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Local Headlines Archives for 2021-07

Danbury hosts pop up COVID vaccine clinics as Delta variant spreads in Conn.

Danbury is looking to tamp down rising infection rates by continuing to hold pop-up COVID-19 vaccine clinics.  Danbury area residents will have an opportunity to get a shot of any of the three vaccines with emergency use authorization at a clinic at Rogers Park from 3pm to 9pm.  There were 87.3 new cases per 100,000 people in Connecticut over the past two weeks.  Connecticut ranks 41st in the country for new cases per capita. The delta variant accounts for 78.3 percent of COVID-19 cases being reported in Connecticut.  That's a slight decrease from last week.  The variant first detected in the U.K. accounts for 17.4 percent of cases.

Ridgefield Tax Collector to hold extra hours for tax payments

The Ridgefield Tax Collector's office will be open today for special hours for residents to pay 1st quarter real estate, personal property and motor vehicle taxes.  The office will be open 9am to noon, and on Monday, the last day to pay without penalty, from 8:30am to 7pm.

New Milford Mayor announces movie to start filming in town soon

A movie will start filming in a few months in New Milford.  Mayor Pete Bass met with week with the Executive Team that will be filming The Thursday Night Club.  Work will start in January and Bass says they expect to put $400,000 into the local economy by patronizing local merchants, restaurants and elsewhere.  He credited the town's the film commission for their efforts in getting another movie made in New Milford.

New Fairfield sets up new COVID-19 vaccine clinic dates

New Fairfield has one of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the Greater Danbury area.  The local Health Director has arranged for a yellow COVID 19 vaccine van to host a Clinic on Wednesday from 8am to 7pm  The van will also be in New Fairfield next Saturday from 9am to 5pm in the New Fairfield High School parking lot. Pfizer, Moderna and J&J vaccine will be available. The clinic will vaccinate anyone over the age of 12, however those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent. 

Vaccination will be  provided free of charge.  Those visiting the clinic to ghet their shot will receive a ticket for free admission to Quassy Amusement Park, coupons for Dunkin Donuts or ice cream from the Goodie Shop.

7 new COVID-associated fatalities have been reported in Connecticut over the past week.  The number of people hospitalized with the virus rose by 9 yesterday from Wednesday to 112. 

Connecticut has recorded 1,133 so-called “breakthrough” cases of COVID-19, people contracting the virus after being fully vaccinated.  That represents just .06 percent of those who have been vaccinated. Of those, 171 people were hospitalized and there were 27 deaths among fully vaccinated people during the pandemic.

Developer vetted for Fairfield Hills mixed use proposal

Newtown Office Economic and Community Development says a Boston-based developer has been vetted in their bid to convert two abandoned buildings on the Fairfield Hills campus into a mix of apartments and commercial use. 

WinnDevelopment wants to redevelop Shelton House and Kent House and has done similar adaptive reuse projects in Connecticut.  The former psychiatric hospital buildings are original to the site and the decision to have limited housing on campus will save the 1933 and 1940 structures from demolition. 

Newtown residents voted in November to rezone the campus for housing and commercial development in no more than two of the vacant buildings. A formal proposal for the adaptive reuse will be developed by WinnCompanies.

Meanwhile, break-ins at the vacant buildings on the Fairfield Hills campus continue in Newtown.  Commission members said at their meeting this week that police are doing the best they can and thanked police for sending officers to monitor the campus when requested. 

Brookfield Board of Ed meeting video back online after being flagged

The Brookfield Board of Education says a video of their meeting is back up on YouTube, after the company flagged it for medical misinformation.  The Board was discussing the possible school mask and social distancing requirements for the fall, with about an hour of public comment on the matter.  The district says this was the first time one of their videos has been flagged.  YouTube warned that the channel would get a Community Guidelines Strike, with only this one warning, and if it happened again, they wouldn't be able to post, upload or livestream for one week.  The board appealed the decision, but while it was off the site, video of the meeting was posted to a town streaming resource.

Danbury Board of Ed to meet Monday on fall reopening

A special Danbury Board of Education meeting is being held Monday night.  Members will get an update from Interim Superintendent Kevin Walston on reopening of schools on August 30th.  The Board will also have a presentation and vote on the 5-school solar project.  The meeting Monday is at 6:30pm and will be held via Zoom.  It will also be live streamed on the board's YouTube page.

Zip ties closing gate at Bethel school construction site repeatedly cut

Construction work continues in Bethel on Rockwell and Johnson Schools renovation projects.  But there's been an issue with the gate at the Johnson School site being opened by the public.  During the Public Site and Building Commission meeting on Tuesday, chairwoman Nancy Ryan asked for an update on the situation.  Supervisor of Facility Operations for the schools Robert Germinaro said signs are being made to discourage entry.  One of the signs has special wording, two have normal wording barring entry.  The gates are zip tied nightly, but are being cut after hours for entry by public.  He commented that he was tempted to put a fire lock on it, because they have a key, but the problem is that police would then not be able to go around the back of the building. 

Health Department recommends three counties mask up again

Hartford, New Haven or New London Counties have been downgraded into the category of “substantial transmission” areas under the COVID-19 classification system set up by the CDC. 

Southbury and Oxford, in New Haven County are in the state's yellow alert zone for community spread of the disease.  Neighboring Monroe is as well, and Easton is now in the orange zone, the second highest alert level.  The town experienced 12 cases of COVID this week. 

Brookfield has moved into the yellow zone for having 4 COVID cases last week and 10 this week.  That made the rate 5.9 per 100,000 population in the last two weeks reported.

 Connecticut’s Health Department issued a recommendation Thursday that residents go back to wearing masks indoors when in Hartford, New Haven or New London Counties and said evidence suggests the state is entering into another wave of the pandemic.  The department said the mask-wearing recommendation holds for everyone in those counties, regardless of vaccination status.

The state also reported that four towns — Bozrah, Hartland, Salem, and Sprague — are now in the state’s “red zone,” indicating they have case rates over the last two weeks of greater than 15 per 100,000 people. There were two towns in the “red zone” last week.

“The recent increase in the case rate and hospitalization rate among unvaccinated persons suggests that we are seeing the beginning of the fourth pandemic wave in Connecticut,” the department said in its weekly report. “This wave is caused by the delta variant.”

There is already an executive order in place that requires all individuals who have not been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 to wear a cloth face covering when indoors and unable to maintain an adequate distance from others.

The department also is recommending that all state residents who have underlying medical conditions that put them at risk for COVID-19 complications, or who live with high-risk or unvaccinated individuals, wears masks in indoor public spaces.

The state reported that seven more people died over the past week from causes related to COVID-19, bringing the state total to 8,293 during the pandemic.

The number of people hospitalized with the virus rose by nine on Thursday to 112.

The department also reported that it has now recorded 1,133 so-called “breakthrough” cases of COVID-19 and a total of 27 deaths among fully vaccinated people during the pandemic. But they said that represents just .06% of those who have been vaccinated. Of the 1,133 cases, there were 171 hospitalizations.

Over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases in Connecticut has increased by just over 190 or 207.1%, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins University.

There were 87.3 new cases per 100,000 people in Connecticut over the past two weeks, which ranks 41st in the country for new cases per capita. One in every 1,809 people in Connecticut tested positive in the past week.

Health officials say the spike in cases is directly related to the prevalence of the highly transmissible delta variant of the virus.

Bethel's First Selectman to run unopposed

Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker is running unopposed in November, at this point.  The Republican Town Committee did not put forward a candidate to challenge the 6-term incumbent.  There is still time however for a Bethel resident to petition their way onto the ballot, or force a primary. 

The certified list of party-endorsed candidates for the municipal election was submitted by each party, and Bethel Democrats nominated nearly twice as many incumbents as the Republicans.  Rounding out the three-member Board of Selectmen, Democrats are endorsing incumbent Rich Straiton while the Republicans have endorsed Town Committee chairman Bryan Terzian, who sits on the Board of Finance. 

Incumbent Republican Selectman Paul Szatkowski is running for treasurer, challenging Democratic incumbent Patricia Smithwick.

Connecticut Institute For Communities to get new CEO

There's a change in leadership at the Connecticut Institute For Communities.  Katherine McKeon Curran has been appointed as the incoming President and CEO, effective August 1st.  She is current COO and General Counsel. 

The organization says Curran helped employees as they worked through bad weather and dangers all front-line workers faced to deliver over 23,000 COVID-19 tests and over 12,000 vaccines to the communities.  She coordinated vaccine delivery, managed logistics with police, and partnered with the state Department of Agriculture and the Salvation Army for food assistance for those suffering food scarcity while quarantining and awaiting COVID test results. 

 Curran joined CIFC in the fall of 2011. She was certified in Health Care Compliance by the Health Care Compliance Association, and this past year completed the Harvard Kennedy School’s Executive Education Program for Non-Profit Financial Stewardship.

CIFC’s Founder and longtime President & CEO, James Maloney is transitioning into a part-time consulting role for CIFC.

Ridgefield sets hearing date for regulating recreational marijuana

A decision on regulating recreational marijuana in Ridgefield could be left up to the Board of Selectmen.  The Planning and Zoning Commission voted at their meeting on Tuesday to hold a public hearing on September 14th on a year-long moratorium on growing, distributing and selling marijuana in Ridgefield.  Connecticut municipalities can either take no action, allow establishments with regulations, ban them, or impose a temporary moratorium.  Members of the Planning and Zoning Commission raised the idea this week of having the decision be left to the Selectmen, despite the state legislation giving planning and zoning bodies oversight of the rollout.  When medical marijuana was approved in Connecticut, Ridgefield put a temporary pause on facilities, and later banned them. 

Ridgefield man killed in single car crash

A Ridgefield man was killed in a single car crash in town yesterday.  Police responded to a crash on Branchville Road close to East Ridge Road around 2am and determined that 43-year-old Carl Whitbeck was the sole occupant.  He was transported to the Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.  Ridgefield Police say the vehicle was traveling east when it crossed over the westbound lane leaving the roadway and struck an embankment before coming to rest.

Brookfield Board of Ed approves school reopening plan

A plan for what school will look like in the fall in Brookfield has been approved by the Board of Education.  During their meeting on Wednesday. members signed off on recommendations from the school opening team, health department and others.  It calls for full in-person learning, with kids in school buildings 5 days a week.  But it is contingent on state recommendations.  School districts are still waiting for guidance from the state on mask mandates for students and staff.  The CDC recommends everyone in school buildings wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.  The plan does say that masks are not required for outdoor activities including outdoor gym classes and recess.  Plexiglass dividers will be taken down and dismissal times at the elementary schools will no longer be staggered in the fall.  Buses will go back to full capacity and all in-person clubs and activities will resume.

Conn. COVID-19 test positivity rate nearing 3-percent

Like the rest of Connecticut, and the country, COVID-19 positive cases are on the rise in Danbury.  The local Health Department had reported several days earlier this month with zero cases, and many with only one or two.  But that last two days reported, Monday and Tuesday of this week, there were 7 and 6 cases reported respectively.  Connecticut's daily COVID-19 test positivity rate is nearly 3-percent.  With 391 new confirmed or probable cases detected yesterday out of about 13,000 tests, the positivity rate was 2.96 percent.   The number of people seeking hospital treatment for coronavirus dipped slightly yesterday.  With two fewer patients than on Tuesday, the inpatient total is 103.

Bethel Social Services seeks donations to help families in financial need

Bethel Social Services will be on the front lawn of the Municipal Center until 5 o'clock today collecting gift cards for the Bethel Police Department to distribute in urgent situations. Donations of pre-paid gift cards for local grocers and eateries, as well as gas cards and generic gift cards will be collected.  Bethel Social Services also has tags available for residents to select for the Back to School Program drive. Each tag has one or two items on it, to help 97 children registered to receive backpacks filled with school supplies.  The Department will also be helping children living at Amos House this year.  The transitional living facility serves women and children in the Greater Danbury area, with customize programming to ensure they are able to achieve long-term self sufficiency.

Ridgefield Tax Collector to hold extra hours for tax payments

The Ridgefield Tax Collector's office will be open Saturday for special hours for residents to pay 1st quarter real estate, personal property and motor vehicle taxes.  The office will be open 9am to noon on Saturday, and on Monday, the last day to pay without penalty, from 8:30am to 7pm.

Candlewood Lake Authority asks boaters not to toss trash overboard

The Candlewood Lake Authority is reminding boaters about some good boating etiquette before entering the water this summer.  They ask that people prepare the boat and equipment before getting into position to launch.  Once on the water, with another busy season under way, boaters are asked to mind their wake, keep music at a decent level and not litter.  The Lake Authority says shorelines and islands are still lined with trash being thrown overboard.  Lake users are asked to have a carry in-carry out policy of properly disposing of any trash and not throw it overboard.

Candlewood Company retires their old Engine 21

Brookfield Volunteer Fire Candlewood Company has retired the old Engine 21.  The 1998 Pierce Saber Pumper was sold and left Brookfield this week, on its way to the dealer who will be finding its new home.  The apparatus served 24 years, 57,500 miles, and 4,800 engine hours.  Truck committee members have spent the last couple of weeks decommissioning the old engine and getting the new truck ready for service.

Edmond Town Hall awarded Shuttered Venue Operators Grant

10 more facilities in the 5th Congressional District have been approved to receive Shuttered Venue Operators Grants.  Among them is Edmond Town Hall in Newtown, which is set to receive little more than $204,000.  The program was signed into law in December to help entertainment businesses recover from the pandemic.

Moratorium on recreational marijuana sales in Danbury approved by Zoning Commission

A moratorium on recreational marijuana sales in Danbury has been approved by the Zoning Commission.  A public hearing was held Tuesday night on the pause, for a year or less, on new applications. 

Planning Director Sharon Calitro told the Commission that her office wanted the time to review the several-hundred pages of state legislation that took effect July 1st, having been approved only eight days prior.  There are nine types of licenses in the law, including for production, growing and manufacturing. all of which are currently prohibited in Danbury.  Calitro says the ban should apply equally to both medicinal and recreational, or not be in place. 

One member of the public, two City Councilmen and the Mayor spoke in favor of the temporary prohibition.  5 members of the public spoke against the proposal.  Zoners closed the hearing, and later voted unanimously in favor of the short-term ban. 

The medical marijuana moratorium in 2012 was proposed for a year, but was lifted before that time.  Resident Mike Deary noted that it was 8 years between palliative use of marijuana being approved by the state and the time a dispensary applied to come in.  He added that police have been evaluating stoned drivers and motorists impaired by other substances for years.  Deary says police will be freed up from prosecuting small time marijuana users. 

Carl Tirella, owner of the medical marijuana dispensary opening on Mill Plain Road, says any recreational establishment is allowed under the new law to deliver to any municipality in the state of Connecticut, not just the city or town where the facility is located.  He says that means any Danbury resident who wants recreational cannabis, delivery will still happen.

Others speaking in opposition to the moratorium noted that these facilities would bring jobs to the City. 

Councilman Paul Rotello says with the state giving municipalities only 3-percent of the sales tax, the revenue might not be worth it. 

Under the legislation, he noted that larger cities, including Danbury, can designate places where recreational marijuana use would be allowed.  He expressed concerns, and compared it to bar owners and bartenders that have liability if they allow someone visibly intoxicated to get behind the wheel and then cause an accident.  If Danbury were to designate a public space and something happens, he says the City could be liable.

Swastikas displayed on protest banner in Southbury being condemned

Swastikas displayed on a banner in Southbury are being condemned by the Connecticut chapter of the Anti-Defamation League. 

The sign appeared to show donkeys with swastikas on them, calling it the new logo for the Democratic Party.  The sign was on state land on Playhouse Corner.  A group of protestors put up the banner Saturday claiming those in the party are socialists, anti-American, anti-Jewish, anti-Second Amendment and pro-hate.  It called Democrats the modern day Nazi party. 

There's no criminal investigation into the incident at this time, being viewed as a freedom of speech issue. 

A special Board of Selectmen meeting was held in Southbury last night featuring a discussion and statement condemning the symbolism of the protest sign.  Town officials also discussed the American Rescue Plan Act Task Force and other issues.

"We are saddened and disturbed to learn that this has occurred in our Town. Southbury has a rich history of opposition to the Nazi symbol and what it stands for. The display of a swastika or similar symbols of hate, which are a false analogy to the reality of the Holocaust, have no place in Southbury. Displays such as this cheapen the memory of the millions of lives lost and ignore the trauma that lasts for generations. While our Board certainly respects the right of protestors to assemble peacefully and speak freely on topics of interest to them, we condemn in the strongest possible terms the use of any symbols of hate to do so.  The display of a swastika in the Town of Southbury is contrary to everything we believe in as a community.  Our Board stands strongly against hate and bigotry in all its forms, and together with all those in our community who expect and deserve to know that their elected leaders will work together to ensure that all people feel safe in Southbury."

Court documents to remain temporarily sealed in murder case against Danbury teen

Court documents in the murder case against a Danbury teenager will remain temporarily sealed.  A state judge yesterday issued the ordered during a brief hearing into the file of 17-year old Elvis Agramonte.  The documents will remain sealed through at least August 11th.  He was charged with murder and other crimes for allegedly shooting 18-year old Yhameek Johnson on Mill Ridge Road on June 20th.  Another hearing will be held on August 9th.  The investigation into the drive-by shooting is ongoing.  Agramonte, who is being tried as an adult, remains held on $1 million bail.  A Stratford teen was charged with hindering prosecution and other offenses this week in connection to the case. 

Local company touts signing of Solicitation of New Fuel Cell Electricity Generation Projects bill

Danbury-based FuelCell Energy is applauding a bill being signed into law about the Solicitation of New Fuel Cell Electricity Generation Projects. The bill requires the Connecticut utilities to solicit proposals to acquire new fuel cell electricity generation projects, to be approved by January 1st. The evaluation used in the proposal selection process will be based on both enhancing distribution energy system reliability and security, as well as support of microgrids to ensure critical resources continue to operate during power disruptions. The measure also gives preference for projects that are sited on brownfields.  The total amount of fuel cell generated capacity to be procured under this bill is 30 megawatts, which are to be apportioned to the two in-state local electrical distribution companies based on their respective distribution load.

Region 9 Board of Ed member seeks to primary Redding First Selectman

Redding's First Selectman could face a primary in her bid for another term.  A Region 9 Board of Education member is looking to unseat Democratic incumbent  Julia Pemberton.  Mike D’Agostino plans to try to primary, saying Redding is at a crossroads.  Pemberton, an eight-year incumbent, ran unopposed in her last two races.  D’Agostino needs 122 signatures of registered Democrats in Redding to qualify for a primary, which would take place on September 14th.  The Redding Democratic Town Committee endorsed Pemberton for a 5th term, while the Republicans this week chose John Shaban, who most recently was a state representative, for First Selectman.  Incumbent Selectman Michael Thompson gained the backing of the party to seek another term.

Brookfield Democrats endorse incumbents for another term

The Brookfield Democratic Town Committee has nominated a slate of candidates for November.  The ticket will be led by incumbents Steve Dunn for First Selectman and Sue Slater for Selectman.  They gained the backing of the party during a special meeting Sunday night to seek a 4th term in office.  The pair say there are some ongoing projects they would like to see through to completion, including construction of the new Candlewood Lake Elementary School and the streetscape project in the town center.  They will face a challenge from Tara Carr and Harry Shaker during the municipal election in a few months.

Brookfield Burn heads to Babe Ruth softball world series

A local group of kids is headed to the world series.  The Brookfield Burn, the town's 10 and under softball travel team, is in Florida to compete in the Babe Ruth softball world series.  The team swept the New England regional to make it to the national competition.  Teams will compete in brackets on August 2nd and 3rd, with the final championship game scheduled for the 4th.  The 12 Brookfield girls raised money from their neighbors, local businesses and a GoFundMe page so they could cover costs for each player and a guardian to make the trip.

Danbury hosts pop up COVID vaccine clinics

The Danbury Department of Health and Human Services is hosting a series of pop-up COVID-19 vaccine clinics today.  Danbury Library is hosting a clinic from 10am to 2pm with Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson being offered.  From 2pm to 8, all three vaccines will be available.  The Connecticut Institute For Communities is hosting a clinic at their Main Street facility from 2 to 4:45pm, with the Pfizer vaccine offered.

Connecticut's daily COVID-19 test positivity rate is back on the rise. With 488 new cases reported yesterday from the day before, the daily positivity rate was 2.67 percent.  There's been a jump in COVID-19 testing in Connecticut, with more than 18,000 reported yesterday. 

Connecticut saw a slight drop in hospitalizations, down 3 to 105 patients.

911 cell phone issue in Danbury resolved

Verizon reports that the 911 cell phone routing situation has been resolved.  Danbury officials say AT&T advised them that a possible issue was identified with one of their processing servers with regards to the reported failed calls.  AT&T removed this processing server from the rotation as of Monday afternoon.  The Verizon issue was also impacting cell phone caller capability of reaching city departments as well.

Korean War Veterans Association in Danbury hosts ceremony

The Korean War Veterans Association in Danbury held a ceremony yesterday commemorating the 68th Anniversary of the Korean War.  Commissioner of Veterans Affairs Tom Saadi was in attendance and placed a rose at the Korean War Monument in memory of a fallen soldier.  The names of those killed in action and missing in action from the Danbury area were read by KWVA President Brendan Sniffin.

Training sessions hosted in Bethel this week for area firefighters

Firefighters in Bethel held training sessions this week.  Bethel Fire Department, along with Georgetown Volunteer and West Redding Volunteer Fire Departments, set up a tanker shuttle drill to practice moving water from a fill site to an emergency scene. 

Not every neighborhood has fire hydrants readily available so Bethel and surrounding towns have tanker trucks that hold 2000-3000 gallons. The drop tanks, big yellow pools, are used to hold water that is shuttled in by trucks as it is pumped up to fight a fire. 

Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Company hosted Connecticut Custom Fire Training LLC for a hands on class on standpipe operations at the Duracell parking garage. Members reviewed how to properly prep a standpipe prior to use, how to stretch hoses effectively up and down stairwells, proper operating pressures and various other topics.

Brookfield Volunteer and Hawleyville Volunteer Fire also took part in the drill.  The Fire Marshal's Office helped plan for this training.

Fairfield Hills Authority considering proposal for bicycle playground

The Fairfield Hills Authority is considering a proposal for a bicycle playground at the Fairfield Hills campus.  At their most recent meeting members heard that the facility for 3 to 12 year olds would include tunnels, seesaw tracks and zigzag turns.  Newtown Parks and Recreation Commission Director Amy Mangold says instruction and teaching kids how to ride safely will be the focus of the facility.  There is no proposed location for the bicycle playground.  Once that's decided, Parks and Rec will apply to the Planning and Zoning Department.  The Newtown Bike and Trail Committee supports the estimated $100,000 to $120,000 project, which would be paid for through grants, donations, in-kind services and town budget funding.

Kent School cleared of negligence for 2016 bike crash

Kent School has been cleared of negligence by a jury for a bike crash that severely injured a now former student.  The Newstimes reports that Danilo Bracho was in a coma for at least two months, underwent more than 20 surgeries, and sustained serious, long-term injuries in the 2016 accident.  His family filed a federal lawsuit against the school after her son crashed into a tree during a school-sponsored bike ride.  The private prep school required all students to enroll in an outdoor activity, and Bracho did not have his own bike and helmet as required for the activity, but was loaned a bike.  He failed to navigate a tight curve midway down a steep hill on Bulls Bridge Road.

UPDATED: Sandy Hook families react to proposed settlement from Remington

Remington Arms is offering millions to settle a lawsuit filed by nine families affected by the shooting at Sandy Hook School.  Court documents filed yesterday show the gun manufacturer is offering $3.6 million dollars to each family involved in the suit for a total of $33-million.  Remington argues that the legal firearm was legally distributed and sold and they are not responsible for the deaths on 12/14. 

An attorney representing the families, Josh Koskoff, issued a statement saying that the families will consider their next steps.  He says this case has been about preventing the next Sandy Hook, showing banks and insurers that companies that sell assault weapons to civilians are fraught with financial risk.  He says financial institutions like JP Morgan and Franklin Square learned that lesson when Remington went bankrupt.  He maintains that promoting the use of AR-15s as weapons of war to civilians is indefensible.

One of the plaintiffs, Nicole Hockley, whose 6-year-old son Dylan died in the shooting, said Wednesday that the families need to talk with their lawyers about the settlement offers and declined further comment.

In their request to dismiss the lawsuit, Remington argued there were no facts presented to establish that Remington’s marketing had anything to do with the shooting.

Remington filed for bankruptcy last year for the second time in two years.  Its assets were later sold off to several companies.

New Fairfield man arrested for attempted murder of a police officer

A New Fairfield man has been arrested for attempted murder of a police officer for an incident last month in the town of Sharon.  State Police also charged 56-year old Thomas Farrington with assault and unauthorized possession of a weapon.  State Police say the charges stem from a standoff at the Housatonic Meadows campground off Route 7 on June 26. 

Trooper Patrick Carter responded to a report of a woman screaming inside a camper, but was confronted by an allegedly intoxicated Farrington.  Trooper Carter reported that Farrington's gun clicked repeatedly, but didn't fire any rounds.  Surrounding campers were evacuated as Farrington allegedly waved his gun around. 

Two handguns were found contained loaded cartridges, but no rounds in the chamber.  Neither were lawfully owned as Farrington’s pistol permit was previously revoked. 

The windows of the camper had been smashed and Farrington allegedly yelled expletives at Carter, threatened to stab a police K-9 to death, and screamed “kill me bunch of punks.” 

Farrington was arrested on Route 6 in Bethel on Monday morning.  He was arraigned and ordered held on $750,000 bond.  He's due back in court on August 27th.

Consultant tells Danbury official traffic decreased in City on 12 state routes

Another meeting has been held about Danbury's Plan of Conservation and Development, which is updated every 10 years.  The meeting on the 20th focused on traffic and infrastructure.  FHI Studio manager Francisco Gomes says traffic volume on 12 state routes through the City has been trending downwards since 2004, while traffic on Interstate 84 has been stable.  The data analyzed from the state was only through 2018.



City Councilman Fred Visconti says they need to take a better look at what the experts did to come to that conclusion.  Gomes acknowledged that the numbers may not be representative of the entire city because they only have data from the state.  He notes that they will take comments into account when updating the master plan. 

Gomes added that the big question on traffic management, will be what to do to better manage the local increases. 

FHI senior transportation engineer Parker Sorenson says no capacity improvements have been made to the 12 state routes examined since 2004, so he doesn't expect there to be improvement. 

New Milford Town Council starts talks on legalized cannabis use

The New Milford Town Council has taken up the issue of legalized recreational marijuana.  At Monday's meeting, members discussed what the new state law means for the town and how to approach use and sales.  Mayor Pete Bass told the Town Council that it's now legal to smoke, so they should plan ahead for kind of unintended consequences with a regulated experience that provides security for everyone.  The state legislation allows municipalities to use zoning and other regulations to outline cannabis sales and places of use within their towns.  Bass raised the idea of prohibiting the use of cannabis on town properties, like the green, and schools.  The issue will likely be discussed again at the Town Council's August meeting.

Three portraits to join Marian Anderson on mural in Danbury

Three portraits will join Marian Anderson on a mural in Danbury.  RiseUP for Arts/CT Murals is partnering with CityCenter Danbury to paint a large-scale mural overlooking Kennedy Park that honors John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  The mural of the three will be unveiled Monday afternoon.  CityCenter Executive Director Angela Wong says the wall is an ideal canvas to support an ambitious and meaningful project such as this.  The City is still finalizing the call to artists for the portrait of Anderson. Artist, ARCY, titles the mural of the other three, "Legends Live Forever.”  This project is funded by CityCenter Danbury and organized by RiseUP for Arts as part of a partnership to expand public art in the Downtown District.

Popular Connecticut bear put down after being hit by vehicle

EASTON, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut bear that became popular locally with its own Facebook page had to be put down by police after it was struck by a vehicle. Outpourings of grief were posted on the page after Easton police on Tuesday announced the death of the bear nicknamed "211" for the number on state environmental tags it had on both ears. Police said the bear was struck Monday evening and Easton officers had to put it down because it was suffering. People in several Connecticut towns and even Armonk, New York, posted photos and videos of 211 on Facebook.

Wilton Police wrap up Vehicle Theft Prevention Month with common sense message

July is Vehicle Theft Prevention month.  Wilton Police say most vehicle thefts are crimes of opportunity and therefore preventable.  They note that simple steps taken by owners and drivers can help to reduce these crimes of opportunity.  While they seem like common sense, Wilton Police are asking residents to lock doors and close all windows and sunroofs of unoccupied cars, park in a well-lit area whenever possible and remove all valuables from plain sight.  Police added that vehicles should never be left running while unattended.

Region 14 plan hearing on proposed firing of Superintendent over vaccine rollout

The Region 14 school district could hold a hearing next month on the proposed firing of the Superintendent over vaccine rollout.   Joseph Olzacki faced calls for his termination over accusations that teachers were initially passed over for COVID-19 vaccines earlier this year.  The Board of Education placed Olzacki on paid administrative leave over the winter and launched an investigation into the district’s rollout. Teachers had claimed administrators, central office staff, and school board members and their spouses were prioritized at a clinic in Southbury in January.  The board has finished its investigation and a hearing could be scheduled for early August, open to the public. Region 14 finance director Wayne McAllister has been serving as the interim superintendent since February.

Downed utility poles replaced, South Kent Road reopens

South Kent Road has reopened.  It was closed early yesterday morning by downed trees, wires and poles.  Eversource completed the repairs this morning and the road was reopened to traffic.  The trees were removed form the wires by 6 o'clock last night.  Two new poles, cross arms and wires then were installed.  A crane had to be brought in for that process.  Kent Emergency Management officials cautioned yesterday morning that the closure would be needed for an extended period of time between Spooner Hill and Bulls Bridge.

Work van fire extends to exterior of Monroe home

A work van on fire in a Monroe driveway was quickly extinguished yesterday.  Monroe Volunteer Fire Department says the van was very close to the Lynn Drive house.  The van fire had extended to part of the exterior of the home and attached garage area, but they were able to extinguish the flames before they got into the house. The homeowner was able to help tamp down the blaze while firefighters were enroute, which limited the damage. The cause was accidental in nature.  Stevenson and Stepney Fire Departments also responded.  There were no injuries but firefighters operated for about an hour in high temperatures.  Shelton Fire Department covered the town and responded to a separate fire alarm during this incident.  Monroe Police and EMS assisted on scene.

Newest Brookfield Police Officer graduates from Connecticut Police Academy

Brookfield’s newest Police Officer has graduated from 6 months of training at the Connecticut Police Academy.  Travis Kullgren now begins a 12-week Field Training program.  He grew up in New Milford and was part of the Newtown Police Explorers while in high school.  After graduating in 2016, Kullgren joined the Marine Corps. He served four years, with several overseas missions. Kullgren was sworn into the Brookfield Police Department on January 4th.

Public hearing tonight in Danbury on proposed pot moratorium

A public hearing is being held tonight in Danbury on the proposed temporary moratorium of recreational marijuana sales in the City.  The Zoning Commission received a positive referral from the Planning Commission, which met last week.

Planning Director Sharon Calitro says it would be a year or less and would prohibit applications, petitions and issuances of permits related to cannabis establishments.  The zoning regulations would define cannabis establishments, though there are definitions contained in the state legislation.  The local decisions would also be about how to regulate cannabis-associated uses, where the appropriate places would be, evaluate what the legislation means for Danbury, and what the city can do should officials decide to allow these establishments. 

Medical dispensaries are permitted under existing zoning regulations, but those businesses are now allowed to apply to sell recreational pot under the recreational cannabis bill.  The moratorium would apply to new medical marijuana applications as well.  

The regular meeting starts at 7:30pm, but people can join after 7pm.

Meeting ID: 853 1733 7594

Passcode: 957284 

Internal Affairs Investigation continues into Danbury Police response to incident

An internal investigation is continuing into the Danbury Police officers who responded to the library last month when a YouTuber was filming inside, against library policy.  In body camera footage obtained by Hearst Connecticut Media through a Freedom of Information Act request, one officer told another that the man would have been on the ground 5 years ago and would have been dead 20 years ago.  The American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement that the comments are blood curdling and incredibly revealing.  The discussion between the two officers was not included in the edited video posted by the so-called First Amendment Auditor after the June incident, in which it appears he intentionally provokes the officers.  Five officers responded to the Danbury Library incident. SeanPaul Reyes was involved in two other incidents in Danbury. One that same day at City Hall, and then on July 15th at City Hall.  During the later visit, he was charged with criminal trespass and breach of peace.

Some cell phone customers report issues reaching 911

Some mobile customers have reportedly had trouble getting through to 911 on their cell phones.  Danbury officials say Verizon subscribers in the area may be experiencing issues completing phone calls to 911 and City departments.  They have informed Verizon of the magnitude of this issue and caution users to dial 911 from an alternate phone line if possible.  Texting 911, a service implemented in Connecticut in late 2018, appears to be working.  This may be affecting users throughout the region, but Danbury officials say the City will stay in contact with the phone company until the issue is resolved.

Air quality alerts in Conn. due to western wildfires

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is forecasting moderate air quality today with some smoke and haze back in the region.  The agency in charge of issuing air quality alerts warned that smoke from massive wildfires burning in the western United States and Canada prompted an air quality action day for all of Litchfield, and northern Fairfield counties among other places in the state yesterday.  The alert means fine particles from the wildfire smoke may approach or exceed unhealthy standards.  In Litchfield County, emergency responders received complaints of haze and an odor of smoke.  The entire state was under an air quality alert last week because of smoke from the western fires.

CERT to provide update to Ridgefield officials on pandemic response work

A meeting to discuss best practices will be held Thursday in Ridgefield about public safety.  CERT, the Community Emergency Response Team, will provide a presentation on its pandemic response.  Ridgefield’s police and fire chiefs, Health Department Director, First Selectman and representatives from  the Office of Emergency Management, among others, will be at the meeting.  CERT was organized about a decade ago to serve residents during disasters, local emergencies and community-wide events.  Volunteers traditionally have staffed the Emergency Operations Center and phone banks, along with coordinating damage assessment and searches for missing persons.  More than 30 people recently completed CERT certification requirements and training.

Parcel of land could be turned over to Ridgefield Conservation Commission

A parcel of land in Ridgefield will be turned over to the jurisdiction of the Conservation Commission.  The Board of Selectmen discussed reasons for protecting the property at Turner Road and Barnum Place in perpetuity verses leaving it as is once the Town acquires it.  If not protected, the land could potentially be used for another purpose other than open space in the future.  It will be assigned to the Conservation Commission, contingent on the conveyance taking place and property ownership being given to Ridgefield.   

Brookfield Library applies for grant for sterilization equipment

Brookfield Library is applying for a grant to benefit the library staff and patrons by cleaning and sterilizing all surfaces including the outside of books and shelving. If awarded, the $22,000 would be used to purchase a SteraMist Disinfecting System.  The portable, hand-held unit is an EPA-registered solution and equipment fogger featuring hydrogen peroxide as the sole active ingredient.  The technology can reach the toughest spots and goes beyond manual cleaning and other disinfection methods.  It's a broad-spectrum surface disinfectant from a direct mist application.  It kills bacteria and inactivates viruses, which may reduce the risk of potential exposure in treated spaces.  The manufacturer says the system is effective against MRSA, COVID-19, Salmonella and Norovirus among others.  The grant would cover the cost of training and support.     

Danbury sees slight uptick in COVID-19 cases

Like most of Connecticut, and the country, Danbury is seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases.  Though the Health Department notes that the numbers are not yet approaching the caseload of even a few months ago.  During the first half of the month, there were 8 days where Danbury reported no new cases.  In the last week, 1 to 4 cases were reported each day in the City. Anyone not fully vaccinated is encouraged to wear a mask in all indoor public spaces. Masks are required when visiting Danbury City Hall.

Region 9 Superintendent search enters public input phase

The Easton, Redding and Region 9 Boards of Education will be hosting three opportunities today for community members to share their insight on the hiring of the next Superintendent of Schools.  The first was held this morning.  Dr. Joseph Erardi, the search consultant working with the Boards of Education, will be facilitating a 4pm and a 7pm meeting to gather information from attendees which will then be shared with the hiring committee.  Meetings will be held in the Learning Commons at Joel Barlow High School in  Redding.  School protocol on mask-wearing will apply and will be posted at the front entrance.

State bonding approved for Norwalk River Valley Trail in Redding

The state Bond Commission has approved $300,000 for Redding.  The town will use the money for construction of their first section of the Norwalk River Valley Trail.  The design for the trail is complete and was paid for via private community donations.  Recreational Trail Improvements funding Friday included recent projects funded through the Connecticut Recreational Trails Program, which provides funding for projects that include planning and design of trails; construction of new trails; maintenance and restoration of existing recreational trails; access to trails by persons with disabilities;  purchase and lease of trail construction and maintenance equipment; acquisition of land or easements for a trail, or for trail corridors; and operation of educational programs to promote safety and environmental protection as related to recreational trails.   

New Milford Police, DEEP patrolling areas along the Housatonic

New Milford Police and Fire officials are again talking about River Safety, especially by the Bleachery Dam. They note that the Housatonic River is not for swimming due to powerful currents and undercurrents that can trap swimmers under the water.  They also say there are PCBs, the industrial chemical, on the bottom of the River.  Police Chief Spencer Cerruto urged people not to walk on the dam which is dangerous for anyone who falls in as the water over the dam can produce a powerful undertow. For those that fish, boat, canoe, or kayak the River, all safety protocols should be followed. New Milford Police and DEEP are now patrolling some areas along the Housatonic River.  Cerruto says there are areas, especially on Picket District Road by the dam head, where parking for access to the River by the dam is not permitted.

Mark Twain Library Book Fair back on this year

The Mark Twain Library Book Fair is taking place again this year.  The event in Redding is one of the largest and oldest book fairs in New England.  The 60th annual Book Fair will be held Labor Day weekend.  The "back room" volunteers have been busy sorting, pricing and boxing books for two years and the deadline for donating items is this Saturday.  Volunteers are needed to help with the event, including set up, sales, and tear down.  Set-up days are Monday August 30th through Thursday September 2nd. Sale days are that through Monday, with take-down day Tuesday, September 7th.  The Town of Redding has a form on their Facebook page for volunteers to fill out.

2nd arrest made in fatal drive-by shooting in Danbury

A second juvenile has been charged for the June fatal shooting in Danbury.  As the police investigation into the murder of 18-year-old Yhameek Johnson has been ongoing, an arrest warrant was granted by the Court for a 17-year-old male.  Police say the youth was charged Thursday based on his level of involvement and later released.  The Stratford teen was charged with tampering with physical evidence, hindering prosecution, interfering with the duties of an officer and larceny.  Police say since the level of severity doesn't rise to the charges facing 17-year-old Elvis Anthony Agramonte, their identity will not be released.  Court documents related to the case have been temporarily sealed as the investigation continues.  Anyone with information is asked to contact Danbury Police Detective Justin Williams at 203-796-1601 or Anonymous TIPS Line is 203-790-8477.

Bethel Police investigating complaints about rental property scams

The Bethel Police Department has recently received numerous complaints about rental property scams in which a person poses as a property owner and requests security deposits or other rental related expenses be paid to a Bitcoin account or other similar transaction. While a property may be legitimately available for rent, Bethel Police say the scammers copy the listings to other websites such as Facebook Marketplace, and replace the contact information with their own.  Police recommend that people refrain from sending any payments related to rental properties to anonymous persons.

New Fairfield reporting breakthrough COVID-19 cases

Like most of the country, Connecticut and New Fairfield are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases.  In June, New Fairfield had fewer than 5 cases, but in the past three weeks, the town has had 12 new cases and the case rate has climbed to  3.1 per 100,000 population.  The town's test positivity rate is 2.3-percent.    First Selectman Pat Del Monaco says New Fairfield's vaccination rate is below the state average and the lowest among surrounding towns.  Although much lower than at the peak in the spring, she says the upward trend is concerning.  While the majority of new cases are occurring in unvaccinated people, there are also a few breakthrough cases in vaccinated residents.  Del Monaco urged those who are unvaccinated to wear a mask and practice social distancing.   The delta variant is responsible for 80% of current cases in Connecticut and is reported 60-percent more transmissible than other variants. 

Candlewood Lake reports low blue-green algae toxin levels despite small blooms

Despite some spotty problems the Candlewood Lake Authority says every test for a toxin sometimes released by blue-green algae on Thursday was far below the state threshold.  The Lake Authority has been receiving reports of small blue-green algae blooms in some coves around the lake, following days of rainfall and then nice days of sunshine, which creates the right conditions for blue-green algae growth.  The testing program at the Town Beaches on Candlewood Lake runs throughout the summer.

Redding Ridge Fire seeks approvals for demolition, rebuilding

The Redding Ridge fire station can be overhauled. The Redding Zoning Commission has signed off on the fire district's plans, as long as the Building Department also gives approval. The existing structure on Blackrock Turnpike would be demolished, the parcel would be expanded a new building for the volunteer firefighters could be constructed.  Construction would be done in four phases, over several years.  Overall work also calls for parking lot expansion and septic system installation.  The architect’s plan involves building a retaining wall to filter stormwater into the wetlands.  Plans are being drawn up for the building department so a construction estimate can be obtained.  The cost is expected to be around $4 million.  Taxpayers in the fire district will eventually vote on funding for the project.  During the work firefighters would operate out of the center firehouse and a member would store one of the engines in their heated barn.

Investigative report released into allegations against Pmperaug Health District director

An independent investigator has found wide-ranging, systemic and cultural problems in the Pomperaug District Department of Health.  The investigation was opened into allegations involving director Neal Lustig.  He was suspended in June after a complaint was filed by a new deputy director and an office incident with another employee.  He served 33 years in the district that serves Southbury, Oxford, and Woodbury.  The office incident was fully redacted in documents from the health district.  Hearst Connecticut Media reported that an “independent, third-party Human Resources investigation” conducted interviews with employees though Lustig did not participate in the interviews.  The report recommends office-wide behavior training and behavioral coaching, anti-harassment, anti-bullying, and anti-discrimination training.  The investigation was paid for by the district.

Three arrested after neighbor complaints of illicit drug sales in Danbury

Resident complaints about drug sales in Danbury have led to the arrests of three people.  Danbury Police charged Dontee Heyliger and Duane Usher Perkins on Thursday for various drug offenses.  Police set up surveillance at the Bayberry Lane home of the 38-years-olds and saw Heyliger driving away to a parking lot of an office building on Germantown Road.  He was seen meeting with a woman, waving her arms in the air as he came into view. 

The pair engaged in a hand-to-hand transaction, and police stepped in.  Heyliger and 64-years-old Linda Andreasen of New Milford, were found in possession of illegal drugs.

A search of the home led to a substantial quantity of Ecstacy tablets and money, powder cocaine and drug paraphernalia.  All three were charged and later released.

Both men were charged with two counts each of possession of a Controlled Substance, possession with intent to sell, possession within 1,500 feet of a school, and possession with intent to sell within 1,500 feet of a school, and one count each of possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of drug paraphernalia within 1,500 feet of a school.  Heyliger was charged with one addition count each of possession and possession with intent to sell. 

Andreasen was charged with possession of a controlled substance.

Danbury legislative delegation tout bonding for I-84 widening design

Members of the Danbury legislative delegation are touting $10 million in state bonding approved yesterday for the design and engineering to widen I-84 between exits 3 and 8.  Senator Julie Kushner says this represents advances and improvements in vital transportation infrastructure.  She notes that it's not just Danburians that depend on I-84 to access businesses and recreational opportunities. Kushner says 15-minute drives are transformed into 45-minute traffic jams on a daily basis, adding that fixing this bottle neck is long overdue.  Kushner noted that widening the highway has shown vital improvements in removing traffic snarls in Waterbury, among other Connecticut roadways.  Representative David Arconti says investments in the state's transportation infrastructure are long overdue and essential for commerce and anyone travelling on the roadway. 

Down ballot candidates nominated by Danbury political parties

The Town Committees in Danbury have nominated down ballot candidates for  November's municipal elections.  The Democratic party has nominated Henry Hall for Treasurer and Party chairwoman Andrea Gartner for Town Clerk.  The Republican party has nominated two incumbents to run for another term.  Town Clerk Jan Giegler and City Treasurer Dan Jowdy each secured nominations this week.  The two parties also nominated slates of candidates for the City Council, Board of Education and Zoning Commission.

Blood drive scheduled in Sherman at the end of the month

A blood drive is being hosted in Sherman by the Julia's Wings Foundation. Pre-registration is required for the blood drive on July 31st in Charter Hall at the Sherman Volunteer Firehouse.   The Foundation was established in 2013 in honor of Julia Malsin, who died in January 2012 after a year long battle against Aplastic Anemia, a rare bone marrow failure disease.

Bethel legislative delegation touts bond money to expand Clarke Park

Members of the Bethel state legislative delegation are touting Bond funding approved today to support critical infrastructure in town by funding the Clarke Business Park expansion to support local job growth.  Senator Julie Kushner says the expansion has been on hold for some time now because of the unexpectedly high cost of adding water and sewer lines there.  She was pleased the state has stepped in to help develop the business park, leading to jobs and tax revenue for Bethel.  Senator Will Haskell says this will pave the way for companies to thrive in Bethel, calling it an opportunity for growth that will receive the public investment it deserves.  Bethel First Selectman Matthew Knickerbocker says this will help the town finally realize a decades-long goal to bring more jobs to the community as the town works to recover from the job losses caused by the pandemic.

Lt. Gov., Congresswoman discuss vaccines with WCSU officials

Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz and 5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes were in Danbury this morning.  They hosted West Conn campus leaders and members of the university Administration for a roundtable discussion about student COVID-19 vaccinations. 

The Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system is gearing up for a return to school this fall, mandating that students get the vaccine, or a waiver.   Students should have already started their Pfizer or Moderna regime by now.  With the single-dose Johnson & Johnson, students should get the shot no later than August 6. 

Any student seeking a medical or non-medical exemption must fill out a form or contact representatives from the CSCU System Office.  Any students without an approved exemption or are not fully vaccinated prior to the start of the semester, may not be permitted to move into the residence halls.  West Conn officials cautioned that they could also be at risk of being dropped from classes.

Redding Town Clerk urges college students to apply for absentee ballots from now

Any college student going away to school in the fall, but wants to vote in the November Municipal Election is being urged by Redding officials to complete the Application for Absentee Ballot now and mail it to the Town Clerk.  The application can also be placed in the ballot drop box located on the porch of Redding Town Hall.  Ballots will be mailed around October 1st.  Anyone not already registered to vote can complete a registration form at the Town Clerk’s Office, downloaded from the town website, or register online at

Oxford man arrested for allegedly using state position for his own financial gain

An Oxford man has been arrested for allegedly using his position as a Connecticut State Marshal for his own financial gain.  The Chief State's Attorney's office charged 79-year old Peter Karpovich Wednesday with larceny and an ethics code violation.  He allegedly provided monetary collection services to six complainants and kept some or all of the more than 12-thousand dollars for himself.  Karpovich was arraigned yesterday. The case was investigated by and will be prosecuted by the Statewide Prosecution Bureau in the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney.

AAA hosting summer food drive to address food insecurity

AAA Northeast is hosting their 3rd Annual Summer Food Drive, with a drop off location in Danbury.  The organization is calling on community members to drop off nonperishable, microwaveable or easy-to-prepare food items at the AAA Danbury Branch to help replenish the Connecticut Food Bank.  The branch is collecting items at 93 Lake Avenue weekdays from 9 to 5pm and Saturdays 9 to 1, through July 28th.  The initiative started as a way to raise awareness that food insecurity is a year-round issue.

Proposed moratorium on recreational marijuana sales in Danbury gets backing of Planning Commission

Danbury's proposed moratorium on recreational marijuana sales in the City has moved one step closer to being put in place.  The Danbury Planning Commission on Wednesday voted unanimously on a positive referral for the proposed moratorium. The Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing Tuesday via Zoom on the issue. 

Some members of the Planning Commission this week asked if it needs to be a full year in length, or if the matter could be pushed along so Danbury doesn't miss out if surrounding communities move forward on recreational sales.  Planning Director Sharon Calitro says it would be a year or less because they understand those potential economic impacts. 

Other members though questioned the implications to the health and welfare of Danbury residents. 

If approved by the Zoning Commission, Danbury’s moratorium would prohibit applications, petitions and issuances of permits related to cannabis establishments for a year or less.  Calitro says they've already found discrepancies in dates in the legislation, so she wants time to contact the state to clear up the matter. 

Medical dispensaries are permitted under existing zoning regulations, but those businesses are now allowed to apply to sell recreational pot under the recreational cannabis bill.  The moratorium would apply to new medical marijuana applications as well.   Calitro says the new legislation means the already approved medical facility could become something different than they thought it would be.

Multiple attempted coyote attacks on dogs, owners reported in Southbury

Multiple attempted coyote attacks on dogs and their owners have been reported in Southbury.  The incidents on Tuesday happened in the Platt Park / Traditions area. One dog attacked by a coyote was seen by a veterinarian for injuries and a Rabies vaccination booster.

Southbury Animal Control has strict Rabies protocol to follow when wildlife encounters take place.  The dog has been placed on 45 day strict confinement and will be monitored for any symptoms of Rabies. If the pet had not had Rabies vaccinations, the pet may have been placed on a six month quarantine, or even been subject to mandated euthanasia as Rabies virus poses a public health and safety issue. 

Southbury has experienced an uptick in confirmed rabid wildlife over the last two years. 

Pet owners are being called on to be cautious of leaving them unattended while outdoors, especially during the evening.  Southbury Animal Control is urging all pet owners to report wildlife encounters immediately. 

Some common symptoms of rabies can be unprovoked aggression, difficulty walking, and excess salivation.

State Bonding to widen I-84 in Danbury between exits 3 and 8

The state Bond Commission is slated to meet today.  Bonding would also be set aside for the Department of Transportation, including $10 million for design and engineering work on I-84 in Danbury to widen the highway between exits 3 and 8. 

Danbury state Representative Bob Godfrey says this is the very early Concept Study Phase of this project.  He notes that there are many things to be considered including traffic operations, rights-of-way, impacts to neighborhoods and local streets, environmental concerns, and constructability.  He hopes to see a Concept Study Phase by the end of next year. 

Among the items on their agenda is funding to make ADA improvements to a number of state assets.  There's millions of dollars to  finance the construction of the new Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Western District Headquarters located at Black Rock State Park in Watertown. 

Memorial for Sandy Hook massacre victims nears construction

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — After nearly eight years of discussion and planning, a memorial to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting is nearing construction with the goal of offering a peaceful place for reflection.

A groundbreaking ceremony is planned next month at the site down the street where the shooting occurred that killed 20 first-graders and six educators in Newtown on Dec. 14, 2012. Construction will be finished before the 10th anniversary next year, officials said.

The State Bond Commission is expected to approve $2.5 million for the project on Friday, which the town will use to defray much of the $3.7 million local voters approved in April for the total cost of the memorial.

“As a parent of a child murdered, I am deeply grateful first to the parents who have dedicated an extraordinary amount of time seeing this come to fruition and secondly to everyone else involved,” said Nelba Marquez-Greene, whose 6-year-old daughter, Ana, died in the shooting.

“I am also thankful to give the public a place to be and reflect -- and hope it means our family can have privacy at the grave site,” she said.

The key area of the memorial will be a water feature with a sycamore tree in the middle and the victims’ names engraved on the top of the surrounding supporting wall. The water flow has been designed so floatable candles, flowers and other objects will move toward the tree and circle around it. Pathways will take visitors through a variety of plantings, including flower gardens.

“We wanted to create sort of a place that was quiet, a place of reflection, a place where people can come to connect to nature,” said Daniel Affleck, an associate principal of San Francisco-based SWA Group who designed the memorial. “A place where people can come and they can see the seasonality, the changes, a kind of peacefulness and the way that the plantings are going to change as a reflection of the passage of time.”

The project faced several challenges after the town created a special commission to oversee the memorial planning in the fall of 2013. Some proposed sites were rejected, including one near a hunting club where gunshots could be heard, and officials cut the cost of the project down from $10 million because of concerns voters would not approve it.

At a town referendum in April, residents approved spending $3.7 million on the memorial by a vote of 963 to 748.

First Selectman Daniel Rosenthal, the town’s top administrator, said he believes a strong majority of local residents support the concept of the memorial, but some were concerned about the cost and paying higher taxes.

“It’s important that what happened be memorialized in a solemn way,” Rosenthal said. “It’s appropriate to have a place where people can go and reflect and remember what was lost that day.”

Around Newtown on Wednesday, some people expressed mixed feelings about the memorial and how it is being funded.

“It shouldn’t come out of taxpayer dollars because we got millions and millions of dollars from all over the world,” said a resident who would only identify herself by her first name, Ann. Several other people who expressed concerns about the memorial also declined to give their names. One man said, “The whole school ought to be the memorial.”

After the shooting, about $12.5 million in donations poured into Newtown. After public disagreements about where the money should go, eventually $7.7 million went to 40 families directly impacted by the shooting, with the bulk going to the 26 families. The remainder was set aside for mental health services to victims’ families, first responders and teachers and students from the school.

Newtown resident Carol Bobel, a retired teacher who worked at Sandy Hook Elementary School before the shooting, said the memorial is important to ensure the massacre is never forgotten.

“It would be nice to have a place where everyone can go and just reflect,” she said. “We can’t forget it. We look at the world now. We thought that it (the shooting) would change things, and it didn’t.”

Margerie Reservoir trail, Clarke Business Park upgrades to get state bonding

The state Bond Commission is slated to meet today.  There's funding on the agenda for grants including public safety, economic development and transportation.  New Fairfield would be awarded $484,000 to finance the creation of a multi-use trail that would run between the north side of Margerie Reservoir and Route 37 from Peck Road in Danbury to the center of New Fairfield.  A $635,000 grant is proposed for Bethel to use to expand Clarke Business Park.  The money would cover site construction costs for the development of little more than 17 acres and 4 new commercial lots. 

Clinical trial starting in Danbury for drug that could slow early-stage Parkinson's

A clinical trial is starting in Danbury for a drug that doctors hope will slow disease progression in individuals with early-stage Parkinson’s.  Nuvance Health is enrolling participants in a clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the investigational drug UCB0599.  Associated Neurologists on Sand Pit Road is the only site in Connecticut conducting the Orchestra clinical trial, an 18-month study.  Individuals diagnosed with Parkinson's within the last two years in overall good health who have not received medication for PD-associated motor symptoms may be eligible for the study.  Approximately 60-thousand people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year in the United States and 10 million people are living with it worldwide.  It's the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s.  Symptoms of the progressive movement disorder include trembling of hands, arms, legs, jaw and face and poor balance and coordination. As symptoms worsen, individuals may have difficulty chewing, swallowing or speaking, talking or walking.  Individuals who think they may be eligible or physicians referring their patients to the clinical trial can call (203) 739-4551 or email

Planners approve Danbury Proton's cancer center application

The Danbury Planning Comission has approved Danbury Proton's bid to create Connecticut’s first cancer center to use proton therapy.  The state Office of Health Strategy is still considering the proposal.  The single-story 16,000-square-foot facility would sit on 3-acres on Wooster Heights Road.  The technology aims to kill tumors with a minimum of damage to healthy tissue.  The specialized treatment center would add 300 trips a day.  Some area residents expressed concern about the 80 million dollar project during the public hearing earlier this month.  The cancer treatment center would donate land to the City for future roadway improvements along Wooster Heights Road, including the Lee Farm Drive intersection.

New Milford Police investigating larceny from parked car

New Milford Police are looking for the public's help in identifying a woman they say stole items from a car in town. Police received a report of a larceny on July 3rd at Sega Meadows off of Boardman Road. The suspect broke the driver's window and stole a purse containing checks, driver's license and other items.  Photos of the suspect were posted to the New Milford Police Department's Facebook Page.  While there is also a clear picture of the license plate on the car driven by the suspect, It's reportedly registered to a different vehicle.

Report of roaming dogs leads to arrest of Sherman man on weapons charges

A report of roaming dogs in Sherman has led to firearms charges for a local man.  State police responded to a Route 55 west home on Tuesday morning and 77-year old Richard Genalski was located retrieving his dogs.  He was found in possession of dangerous weapons and a loaded firearm in his vehicle. Genalski was charged with possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, felony possession of a weapon in a motor vehicle, and permitting dogs to roam. He was released on court set bond and arraigned yesterday in Danbury Superior Court.  He is due back in court on August 26th.

Squantz Pond State Park swim area reopens

Squantz Pond State Park swim area has reopened.  The beach in New Fairfield was closed yesterday due to indicator bacteria.  Water samples were retested yesterday.  The state Department of Public Health lab tests water samples from state swim areas and beaches weekly for indicator bacteria, not disease-causing pathogens used to evaluate the potential for contamination of waterbodies.

Local police departments hiring for various positions

The Wilton Police Department is looking to hire a dispatcher.  Interested candidates need to apply online through the police app website by September 7th.  The salary ranges from $58,000 to $72,000.  Wilton Police provide health benefits, college incentive, a 401(a) retirement plan, paid vacations, life insurance and more.  The examination process includes a written test, interview, extensive background investigation, drug screening and medical exam. 

The Newtown Police Department is looking to hire both a certified police officer and an entry level officer.  The deadline to apply for both positions is July 30th.  Candidates over 21 year old must have no felony, domestic violence, A misdemeanor or B misdemeanor criminal convictions.  Applicants must have a valid driver's license and by a U-S Citizen.   Candidates must have a passing score at lest 40% on the Physical Assessment test in order to submit their application, and have a passing score of at least 80% on the Written Exam.

Bethel appoints new supervisor of special education services

State laws are changing when it comes to special education.  Bethel has appointed a new supervisor to oversee special services in secondary and middle schools in the district.  BHS special education coordinator Meghan Stabile was appointed during a special Board of Ed meeting on Tuesday.  The Newstimes reports that a new IEP, individualized educational plan, is coming out which reclassifies the two positions into one.  State laws are also changing when it comes to transition services for students with disabilities.  The services are already provided to children with autism starting at age 14, but the change lowers the age for students with other disabilities from 16 to age 14.

Republican announces intention to run for 5th Congressional District in 2022

Even though the race isn't until November 2022, a Republican has announced his intention to challenge Congresswoman Jahana Hayes in the 5th District. 

George Logan, a former two-term state senator and Aquarion executive, lives in Ansonia.  That's in the 3rd District.  The Constitution only requires that members of Congress live in the state they represent, not the district.

Logan said he would buy a house once redistricting is finalized and the district lines are drawn.  Logan says the status quo isn’t working for the people of Connecticut and it’s certainly not working in Washington either. 

Hayes is in her second term.

Danbury political parties endorse candidates for Mayor

The Danbury Democratic and Republican Town Committees have endorsed slates of candidates for November.  The Democrats chose Councilman Roberto Alves as their candidate for Mayor.  The Republicans are backing mayoral Chief of Staff Dean Esposito.  Alves could face a primary in September.  Councilman John Esposito III submitted a letter yesterday to City Hall with his intentions to primary.  He has until close of business on August 11th to gather and submit 710 verified signatures from Democratic voters, 5-percent of those registered in the City, to force a September 14th primary.  Political newcomer Sedeaka Lawrence said he aims to do the same. The Connecticut Working Families Party has endorsed Alves.

Brookfield gets a lot of interest in COVID federal funding allocation committee spots

There's a lot of interest in Brookfield by residents looking to help the town determine how best to allocate federal pandemic relief funding.  Brookfield officials received 19 resumes of people interested in serving on the recovery committee.  The Board of Selectmen debated if there should be 7 or 9 members on the committee.  They put off the appointments until their August meeting.  First Selectman Steve Dunn says all are very qualified, but don't want duplicate strengths because there will be limited space on the committee.

Teens should get COVID-19 vaccine by today for start of school year

All children aged 12 to 17 are eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID vaccine.   Bethel school district officials say the state Department of Public Health asked Superintendents to communicate that if a child receives their first dose of the vaccine by today, they will be fully vaccinated by the start of school.  Connecticut still maintains their COVID vaccine portal, so residents can locate a clinic by zip code. All the major pharmacies have appointments or will take a walk- in.  Any questions about the vaccine should be directed to the family doctor.  Any child who has been vaccinated, is asked to email the school nurse and provide a copy or photo of the immunization card.

Brookfield Republican Town Committee endorses candidates

The Brookfield Republican Town Committee has announced their slate of candidates for the fall.  Political newcomer Tara Carr earned the backing to be the GOP candidate for first selectman.  Incumbent selectman Harry Shaker will run for that position in November. 

The Town Committee's vacancy committee vetted candidates for 20 positions including Brookfield boards.  In a press release, the Brookfield Republican Town Committee said there are 9 women and 13 men seeking office, including 7 incumbents.  The 9 women is a historic high for the committee. 

The 42-year old Carr was raised in neighboring New Milford and served in the Army for 25 years.  The mother of four moved her family to Brookfield in 2019. The Brookfield

Democratic Town Committee will hold their nomination meeting Sunday.  Incumbent First Selectman Steve Dunn has not yet announced whether he will seek reelection in November.

Region 9 Board of Ed announces vacancy, appointment

The Region 9 Board of Education has announced a resignation and the filling of the vacancy.  Board member Juliette Berry resigned, effective at the end of the month, because she's moving out of state.  On Tuesday, Region 9 announced that the seat would then be filled by Sarah Lehberger of Easton.  Vacancies on the Region 9 board are appointed by the town's Board of Selectmen, not based on party but on town residency since the district includes both Redding and Easton.  Berry was the Board's Secretary so they will elect a new one next month. 

Local school districts call for decision on mask requirements

What primary and secondary school classrooms will look like in the fall has yet to be determined.  There's no approved COVID-19 vaccine for kids aged 2 to 12, and no timeline for when emergency use authorization may be given. 

Neither local towns nor Boards of Education have control over whether to mask children or not.  The governor and the Commissioners of Education and Public Health are the ones making that decision for the coming school year.  Local Boards of Ed can only execute what the state mandates. The rules last year were the same for every municipality, but the interpretation of the rules did vary. 

Brookfield First Selectman Steve Dunn notes that once a decision is made, someone could sue the state.  Brookfield Superintendent John Barile told Dunn that there's significant pressure on the state to make a decision quickly.  Dunn acknowledged that parents are going to need to make a decision sooner rather than later about where to place their child in the fall. 

But he says it gets very involved when talking about mask or vaccine requirements and how to protect kids privacy.

Swim area at Squantz Pond closed due to elevated bacteria levels

The swim area at Squantz Pond State Park in New Fairfield is closed today due to indicator bacteria.  Samples will be retested today, with results due tomorrow.  The state Department of Public Health lab tests water sames from state swim areas and beaches weekly for indicator bacteria, not disease-causing pathogens used to evaluate the potential for contamination of waterbodies. Local health departments are responsible for sampling municipal beaches and swimming areas.

DEEP looks to track injured bear spotted in Litchfield County

An injured bear has been spotted in Bridgewater and New Milford.  The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is looking to track the bear, which has an injured rear leg.  Sightings can be reported on the DEEP website, noting the time of day, any tags and the animal's behavior.  Unless it gets to the point where the bear is unable to walk, animal control officials say nothing can be done other than monitoring. There are no facilities for bears to be rehabilitated in Connecticut.

Bethel receives funding from Eversource for energy efficiency at renovated schools

Bethel has received funding from Eversource as an incentive for energy efficiency designed into the renovations of two schools.  The town received $151,665 for Rockwell School and is expected to receive $262,140 for Johnson School.  The school district is touting the work of the Bethel Public Building and Site Committee on the projects.  The money goes back to the town's general fund.

South Kent School terminates contractual agreements with Camp Shane

The South Kent School has terminated all contractual agreements with Camp Shane.  The weight-loss camp is now under state investigation.  The private boys’ prep school rented its Bulls Bridge Road facility to the camp, which closed abruptly last week amid the investigations by the state Office of Early Childhood and Department of Children and Families into the health, safety and well-being of enrolled children. The camp is not run by or associated with the South Kent School.

New Milford bridge to close for reconstruction

The New Milford Public Works Department is cautioning drivers to a road closure that starts next week.  Mud Pond Bridge will be closed for reconstruction, for up to 6 months, near the intersection with the Long Mountain Road bridge.  The detour, which starts on Monday, is Long Mountain to South Kent Road to Camps Flat Road.

Brookfield looks to emerge from pandemic with in-person meetings

Brookfield First Selectman Steve Dunn says many Boards and Commissions are looking to restart in person meetings.  A new law about meetings took effect at the start of this month as Connecticut continues to emerge from the pandemic.

While some may go back to full in-person meetings, fully remote and hybrid meetings can continue. The provisions governing remote and hybrid meetings expire on April 20, 2022.

The Brookfield COVID-19 Long Term Recovery Committee appointed last summer for a one-year term, as suggested by FEMA and the State, has issued its final report.  The group was formed to identify and address unmet needs among residents, businesses, private nonprofit organizations, the school system and local government resulting from the Pandemic.

The group found there was no long term effects identified on a townwide basis, but some on the individual level.  Those residents were connected with the appropriate agency for assistance.

Proposed Philadelphia sculpture of Marian Anderson advances

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — When Denyce Graves visited Marian Anderson in the Danbury, Connecticut home where the famed singer lived later in life, the two vocalists talked about how Anderson had never sought to “become the face of the civil rights movement.” But Anderson was called to that moment in Washington, Graves said, referring to the now-historic 1939 open-air concert in front of the Lincoln Memorial, when Anderson’s voice became a unifying force for racial justice. Now, Graves has joined a quickly advancing dual effort to amplify that voice with a proposed Broad Street sculpture honoring Anderson, and to bring critical funding to the South Philadelphia house museum long devoted to the singer.

Local police temporarily suspend public fingerprinting due to state system upgrades

The State of Connecticut is updating their statewide fingerprinting system and expect it to go live in the next few weeks.  Until then, Greater Danbury area police department have to temporarily suspend public fingerprinting.  The entire process will be changing and local police intend to update the public of those changes. 

People needing fingerprinting include educators, Department of Public Health long term healthcare employees and new pistol permit applicants among others. 

Newtown-based National Shooting Sports Foundation sent a letter to Connecticut's Public Safety Commissioner saying that retailers are  frustrated by the lack of adequate coordination and planning.  The organization called the roll-out of the upgraded system wholly inadequate, producing extended outages.  NSSF called the timing of this upgrade ill advised because the record number of gun sales throughout the state.

Bethel man pleads guilty to sexual assault charges

A Bethel man has pleaded guilty to sexual assault charges following an investigation by local police.  46-year old Santos Cardona was arrested last May for allegedly molesting two children several years prior.  The investigation was launched when the parent of an 8-year old girl made the claim, and then a second victim, a 6-year old girl, was identified.  The incidents allegedly occurred at Cardona’s home in 2015.  He remains held on bond and is due in Danbury Superior Court on August 16th for a disposition hearing.

Historic covered bridge damaged in excavator accident

CORNWALL, Conn. (AP) - A historic covered bridge in Connecticut was damaged when the boom of an excavator being towed over the span crashed into wooden support structures for the roof. State police say the West Cornwall Bridge sustained significant, but non-structural damage in Tuesday's accident. Repair work was expected to take a few hours. The state Department of Transportation inspected the bridge and determined there was no impact to the bridge's integrity. State police say the driver of the pickup truck that was towing the excavator did not heed the height limit of 10 feet, 11 inches, and was charged with motor vehicle violations.

(Photo: State Police)

Knickerbocker seeking 7th term as Bethel's First Selectman

Matt Knickerbocker is seeking a 7th term as Bethel's First Selectman.  He will again have fellow Democrat Richard Straiton as his running mate in November.  Knickerbocker was first elected to lead the town in 2009 and served 10 years before that on the Board of Education, with 7 as its chairman.  Straiton was a member of the Permanent Building Committee during the Berry School and Bethel High School renovations and chaired the construction of renovations at Bethel Middle School and the Municipal Center.  The Bethel Republican Town Committee has not yet announced a candidate for First Selectman.

Newtown First Selectman to petition his way onto Nov. ballot as SAM candidate

The Newtown Democratic Town Committee will not be fielding a candidate for First Selectman.  Incumbent Democrat Dan Rosenthal will be petitioning his way onto the ballot as a candidate for Serve America Movement , or SAM.  Democratic Selectman Maureen Crick Owens will be seeking a third term as his running mate, retaining her party affiliation. 

Rosenthal says his effort is not due to any disagreement of lack of support from the Democratic Party, but rather a vision of the office being non-partisan. 

Newtown Republicans have not put a name forward to top their ticket, but Town Committee leader say the party supports Rosenthal. 

According to Rosenthal, SAM takes no ideological positions and instead focuses on transparency, accountability, problem solving, term limits, electoral competition, and voting access, among others. The SAM Party has chapters in Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas, with the state affiliate chaired by former Lt Governor candidate and town attorney Monte Frank.

Officials warn of strong currents in the Housatonic

With all of the rain that's fallen in the region over the last several weeks, one local elected official is cautioning about the dangers of high water.  New Milford Mayor Pete Bass says the Housatonic River is still above normal and the current of the River is faster than usual.  He and emergency responders are asking that visitors take caution when near the riverbank. Bass notes that these powerful currents and undercurrents are extremely dangerous.

New Milford gets favorable bond, BAN ratings

The Town of New Milford went to the Capital Markets and had a very successful sale of BANS and Bonds, and received a .149 percent borrowing rate, and 1.6 percent for a 20-year maturity.  Mayor Pete Bass says this rate was 20 basis points lower than the Town of Fairfield at 1.8% and equivalent to a 1.58% rate obtained by Bethel both of whom are Aaa-rated communities. 

The sale secured $9.3 million in bond anticipation notes to finance roads, bridges, and the final phase of the Library Renovation as well as converting $9 million in BANS to permanent bonds used for roads, roofs and the initial phase of the Library Project. 

The Town underwent a ratings review with Moody’s Analytics in which New Milford's credit rating of Aa1 was upheld and the highest ratings for BANS, was awarded to New Milford.  Moody’s cited “Strong liquidity and reserves, healthy financial profile and strong resident wealth” as key factors in supporting those ratings.

Bethel Fire & EMS hosts mass casualty incident training event

During Bethel Fire's weekly EMS drill last night, the Department hosted a mass casualty incident training event.  Participants practiced a school bus accident scenario.  The Board of Education arranged for school buses and youth volunteers for the training event.  Bethel Fire & EMS also walked through active-shooter protocols with the assistance of the Bethel Police Department, and refreshed on triage and incident management.  Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Company and Roxbury EMS also participated.

Pop up COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Danbury today

With more COVID-19 cases being detected in Connecticut, more pop-up clinics are being organized to get people vaccinated.  The Danbury Health Department is working with the Community Health Center and the Connecticut Institute For Communities on a series of events this month.  Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson shots will be administered at 100 Wooster Heights from 10am to 5pm.  There's also a clinic offering Moderna, Pfizer and J&J at Rogers Park from 4pm to 9pm.

Gov. congratualtes Conn. athletes competing in Olympics

Governor Ned Lamont is congratulating the Connecticut athletes who have qualified to compete in the Summer Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, and are wishing them the best in their competitions.  Members of the U.S. Olympic team who are from Connecticut and are currently scheduled to compete in Tokyo include Ridgefield resident Kieran Smith, a swimmer.  Lamont says he's proud to have a group of athletes from Connecticut qualified to represent Team USA on a worldwide stage.  He added that their commitment to excellence makes them great role models for many young athletes.

Patriot Boat Parade held on Candlewood Lake

Despite the rain on Saturday, a Patriot Boat Parade was hosted at the Brookfield VFW Post 10201.  State Commissioner of Veterans Affairs Tom Saadi served as a judge and helped present the awards with VFW State Commander Dommick Cortese, District 1 Commander John Kennedy, and Danbury Police Sgt John Krupinsky.  VFW Post 10201 Commander Joe Beal’s boat won first place for its patriotic theme and flags representing all branches of the Military including the Space Force. 

Sandy Hook non-profit releases annual school safety report

A nonprofit founded by the parents of two children killed at Sandy Hook School nearly 10 years ago is out with their 2021 State of School Safety Report.  Safe and Sound Schools was founded by Michele Gay and Alissa Parker. 

The survey of students, parents and school officials is conducted annually to identify gaps in attitudes about school safety and to come up with effective strategies for crisis prevention, response, and recovery.  The national survey was discussed Friday at the National Association of School Resources Officers’ school safety conference in Florida. 

The survey was conducted from late March to early April by interviewing 600 parents, 600 upper-grade students, 370 public safety officials and 500 school stakeholders, including administrators, teachers and health professionals.

Friends of Danbury Library has opened a used bookstore

The Friends of Danbury Library has opened a used bookstore to raise money for the library's programming.  The nonprofit was forced to cancel its large annual book sale last year due to the pandemic, and will not be held this year because planning needed to start before coronavirus restrictions were eased.  The Friends of the Library has thousands of donated books in storage and most can be purchased for $3 or less.  The Friends Red House Book Store is located in the historic red McLean house at 15 Main Street and open Fridays and Saturdays from 10am to 3pm this month and next. The store can only hold four to five people at a time. Masks are optional.

Charles Ives Authority for the Performing Arts renewed for one year

The Danbury City Council recently signed off on a schedule for commissions and authorities to expire.  Unless renewed, they were given dates to sunset.  Some were renewed only for a year, while others were renewed for up to 4 years. 

Among those slated to terminate effective next June is the Charles Ives Authority for the Performing Arts, which runs Ives Concert Park.  Councilman Ben Chianese asked what happens to the land and furniture if there's an authority not really acting as an authority anymore.  Finance Director David St Hilaire says the City applied for a Shuttered Venue Grant for the facility.  He says the mission is still viable, but it could be modified, noting that they're going through a transition. 

St Hilaire says they're also taking an inventory of all of the assets to determine what should be done going forward.  He notes that the industry changed and the Authority needed to change with it.  The Authority did in the last couple of years, but then COVID hit and it was too little too late. 

The City will work to determine if the Ives Authority will stay on the City's westside at the West Conn campus, or if they'll go somewhere else, with either a slightly modified mission or an expanded mission.

Political parties to nominate mayoral candidates this week in Danbury

The Town Committees in Danbury are meeting this week to formally endorse candidates for Mayor.  With Mark Boughton taking a job with the state and Joe Cavo opting not to seek a term of his own, there's an open race for the first time in about two decades to lead the City.  The Democratic Town Committee previously endorsed City Councilman Roberto Alves, but are meeting tonight to make the nomination.  The Republican Town Committee meets tomorrow and plan to nominate Dean Esposito, the mayor’s chief of staff.  Two other Democrats, Councilman John Esposito III and political newcomer Sedeka Lawrence, could force a primary in September. The two parties will nominate down ballot candidates as well, including Town Clerk, Treasurer and others.

Elderly woman found with serious injuries in Ridgefield identified

The elderly woman who died after an incident in Ridgefield last week has been identified.  Police say 94-year old Elsie Craig died at Danbury Hospital.  She was found with serious physical injuries on High Ridge Road between Catoonah Street and Griffth Lane around noon on July 12th.  The investigation into the circumstances of her death is ongoing.  According to her obituary, Craig worked as a volunteer patient driver, and held positions at the Ridgefield Historical Society, Keeler Tavern and the Ridgefield Chapter of Regional Hospice and Palliative Care of Western CT.  Her funeral is this morning at 10:30 at St. Peter Church in Danbury, with burial at St. Mary Cemetery in Ridgefield.

Newtown Police caution about 'Eversource' phone scammers

The Newtown Police Department is cautioning that scammers are taking advantage of this high demand utility season, posing as Eversource employees in an attempt to scare people into giving money or sensitive information.  Even if the caller ID says Eversource, Police remind people to not fall prey to the scare tactics.  Things to look out for are threats of immediate power disconnection, demands for immediate payment, or requests to pay with unusual methods such as gift cards.  Eversource will not turn the power off without prior written warning, and do not demand immediate payments.  If something seems suspicious, hang up and call Eversource directly at 800-286-2000.  The scammer might try to direct you to another phone number, but do not call it. 

Former Superintendent to be interim leader of Easton-Redding-Region 9 schools

A familiar face will lead the Easton-Redding-Region 9 school district on an interim basis.  Thomas McMorran, a former district superintendent will temporarily take on the role beginning today.  McMorran worked with the district for about 16 years, retiring in 2020. He takes over for  Rydell Harrison, who resigned last month.   Harrison's contract included 90-day notice of his resignation, which would have been through late September, but that was waived by the Board of Education after all parties mutually agreed to the waiver.

Rally held at Danbury City Hall by Youtuber charged with trespass

A rally was held at Danbury City Hall yesterday by a man who arrested there on Friday for trespassing.  YouTuber SeanPaul Reyes posted $10,000 bond on that charge and one count of breach of peace.  He recorded his interactions at the library and city hall, was told not to do so again, but did last week.  The Long Island man led the demonstration yesterday, originally calling it a press conference.  His supporters in attendance heckled  the security guard and police officers.  COVID policies still require visitors to sign in and wear a mask, though city employees are not required to wear masks inside.

Easton-Redding-Region 9 Board seeks input on next Superintendent

Community input is being sought by the Easton-Redding-Region 9 school board as they search for the next superintendent of schools.  Three opportunities for individuals to weigh in have been set up, all on July 26th.  The tri-board hired a consultant, former Newtown Superintendent Joseph Erardi, to lead the search.  The meetings on the 26th will be held at the Joel Barlow High School learning commons on Black Rock Turnpike in Redding at 10am, 4pm and 7pm.  Masks will be required. 

Virtual Town Hall meeting being held by Congressman

A virtual town hall meeting will be held tomorrow night by 4th District Congressman Jim Himes.  This follows a series of 5 in-person listening sessions he held across the district last week, including in Ridgefield and Monroe.  At those events Himes heard from constituents on a range of topics, both foreign and domestic.  Among the issues raised were border crossings, mental health care and infrastructure needs.  He says answering questions directly from constituents is one of the most important aspects of this job, and over the last year, he's missed the chance to provide an in-person update.  Tomorrow night's Facebook Live starts at 5:30 PM on the Rep Jim Himes page.

Aquarion starts installation on new water line in Newtown

Aquarion Water Company has started installation on a new water line in Newtown.  The water main extension project on Riverside Road started last week and the work is expected to last throughout October.   Work is being done between 7am and 5pm.  Aquarion is giving property owners in the work zone the    opportunity to hook into the water line, but the decision on whether or not to connect must be made within about a year.  Newtown pushed off road repaving on Riverside from this summer to next in order to accommodate the project.  Newtown will receive $220,000 from Aquarion to help pay for repaving after the water line installation is completed, a percentage of the total cost.  After the town paves, only emergencies such as well failure or a requirement to connect from the health department will be accommodated.  Aquarion is also planning a water main replacement project on Alpine Drive later this year. 

Community Garden Committees seeks New Fairfield property to be returned to natural state

The Community Garden Committee in New Fairfield has asked the Board of Selectmen to leave an unmowed area near the Community Garden as a meadow.  That would help attract pollinators and restore some of the wetlands on that piece located near the Senior Center.  First Selectman Pat Del Monaco noted that there is a need for some open space for the area, but wants to keep it clear by the 9/11 Memorial.  Del Monaco added that people also walk their dogs along the perimeter of the property.  She intends to have the area currently maintained for that purpose to be mowed.  The wood chips are no longer there, but a path has been established.  She suggested a pie shaped piece bordered by water, coming out to the middle of the lot. 

Danbury holding COVID-19 vaccine clinics this weekend

Danbury is holding several COVID-19 vaccine clinics this weekend.  There's a pop up clinic offering Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson shots at Rogers Park from 3pm to 9pm.  Tomorrow, all three will be administered to people at C-Town on North Street from noon to 4 and at St Peter's Church on Main Street from 4 to 8pm. 

904 new COVID-19 cases with specimen collection or onset date during June 27-July 10 have been detected among people living in community settings.  This corresponds to an average of 1.81 new COVID-19 cases per day per 100,000 population. Cases among people residing in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and correctional facilities are excluded.

Bethel collecting items for annual Back to School Program

The Bethel Social Services is looking for donations for the annual Back to School Program.  There are 97 children registered to receive a backpack and school supplies to help them have a successful school year.  Town officials say the list could grow and hoping the community will once again step up and help fulfill school supply lists.  There are over 2-thousand tags with a specific need based on the grade the child is entering.  Back to School Drives are being held by Bethel Social Service staff on the front lawn of the Municipal Center this coming Thursday, and next Thursday, the 22nd from 2:30pm-6pm and the 29th from 9:30am – 5:00pm.  All donations must be received by Wednesday August 4th.

Bethel Social Services seeks donations to help families in financial need

The Bethel Social Services Department is looking to address the evolving and challenging needs in Bethel, most of which are witnessed firsthand by the Police Department.  Bethel, like other areas, has seen an uptake in people facing homelessness, financial insecurities and people with mental health concerns.  Bethel's Social Worker is looking to get donations of prepaid gift cards to distribute when officers are contending with people in difficult situations.  Pre-paid generic gift cards are preferred, along with gift cards for gas, local food markets and eateries.  Monetary donations will be used to purchase gift cards.  Donations can be dropped off or mailed to Megan Alworth-Khazadian, Town of Bethel Social Worker,  at 1 School Street; Bethel, CT 06801. Checks may be payable to Community Council of Bethel. Please write in the memo “Bethel Police GC” for donations for the PD gift card effort.   

Danbury to hire Family Liaisons for each school

The Danbury Public School District is looking to hire Family Liaisons for each school.  Applicants need to be bilingual or trilingual, familiar with Danbury community resources and have good communication and problem solving skills.  The Family Liaison is responsible for building parent and family partnerships with schools.  They must recognize barriers to full participation and have actionable steps to build families and school capacities.  The liaisons work with others in similar positions to design and implement Family University-a year long offering of educational opportunities for families.

YouTuber arrested in Danbury for trespassing at City Hall

A YouTuber who was cited for trespassing at Danbury Library last month after being told that he could not film there has been arrested for trespassing at Danbury City Hall.  Sean Paul Reyes had gone to City Hall after the library incident and was told by corporation counsel about the city's rules and regulations.  He was also charged yesterday with breach of peace after again getting into a discussion with the City attorney.

An internal affairs investigation was launched by Danbury Police into the disturbance complaint in  June at Danbury Library.  A library security guard is seen asking the man to leave because he was taking video, which is against library policy.  The man says he's working on a story and exercising his First Amendment rights.  Danbury Police were then called to respond.

The man refuses to show police his ID and was told that he could be arrested for trespassing.  Eventually, the man provided ID and left, being told the citation would be sent in the mail. 

Once the investigation is complete, Chief Patrick Ridenhour says they will take the appropriate action based on the findings.

Ridgefield Fire Department welcoming three new recruits

The Ridgefield Fire Department is welcoming three new recruits.  They began their firefighting journey this week and will take part in daily training at the fire department until they go away to the Connecticut Fire Academy for recruit training.  Once at the Fire Academy in late August, they will be attending the recruit program for 4 months and return to Ridgefield just before Christmas.  All three previously worked as part of the Brookfield EMS team as Paramedics.

Bethel Library partners with DEEP for fishing event at Bennett Park

Bethel Library has partnered with the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection for  a hands-on learn to fish event.  They're also working with CARES, Connecticut Aquatic Resources Education, for the program designed to increase fishing skills and confidence. The event will be held at Bennett Memorial Park on Monday.  Fishing field trips are designed for adults ages 16 and up, as well as families with children 8 years old and above.  The program will provide loaner fishing equipment, bait, and expert instruction.  Conservation Identification Number is required to register for all fishing field trips.  The number can be found at the top of the Connecticut fishing license.  Masks are required.

Parking improvements at Fairfield Hills campus could get federal funding

Parking at the Fairfield Hills campus in Newtown is benefiting from federal funding.  $500,000 has been approved for environmental upgrades for water flow at the campus.  Newtown officials say the project would be a valuable use of taxpayer funds because of the need for more parking to accommodate increased demand.  Some of the historic abandoned brick buildings have been recently renovated.  5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes say $9.6 million was included in appropriations bills for 10 Community Project requests.  All 10 projects submitted to the House Committee on Appropriations by Hayes have been included.

Annual illuminated boat parade in New Fairfield is back

The annual illuminated boat parade in New Fairfield is back.  Parks and Rec officials say it will take place tonight, with a rain date of tomorrow.  Public viewing will be available at the New Fairfield Town beach, with gates opening at 7:30.  Glowing decorated boats will line up at Candlewood Isle beach and clubhouse. The boat parade route start at the Candlewood Isle Beach, past the New Fairfield Town Beach, Knollcrest Shores, Chatteron Marina, Squantz Pond State launch, and ending at Spear Point.

Update provided to Newtown officials on Sandy Hook memorial

The Newtown Public Building and Site Commission has received an update on the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial on Riverside Road.  The meadow prep is done and weed control has been applied.  The project has received a state review process for storm water.  A walk through of the site was held for subcontractors on the 30th. 

Bids were due yesterday.  It's estimated that it will take about two weeks to review contracts compared to the budget.  Jeff Anderson of Downes Construction Company cautioned that there are extensive lead times for some construction materials and provided anecdotal evidence of increased costs.  One document he saw showed a 30-percent increase in the cost of PVC piping since January 1st. 

The plans call for having the granite installed around the central water feature in late November or Early December.  The final grading and site work can then beginning in the Spring.  The plantings will follow. 

The town asked for NDAs for all subcontractors, similar to what was done on the Sandy Hook School replacement project.  This was requested so that photos of the memorial don't show up on social media before the families are able to view the site.  Various font options and material for the quote by President Obama were reviewed by the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Committee.  A welcome paragraph will not be included, but the location of the speech will be added.  There will be no map next to the quote.  The group came to a consensus for the name inscriptions. 

First Selectman Dan Rosenthal has provided the Commission with a description for them to review about the sacred soil. 

WCSU opting for Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine need first dose by today

Today is the last day that West Conn students attending the university in the fall can get their Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine first dose and be fully vaccinated by the time classes start.  The Connecticut State University System is requiring COVID-19 immunization for students returning to campus in August.  

With the single-dose Johnson & Johnson, students should get the shot no later than August 6. 

Any student seeking a medical or non-medical exemption must fill out a form or contact representatives from the CSCU System Office.  Any students without an approved exemption or are not fully vaccinated prior to the start of the semester, may not be permitted to move into the residence halls.  West Conn officials cautioned that they could also be at risk of being dropped from classes.

Brookfield Police Officer retiring after 42 years

A long time Brookfield Police Officer is set to retire after more than 4 decades on the job.  Officer Gary Gramling worked his final shift yesterday though his retirement takes effect Monday.  The department noted his dedication to the town, saying he used only one sick day throughout his entire career. 

Gramling will continue to serve as Chief of Candlewood Company of the Brookfield Volunteer Fire Department and as a Deputy Fire Marshal for the town. 

Gramling began his career with the Brookfield Police Department in 1979 as a Civilian Dispatcher.  He became an officer a few months later and in 1992 took on the role of Youth Officer, a position he has held ever since.  Gramling has served the Department as First Aid Instructor, a Peer Officer, our representative on Brookfield Cares, serves on the regional Multi-Disciplinary Investigation Team, and numerous roles in the former PBA and Police Officer’s Union, including serving as its long-time President.

He is the recipient of numerous departmental awards for exemplary police service involving bravery, courage, compassion and good judgement.

New hearing ordered on HIV test for Conn. businessman convicted in sex trafficking ring

A Connecticut businessman arrested as part of a Danbury-based sex-trafficking ring will not have to submit to an HIV test, but the matter was sent by the state Supreme Court back to the lower court for a new hearing. 

Bruce Bemer was convicted in 2019 of multiple counts of patronizing a trafficked person and a single count of criminal liability for trafficking a person.  He remains free on bond while appealing his 10 year prison sentence.  The state and some victims filed a motion in 2018 that Bemer submit to a HIV test, with the results to be shared with the victims.  Bemer’s attorneys argued the test violated his privacy rights. 

Prosecutors said that at least two of the 15 victims in the trafficking ring had developmental disabilities.

Robert King, of Danbury, was accused of finding victims at drug rehabilitation centers and taking them to Bemer for sex acts.  King pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 54 months in prison.

Danbury Mayoral candidate to move to City if he wins

The Republican candidate for Danbury mayor technically lives in Brookfield.  The Newstimes reports that Dean Esposito owns a home in Brookfield, but plans to move to the City if elected.  He currently is reportedly staying with a family friend on Candlewood Lake Road in Danbury. 

Esposito is a registered Republican in Danbury, though isn't paying property taxes or rent in the City.  The published report says he is helping to pay for utilities at his friend's house.  Mayoral candidates are not required to live in the city, but must move there if they win. 

Esposito was a five-term city councilman, town clerk, director of consumer protection and sealer of weights and community services coordinator. He has served as the Mayor's Chief of Staff since 2016.

WestCOG out with report about Route 37 corridor study

A regional planning agency has released a report on traffic along Route 37 through Danbury and New Fairfield.  The Western Connecticut Council of Governments looked into issues along the corridor for more than a year to determine what safety improvements, if any were needed to help drivers and pedestrians. 

About a dozen intersections were identified for improvements, at a cost of $4.7 million to $7.8 million.  WestCOG analyzed reported crashes since 2010 along the nearly 5 miles between the Exit 6 off ramp and just past the intersection with Route 39.  The Route 37-Stacey Road intersection in Danbury had the highest number of crashes in the study area. 

WestCOG recommends pedestrian signal heads on Stacey Road and sidewalks on 37 as part of the state Department of Transportation project to widen and realign the intersection.  Other intersections were Route 39 and Saw Mill Road in New Fairfield, Peck, Barnum, Padanaram and Golden Hill roads and Jeanette Street in Danbury.

Cricket Valley Energy Center to go green

A New York power plant that was the subject of lawsuits in northwestern Connecticut is planning to become more green.  The Dover Plains Cricket Valley Energy Center must meet a zero carbon emissions mandate by 2040 and is gradually increasing hydrogen utilization to meet that goal. 

The gas-powered facility will eventually be a 100 percent green hydrogen-fueled power plant. 

Western Connecticut Clean Air Action raised environmental and health concerns shortly after construction started in 2017.  Air quality monitoring stations were installed in Kent and elsewhere to measure three major air pollutants associated with natural gas combustion.  Additional stations are in New Milford, Sherman, Warren, Sharon, Cornwall, and the Town of Washington.   The monitors measure ozone, fine particulate matter and oxides of nitrogen.

In 2019, New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act was enacted requiring the state's electric industry to be carbon emissions free by 2040.

Theft of power tools from Bethel store under investigation

A shoplifting incident in Bethel is under investigation.  Police are asking for the public's help in identifying the person who stole power tools from a hardware store in town.  Bethel Police have posted two photos of the unmasked man on their Facebook page, though the quality is so different that some comments wondered if it was the same man.  Anyone with information on the identity of the man is asked to contact Bethe Police Ofc. Fuenzalida at 203.744.7900 ext. 660.

Ridgefield presses pause on inspection fee for salons

The Ridgefield Board of Selectmen has decided to hold off on implementing any fees passed in 2019 by the State requiring local Directors of Health to annually inspect all the hair and nail salons.  Ridgefield Health Director Ed Briggs says the department is allowed to collect up to $250, but requested a $100 collection fee.  Some Board members questioned whether this is the right time to start initiating fees considering the struggle many businesses, especially salons, endured during the pandemic. It was suggested to push back on implementing this new fee until next year. Briggs noted that there are costs the Health Department takes on during these inspections and most towns in the area have this fee already in place. The Board will revisit the topic in January.

New Milford Town Council gets updates on infrastructure projects

The New Milford Town Council has gotten an update on a couple of infrastructure projects around town.  Mayor Pete Bass says the town hall roof contracts have been sent to the contractor to be signed so the work can begin soon.  The Board of Education has agreed to help fund the overage on the high school roof.  Bass says work  continues on the library upgrades and addition.  the interior sheetrock is going up and the HVAC and plumbing work is also underway.  He told members at their most recent meeting about his tour of the second floor and says it's looking in good shape.

Connecticut lawmakers vote to extend Lamont's COVID powers

Connecticut lawmakers have agreed that Gov. Ned Lamont's emergency declarations first issued in March of 2020 during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic should be extended. The governor asked legislators to renew his declarations of public health and civil preparedness emergencies through Sept. 30, noting he's only seeking to extend 11 executive orders. That's compared to a high of more than 300 at one point during the crisis.

New Milford Senator Craig Miner believes the variants will exist longer than his lifetime, and that shouldn't be the basis for renewing the declarations of public health and civil preparedness emergencies.  But Ridgefield Senator Will Haskell countered that the declaration is necessary for federal funding to continue.  He questioned if his colleagues would fund the extra SNAP food benefits or FEMA housing assistance if the orders were to end.

In the Senate, the resolution passed on a 19-15 vote, with four Democrats joining the GOP in voting no.

Redding Representative Anne Hughes, a member of the Progressive caucus often at odds with Lamont was one of 9 Democrats in the House in opposition.  She says they should be willing to come in and do the will of the people to meet the threat of emergencies as they come up, even though the General Assembly is a part-time legislature. 

Wilton Republican Representative Tom O'Dea says local communities should decide how best to protect students and teachers, and about mask requirements.  He says lawmakers are abdicating their role by passing the legislation. 

Bethel State Representative Raghib Allie-Brennan voted against extending Governor Lamont's emergency powers.  While he applaud the Governor for navigating Connecticut through the pandemic, the 11 orders raised as a reason for the extension can and should be addressed by the legislature.  24 states have ended their emergency declarations, but have been given permission from the President to access federal dollars. Allie-Brennan says he received countless constituent emails and phone calls in opposition to an extension. 

Kent Representative Maria Horn voted with the slim majority of state lawmakers yesterday to extend Governor Lamont's executive powers to deal with the pandemic.  While acknowledging that the state could use federal relief money, Horn called it a drop in the bucket compared to the state budget.  She also touted oversight put in place during the regular General Assembly session.

Litchfield Hills Transition Center to run programs at The Maxx

The New Milford Board of Education has found a new home for the Litchfield Hills Transition Center. The center is part of the New Milford School District and prepares young adults with disabilities to become productive and contributing members of the community.  They have partnered with The Maxx during the day to provide developmental programs that focus on improving employability skills, increasing independence, and building stronger independent living skills. The town Facilities team is preparing the Maxx for students.  They're currently putting in new flooring for the staff office.  The Litchfield Hills Transition also works on strengthening peer relationship skills that will enhance the quality of life for young adults and their families.

Conn. COVID-19 test positivity rate doubles in a week span

Connecticut's COVID-19 daily test positivity rate yesterday was the highest it's been in 6 weeks.  With 141 cases detected out of little more than 11,000 tests, the rate was 1.28 percent. 

There are COVID-19 vaccine clinics in Danbury today.  One is being held at the West Conn midtown campus gym from 1pm to 5pm.  Both Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson are being administered.  The Greater Danbury Community Health Center at 123 Main Street is also holding a clinic today offering the Moderna vaccine to people 18 and over.  That clinic is from 11am to 1pm and 2pm to 4:45.

The New Milford Health Department is looking to open a drive-thru testing site by the fall.  They've applied to the state for a special waiver and an outpatient clinic license for John Pettibone Community Center. 

Director Lisa Morrissey says this is to position New Milford for the start of the school year with necessary resources.  Tests would be sent to a lab and returned to the town, though a waiver would allow New Milford to do full, on-site testing this fall, adding rapid-tests. 

The testing clinic would be available to neighboring communities.



Brookfield signs off on more funding for Candlewood Lake Authority

The Candlewood Lake Authority is getting part of their requested boost in funding.  When the Brookfield Board of Selectmen met this week, they approved $13,611 additional dollars from the contingency fund for the organization.  CLA asked for a 62-percent budget increase for this fiscal year from the five municipalities surrounding the lake, totalling $139,000.  New Milford, New Fairfield, and Sherman officials agreed to meet the authority’s request.  During budget deliberations in Brookfield, the town agreed to about $125,000, but would pay in full if a majority of others approved the total increase.  CLA bylaws call for the the average of the three towns closest to their requested budget be the amount each pay. The Danbury City Council needs to consider increasing the City's contribution.

Public hearing on proposed cancer center in Danbury closed

The public hearing on a proposed $80-million cancer center in Danbury has been closed by the Planning Commission.  During their meeting last week, members set the date for a vote on the application as July 21st.  The state Office of Health Strategy is still considering Danbury Proton's bid to create Connecticut’s first cancer center to use proton therapy.  The single-story 16,000-square-foot facility would sit on 3-acres on Wooster Heights Road.  The technology aims to kill tumors with a minimum of damage to healthy tissue.  The specialized treatment center would add 300 trips a day.

Jersey Mike's gets land use approval to open in Danbury

The Danbury Planning Commission has signed off on a restaurant proposed for Newtown Road.  A Jersey Mike’s got special exceptions to turn a retail space into fast food space in the shopping plaza anchored by Stop & Shop. 

A traffic consultant suggested the applicant pay for crosswalk improvements so people can easily go on foot between the two strip malls.  The applicant's traffic consultant hasn't seen a demonstrated need for a crosswalk, and believes that would fall under the state's purview as Newtown Road is technically a state road.  The Planning Commission agreed with the applicant and determined that the requested improvements were not required as it's beyond the score of the application. 

The approval was given so long as it's designed in a manner which is compatible with the character of the area and will not create conditions harmful to the natural environment or which will jeopardize public health and safety.

Fire at Heritage Village stopped from spreading to other units

A fire in an apartment at  Heritage Village in Southbury yesterday morning was quickly extinguished.   Southbury Fire was dispatched shortly before 10:30am on a report of smoke and flames.  Mutual aid was provided by Oxford, Woodbury, Middlebury, and Sandy Hook along with the Southbury Training School Fire Department.  Firefighters were able to stop the blaze from advancing to the adjacent unit. 

Municipal organization to get grant funding for summer museum program

When the state created their summer learning enrichment program to offer children and an accompanying adult free admission to museums and cultural sites, Connecticut offered grants to the organizations.  But they had to be a non-profit, and municipal agencies weren't eligible.  Danbury Representative Ken Gucker learned that the Danbury Museum and Historical Society was ineligible, called Connecticut Humanities and they corrected the oversight.  The Danbury Museum was awarded about 13-thousand dollars to be part of this Connecticut Summer at the Museum initiative.  They'll offer guided tours of four historic buildings Wednesday through Saturday, from noon to 4pm.  That includes John and Mary Rider House, John Dodd Hat Shop, Marian Anderson studio and the Little Red Schoolhouse.

New Milford Town Council fills vacancy

The New Milford Town Council has filled a vacancy.  Republican Councilman Michael Gold resigned because meetings conflicted with a new class for his graduate degree.  Republican Sal Rynkiewicz was voted unanimously to take the seat.  He plans to run for a term of his own in November.  Gold will remain on the Library Construction Committee. 

Brookfield RTC endorses candidate for First Selectman, Selectman

The Brookfield Republican Town Committee has endorsed a candidate for First Selectman.  U.S. Army veteran Tara Carr was chosen to lead the ticket in November.  Current Selectman Harry Shaker was endorsed by the party for another term. 

The 42-year old Carr was raised in neighboring New Milford and served in the Army for 25 years.  Carr wants to hold down taxes and protect the character of the small town.  She recently attended a rally at the state capitol opposed to the elimination of religious exemptions for mandatory school vaccinations.  She was a lieutenant colonel, platoon leader, company commander and a foreign area officer in China. Carr was deployed to Afghanistan. 

In 2017 Carr was on the reality TV show “The Amazing Race” and placed second, with her partner Joey Covino.  After retiring from the military shortly before the pandemic, Carr moved to Brookfield from Hawaii and helped launch the new Amazon distribution facility in Danbury as director of operations. 

Registered Brookfield Republicans can vote on a slate of candidates at the final caucus at 7pm Tuesday at Whisconier Middle School. 

Democratic incumbent First Selectman Steve Dunn has not yet declared his intentions for November.

New Milford DTC to endorse candidate for Mayor next week

Municipal leaders will be elected in a few short months. 

Lifelong New Milford resident Ted Hine is seeking to be the Democratic mayoral nominee.  The 56-year old comes from one of New Milford's oldest founding families.  Hine retired two years ago after working at G.E. Capital for 23 years.  He held positions ranging from chief information officer to global IT project management.  He served as president of the New Milford Historical Society for several years. 

Hine says he wants a more balanced budget, which bolsters the school system.  He opposed recent plans to spend the surplus on capital items saying residents should have more of a say over that spending. 

The Democratic Town Committee will make an official endorsement next Wednesday. 

Republican Mayor Pete Bass has served two terms and plans to run for a third term.

Funeral service set for longest serving Danbury Common Council member

The longest serving Danbury Common Council member is being remembered today.  96-year old John Esposito Senior died Monday.  The WWII veteran was also a volunteer fireman with the City. 

Visitation will be held July 18 at 3pm at Green Funeral Home, with a funeral mass July 19 at 10:30am at St. Peter Church in Danbury. 

At 17 he enlisted with the Marines and fought in 4 battles during WWII.  In one battle, State Department of Veteran Affairs Commissioner Tom Saadi says Esposito's unit helped spearhead the beach assault.  At Iwo Jima, in his regiment, one in every three Marines were either killed or wounded, one of the highest casualty rates suffered by the United States military in WWII. 

Esposito was seriously injured by gunfire in the arm and face.  He earned the Purple Heart among other honors for his service.

Elderly woman injured in Ridgefield, police seek help with investigation

Ridgefield police are looking for information about how an elderly woman became seriously injured.  The woman sustained serious injuries on High Ridge Road between Catoonah Street and Griffth Lane.  She was found lying in a driveway with multiple injuries on Monday between the hours of 11:50am and 12:05pm. Ridgefield police are attempting to identify the cause of the injuries. Anyone with information or who was traveling on High Ridge Road between those times is asked to contact police at 203-431-2799.

Two people hospitalized in a two car crash in Ridgefield

Two people were hospitalized following an accident on Route 7 in Ridgefield yesterday morning.  Emergency responders were called to the area of 600 Ethan Allen Highway around 8am and closed the road.  The two-vehicles sustained moderate damage.  One of the drivers required extrication.  Each was transported to Danbury Hospital to be treated for their injuries.  First responders set up a detour through the area as crews worked to clear the crash site. The roadway reopened around 8:30am.  The crash remains under investigation.

State agencies investigating medically supervised weight loss camp in Kent

The state Office of Early Childhood and Department of Children and Families is investigating a medically supervised weight loss camp in Kent.  The agency says it's looking into Camp Shane over the health, safety, and well being of children who were enrolled there.  The overnight camp run at The South Kent School closed its doors yesterday, sending parents from across the country scrambling to pick up their kids.  Owner David Ettenberg says he didn’t have enough staffing to keep it open because staffers didn't want to stay on-campus, per camp COVID-19 safety procedures.  The owner is reportedly providing refunds to the families.  Some spoke with WVIT-TV and said no one checked if they were in fact the legal guardian at pick up, had their medication stolen, and weren't told about injuries sustained at the camp.

Conn., FEMA conclude Mobile Vaccination Unit joint program

After vaccinating thousands, Connecticut and FEMA has concluded their Mobile Vaccination Unit joint program. Launched on March 29th, the Mobile Unit was the first one in the country the federal government rolled out.  The program was extended from its original 60-day schedule in the field because of its success. 

As of July 9th, the unit administered 12,533 COVID-19 vaccines to Connecticut’s most underserved communities impacted by the pandemic, including Danbury. 

The clinics were supported by the Connecticut National Guard and local communities.  The unit was designed to reach those who had limited access to healthcare facilities or pharmacies that provided the coronavirus vaccine and wanted one.  Sites were chosen based on the Centers for Disease and Prevention Control’s Social Vulnerability Index, the U.S. Census Bureau’s Community Resilience Estimates, low vaccine coverage, metrics and other barriers to vaccine access. 

A second Mobile Vaccination Unit from FEMA also began administering vaccines in Connecticut on May 7 and completed its mission in mid-June after administering 4,057 vaccines.

Schools start to plan for what new year will look like

In a recent newsletter to families, Bethel Superintendent of Schools Dr Christine Carver provided an update of what parents and children can expect in the fall when the new school year starts.  She noted that there may be revisions depending on guidance from the CDC, the State Department of Education, and the Department of Public Health.  Bethel intends to start school, full in-person, including specials, with the traditional model of older students switching classrooms by period. The district is trying to create schedules to allow students to resume eating in the cafeteria and still maintain some social distancing if needed.  The schools can not require COVID vaccinations, but she says they would like parents who have had their children vaccinated to let the school nurse know, to update health records, and assist with contact tracing.  Bethel is considering removing desk shields. The main reason they were put up was for when students were unmasked at lunch.  The district intends to resume all after and before school activities in the fall.

Himes holds listening sessions

4th District Congressman Jim Himes is holding a series listening session for his first in person events in the state since the start of the pandemic.  Ones were held Monday in Monroe and yesterday in Ridgefield.  One of the topics that came up was the future of the Supreme Court.  Himes says he likes a plan that would create an 18 year term for justices, with staggered terms. He says that would insulate the court from partisanship since the Justices can't be removed.  The topics ranged from domestic to foreign.  Himes supports the withdrawal from Afghanistan, but says it breaks his heart for what will happen in that country.  He has reservations, but added that he doesn't want to send any more soldiers to possibly die for a mission that will not be accomplished.  Himes also addressed infrastructure improvements, climate change and border security. 

Danbury's longest serving Common Councilman, WWII vet, passes away

Danbury's longest serving common council member has passed away at age 96.  John Esposito Senior fought in four major battles in the Pacific Theater during WWII until being wounded during the battle of Iwo Jima.  He was awarded the Purple Heart. 

Esposito served Danbury as a volunteer fireman and on the Danbury common council consecutively for 27 years. 

His former 4th Ward Council colleague Tom Saadi called Esposito a mentor, friend, and a role model.  He says Esposito did not measure success through political recognition or public laurels but by the love and respect of family, friends and those he served as a volunteer and public official.

The Danbury Republican Town Committee is paying tribute to the Democratic stalwart, saying they wanted to remember a good and gracious man that both Republicans and Democrats looked to for guidance and wisdom. 

Esposito was the Father of 6 children, 15 grandchildren, and 16 great grandchildren.

Himes to hold town hall meeting in Ridgefield tonight

A Town Hall meeting is being held tonight by 4th District Congressman Jim Himes.  He met with constituents last night at Edith Wheeler Memorial Library in Monroe.  Ridgefield Library will host a Town Hall meeting with Himes tonight at 6pm.  He says answering questions directly from constituents is one of the most important aspects of this job, and he's missed the chance to provide an in-person update on his work in Congress during the pandemic.  He wants to hear from residents about the issues that matter most to the community.

Congresswoman addresses economic fallout over pandemic

5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes is holding a Facebook Live discussion tonight about the Child Tax Credit.  The informational session will feature an IRS taxpayer advocate, and community and faith leaders.  They plans to answer questions and share details about the CTC program.  The virtual event starts at 5:30pm.

Five Shuttered Venue Operators Grants have been approved for businesses in the District.  Hayes says this much-needed aid will help businesses recover from losses experienced due to the pandemic.  Among the recipients are Heart and Soul Entertainment of Bethel, Main Street Ballet Company of Woodbury and MOMIX in Washington.  A total of $929,316 was awarded to businesses in the district.

Meanwhile Hayes led a Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations Subcommittee hearing yesterday on "Examining the SNAP Benefit Cliff." It was prompted by discussions with the Ranking Republican Member over a shared concern that low-income workers may abruptly lose the benefits as they work towards financial stability.  As families struggle to reenter the workforce, Hayes noted emergency benefits that sustained them through the pandemic are running out. She says SNAP benefits should be adjusted to ensure families are food secure & can recover financially from the pandemic.

Herbicide to be applied to parts of Lake Zoar

A common herbicide for controlling invasive aquatic plants is being used in Lake Zoar in Newtown, Monroe and Oxford this week.   Notices have been posted in the areas where the applications are planned for tomorrow, with a rain date of Thursday.  Adjacent lake users and residents were notified that Diquat herbicide and Copper Sulfate will be used to control Eurasian watermilfoil and curlyleaf pondweed.  The DEEP restrictions on water use in those areas include for drinking purposes and irrigation for three days, and for livestock consumption for one day.  There are no restrictions on swimming, boating, and fishing.

Water sampling for blue green algae starts on Candlewood Lake

Weekly testing has started on Candlewood Lake for water quality assurance.  The Candlewood Lake Authority has tested for Blue Green Algae at the town beaches in the 5 municipalities surrounding the lake.  The samples all came back well under state guidance for the tests from Thursday.  Lattins Cove and other areas were also tested for Zebra Mussel DNA with none found.  Testing will continue throughout the summer.

Homeless shelter grants to run out by end of month, land use approvals still needed

The deal to turn the Super 8 motel in Danbury into a homeless shelter run by the Pacific House is still going through the local approvals process. 

City officials helped to facilitate the deal with the non-profit and the State.  The organization is currently running operations there under the Governor's executive order that calls for more space compared to traditional congregate settings.  The homeless population has been housed at the motel since the start of the pandemic last March. 

Mayor Joe Cavo says things are kind of in a holding pattern until the planning and zoning special exceptions are decided by local land use boards. 

Councilman Bob Taborsak questioned what would happen when grants awarded to the City for staffing run out.  Cavo says the City is working with Pacific House to release the employees by July 30th.  He notes that the organization will then hire who they want to keep on staff and let go of those they don't.

Brookfield recommends Streetscape Phase 3 contractor to state

Brookfield is sending a recommendation to the state Department of Transportation on the construction company for Phase 3 of Streetscaping in the town center. 

Norwalk-based Grasso Companies is being suggested for their bid on the work along Federal Road/Route 202.  The state must sign off on the recommendation before contracts could be signed.  Work could begin before the fall if approved.  4 bidders sent proposals, but Grasso had the lowest qualified bid at $879,000.  This phase of work includes adding sidewalks in the area of Old Route 7 where Phase 2 ended.  Lighting would also be added.  The goal is to provide safe pedestrian access to the Still River Greenway. 

The 5-Phase  downtown revitalization plan will ultimately cost $11 million, with town bonds and state grant funding covering the work.  The 4th Phase is proposed to be the longest, and most expensive covering over 1,900 feet of sidewalk to connect the northern end of Phase 1 to the Newbury Village condominiums on Federal Road.

Danbury Mayoral candidates report fundraising totals

Two of the candidates seeking to be the next Danbury Mayor have reported fundraising efforts for the past quarter.  Democrat Roberto Alves raised $108,000 from over 9,000 donors.  The City Councilman says he is energized by the momentum and the groundswell of support from the community. 

Republican Dean Esposito raised $82,500 dollars since launching his campaign 6 weeks ago.  The Mayor's Chief of Staff says he is overwhelmed by the support since that time.  He believes it's an indication of support for low taxes, stronger schools, and superior public safety. 

Alves could face a Democratic primary from fellow City Councilman John Esposito, a distance relation of the GOP candidate.  Democratic political newcomer Sedeka Lawrence is also looking to force a primary.

Tax breaks approved for company moving to former Hubbell factory

Newtown officials have agreed to tax breaks for an Ohio company to move to the former Hubbell factory.  The Board of Selectmen and Legislative Council have signed off on the 3-year deal for Kimball Midwest, an automotive, electrical, and chemical supplies distributor.  Their northeast headquarters on Route 25 brings 30 new jobs, most to be filled locally.  The company purchased the 40 acre site for $4.4 million.  The 30-percent break real estate taxes would start after the proposed $2 million repair and improvement investments are made, including environmental clean up.  Kimball plans to retrofit the 140,000-square-foot industrial facility into fifth warehouse.

Sherman residents approve funding for school playgound improvements

85 Sherman residents attended a town meeting Saturday on replacing playground equipment at the Sherman School.  The in-person meeting led to approval of up to $300,000 to remove and replace equipment at the lower playground, and repair the pirate ship playground.  Design changes were made to bring the proposal down by $100,000 from last year.  The community has also donated $25,000 toward the labor costs.  Playground   manufacturer Little Tikes helped the committee come up with a design that provides different types of play opportunities, and blends into the natural wooded area. Improvements to the pirate ship playground include sanding, painting, filling surface gaps and replacing broken parts. The funding, approved on a vote of 73 to 12, will come from Sherman's capital non-recurring fund.

Overnight roadwork in Danbury underway

The Danbury Public Works Department is conducting road construction at night on Park Ave and Pleasant Street. This construction will not result in road closings, but there is the possibility of travel restrictions and detours during this work period.  During these next two to three weeks there is NO on-street parking.

Town Hall meeting planned for seniors in Redding by state lawmakers

A town hall meeting is being held by members of the Redding state legislative delegation.  Representative Anne Hughes and Senator Will Haskell will meet with Meadow Ridge residents on Thursday at 10am.  Residents will be briefed on current issues and legislation passed related to senior citizens.  The meeting was organized by a Meadow Ridge resident and the local Women’s League of Voters.

Proposed cell tower to be discussed in Brookfield tonight

A proposed cell tower will be discussed tonight by the Brookfield Board of Selectmen.  Homeland Towers will review the proposed project and answer questions at the meeting, which starts at 7pm in Meeting Room 133.  The facility is proposed for the Public Works complex location at 93 Grays Bridge Road. 

An ad-hoc committee will be appointed tonight in Brookfield to make recommendations on how to best use the funds that will be available from the American Rescue Plan Act. Community members will be joined by members from the Boards of education and finance, Municipal Building Commission, Parks and Red and Economic and Community Development. 

Brookfield has seen a slight uptick in COVID-19 infections so local health officials are planning a series of pop-up vaccination events.  The first will take place on Friday at the Summer Concert and Family Movie Night from 6:30 to 8:30pm.  The Brookfield Health Department will be administering the one-dose Johnson & Johnson shot. 

Easton Police investigating thefts from cars, stolen vehicles

Easton Police received numerous reports on Friday that vehicles were entered in the overnight hours and items were stolen.  One vehicle was also taken.  After sending out a reminder to residents to lock cars and take keys out of them, Easton Police reported an additional stolen vehicle and several more vehicles entered.  These all occurred on the east side of town on the lower end of Sport Hill Road.

National Night Out coming to Brookfield

National Night Out is coming to Brookfield.  On August 3rd, the Police Department is hosting the first annual event at the Municipal Center.  The event for families will feature food, entertainment and live music.  Police vehicles, SWAT Bearcat, and Police Helicopter will be on display and there will be K-9 Demonstrations and Car Seat check/install among other activities.  All proceeds from the event from 4pm to 8:30pm will be donated to Special Olympics Connecticut.

Steel to be removed from Century Bass site in New Milford

The steel removal process will be taking place at the Century Brass property in New Milford.  The removal of the steel will come at a cost to the town.  The Town Council and Board of Finance approved repurposing some of the Surplus Funds from this year's Town Side of the Budget to pay for the steel  removal.  Mayor Pete Bass says that means they don't have to go back to the taxpayers for additional funding. 

Steel removal is part of the State approved plan to access grant funding to remediate the property at less of a cost to the taxpayer.  New Milford Department of Public Works Director Jack Healy says the contractor, U.S. Ecology, will remove the PCB-contaminated steel to a licensed landfill in Michigan.  It's one of the biggest disposal companies in the country. 

They'll put a membrane down and then a work pad, sifting the steel into smaller pieces for removal. 

The end goal is to turn part of the 50 acre site into a new public works facility.  Bass says this is a project that will not happen overnight, but must be thoughtfully planned out and approved.  There's been discussion of a solar array, walking trail and other mixed use development. At one point the building was leased to someone for storage.

Another meeting scheduled on dam removal in Ridgefield

Another meeting has been scheduled in Ridgefield on the federal “Preferred Alternative” of dam removal off Danbury Road.  At the gathering on July 20th, people can discuss and get answers about the planning activities to date and the various alternatives that were evaluated and analyzed when it comes to the Norwalk River Watershed Dam. 

Decommissioning could adversely impact two downstream residents and 6 road crossings. 

The public will have another opportunity to review the Draft Plan and provide input until August 20, before the plan is finalized.  The meeting on July 20th is at 7pm at the Ridgefield Recreation Center. 

The feds determined that the dam was a high hazard in 2018 and didn't meet new stricter standards.  If the infrastructure is destroyed, with U.S. Department of Agriculture argues that it will reduce the threat of loss of life and property to people who live and work in a potential breach zone.

Deadline approaching to apply for the state's debt-free community college program

The deadline to apply for the state's debt-free community college program is approaching.  Danbury Senator Julie Kushner says the initiative enables qualified students to receive funds to cover the gap between federal, state and institutional aid and the full cost of attending community college.  The deadline to apply is this Thursday.  The program is open to Connecticut high school graduates who are first time college students, have completed the FASFA form and plan to attend community college full time.  A full-time program is 12 or more credits per semester.  Applicants must be in good academic standing and be participating in a degree or credit-bearing certificate program.

Milling, paving project underway on Route 102 in Ridgefield

The state Department of Transportation is doing a paving project in Ridgefield.  The work along a 1.87 mile stretch of Route 102 is slated to last throughout this week.  The milling and paving will be done between Route 35 on Main Street and Bloomer Road. Construction will be done between 7am and 4pm.  Traffic control personnel will be at the work zone helping guide cars through the area, but drivers are urged to remain alert and proceed cautiously.  Residents should expect delays due to alternating traffic and plan accordingly.  The state delegation, at the request of First Selectman Rudy Marconi, called on the DOT to pave the entire length or road as the roughest part is outside of the project area.

Danbury to take advantange of low interest rates

Low interest rates could benefit the City of Danbury with upcoming bonding. Danbury received a less than 1 percent interest rate on a $12 million, 10-year loan.  Finance Director David St Hilaire says they also got a .12 percent net interest costs on a one-year, $50 million loan.  He called the rates incredible and never seen this low.  St Hilaire plans to refund up to $27 million of existing bonds from 2011 and 2012, with the expectation that this will save the City at least $2 million.

Local lawmaker touts bill keeping young adults on parent's vision, dental plans

While dependents have been able to remain on their parents’ health insurance plan through the age of 26, this did not include dental or vision insurance.  Redding Senator Will Haskell says a bill signed by the Governor this week allows young adults to stay on those plans as well.  As the youngest member of the state Senate, the 25-year old says he wanted to dvocate for preventative care for his generation.

Bill aiming to improve mental health of young people awaits Gov. signature

A bill is awaiting Governor Lamont's signature that aims to improve the mental health of young people.  Redding Senator Will Haskell says Connecticut required a mental health provider to gain consent from the parent or guardian of a minor receiving outpatient mental health treatment after six sessions.  This measure removes that restriction, allowing minors to receive outpatient mental health treatment indefinitely without requiring parental consent in most circumstances.  SB 2 would also provide annual “mental health days” for students and remove fees that make early childhood education unaffordable for many families. 

Conn. Art Trail organizations participate in free summer learning program

The state program to offer free admission to kids and an accompanying adult is aimed at providing learning enrichment this summer.  The Danbury Museum is participating, but asks visitors to book tours online, at least 48 hours in advance for Wednesdays through Saturdays.  The New Milford Historical Society & Museum is also participating, but is open by appointment only. Several organizations that are part of the Connecticut Art Trail are participating in the initiative launched this month to provide students and families with free learning experiences.  Among them is the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield.  20 museums and historic sites are part of the Art Trail, launched in 1995, to promote Connecticut’s cultural assets as part of a travel experience.

Greater Danbury area leaders urg storm preparedness throughout hurricane season

Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company staffed the firehouse for the duration of the storm and EMS had an additional Paramedic level ambulance last night and plan to overnight tonight as well as a precaution.  Drivers are being reminded to treat any downed wire as it is live, to take alternate routes because standing water can be deep and to reduce speeds to keep from hydroplaning.

Redding has many low lying areas where water can cross the road.  Heavy rains over the last week, and today, can mean water logged limbs falling on wires and roads even without high winds. Eversource has activated crews in advance of the storm and is prepared for widespread power outages across the State.  If a fallen tree on the public roadway, with or without wires, is blocking the street, drivers are asked to report it to Redding Police dispatch at 203-938-3400.  On private property, it should be reported to Eversource.

Some local municipal leaders are offering safety information to new residents.  Easton First Selectman Dave Bindelglass says people who are new to town may not be familiar with well water, generators and septic systems.  Anyone with well water is urged to fill bathtubs before storms because the well will not work if the power goes out.  Water will also be provided at town hall.  The Easton Senior Center will be opened if needed for shelter or cooling.  Showers will be available at Joel Barlow High School in the event of prolonged outages.  Anyone with a generator is reminded not to refuel it while running.  If there are prolonged power issues.

Federal funding approved by House for Ridgefield transportation proposal

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the INVEST in America Act, reauthorizing surface transportation projects. 

More than $1.8 million would fund a majority of  pedestrian and bicycle improvements around the Branchville Train Station in Ridgefield.  $2.4 million would fund a majority of the cost of the replacement of the Comstock Brook Bridge in Wilton. 

4th District Congressman Jim Himes says he secured nearly $20 million in transportation projects in this bill for Southwest Connecticut that will cover bicycle and pedestrian improvements, bridge rehabilitation and replacement, and updates to the Stamford Transportation Center. The transportation recipients were selected from projects included on Connecticut’s Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, which is constituted of priority projects.

Bridgewater hiring Registrar of Voters

The Town of Bridgewater has immediate job openings for the Registrar and/or Assistant Registrar of Voters for both the Democrat and Republican parties.  These are part-time positions that require some initial training and computer skills. Qualified individuals must be appointed by their respective parties. The Registrar is responsible for voter education, organizing and conducting the annual canvass of voters, maintaining the accuracy of the registry list, updating voter files, preparing department budgets, training election officials, ensuring the proper maintenance of voting tabulators in preparation for their use at elections, training the head moderator to tally the election results and submitting the results to the Town Clerk.

Hacker temporarily halts Danbury City Council virtual meeting

A hacker temporarily halted Wednesday night's Danbury City Council virtual meeting. 

Mayor Joe Cavo says they were about three-quarters of the way through the meeting when someone requested a cheeseburger, called out council members by name, and used inappropriate language in posts.  The Zoom meeting was stopped and a new link was sent to members and department leaders.  The Council meeting continued after about a 10 minute delay. 

Video of the first part of the meeting was removed from streaming sites due to inappropriate language.  The City's YouTube video starts with item 7 on the agenda.  The Granicus video on the City's website has the middle part of the meeting edited out.

Public zoom links had not been sent out by the Council and Board of Ed following a racist remark and pornographic video that shut down a Board of Ed meeting last summer.  Wednesday night's zoom link was available on the agenda for the first time since July 2020.  Previous agendas only included a link to the YouTube live stream.

Flash flooding causes issues on roadways, in basements

Greater Danbury area police and firefighters are prepared to respond to the effects of Tropical Storm Elsa. 

There was some flash flooding in the region yesterday as heavy rain fell across the area in the afternoon.  Danbury reported at least one car getting stranded and evacuated near the West Street overpass.  Several buildings had water in basements, including at the Danbury police station.

Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker sent out a robocall to residents urging them to be prepared as well.  He doesn't think the storm will be as bad as others.

HART Service to Danbury Fair Mall at the Carousel mall entrance bus stop is suspended due to flooding. Buses are detoured to the mall entrance between Macy’s and LL Bean.

Area police alerting residents to car thieves, thefts from cars

Local police departments are warning that thieves are in the area.  New Fairfield is experiencing an uptick in car break-ins.  The Police Department is reminding everyone to lock cars and not to leave keys, fobs or garage door openers in parked vehicles.  Wilton Police say there's similar activity in their town and called on residents to never leave a running vehicle unattended. Any break-ins or suspicious activity should be reported to the police.  Bridgewater officials are also cautioning residents to lock their homes and cars.  Last week, a wallet was taken out of a car on Hut Hill, and over the last week or so Southbury had some stolen cars. Oxford has had two car thefts in the last two nights.

Emergency responders remind residents of storm safety, preparation

As Tropical Storm Elsa makes its way toward Connecticut, Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Company is sharing some safety tips. Anyone using a portable generator, should have it outside, in a well-ventilated area away from any vents, doors or windows. Engine exhaust contains carbon monoxide which is colorless, odorless and tasteless. 

People are also reminded to stay away from all downed power lines as they should always be treated as live.  Any driver coming across a road that is barricaded, is asked not to move or go around them as they are in place for a reason such as a flooded road or a downed tree or power line.

With the 2021 hurricane season here, the Ridgefield Office of Emergency Management  and Community Emergency Response Team is recommending that people have a preparedness plan for all family members and pets.  This includes the replacement of supplies depleted during the pandemic and creating a plan to be self-sufficient to shelter in place for at least the first 72 to 96 hours. 

CERT also reminds homeowners about the items to include in a so-called Go Bag, if evacuation is necessary. That should include a record of important documents like insurance and prescriptions. Pet supplies, water, portable cell phone charger and hand sanitizer are among those items.

Local leaders tout utility reforms now in place

Utilities in Connecticut have put reforms in place to be better prepared for severe wather.

Last fall, New Fairfield First Selectman Pat Del Monaco participated with the Towns of Bethel, Newtown and Ridgefield in the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority investigation into the Eversource response to Tropical Storm Isaias.  As a result, PURA found that Eversource did not adequately implement the municipal liaison program, execute its Make Safe protocol, effectively communicate to customers or secure adequate resources in a timely manner to protect public safety and restore power. 

PURA has ordered specific corrective actions on each topic, and are now required to be in place.  Del Monaco notes that Eversource is required to identify and track customers that require electrical service for life maintaining equipment.  The company must contact these customers before, during and after storm events. 

Purse stolen at Southbury store recovered in NY, cards and cash missing

Southbury Police are investigating the theft of a purse from a shopping cart in a local store. 

The purse was later recovered at the Westchester Mall in White Plains, with two credit and debit cards stolen and 80-dollars in cash removed.  Southbury Police say one suspect created a diversion as another stolen the purse from the victim's shopping cart in ShopRite on Main Street South on June 27th.  Police posted photos of the suspects yesterday. 

(Photos: Southbury Police)

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Officer Carter at the Southbury Police Department via phone (203) 264-5912 Ext. #305. All tips will be kept confidential.

Congressman to hold in-person town hall meetings next week

A series of Town Hall meetings will kick off next week by 4th District Congressman Jim Himes.  He will meet with constituents Monday at Edith Wheeler Memorial Library in Monroe at 5:30pm.  Ridgefield Library will host a Town Hall meeting with Himes next Tuesday at 6pm.  He says answering questions directly from constituents is one of the most important aspects of this job, and he's missed the chance to provide an in-person update on his work in Congress during the pandemic.  He wants to hear from residents about the issues that matter most to the community.

Danbury appoints principal for elementary school being rented in Brookfield

The Danbury Public School District has appointed an interim principal for the school being rented in Brookfield to accommodate kindergartners.  The Danbury Primary Center in Brookfield will be led by Janet Sayegh.  Kindergartners from South Street, Ellsworth Avenue and Stadley Rough elementary schools will be bussed to the former St. Joseph School on Obtuse Hill Road this fall.  The veteran teacher most recently served as a lead teacher at Pembroke School.   She's been employed by the district for 13 years. 

Route 58 paving in Redding starting

Milling of Route 58-Black Rock Turnpike in Redding is starting today by the state Department of Transportation.  The road work runs from South Lane to Route 107.  Paving is set to begin on Monday. The DOT says dates may change due to weather or other scheduling issues, but drivers are asked to plan for delays or use an alternate route. 

Danbury teen to be tried as adult for fatal drive-by shooting

A Danbury teen has been ordered held on $1 million bond for a drive by killing in Danbury last month.  Elvis Anthony Agramonte was arraigned yesterday in Danbury Superior Court, shortly after the case was transferred from closed juvenile court in Waterbury.  He is being tried as an adult for the death of Yhameek Johnson on June 20th on Mill Ridge Road.  The 18-year old later died at Danbury Hospital.  Agramonte's attorneys acknowledged a lengthy juvenile record, and despite being a lifelong resident of Connecticut, the judge determined the bond was “appropriate,” citing the safety of the community.  The arrest and search warrants were ordered sealed for 14 days.

Danbury man arrested over alleged fraudulent Medicaid claim

A Danbury man has been arrested for allegedly filing over $1 million of fraudulent Medicaid claims.  Authorities say 43-year old Bobby Kato Junior was arrested yesterday on identity theft charges and other crimes for submitting 14,000 claims, totaling more than $1.3 million.  He owned a Connecticut Medical Assistance Program provider enrolled as a Behavioral Health Clinician Group and allegedly charged for psychotherapy services that were never rendered.  Kato was released on bond and is scheduled to appear in Court on July 15th.

New way to be alerted about emergencies created in New Milford

With power outages in New Milford overnight from storms, Mayor Pete Bass is calling on residents to sign up for a new way to be alerted about emergencies and other important community news.  The Emergency Alert Program system enables town officials to provide critical information quickly in a variety of situations, such as severe weather, unexpected road closures, missing persons and evacuations of buildings or neighborhoods.  The alerts can be sent via home, mobile or business phones, email address, text messages and other options.  The alert could be sent in a variety of languages.  A sign up link can be found on the town's website, under the "Notify New Milford" link.

Newtown puts moratorium on retail cannabis establishments

Newtown has put a temporary moratorium on retail cannabis establishments and medical marijuana facilities.  This applies to cultivators, producers, retailers, and medicinal dispensaries.  The prohibition becomes effective on July 24th and rescinds zoning that allows medical marijuana dispensaries in Newtown. 

First Selectman Dan Rosenthal told the Planning and Zoning Commission at their recent hearing on the proposal that the prudent approach is to prohibit cannabis establishments until they better understand the dynamics of the new law.

The moratorium will not affect adults who may now possess marijuana for their own use.  The new law allows patients in Connecticut’s medical marijuana program to have three mature marijuana plants and three smaller plants in their home.  That expands to the general adult public in 2023.

New Milford sees increase in COVID vaccine clinic operations

New Milford health department officials are seeing a slight uptick in the number of people coming to the local COVID-19 vaccine clinic, compared to last month.  As mass vaccination and other sites in the Greater Danbury area have closed, the New Milford clinic is experiencing more foot traffic to the Pettibone Community Center.  The clinic is held once a week, on Wednesdays, from 4pm to 5:30 offering  Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.  Walk-ins are welcome. The Community Health Center, which ran the Danbury Mall mass vax drive thru site, is offering vaccines at pop-up sites and at its clinics.

New Fairfield sends draft Noise Ordinance to DEEP for review

The New Fairfield draft Noise Ordinance has been sent to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection for review.  DEEP needs to review the document to confirm it's consistent with the state noise ordinance and that it will be enforceable.  DEEP also shared the proposal with their Environmental Conservation Police to make sure they could also enforce it, given the provisions about Candlewood Lake. 

First Selectman Pat Del Monaco is confident the document will get a positive review.  This will be done before a town meeting. 

The ordinance defines daytime hours as being between 6am and 10pm, Monday through Saturday, and 8am and 10pm on Sundays and holidays.  Nighttime hours are 10pm and 6am, Sunday evening through Saturday morning, except for holidays. 

Any person living or doing business in New Fairfield may apply to the Director of Health for a variance from one or more of the provisions of the Noise Ordinance.  The Director may impose reasonable conditions on the granting of any variance. Denial of a variance may be appealed to the Board of Selectmen.

Noise from Sound Reproductive Devices on or in a car or a boat can't be operated at a plainly audible level at a certain distance for a duration of more than 15 minutes in any 24 hour period.  This applies whether on land or on a water body. 

A commercial entity located within the business/commercial zone or having approved nonconforming status as a commercial entity is exempt between 5pm and 10pm on Sunday through Thursday, or until 11pm on Friday or Saturday nights.  The music volume must not be unreasonably loud.

Wilton students educating peers about dangers of distracted driving

Some Wilton students are looking to win a grant by showcasing the perils of distracted driving.  Impact Teen Drivers is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating teens in schools on the dangers of reckless driving. 

Students from across the country can create original works showcasing their solutions or strategies to fix distracted driving. NJM Insurance Group is providing the funding for educational grants of up to $5,000 to students aged 14-22 who submit a 30-second PSA.  There is also a category for teachers and advisors to participate in a distracted driving social media campaign with their students. Teachers can win up to $10,000 for their classroom or school.  The Just Drive Contest closes at the end of October, followed by online voting. 

Wilton High School Video Production Teacher Maria Naeem says they hope other schools will also submit PSAs so the message can get to as many kids as possible.

Naeem says the Superintendent sent out information about contests to make learning more engaging for students.  She says studies have found 75 percent of all fatal crashes do not involve drugs or alcohol but everyday reckless and distracted driving. A dozen students got involved in producing the PSA and sharing the information with others.

Jeannette, a rising Senior, says this inspired her to become a better driver.

Adi, a rising Junior, says they would like to get more people involved with the video production club, while also educating others about distracted driving.

WCSU students need to get COVID-19 vaccine soon to attend in-person classes this fall

Students attending West Conn in the fall are being called on to send the university their vaccination records.  The Connecticut State University System made the decision last week to require COVID-19 immunization for students returning to campus in August. 

Many have already submitted health records for typical vaccinations – measles, mumps, rubella to an online health services form.  A special website though has been created by West Conn for students to report COVID-19 vaccinations: or email in pdf format to

For Moderna, the first dose should be no later than July 9.  For Pfizer, no later than July 16.  With the single-dose Johnson & Johnson, students should get the shot no later than August 6. 

Any student seeking a medical or non-medical exemption must fill out a form or contact representatives from the CSCU System Office.  Any students without an approved exemption or are not fully vaccinated prior to the start of the semester, may not be permitted to move into the residence halls.  West Conn officials cautioned that they could also be at risk of being dropped from classes.

Sherman continues studying tax relief ordinance for disabled military veterans

Sherman officials have reviewed state statutes and are revising the town's proposed tax relief ordinance for disabled military veterans.  Towns don't have as much control in crafting tax-relief ordinances as previously thought.  The idea was to provide up to 500 dollars in tax breaks to disabled veterans who have lived in Sherman for at least 13 months regardless of income.  But there needs to be an income requirement.  It can be anything the town chooses.  The Selectmen also wanted to have the relief be based on disability level, but that's not possible either.  It must be based on the assessed property value.  The Board of Selectmen will continue discussing the proposal before sending it to a town meeting for voter approval.

Danbury School look to hire Family Liaisons

The Danbury Public School District is looking to hire Family Liaisons for each school.  Applicants need to be bilingual or trilingual, familiar with Danbury community resources and have good communication and problem solving skills.  The Family Liaison is responsible for building parent and family partnerships with schools.  They must recognize barriers to full participation and have actionable steps to build families and school capacities.  The liaisons work with others in similar positions to design and implement Family University-a year long offering of educational opportunities for families.

Conn. NY State Police to step up patrols for long holiday weekend

New York State Police from the Brewster barracks have increased patrols on the road this holiday weekend.  They're looking to crack down on drunk and drugged driving and other traffic infractions. State Troopers will conduct sobriety checkpoints and target reckless and aggressive driving through Monday.  Connecticut State Troopers are seeing increased traffic this long holiday weekend.  That will likely continue as many residents have Monday off from work.  Troopers will be patrolling state roads and highways during the long weekend. 

Bethel Fire Truck Ad Hoc Committee disbanded

Danbury's new Fire Chief was sworn in this week.  Richard Thode was Bridgeport's Chief and member of the Bethel Fire Truck Ad Hoc Committee. 

Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker acknowledged Thode as that committee was disbanded earlier this month.  He wished Thode well in the next chapter of his career.

The Bethel committee was formed as town officials look into the best option for getting a working aerial ladder truck in town for the Bethel Fire Department.  Stony Hill Fire Company will also likely need an aerial truck in the near future due to growth in that section of town.  They currently do not have one.

Newtown officer retires, Monroe officer promoted

After 32 years as a Newtown patrol officer, Patrolman Robert Haas will be retiring.  He started his law enforcement career in New Fairfield Police in 1979, and became an Auxiliary Patrol Officer for Newtown in 1983.  He was hired on as a full time officer in 1989 and has been serving the community ever since. 

Monroe Police Officer Jeff Loomis has been promoted to the rank of Sergeant. He is a veteran member of the department and has been a K-9 handler for the past 11 years.

Infrastructure improvement project around DHS on track for federal funding

The U.S. House passed the INVEST Act yesterday, which includes funding for some local road improvement projects.  5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes requested $3.3 million for intersection improvements in Danbury on Route 39 at Beckerle Street and East Gate Road. 

The goal is to address left-turns during peak hours to accommodate the increase in vehicles around Danbury High School.  The crash histories for these intersections show a pattern of rear-end collisions that may be associated with the lack of left-turn lanes and substandard sight lines. 

Route 39 would be widened, but that requires minor modifications to the existing drainage system.  The project also impacts multiple driveways.  Route 39 would be repaved and the traffic signal at both intersections will be replaced and modified for the new intersection configurations. 

Route 202 road project in Brookfield included in INVEST Act

A local infrastructure project could get federal funding.  The U.S. House passed the INVEST Act yesterday.  5th District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes is seeking $7.4 million for Route 202 intersection improvements in Brookfield. 

Plans call for creating a 4-way signalized intersection with Old New Milford Road and a commercial driveway on Federal Road.  There will also be dedicated left-turn lanes.  The northern end of Old New Milford Road will be converted to one-way to allow vehicles to enter from Route 202. 

The goal is to also address congestion by updating traffic signals from the BJ's/Kohls intersection to Route 133 and widen Federal Road between the BJ's/Kohl's intersection to the Costco intersection, with dedicated turn lanes.  Sidewalks would also be added throughout that stretch. 

Paving will also bring Federal Road to a state of good repair. 

Greater Danbury area towns to mark Independence Day

Having been canceled because of the pandemic last year, New Fairfield is once again hosting a 4th of July parade.  A ceremony will be held at Memorial Field after the parade, which is slated to step off at 9:30am.  The New Fairfield Lion's Club is sponsoring the parade, which will march from the Senior Center, to Route 39 past Town Hall and to the field.  Over 40 groups are participating.

The New Milford Chamber of Commerce is hosting a fireworks show in honor of Independence Day.  The fireworks show is also being sponsored by New Milford Hospital, which is celebrating its 100th birthday this year.  The National Anthem will be performed on the New Milford Town Green at 6:30pm tomorrow, followed by live music and then the fireworks show.  The Lions Club Carnival at Young’s Field is also being held.

Fireworks will once again blast off in Ridgefield to mark Independence Day.  The family celebration is slated for Monday at Ridgefield High School.  Gates open at 6pm with fireworks beginning at dusk.  Proceeds form the 20-dollar parking pass will go to the Family Fourth Committee.  Passes can be purchased through the town’s website, at town hall or at Fairfield County Bank in Ridgefield.  The rain date is Tuesday.

Danbury Railway Museum begins first phase of re-opening this weekend

The Danbury Railway Museum will begin the first phase of re-opening on Saturday and Sunday.  Vaccinated visitors are asked to wear masks indoors and while riding in the train; others are asked to wear masks at all times.  Although the children’s play area will remain closed, the gift shop will be opened upon request to one group at a time. 

In the railyard, a number of pieces of equipment will be open including the 1907 B&M steam engine, the Railway Post Office car, the RDC, and a caboose.  The “Railyard Local,” a short train ride in the historic Danbury rail yard, pulled by a vintage locomotive, will run both days. 

Admission to the museum and train rides will be free during the grand reopening weekend. 

All volunteers are vaccinated and will be wearing masks.  The Danbury Railway Museum is a non-profit organization, staffed solely by volunteers.

Easton Police investigating hit & run crash

Easton Police are investigating a hit and run accident that happened Tuesday.  A light colored, full-size pickup truck was traveling south on Maple Road at a high rate of speed when the driver struck a vehicle heading northbound.  The other vehicle's drivers side mirror was destroyed and the rear window shattered.  The truck was unable to be located or identified, but should have drivers side mirror damage. Anyone with information is encouraged to call Easton Police.

S&P Global Ratings reaffirms AAA status to Bethel's bond rating

S&P Global Ratings has again reaffirmed AAA status to Bethel’s bond rating. This is the highest rating possible and applies to the town’s existing bond debt as well as to the upcoming bond sale to cover the remaining costs of Johnson and Rockwell school renovations.  First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says the high bond credit rating ensures Bethel will receive the lowest possible interest rate on its bonds, resulting in significant savings for taxpayers over the life of the loan. In addition, S&P stated Bethel’s debt is eligible to be rated “above the sovereign,” indicating the Town can maintain better credit performance than the U.S. government under conditions of economic stress.  The agency cited strong management with good financial policies and practices, budget flexibility, with reserves at 22% of operating expenses and debt control, with debt service at 5-point-2% of operating expenses.

2021 Newtown Labor Day Parade canceled

The Newtown Labor Day Parade committee has announced that this year's parade will be canceled. It's the second year in a row that the 60-year old parade has been called off.  The pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 parade, and the committee said it had been struggling in recent months with a decision for this year.  The group said that the time and effort required to execute the event are too much with the short time remaining before Labor Day.  The committee does not have enough remaining members or volunteers to pull off what they called a Herculean event and called on people to consider joining the committee or committing to volunteer.  The organizing process for 2022 will begin in the fall.

3 unlocked cars stolen from driveways in Southeast

3 vehicles were reported stolen in the Town of Southeast over the weekend.  New York State Police from the Brewster barracks say the newer Land Rover and Audi and a 2008 Prius were all left unlocked in the owner’s driveway with the keys in the car.  Troopers are reminding members of the community to secure their vehicle properly, including locking it, closing all windows and sunroofs and never leaving keys, valuables, or personal identification inside.  New York State Police have seen an increase of larcenies from vehicles and vehicles stolen over the past year.   Troopers also suggest parking in well-lit areas and not leaving the vehicle unattended while it is running, even for short periods of time.

Candlewood Lake Authority Marine Patrol offering safety reminders

The Candlewood Lake Authority Marine Patrol is offering some reminders this summer season.  Boats within 100 feet of shore or anchored vessels must go slow and obey no wake zones.  Buoys indicating no wake zones mean you must go less than 6 miles per hour and not leave a wake.  Anyone headed out on the water needs to get a boating license and safe boating certificate to drive a boat or personal watercraft.  Everyone on board needs a life jacket.  There must be enough wearable US Coast Guard approved personal floatation devices for every person on the vessel.  Jetskis and personal watercrafts may not operate after sunset and no children or passengers can ride in front of the operator at any time.

Towns can now decide on in-person, hybrid or remote meetings

A bill about how to conduct meetings post-public emergency declaration failed to come up for a vote in the General Assembly before the session ended, but language was included in the budget implementer.  It allows for fully remote, hybrid or in-person meetings. 

Every elected board and commission can make their own decision on how to meet.  New Fairfield First Selectman Pat Del Monaco says there's been some suggestion that the Selectmen could set the policy for appointed boards and commissions. 

If a member of the public requests it, within 24 hours of a remote meeting, the town must provide a physical location and electronic equipment if they didn't have access to that equipment themselves.  Del Monaco says previous interpretations by the Freedom of Information Commission note that meetings can be held by phone and telephone is included in the definition of electronic equipment. 

The bill also speaks to interruption in service if the signal drops and provides more detail than included in the executive orders.  Del Monaco notes that it also adds some documentation requested by the FOI Commission.  There is also a 48 hour notice requirement for all remote meetings among other subtle differences.

Del Monaco says it would be a $20,000 investment to outfit the Senior Center Community Room with the necessary equipment to do hybrid meetings.

Two drivers injured in Danbury crash

A driver that State Police was attempting to pull over fled and later crashed into an SUV, closing a main intersection in Danbury for hours.  Police were looking to stop a 46-year old Danbury man Wednesday morning, though did not say if they were actively pursuing the vehicle in a chase.  The crash happened at the intersection of Hayestown and Tamarack avenues around 7:15.  The driver hit a vehicle stopped at a traffic light, pushing it across the intersection, onto the sidewalk and into a sign post.  The car rolled backwards and came to a final rest back in the roadway.  A 69-year-old Newtown woman was transported to the Hospital with suspected minor injuries, and the other driver was transported with serious injuries but is in stable condition. Any witnesses to the collision or the moments prior to the crash are asked to email Trooper First Class Wayne Petralito at

PURA enacts customer credit, spoilage compensation provisions

Danbury State Representative David Arconti is touting a decision by the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to implement provisions from Take Back Our Grid Act in a timely manner. Effective today, a customer credit and spoilage compensation will be available.  Utility customers could be eligible for $25 for each 24 hour period of time, after 96 consecutive hours of an outage and $250 for medication and food that expired or spoiled due to a service outage lasting longer than 96 consecutive hours.

Unemployment claimants must once again report work search activity

Danbury State Senator Julie Kushner, chair of the legislature's Labor Committee, is reminding residents that starting today, unemployment claimants must once again report their work search activity when applying for aid.  The weekly supplemental $300 in federal unemployment funds will expire on September 4th. Governor Lamont's Back to Work incentive offers a potential $1000 sign-on bonus for the long-term unemployed who go back to work.

State officials tour former Gilbert & Bennett Wire Mill site

Governor Lamont’s Chief of Staff was in Redding yesterday to take a tour of the former Gilbert & Bennett Wire Mill site.  The state recently approved for a $200,000 brownfields remediation grant to assess the manufacturing company property for redevelopment.  State Representative Raghib Allie-Brennan took the tour with Paul Mounds, led by Redding First Selectman Julia Pemberton.  The town has long hoped to turn the site into a walkable downtown village and multi-use development with affordable housing.

DEEP warns of busy summer at Squantz Pond, crackdown on illegal parking

Ahead of the July 4th Weekend, visitors to state parks and boat launches are being urged to plan ahead, arrive early, and have a back-up plan in mind in case the location of your choice is full and closed to new visitors upon arrival. 

State Parks such as Squantz Pond in New Fairfield often fill to capacity on the holiday and other nice summer weekends. Once capacity is reached the park is closed for the day and new visitors will be turned away for the rest of the day.

Parking illegally outside of a park can result in a ticket or your vehicle being towed. 

 Each year, DEEP says traffic congestion, parking issues, and visitors being turned away contribute to a disappointing experience for many would-be visitors.  There is no parking allowed on nearby streets outside of Squantz, unloading near the park, or any other violations of posted traffic signage.  

DEEP recommends checking the “What’s Open Outdoors” page of the agency's website prior to venturing out to a park, and to have a back-up plan in mind ahead of time in the event a park closes while en route.  Many State Parks and Boat Launches reach capacity and close early on holidays and nice summer weekend days, with some reaching capacity as early as 9:00 a.m.  

Bethel residents approve open space preservation funding

About 200 people came out to a special town meeting in Bethel Tuesday night and authorized funding for a parcel of land to be preserved.  More than 7.5 acres on Shelley Road that had once been proposed as the site of a controversial housing development will become open space.  The parcel borders both Bethel’s Franc Preserve and Newtown Forest Association’s Brunot Preserve.  Bethel residents signed off on spending up to $300,000 from the General Fund, with an additional $200,000 coming form the Planning and Zoning’s open space fund.  Bethel will also apply for grants to help offset the costs.

Public hearing set in Newtown on proposed marijuana-related ban

Greater Danbury area municipalities, like all others in the state, will now have to decide whether to allow recreational marijuana sales now that it's become legal in Connecticut.  When medical marijuana was approved, Danbury created a temporary moratorium and could do the same later this month when the Zoning Commission meets.  Ridgefield prohibits medical marijuana facilities. Permits for retailers don't start until next summer at the earliest.  The Newtown Planning and Zoning Commission is holding a public hearing on the issue tonight.  Newtown’s proposed ban would not affect individuals, but it would apply to cultivators, producers, retailers and dispensaries.  The hearing is at 7pm in the Newtown Municipal Center.

Heat, storms cause power outages in Greater Danbury area

Some severe weather moved through Litchfield County last night.  The storm caused downed trees and power outages in the New Milford and Sherman areas.  At the height of the storm, New Milford Mayor Pete Bass says more than a thousand Eversource customers were without power.  A majority of them, nearly 900 were associated with downed trees in the Van Car area.  There were more than 8,000 outages statewide last night.  In Sherman 81 percent of the town was without power.

Before the storm, there were a lot of power outages reported in Fairfield County.  Eversource reported nearly 5,000 outages in Ridgefield yesterday afternoon, about 45-percent of the town.  Eversource told First Selectman Rudy Marconi that it may be due to grid overloading due to the extreme temperature and electricity usage. 

The utility later said it was due to a heat-related problem at one of their substations.  Town Hall was running on a generator. 

The outage included Ballard Green, the town’s affordable housing apartment complex for seniors and people with disabilities.  Marconi told the Newstimes a generator there died, and urged people to service their equipment now ahead of hurricane season. 

More than 2,000 outages were also reported in Danbury, but it was not immediately clear what caused the Danbury outages.

Legal marijuana possession tops list of new Connecticut laws

A host of new laws are scheduled to take effect Thursday. The most notable is a law that allows adults 21 and older to legally possess small quantities of marijuana. It marks the first step in Connecticut's move toward a legalized system. It's likely going to take at least a year before an industry is up and running.

Danbury Police Chief Patrick Ridenhour and his colleagues have all received a multi-page training bulletin from the Police Officer Standards and Training Council outlining the complicated new recreational cannabis law.  Among other things, the bulletin highlights how cannabis and hemp will now be included with tobacco when it comes to locations where smoking is not allowed, ranging from restaurants to partially enclosed bus shelters. 

The odor of cannabis or burnt cannabis shall not constitute probable cause or a reasonable suspicion for police to stop and/or search any person or their vehicle. However, officers may test for impairment if there’s reasonable suspicion the driver and/or passenger are under the influence of marijuana.


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