Local Headlines Archives for 2021-08

Lake Lillinonah to be lowered due to high river flow

Due to forecasted high river flows, New Milford Mayor Pete Bass is cautioning that Lake Lillinonah will be lowered, starting at 10pm. The approximate pond level of the lake will be taken to 3.5 feet below normal low operating levels.  It will be held there until high river flows subside.

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Trashers, producers to hold Q&A on Netflix documentary about the hockey team

A new documentary is coming to Netflix about the Danbury Trashers.  A viewing event is scheduled at the Danbury Arena for the documentary called UNTOLD: Crime and Penalties.  Some Trashers players and the producers will be on hand for a Q&A tonight.  The event will begin at 5pm, with the viewing starting at 7:30pm inside Patriot Rink. 

Attendees need to register for the free event. 

The story of the 2004 through 2006 Danbury Trashers features AJ Galante, who was named head of the minor league team by his dad at age 17.  The team was known for having more penalty minutes in one season than any other team, breaking attendance records, and a large payroll that circumvented the United Hockey League’s annual salary cap. 

The team became embroiled in the FBI’s take down of James Galante, the trash magnate with ties to the mob and Genovese crime family.  According to the U.S. attorney’s office, the team put the players or their wives on the payroll of various trash companies as no-show employees.  The older Galante was sentenced 87 months in prison.

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Today is Overdose Awareness Day in Conn.

Today is Overdose Awareness Day in the State of Connecticut. 

Bethel Representative Raghib Allie-Brennan is highlighting a bill signed by the Governor last month to prohibit health care providers from being required to prescribe more than the physician-recommended dose of prescription drugs if deemed clinically inappropriate, reducing the potential for substance misuse or abuse. 

He says while strong inroads have been made  in assisting those struggling with substance use disorders by expanding access to treatment and recovery services, there is still more work to be done. 

Allie-Brennan is touting another bill signed by Lamont over the summer which he co-sponsored establishing a peer navigator pilot program.  It's based on a New Milford program that matches survivors of substance abuse disorder with individuals struggling with addiction.  The navigators receive training on non-coercive and non-stigmatizing methods for engaging people struggling with addiction to start recovery and help connect them with basic needs such as food, housing or employment.

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Bethel school officials to discuss traffic around campus

Bethel Public School officials are touting a successful first day of the new academic year, though will be meeting today with School Resource Officers to develop a better plan for traffic flow.  Superintendent Christine Carver says they know there was some campus congestion, leading to traffic backing up and delays in buses, and those issues were examined. Carver visited all of the schools and also heard from students who were excited to be back in the classroom with their peers. 

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Conn. annual Veterans Stand Down event scheduled

The state Department of Veterans Affairs will hold its annual Veterans Stand Down event September 22nd through 24th. The outreach initiative has been held for nearly three decades.  This year will combine two days of online benefits presentations and a day with five regional in-person Veteran resource access sites, including Danbury.

The three-day event will start with a kickoff ceremony at 9am on September 22nd at the DVA Rocky Hill Campus, broadcast via social media.  Informational sessions will cover a variety of topics including housing and homeless services, State labor/employment and vocational resources, caregiver support, legal assistance, education resources and others.

On day three, Friday, September 24th, there will be five in–person service locations throughout the State, including at the Danbury War Memorial.  The local Stand Down event will be open from 8am-2pm and staffed by representatives of the regional Vet Centers, CT Bar Association, the DVA and Veteran Service Organizations, along with community based providers. 

Veterans can get benefits information, pro-bono legal services and free COVID-19 testing, vaccines and flu shots.

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Newtown implements indoor public places mask mandate

Newtown is joining other Greater Danbury area municipalities and implementing a mask mandate in indoor public places, regardless of vaccination status.  The emergency declaration was issued by First Selectman Dan Rosenthal after consulting with Newtown resident Dr John Murphy, CEO of Nuvance Health, as well as the Newtown Health District Director.  Rosenthal didn't put one in place when Danbury and 5 surrounding towns did earlier this month because at the time he says Newtown's COVID-19 caseload and other data didn't justify one.  Now, Newtown has the highest average new case rate in the region.  When the other towns required indoor masking, Rosenthal noted that most of Newtown's cases stemmed from out-of-town travel. 

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2nd dose COVID-19 vaccine clinics come to Danbury Public Schools

COVID-19 vaccine clinics are returning to Danbury Schools this week to provide 2nd doses of the Pfizer vaccine. The follow up clinic for people who got their first shot at Westside Middle School on August 10th will be held today from 3pm to 7pm. Tomorrow, people who received a first dose at Park Avenue School on August 11th can get the follow up from 4pm to 8pm. The mobile health teams are also offering the Johnson and Johnson shot for those who are age-eligible.

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Redding holding voter registration session today

The Redding Registrar of Voters will be holding a registration session today, for Redding residents to sign up to vote or enroll with a party in order to vote in the primary.  The registration session will be held in the hearing room of Redding Town Hall from 4pm to 6pm.  When registering to vote for the first time, residents must have a valid photo ID that shows name and address. For anyone who recently moved from a different town or state and doesn't have their current address on the ID, they should also bring a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck or government document with name and address.

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New Fairfield residents reject proposed noise ordinance

New Fairfield residents have rejected a proposed noise ordinance.  A town meeting was held on Sunday and more than 300 residents turned out to weigh in on the matter.  The measure failed on a vote of 254 to 129. 

New Fairfield has experienced excessive noise complaints over the years, specifically in the summer.  First Selectman Pat Del Monaco says there are areas in town with excessive noise issues and this would have provided a way to correct those issues.  The proposed ordinance included guidelines about certain activities and sources of potentially disruptive sound.  There were a number of exclusions as well.  

Any person living or doing business in New Fairfield could have applied to the Director of Health for a variance from one or more of the provisions of the Noise Ordinance.  

Del Monaco previously said they consulted with sound experts, attorneys and local law enforcement.  The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection had signed off on the proposal.

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Districts offer free meals to all students for entire school year

Ridgefield and Bethel are among the public school districts that have partnered with the state Department of Education to offer free meals to all students for the entire school year.  It will be a fully nutritious meal as guided by the State of Connecticut and Federal Regulations.  Bethel's meal services department says the town is offering free breakfast and lunch.  Ridgefield officials noted that parents will still need to purchase any ‘a la carte’ items outside of a full meal.  The National School Lunch Program will provide all students with one free lunch which consists of 5 components:Meat or Meat Alternative, Grain, Milk, Fruit, and Vegetable.

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Info session to be held by Ridgefield ECDC about retail cannabis

A community information session is being held by the Ridgefield Economic and Community Development Commission tonight about retail cannabis.  The Commission has been talking with counterparts in other states about the pros and cons of retail sales.  Policymakers and retailers from Connecticut, California, and Massachusetts will take part in the Community Information Session. 

The ECDC will make a recommendation on the economic viability of retail cannabis to the Board of Selectmen. 

ECDC Chair Geoffrey Morris says there are strong opinions on either side of the conversation and they want to take a wholistic look at retail cannabis and facilitate a data-informed conversation.  One goal is to better understand the economic drivers, tax revenue opportunities, and impact on commercial real estate.  They will also delve into its social and health impact, public safety matters, and learn what other resources may be involved in oversight.

When Connecticut legalized recreational use of cannabis, it was left up to local leaders to determine how their communities would approach retail sales. 

State Senator Will Haskell, Rural County Representatives of California Legislative Advocate Sarah Dukett and General Counsel Arthur Wylene, and Massachusetts-based Canna Provisions CEO Meg Sanders will participate.  Members of the Ridgefield Board of Selectmen and Planning and Zoning Commission will also participate.  The Zoom meeting is at 6:30pm. https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_IJybz5LlSRW9HSImFBQH1w Questions may be submitted in advance or during the Community Forum via e-mail: ridgefieldECDC@gmail.com

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Body discovered in vehicle at Danbury commuter parking lot

A body has been discovered in a vehicle at a Danbury commuter parking lot.  State Police received a report Saturday night of a strong odor coming from an SUV with California license plates parked in the I-84 eastbound Exit 2 commuter lot.  Responding Troopers located an adult female inside of the parked vehicle, who was pronounced deceased at the scene.  She was identified as 71-year old Joanna Lynne Walker of Rancho Murieta, California. This incident remains under investigation.  Anyone with information or who noticed the vehicle within the last two weeks, is asked to contact Tpr. Pikul at Troop A, Southbury 203-267-2200 or bret.pikul@ct.gov. All information can be submitted anonymously. Case number 2100353136.

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Boating accident in New Fairfield under investigation

A boating accident in New Fairfield is under investigation.  State Environmental Conservation Police tasked Brookfield Police divers with finding the submerged vessel early Thursday morning and ensuring there was no one on board.  The divers were able to provide a registration number to investigators, who made contact with the owner. 

The boat sank a few hours prior and everyone on board made it off safely. 

The boat was about 35 feet deep, and divers encountered numerous dock lines, wreckage debris, less than 1-foot visibility, and a gasoline spill.  Brookfield Police say these  factors created an exceptionally dangerous environment with entanglement and hazmat concerns. 

The vessel has been removed from the water.  New Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department Company A, Ball Pond Volunteer Fire Company, and Squantz Pond Fire Department also responded. 

Brookfield Police and EnCon Police are reminding all boaters to notify CT EnCon Police or 911 immediately of all boating accidents. The EnCon 24/7 phone number is (860) 424-3333.

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Danbury officer suspended for remarks during library run-in

DANBURY, Conn. (AP) — A Danbury police officer has been suspended for eight days for making offensive remarks — caught on body camera — during a confrontation with a man filming at a public library.

The News-Times reports an internal investigation found Ken Utter and three other officers violated department policies in their response to a June 9 incident, in which SeanPaul Reyes conducted a so-called First Amendment audit within the library.

Reyes, of Bellport, New York, visited the library and filmed inside to see how officials would respond.

At one point, Utter could be heard on body camera saying that Reyes would have been “dead” 20 years ago, adding “his teeth would be missing.”

“While I understand that you were clearly frustrated after a tense encounter comments such as these are never acceptable under any circumstances,” Chief Patrick Ridenhour wrote to the officer. “They cause embarrassment to our department and can easily hamper our efforts to build and maintain positive relationships with our community.”

In addition to his suspension, Utter, a 25-year-veteran of the department, was told to undergo remedial training and a refresher course on body cameras.

Officer Christopher Dennis was required to take counseling and remedial training, though Ridenhour noted he “remained calm throughout this incident, even though you were subjected to a barrage of unnecessary personal attacks.” Officer Paul Tibbitts was suspended for three days without pay and was required to take remedial training.  Ridenhour wrote that the three exhibited rude or unprofessional conduct toward the public or in public view. 

Sgt. John Dickinson, who was called to the library later, received a written reprimand and was ordered to take a brief refresher training on how to operate his body-worn camera.

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Danbury Schools reopen for full, in-person learning

The Danbury Board of Education has received an update on the opening of a new school year today.  Superintendent Kevin Walston says all school buildings are reopening for the district's roughly 12,000 students.  To prepare for the new academic year, Danbury hired 120 certified staff members 18 non-certified staff members.  

Over half a million dollars in furniture was ordered so students can be at least three feet apart, meeting the CDC recommendation.  Walston notes that at the middle school level, given space constraints, they are unable to maintain three-foot distancing in every single classroom.  When distancing is not possible, other mitigation strategies like masking and hand washing are encouraged.  Tents will once again be used at the high school during lunch sessions. 

Desk shields will be up only when students are unmasked and eating.  Walston says it's been determined that desk shields are not necessary because they could impede air flow. For some of the desks it also didn’t really fit well, and interfered with learning.  The back-to-school plan follows state guidelines. 

Students under age 12, who are ineligible for COVID-19 vaccination, can participate in a voluntary weekly testing program.  Masks are required indoors and on buses.  

Open house and school-wide parent events will remain virtual, or outdoors.  Until further notice, nonessential visitors will not be permitted into the school buildings.

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Danbury reactivates online dashboard tracking COVID-19 cases

The Danbury Public School District will reactivate its online dashboard today tracking COVID-19 cases.  There's a change this year, statewide, for how close contacts will be determined.  Students seated three feet from a positive person, if masks were consistently and correctly worn, do not need to quarantine if they don't have symptoms.  Vaccinated students and staff who are exposed to COVID and do not have symptoms will not need to quarantine, but according to Danbury's reopening plan should get tested three to five days after exposure and monitor for symptoms for 14 days. Those who are unvaccinated need to quarantine for 10 days and get tested three to five days after exposure. Assignments will be posted to Google Classroom, with a school quarantine liaison available for students who need to isolate.  Other certified staff will also be available to help them.  Special Ed teachers and other shared staff will have to continue to sign in at school buildings in case contact tracing is necessary.

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Ridgefield Police remind drivers, children of back to school safety

Ridgefield students are returning to the classroom today for the start of a new academic year.  The Ridgefield Police Department is urging drivers, parents and children to prepare for back to school safety.  Motorists should be aware of increased “back to school” bus, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic, and to be alert for children who may be hurrying to and from school.  Under state law, it is mandatory that drivers stop for school buses that have their flashing red warning lights activated, whether they are approaching or following the school bus. The yellow flashing lights are a warning to drivers that the bus will be stopping to pick up and/or drop-off students. Drivers should anticipate that the red flashing lights will come on shortly after as the bus comes to a stop. Fines for passing a standing school bus that has its flashing red lights activated starts at $470 for a first offense.

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Bethel Schools have new visitor management system

The Bethel Public School District has a new visitor management system in place for the upcoming school year to sign in and out visitors and tardy students.  Visitors will still ring a bell at the entrance to the school, show identification and give a reason for the visit.  Now inside the vestibule will be a computer to scan the barcode on a driver's license, enter the reason for the visit and take a picture for a visitor pass.  Visitors will be buzzed into the building to collect the pass and head to their intended location.  Visitors will have to scan out when leaving building.  For students who are tardy, a similar system is in place, but instead of a visitor pass it's a late pass and the students will be buzzed into the main office.

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Ridgefield Triathlon prompt warning of delays, closure

Motorists are being advised that there will be traffic in Ridgefield tomorrow due to the Ridgefield Triathlon.  All roads except Great Pond Road will remain open during the race.  Delays are expected as competitors cross intersections, with those that will be impacted the most will be Route 7 at Haviland Road and Route 35 at Haviland.  The bike course is: Great Pond to Haviland to Limestone to Bennetts Farm to Regan to Ridgebury to Ledges to North St to Copps Hill to Farmingville to Limekiln to Haviland to Great Pond. The run course is: Great Pond to Haviland to Poplar to Linden to Limekiln to Haviland to Great Pond.

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COVID-19 mobile clinics being held today in Danbury, New Fairfield

A yellow state Department of Public Health minivan will be in New Fairfield today holding a walk-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic.  Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson shots will be administered at the New Fairfield High School parking lot from 9am to 7pm. 

There are two COVID-19 vaccine clinics being held in Danbury today.  Both are offering all brands of the vaccine.  One is being held at the DHS food distribution event today from 9am to 2pm.  The other is at Rogers Park from 3pm to 9pm. 

The free clinics will vaccinate anyone over the age of 12, however those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent. 

The rate of Connecticut residents 16 to 64 years olds who have started the inoculation process increased 1-percent from the week before.  Vaccination rates for 12 to 15 year olds in Connecticut increased by 2-percent from the week before.

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Newtown Police urge drivers to leave early Monday as school buses hit the roads

Newtown students are returning to the classroom on Monday.  Newtown Police are offering some reminders to motorists for when school is back in session.  Drivers are asked to slow down because children will be out waiting for school buses.  With school buses stopping frequently, delays are expected.

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COVID-19 infection rate data released for Greater Danbury area

According to the latest COVID-19 data from the state Department of Public Health, Bethel's COVID-19 infection rate has remained relatively flat from the previous reporting period.  Brookfield is up to 5 percent from 4.3 percent infection rate while Danbury has a test positivity rate of 3.1  percent.  That's a slight decrease from 3.4 percent in the last two weeks reported.  133 cases in Danbury have been reported to the state between August 8th and 21st. 

New Milford's positivity rate is 3-percent.  New Fairfield is at 5.4 percent, up from 3.8 percent in the previous week.

Newtown's has decreased slightly from 3.7 percent to 3.5.  Redding has a a 3.6 percent infection rate, up from 2.5 percent in the previous reporting period.  Ridgefield's COVID-19 infection rate continues to decline.  It's at 2.2 percent this week, down from 3.1 percent the week before. 

As of Wednesday, 7,121 cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated Connecticut residents have been identified. That's less than .32 percent of Connecticut’s fully vaccinated population.  53 COVID-related deaths have occurred among people with breakthrough cases. These deaths represent 5.8% of all COVID-19 deaths since this February.

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Vehicle fire in New Milford quickly extinguished

A vehicle fire yesterday morning in New Milford was quickly extinguished.  Water Witch Hose Fire Company responded to the top of Long Mountain Road for a construction vehicle fire.  The small rock truck was fully involved in the driveway of a new home under construction.  The blaze was not close to the home and there were no injuries reported.

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Volunteers needed for weekend food distribution event in Danbury

Danbury High School is hosting its final drive-thru food distribution event of the month tomorrow and volunteers are needed.  The distribution event is open to any Connecticut resident.  People who drive up or walk up to 43 Clapboard Ridge Road between 10 am and 1 pm will receive a box of fresh produce.  There's also a COVID-19 pop up clinic at the event from 9am to 2pm, offering all three vaccines.

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Danbury Public School District Back to School Guide sent to families

The Danbury Public School District’s Back to School Guide is being sent to families.  It includes important numbers in the District, the Bus Transportation Portal, and annual announcements that are required by law. All bus routes, except Danbury Primary Center, are active in the VersaTran system and parents are asked to check where students will be picked up and dropped off.  Kindergarten age children can not be dropped off without an adult present and they will be returned to their school. If someone else will be meeting the child’s bus, a note stating who the adult is, should be given to the bus driver in the morning along with one sent to the school office.

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Danbury area residents asked to separate 'food grade' glass containers from mixed recycling

Beginning September 1st, residents in the 14 Western Connecticut municipalities served by the HRRA, will be asked to begin separating all “food grade” glass containers from their mixed single-stream recycling, and instead bring glass to a local municipal drop-off center.  State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Katie Dykes, along with Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority Chairman Matthew Knickerbocker, Oak Ridge Waste and Recycling CEO John Decker, and other industry stakeholders, launched HRRA’s new glass recycling program in Brookfield yesterday.  

Dykes says Connecticut is facing a solid waste disposal crisis, and increasing the amount of recycled material is one of the ways to solve it. Cross- contamination of glass, paper and plastic in the mixed recycling stream decreases the amount of material Connecticut is able to successfully recycle.  

Although it is a state mandated recyclable, food grade glass is difficult to recycle once it is broken and intermixed with other recyclables.  When mixed with other materials in the single stream process, a large portion of that glass becomes too contaminated to be recycled and is either sent for further processing or to landfills. HRRA’s program to separate and capture the higher-value food-grade glass from other recyclable materials will improve the efficiency of recycling programs, lower costs to homeowners and municipalities, and be great for the environment.

Examples of “food grade” glass containers include such items as pickle jars, pasta sauce jars, liquor and wine bottles, most clear and tinted beverage containers. It does not include items such as drinking glass, windowpane glass, mirror glass, auto glass, glass or ceramic coffee mugs, which cannot be recycled or remanufactured through the mixed stream recycling system.  These non-food grade glass items should never be added to curbside collection bins as they only impede not improve the mixed stream recycling. 

The HRRA region includes Bethel, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Danbury, Kent, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Redding, Ridgefield, Roxbury, Sherman, Weston, and Wilton. 

Glass recycling containers are available at each municipal recycling center and or for the towns of Sherman and Brookfield, at a municipal location.  Site locations are listed at HRRA.org

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New Milford Police investigating catalytic converter thefts

New Milford Police are investigating catalytic converter thefts.  Police say the thieves are cutting the converters off with a reciprocating saw. They vandalized four Toyota Prius', one Ford F250, and one Toyota 4-Runner. The thefts are occurring late night/early morning hours in New Milford and surrounding towns, by two to three males wearing masks, driving a black pickup truck. Anyone with any information is encouraged to contact New Milford Police.

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Newtown Police investigating reported robbery

A reported robbery is under investigation in Newtown.  Police responded to South Main Street yesterday morning, around 11:30.  The victim said he was walking along the road when a heavy set white man and a woman pulled into a driveway in the area of Ram’s Pasture and approached him.  After a brief conversation they removed his necklace, returned to their vehicle and left the area.  He was not injured in the encounter. The vehicle is reported to be a darker colored SUV with possible out of state license plates.  Officers are asking any witnesses or anyone with information regarding this incident contact the Newtown police department.

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Hearing scheduled on zone change to allow homeless shelter in former Danbury motel

An application to allow a homeless shelter on Lake Avenue in Danbury will get a public hearing next month.  The Zoning Commission met this week and referred the petition to amend regulations to add transitional shelter for the homeless as a special exception use to the Planning Commission.  Notification will be sent to the surrounding community.  A public hearing will be held by the Danbury Zoning Commission on September 28th.  It will likely to be via Zoom since the last hearing on this property had a large number of virtual participants, more than could likely be accommodated safely in Council Chambers due to COVID-related protocols.  The former Super 8 motel has been housing the homeless since the start of the pandemic when a gubernatorial executive order went into effect to allow more spacing in congregate settings.  Governor Lamont's emergency powers and orders are set to expire at the end of September.

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DanburyWORKS gets grant to help immigrant community, low-income workers find employment

DanburyWORKS has received a $20,000 grant from Fairfield County’s Community Foundation to help Danbury’s immigrant community and low-income workers find employment. DanburyWORKS is a community collaborative of more than 17 organizations working to reduce poverty in the City by 5-percent within the next 10 years. 

As part of this grant, a Career Navigator will help to lower hurdles for job seekers through direct services to those searching for employment.  The Navigator will also develop relationships with entry-level employers and engage with the local Manufacturer Roundtable to assess the skills needed to fill job openings. A Spanish-speaking community liaison will assist the Career Navigator in recruiting job placement clients and training participants, while bridging the culture and language gap and building trust with the immigrant community. 

As of 2018, more than 30% of Danbury residents were born outside of the United States. Thirty percent are people of color, and 30% are Hispanic. 

The grant-funded efforts also include a partnership with The Bridge to Independence and Career Opportunity to improve the soft skills of job seekers, through TBICO’s World of Work training. Because child care is a crucial component in supporting the workforce, Danbury WORKS says funds from this grant will also be used to provide professional development to improve the quality of care provided by licensed family child care providers in Danbury.

Training will be offered to providers that are part of the Cora’s Kids program, which was launched by United Way of Western Connecticut in 2018 to improve the affordability and quality of child care in Danbury. EdAdvance will also connect with center-based child care providers to offer the trainings to their staff. 

Before COVID-19, 50% of Danbury households struggled financially; the number is likely to have increased since the start of the pandemic.

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92 municipalities are currently in the red zone alert zone

92 municipalities are currently in the red zone alert zone, the highest of the state’s four alert levels for COVID-19 community spread.  Brookfield, Sherman, New Fairfield, and Newtown are in the red zone.  With 40 cases in the last two weeks in Brookfield, that works out to 16.8 per 100,000 population and just over the 15 case threshold to be in the red.   Danbury is now in the Orange zone, along with New Milford, Redding, Ridgefield, Washington and Wilton, the second highest alert level.  Bethel remains in the yellow with 9.4 cases per 100,000 population over two weeks. In the grey zone, the lowest level for community spread, are Bridgewater, Kent, and Roxbury. 

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New Milford schools have early dismissal

For the third day in a row New Milford students will have early dismissal.  Superintendent Alisha DiCorpo says New Milford Public Schools will have a scheduled regular early dismissal due to the high heat index and high humidity levels that are predicted.  There will be no after-school activities.  The new academic year began Wednesday in New Milford.  Many of the buildings are not air conditioned. 

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Pop up COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Danbury, New Fairfield today

The Danbury Health Department is hosting a couple of pop up COVID-19 vaccine clinics today.  The Pfizer vaccine will be offered at St Paul's Lutheran Church on Spring Street from noon to 5pm.  Moderna is being offered at Palace View Senior Housing on Main Street from 2pm to 5pm.  The Griffin Health yellow minivan will be at Danbury Mission Technologies on Wooster Heights Road from 10am to 5pm.  All three vaccines will be available at Rogers Park from 4pm to 9pm. The Mobile COVID-19 Vaccination Team will be back in New Fairfield today and Saturday, from 9am to 7pm.  Second doses will be provided Saturday for those who received first doses at the clinics on August 7th. The van will be located in the New Fairfield High School parking lot.  Pfizer, Moderna and J&J will be available to anyone over the age of 12, however those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent. Doses are provided free of charge.

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Redding police receive increase calls about bear sightings

Redding Police have received an increased amount of calls for bear sightings recently. Bears are attracted to garbage, pet food, compost piles, fruit trees, and birdfeeders so police are asking residents to remove birdfeeders and food through November. Garbage cans should be left inside a garage or shed and residents should clean and store grills in a garage or shed after use, though propane cylinders should be stored outside.  Meat and sweets should not be added to a compost pile. Leftover bird seed or recyclables should not be left in a porch or screened sunroom as bears can smell these items and will rip screens to get at them.

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Local police step up patrols as school buses get back on the roads

Wilton Police officials note that school buses and kids will be returning to classrooms next week.  Using a data-driven approach to traffic safety, officers have been conducting high visibility enforcement on Route 7 between School Road and Allen's Field.  Motorists are being reminded to Drive Smart. Drive Slow. Drive Safe.  New Milford Police Chief Spencer Cerruto is reminding motorists to drive with extra caution in school zones, near bus stops and Do Not pass a stopped school bus.  Drivers must stop for a school bus that is stopped with its red lights flashing whether it is on the same side of the road or the opposite side.  Officers will be on the look out for violations during school arrival and dismissal times. 

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New details released in arrest warrant for second suspect involved in Danbury mall shooting altercation

New details have been released in the August 11th shooting at Danbury mall as a second teen involved in the altercation is arrested. 

Danbury Police charged 18-year old Derek Sotelo Tuesday with assault, inciting a riot and other offenses after identifying him as being part of the group that intended to confront the group that included the 14-year old shooter.  Macy’s surveillance video showed a group of seven enter the store, while another group was sitting in chairs just outside the upper level entrance within the mall. 

According to the warrant, Sotelo was jumped by a group of juveniles at the carnival in the mall parking lot in early June and suffered minor injuries.  Sotelo, the 15-year old shooting victim and a witness heard a group yelling at them.  According to the warrant, Sotelo recognized the group as those who jumped him and called other friends to the mall.

Things escalated between the two groups.  One boy gets up from a chair, walks backward toward Jenny’s Spa, pulls a gun and fires one shot.  Sotelo, armed with a hammer, lunged toward the shooter. 

Each fled in opposite directions.

The victim, who initially would not give her name or information to police, eventually told officers she was in the mall with some friends.  The girl suffered a fractured vertebrae and was transferred to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center for further treatment.  Her injuries are considered non-life threatening.

Danbury Police were able to recover the suspected handgun used in the incident.  A judge issued warrant on August 13 for the 14-year old, who later turned himself into investigators. 

The investigation is continuing.

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AP sources: Jailed ex-officer in murder plot beaten to death

WASHINGTON (AP) — A former Bureau of Prisons officer who was serving time behind bars for an inappropriate sexual relationship with an inmate and a plot to kill his wife, as well as a separate plot to kill a federal agent who was investigating him, has been beaten to death at a federal prison in Indiana, two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.

Michael Rudkin died Tuesday, a day after he was beaten in an altercation with another inmate at USP Terre Haute, a high-security penitentiary in Indiana, the people said. His death is being investigated as a potential homicide. The people were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

USP Terre Haute is also home to the federal death row and was the prison where 13 executions were carried out in the waning months of the Trump presidency. Rudkin, however, was not a death-row inmate and was serving a 90-year prison sentence.

The Bureau of Prisons said Rudkin was found unresponsive at the prison around 6:30 p.m. on Monday and staff members began administering medical attention and called for emergency medical crews. He was taken to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries and died on Tuesday.

His death is the latest in a rash of incidents for the federal Bureau of Prisons. In the last two years the AP has exposed one crisis after another, including rampant spread of coronavirus inside prisons and a failed response to the pandemic, escapes, deaths and critically low staffing levels that have hampered responses to emergencies, as well as serious misconduct.

Rudkin worked for the Bureau of Prisons as a correctional officer at a federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut, and was convicted in 2009 after he was involved in a sexual relationship with a female inmate and plotted with her to kill his wife.

He had been in the sexual relationship with the woman from October 2007 to January 2008 and promised to pay her $5,000 to arrange for his wife’s murder, according to prosecutors. His plan included making periodic payments to her commissary account to pay off the debt.

While he was serving his sentence in that case, Rudkin solicited help from other inmates to find someone outside of the prison to kill a federal agent with the Justice Department’s inspector general’s office, his ex-wife and others. Prosecutors said he had made an initial payment of $500 as part of that murder-for-hire plot and had promised more money would be coming.

He had been held at Terre Haute, which houses more than 1,100 male inmates, since July 2017.

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Danbury names new Superintendent of Schools

Danbury Public School District has named interim Superintendent Kevin Walston as the new Superintendent of Schools.  Walston, who has been serving as the interim since Sal Pascarella retired at the end of June, was approved for the role by the Board of Ed last night in a vote of 10 to 1.  His term will end in June 2024.  Before stepping into the interim role, Waltson served as Danbury’s assistant superintendent for three years.  Prior to that he held the same role in New Jersey schools.  The former teacher was also previously the principal of Warren Harding High School in Bridgeport and the director of instructional leadership for the Waterbury schools.

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New superintendent appointed for Easton-Redding-Region 9 school district

A new superintendent has been appointed for the Easton-Redding-Region 9 school district.  Jason McKinnon has been appointed to the position.  The tri-Bboard of Ed met in a special meeting on Tuesday.  He comes to the region from Oxford, where he has served as superintendent since 2019.  McKinnon’s official start date is still being negotiated.  He takes over from Tom McMorran, who has been serving as interim superintendent since the abrupt departure of Rydell Harrison. Harrison resigned days after the school board approved a contract extension, after just 10 months leading Easton-Redding-Region 9.  Six interviews of 20 applicants were held before three finalists, including McKinnon, were named.

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CDC classifies Litchfield County as having high COVID-19 community transmission

The CDC has classified Litchfield County as an area with high COVID-19 community transmission, the sixth county in Connecticut to be moved into that category.  Fairfield, New Haven County, Hartford County, Middlesex, and New London counties are now classified as areas of high COVID-19 community transmission.  Connecticut's other two counties are in the “substantial transmission” category. High transmission is classified as places with more than 100 cases per 100,000 in a seven-day period.  Substantial community transmission is classified by the CDC as 50-99 cumulative cases per 100,000 people in the past seven days.

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Three way race in Brookfield for First Selectman

There will be a three-way race for First Selectman in Brookfield.  A 38-year old Independent voter has submitted paperwork with the Town Clerk to run for the top spot in the November municipal election.  Austin Monteiro, will challenge Democratic incumbent Steve Dunn and Republican endorsed Tara Carr.  Monteiro was previously a registered Republican and sought an endorsement earlier this year.  There is no Independent party in Brookfield so he will run as a petitioning candidate.  He owned and ran a gym in Danbury for about 10 years and currently owns a coaching and consulting business.  Monteiro says one of his goals is to finish the Four Corners redevelopment project, wants to do that by filling empty storefronts.  In addition to traditional campaigning of going door to door to introduce himself, Monteiro says he's relying on a social media presence to reach young people and give them a voice.  He's also hosting a meet and greet at JJ Stack on Sunday at 9:30am.

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Danbury Police arrest hammer-wielding teen allegedly involved in mall shooting altercation

Another Danbury teen has been arrested in connection with the shooting at the mall earlier this month.  Danbury Police say 18-year old Derek Sotelo was identified as being part of the group that intended to confront the group that included the 14-year old shooter. 

It was determined that Sotelo was armed with a hammer and seen on surveillance footage as wielding the weapon during the incident.  He was located at a home in Danbury Tuesday and taken into custody. 

Sotelo was charged with 2nd degree criminal attempt to commit assault, inciting a riot, reckless endangerment, inciting injury to a person, risk of injury to a minor and breach of peace. 

Danbury Police began investigating the shooting on August 11th, when a 15-year old girl was shot in the upper chest near the Macy's entrance to the mall.  Surrounding Police agencies helped to implement a lockdown and then remove mall employees and patrons to safety.  It was determined at that time that the assailant fled the mall before police arrived.  The girl sustained non-life threatening injuries.   Police have said the girl was part of one of the groups, but have not determined if she was the intended target of the shooting.

Danbury Police were able to recover the suspected handgun used in the incident.  A judge issued warrant on August 13 for the 14-year old, who later turned himself into investigators. 

The investigation is continuing.

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Danbury Board of Ed to discuss reopening plans in virtual meeting tonight

The Danbury Board of Ed plans to announce the next Superintendent for the District at a special meeting tonight.  The School reopening plan will also be presented.  The meeting will be streamed online starting at 7pm. 

Danbury is still set to open with full, in-person learning on August 30th. 

Phase one of the Ellsworth School Annex Improvement project is coming to a closure. The Annex at 49 Osborne Street will have three classrooms for school readiness preschool students and four kindergarten classrooms.  The Family And Community Engagement Center consisting of the school registration, the Extended Learning programs, ESL testing, and school lunch, will return.

The Danbury Primary Center in Brookfield, the new home for Kindergarten students from Ellsworth Avenue, Stadley Rough, and South Street Schools, is almost complete with new rooms on the lower level for music, art, technology upgrades and office space for the upcoming school year.  

The Board of Ed is planning for in-person meetings, beginning on September 8th, more than likely to be held at the Danbury High School Black Box Theater.

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Drivers reminded of school bus safety rules as academic year begins

As the school year begins in New Milford, Water Witch Hose Fire Company are reminding drivers to re-familiarize themselves with Connecticut law when it comes to school buses.  Drivers must stop for the school bus if the red lights are flashing and there is no middle barrier between the car and the bus in the opposite direction.  New Milford Police will be enforcing stopping for buses.  Drivers are urged to leave a few extra minutes in the mornings and midday, and be cautious of children and buses. 

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Mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinic in New Fairfield this week

The Mobile COVID-19 Vaccination Team will be back in New Fairfield today, tomorrow, and on Saturday, from 9am to 7pm.  Second doses will be provided today and Saturday for those who received first doses at the clinics on August 4th and August 7th. The van will be located in the New Fairfield High School parking lot.  Pfizer, Moderna and J&J will be available to anyone over the age of 12, however those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent. Doses are provided free of charge.

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New Milford opens cooling centers

With  high temperatures expected during the rest of the week, New Milford is opening Cooling Stations.  Seniors are being invited to get out of the heat at the Senior Center from 9am to 4pm.  All other residents can use the cooling center in New Milford Town Hall from 8am to 5pm.  Today it will be in the E Paul Martin Room and tomorrow in the Loretta Brickley Room.  In accordance with the CDC guidelines, as of now, masks will be required in all New Milford Municipal Buildings.

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No bids come in for Danbury-owned parcel, bid request reissued

Danbury is again seeking proposals from qualified parties interested in purchasing and redeveloping a City-owned parcel of land on Liberty at the corner with Delay Street.  Interested parties are requested to submit 6 copies of their proposal to the Office of the Purchasing Agent by November 17th. 

The City previously put out a bid notice about three months ago for purchasers who can “execute a high-quality, financially-feasible project that advances the city’s vision” for the site and downtown.  Those bids were due in mid-July, but Danbury got no response. 

The sidewalks around the just under half an acre property are part of the City's streetscape project, which started this Spring.  The most recent study identified the parcel as suitable for a multi-story building containing a mix of uses with ground floor commercial use that would help activate the public right-of-way. The parcel was included in both the 1990 and 2019 Plan of Development. 

The Downtown Revitalization Overlay Zone offers incentives, such as an expedited permit process, reduced permit fees and decreased utility connection costs.

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Several options available to obtain copy of COVID-19 vaccine record

Some Greater Danbury area legislators have been receiving questions from constituents about how to obtain a copy of their COVID-19 vaccine records.  The requests have been growing as employers require workers to get the shot, business mandate proof from patrons, and some need it for travel. 

The health care provider who administered the vaccine, such as a pharmacy or health center, will have the record,  But people can also log back into the VAMS portal, federal Vaccine Administration Management System, and click a link for a copy of their certificate. 

Governor Lamont signed an executive order last week allowing residents and their doctors the ability to look up vaccine records through the state’s immunization database. CT WiZ can be accessed online with name, date of birth, gender and the email address or phone number used at the time of the vaccinated.

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Committee to examine affordable housing opportunities in New Fairfield

An ad hoc committee has been created in New Fairfield to look into affordable housing opportunities.  The group was formed by the Board of Selectmen at the request of the Commission on Aging.  Chair Anita Brown says the committee would come up with a plan based on recommendations outlined in the state Department of Housing and Regional Plan Association’s Affordable Housing Plan/Process Guidebook.  Recommendations on how to move forward include evaluating local land use and zoning regulations to identify barriers to affordable housing development and community engagement.  Brown says they want to help seniors be able to age in place, but also younger people move out of their parent's homes but remain in New Fairfield.  Affordable housing projects proposed over the years have faced strong opposition from residents and weren't acted on.  

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Age-restricted housing proposal advances in Newtown

The Newtown Board of Selectmen has signed off on the sale of a 14-acre property for age restricted housing, so long as the town's land use boards give their approval.  Teton Capital Company of Old Greenwich proposed up to 200 apartments, with a minimum of 150.  The Commerce Road lot is currently zoned as industrial.  Pending land-use approvals, about 8 acres would be developed.  It's part of a larger 42-acre parcel, with the balance preserved as open space.  The plans call for at least 80 percent of the units to have at least one occupant who is 55 years of age or older.  The site is adjacent to the 34-acre Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary, a nonprofit founded in the memory of a girl killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook School.  The sale would generate between $3.1 million and $4.2 million for Newtown, depending on how many apartments are approved. The layout showed one- and two-bedroom apartments in five buildings, with parking areas and amenities such as a clubhouse and a pool.

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DEEP resumes water quality testing at state park swim areas

All state parks and forests were closed Sunday due to the impending storm, and reopened Monday afternoon, but some swim areas were closed.  Lynn Deming on Candlewood Lake in New Milford was also closed the last two days.  The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection advised residents from coming into direct contact with surface water in areas near drainage pipes across the state for 72 hours after the storm.  State swimming areas are not in close proximity to the combined sewer overflow discharges from the storm.  Water quality testing at state park swim areas resumed yesterday morning, with resulted expected today.  At the last testing, all swim areas, including Squantz Pond State Park in New Fairfield were open.

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Road closure ner Huckleberry Hill Elementary planned tomorrow, Thursday

Candlewood Lake Road in Brookfield will be closed between Huckleberry Hill Road and Rocky Road tomorrow and Thursday.  The closure is from 7am to 3:30pm.  Detour signs will be posted.  Brookfield Police say accommodations will be made for traffic going to and from Alexander, Richmond, and Applehill, as well as the school.  Drivers coming from the north side should let the traffic control officer know the destination, and he will let motorists through.  Tomorrow is second grade orientation at Huckleberry Hill Elementary.

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Dozens of COVID-19 cases reported in New Milford, Danbury

More than a dozen new COVID-19 cases have been detected in New Milford since Friday.  The town is continuing vaccinations on Wednesday afternoons at Pettibone Community Center from 4pm to 5:30.  COVID testing is available in the mornings at Pettibone during week days, except Thursday, from 9am to 10:30.  Registration is required for testing and a link can be found on the town's homepage. The City of Danbury has updated COVID-19 positivity rates for the last couple of days.  Last Thursday there were 23 cases, on Friday 25 were reported.  Over the weekend 13 cases were detected.

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Easton Police investigating theft of landscaping equipment

Easton Police are investigating the theft of landscaping equipment from a resident's garage Sunday evening.  Easton Police responded to Route 136 between Morehouse Road and Center Road around 6:30pm.  Two Hispanic males were seen entering the garage, taking equipment and leaving in a white truck, possibly a Ford F-150, with dual rear wheels. A short time later a homeowner on lower Sport Hill Road confronted the same individuals on his property. The men left without incident. Anyone with a similar experience, or video footage of the suspected truck, is asked to contact Detective Lyman at 203-268-4111.

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Monroe Fire Marshal offering insight into flashing colored lights on personal vehicles

The Monroe Fire Marshal is offering some insight into flashing colored lights drivers may see on other passenger vehicles.  A flashing green light indicates EMS personnel responding to a 911 call in their personal vehicle, meeting the ambulance or responding to their building.  A blue light indicates a volunteer firefighter responding to their firehouses to provide the manpower for emergency apparatus to respond to a 911 call.  But Monroe's Fire Marshal says sometimes the volunteers are responding directly to the scene as a first responder.  Motorists are asked to treat these flashing lights like any other emergency vehicle and yield the right of way as a courtesy.

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Disney stores in Conn. to close next month

Disney has announced the closings of more stores, including two in Connecticut.  The stores at the Danbury Mall and Westfarms Mall will reportedly close on September 15th.  The company announced earlier this year that it will be closing 57 stores across the country as they move away from brick and mortar.

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Danbury Veterans Affairs Office launches Hometown Heroes Banner Program

Danbury is looking to honor local members of the Armed Forces.  The Danbury Veterans Affairs Office has launched a Hometown Heroes Banner Program.  The digitally printed double sided vinyl banners will be placed lampposts on White Street between Holley Lane and 5th Avenue, each honoring a service member, from Memorial Day through Veterans Day. 

Current and past Danbury residents will be featured on the 18” x 36” banners with name, rank, branch of service, era of service, years of service, photo, and optional donor information. Banners cost $160 and orders must be received by March 31, 2022 to allow time for printing and installation by Memorial Day. 

Profits from the program will be used to help support veteran services within the City of Danbury. 

After Veterans Day they will be stored for the winter and can be redisplayed the following year, depending on space availability, at a cost of $80.  Otherwise they can be returned to the donor at their request. New applications will take precedence over redisplayed banners.

Program Coordinator Lee Teicholz says seeing the banners will be a reminder of the sacrifices local veterans have made to protect our freedoms.  He added that Danbury continues to be a community which strongly supports and advocates for its military personnel and veterans.

The application can be downloaded from the website, danburyhometownheroes.org, or by stopping in at the Danbury Veterans Affairs Office in the Patrick R. Waldron Veterans Hall on Memorial Drive. Applications require the filled out form, a photograph of the hero in uniform, proof of honorable discharge and a check.

There are only 42 display locations available, so applications will be taken on a first come, first serve basis. If the maximum banner capacity is reached, residents will be placed on a list for their banner to be displayed the following year. Additional display locations may be added in the future depending on the success of the program.

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New Milford students to have early dismissal for first two days of new school year

The new school year in New Milford will start on time despite some storm damage from Henri.  Superintendent Alisha DiCorpo says things will begin on schedule tomorrow.  But the forecast Wednesday and Thursday calls for high temperatures and humidity, and there's limited or no air conditioning in buildings.  New Milford students will have early dismissal for the first two days of school.  DiCorpo says normally the decision would be made day by day, but the district is transitioning to a new Student Information System this year.  Lunch will be served at all schools prior to dismissal, but there will be no after-school activities.  Bus routes can be found on the New Milford Public School District website, and students schedules have been sent. 

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Ambulance transporting patients suffers 'catastrophic tire failure'

An ambulance transporting patients suffered a catastrophic tire failure on Sunday.  Washington Ambulance Association responded to a two car crash on Route 202 near Rabbit Hill Road and found three patients needing further treatment, including one who was trapped in a rolled over vehicle.  A second paramedic was requested from New Milford Community Ambulance.  All three patients were transported to Danbury Hospital.  While Washington's ambulance was transporting two patients, a tire failure occurred on Route 7 between Brookfield exits. Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company EMS responded with an ambulance to transport the patients to Danbury Hospital while Brookfield FD & Public Works assisted the crew with a tire change. 

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Newtown back-to-class plan amended

The Newtown Public School District academic year starts on Monday, and the back-to-class plan has been amended.  It now includes a masks-for-all policy for students and educators. 

The Superintendent said at a Board of Education meeting this month that the local school boards don't have a say in whether or not mandates should be put in place, unlike municipal leaders and their ability to require masks in indoor public places regardless of vaccine status.  The state is directing that all schools have mask rules in place. 

Despite Newtown being in the state's highest level for COVID-19 community spread, First Selectman Dan Rosenthal announced this month that he would not be following the lead of Danbury and other surrounding towns and putting in a mask mandate for public places. 

He notes that 75 percent of eligible Newtown residents over age 12 have been vaccinated and that the cases in Newtown are isolated, not from community spread.

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Road work being done in several parts of Danbury

Milling and paving, and chip sealing work is being done in various parts of Danbury.  The Highway Department is currently performing road maintenance on East Pembroke Road, Great Plain Road, and Stadley Rough Road. These projects are being done to extend the life of the existing roadways. 

A chip seal is being applied to the prepared road surface, then after settling, the loose stone is swept and removed.  A thin layer of micro pave will be applied.  While there won't be road closures, there could be travel restrictions and there is no on-street parking. 

Work started is slated to wrap up soon. 

Nighttime road work started last week on Tamarack Avenue, East Hayestown Road, Dean Street, Edgewood Drive, Ives Street, Railroad Place, National Place, Independence Way, and Delay Street.  While there won't be road closures, there could be travel restrictions and there is no on-street parking. 

The projects are expected to take 3 to 4 weeks to complete.

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Redding reschedules COVID-19 vaccine van visit

The Redding Department of Public Health has rescheduled the COVID-19 vaccine mobile van visit, cancelled over the weekend by Henri.  The clinic will take place on this Sunday from 1 to 5pm at the Redding Community Center.  All three vaccines will be available.  The van will make a return visit on September 19th from 1 to 5pm at the Redding Community Center.  Everyone 12 and older can receive a vaccine, though those under 18 will need a parent or guardian.

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Public Hearing to be held in Ridgefield on cannabis sales

The Ridgefield Planning and Zoning Commission has held another discussion on retail sales of cannabis in town.  The group felt the topic should be addressed by the Board of Selectman, but voted to hold a public hearing on September 14th.  The Board and Town Attorney discussed various aspects of the state statute, including the requirements for holding a referendum versus election by petition.  The Selectmen will wait to see the outcome of the September 14th Planning and Zoning public hearing before moving forward with this topic.

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Downed trees, wires prompt road closures in Litchfield County

Eversource is reporting new scattered power problems in the Greater Danbury area.  The continued rains from Henri has caused some trees to uproot and fall on utility wires.  In some cases the light wind gusts have caused tree limbs to fall on the wires.  Route 7 in New Milford is closed  by Straits Rock Road, due to a tree and wires down.  In Bridgewater, Route 133 is closed by Beach Hill Road West, due to a tree and wires down.  In Washington, Route 47 is closed by Route 199 due to a tree and wires down.

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Henri cancels, postpone activities in Greater Danbury area

Tropical Depression Henri has changed some plans for West Conn students.  While the storm lingers over the state, the Entering the Gates ceremony has been canceled.  Move-in Day for first-year students was rescheduled from yesterday to Tuesday.  Upperclassmen are still set to move in on Wednesday.  Welcome Week programming for yesterday and today has been rescheduled or canceled.  Shuttle service will not start until tomorrow.

Due to the storm today, all Danbury Public Schools offices, activities and operations are cancelled.  Danbury High School is the emergency shelter for the City. All Athletic Activities and Football practice for today have been cancelled. 

Danbury has cancelled drive thru COVID-19 testing at the Pat Waldron Building on Memorial Drive.  It was scheduled for 3 to 7pm.  Free testing will be available tomorrow at the PAL building from 8am to noon and Wednesday at the Pat Waldron Building from 3 to 7pm.

FirstLight dropped the level of Candlewood Lake more than a foot over the weekend to accommodate stormwater and prevent flooding. The Lake Authority urged residents to check boats, moorings, and docks to ensure they are all still attached and won't drift away during the continuing storm.

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Kitten rescued from storm drain in Bethel

A kitten has been rescued from a storm drain in Bethel.  The Fire Department responded to Hidden Brook Trail on Friday where a passerby heard the “meow” of a kitten stuck in a storm drain.  Police, Animal Control, and Public Works worked together with firefighters to free the kitten from between two storm drains, Officer Ditullio donned rubber waders and hopped in.  Adding a gentle flow of water from one end to the other using Engine 6’s booster line, the kitten walked out of the pipe where she was scooped up and brought to safety. 

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Governor Street parking lot in Ridgefield reopens

The Governor Street parking lot in Ridgefield has reopen and parking is no longer allowed at Veterans Park School effective today, where alternate parking had been provided.  The Governor Street Town Parking lot was closed on the 11th for renovation.  Teachers and staff are returning for professional development and to get ready for the start of the new school year. Parking enforcement will take place.

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Brewster Fire Department celebrates 151st anniversary with parade

The Brewster Fire Department has celebrated its 151st anniversary with a parade this weekend.  Rock Hill Farm provided horses Jake and Jim to lead the Department's 1878 Hose Cart.  Putnam County Fire Police controlled traffic during the anniversary parade on Saturday afternoon.  Putnam County Sheriff Langley, the Sheriff's Color Guard, and emergency services from throughout the area marched in the parade along Main Street.

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Henri hurls rain as system settles atop swamped Northeast

Henri's path move to the East reduced the impact to the Greater Danbury area.  Redding had one large outage spot, about 70 homes in the Simpaug area, due to falling limbs. Waterlogged trees and branches are potential hazards even without wind so residents were urged to take care if outside under the trees.  The remaining large outage this morning is in New Milford, due to downed tree limbs.

After coming ashore, the storm veered west, dumping massive amounts of rain on Connecticut and New York’s Hudson River Valley, which caused some flooding. 

Due to forecasted high river flows with Henri, New Milford officials said Lake Lillinonah was lowered over the weekend, to three and a half feet below normal low operating level. Eversource is reporting the most outages remaining in the Greater Danbury area are in New Milford. 

Henri was downgraded to a tropical depression as it churned deeper inland, settling for awhile near the New York-Connecticut border.  The tropical depression appears to be lingering in the Northeast, raising the prospect it will bring sustained rains and cause major flooding inland. The National Weather Service says Henri could drop an additional 1 to 3 inches of rain today.

Meanwhile, given the significant rainfall that occurred and is still expected, many areas across the state have experienced discharges of untreated sewage. The state Departments of Energy and Environmental Protection and Public Health are advising against direct contact with surface water in areas in close proximity to drainage pipes statewide over the next 72 hours in Connecticut's streams and rivers.  Residents are advised not to swim, fish, or utilize paddlecraft in these areas.  

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Work to start this week at site of Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial

Work will start at the site of the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial this week.  Public Buildings and Site Commission Chair Robert Mitchell says the goal is still to have the project completed by December 14, 2022, ten years after the shooting at the elementary school that claims the lives of 20 children and 6 educators.  Voters approved $3.7 million for the memorial at 28 Riverside Road, and plans have been scaled back to meet the budget while remaining true to the proposed concept. 

The Sandy Hook Boys’ Social and Athletic Club signed over the field, near the new school, was signed to Newtown in 2017.

Downes Construction project manager Jeff Anderson says an eight-foot construction fence will go up around the property to shield the work from the general public.  Underground runoff basins will be installed at the upper field before the parking lot is paved. 

Mitchell says they are under the budget, including potential alternates and contingencies.  He says they may change one aspect so another portion can be improved, but will never go over the guaranteed maximum price.  The Board of Selectmen voted last week to accept the GMP for the contract with Downes. 

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Danbury bakery owner accused of retaliation against employees in wage investigation

A Danbury employer who allegedly threatened workers with termination and immigration consequences is the subject of a consent preliminary injunction from the U.S. Department of Labor.   Padaminas NY Bakery owner was ordered against retaliating against employees who cooperate with wage investigation.  The department’s Wage and Hour Division investigated Pedro Coelho for potential Fair Labor Standards Act violations and found that Coelho told his employees he would fire them and report them to immigration authorities if they cooperated with the investigation. The complaint also alleges that defendants blacklisted a former employee they believed filed a complaint with the division.  He has been ordered not to make any employees’ working conditions less favorable, including by reducing any employee’s hours of work or pay, and not to obstruct the division’s investigation of the defendants.

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Ridgefield considers solar canopy for High School student parking lot

Ridgefield has the opportunity to add a solar canopy to the High School student parking lot.  The state's zero emission renewable energy certification program awarded Ridgefield $920,000 over 15 years.  The Board of Selectmen heard at their most recent meeting about the savings the schools, which already have solar panels, are seeing.  There was a discussion about how the Town can obtain batteries for the panels which would allow them to generate electricity for up to a few weeks during power outages. The Board also talked about how the panels will affect parking, the need for approval from Planning and Zoning, and the overall process for the construction and maintenance of the panels.  The Selectmen approved about $6,500 for the project, which is refundable upon project completion.

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COVID-19 vaccine van visits in Redding, New Fairfield rescheduled

Due to yesterday's storms, the COVID Vaccination Van Clinic scheduled in Redding was cancelled.  A future clinic date will be set up.  The vaccination van scheduled for today in New Fairfield has been cancelled.  The van will instead be at New Fairfield High School on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from 9am to 7pm.  Pfizer, Moderna and J&J vaccine will be available.  Second doses will be provided on Wednesday and Thursday for those who received first doses at the clinics on August 4 and August 7.   The clinic will vaccinate anyone over the age of 12, however those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.  Vaccines will be provided free of charge.

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Pandemic-related rules in place for WCSU fall semester

West Conn residence halls will have extra rules in place when the fall semester begins due to the pandemic.  Students who live on campus must be vaccinated, or receive an exemption.  Those with an approved exemption will have to receive a PCR test within seven days before their arrival on campus, and be tested again when they arrive.  Those students will quarantine in Fairfield Hall until the results come in.  If they're negative, students will move into their assigned room.  If the results are positive, students will be isolated in Fairfield Hall, or can isolate at home, for 10 days.  West Conn students without a vaccination or an approved exemption will not be permitted to move into the residence halls.

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Wooster School requires masks, vaccines

Wooster School in Danbury will require students and staff to wear masks indoors at the beginning of the academic year.  The private school in Danbury said in June that it was mandating COVID-19 vaccines for faculty, staff and eligible students.  The school serves 300 fifth- through 12th-grade students.  100 percent of faculty and staff are expected to be vaccinated when the academic year begins.  More than 92 percent of eligible students will be vaccinated as well.  Families could seek medical exemptions, approved by a physician. A new state law on immunization requirements, not for COVID, required religious exceptions to be filed by the end of April.

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COVID-19 testing, vaccines offered at Rogers Park in Danbury

The City of Danbury is offering COVID-19 testing today at Rogers Park.  Testing will be available from 10am to 2pm.  There's also a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Rogers Park from 3pm to 9pm.  The 16 to 54 year old age group's COVID-19 vaccination rate went up by 1 percent from last week.  The 12 to 15 year olds rate increased by 2 percent.  The 16 and 17 year olds have a higher vaccination rate than 18 to 34 year olds.

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DHS to host food distribution event today

Danbury High School is hosting another drive-thru food distribution today.  The event, coordinated by the United Way of Western Connecticut and the Connecticut Food Bank/Foodshare, is open every Saturday in August for any Connecticut resident.  People who drive up or walk up to 43 Clapboard Ridge Road between 10 am and 1 pm will receive a box of fresh produce.  There is no registration or documentation required for this free program. Walnut Hill Community Church is providing logistical and volunteer support for this initiative.

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Committee put together to decide federal pandemic relief spending in Ridgefield

An informal committee has been created in Ridgefield to create guidelines on how the town should spend federal pandemic relief dollars.  Once those parameters have been established, a new committee will be formed to discuss how to allocate the funds.  Approval for spending will go through a public hearing and town meeting process.

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Great Pootatuck Duck Race returns to Newtown Labor Day weekend

The Newtown Lions Club is hosting a free family tradition, the Great Pootatuck Duck Race this Labor Day weekend. The event will be held from 11am until 3pm Saturday, September 4th, with ducks diving at 2:30pm at Church Hill Road and Glen Road in Sandy Hook Center. Festivities include entertainment and a rubber duck race with 20 prizes. Proceeds will support local charities.  Locations for the event are posted weekly on the Lions Club’s Facebook page.

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Redding, Brookfield plan booster shot clinics for immunocompromised

For anyone desiring a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and for those who are considered moderately to severely immunocompromised, Redding is running a clinic this Sunday.  It will take place from 1 to 4pm at the Redding Community Center. Pfizer, Moderna, and J & J will be available. No appointment is needed.  Brookfield plans to hold two clinics for immunocompromised individuals on August 30th and September 10th. The clinics will be held at the senior center and open to Brookfield residents only. The clinics will offer the immunocompromised a third doses of Moderna.

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Greater Danbury area reports mixed progress on COVID-19 infection spread

According to the latest COVID-19 data from the state Department of Public Health, Bethel's COVID-19 infection rate has remained relatively flat from the previous reporting period.  Brookfield is up to 4.3 percent infection rate.  Ridgefield's COVID-19 infection rate has dropped by 1 percent since the last reporting period.  New Fairfield has a a 3.8  percent infection rate over the last two weeks reported.  Newtown's has jumped from 1.9 percent to 3.7 percent. 

Connecticut had 23 deaths linked to COVID-19 over the past week.  While calling it a sad number, Governor Lamont said it’s worth noting that Connecticut has just about the lowest fatalities per capita in the country.

There were 534 new COVID-19 cases reported Thursday. 344 people are currently hospitalized with the virus, a decrease of four from Wednesday.  Of the total COVID-19 cases in the state during the pandemic, 5,857 were so-called “breakthrough cases” diagnosed in people who are fully vaccinated.  That represents .28 percent of all vaccinated residents.

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Ridgefield Planning and Zoning Commission hears from town officials on cannabis sale issue

As the Ridgefield Planning and Zoning Commission looks into the state statute allowing retail sales of cannabis, they are seeking input form the local substance abuse council.  Alcohol remains the number one abuse in the schools.  First Selectman Rudy Marconi quoted studies that have shown 8 to 10% of cannabis users become addicted.  The town's Social Services Director noted that he came before the Commission 4 or 5 years ago on medical marijuana and feels the horse has left the barn on this issue. Tony Phillips feels the Town can harness the 3% revenue that the legislation allows.  The town's health director however opposed the idea.

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Neither truck driver injured in Thurs. morning highway crashes

Neither tractor trailer driver was injured in early morning accidents yesterday on I-84 in the Newtown area. 

State Police responded to the westbound side of the highway by exit 13 shortly after 3:30am.  The 69-year old driver told troopers he lost control in the rain.  The truck crashed into the concrete barrier, damaging plastic dividers on top of it.  DEEP, DOT, Sandy Hook Fire and Southbury Fire responded.  The left lane of both sides of I-84 were closed for an extended period of time.  The truck was towed from the scene. 

The driver was issued an infraction for traveling too fast for conditions in a construction zone. 

Around 5:45am, a truck driver headed east near exit 10 lost control in the heavy rain.  The tractor trailer jack knifed and crashed into the center median guardrail.  Newtown Fire responded for a fuel leak from the vehicle. 

The truck was also towed and the 46-year old was issued an infraction for traveling too fast for conditions.

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Newtown moves into Conn. Dept. Health 'red zone' for COVID-19 community spread

73 municipalities are currently in the red zone, the highest of the state’s four alert levels for COVID-19 community spread.  Newtown and Easton are in the red.  With 60 cases in the last two weeks in Newtown, that works out to 15.4 per 100,000 population and just over the 15 case threshold to be in the red. 

Brookfield, New Fairfield, New Milford, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston and Wilton are at the 2nd highest alert level, orange.  Danbury and Bethel are all in the yellow with each municipality reporting about 9.6 cases per 100,000 population over two weeks. In the grey zone, the lowest level for community spread, are Bridgewater, Kent, Roxbury, Sherman, and Washington. 

Danbury's two week rolling average COVID-19 infection rate is 3.4 percent, up from the week before at 2.7 percent.  The City recorded 114 cases in the last two weeks ending August 19th.  About 3,700 COVID tests were taken during that time.  During the previous two week reporting period, 90 cases out of about 2,300 tests were reported in Danbury.

New Milford leaders are holding off on an indoor mask mandate for public places, regardless of vaccination status.  Mayor Pete Bass and Health Director Lisa Morrissey say the data does not warrant it at this time.  Bass says hospitalizations in Litchfield County continue to be low, and despite being in the 2nd highest alert level for community spread, New Milford's infection rate is 3.2 percent, which is slightly lower than Danbury.  New Milford reported 44 COVID cases over the last two weeks.

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Fountain outside Lounsbury House vandalized

The Ridgefield Police Department is investigating vandalism at the Lounsbury House.  The decorative fountain in front of the nonprofit was discovered toppled over and broken yesterday morning.  It was installed a couple of years ago in the town's Veterans’ Memorial Garden.  Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Ridgefield Police Department’s non-emergency number.

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Public hearing scheduled in Ridgefield on Henny Penny Farm lease

A public hearing has been scheduled in Ridgefield for next month on the lease to operate Henny Penny Farm on town-owned land on Ridgebury Road.  The Board of Selectmen are considering extending Whitney Freeman’s lease.  The hearing is set for September 1st, with a town meeting on the 22nd.  Both are slated to be held in person at Town Hall at 7:30pm, but could be changed to a virtual format, depending on the COVID-19 situation at the time.  The original five-year lease only approved 30 sheep, but the new one would allow up to 85.  Roughly 70 sheep graze on the 16-acre farm, designated as conservation land, to aid in soil regeneration.  Some neighbors have raised concerns to the Conservation Commission about the seemingly commercial nature of the farm and noise from tractors. 

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55 people attended mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinic in New Fairfield

55 people attended the mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinic in New Fairfield yesterday.  The yellow minivan from the state Department of Public Health offered all three brands of vaccine.  This was the third mobile clinic in New Fairfield.  The van will return to the High School parking lot on the 23rd from 9am to 7pm.

State health officials reported another 593 positive COVID-19 tests on Wednesday and said 348 people are now hospitalized with COVID-19 in Connecticut, an increase of 27 since Tuesday. The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Connecticut has risen from 435 to 665 on Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The daily positivity rate was just shy of 3-percent. 

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Clearing to start on Redding Mile trail route of NRVT

Pre-construction corridor clearing for part of the Norwalk River Valley Trail is starting soon.  This is being along the Redding Mile trail route through state Department of Transportation parcels between Fire Hill Road and Pickett’s Ridge Road. The work is scheduled for Monday through September 3rd.  Full construction is scheduled for the Fall.

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New Milford Police Department to hold swearing in ceremony

The New Milford Police Department is holding a swearing in ceremony tomorrow morning.  The ceremony on the bandstand will include the promotion of Officer Parziale to Sergeant and the swearing-in of Officer Lima.  Chief Spencer Cerruto says the ceremony is open to the public at 10:30am, but it will also be livestreamed on the town's Facebook page.

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Longtime Newtown Detective retiring

Longtime Newtown Detective Jason Frank is retiring, after 25 years with the Department.  Frank called it a bittersweet day saying he'll miss the intriguing and intellectually stimulating police work that has taken him from a rookie officer to detective.  In between he served as field training officer, school resource officer, trainer, instructor,  fire investigator, and hostage negotiator.

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Train service resumes on Danbury branch after mechanical problems, ree on tracks

There were a number of problems this morning on the Danbury branch of Metro North.  The 6:08am train headed to South Norwalk was canceled due to mechanical issues and Metro North was going to accommodate customers on the 7:33 train.  That train was canceled due to a fallen tree near Redding.  Substitute bus service was provided on the Danbury Branch for the 9:19 train from South Norwalk to Danbury.  Normal service has since resumed.

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Local lawmaker achieves perfect voting attendance record

Danbury State Senator Julie Kushner has achieved a 100% voting record in the last General Assembly session. Kushner voted 481 times from January to June.  Kushner says through Zoom calls and sometimes-limited access to the Senate she voted on bills such as one expanding post-traumatic stress injury claims for more first responders.  She was one of 14 Senators to achieve a 100% voting record.

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Newtown leaders do not plan to implement mask mandate

Newtown First Selectman Dan Rosenthal says he's not opposed to implementing a mask mandate for all indoor public places, regardless of vaccine status, but says that decision should be made based on data.  His statement comes after Danbury, its four neighboring towns, and Redding implemented such a requirement. 

Municipal leaders were given the authority by Governor Lamont to put their own regulations into effect, rather than issuing a statewide order. 

In Newtown, 34 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the last two weeks, making the rate per 100,000 residents 8.7.  The test positivity rate as of Thursday was 1.9 percent.  That's up from .9 percent test positivity the previous week. 

Rosenthal says the cases tend to be isolated, with a big source coming from travel and private gatherings.  He advices anyone who travels to get a COVID-19 test and try to stay isolated until the results come back. 

He notes that 85-percent of people who have been admitted to the hospital have been unvaccinated.  In breakthrough cases that have risen to hospitalization, generally are patients who have a comorbidity.

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Danbury Health Department gets new data on local COVID-19 caseload

Fairfield County has been classified by the CDC as an area with high COVID-19 community transmission. 

High transmission is defined as places with more than 100 cases per 100,000 in a seven-day period.  This is the 5th county in Connecticut to be classified under that category, joining New Haven, Hartford, Middlesex, and New London counties.  Litchfield County remains classified as having substantial transmission, or 50 to 99 cases. 

The Danbury Health Department has updated the number of positive COVID cases in the past week, noting that new data has been made available by the state.  Last Thursday there were 10 cases, 15 reported Friday and 10 over the weekend.  On Monday, 7 positive tests were detected among Danbury residents and on Tuesday, there were 18.

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COVID-19 vaccine van coming to Redding

The vaccine van is coming to Redding.  A COVID-19 vaccine clinic, with all three options available, will be in Redding this Sunday at the Redding Community Center, making a return trip on September 12th.  The hours each day will be 1pm to 4pm.  No appointment is necessary.  The clinic is a partnership with the Redding Health Department and the state Department of Public Health.  First Selectwoman Julia Pemberton says most severe COVID cases and hospitalizations are among the unvaccinated, and the Delta variant is more contagious than the Alpha variant, which was prevalent earlier in the pandemic.  Anyone 18 and younger must be accompanied by an adult or guardian.

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Nuvance Health pauses visitation at local hospitals

Effective today, visitation across Nuvance Health is being temporarily paused. This includes inpatient, emergency departments, medical practices and ambulatory services.  As COVID-19 cases are on the rise, Danbury and New Milford Hospitals are trying to limit the risk of possible exposure to the community.  Exceptions apply for patients under 21, maternity and NICU patients, those with disabilities and in end-of-life circumstances. Patients under age 21 are allowed a maximum of two designated and non-changing parents or support persons throughout the duration of the hospital stay so long as social-distancing and safe-occupancy standards allow. Pediatric patients may have siblings visit during hospital visitation hours, if deemed appropriate by the clinical care team. The children must stay within the patient’s room throughout the entire visit.

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Mosquito trapped in Ridgefield tests positive for West Nile Virus

Mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile Virus in four Connecticut towns, including Ridgefield, according to the latest data from the Agricultural Experiment Station.  That brings the total to 16 towns so far this season. 

One mosquito trapped in Ridgefield at Great Swamp tested positive earlier this month. 

Entomologist Dr Philip Armstrong says Fairfield, New Haven and Hartford counties tend to see West Nile activity because the mosquito that transmits the virus is most concentrated in urban and suburban environments.   Last season, West Nile was detected in 143 mosquito pools from 21 towns.  There were 8 cases confirmed in people statewide last year, and no human cases this season. 

People are urged to take precautions against mosquito bites such as wearing long-sleeved shirts, pants, and shoes and socks, applying an EPA-approved insect repellent, and minimizing time outdoors when mosquitoes are most active.

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United Way seeks volunteers to review City grant funding applications

The United Way of Western Connecticut is seeking volunteers to serve on Review Teams that allocate Danbury funding to social service agencies. Reviewers will evaluate grant applications and attend program presentations by nonprofits that serve city residents.  The United Way oversees this process for the City, with funds allocated in the areas of Education, Financial Stability, and Health. In the past, 28 agencies were funded through the City’s program.  Volunteer reviewers must be a resident of Danbury, available for virtual morning meetings in September and October, and not have a conflict of interest with any of the agencies being evaluated such as serving on the Board of Directors, being a volunteer, or being a client of the agency. Those interested in volunteering are asked to contact contact Victoria Scofield at United Way of Western Connecticut at (203) 883-6704 or victoria.scofield@uwwesternct.org.

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Local lawmaker calling for investigation into marketing tactics by Eversource

A local lawmaker is calling for an investigation into marketing tactics by Eversource. Danbury Representative David Arconti, chair of the legislature's Energy and Technology Committee is calling on the Office of Consumer Counsel to look into allegations of intimidation and providing ambiguous and inaccurate information to consumers.

State officials say this is related to the utility company's attempts to have customers in the South Windsor area sign up to convert from oil heat to natural gas. Reports are that Eversource used time-sensitive misleading information when selling their utility conversion plan to homeowners through mailings and door-to-door.

Arconti says ratepayers across the state should have transparency when making decisions on these vital deliverables.  He added that it's unfortunately been proven that lawmakers must keep an eye on the utility companies to ensure that customers are treated fairly and not just seen as a revenue generating component of their businesses.

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Brookfield Lions Club annual Charity Golf Tournament returns

With many activities canceled or postponed last year, the Brookfield Lions Club has announced that their Annual Charity Golf Tournament will return this month.  The 38th annual tournament supporting various initiatives is set for August 27th. The funds raised will benefit the Connecticut Lions Eye Research Foundation, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Brookfield Social Services, our Regional Hospice, Ability Beyond, and the Brookfield Senior Center among other organizations. 

Registration is $175 in advance, $185 on the day of the tournament.  The cost covers fees, cart, meals and contest prizes.  The fundraising event will take place at Whitney Farms Golf Course in Monroe. 

For further information, contact Karl Noivadhana knoivadhana@att.net or 203-451-3082.
Golf Registrations by US Mail:
Brook#eld Lions Charities, Inc.
P.O. Box 660, Brook#eld, CT 06804

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Fairfield County moved up by CDC to area with high COVID-19 community transmission

The Department of Public Health/Griffin Health Mobile Vaccination Team is going to be in Newtown this afternoon.  A walk-up COVID-19 clinic is scheduled for St Rose of Lima Church on Church Hill Road from 4pm to 8pm.  No appointment is needed for the Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

Another yellow minivan will be in New Fairfield this afternoon at the New Fairfield High School parking lot until 7pm. 

The CDC today has classified Fairfield County as an area with high COVID-19 community transmission.  This is the 5th county in Connecticut to be classified under that category, joining New Haven County, Hartford County, Middlesex, and New London counties.   High transmission is defined as places with more than 100 cases per 100,000 in a seven-day period.  Litchfield County remains classified as having substantial transmission, or 50 to 99 cases per 100,000 population. 

700 new positive COVID-19 cases were reported in Connecticut yesterday, out of more than 16,000 tests.  The daily positivity rate is up to 4.25 percent. 36 more people were hospitalized since Tuesday, making the inpatient total 321.

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COVID-19 precautions in place for WCSU residential students

Things are returning to near normal for West Conn residential students for the fall semester, but some COVID-19 precautions will remain in place.  There will be no early drop-off for belongings this year.  All West Conn students will be assigned specific move-in times. First-year and transfer students will move in on August 22.  Returning students will move in on August 25.  Vaccinated residential West Conn students will not need to wear masks in the residence halls. If residential students are unvaccinated, they must wear a mask in all public areas of the residence halls.  Masks are not required to be worn within the rooms, suites, or apartments.

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Danbury High School Track named a distinguished facility

The Danbury High School Track has been named a distinguished facility by the American Sports Builders Association.  The school's athletic director says the track will be in the running in December for the Outdoor Track Facility of the Year at the organization's annual meeting.  The track was replaced in 2019, replacing a rapidly deteriorating original installed in 2002.

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Danbury Police recover handgun used in Mall shooting, arrest made

Danbury Police have recovered the handgun believed to be used in the shooting at Danbury Mall a week ago.  Spokesman Lt Mark Williams says it was found by investigators on mall property, but away from the scene. 

A 14-year old was charged with assault, reckless endangerment, unlawful discharge of a firearm, carrying a pistol without a permit, risk of injury to a minor and breach of peace. 

It has not yet been determined how or where he got the gun. 

Through the course of the investigation, police got in touch with the family, and the juvenile agreed to turn himself in on Monday, which he did.  He was accompanied by his parents and attorney, and later transported to the Bridgeport Juvenile Detention Center.  Related court documents have been sealed. 

A 15-year old girl was shot in the upper chest Wednesday night, and her injuries are considered non-life threatening.  The mall was placed on lockdown during the investigation, which is continuing.  Because the victim and the assailant are under 16 years old, police say their names will not be released.

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Danbury Democratic mayoral hopeful switches parties, running for council seat

A Danbury Democratic elected official has switched his party affiliation, and will be running on the Republican line in November.  Councilman John Esposito III is running on the GOP ticket for the 4th ward, a position he currently holds, but did not seek reelection for with the Democrats as he sought that party's nomination for Mayor. 

The Democratic Town Committee endorsed fellow Councilman Roberto Alves for Mayor and Esposito did not garner enough signatures to force a primary. 

Esposito said in a statement that he didn’t leave the local Democrat party, the local Democrat Party left him and his family, as it has for many others. 

Dean Esposito, is the Danbury Republican's nominee for Mayor.  He is currently Chief of Staff to the Mayor.

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Nuvance Health requiring workforce be vaccinated against COVID

Nuvance Health is requiring all members of its workforce to be vaccinated against COVID-19.  This applies to medical staff, volunteers, students and contractors.  Nuvance Health launched the mandatory COVID-19 vaccine program as hospitalizations from COVID-19 rise, and variants present a higher risk of spread. 

President and CEO Dr John Murphy says this was done in order to maintain the safest environment possible for employees, patients and visitors.

Current workforce members must provide documentation that they are fully vaccinated by October 1st. Effective Monday, new hires must provide documentation of COVID-19 vaccination prior to starting employment.  Nuvance must approve accommodation, such as for medical or religious exemptions. 

Mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations are in place for employees of the American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, Connecticut Hospital Association and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

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New Fairfield, Danbury host vaccine clinics as COVID cases rise

There's been a big difference day by day of COVID-19 positive cases being reported in Danbury in the past week.  Last Monday the City had 22 cases, Tuesday there were 10 and on Wednesday, 28 COVID cases were reported in Danbury.  Cases dropped down to 2 on Thursday, 9 Friday, 2 Saturday and none on Sunday. 

There is a series of vaccine clinics in Danbury today, including at Kennedy Park until 11am, offering all three brands.  Pfizer will be administered at Beaver Street Cooperative from noon to 5.  Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson will be given at Danbury Library from 10am to 8pm and Moderna will also be offered from 2 to 8.

The yellow COVID-19 vaccine minivan will be making a return trip to New Fairfield today.  The Griffin Health state Department of Public Health team will provide vaccines from 9am to 7pm in the New Fairfield High School parking lot.  The van will also be in New Fairfield on the 23rd from 9 to 7.  The clinic will vaccinate anyone over the age of 12, however those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent.  Vaccines are provided free of charge. 

These will be the 3rd and 4th visits to New Fairfield.  96 people received vaccines during the first mobile visit. 

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Still River Greenway Committee reappointed

The Brookfield Board of Selectmen has decided to reappoint members of the Still River Greenway Committee.  All current members will serve through August of 2022.  They want to keep the group on the books in case a state grant is awarded to extend the greenway to both New Milford and Danbury.  First Selectman Steve Dunn says the working group's institutional knowledge of designs and other plans would be needed if the funding comes to fruition.  He added that there is no timeline on a state decision on funding, noting that it could be four weeks, or 6 months.

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Putnam County awarded grant for fall prevention education

Putnam County is one of 11 entities across the country to be awarded a three year grant to promote fall prevention programs for seniors.  The Office for Senior Resources will receive a $273,000 Empowering Communities to Reduce Falls and Falls Risk grant.  Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell says the money will be used to help fund programs that will improve the quality of life for seniors and those with disabilities.  Putnam County will engage over a thousand participants in evidence-based fall prevention programs through both in-person and virtual classes.  They plan to also develop partnerships with area hospital systems and insurance companies to improve care coordination.

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New Milford reports nearly a dozen COVID-19 cases over weekend

New Milford is reporting 11 new COVID-19 cases since Friday.  The town is continuing vaccinations on Wednesdays at Pettibone Community Center from 4pm-5:30pm.  New Milford is also offering COVID Testing at Pettibone Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and  Fridays 9am to 10:30am.  Registration is required for testing, not for vaccines.

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Two people injured in rollover accident in Ridgefield

Two people were injured in a single-car crash in Ridgefield over the weekend.  Police responded to Mimosa Circle early Saturday morning and determined that a vehicle veered off the northbound side of the road and struck a tree.  The vehicle rolled over multiple times.  Two occupants were extricated and transported to Danbury Hospital for treatment of injuries. 

 

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Type of tree to planned for central feature of Sandy Hook memorial modified

There's been a slight change to the proposed Sandy Hook permanent memorial.  The original design called for a Sycamore tree to be located in the center of the featured fountain.  Now it's been proposed that a Bloodgood London Plane Tree, a hybrid of two types of Sycamores, be planted.  The change was made because the hybrid is less susceptible to disease.

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WCSU outlines dorm visitation policies for fall semester

Visitation at West Conn will return to normal this fall, with each residential student being permitted up to two guests at a time.  All guests must wear masks while in the building, including in individual rooms, regardless of their vaccination status.  Visitation policies will revert to pre-COVID-19 sign-in and escort regulations.  Unvaccinated West Conn residential students with approved exemptions will be required to be tested weekly for COVID-19.  Vaccinated students will not need to be tested unless they become symptomatic for COVID-19.

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14-year old charged for shooting at Danbury Mall

A 14-year old has been arrested for the shooting at Danbury Mall last week.  Danbury Police say the juvenile was charged with assault, reckless endangerment, unlawful discharge of a firearm, carrying a pistol without a permit, risk of injury to a minor and breach of peace. 

A 15-year old girl was shot in the upper chest Wednesday night, and her injuries are considered non-life threatening.  The mall was placed on lockdown, but an investigation determined that the assailant fled before police arrived. 

The Danbury teen's handgun was recovered. 

A warrant was issued Friday and the 14-year old turned himself in yesterday.  He was accompanied by his parents and attorney, and later transported to the Bridgeport Juvenile Detention Center.  The investigation is continuing so related court documents have been sealed.  Because the victim and the assailant are under 16 years old, police say their names will not be released.

Danbury Police say at least 8 people were involved in the altercation.  Police say the victim was part of the group. As of Thursday, the teen was in stable condition at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.  It remains unclear if she was the intended target.

Mutual aid was provided by the FBI, State Police, the Putnam County Sheriff's Office, the Southwest Regional Emergency Services Unit and police from Bethel, Brookfield, Newtown, New Fairfield, Redding and Ridgefield.

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COVID-19 cases detected in New Fairfield 3-year old, 12-year old

New Fairfield, like other area municipalities and the state, is reporting an uptick in COVID-19 cases. The town had no cases in June, and just 1 to 2 cases per week in July.  New Fairfield reported 15 cases during the first week in August. 

One case involves a 3 year old, another positive test was reported for a 12 year old.  The cases aren't tied to specific events, but rather general community transmission. 

First Selectman Pat Del Monaco says some have been breakthrough cases, though she didn't have exact numbers.  She noted that the majority of cases in the state are in people 20 to 40 year old age range, though the 20 to 30 year olds are reporting COVID cases at a higher rate than even 30 to 40 year olds. 

Del Monaco is concerned that the New Fairfield vaccination rate is low compared to surrounding towns, and that the difference was more pronounced last week than the week before.  62 percent of New Fairfield residents received at least one dose two weeks ago and as of Thursday, it was up to 63-percent.  The fully vaccinated also increased one percent over the course of a week to 59-percent

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Danbury to offer COVID-19 testing 6 days a week

More COVID-19 testing opportunities are coming to Danbury.  The local Department of Health & Human Services has expanded a partnership for no cost, drive thru testing to a second location so people could be tested 6 days a week.  In addition to no appointments being required at the Pat Waldron Building on Memorial Drive, walk up testing will be available at the PAL Building on Hayestown Road.  The testing there will be done on Tuesdays and Fridays from 8am to noon and Thursdays 3pm to 7pm. Testing at the Pat Waldron Building is Mondays and Wednesdays 3pm to 7pm and Saturdays 10am to 2pm.

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CDC: Putnam County has substantial COVID-19 transmission

As the Delta variant has become predominate, COVID numbers are rising in Putnam County.  The CDC has elevated the community transmission level for Putnam from moderate to substantial.  Putnam County’s 7-day incidence rate has nearly doubled from July 25th to August 1st, with a rise in cases from 42 to 83 cases per 100,000 people.  The percent of positive tests during that time increased from 1.2 to 2.7 percent.  Putnam County’s Health Commissioner acknowledged that everyone is tired of COVID-19, but noted that it is still a very new disease and the long-term consequences are not fully understood.  The Commissioner says this underscores the importance for everyone—including young healthy people who are at lower risk for hospitalization and death—to take COVID seriously.

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Danbury District wrapping up first round of COVID-19 vaccines clinics at schools

The last of first dose COVID-19 vaccine clinics scheduled at Danbury Public Schools is set for today.  A series of 5 pop up clinics were held at different schools throughout the district in an effort to get younger Danbury residents inoculated against coronavirus.  Today's mobile vaccination team will be at Ellsworth Avenue School from 11am to 5pm.  The 2nd dose clinic there will be September 9th from 4pm to 8pm.  The clinic is open to anyone 12 and older, though those under 18 will need a parent or guardian.  No appointment is needed and the vaccine is free.  The Danbury Department of Public Health notes that those who receive a vaccine will receive a $20 Amazon gift card as well.

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Road projects underway in Kent, New Milford

Repaving has begun at Kent Green. The project will take place over the next two weeks and started on the southern part of Kent Green.  Flaggers are onsite directing traffic.  Drivers are asked to stay alert to changing traffic patterns during the project.  At least one lane will be open at all times. All roads and most parking areas will be repaved.  In New Milford, Wellsville Avenue will be closed from 9am to 6pm to install 6 laterals for the water main replacement. Detour signs will be posted. Motorists are asked to avoid the area if possible.

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'If Found' stickers distributed for personal watercraft users on Candlewood Lake

Stickers will be distributed by the Candlewood Lake Authority for people to place on small watercrafts in case the vessel ends up loose on the lake.  The stickers will help identify the owner.  People can also request a free "If Found" sticker from DEEP by completing an online form.  The Lake Authority says in the fall, as the wind picks up and many homeowners are not around, small water crafts are frequently found on the water.  CLA says these labels can not only recover missing property, but also save lives and reduce resources expended on non-emergency search and rescue activities by unnecessarily deploying limited resources to search for someone who is not in danger.

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Modernized ventilation, air conditioning proposed at Hawley School

The Newtown Board of Selectmen has signed off on a plan to modernize ventilation and air conditioning at Hawley School.  But the proposed upgrades require the 100 year old school building to be closed for a year.  The 280 students would be sent to Sandy Hook and Reed Intermediate Schools next academic year while work is done at the old brick building on Church Hill Road.  The cost for the work is expected to be $7.8 million and needs approval from residents in a referendum this November.  If approved, Newtown officials will have to decide if federal pandemic relief funding could and should be used to offset the cost.  The Selectmen sent the proposal to the Board of Finance last night for further consideration.

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Local lawmaker encourages back to school shopping during this sales tax free week

As the start of the school year approaches, Newtown State Representative Mitch Bolinsky is reminding parents and others to take advantage of Connecticut’s annual “sales tax-free week”, which kicked off yesterday. The one-week exemption period ends on Saturday, on clothing and footwear items costing less than $100 each.  Bolinsky says originally intended to take a little of sting out of Back-to-School items, it’s also an opportunity to save on many of the essentials everyone needs. “Tax Free Week” was first enacted in 2000. Goods not covered under the program include items that are solely intended for use in sporting activities and accessories such as jewelry, watches, handbags, and wallets.  Items placed on layaway with the first payment during tax-free week, means none of the subsequent payments on the applicable items will include sales tax either.

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Sunday declared Rudy Marconi Day in state of Connecticut by Gov.

Sunday was declared Rudy Marconi Day in the state of Connecticut by Governor Ned Lamont.  According to the official proclamation. the yesterday was named to celebrate Marconi leading Ridgefield for 21 years. 

The Ridgefield native was elected in 1999 and is one of the longest serving Democratic First Selectman in Connecticut. 

Lamont said in an official statement that under Marconi's leadership Ridgefield has prospered with a growing population, stable tax base, quality education and one of the best places to live, work and play.  Marconi led Ridgefield to establish the first Cultural Districts in Connecticut and acquired the largest contiguous open state parcels in the state. 

He serves as a member of the Western Connecticut Council of Governments. chairs the Housatonic Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization, chairs the DEMHS Region 5 and is a Board member of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities and of the Council of Small Towns. 

 

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Greater Danbury experiencing rise in COVID-19 cases

In the last two weeks reported Brookfield has experienced 29 new cases of COVID-19. The rate per 100,000 residents is 12.2.  First Selectman Steve Dunn says rates have risen sharply over the past three weeks and all indicators show that they are likely to continue to rise. 

Brookfield, like other towns, recently imposed a mandatory mask requirement in all town-owned buildings, regardless of vaccine status.  The municipalities, along with many national retailers, are now extending the mask requirement to include all publicly used indoor spaces. 

Ridgefield Health Director Ed Briggs stressed the importance of vaccinations for those who are eligible, saying unless enough people get inoculated, they will be chasing variants forever.  He hopes the mask mandate is temporary, noting that health officials will continue to monitor the data issued by the CDC and the state Department of Public Health.

 

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Special Town Meeting tonight in Redding on budget matters

A Special Town Meeting is being held in Redding tonight about budget transfers.  Residents are being called on to consider authorizing year end line-item transfers for expenditures for the just completed fiscal year.  The changes were approved by the Redding Board of Finance.  Tonight's meeting is in the Redding  Town Hall Hearing Room, at 7pm.

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DEEP signs off on New Fairfield plainly audible standard, recommends decibel levels added

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has reviewed New Fairfield's draft Noise Ordinance.  Selectman Khris Hall says DEEP approved the plainly audible standard, but is recommending the town add decibel levels back into the proposal. 

DEEP reviewed the document to confirm it's consistent with the state noise ordinance.  DEEP also shared the proposal with their Environmental Conservation Police to make sure they could also enforce it, given the provisions about Candlewood Lake. 

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.  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. 

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.

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.

Residents will vote August 29th at 2pm on whether or not to adopt the ordinance, though the location has not yet been determined.  According to the draft document, a first-time violation would be punished by a fine of up to $100, and second-time offense would result in a $150 fine. Each subsequent violation would result in a $250 fine.

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DOT to resurface I-84 between Exits 8 and 9

The state Department of Transportation will be milling and paving part of I-84 starting today.  The highway east and westbound will be resurfaced between Exits 8 and 9, including the exit 8 off and on-ramps.   The area will be milled Monday through September 12th.  Paving will be deon September 12th through October 8th.  The work will be done overnights, from 7pm to 5am Sundays through Thursdays.  No work will be performed on the day before or the day after the Labor Day Holiday.  Motorists can expect lane and ramp closures.  Traffic control personnel and signing patterns will be used to guide motorists through the work zone. Changes to the schedule may be needed due to weather delays or other unforeseen conditions.

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Greater Danbury area towns implement mask mandates

Greater Danbury area towns will extend the mask requirement to include all publicly used indoor spaces effective today.  This is in place in Bethel, Danbury, Ridgefield, Redding, Brookfield and New Fairfield. 

Bethel recently imposed a mandatory mask requirement in all town-owned buildings, regardless of vaccine status, but First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says the most recent data on the COVID-19 “Delta” variant shows a continued rapid increase in spread. 

Face masks are being required in all indoor areas, both public and private, regardless of vaccine status, where safe social distancing cannot be maintained.  Business owners are advised to post notices at all entry points to inform the public of the requirement.  Exceptions include private residences, work spaces not accessible to the general public, outdoor dining and indoor restaurant dining when seated at the table.

Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi says that the prime motivation for the mandate was to protect the vulnerable under 12 population who are not yet eligible for a vaccine.  He says the Delta variant has been found to be more easily contracted, especially by children, and can be spread asymptomatically to unvaccinated family members with the potential for serious consequences. 

Marconi added that keeping the schools open is a priority, and while vaccinations are the best line of defense, masking up can protect the community.

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Vaccine van returning to New Fairfield

The yellow COVID-19 vaccine minivan will be making a return trip to New Fairfield this week.  The Griffin Health state Department of Public Health team will provide vaccines on Wednesday from 9am to 7pm in the New Fairfield High School parking lot.  The van will also be in New Fairfield on the 23rd from 9 to 7.  The clinic will vaccinate anyone over the age of 12, however those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent.  Vaccines are provided free of charge.

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Three-way race for First Selectman in Brookfield

There will be a three-way race for First Selectman in Brookfield.  A 38-year old Independent voter has submitted paperwork with the Town Clerk to run for the top spot in the November municipal election.  Austin Monteiro, will challenge Democratic incumbent Steve Dunn and Republican endorsed Tara Carr.  Monteiro was previously a registered Republican and sought an endorsement earlier this year.  There is no Independent party in Brookfield so he will run as a petitioning candidate.  He owned and ran a gym in Danbury for about 10 years and currently owns a coaching and consulting business.

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Pop up COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Danbury today

Danbury High School is hosting a mobile COVID-19  vaccination clinic today.  Shots will be administered from 9am to 3pm.  A second dose clinic will be held on September 8th at the High School from 3pm to 7pm.  Everyone 12 and older is eligible, though 12 to 18 year olds need parental or guardian approval.  

All three vaccine options are available free of charge today at Rogers Park, from 3pm to 9pm.  There's also a pop up clinic being hosted by Mount Pleasant Church on Rowan Street, with all three vaccines being administered, from noon to 3pm. 

Connecticut remains the 4th highest vaccinated state in the nation with 64.1 percent of the total population fully vaccinated.  Vermont is in the lead at 68-percent.  Massachusetts comes in 3rd at 64.6 percent, just edging out Maine's 64.4 percent vaccination rate

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DHS to host food distribution event today

Danbury High School is hosting another drive-thru food distribution.  The event, coordinated by the United Way of Western Connecticut and the Connecticut Food Bank/Foodshare, is open every Saturday in August for any Connecticut resident.  People who drive up or walk up to 43 Clapboard Ridge Road between 10 am and 1 pm will receive a box of fresh produce.  There is no registration or documentation required for this free program. Walnut Hill Community Church is providing logistical and volunteer support for this initiative. 

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Bethel to require masks in indoor public places starting Monday

Bethel will extend the mask requirement to include all publicly used indoor spaces as of Monday.  The town recently imposed a mandatory mask requirement in all town-owned buildings, regardless of vaccine status, but First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says the most recent data on the COVID-19 “Delta” variant shows a continued rapid increase in the spread of this highly contagious virus.

This is being done in conjunction with Danbury, Ridgefield, Redding, Brookfield and New Fairfield.

Face masks are being required in all indoor areas, both public and private, regardless of vaccine status, where safe social distancing cannot be maintained.  Business owners are advised to post notices at all entry points to inform the public of the requirement. 

Exceptions include private residences, work spaces not accessible to the general public, outdoor dining and indoor restaurant dining when seated at the table.

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Danbury to open COVID-19 testing site

The City of Danbury is partnering with SEMA4, a health company, for COVID-19 testing.  The Pat Waldron Building at 23 Memorial Drive will be a drive through and walk up testing site three days a week.  COVID testing will be available Mondays and Wednesdays 3pm to 7pm and on Saturdays from 10am to 2pm. 

For the second week in a row, the delta variant makes up 100-percent of variants detected in Connecticut COVID-19 cases. Nearly 200 more cases were detected in the past week, jumping from 360 total cases detected last week to 540 this week. 

State officials on Thursday reported 11 more COVID-associated deaths compared with the same day last week. 

The number of people hospitalized increased by 17.  The inpatient total of 247 is the highest since mid-May. Of those currently in the hospital, 190 patients have not been vaccinated or their vaccination status is unknown. 

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Town by Town COVID=19 infection data released by state Department of Public Health

According to the latest COVID-19 data from the state Department of Public Health, Bethel, Danbury, and New Fairfield each have a 2.7 percent infection rate.  Ridgefield's infection rate is 4.1 percent, up from 2.8 percent.  Over the last two weeks, both Redding and Brookfield experienced decreases to about 3-percent infection rates.  Newtown has the lowest infection rate in the Greater Danbury area at 1.9 percent. 

New Milford is reporting another 7 COVID-19 cases in one day.  In the last two weeks reports, New Milford had 40 positive cases, making the rate per 100,000 population 10.7.  The percent of New Milford residents fully vaccinated is 64.7 percent.  Those who have had at least one dose account for 69.5 percent of the town's population. 

Ridgefield has had 46 new COVID-19 cases reported to the state over the last two weeks, between July 25th and August 7th.  The case rate was 13.2 per 100,000 population moving Ridgefield into the state Department of Public Health's orange alert level for community spread, the second highest zone.  Brookfield reported 29 cases in two weeks, or 12.2 per 100,000 population. 

Over the last two weeks reported Danbury had 90 new COVID-19 cases tallied by the state.  That made the rate 7.6 per 100,000 population.

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Ribbon cut on Keystone Place at Wooster Heights senior living

The ribbon has been cut on the new Keystone Place at Wooster Heights senior living community in Danbury.  Senator Richard Blumenthal and Congresswoman Jahana Hayes were on hand for the event with the Mayor and state legislative delegation among others.

 An ambulance facility was constructed on the campus, donated to the City  to cover emergencies on Danbury’s west side. 

Rizzo Corporation of Danbury says this development will help meet the growing need for senior housing in the area.  The project generated hundreds of construction-related jobs and created new permanent employment opportunities for scores of area residents.

Keystone Place at Wooster Heights includes 55 independent living apartments, 63 traditional assisted living apartments and 22 memory care apartments.  The community features studio, one and two bedroom/two bathroom apartment homes.  

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Investigating into political banner featuring swastikas has concluded

The investigating into a political banner featuring swastikas has concluded.  Southbury officials say police and the town's attorney are not pursuing the investigation any further.  The banner, which showed donkeys wearing swastikas and the phrase “the new logo for the Democratic party,” was placed on Playhouse Corner in late July during a protest rally.  There was no criminal activity or hate crime committed.  No perpetrators were able to be identified.  The Southbury Board of Selectmen unanimously condemned the incident.

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Masks now required indoors in Redding

Due to the increase in COVID-19 cases in Redding and throughout the state, Redding Health Officer Doug Hartline says masks must be worn in all indoor settings regardless of vaccination status.

Danbury Mayor Joe Cavo's mask mandate at public indoor locations starts Sunday. 

Public indoor settings include, but are not limited to: restaurants, stores, work offices, common spaces in apartment buildings and similar locations. This includes all municipal buildings, schools, school buses, childcare facilities, places of worship, healthcare, and congregate living settings. This does not apply to private homes.

Hartline says masks can be removed when alone in a room such as a private office or when socially distanced from others.

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Two more area towns move up alert scale on COVID-19 community spread map

The state Department of Public Health's color coded COVID-19 community spread alert map is getting filled in once again.  New Milford and Ridgefield have now joined Brookfield in the 2nd highest alert level, orange.  Easton remains the only Greater Danbury area town in the highest alert zone, the red level.  39 municipalities are now in the red. 

Danbury, Bethel, Newtown, Monroe, Redding, Weston, and Wilton are all in the yellow with each municipality reporting 5 to 9 cases per 100-thousand population over two weeks. In the grey zone, the lowest level for community spread, are Bridgewater, New Fairfield, Roxbury, Sherman, and Washington. 

Danbury's two week rolling average COVID-19 infection rate is 2.7 percent, up from the week before at 1.9 percent. 

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Kaykers saved for going over Bleachery Dam by alert police helicopter pilot

Kaykers were saved from tragedy by a well timed fly over of a New Milford Police helicopter this past weekend.  Eagle 2 was patrolling near the Bleachery Dam and noticed a kayak and a canoe headed for the dam.  Crew members circled overhead and used a loud speaker to warn the three people to get to shore immediately, as they were in grave danger and only feet from the dam.  They grabbed for tree branches to stop themselves from going over the dam.  Police Chief Spencer Cerruto is again warning the public to Not operate personal watercraft near the Dam.

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Census data shows population growth in Greater Danbury area

Census data has been released.  Fairfield County is the most diverse of the state’s eight counties, with a white population of 61 percent. Bethel’s population grew 9.5 percent in the past 10 years. Danbury’s population grew by 7 percent.  Redding had the biggest population drop, about 4.3 percent over the past decade.  Several other towns saw their numbers go down: New Fairfield, Newtown, Sherman and New Milford.  Brookfield recorded growth.  Danbury had the second-highest net growth of any municipality in Connecticut, behind only Stamford, adding 5,625 residents.  Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, who chaired the state’s 2020 Complete Count Committee, said in a statement that Connecticut had a 99.9% overall response rate to the Census.

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Tax Free Week starts Sunday in Connecticut

Tax Free Week starts on Sunday in Connecticut, and ends Saturday the 21st.  Greater Danbury area state lawmakers are encouraging people to take part in the one-week event that eliminates Connecticut’s 6.35 percent sales tax on in-person and online purchases of clothing and footwear costing less than $100 per item. Since sales tax is calculated after the use of any coupons or discounts, if the final price per item is less than $100, the sale is exempt from taxes. Clothing or footwear under $100 put on layaway is also tax-free. Goods not covered under the program include, clothing or footwear specifically designed for athletic activities such as football cleats, specialty boots for fishing, hiking, skiing and other activities, as well as wet suits, and helmets.  The exemption is also not for jewelry, handbags, luggage, umbrellas, wallets, or watches, among other accessories.

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Danbury Police give update on mall shooting investigation

Danbury Police say a 15-year old girl was shot Wednesday night at Danbury Mall.  Police initially said the bystander was a 16 year old, but further investigation determined that she was part of the group. As of Thursday, the teen remains in stable condition at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. Her identity is being withheld. It remains unclear if she was the intended target.

An altercation between two groups spilled out into the public around 7pm.  At least 8 people were involved in the incident with another group near the Macy's entrance.

Chief Patrick Ridenhour says one person brandish a handgun and fired one round.  Ridenhour said last night that a white male ran from the scene carrying a hammer, and was believed to be the target. 

The mall was immediately placed on lockdown.  

Police reviewed video footage from the mall, for about an hour. They did see confirmation that the group left the mall.  Police say the gunman is believed to be a dark skinned male, possibly in his early teens, with a thin build and shoulder-length dreadlocks.

Police believe he will be identified soon, but encourage him to turn himself in.

Ridenhour says they still believe this was an isolated incident and that there is no risk to the general public at this time. 

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Cooling Centers opened around Greater Danbury area

An Excessive Heat Warning is in effect for the Greater Danbury area, through 8pm.  An Excessive Heat Watch is in effect Friday afternoon through evening. 

HARTransit is providing a Cooling Bus in Danbury outside 198 Main Street, until 4pm.

New Fairfield Library and Senior Center will be open for cooling during regular hours.  Masks are required in both buildings regardless of vaccination status.  The Library will be open  from 10 to 7 and tomorrow from 10 to 5.  The Senior Center is open until 4 and tomorrow 9am to 3pm. 

The Bethel Municipal Center and the Library are being opened during normal hours to offer relief from the heat.  Past monitoring does not yield guests in high amounts so there is anticipated to be room for social distancing.  Masks will be required.

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COVID-19 cases on the rise in Danbury

New COVID-19 vaccination clinics have been scheduled in Danbury.  All three vaccines will be available free of charge at Rogers Park from 4pm to 9pm to people 12 and older.  Those between the ages of 12 and 18 will need parental or guardian permission.  Only the Pfizer vaccine has emergency use authorization from the FDA to be administered to younger kids.  

Danbury Mayor Joe Cavo is calling on the chief elected officials from surrounding towns to mandate masks be worn indoors in public places, regardless of COVID-19 vaccine status.  The requirement in the City goes into effect on Sunday.

Connecticut's daily test positivity rate yesterday was 3.15 percent.  Little more than 900 positive cases were detected out of about 29,000 tests.  Another 11 people were hospitalized for treatment of coronavirus, bringing the inpatient total to 230.  Over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new COVID-19 cases has increased by 91.7 percent, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.  

New London County has become the third in Connecticut to be designated as a high coronavirus transmission area by the CDC, increasing from substantial and putting it at the same level as Hartford and New Haven counties.

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SBA opens new application period for Shuttered Venue Operators Grants

The U.S. Small Business Administration is announcing a call to all eligible Shuttered Venue Operators Grant applicants seeking economic aid.  New Milford Mayor Pete Bass says live entertainment small businesses, nonprofits, and venues can newly apply through Friday the 20th.  The program has so far awarded $8.4 billion in grants to more than 10,800 businesses to assist in getting cultural institutions back on track.

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Car fire extinguished in New Milford

The driver of a vehicle in New Milford was unaware that the rear of the car was on fire until being stopped by another motorist.  Water Witch Hose firefighters responded to Candlewood Lake Road shortly after 4pm on Friday and found that the Good Samaritan was able to help the family of four out of the vehicle before the fire reached the passenger compartment. Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze and prevented leaking fluids from reaching the storm drains.

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Man seriously injured in New Milford motorcycle accident

A Shelton man was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident in New Milford on Tuesday.  Police responded to Route 7 around 3:30pm and determined that the motorcyclist lost control while headed southbound, leaving the roadway.  The man was transported the the hospital for treatment of serious, but non-life-threatening injuries.  No other vehicles or passengers were involved in the crash.

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Car crashes into recently opened Southbury restaurant

A car crashed into a newly opened restaurant in Southbury Monday afternoon.  State Police responded to Southbury Seafood Market on Heritage Road around 3pm.  A 96-year-old was attempting to park, but went over the curb and struck the building.  The car and building sustained moderate damage while the woman was uninjured.  State Police say two patrons inside were hit by a freezer, but refused medical treatment.  The restaurant opened in late July.

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UPDATED: Girl shot in chest at Mall was not target of altercation

A 16-year old girl was shot at the Danbury Mall yesterday as an altercation between two groups spilled out into the public. 

Danbury Police received reports of shots fire near Macy's shortly after 7pm.  Officers found the girl suffering from a gunshot wound to her upper chest area. She was alert and conscious. She was later transported to a Hartford Hospital in critical condition.

Chief Patrick Ridenhour says one person brandish a handgun and fired one round.  He notes that it appears the victim was not the intended target, but got in the way.  Ridenhour says a white male ran from the scene carrying a hammer, and he was believed to be the target. 

The mall was immediately placed on lockdown. 

Police reviewed video footage from the mall, though it's unknown at this time how many suspects are involved, they did see confirmation that the group left the mall.  Police have not been able to identify the suspects, so they are considered to still be at large.  Police then systematically cleared the building. 

Ridenhour says it was a trying day for mall patrons and employees. 

Danbury Police were assisted by State Police, Brookfield, Ridgefield and Wilton police departments and the Putnam County Sheriff's Department.  It is believed to be an isolated incident but still under investigation.

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Danbury to mandate masks indoors

Effective Sunday, the City of Danbury will require masks or cloth face coverings in public indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status.  The order may be periodically revised or amended as needed or required by State directive or health order, changing conditions, or community needs. 

Mayor Joe Cavo says due to the increase in the number of cases over the past two weeks, and the projection of the Delta variant spread, he wanted to get ahead of it. He's asking businesses and residents to take these precautions in hopes of mitigating the spread and making every effort to protect the community.  Cavo says everyone hoped to be nearing the end of this pandemic, but he says wearing a mask indoors or in large gatherings, along with getting vaccinated, and practicing social distancing remain the most effective mitigation strategies. 

Cavo previously said that a regional approach would be the most effective way to issue this mandate.  After reaching out to local officials from surrounding towns, he hopes others will issue similar guidance in the coming days. Governor Lamont gave municipalities last week the ability to decide if masks should be required for even vaccinated people in indoor public places. 

For now, Cavo is not planning to require City employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine, as the federal government has done.  Cavo notes that as the Delta variant increases positive cases and hospitalizations, the City has seen an uptick in the percent of Danbury residents who are starting the vaccine process on their own. 

Cavo added that people taking personal responsibility is the way to get through this new wave of the pandemic.

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Newtown committee to continue studying proposed ordinance banning open carry on public property

No action has been taken in Newtown on whether or not to create an ordinance banning open carry of firearms on public property. At their last meeting, the Legislative Council Ordinance Subcommittee decided to keep studying the matter.  Chairman Ryan Knapp says they need to consider if the town can enact such a law.  Members are looking into what other municipalities have implemented, what Newtown Police think about the idea, and if a local ordinance would contradict state law.  If it's a conflict, the town could open itself to legal battles.  A petition was sent to the subcommittee, signed by more than 400 people opposed to a ban on open carry.   The Newtown Police Commission sent three ordinances, drafted by Newtown Action Alliance, to the Legislative Council for further consideration.  They are looking at just one, restricting open carry on town-owned land.

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Democratic primary to be held in Redding, not in Danbury

There will not be a primary in Danbury for the Democratic line in the Mayoral race. 

Councilman John Esposito tried to collect the required 710 signatures, but was not able to meet yesterday's deadline.  Political newcomer Sedeaka Lawrence also did not turn in primary petition signatures to the Registrar of Voters in time.  The Town Committee endorsed Councilman Roberto Alves as their nominee for November.  He will face Republican Dean Esposito, the Mayor's current Chief of Staff. 

There will be a Democratic primary in Redding in the race for First Selectman.  Incumbent Julia Pemberton is being challenged by Mike D’Agostino.  The vote for registered Democrats in Redding will be held on September 14th.  D’Agostino, a Region 9 school board member, turned in the required signatures to the registrars on Tuesday, and they were verified. 

In Southbury, Republican Selectman Emily Harrison did not request or turn in signatures for a primary to challenge as expected, against incumbent Jeffrey Manville for the position of Selectman.

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Ridgefield Board of Ed gets update of draft reopening plan

The Ridgefield Board of Education is awaiting further guidance from the state, but an updated Safe Return Plan has been presented.  The plan is subject to change based on COVID-19 cases.  The draft plan calls for students and staff to wear masks while inside school buildings and on the bus.  Field trips will be permitted this year, but that could change.  There will be synchronous instruction for elementary school students across the district, provided by three subs, in the event of an individual or class quarantine to ensure continuity of learning.

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Ridgefield COVID Task Force resumes weekly meetings

With the continued spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant and the surge in hospitalizations, Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi has asked the town's COVID Task Force to resume weekly meetings to monitor town status.  As many restrictions were lifted, the Task Force was temporarily deactivated.  Regular meetings resumed two weeks ago. 

Marconi says he is not opting for mandatory mask rules indoors at this time, but added that people who are unvaccinated should wear a mask indoors.  He also asked that residents remember that many non-vaccinated people are either non-eligible due to age or cannot receive the vaccine based on their doctor’s recommendations.

Dr. Maher Madhoun, a member of the Ridgefield COVID Task Force and a Hospitalist Director and an Infectious Disease Specialist for Stamford Health says his concern is that most of the seriously ill and hospitalized patients he is seeing are unvaccinated young adults in their twenties and early thirties.

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Dickinson Skatepark in Newtown is closed for renovations

The Dickinson Skatepark in Newtown is closed for the rest of the week.  The Parks & Recreation Department says certain sections will remain closed off after Friday, until renovations are completed.  The skatepark is about a decade old and needs maintenance for normal wear and tear.  Parks & Rec officials told the Newtown Bee that the park is still under warranty and they feel that some items have worn out sooner than they should have. American Ramp Company is honoring the warranty.  Enhancements will also be made, funded through a donation from the Capozziello family, who lost their son, Tom, in his honor.  A new feature, as well as some reconfiguring of existing paths will be done.

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Teen shot at mall following altercation

Danbury Police are investigating reports of shots fired at Danbury Fair Mall. People were initially told to shelter in place.  The incident took place in or around Macy’s shortly after 7pm.  State Police are assisting Danbury. 

Danbury Police say at least 8 people were involved in an altercation, someone brandished a gun, and a shot was fired. Police believe the 16-year old girl was not the target, but an innocent victim. Police say she was alert and conscious when she was transported to Hartford Hospital in critical condition.

Investigators reviewed surveillance video and saw one white man leaving the mall with a hammer and they believe he may have been the intended target.

The suspect(s) fled the scene and are still at large. 

Mutual aid was provided by the FBI, State Police, the Putnam County Sheriff's Office, the Southwest Regional Emergency Services Unit and police from Bethel, Brookfield, Newtown, New Fairfield, Redding and Ridgefield.

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Reports of shots fired at Danbury Mall

Danbury Police are investigating reports of shots fired at Danbury Fair Mall. People are reportedly sheltering in place.  There’s at least one victim with multiple shots to the chest, according to scanner reports.  The incident took place in or around Macy’s shortly after 7pm.  State Police are assisting Danbury.  The Mall is being searched by police though some stores are releasing people, with police escort to safety.

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Ridgefield Town Parking lot closed for renovation

The Ridgefield Parking Authority is cautioning that starting today, the Governor Street Town Parking lot will be closed for renovation.  Temporary parking for "All-day Free parking" will be at the backside of Veteran’s Park School. through the 22nd.  The Governor Street lot will reopen on the 23rd.  No parking will be allowed at Veteran's Park School starting at that date, as teachers and staff will be returning and enforcement action will be taken against violators.

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South Salem Fire Department parade, carnival prompt traffic warnings

Ridgefield Emergency Management officials are cautioning drivers to a an event in neighboring New York tonight that could cause tie ups.  The Town of Lewisboro has planned road closures in South Salem on Route 35 and Spring Street, from 6:30pm to 8:30pm.  The South Salem Fire Department is hosting a parade and drivers are asked to seek alterate routes. 

The closure on 35 is between Bountonville Road and Bouton Road.  Spring Street will be closed between Boutonville Road and Route 35. 

The South Salem Fire Department in New York is hosting a carnival, and that is prompting a warning to drivers.  There could be pedestrians and cyclists along Route 35 by the fire house during the evneing hours tonight through Sunday, and during the days this weekend. 

Drivers are asked to use extreme caution in the area, and expect delays or stopped traffic in the area.  Motorists are advised to consider alternate routes.

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COVID-19 vaccination clinics scheduled in Brookfield

New COVID-19 vaccination clinics have been scheduled in Brookfield as cases rise due to the highly transmissible delta variant.  The Johnson and Johnson vaccine will be offered at the clinics on the 17th, 19th, 24th, 26th, and 31st at Brookfield Town Hall.  The clinics are from 1:3pm to 3:30pm in Room 129.

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Case against EMT accused in Molotov cocktail incidents moved to different court

An EMT accused of setting off Molotov cocktails at emergency services facilities in Roxbury and elsewhere has had some of the charges transferred to New Haven Superior Court from Meriden and Litchfield.  37-year old Richard White of Torrington faces charges including arson, illegal bomb manufacturing and burglary for the incidents in Meriden, Old Saybrook and Roxbury.  He is also accused of damaging a nearby home in Roxbury where White used to live.  Police said at the time of the arrest that White got into an altercation with another EMT in Meriden,  attended a disciplinary hearing and was suspended.

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Larceny charge dropped in Bethel Baseball Association embezzlement investigation

Larceny and conspiracy to commit larceny charges have been dropped against the wife of a former Bethel Baseball Association president and treasurer accused of embezzling more than $25,000.  Jennifer Dyer, the association's concession director, has the charges dropped Friday.  Her husband Kurt's case records are sealed.  They were arrested in April 2020  following a year-long investigation.  Police said at the time that the purchases included women’s clothing, home goods and food items, gasoline and cash-back transactions.

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Possible COVID-19 exposure prompts Redding Parks & Rec to cancel day camp

A possible exposure to COVID-19 has prompted the Redding Parks and Recreation Department to cancel the last week of day camp.  Officials were alerted late Sunday night that there was a positive case among the three dozen day camp community. 

An alert went out to parents early Monday morning.  The move was made after consulting with the Department of Public Health. 

Redding First Selectwoman Julia Pemberton acknowledged the inconvenience to parents who rely on the camp for child care.  She notes that there's a significant number of people to contact trace, especially because many are children under 12 who are unable to be vaccinated due to age.  The state has offered assistance.  

She says the cancellation was done as a precaution to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

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Danbury Schools host Community Reopening Listening Forums on reopening plans

Danbury Public Schools are hosting two Community Reopening Listening Forums on reopening plans for the upcoming academic year.

The current guidelines from the CDC and State Department of Education will be shared. Attendees will also be able to  share their thoughts about the upcoming school year.  One session tonight will be held in English, the other tomorrow will be in Spanish.  Both are being held via Zoom at 7pm. 

The Reopening Committee will meet next week and then the Board of Ed will meet on the 25th approve the reopening plan.

Once the academic year starts on August 30th, the School-Based Health Centers will provide COVID testing and vaccines. 

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Teacher injured on 12/14 resigns as Redding Elementary Principal to lead Guilford school

Redding Elementary School Principal Natalie Hammond has resigned. She is joining the Guilford school district and will be principal of an elementary school there.  Hammond led Redding Elementary for four years and during that time it was named a School of Distinction by the State Department of Education.

Prior to her role in Redding, she served as Assistant Principal at Emma Hart Willard Elementary School in Berlin.  She was lead teacher at Sandy Hook School and survived multiple injuries from the shooting on 12/14. 

Redding First Selectwoman Julia Pemberton says she understands that Hammond's resignation on Monday may cause concern about the environment that will meet young students when they return to their classrooms after a year of unprecedented challenges to their educational, social and environmental growth as a result of the pandemic. 

She says the interim Superintendent, who knows the district well as a former administrator there, is aware of the value placed on educating the whole child.  Pemberton added that Thomas McMorran is in communication with an experienced and kind retired elementary school principal about coming to Redding as interim principal.

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Greater Danbury area towns open cooling centers as heat moves in

A Heat Advisory is in effect for the Greater Danbury area. 

The New Fairfield Library will be open from 10am to 7pm and the Senior Center will be open from 9am to 4pm for cooling.  Masks are required in both buildings regardless of vaccination status.  Seniors and those with chronic health problems or mental health conditions are at an increased risk.

Homes without air conditioning can be much hotter than outdoor temperatures.  New Fairfield officials asked residents to check on vulnerable friends, family members and neighbors.

New Milford will be opening cooling stations for those in need.  The Senior Center will be open from 8am to 5pm. Other cooling station will be at the Loretta Brickley Room at Town Hall from 8am to 5pm.  Residents are asked to bring a mask, though people without one will be provide with a mask. 

To reduce risk during outdoor work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location.

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Danbury hosts pop up COVID vaccine clinics

With COVID-19 cases back on the rise in Connecticut, this time due to the highly transmissible delta variant, more opportunities are being provided for people to get vaccinated.  Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson shots will be available at Kennedy Park from 6:30am to 11am today.  Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson will be administered today at Danbury Library from 10am to 2pm, and then all three vaccines will be available free of charge at the library from 2pm to 8pm.  The Danbury School District has brought in the state Department of Public Health's yellow minivans for clinics offering Pfizer, with the van at Park Avenue School from 11am to 5pm today, and a follow up on the evening of September 1st. 

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Masks required in Bethel municipal buildings, businesses urged to follow suit

Effective today, everyone will be required to wear face masks regardless of vaccination status inside the Bethel Municipal Center and other municipal buildings.  First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says this is in response to the rising number of COVID-19 cases, driven by the highly transmissible delta variant.  For those without a facemask, one will be provided to visitors to the municipal center.  Knickerbocker is also strongly advising Bethel businesses to require face masks where social distancing is difficult.  Municipalities were given the authority by a gubernatorial executive order last week. 

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New Milford experiences uptick in COVID-19 cases

New Milford like other municipalities in the Greater Danbury area has seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases.  Over the weekend, New Milford had 10 new cases reported.  It Litchfield County, 32 new cases were reported since Friday.  A spike in COVID-19 related hospitalizations is being reported in Connecticut.  Over the weekend an additional 34 people were hospitalized with coronavirus raising the inpatient total to 208.  That is the highest number of people reported hospitalized in Connecticut since May 12, when the total was 222.  The state’s total positive COVID-19 tests since the pandemic began is equivalent to about 10% of Connecticut's population. 

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Road repaving project started in Danbury

The Danbury Public Works Department has started road construction on Great Plain Road, Stadley Rough Road, and East Pembroke Road this week. The construction will not result in road closings, but there is the possibility of travel restrictions.  During this period there will be no on-street parking. Construction should last approximately 2 to 3 weeks.

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Brookfield, New Milford conduct active aggressor training exercise

New Milford and Brookfield emergency responders recently took part in a training exercise.  Police Departments from both towns along with the leaders of Water Witch Hose and Northville Fire companies planned the active aggressor training exercises at Pettibone.  Superintendent of Schools DiCorpo and school staff attended the training to prepare for any scenario that may affect students, Staff, and residents.  The New Milford Assistant Fire Marshall, New Milford Ambulance, New Milford Dispatch, CERT, and New Milford Police Cadets also participated.

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Private donor offers to create artificial turf multi-sport complex for Bethel

A private donor, who has asked to remain anonymous, is offering to pay for a  new multi-sport turf complex in Bethel.  The grass fields behind the middle school, Benzing Field, would be used for softball, baseball, soccer, lacrosse and field hockey. 

The Board of Selectmen voted last week to approve the project concept and for the donor to do a geotechnical study to determine existing soil conditions. 

Mike Kozlowski of Claris Design Build, the firm involved with the Track and Field Training Facility near the High School, made the presentation about Project Astro.  New lighting would also be added, though the donor has asked the town to chip in for that cost. 

Plans call for encapsulated rubber turf for the area, except for the football field.  The material is reportedly safer than the traditional rubber system, stays cooler and allows the ball to move faster than on natural grass.  It also has a 50-percent longer lifespan than so-called coconut infill.  Masuk High School in Monroe used organic and has had issue in rain with is spreading and needing to bring in more material.  New Milford recently completed a $3 million two field project and is happy with encapsulated rubber. 

The proposal could see the baseball diamond moved back 10 to 20 feet into the nearby hill and putting up a retaining wall. 

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Danbury brings mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics to schools

The Danbury Public School District has teamed up with the state Department of Public Health to hold a series of mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics.  The yellow Griffin Health van will be at 5 different schools this week and next, with follow up clinics about three weeks later so people can get their second dose of a Pfizer vaccine.  Today, the minivan will be administering shots at Westside Middle School from 11am to 5pm, with a return visit there on the 31st from 3pm to 7pm.  Tomorrow, the first dose clinic will be held at Park Avenue School from 11am to 5pm.  The follow up second dose clinic at Park Ave will be September 1st from 4pm to 8pm.

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Neglect, lack of enforcement at Connecticut's cemeteries

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut’s cemeteries continue to suffer from neglect and lack of rule enforcement, according to advocates, families and officials.

“Many of Connecticut’s oldest and most historic cemeteries are suffering from severe neglect and are in critical, sometimes desperate, need of care and restoration,” state Historian Walter W. Woodward told the Hartford Courant on Sunday.

A fund for neglected cemeteries was created in 2014 by the state legislature and has been paying towns between $2,000 and $3,300 each year to mow grass and repair gravestones and other features like fencing. The money for the fund comes from death certificate fees and has been fully spent each year, Office of Policy and Management spokesperson Chris McClure told the newspaper.

A former board member of the Connecticut Cemetery Association and current volunteer trustee for two cemeteries in Brookfield, Jeff Nolan, wants a state commission to oversee cemeteries and to regionalize and professionalize their management.

He suggested using geographic information system mapping to attach the precise location of graves to a person’s vital records. He also said record keeping is shoddy at many of the cemetery associations that run the state’s 5,000 graveyards. Families of the dead often pay cemeteries to keep up the grounds and millions of dollars of those funds are essentially unaccounted for, he said.

One such relative, retired lawyer Cheryl Jansen, wondered in 2018 where the money she was paying to Park Cemetery in Bridgeport was going. Her questions eventually resulted in the discovery that some 130 graves had been improperly disturbed at the cemetery — which includes graves from Civil War soldiers — and the arrest of the caretaker.

In Connecticut, the state public health department must approve new cemeteries, but no state agency is specifically charged with cemetery oversight.

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Danbury coordinating with health centers to increase COVID-19 testing availability

Danbury's COVID-19 test positivity rate is 1.9 percent and the 14-day average is 8.7 cases per 100,000 population.  The latest data available from te City on testing is from Sunday.  There were two cases reported that day, and none on Saturday.  Last week, the City reported several days of double digit case loads.  On Thursday 11 cases were confirmed, and on Wednesday, there were 16 new COVID-19 cases involving Danbury residents.

Danbury Acting Health Director Kara Prunty says the City is working closely with the state and advocating for more community sites in order to provide more options to residents.  The local health department is also working with both Federally Qualified Health Centers in Danbury on different options to increase community testing. 

The Community Health Center closed its public COVID testing sites in Connecticut at the end of June, though does offer testing for its patients.  The Connecticut Institute for Communities is considering reopening its public testing site in Danbury, but is also testing patients and anyone can become a patient. 

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New Fairfield requires masks for students, staff

The New Fairfield School District will require all students and staff to wear masks when the academic year begins on the 30th.  The decision was made in part because of the highly transmissible delta variant of COVID-19, and because most students are not eligible for the vaccine due to age.  During Thursday's Board of Ed meeting where the policy was announced, only one parent spoke out in opposition. 

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Court documents into fatal June drive-by shooting in Danbury unsealed

Some court documents have been unsealed in the murder case against a teenager for a June drive by shooting in Danbury. 

According to the documents made public Monday, Police believe the shooting death of 18-year old Yhameek Johnson was part of an ongoing feud between two rival groups.  According to the warrant for the arrest of 17-year-old Elvis Agramonte, the Mill Ridge Road shooting was the latest incident in a feud dating to at least 2019. 

The vehicle believed to have been used in the shooting had been reported stolen the night before and had its rear license plate replaced with a New York plate stolen off another vehicle that same night.  According to the court documents, police believe Agramonte abandoned the car, but later tried to come back with a juvenile two days later to clean it and destroy evidence. 

An unnamed 17-year-old has also been charged in the case.

The warrant says that at the time of the shooting there were many people outside, including children under 16-years-old. 

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Appellate court denies suit againt Newtown over volleyball referee accident

A lawsuit against the Town of Newtown has been denied by a Connecticut Appellate Court.  A volleyball referee from Stratford sued after falling from an officiating stand that QUOTE opened up like a trap door.  But the court found that Albert Buehler didn’t fit the narrow category of a person entitled to special protection, and that it applies to a child's attendance at school.  Municipalities have broad protection that shields employees from most liability when they use their discretion.  The 40-year volleyball officiating veteran had been on a portable, ladder-like stand for an hour at a 2015 volleyball match when he fell straight down.  He sustained injuries to his spine, shoulder, elbow and knee.  Last week's decision upholds a 2019 Superior Court decision.  Buehler could petition state Supreme Court for review.

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State partners with TEACH Connecticut to inspire people to become educators

The state Department of Education has launched the first statewide support initiative of its kind in the nation, in partnership with TEACH Connecticut.  The PSA called “The Future Depends on Teachers” focuses on the nation’s recovery while aiming to inspire talented, diverse candidates to become educators. 

TEACH Connecticut has made tools and resources available for people who are considering becoming a teacher. 

Connecticut is facing an historic shortage of teachers, which has been compounded by the pandemic and accompanying fiscal crisis. Connecticut has persistent shortage in areas such as math, science, bilingual and special education. TEACH Connecticut advisor Lauren Danner says when schools shut down and students stayed home, parents gained a better understanding of and appreciation for teachers.  

Advocates say a diverse teacher workforce results in better outcomes for students of all races/ethnicities, such as reduced dropout rates, improved college admissions, and achievement gains.   

TEACHConnecticut.org includes links to sign up for 1:1 coaching from experienced teachers, certification guides, ways to compare preparation programs, and other resources.  The online portal also includes financial aid opportunities. 

TEACH is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, launched by Microsoft and the U.S. Department of Education and is supported by the nation’s top teacher associations.

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Danbury schools host COVID-19 vaccine mobile clinics

The Griffin Health Mobile Vaccination Team will be holding a walk-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Danbury today. No appointment is needed for the Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson shot.  The yellow van will be at Rogers Park Middle School from 11am to 5pm.  This is a partnership with the Danbury Public School District and the state Department of Public Health.  The van will be back at Rogers Park Middle School on the 30th from 3pm to 7pm for second dose Pfizer shots to be administered.

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Public hearing in Danbury tonight on Community Development Block Grants

A public hearing is being held tonight in Danbury about the draft action plan for the Community Development Block Grant CARES Act, specifically to apply for about a million dollars to address needs resulting from the pandemic.  The hearing will be held in the City Hall first floor conference room at 7pm.  Comments related to the needs of the community as they relate to funding priorities and specific project proposals will be taken into consideration when deciding which projects will be awarded money.  The City of Danbury is accepting applications for funding under its 2021 Community Development Block Grant Program.  The projects must assist low/moderate income families and individuals, eliminate blight conditions or meet urgent needs which affect public health and safety within the City. Applications will be accepted via email with details on the City's website, along with an Application Package.

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Oil truck fire extinguished in Southbury

A vehicle fire on I-84 Eastbound in Southbury was quickly extinguished on Saturday.  The incident was reported on the Exit 15 off ramp and involved an oil truck with an engine fire.  The tank carrying roughly 625 gallons of oil did not breach and there was no product loss from the tank.  State Police closed the off ramp to help keep the scene safe for fire personnel during the response.

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Local lawmaker opposes TCI

A local lawmaker is speaking out about a measure discussed this year.  New Fairfield Representative Patrick Callahan says a tax increase is part of a larger agreement called the "Transportation & Climate Initiative."  He says the environmental benefits purported by the TCI agreement are miniscule in comparison to the natural drop in emissions, caused by existing and prospective regulations. 

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Records: Kids weight loss camp opened without a license

KENT, Conn. (AP) — A children’s weight loss camp in Connecticut that closed last month amid a state investigation had opened this summer without a license and had a history of violations and other problems, according to state records.

An inspector with the state Office of Early Childhood did a surprise inspection July 2 at Camp Shane in Kent and found it had been operating without a license since June 24, according to records from the office that were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by Hearst Connecticut Media.

Despite the inspector having several concerns about medical training documentation and other issues, the camp was granted a license later the same day as the inspection, the records show.

The camp later shut down July 13. The owner, David Ettenberg, told Hearst at the time that the camp closed because of a staffing shortage. Ettenberg did not return messages seeking comment by Hearst and The Associated Press about the newly released records.

Later the same day as the camp closed, however, the Office of Early Childhood and the Department of Children and Families issued a statement saying they were opening an investigation because of “concerns about the health, safety and well-being of children enrolled at the summer youth camp.”

A spokesperson for the Early Childhood Office did not have any updates on the investigation Friday.

It remains unclear whether the state investigation is related to an 8-year-old girl suffering a severe head injury at the camp shortly before it closed. Ettenberg previously said the child was injured when a goal post at an athletic field fell on her. But he said there were four staff members nearby and the staff shortage did not create a safety issue.

The camp ran briefly at South Kent School this summer. It was held in 2019 in Pomfret at The Rectory School and did not operate in 2020.

In 2019 in Pomfret, state officials found violations at Camp Shane that included problems with documentation of staff training on medication administration and with documentation of policies. During an unannounced inspection in July of that year, 34 violations were documented.

State officials said the camp lacked many medical oversight measures including not having documented medical training for staff to administer medications or proof of lifeguard certifications.

Ettenberg provided corrective action plans requested by the Early Childhood Office.

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Brookfield declines cell tower proposal on Public Works property

Brookfield has declined to have a cell tower from Homeland Towers be located at the Public Works complex at 93 Grays Bridge Road. Homeland Towers argues that this would create an additional revenue stream for the town, improve cell coverage and be critical infrastructure for public safety.  The company says Public Works and the Highway Department are ok with the proposed location. 

Selectman Harry Shaker says it's a 16-story structure that would be out of place in the town, and there will be complaints from area residents.  He says the money per year, for 55 years, is not worth it.  Homeland Towers previously worked with the town to construct a wireless facility at 100 Pocono Road.  

Homeland Towers has other locations in mind.  The company plans to float a balloon to 165 feet and then take photos where it's visible from.  They will then produce an in-depth report, including any environmental impacts.  While the carriers need 24-7 access to the site for maintenance calls, Homeland Towers says the sites are usually visited less than three times a year.

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Ridgefield Historical Society seeks homeowner permission to expand Revolutionary War evidence search

The Ridgefield Historical Society has created a landowner permission form to allow archeological research into the 1777 Battle of Ridgefield.  Heritage Consultants LLC is finding documentary evidence to support a new conclusion that there were probably not three distinct engagements as has been commonly thought, but more of a running battle as General William Tryon and his troops marched through Ridgefield during the Revolutionary War. 

The consultant was hired through a National Park Service American Battlefield Protection Program grant. 

The next step is to use metal detectors to look for physical evidence of the fighting along the routes believed taken by the invaders and the defenders.  The Ridgefield Historical Society is asking for landowners’ permission for metal detector operators to do a walking sweep of an area, marking spots that may suggest further investigation is warranted. 

The consultants expect to find bullets and buttons, possibly cannonballs and other artifacts of war, to provide evidence of the soldiers’ presence.  Any spots that will be hand excavated to determine the exact location of the possible artifact. If one is found, the object is bagged, the soil is returned to the hole and the sod is restored to its place, leaving no visible evidence of the “dig.” 

The artifact, if it appears to be from the Revolutionary era, will be the property of the National Park Service, which typically finds a secure location for such items once studies are completed.  The research team says the Ridgefield Historical Society’s climate-controlled vault would be an option. 

Even if evidence is found, property owners will not be restricted in the use, development or sale of the parcel.  Anything uncovered that is not of the period being studied will be presented to the landowner; common finds have been coins, buttons, utensils and jewelry.

To participate, email bor.grant@ridgefieldhistoricalsociety.org

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Bethel to hold town meeting for approval of school solar panel funding

Bethel officials have signed off on funding to finance solar panels for two schools, and set a date for a town meeting so residents can weigh in.  The Board of Selectmen agreed to an amount up to $407,000 for solar panels at Johnson School, over 15 years at an interest rate not to exceed 2.65 percent.  Up to $360,600 is needed for the solar panels on Rockwell School, with the same terms.  Construction for the Johnson array is estimated at 403,000, and 357,000 for the Rockwell contract.  The Board of Finance must also approve the agreements.  A Special Town Meeting was set by the Selectmen for August 17th at 6:30pm in the General Purpose Room of the Municipal Center.

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Brookfield appoints committee to make recommendations on federal pandmic fund priorities

A committee of 10 has been appointed in Brookfield to make recommendations on how best to use the funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.  The group will be led by Colette Sturm a former Board of Education member who chairs Brookfield CARES, focused on the impact of substance abuse, depression, suicide, and other public health concerns.  State Representative Steve Harding will also be part of the committee making prioritized recommendations to the Board of Selectmen.  The chief elected officials will then make funding recommendations to the Board of Finance.  Liaisons to the committee have also been appointed from the Boards of Education and Finance, Municipal Building Committee, Economic Development and Parks and Rec.  Municipalities have until 2026 to spend the federal pandemic relief money.

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Hometown Hero Banners placed around New Milford to honor active service members

80 Hometown Hero Banners are being placed around New Milford to honor active service members and veterans from New Milford.  The local chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution and Children of the American Revolution societies are designing the banners for lamp posts.  The banners will be up for Veterans Day.  Anyone interested in having a service member honored can email The Roger Sherman Chapter DAR with the name, branch, years of service, and war.  A high-resolution digital picture must also be submitted by August 10th.  In addition to DAR and CAR, The Karlson Family Foundation is sponsoring this project. Email Jennie Rehnberg hcrkhf@aol.com

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Catalytic converters stolen from vehicles belonging to Heritage Village Association

Catalytic converters have been reported stolen from vehicles belonging to the Heritage Village Masters Association in Southbury.  The emissions-reducing devices were taken on East Hill Road and reported Thursday morning.  In January, four catalytic converters were stolen from buses parked at the Southbury Senior Center on South Main Street.  The National Insurance Crime Bureau blames the increase in thefts of catalytic converters on the rising value of chemical metals and because they can be removed in minutes.  They cost a victim up to thousands of dollars to replaced.

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NY Police warn of continued trend of vehicle break ins, thefts

New York State Police Troop K in Putnam County is cautioning that there's been a continued trend of vehicle break ins and thefts.  Troopers are offering common sense crime deterrent advice--locking unoccupied cars, taking keys and not leaving vehicles running when unoccupied.  Vehicles are being stolen largely in part because victims have kept their vehicle unlocked, with the keys in it.  New York State Police say most of the vehicles that unlawfully leave a traffic stop involving State Police are stolen from the area.

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Several area towns report 100% vaccination among residents 65+

Several Greater Danbury area towns have 100-percent of their population over 65 fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including Danbury, Brookfield, Newtown, New Milford, New Fairfield and Ridgefield.  Bethel is at 81-percent and Sherman is at 92-percent. 

The information was provided by the Town of New Fairfield, via state reporting.

Ridgefield has the highest vaccination rate among young kids in the Greater Danbury area.  61-percent of 12 to 15 year olds are fully vaccinated. 

Total population of Ridgefield fully vaccinated is at 68-percent, the highest in the area.  Newtown and Brookfield are next at 65-percent, 64-percent of New Milford and 58-percent of Danbury, Bethel, New Fairfield, and Sherman total population are fully vaccinated.

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Area towns host pop-up COVID-19 vaccine clinics this weekend

The Griffin Health/state Department of Public Health van will be in New Fairfield today.  The yellow minivan will be parked outside the  High School from 9am to 5pm and offer all three vaccines.  The clinic will vaccinate anyone over the age of 12, free of charge, however those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent.  Danbury is hosting a series of pop up clinics this weekend as well.  All three vaccines will be available today at Rogers Park from 3pm to 9pm and at the Italian Festival from 5pm to 9pm.  A vaccine clinic is being held tomorrow with all three vaccines available at St Peter's from 4pm to 8pm.

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CLA reminds used boat buyers, sellers of registration requirements

It's been a busy summer so far on Candlewood Lake.  The Candlewood Lake Authority is passing on a reminder from the state about boating in Connecticut.  People buying a new or used boat mid-season must register it in their own name before use, even if the vessel has a current registration decal.   Sellers must cancel their registration with the DMV in writing within 15 days of the sale.  Besides a ticket, sellers may be viewed as still responsible for the boat under its new user.  In order to cancel a boat registration, a certified letter can be sent to the DMV Marine Vessel Section at 60 State Street in Wethersfield.  People should keep a copy in case questions come up later.

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Danbury hosts drive-thru food distribution event today

Danbury High School will host a drive-thru food distribution every Saturday this month. The event is coordinated by the United Way of Western Connecticut and is open to anyone.  Drive up or walk ups will be accepted at 43 Clapboard Ridge Road from 10am to 1pm and families will receive a free   box of fresh produce.  There is no registration or documentation required for this program.

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Conn. reporting COVID-19 'breakthrough' cases

Several COVID-19 vaccine clinics are being held in Danbury today.  United Methodist Church on Clapboard Ridge Road is hosting a clinic offering all three vaccines free of charge from 4pm to 8pm.  The Italian Festival will have a mobile clinic with all three vaccines available from 5pm to 9pm.  Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson were available at a pop up clinic at the Farmers Market this morning.

Nearly 500 new positive COVID-19 cases were detected yesterday in Connecticut out of about 18,000 tests.  The daily positivity rate was 2.7-percent.  Hospitalizations dropped by 8 statewide to 155.  Connecticut reported another 3 COVID-associated Deaths since last Thursday. 

Of the more than 2.1 million fully vaccinated Connecticut residents, less than .06 percent have contracted COVID-19.  27 COVID-associated fatalities have occurred among the 1,171 breakthrough cases.  The deaths represent 3-percent of all COVID deaths since February.  162 patients were hospitalized. 

All new positive COVID-19 cases recorded over the past week stemmed from the delta variant. The state says the recent increase in cases and hospitalizations among the unvaccinated suggests the beginning of the fourth wave.  The third wave in Connecticut was caused by the alpha variant. The corresponding rates for fully vaccinated persons remained low during that period.

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Bethel Police investigating larceny at Target

The Bethel Police Department is investigating another shoplifting incident at Target.  Police are asking for the public's help to identify two females in relation to the latest larceny.  Photos of the pair were posted to the Bethel Police Department Facebook page this morning.  On Tuesday, Bethel Police announced an investigation into a man and a woman suspected of stealing vacuums from Target.

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Driver injured in crash down embankment

A driver was injured when their vehicle left the highway and rolled down an embankment yesterday afternoon.  Sandy Hook Fire responded to I-84 west prior to exit 11 on a report of a heavily entrapped individual.  The pickup truck was far into the woods.  Newtown Hook & Ladder and Southbury Fire provided mutual aid and setup up a rope rescue system to help extricate the driver.  The driver was transported by Newtown Ambulance.

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Monroe firefighters extinguish fully involved house fire

Monroe firefighters responded to a house on Captains Hill Road early yesterday morning on a report of a blaze, with possible victims trapped. Firefighters quickly determined that no occupants or pets were in the home, which was heavily involved in fire on both floors and the attic.  Crews deployed multiple attack lines and a ladder pipe to extinguish most of the flames within about 40 minutes and remained on scene knocking down smaller pockets of fire throughout the morning.  5 engines and 2 trucks were on scene with Trumbull and Newtown covering the volunteer's stations. EMS, Police and Red Cross provided support. The Fire Marshal is investigating the cause.

 

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Lamont allows local leaders to mandate indoor mask-wearing

Danbury's two week rolling average COVID-19 infection rate is 1.9 percent, up slightly from the week before at 1.6 percent.  When it comes to municipalities being able to implement stronger masking requirements in indoor locations, Mayor Joe Cavo plans to keep the mask mandate at City Hall and not expand to an order for private businesses.  But he is monitoring local COVID conditions and says if tighter restrictions are put in place, it should be done on a a regional level.

Gov. Ned Lamont on Thursday signed an executive order that allows municipal leaders to enact mask mandates for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people while inside public places.

This latest order allows municipal leaders to move beyond Lamont’s current edict, which requires only unvaccinated people to wear masks while inside public places. It also requires everyone to wear them in specific settings, such as health care facilities, prisons, day care sites and public and private transit.

“There are some pockets of the state that are lagging behind others and some leaders in those areas have requested the option of requiring everyone to wear masks until they can get their vaccination rates higher,” the Democrat said in a written statement.

Also Thursday, Lamont signed an order that will ultimately enable Dr. Deidre Gifford, the acting public health commissioner, to require all unvaccinated nursing home staff to be tested weekly for COVID-19. This move comes as public health officials plan to visit every nursing home to check on the number of employees who’ve been vaccinated. Federal data show at least 16 facilities in the state have staff vaccination rates below 50%.

Lamont has said his administration is also discussing the possibility of requiring nursing home workers to be vaccinated.

State statistics from July 21 to Aug. 3 indicate there were 48 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among nursing home staff. Among residents, there were 51 cases and three deaths.  To date, there has been a total of 8,296 COVID-19-associated deaths in Connecticut, an increase of three since last week.

All new positive cases of COVID-19 recorded over the past week stemmed from the delta variant.

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Gov. signs bill promoting expansion of broadband internet access

Governor Ned Lamont has held a bill signing ceremony for legislation he championed that promotes the buildout of broadband internet access in unserved and underserved areas of Connecticut, particularly in urban centers and rural communities. The governor proposed the legislation as part of his ongoing efforts to close the digital divide and get more households connected to the internet. 

A 2018 survey found that 23% of Connecticut residents did not have internet access at home. 

Danbury Representative David Arconti chairs the Energy and Technology Committee.  He says internet service providers are now required to comply with new state standards that require them to expand broadband to wherever they distribute cable programming.  

There's a new grant fund for projects, and municipalities can be participants.  A mapping element will help develop data on which households, businesses, and communities have the option to subscribe to broadband services – and which ones do not.  This will help inform the grant program.

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Brookfield in DPH COVID-19 orange zone for community spread

The state Department of Public Health's color coded COVID-19 community spread alert map is getting filled in once again.  Brookfield is in the 2nd highest alert level, orange, for having 29 cases in 2 weeks.  That works out to 12.2 cases per 100,000 population.  Easton is in the highest alert zone, the red level, for having 24 cases over two weeks or 22.8 cases per 100,000 people.  Bethel, New Milford, Redding, Ridgefield, and Weston are all in the yellow with each municipality reporting 5 to 9 cases per 100,000 population over two weeks.  In the grey zone, the lowest level for community spread, are Danbury, New Fairfield, Newtown, Sherman, and Wilton. 

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Redding resumes daily COVID-19 updates

Redding Health Officer Doug Hartline is back to providing daily updates to town residents about COVID-19.  He says with what looks to be the start of the 4th wave of increased cases,  Redding is requiring mask wearing in all municipal buildings.  Hartline notes that vaccines continue to be proven safe and highly effective. Most new COVID cases that result in severe symptoms are occurring among the unvaccinated.  He added that the risk of contracting and transmitting COVID infection is far greater for the unvaccinated. Infections in fully vaccinated tend to be mild, however in some cases fully vaccinated people who do become infected with the Delta variant can be infectious and can spread the infection to others.

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New Fairfield Town Park could close early this season due to lack of lifeguard

Due to a shortage of lifeguards, New Fairfield Parks and Recreation plans to close the Town Beach on August 25th unless they can find a few more lifeguards to staff the park August 28th and 29th and Labor Day Weekend.  Any interested lifeguards are asked to contact the Director of Parks and Recreation. 

Meanwhile the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has reopened the swim area at Squantz Pond State Park.  The beach was closed on Wednesday after elevated levels of bacteria were detected.  Retesting was done in the afternoon and the results were released late yesterday.  The state tests alls swim areas at state parks for bacteria, which could lead to blooms of harmful toxins.

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Fairfield Drive reopens after culvert repairs, bridge replacement

The repairs to Fairfield Drive in Putnam Lake that were expected to take four months have been completed ahead of schedule and the road is once again open for travel.  The bridge was fully replaced as well.  A stream that runs from Putnam Lake to Lost Lake under Fairfield Drive near South Lake Drive had eroded the culvert making the crossing, which carries more than 4,500 vehicles a day, unsafe.  Putnam County received a grant in 2019 to replace the severely deteriorated culvert. 

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Sherman Commission on Aging looking for site for new Senior Center

The Sherman Commission on Aging is looking for a site for a new Senior Center and headquarters for the Social Services Department.  A recent town meeting authorized up to $2,500 in funding for a preliminary feasibility study of Volunteer Park at the Meadows.  Approval is being sought for another $2,500 to study a site between the upper and lower parking lots of Mallory Town Hall.  First Selectman Don Lowe says the town hall site already has two wells to hook into and an available septic system.  A date for that town meeting has not yet been set. 

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Danbury working on logistics of sending some students to retrofitted Brookfield school

The Danbury Public School district is renovating a former Catholic school in Brookfield to house 11 classes of Kindergartners later this month.  The $200,000 project is adding classrooms for music, art, special education and English as a second language. New floors and a burglar alarm are also being installed.  $650,000 worth of furniture has been ordered for the school, including 240 student desks and a desk and bookcase for each teacher. 

The 11 classrooms are being moved from to Ellsworth Avenue, Stadley Rough or South Street elementary schools to alleviate overcrowding in those buildings. 

Family, School & Community Partnerships Director Dr Anne Mead says for families that don't drive, but need before and after school care through the extended learning program, students will go to their home school for 7am care.  They would then take a bus to the Danbury Primary Center in Brookfield.  If they're enrolled the afternoon, they would get off that same bus. 

Parents have requested bus monitors, which would cost between $350,000 to $400,000.

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Local lawmaker hosting 'Back to School Snack Drive'

A local lawmaker is hosting a "Back to School Snack Drive" tomorrow.  Brookfield state Representative Steve Harding is collaborating with the Brookfield and Bethel Social Services Department to collect healthy nonperishable snacks to benefit local school children.  He will have a table set up during the Brookfield Weekly Summer Concert at the Brookfield Town Hall Bandstand Friday, from 6:30pm to 8pm. 

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Putnam County-owned farm begins selling vegetables to the public

The garden at Tilly Foster Farm has expanded over the years and now produces enough of a harvest that it can serve the public.  This is the first time the Putnam County-owned farm has begun selling its vegetables and herbs through a farm stand.  The garden at Tilly Foster was started four years ago and has contracts to sell its produce to Tilly’s Table for use in the restaurant and to the Office for Senior Resources, for its senior citizens’ lunch program.  County Executive MaryEllen Odell says every Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 7pm, on the honor system, cash payments can be made.  When Tilly’s farm stand first opened last Tuesday it offered 14 varieties of vegetables. Everything is sold on a first-come, first-served basis. 

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Marine Patrol expands shifts later to better protect boaters after dark

Just because the sun goes down, doesn’t mean that everyone heads back to the docks on Candlewood Lake.  The Candlewood Lake Authority Marine Patrol has made a big push this year to expand shifts later into the night to provide public safety for boaters who are on the water after dark.  But they note that Jet Skis are only allowed to operate from Sunrise to Sunset.  Other vessels must have illuminated red and green bow lights along with a 360 degree white light.  Boats at anchor at night must have their white stern light illuminated the entire night. As part of efforts to expand and improve safety on the water, Marine Patrol officers are focusing their personal watercraft patrols on educating and interacting with other jet ski operators and boaters who are in areas that are hard to bring a patrol boat.  This includes near groups of anchored boats or close to islands.

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Danbury Fire Department has new Public Safety boat

The Danbury Fire Department has a new Public Safety boat, and a new dock to launch from on Candlewood Lake.  Department officials say they, along with Police and EMS, can better respond to emergencies on or adjacent to the lake, and assist mutual aid partners bringing parties to the southern end of the lake for transport to Danbury Hospital.

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Localized blue-green algae blooms formed in certain parts of Candlewood Lake

There have been localized blue-green algae blooms in certain parts of Candlewood Lake this summer.  People are reminded not to swim in water with a bloom, and not to let pets swim in those areas either. While every bloom is not necessarily dangerous, the Candlewood Lake Authority says they could release toxins and pose a hazard of respiratory illness, skin irritation, and gastrointestinal distress. Green algae, which looks similar, is not considered harmful.

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Danbury School District plans to open for full time, in-person learning

The Danbury Board of Education has received an update on the opening of a new school year later this month.  There are some decision that are out of local district's hands, like whether or not face masks will be required for students and staff.  But Interim Superintendent Kevin Walston says all school buildings will be reopening for the district's roughly 12,000 students. 

To prepare for the new academic year, Danbury has hired 120 certified staff members 18 non-certified staff members.  About 3,000 desks have also been ordered and are being delivered in phases. 

The district is renting the former St Joseph's Catholic school in Brookfield.  The Danbury Primary Center will house 11 sections of kindergarten students.Over half a million dollars in furniture has been ordered so students can be at least three feet apart, meeting the CDC recommendation.  In order to reduce classes at Danbury High School, students will have an eight-period day. 

King Street has reached capacity in kindergarten.  Any new enrolled kindergartner will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine which school they will attend. 

About 47 percent of Danbury residents 12 to 18 have been vaccinated. Beginning Monday, vaccine clinics will be held at five schools for students 12 and over, and anyone in the community. Two clinics will be held at each of the selected schools, spaced 21 days a part for patients to get their first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Danbury is averaging about three new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people daily over 14 days.

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Nearly 100 vaccinated at New Fairfield mobile clinic

93 people were vaccinated at the Mobile Clinic in New Fairfield yesterday  The Griffin Health/state Department of Public Health van will be back on Saturday.  The yellow minivan will be parked outside New Fairfield High School from 9am to 5pm and offer all three vaccines.  The clinic will vaccinate anyone over the age of 12, free of charge, however those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent.  New Fairfield has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the Greater Danbury area.

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Danbury has interest in blighted, contaminated property behind police station

Danbury is considering listing a blighted property as surplus, having seized after  condemning it.  The former Amphenol site behind police headquarters was acquired by the City two years ago, but the property is contaminated by arsenic, mercury and other chemicals.  The 3 acres had been proposed as a site basketball courts, but even after an environmental cleanup it was determined that it could not be used for residential or recreational purposes.  Mayor Joe Cavo wrote a letter to the City Council asking that the East Franklin Street property be listed as surplus because there's an interested buyer.  Joe Cavo did not say who wanted to but the land, which runs behind a row of single-family homes onto Maple Avenue. The property is zoned for light-industrial use.

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Brookfield officials give update on DOT project to alleviate Federal Road traffic

Brookfield officials are giving an update on the state project to ease traffic congestion in the area of the Shoprite and Chick-fil-A plazas.  The town asked the state for 6 years to make improvements.  The state Department of Transportation is moving telephones poles this year.  Next year the DOT will widen the road and add a left turn lane going North into the fast food restaurant.  A traffic light will be added between McDonald's and Costco at Beverly Drive.  The old Ramen House is being taken by eminent domain and will be demolish so that drivers coming from the area of the Y will go to a new light and not have a sharp angle at Federal Road.  The project also calls for new street lights, bus stops, and sidewalks.  Old Brookfield Road will re reconfigured to be one way and one of the traffic lights will be removed to speed traffic through the area.

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Poor water quality at Squantz Pond closes beach area

Poor water quality at Squantz Pond State Park in New Fairfield closed the beach area yesterday.  The state closed water activities at the park after the weekly testing by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.  Retesting was done yesterday afternoon, with the results expected to be released today in DEEP’s newest Water Quality Report.  The state tests more than a dozen swim areas for low levels of bacteria that could lead to harmful toxins being formed.  The elevated levels are typically due to rains or run off from nearby land.

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New Milford launches survey on how to spend federal pandemic relief funds

The Town of New Milford is asking for input from residents, businesses, and community organizations on the needs that developed as a result of the pandemic.  Survey results will be used to help determine use of federal funding through the American Rescue Plan Act. The mayor’s office has launched an eight-question survey on the Town’s website.  The survey will be open until August 15th.  All New Milford Municipal buildings once again require visitors and employees to wear masks while inside.  Starting next Wednesday, New Milford will be offering COVID-19 testing Monday through Friday 9am to 10:30am.  Reservations can be made on the town website.  New Milford is also hosting weekly COVID-19 vaccine clinics at Pettibone Community Center on Wednesdays form 4 to 5:30pm.

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Bethel COVID-19 rate climbs from low of .2 percent

Bethel's COVID-19 infection rate is up to 1.2 percent.  First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says as good as things have been going, the rate has climbed over the past few months.  The weekly infection rate had dropped to a low of .2 percent.  While it's better than last year, he says the direction is concerning.  Use of a face covering is mandatory at Bethel Municipal Center for all unvaccinated visitors and optional for those who are fully vaccinated.  He is encouraging fully vaccinated visitors to continue to wear a face mask when indoors because of the highly transmissible delta variant.

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Hawleyville firefighters response to reported gas leak

Hawleyville Fire responded yesterday to an activated fire alarm call at Brookside Court, with a possible gas leak. Firefighters inspected the building to monitor levels of gas. A leak from an unlit pilot light was discovered. Firefighters stopped the gas from leaking and used a high powered fan to pull fresh air in to vent out any remaining gas. Newtown Hook and Ladder provided mutual aid.  Eversource also responded to the scene.

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Danbury City Council holds first in-person meeting in over a year

The Danbury City Council has held their first in-person meeting in more than a year.  Their meeting room recently underwent a renovation.  Members are now spread out at two long tables, instead of shoulder-to-shoulder at one table, and members are separated from one another by plexiglass, suction cupped to the desk so the dividers can be removed.  There are signs on the auditorium seats blocking residents from sitting next to one another to allow for social distancing.  The microphones at the front of the room for public speaking were not used last night.  A handicap ramp was also added. 

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Candlewood Company firefighters remove debris from lake

Brookfield Volunteer Fire Candlewood Company regularly goes out and trains on their rescue boats.  During their activity Monday, members came upon debris scattered in the lake.  They donned gloves and filled a bag with water bottles, paper plates and cups, food packaging and other litter.  The Candlewood Lake Authority asked that lake users help them keep the water a safe and clean place for residents and visitors to enjoy by properly disposing of garbage.

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Connecticut Food Bank Mobile Food Distribution in New Milford today

Connecticut Food Bank Mobile Food Distribution will be in New Milford this afternoon.  The Mobile Food Pantry will be at Faith Church from 4:30pm to 5:30pm.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the format of food distribution changed in order to keep volunteers and shoppers safe. Most sites are now drive-thru or a take-away, pre-packaged supply of food. Each site is staffed by a host organization that determines a safe distribution format based on its location and staffing.

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Naugatuck Valley Community College offering course on cannabis production

Naugatuck Valley Community College is offering a course on cannabis production. 

It's the state’s only community college that offers a degree in horticulture.  The college has two campuses, one in Danbury and the other in Waterbury.  Professor Christopher Tuccio says students will learn all aspects of cannabis production.  They’ll have to learn about soil PH, plant nutrition, pest management and harvesting--and then grow the cannabis plant itself. 

The course is currently a virtual offering, with a live lecture session via video.  NVCC grads can transfer to UConn, the only college in the state with a bachelor’s degree in horticulture

15 students have signed up for the fall semester pilot course.  .  

Students interested in this course may register for Horticulture of Cannabis, CRN 4035:  Current students may register https://ssb-prod.ec.commnet.edu/luminis/login.html
New students may apply to the College through admissions at www.nv.edu/apply   and then meet with an advisor to register.  New students may call 203-575-8080.

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Redding Police identify construction worker killed in home accident Thursday

Police have identified the construction worker who was fatally injured in an accident at a home off Putnam Park Road in Redding on Thursday night. Sourasinh Bouttavong was struck by a heavy steel pipe.  The 35-year old was located by emergency responders laying on the ground, unresponsive, and bleeding from the head.  He was pronounced dead at the hospital. 

The Chief Medical Examiner has ruled the cause of death as blunt impact injury of head and deemed it an accident.  The man's most recent address was in Las Vegas, Nevada.  

The construction company installs geothermal heating and cooling systems and Bouttavong was a full-time employee of Dandelion Geothermal.  OHSA has taken over the investigation.

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New Fairfield First Selectman to run unopposed for 3rd term

New Fairfield First Selectman Pat Del Monaco will run unopposed in November.  She gained the backing of the Democratic Town Committee for a 3rd term, and the Republican Town Committee did not endorse a candidate for the position.  Democratic Selectman Khris Hall is also seeking another term.  The Republicans are backing Lori Ann Beninson as Selectman.  Selectman Kim Hanson, who was first elected to the board in November 2013, is not running for another term.  The parties cross-endorsed Republican incumbent Tax Collector Kerrie Hess Greening, Republican Town Clerk Holly Smith and unaffiliated Town Treasurer Terry Friedman.

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Litchfield County has substantial threat of COVID spread, New Fairfield gets mobile vaccine clinic

The New Fairfield Health Director has arranged for the Griffin Health/state Department of Public Health Mobile Vaccination Team to provide COVID-19 vaccinations in New Fairfield from 8am to 7pm, and on Saturday August 7th from 9am to 5pm.  The yellow van will be located 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.

Litchfield County, the last in the state, has moved into the CDC category of “substantial” threat of COVID-19 spread.  New Milford reported 4 new cases yesterday from the day before.   Litchfield joined the state’s other seven counties as up from a “moderate” risk, but still below the rating of high transmission.

17 new hospitalizations in Connecticut were reported yesterday, as high as any day in nearly four months.  The daily positivity rate dipped back below 3-percent, but was still about 2.5 percent.  Governor Ned Lamont says the numbers may be creeping up, but Connecticut still has one of the lowest infections in the country.

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Danbury woman gets DUI for wrong-way crash on highway

A Danbury woman has been arrested by State Police for a wrong-way crash on I-84 early Monday morning.  State Police responded to the crash by exit 9, shortly after 12am.  A 42-year-old travelled east on the westbound side and collided head on with a U-Haul van driven by a 29-year-old New Milford man.  The woman was charged with operating under the influence, driving the wrong way and failing to maintain proper lane.  Neither driver was injured, but both vehicles had to be towed away.  The crash site was cleared about 4 hours later.

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New Milford looking for a place to put community ball fields

New Milford is looking for a place to put community ball fields.  Park & Rec Director Dan Calhoun says they have 20 parks to maintain, with current ball fields spread across the entire town including, Youngsfield.  Planners want to create a state-of-the-art sports complex with multipurpose fields, baseball, softball fields, BMX bike track, indoor basketball/volleyball courts, outside walking paths and other facilities. 

The New Milford Town Council has authorized talks between the Mayor and Kimberly Clark about land the company owns on Route 7, not the old wood pulp disposal site.  Adjacent to the property is old farmland that has been fallow for years. 

The skate park, tennis courts, basketball courts and playground at Youngsfield would remain where they are, but be improved and expanded as part of the overall plan.  Until a new complex is built, the ball fields will remain as well.  New uses proposed for Youngsfield after the ball fields move would include a splash pad in summer, ice skating in winter, a bandshell and open space. 

Since the former Century Brass site is so large, some residents asked if a sports complex could be located there.  The brownfield site requires a higher standard of remediation for certain uses.  Public Works buildings will have slabs, but sports fields if allowed by DEEP, and the EPA would have a much higher standard and become cost-prohibitive.

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Bethel Police investigate shoplifting incident

Bethel Police are investigating a shoplifting incident at Target.  The Police Department is asking for the public's help to identify a man and woman in relation to stolen vacuums.  Photos of the suspects were posted this morning to the Bethel Police Facebook page.  Anyone with information is asked to contact Ofc. Fuenzalida at 203.744.7900 ext. 660.

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Redding records 10 new COVID-19 cases in a week

After a month with no new cases, Redding had 10 new COVID-19 cases reported between July 23rd and 30th.  Fairfield County is now considered an area with "substantial" COVID infections according to the CDC, which recommends that everyone wear a mask in public indoor settings.   Redding employees and the general public are required to wear a mask in Redding municipal buildings.  First Selectwoman Julia Pemberton says the greatest protection against coronavirus is the vaccine. 

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DHS boys' cross-country team, running coach earns national title

The Danbury High School boys’ cross-country team and running coach has earned a national title. 

Rob Murray, coach for 21 years, was recognized last week for his success in consistently taking the Hatters to state and regional championships. Murray was named the “2021 National Boys’ Cross Country Coach of the Year” at the National Coaches Convention of the National High School Athletic Coaches Association on Thursday in Nebraska. He was initially one of eight coaches nominated for the title from across the country. The title was based on criteria that included win/loss record, championship years and tenure as head coach.

He was previously named cross-country Coach of the Year by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association in 2008 and by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association in 2014. In 2017, he was inducted into the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference Hall of Fame.  He has held the title of FCIAC Coach of the Year 13 times.

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Police investigating weekend hit-and-run on Interstate 84

State police are investigating a weekend hit-and-run on Interstate 84.  Troopers say a Ford Focus sideswiped a Mustang near westbound Exit 9 shortly after noon on Saturday.  The 28-year old driver told Troopers that he was travelling in the middle lane, and the other driver continued on the highway with damage to the rear driver side corner.  The Carmel man was uninjured, but his car also sustained damage.  The evading vehicle had an Illinois license plate.

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Brookfield Fire Department replaces 12-year old stretchers

The Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company has replaced two stretchers that were 12 years old and upgraded them to the new Stryker Power Cot. The new stretchers have some additional features that the previous ones did not including secure oxygen brackets, IV poles and XPS wings to increase patient surface area.  The volunteers thanked residents, the Selectmen and Board of Finance for approving capital expenditures this year.

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Longtime Newtown Police Office retiring

Newtown Police Officer Gladys Pisani will be retiring from the Department with over 24 years of service.  She spent many years as the DARE and School Resource Officer and was a member of the the patrol bicycle.  Sgt. Jeff Silver says Officer Pisani is an avid fitness enthusiast and always willing to take on new challenges.  He notes that she touched a lot of young lives through her time in the schools and continued to have a positive effect on the community when she returned to patrol. 

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Patterson Fire Department celebrates 100th anniversary

Area emergency personnel have helped Patterson Fire Department celebrate their 100th anniversary.  A parade was held on Saturday.  The Brewster Fire Department won Best Firematic Color Guard, Best Ladder, and Best Overall, at the parade.  Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Company won Furthest Distance Traveled.  The Putnam County Sheriff joint municipal Color Guard with New York State Police was also on hand for the event.  Water Witch Hose Co. #2 of New Milford attended the Thomaston Parade Saturday.  They won a trophy for “best appearing commercial apparatus” with Engine 27.  While many parades have been canceled for the season, Water Witch still plans on attending South Salem’s on August 11th, and Winsted’s on the 28th.

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Danbury City Council to hold first in-person meeting since pandemic began

The monthly meeting of the City Council will be held in-person tonight.  This is their first in person meeting since April 2020.  Municipal Boards and Commissions are able to chose now whether to have meetings in public, online or a hybrid. 

Danbury City Council chambers has been undergoing renovation, and is now ready for in-person meetings. 

Members of the public attending tonight's meeting are required to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status, and must sign in at the front desk with the security guard.  Residents are asked to leave at least one seat between other attendees.  Any resident or taxpayer participating in the public speaking portion of the meeting is asked to keep their face mask on while speaking. 

A livestream for viewing only will be available for tonight's meeting, which starts at 7:30pm. The City Council included a Zoom link for the first time in a year last month, but there was a Zoom bomb incident.  The Council stopped including a link for live participation after the Danbury Board of Ed was Zoom-bombed in July 2020.

The old dais in the City Council meeting room had the 21 members and the Mayor sitting shoulder to shoulder, with no room for social distancing.  The redesign involves adding a second dais, in front of the existing one, and removing a couple of rows of seating for the public.  A handicap accessible ramp to the upper dais is also being added.

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DHS to host drive-thru food distribution every Saturday in August

Danbury High School will host a drive-thru food distribution every Saturday in August for any Connecticut resident, not just Danburians. 

The event is coordinated by the United Way of Western Connecticut and the Connecticut Food Bank/Foodshare.  Walnut Hill Community Church is providing logistical and volunteer support for this initiative.  Area resident can drive up to 43 Clapboard Ridge Road on Saturdays in August from 10am to 1pm and receive a box of fresh produce.  There is no registration or documentation required for this free program.

Walk-ups will also be accepted. 

In addition to the food drive, Danbury High School will also host mobile vaccination clinics to provide residents the opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Volunteers are needed for the distribution event.   https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0C49ADA82CA1FAC52-danbury
https://www.ctfoodbank.org/get-help/connecticut-food-banks-mobile-pantry-schedule/ 

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56% of Danbury population fully vaccinated against COVID-19

As of last week, 56% of the Danbury population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and 63% have received at least one dose.  The Vaccine Equity Partnership Funding grant has allowed the City to work with community partners to increase vaccination rates, especially among vulnerable populations.  Vaccine community partners completed 23 homebound vaccinations. At-home vaccinations do not require the patient to have any underlying conditions, immobility, or other factors.  Acting Health Director Kara Prunty says the outreach portion of the grant has also been successful, and the team made approximately 2,000 outbound calls and canvased 300 houses. They also assisted over 2,000 residents to help them get to a vaccine site or find a vaccine clinic location.

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Items stolen from 3 parked cars in New Milford

3 vehicles were entered in New Milford and items were stolen from then on Sunday.  Police say the illegal entry was made at the Still River Drive parking lot for Harrybrooke Park and Reservoir Park on Second Hill Road.  Police are reminding residents and visitors to lock unoccupied vehicles, don't leave keys inside and be sure that nothing of value is in plain sight.

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Ridgefield, New Milford report big jumps in COVID-19 cases over weekend

15 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Ridgefield since Friday, according to the state Department of Public Health. 

With the increase of cases, and the rapid spread of the Delta Variant, First Selectman Rudy Marconi reminds residents that this is the time to use best practices for fighting the disease.  He notes that nearly 18,000 Ridgefield residents have been vaccinated so far, but that vaccinating the eligible population who are not restricted due to medical reasons gives the community a better chance of reducing the number of future new cases in Ridgefield. 

New Milford reported 9 new COVID-19 cases since Friday.  The next vaccine clinic in New Milford is tomorrow from 4pm to 5:30 at the Pettibone Community Center.

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Danbury Fire to check PPE stock as COVID-19 cases ramp up

With the number of positive COVID-19 cases in Connecticut on the rise, Danbury Fire Dispatch has been advising responding units to “use respiratory precautions” more than in recent months. An inventory of the Fire Department's PPE cache is planned to assure there is a minimum of a 90-day supply to prepare for the possibility of a further increase of COVID cases during the coming months.

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Danbury considers placing solar panels on library, 5 schools

The Danbury City Council is considering installing solar panels on five schools and the library.  An ad hoc committee recently discussed the project that's expected to save millions in energy costs.  Most of the $13.1 million cost would be reimbursed through state grants.  The installations would be done at Broadview, Rogers Park and Westside middle schools, King Street Primary, and Danbury High School and its carport. 

State School Construction grants would pay for $8 million.  Eversource’s Zero Emission Renewable Energy Certification program also offers credits that would be applied toward lease payments. 

Johnson Controls, Inc. will design and engineer the arrays.  A $97,600 fee would be waived if given the go-ahead within 60 days of state grant approvals. 

Construction would be done next summer.  Ellsworth Avenue and Park Avenue elementary schools already have solar panels.  Danbury will submit an application for the state state grant by next week.

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Construction worker fatally injured in accident at Redding home

A construction worker was fatally injured in an accident at a home off Putnam Park Road in Redding on Thursday night.  Police, Fire and EMS responded to Route 107 for a report of a heavy steel pipe falling on a worker.  The worker was found laying on the ground, unresponsive, and bleeding from the head.  The man was pronounced dead at the hospital.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was contacted and sent an investigator to the scene.  OHSA took over the investigation and the Redding Police Department will be assisting.

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Dirt bike operator, likely sustained serious injury, flees scene of crash with SUV

Easton Police are investigating a motor vehicle crash involving a dirt bike versus SUV on Eden Hill Road.  The incident took place just before 6pm Saturday.  The dirt bike was reported to be white and was with another white dirt bike.  From the damage to the SUV and reports from the vehicle operator, Easton Police believed the operator of the dirt bike sustained some form of serious trauma. The operator of dirt bike left the scene before emergency personnel arrived.  Easton Police are looking for information about the incident, saying the safety of the dirt bike rider is of utmost importance.

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New Milford hosting free Financial Education class series

The Town of New Milford is hosting a free Financial Education class series.  Mayor Pete Bass says the initiative is part of an overall response to issues raised the the community with the Social Services team.  He says one of the major factors in creating economic mobility and stability is understanding personal finance, including building assets.  The 18 week course, sponsored by the United Way of Western Connecticut, starts on August 2nd.  It will be held on Mondays and Wednesdays 6pm to 7.  Participants will receive a Certificate of Completion and a monetary incentive from the Untied Way savings program when the course is completed.  New Milord residents can register by emailing SocialServices@newmilford.org.  It's open to everyone from teens to seniors who are looking to build savings, spend wisely, and invest with confidence.

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Brookfield Fire, EMS respond to unusally high call volume over weekend

Over 48 hours this weekend Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company and EMS responded to 33 emergency calls, an unusually high volume.  They ranged from a serious multi-patient motor vehicle accident to an overturned sailboat and a Haz-Mat call at a mixed use building on Federal Road.  There were several fire alarms and over two dozen medical emergencies.  Mutual aid from Danbury ambulance was needed to assist.

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Easton Police Department looking for part time 911 dispatchers

The Easton Police Department is looking for part time 911 dispatchers.  Shifts are primarily weekends 7am to 3pm, 3pm to 11pm and 11pm to 7am.  Additional weekday shifts are available to back fill full-time dispatchers for sick, training, vacation and holidays.  Dispatchers handle 911 and routine calls, data entry, and front desk duties.  Part time dispatchers make $13 per hour and move up to $21.55 per hour after completion of all state/local training and probationary period. Applications can be found on the Easton Police website, or at the front desk of the police station.

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New Milfoird Youth Agency offering summer counseling

In response to the isolation caused by the pandemic, the New Milford Youth Agency will be offering counseling services for middle and high schoolers this summer, ahead of the new school year, to help young people.  The organization will then work with the schools to provide continued service in partnership with the district's clinics.  The Board of Education is planning for two administrative rooms and one exam room at each school become school-based health centers focused on mental health.  The Youth Agency is also offering esteem-building programs for New Milford youth to help build confidence.  New Milford schools will use federal funds to create physical and mental health clinics.  Connecticut Institute For Communities would also help cover some of the costs.  The Park & Rec Department is also looking to provide team-building exercises and programs for younger kids that allow positive expression and the ability to get out nervous energy after being in a hybrid model of learning for most of the year. 

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Primer added to Bethel Police firing range in hopes of preventing leaks

Downes Construction has performed a water test on the Bethel Police Department firing range.  The facility hasn't been used since officers moved into their new headquarters at the end of 2018 because of leaks.  When there's a driving rain, water cascades through the walls. 

A special coating was added to certain sections.  A test was done by spraying water on the outside wall for 15 minutes to simulate a rain storm and checking for leakage inside. This was done on several panels of the building. 

Downes Construction wanted to coat the whole building and then do the test, but they just did a section to see how well it would work because Benjamin Moore, the manufacturer, specified that the coating needed to cure 21 days before the water test.  The Public Building and Sites Commission noted that this product is not something that's off the shelf, it has to be ordered through the company. Commission chair Nancy Ryan says the test was done on a 10-foot wide section of wall, from the base to the roof flashing. 

In the ready room and storage section, there are water stains.  Those areas have drop ceilings.

Selectman Rich Straiton says the test was pretty successful.  Water didn't penetrate the wall in the coated areas, but within 5 minutes it went through the wall of untreated sections.  There are remaining issues at the bottom of the block wall, but he says the coating seems to have sealed up small cracks.

Ryan says there's a channel on the inside of the block wall that was created, about half inch or 3-quarters of an inch where the flashing goes in.  Downes is checking to see if the detail was done according to the specs, and if the water came in between the coated and non coated area, and into the channel.

Chief Pugner has observed in the past that if it's just raining down they don't get much coming in, but if there's a driving wind, there's infiltration.

The contractor has coatedthe firing range.  There is another 21 day wait period before performing a new water test.

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Eversource conducting Stray Voltage testing in Newtown

A slow moving work van will be in Newtown during overnight this week.  Eversource is conducting Stray Voltage testing in Newtown tonight through Thursday.  Their vendor, Osmose, will have the Eversource logo on the van as well.  Workers will travel, at night, through Newtown and residential neighborhoods testing streetlight poles, traffic signs, manhole covers, and other infrastructure.

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Brookfield warns of COVID-19 uptick among young people

Brookfield and the State are seeing another uptick in the numbers of residents testing positive for COVID-19.  Brookfield is seeing more cases among youth in town. There have been 32 more cases admitted to Connecticut hospitals over last weekend with considerably more severe disease. Nearly all admissions, 98-percent, are among unvaccinated patients. Of equal concern, according to Brookfield's Health Department, are the few “breakthrough” cases observed in vaccinated persons in Brookfield and around the State. Most, if not all, can be attributed to the more contagious Delta variant.

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First Selectman to petition way onto ballot, running unopposed

Newtown's Democratic and Republican Town Committees have nominated slates of candidates for November's municipal elections.  Neither party have nominated a First Selectman candidate.  Incumbent Democrat Dan Rosenthal is petitioning his way onto the ballot as a third-party candidate.  Noting that he has not had a rift from his party, Rosenthal is running on the Serve America Movement line.  He made the announcement a week before Democrats and Republicans gathered to nominate candidates.

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Bill signed to restore state benefits to certain veterans

A bill signing ceremony has been held by Governor Lamont for a measure dealing with veterans.  The bill was co-authored by Bethel Representative Raghib Allie-Brennan to restore state benefits to Connecticut service members who were denied an honorable discharge due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. 

He says for decades, policies like “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” punished American patriots trying to serve their country.  This new law corrects what he called an incredible injustice and acknowledges that people should be able to serve openly and be proud of who they are.  It’s estimated that nearly 100,000 U.S. Military members were discharged because of sexual orientation since World War II.

The measure will not change any federal benefits. 

There are no statistics on the number of potentially eligible veterans in Connecticut. Veterans' Affairs Commissioner Thomas Saadi estimates there are a few hundred who will benefit from the new law. While the number is small, he says the impact on those affected is great.

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Local healkth department looks to clear up vaccine misunderstandings

The Danbury Health Department is looking to clear up some misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines. 

Health officials say people cannot get COVID from the vaccine.  For people who are concerned about vaccine side effects like fatigue, headaches, chills and fever, health officials say this is an immune response without infection.  

People who have recovered from the virus are still recommended to get the vaccine because it's unknown how long protection against COVID-19 lasts after recovering from it.  Studies have shown that the vaccine will provide a strong protection in those who have already recovered from the virus. 

Danbury Health officials say there is still some hesitancy because the vaccines only have emergency use authorization from the FDA.  They say the vaccine safety monitoring systems continuously monitor for any adverse reactions that had not occurred during the clinical trials and there have been thousands of clinical trial participants for the vaccine.

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