation.  

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Newtown man who allegedly assaulted parents due in court

A Newtown man who allegedly assaulted his parents has pleaded not guilty to a number of crimes and is due in court today.  The victims told police that their son, 24-year old James MacDonald, flew into a rage for some unknown reason and began to damage the house, including lighting a pillow case on fire.  He also allegedly pointed an air rifle at the victim and pulled the trigger, but it failed to fire.  He then allegedly struck the victim in the head with the rifle.  Both victims were treated on scene.  A judge ordered referral to MCCA, the addiction treatment center.  Newtown Police found MacDonald crouching near a fence in the rear yard on August 10th.

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Court rejects appeal over dismissal of Sandy Hook lawsuit

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The Connecticut Supreme Court has upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by the parents of two Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims against Newtown and its school district.

Justices did not give a reason in an order released Thursday.

The wrongful death lawsuit was brought by the parents of Jesse Lewis and Noah Pozner, two of the 20 children killed in the 2012 shooting. Six educators also died.

The lawsuit alleged school officials failed to follow a mandated security protocol and order a lockdown that may have saved lives.

A lower appeals court ruled in July that the town is protected by government immunity.

The parents' lawyer, Donald Papcsy (PAP'-see), says the latest ruling shows new laws are needed to hold schools accountable for student and staff safety.

 

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Congressmen to announce grant to combat youth homelessness

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - Members of Connecticut's congressional delegation are going to Bridgeport to announce the award of a new federal grant to combat youth homelessness.

Democratic U.S. Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal and Democratic 4th District Congressman Jim Himes plan to visit Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport Monday afternoon to talk about the grant awarded to Opening Doors Fairfield County.

The mission of Opening Doors Fairfield County is to prevent and end homelessness in the county. It was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Youth Homeless Development Project to develop and implement an approach to preventing and ending youth homelessness.

The congressmen will be joined by federal housing officials, local officials and staff from Supportive Housing Works, who are also working to end homelessness in the county.

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New Fairfield residents approve funding for school building projects

New Fairfield residents have approved funding for two school building projects.  Preliminary numbers on today's vote are for the High School project: 2,141 in favor and 1,899 opposed.  The vote on Consolidated School was 2,133 in favor and 1,893 against.

An $84.2 million request was made for construction of a new high school.  A $29.1 million bond was sought for construction of a Consolidated Early Learning Academy, along with renovations to Meeting House Hill School. 

New Fairfield officials are planning to apply for state reimbursement on eligible costs of the projects.

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Pedestrian struck and killed in Danbury

A pedestrian has been struck and killed in Danbury.  On Friday evening, shortly after 8pm, Police received a call for a serious motor vehicle collision involving a pedestrian and a Chevy Silverado pickup truck. This collision occurred on Federal Road.

50-year old Angel Cuenca of Danbury was driving as 71-year old Dona Kramer, of Cincinnati, Ohio, was crossing from the west side of the road to the east side.  Cuenca saw Kramer crossing and tried to stop, but could not do so in time.

Kramer was transported to Danbury Hospital, where she later succumbed to her injuries.

This collision is under investigation by the Danbury Police Department’s Traffic Division.  Anyone who witnessed this collision or has information is asked to contact Sgt. Rory DeRocco (203) 797-2157.

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Kent Social Services welcomes donations, but call first

Most programs helping Kent residents have limited storage space available.  The Social Services Department says while all donations are very appreciated, the items must be pre-approved by the Director before being dropped off at Kent town hall.  That can be done by calling the Social Services Director at 860-927-1586.

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More Conn. municipalities could open regional dog pounds under new law

A new law that took effect in Connecticut this week allows more municipalities to open regional animal shelters or dog pounds.  Under prior law, any two or more contiguous towns, each with a population of less than 25,000, could have a regional animal control officer and facility.  The word contiguous is removed and increases the population threshold to 50,000.

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New documents released about troubled animal rescue operation

Reports from the state Department of Agriculture show a troubled history of Tails of Courage Animal Rescue, which agreed to no longer operate in Danbury and has since ropened in Wolcott.  The documents, obtained by NBC Connecticut show that former employees were told to lie about sick animals and conditions at the facility.  Tails of Courage continued to receive their animal importer license until they voluntarily surrendered it this summer.  The founder of Tails of Courage Animal Rescue was written up twice for animal cruelty.  A manager was arrested on similar charges.

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State Police Sgt injured in Southbury crash

A field sobriety test was not administered to a state police sergeant who crashed his cruiser seriously injuring two women last week.  The Republican-American newspaper reports that Sgt. John McDonald of the Western District Major Crime Squad ran a stop sign near Waterbury-Oxford Airport and Route 188, pushing a car into a wooded area off the roadway. 

A woman, her teen daughter and the trooper were taken to St Mary's Hospital. 

Emergency Services executive assistant Brian Foley said in an emailed statement that medical treatment on scene of an accident supersedes immediate need for a field sobriety test.  Witnesses said there was a state police retirement party at the Black Hog brewery. 

Foley said he could not answer questions about McDonald’s whereabouts before the crash, citing the ongoing investigation. 

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Pedestrian struck and killed in Brookfield

A pedestrian was struck and killed in Brookfield Friday.  Brookfield Police were called to Candlewood Lake Road shortly after 10am on a report of a motor vehicle crash with injuries.  The accident happened north of the intersection with Main Drive.

76-year old Linda Warner, of Brookfield, was struck by a motor vehicle while walking or jogging along Candlewood Lake Road.  She was transported by Brookfield ambulance to the Danbury Hospital emergency department, where she was pronounced dead shortly after her arrival.

The driver of the Ford SUV was identified as 50-year old Gary Elwell, of Brookfield. Elwell called 911 after the crash, and was at the scene when police arrived. Elwell was uninjured and there were no other passengers in the vehicle.

The motor vehicle crash is being investigated by the Brookfield Accident Investigation Team.

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Exchange Club of Danbury names Firefighter of the Year

The Exchange Club of Danbury has held their annual Firefighter of the Year banquet last night.  Firefighter Dickon "D.J." Brown was the recipient. Assistant Fire Chief Mark Omasta described DJ as a firefighter who does the right thing, even when no one is looking.  A proclamation was deliver from the City to Firefighter Brown. The awards banquet is sponsored by Danbury Housing Authority, and a number of their members were on hand.  Brown has been with the Danbury Fire Department since 2008, and is assigned to the C Platoon.

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Two Household Hazardous Waste Collection Days tomorrow

Household Hazardous Waste Collection is taking place in Ridgefield tomorrow.  The event is for residents of Ridgefield, Bethel, Brookfield, Bridgewater, Danbury, Kent, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Redding and Sherman.  It's at Ridgefield High School from 9am to 1pm.  New Milford is also hosting a Household Hazardous Waste Collection event tomorrow.  It's from 9am to 3pm at John Pettibone Community Center and is for residents of New Milford, Sherman, Warren, Washington, Roxbury and Kent.

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Annual Fire Safety Day tomorrow in Danbury

The Danbury Fire Department's annual Fire Safety Day is tomorrow at The Home Depot on Federal Road.  It's a chance to check out some fire trucks, meet local firefighters, other first responders, and Sparky The Fire Dog.  Activities include a bounce house, a fire safety maze, and a live fire demonstration narrated by Fire Marshal Terry Timan.  Parents can also learn about AMBER Alert registrations.  It's from 9am and 1pm.

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2 women allege sexual harassment, abuse at restaurant

SOUTHBURY, Conn. (AP) Two former employees of a Connecticut-based restaurant chain say in a lawsuit that they were subjected to a pattern of sexual harassment and abuse by a manager.

Gianna Aconfora and Maizzy Douchette allege in the suit filed this week in Hartford Superior Court that the manager of Maggie McFly's Manchester restaurant made obscene and offensive comments, and physically assaulted them.

Douchette says the manager squeezed her neck while Aconfara said he slapped her face.

They say when they complained to upper management they were fired.

The Southbury-based chain said in a statement that it ``vehemently denies the factual allegations" of the two women.

Maggie McFly's has eight locations; five in Connecticut, two in Virginia and one in New York.  The other Connecticut locations are in Brookfield, Glastonbury, Middlebury, and Southbury.

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Weekly fishing report good for Housatonic River

State officials say in their weekly fishing report that the Housatonic River continues to be very wadeable and fishable, and fishing has been good to very good. 

The state says the water is super clear and although flows have come up a bit this week, they remain below typical levels for early October at Falls Village and Gaylordsville. Anglers are urged to plan accordingly in their gear selection for these conditions. 

Anglers should look to fish areas connected to deep pools as river flows are not offering much in the way of cover in the runs. Anglers can call the FirstLight Power Resources flow line at 1-888-417-4837 for updated river information or check the USGS website for up to date real time streamflow data from a number of USGS gauging stations including two on the upper Housatonic River.

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Easton Police marking National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Easton Police Department will be displaying purple ribbons on patrol cars all month to help raise awareness.  The Center for Family Justice, Easton Police and community leaders are holding a Domestic Violence Awareness Vigil on October 8th at 6pm at the Easton Community Center gazebo.

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Danbury to sell land to state for Newtown Road project

As part of the long-planned project to improve Newtown Road in Danbury, the State will acquire some city land.  The City Council unanimously approved a resolution last night that allows the state Department of Transportation to take over 6,500 square feet of property within the Danbury Public Works complex. 

Danbury will receive $208,900 for the parcel, easements and damages.  

A one-story steel building that will also be removed as part of the deal.  The money will be used by the Public Works Department to reconstruct the building.  One easement is for an additional 4,545 square feet of a sloping parcel and two construction easements are less than 5,900 square feet. 

The offer was only made a couple of months ago, despite the state approaching City officials in late 2017. 

The improvement project includes widening the road between the Public Works complex and Plumtrees Road.  A raised island will be installed from Old Newtown Road to Plumtrees Road.  Improvements to the Eagle and Newtown roads intersection will also be completed.  The Newtown Road project is being funded by 80-percent federal dollars and 20-percent of state money.

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Danbury Fall Leaf Pick-Up Program to Begin

Danbury's Fall Leaf Pick-Up program is beginning later this month.  The six week collection starts on October 21st. 

Only leaves bagged in paper leaf bags with no tape will be picked up from curb sides by the City's Highway Department.  Branches will be picked up separately and must be no longer than 4 feet, smaller than 4 inches in diameter.  The bundles must weigh less than 35 pounds. 

The work crews will not pick up large debris, grass clippings, rocks, dirt, tree stumps or brush. 

The Leaf Pickup Program is divided by I-84; Section A is south of the highway in zip code 06810 and Section B is north, in zip code.  Section A will be picked up the week of October 21st so bags should be placed curbside Sunday evening.  Section B will be collected the next week, with the cycle repeating through November 29th. 

Ferris Mulch accepts leaf bags as well as tree and organic yard debris, free for Danbury residents.

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Newtown police authorized to carry concealed firearm as secondary weapon

Newtown police officers will now be able to carry a concealed firearm as a secondary weapon in the event they are unable to use their primary holstered firearm.  Police Commission members unanimously approved the policy revision at their meeting last month. 

Chief James Viadero says this was prompted by a July incident at a Sandy Hook bar.  A man involved in an altercation assaulted two police officers and attempted to remove one of their service pistols from its holster.  Police used a taser and pepper spray to subdue the man. 

The revised policy does lay out guidelines, including that the officer demonstrate proficiency in the backup gun’s use at least once a year. Viadero noted that there is a varying level of interest among police officers in carrying a concealed secondary firearm.

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Danbury UNIT deals with issues of squatters

Two issues of potential squatters in Danbury has been addressed by the Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team.  A Ball Pond Road property is vacant and hasn't been cared for since the owner's passing about a year ago.  While the home is secure, the garage or barn on the property is not.  The structure was being used by homeless people.  It's since been vacated and a notice was sent to the estate.  A Board Street property is the subject of a Structural Blight Order.  It's foreclosed and abandoned, with boarded up windows, so the notice was sent to the bank.  UNIT says the house has been secured so the concern of squatters has been mitigated.

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Danbury hasn't found EEE in mosquito monitoring sites

Danbury has a comprehensive mosquito control and monitoring program that runs from April through October.  There is a state mosquito collecting site in Danbury and there have been no positive mosquitoes with EEE.  As a result, Danbury has not restricted any activity in the community.  This is in line with the recommendation from the Connecticut Department of Public Health.  There have been three EEE-related deaths in Eastern Connecticut.  People in the Greater Danbury area are still however encouraged to use personal protection measures, including mosquito repellent and wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors.  The Danbury Health Department is asking residents to drain standing water around their property.

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Brookfield woman arrested twice in one day for violating protective order

A Brookfield woman has been arrested twice in one day for violating a protective order.  When Newtown Police pulled a car over for a routine traffic stop Saturday, officers determined that the driver was the protected party in a full no-contact order.  The Newstimes reports that the passenger, who initially gave police a fake name, turned out to be the other party.  23-year old Elayna Kathleen Smith was charged with interfering with an investigation and violation of a protective order.  After being released on bond, she was seen getting into a vehicle carrying the same person.  Smith was arrested again on another count of violation of a protective order. Court records show Smith was found guilty of assault, threatening and breach of peace in 2016 for incidents in New Milford.

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New Fairfield Food Pantry seeks donations

The New Fairfield Food Pantry is in need of donations of specific food items.  Residents looking to donate items should contact the office at 203-312-5669 to set up a drop off time.  Donors are asked to check the expiration date prior to bringing in items as expired or open products have to be discarded.  Some of the things the New Fairfield Food Pantry is in need of are soup, cereals, peanut butter and rice.  Donations of Laundry Detergent and Liquid Dish Soap are also being accepted.

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Two Pembroke students raise more than $1,500 for Hurricane Dorian victims

Two Pembroke Elementary School students in Danbury have raised more than $1,500 to help victims of a devastating hurricane in the Bahamas.  Danbury Public School officials say the 4th graders, J.D. Andrews and Alex Ascone, set up buckets in each classrooms and urged their classmates to donate pennies to the cause.  Over four days, the “penny wars” resulted in a sizeable donation for the American Red Cross. J.D. said Hurricane Dorian victims need stuff to survive right now, saying they can rebuild later, but now they need food and water.  Alex says it’s working together just a little bit to make a difference.  The pair are writing a letter to the Red Cross to accompany the donations. 

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UNIT mediates disputes between two feuding neighboring businesses in Danbury

The Danbury Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team has organized a meeting between two feuding businesses.  UNIT said in a report to the City Council for their meeting tonight that there have been a couple of complaints inthe past month between two neighboring businesses on West Street, including the police and fire departments being called.  UNIT officials say most of the concerns were not easy fixes, they included parking disputes, clientele issues and business practices.  UNIT met with the two separately and then met with Police Chief Patrick Ridenhour about ways to mediate the situation.  A joint meeting was held to discuss the issues, suggestions were offered and seemed to be well received.  UNIT did not disclose the names of the businesses.

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Bethel Police to participate in a number of events for kids

The Bethel Police Department is participating in two events this month for kids.  The first will be Trick or Treat Street on Saturday, October 26th from noon to 4pm.  On Halloween, Officers will be giving out candy throughout town and at police Headquarters starting at 5pm. Next month, Bethel Police will host a Cornhole Tournament, November 2nd, at  Putnam House.  All proceeds will go to the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Connecticut.  They'll also host a Food Drive with Stony Hill Fire Department November 23rd, and a Toy Drive December 14th 9am-3pm in front of the Toy Room.

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Brookfield Police Commission Chairman retiring after nearly 20 years

Brookfield Police Commission Chairman Al Sparaco is retiring from the Board after nearly 20 years of membership.  Brookfield Police say during his tenure, the Commissioner helped guide the Department through two changes in leadership, first as an Alternate Member and then as a Full Member, Vice Chairman and ultimately Chairman.  Sparaco was presented with a plaque, honoring his service, by the Brookfield Police Commission at their regular meeting last night.

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Sherman woman arrested for daytime break-in

A Sherman woman has been charged for a daytime burglary that happened in August.  The Resident State Trooper says 33-year old Emily Barnes was located by the Dutchess County Sheriff's Office and arrested last week.  State Police responded to a Mary Bee Lane home in Sherman on a burglary complaint August 18th.  They determined that a woman, later identified as Barnes, entered while the homeowner was inside and stole several items, including a car from the driveway.  Barnes was charged on Saturday with burglary and two counts of larceny.  She was released on bond.

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Free flu shots as part of Danbury preparedness exercise today

A training exercise is being held today by the Danbury Department of Health and Human Services.  The community health and emergency preparedness divisions have been working on the first "point of dispensing exercise" of the year. 

They'll also be providing free flu shots today. 

Department employees will be collaborating with Danbury police, fire, and EMS to ensure the community is prepared in the event of an outbreak. The exercise will be held today at Rogers Park Middle School where first responders and residents will be administered influenza vaccines as a form of treatment against a hypothetical “zombie virus” outbreak. 

The vaccine clinic is 9:30am to 1pm.

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Routine traffic stop leads to drug, weapons charges for Danbury man

A Danbury man, who police called a known drug dealer, has been arrested on a number of charges following a traffic stop.  Danbury Police pulled a car over yesterday near West Wooster Street and Fairview Avenue for having excessively tinted windows. 

The officer recognized the driver, 35-year old James Franklin Anderson, as the subject of a warrant.  During a search of the car, police found an unregistered high capacity magazine, a vape with THC cartridge, a 9mm handgun, 11 rounds of live ammunition, and a small digital scale.  Three cell phones and nearly $900 in cash were also found. 

Anderson was charged with distribution of a controlled substance within 1,500 feet of a school, criminal possession of a pistol or revolver, and other crimes because he did not have a driver's license or a pistol permit.

Anderson was held on $100,000 bond.

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30 to 40 yards of garbage dumped by the west side Danbury development

A resident complaint of dumping in Danbury on Woodland Road led to what officials called a shocking find.  The Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team found 30 to 40 yards of garbage dumped by the west side development of Abbey Woods.  A bridge leads to a wooded hill at the rear of the former Matrix Complex, and that's where the construction debris and old furniture was located.  UNIT was not able to connect the criminal activity to anyone in particular, but are coordinating the clean up by the property manager.  They were also encouraged by UNIT to improve lighting and install cameras. In the past, UNIT has prosecuted dumpers when they are caught, in addition to having them clean up the mess.

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Curve Road Signs along scenic road in Redding to be evaluated

Road curve signs along several streets in Connecticut are being reviewed by the state Department of Transportation. One of the projects that will be systematically reviewed is along Route 53 in Redding.  The signs along the scenic road will be looked at to see if any need to be upgraded, or if more need to be installed.  The purpose is to reduce the number of fatal and serious injury crashes at curves with consistent treatment based on national best practices.  But the DOT says signs on curves that are no longer warranted will be removed.  All of the work will be performed in the state's right of way.  The project is not slated to begin until the Spring.

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Gov. Task Force on Transit-Oriented Development in Fairfield County holds inaugural meeting

The first meeting of Governor Lamont's Task Force on Transit-Oriented Development in Fairfield County will be held today at Sacred Heart University.  Danbury Health and Human Services Director Lisa Morrissey is a Task Force member.  Danbury Planning Director Sharon Calitro is slated to offer her perspective of the regional vision.  Calitro will also share her thoughts on how TOD planning can benefit the Danbury community, from an economic perspective. She will update progress on initiatives included in the Downtown Danbury Transit-Oriented Development Study.

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DanburyWorks receives $22k grant

A city-wide collaborative focused on helping lower-income residents build better lives has been awarded a $22,000 grant from Fairfield County’s Community Foundation.

DanburyWORKs is designed to improve the lives of the 50% of Danbury city residents who live in poverty or who struggle to make ends meet. It links services across the community so households can access the tools to improve their economic situations.

Director Sandra Ferreira says the funds are crucial to launching the second phase of work, which focuses on Jobs, Education, and Training.  The first phase was focused on Trust, Language and Child Care.  Partners of the organization, including Naugatuck Valley Community College, Danbury Public School’s WERACE program, the Northeastern Workforce Development Board, and the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce, will help identify ways to improve employment prospects for Danbury residents.

DanburyWORKS is supported by the Boston Federal Reserve’s Working Cities Challenge Grant.

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Bethel GOP candidate's sign vandalized with profane graffiti

A Bethel Republican candidate's campaign sign has been vandalized.  A large sign for First Selectman candidate Pat Rist, which is on Route 53, was spray painted with profane language.  Rist issued a statement on Facebook saying that she doesn't condone what she called the disgraceful behavior, whether it is her sign or her opponent’s sign.  Rist said that Bethel is a better community than this and being disrespectful to each other and property is not acceptable.

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Redding Highway Department offers residents wood from tree cutting operations

The Redding Highway Department is out cutting trees.  Anyone resident interest in some of the chopped wood should contact the Highway Department and they will drop some off at the end of driveways. The pieces are mostly Ash, are log-length and will need to be cut and split.

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Sherman officials seek volunteers for Dog Park Advisory Committee

The Sherman Parks and Rec Commission is looking for volunteers to serve on a dog park exploratory committee.  The Newstimes reports that the group was authorized months ago, but there's a lack of participation so the committee hasn't met yet.  4 or 5 Sherman residents are needed to provide input on where a dog park could be located, how to fund the project and other steps to make it happen.  Anyone interested in joining the Dog Park Exploratory Committee is encouraged to call Parks and Recreation Director John Wrenn at 860-354-3629.

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Ridgefield firefighters wear pink for breast cancer awareness

Ridgefield Firefighters have a different uniform this month.  They are wearing Pink Tee shirts in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month. As with prior years,  Ridgefield Professional Firefighters are selling these tee shirts in order to raise money for charity.  They are available at the firehouse on Catoonah Street, but can also be ordered online at:  www.logosgreenwich.com/ridgefield

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Measles case confirmed in Putnam County

A confirmed case of measles has been found in Putnam County.  The Department of Health says the patient has been isolated to avoid spreading the disease further. 

Before this person was isolated, there may have been exposure at several possible locations.  The sites have been identified as the Route 52 Laundromat in Carmel in the evening of September 21st, the Nativity of the Holy Mother of God church on the 22nd, and following the service, at the Annual Feast Day Celebration, and also at the Putnam Hospital Center Emergency Department on the 28th. 

Anyone who develops symptoms before October 12 and 13th should call the Putnam County Department of Health as soon as possible to understand their possible risk and what action to take. 

Measles is a serious, highly contagious disease that can be spread through the air by coughing or sneezing. In rare cases it can be deadly.  Individuals born before 1957, anyone who has had measles disease, or those who have proof of receiving 2 MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccines, are less likely to become sick.

Measles symptoms begin with fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and sore throat.  It is followed by a rash that spreads over the body. If anyone has these symptoms, call a doctor or the emergency room first. Do not go directly to a medical facility. Isolation procedures need to begin immediately upon arrival.

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Brookfield Village pushed back planned demolition of buildings in Four Corners area

The owners of Brookfield Village have pushed back the planned demolition of two buildings in the Four Corners area.  The owners applied for a permit last month to tear down the old Subway and Mother Earth Gallery structures, and initially planned to start that work this weekend.  But the developer has now informed the town that remediation will begin on the 21st and demolition will immediately start after that work is completed.  Construction of the new market-rate  apartments will start in the spring, with the entire ground floor to be commercial in both buildings.

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Public hearing in Ridgefield on proposed rental to Police Detective

There's a public hearing in Ridgefield tonight about a town owned home being rented to a member of the Ridgefield Police Department.  The vacant home in Richardson Park on North Salem Road would be rented to Detective David Dubord under the proposed lease.  The contract calls for a rent of $1,300 a month, in exchange for the detective providing security on the property. 

The lease also states that the tenant will not have pets, not smoke and will be responsible for trash removal and utilities.  The proposed lease is from November 1st through October 31st of next year, with a clause that it can be renewed from year to year so long as the tenant continued to be an employee of the Town of Ridgefield. 

Tonight's public hearing is at 7:30pm at Ridgefield Town Hall.  A town meeting on the item will be held on the 23rd.

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Bethel residents authorize funding for water main replacements

Bethel residents have reauthorized nearly $1 million for water main replacements.  During a Special Town Meeting last week, residents approved $998,000 for the work.  All of the bids on the previously approved project came in above that figure.  The approval was then rescinded and the Selectmen voted to be able to remove streets from the scope of work in order to stay on the lower budget.  New bids are being sought for the work, and are due by the 29th.  The water mains to be replaced are on Mansfield Street, Grassy Plain Terrace, Oakland Heights, Maple Lane, and Highview Terrace from Grassy Plain Terrace up to No. 22 Highview Terrace. Pleasant Street and Highview Terrace between Nos. 22 and 18 will be completed if money allows.

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Law enforcement agencies host Coffee With A Cop Day events

The Brookfield Police Department is hosting an event as part of National Coffee with a Cop Day as a way for police and the community to come together on neutral grounds to discuss concerns and questions. Anyone is welcome to join Brookfield officers from 9am to 11am at the Dunkin' Donuts on Federal Road, across from the Rollingwood Complex.

The Danbury Police Department is taking part in the national Coffee with a Cop day.  They will hold the conversation at the Danbury Museum at 43 Main Street from 9am to 11am.  Area residents are encouraged to sit down with Danbury Officers and ask questions or share any concerns. Department officials say the coffee is on them. 

The Putnam County Sheriff's Department will be participating in National Coffee with a Cop Day. They'll be hosting two events, including one in the afternoon in Carmel.  Deputy Pizzuto will be joined by Detective Frank Chibbaro of the Carmel Police Department as well as Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services Commissioner Ken Clair and Red Fox. Sheriff Robert Langley encouraged the community to attend and engage with the police officers about any concerns they might have in the agenda free arena.  The event is 4-6pm at Prato Trattoria on Route 6 in Carmel.

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Danbury officials discuss FAA grant application to buy blighted properties

The Danbury City Council recently approved funding to buy two parcels of blighted land in the flight path of Danbury Airport.  There was a lengthy discussion over how much money the FAA would pay in reimbursement since there are many unknowns at this stage in the process. 

City Attorney Les Pinter acknowledged that they don't know the level of environmental contamination at 25 Miry Brook Road and 89 Wooster Heights Road.  There's been a Phase One study and a recommendation for Phase 2, which will determine the remediation costs.  Pinter says those studies are the point of seeking this $815,000 in City funding.  The Wooster property does have more problems than the other, so they've built in a certain level of contamination in the FAA grant application.  While it's an estimate, Pinter says it's a best estimate. 

Pinter says he and a consultant at the FAA have had discussions on covering all costs. 

Assistant Airport Administrator Mike Safranek says Danbury went through the same process in 2006 with what is now the dog park.  Even though the City was going to knock down the house, the FAA reimbursed Danbury for the cost of environmental abatement and cleaned up everything.

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Two local lawmakers call for bear hunt in response to Southbury attack

In response to a bear attack on a hiker in Southbury, two local lawmakers are calling for a bear hunt.  Southbury Senator Eric Berthel and New Milford Senator Craig Miner, the ranking member of the Environment Committee, said in a statement that they are relieved the Newtown man wasn't seriously injured.  But they warned that these incidents will only increase if the bear population isn't controlled. 

The pair say that livestock and pets have been killed, and warned that if something isn't done to properly manage the bear population, a tragedy is inevitable. 

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection estimates that the bear population in the northwestern portion of the state is growing at 10% a year. 

After a Rutgers student was killed by a bear in 2014, New Jersey adopted a bear hunting season.  Berthel and Miner say they hope it doesn't take a death for Connecticut to understand that a hunting season is the only way to manage this population and achieve balance in the ecosystem.

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Forum on opioid epidemic to be held in Danbury by State Attorney General

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers are hosting a forum in Danbury on the opioid epidemic.  The group has recruited first responders, emergency personnel and local advocates to discuss ways to combat the public health crisis and secure the resources needed to provide long-term treatment and recovery and fund addiction science. 

The October 2nd forum will be held at the Greater Danbury Community Health Center on Main Street, from 5:30pm to 6:30pm.  The event is open to the public. 

There will be representatives from the Danbury Fire Department, EMS, Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery, Danbury Hospital, the Greater Danbury Community Health Center and New Milford Police Department.  State Attorney General William Tong and Danbury State Senator Julie Kushner will be joined by Representatives David Arconti, Richard Smith, Raghib Allie-Brennan, Ken Gucker, Stephen Harding, Billy Buckbee, and Bob Godfrey. 

Kushner says this is an important conversation and hopes the event is well attended. 

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Law enforcement agencies host Coffee With A Cop Day events tomorrow

The Danbury Police Department is taking part in the national Coffee with a Cop day.  They will hold the conversation at the Danbury Museum at 43 Main Street on October 2nd from 9am to11am.  Area residents are encouraged to sit down with Danbury Officers and ask questions or share any concerns. Department officials say the coffee is on them.  Brookfield Police and the Putnam County Sheriff's Office are also among the law enforcement agencies to hold Coffee with a Cop events tomorrow.

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Pawling man accused of inappropriate sexual contact with a victim

A Pawling man has been accused of having inappropriate sexual contact with a victim.  The Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office and the Child Advocacy Center launched the investigation recently into 27-year old Alex Ramos-Hernandez.  He was charged on Friday with sexual abuse.  The victim is known to Ramos-Hernandez, and officials say there doesn’t appear to be a threat to public safety.  The Sheriff's Office says no further information about the victim or circumstances will be released at this time. Ramos-Hernandez was arraigned and ordered held on $5000 bond.  Anyone with information related to this case or similar incidents involving Ramos-Hernandez is urged to contact Deputy David Meyer at 845-486-3778.

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Machete-wielding man arrested in Danbury

A man who tried to hack through a door of his home with a machete has been arrested by Danbury Police.  Officers responded to Town Hill Avenue Sunday afternoon.  Police say for unknown reasons, 74-year old Mariano Canales started banging on the door of a housemate, while carrying a machete.  He reportedly broke through the door.  His housemate crawled out of a second story window to escape.  Canales was charged with burglary, carrying a dangerous weapon, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, threatening and reckless endangerment.

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Danbury Schools using new visitor registration system

The Danbury Public School District is using a new visitor registration system this year.   Information from government-issued IDs will be compared to a nationwide sex offender database before school staff can print a badge that allows a visitor to be admitted on school grounds.  Officials say Raptor will be a frontline defense against registered sex offenders and will be used each time a visitor, contractor or volunteer signs in, or a guardian signs out a student. District administrators say safety of all students is their highest priority and is working to improve on security measures.

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