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Local Headlines Archives for 2022-07

Sympathetic portrayal of Alex Jones rebuked as 'hypocrisy'

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A producer for conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’s media company tried to paint a sympathetic portrait of him Thursday as a jury decides how much in financial damages he should pay for his past claims that the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school was a hoax — a move that lawyers for parents of a child slain in the massacre immediately rebuked as hypocritical.

Daria Karpova, a producer at Jones’ Austin, Texas-based website, testified that that the pressure of multiple lawsuits and trials has taken a toll on Jones. He’s been “stressed out” and can’t relax even while on vacation as he’s been constantly worried about his programs and money over the past four years since being sued for defamation.

Karpova said some people believe Jones murdered the 20 first-graders killed in the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, that left a total of 26 dead.

A lawyer for the parents suing Jones for at least $150 million for the abuse they say they’ve suffered for years because of Jones’ false statements immediately jumped on the depiction of a wounded man struggling to cope with lies said about him as posturing.

“When people lie about you it affects you negatively, it affects your well-being? Do you understand the irony, the hypocrisy of making that statement in this courtroom right now?” asked Mark Bankston, attorney for Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, parents of 6-year-old Jesse Lewis, who was killed at the school.

“It’s just the truth,” Karpova said. “What am I supposed to say?”

Heslin and Lewis sued Jones for emotional distress and reputational damage that Jones caused them and are seeking at least $150 million from Jones and his media empire Free Speech Systems.

Courts in Texas and Connecticut have already found Jones liable for defamation for his portrayal of the Sandy Hook massacre as a hoax involving “crisis actors” aimed at increasing gun control. In both states, the judges issued default judgments against Jones without trials because he failed to respond to court orders and turn over documents.

In total, the families of eight Sandy Hook victims and an FBI agent who responded to the school are suing Jones and his company in multiple courts.

Jones has since acknowledged that the shooting took place, but insists he’s not responsible for the suffering that Sandy Hook parents say they have endured because of the hoax conspiracy, including death threats and harassment by Jones’ followers.

The first three days of the trial have been dominated by video clips of Jones and Sandy Hook reports on his show and testimony from Karpova, who has worked at the website since 2015.

Karpova was designated by the company to be its representative at trial, but could not answer questions about company revenue and its numbers of viewers and listeners. She also struggled to answer other questions about some of the video evidence she was instructed to prepare testimony about.

In one video clip presented by defense attorney Andino Reynal from 2017, Jones invited the families of Sandy Hook to come on his program for an “open dialogue”

“Alex could have been advocates for these parents, done a lot of good to stop anyone there to harass them,” she said as Heslin and Lewis sat about 20 feet away in the courtroom.

Karpova called the show’s reliance on Wolfgang Halbig, a Sandy Hook denier, as a frequent guest and source of information “the worst decision ever made by the company.” Several of the clips featured in evidence have included Halbig, as well as a taunting email he sent to Scarlett Lewis.

Later Thursday, the jury watched a 2017 clip at the center of the case: a report where studio host Owen Shroyer strongly suggested Heslin could not have held the body of his dead son like he’d described in a television interview.

“I’m sorry if that hurt anybody,” Shroyer said Thursday after being called as a witness. “I hope their grieving can end someday.”

He then implied the trial itself could keep hurting the families.

Jones has been in and out of the courtroom during testimony. He had four bodyguards with him Thursday. He has tried to portray the damages trial as an assault of the First Amendment right to free speech.

He arrived at the courthouse on Tuesday with a “Save the 1st” message printed on a large piece of silver tape over this mouth. In a break during opening statements, he held an impromptu news conference just steps away from the courtroom to call the trial a “show trial” by a “kangaroo court.”

Woman strangled her 3 children, took own life, say police

DANBURY, Conn. (AP) — A mother strangled her three young children to death in their Connecticut home before taking her own life, according to an initial investigation by police Thursday.

Officers found the bodies of 12-year-old Junior Panjon, 10-year-old Joselyn Panjon and 5-year-old Jonael Panjon inside their home in Danbury on Wednesday evening after responding to a call from a distraught man, city police said.

The body of the mother, 36-year-old Sonia Loja, was later discovered inside a shed behind the home.

“Pending an official autopsy, preliminary findings indicate that Ms. Loja strangled her three children before killing herself. However, this is still an active investigation,” police said in a news release.

The sudden deaths unnerved residents of this small city about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast of New York City.

“This is a very quiet neighborhood, if something happens, everybody on the block is bound to know,” neighbor Atkin Guishard told Hearst Connecticut Media.

“It’s shocking. I can’t believe it. I’m still shaking,” he said. “I can’t believe something like this happened on this street.”

Danbury Mayor Dean Esposito said in a release that the city and its school system plan to provide mental health and counseling services to children impacted by the deaths. He promised: “we will get through this together.”

Authorities said the mother and children lived at the residence with two other adults who were not present when police arrived.

Areas around the house remained cordoned off with yellow caution tape Thursday. A well-maintained garden sits in the backyard by a child’s playhouse and swing set.

Neighbor Ralph Biaugher told Hearst that children often played happily in the yard.

“They always wave to me when I get out of the car,” Biaugher said. “When I get off work, they’re playing in the yard, laughing, riding their bikes. Nothing out of the ordinary. You would never think nothing like that would happen.”

Chefs' Warehouse: Q2 Earnings Snapshot

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. (AP) _ The Chefs’ Warehouse Inc. (CHEF) on Wednesday reported second-quarter profit of $16.9 million.

On a per-share basis, the Ridgefield, Connecticut-based company said it had profit of 42 cents. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs, were 51 cents per share.

The distributor of specialty food products posted revenue of $648.1 million in the period.

Chefs’ Warehouse expects full-year revenue in the range of $2.38 billion to $2.48 billion.

Chefs’ Warehouse shares have climbed 11% since the beginning of the year. The stock has risen 37% in the last 12 months.

Referendum tomorrow in Bethel on outfitting police station firing range

A referendum is set for tomorrow in Bethel on outfitting the police station firing range.  Residents are being asked for approval to spend up to $1.4 million to purchase and install equipment.  The money would come from Fund Balance. The price tag includes funding for contingency and escalation costs.  The budget would be reduced by at least 160-thousand dollars if the town can lock in a purchase order with Action Target before August 1st. The new police headquarters on Judd Avenue was constructed several years ago, but the range doesn't have the specialized heating, ventilation and air conditioning system needed to filter out lead dust associated with the range.  The firing range equipment was once estimated between $600,000 and $700,000, but there's been a large cost increase for a specific piece of HVAC equipment and for general construction costs.  

Danbury Zoners to continue hearing on proposed cannabis regulations

The Danbury Zoning Commission has extended a moratorium on cannabis related business in the City for another year, or until the Commission takes action on proposed regulations, whichever comes first.  A public hearing was held earlier this month on the draft ordinance allowing four types of marijuana businesses and bans seven others defined in state statute. 

The hearing will continue tomorrow via Zoom. 

The four under consideration would result in a 3 percent tax for the City.  The revenue can only be used for certain things such as streetscaping, youth employment, mental health and addiction services and services for people released by the Department of Corrections.  The proposed Danbury regulations would allow for two hybrid retailers that sell both medicinal marijuana and recreational cannabis to adults, or one medicinal marijuana dispensary, one recreational retailer, one hybrid retailer and one micro-cultivator. 

The City defines that in the draft plan as an indoor plant producer whose grow space is between 2,000- and 10,000-square-feet.  Planning Director Sharon Calitro says if the new marijuana businesses are successful, the City would have the opportunity to make amendments and loosen some things up. 

Calitro notes that the state law does allow, for the first 30 days, a charge of up to $50,000 in fees to defray the cost associated with what could happen when a business first opens, for example to hire extra police for security patrols or traffic control. 

Commission member Rob Melillo says he has several concerns with Connecticut allowing recreational sales and doesn't believe the City or state should be pressured into it because neighboring states are raking in revenue from something still considered illegal on the federal level.  He gave the example of not wanting to be like Los Angeles, which isn't prosecuting people until a certain dollar level is hit.  He also noted that there's a big controversy over something being legal in some states and illegal in others. 

Melillo was also concerned about opening the City's bank accounts to be seized or frozen for taking revenue as a result of a Scheduled I narcotic being sold.  City Attorney Dan Casagrande responded that he can't see the federal government, in this climate, suing commissions or state governments at this point in time.

Local museums participating in state program for summer enrichment

The Connecticut Summer at the Museum is in full swing.  Connecticut children can receive free admission to more than 130 museums across the state during the summer months.  The program was established last year in response to the pandemic as a way of providing children with engaging summer enrichment and learning experiences. It is funded through a $15 million investment in federal funding Connecticut received from the American Rescue Plan Act.  Through September 5th, children aged 18 and under – plus one accompanying adult – can receive free admission to participating museums, historic sites, science centers, botanical gardens and zoos.  Connecticut residents should check each museum’s website to learn of any restrictions before visiting.  Some of the attractions in the Greater Danbury area include the Danbury Railway Museum, Harrybrooke Park in New Milford and Keeler Tavern Museum in Ridgefield.  The full list of participating museums is available at

Energy Museum on Wheels coming to Bethel

The Energy Museum on Wheels is coming to Bethel.  The 50-foot tractor trailer features a bicycle that can be pedaled to light up a light bulb.  The Town of Bethel in cooperation with HeatSmart Bethel is hosting the energy fair on Saturday.  Residents will be able to meet the new Bethel Sustainability Commission, visit the Energize CT Mobile Unit filled with kids’ activities and learn about solar, geothermal, insulation and other topics.  Visitors will also be able to test their energy trivia knowledge at the HeatSmart Bethel booth.  The event is Saturday at 1 School Street from 10am to 3pm.

Parking banned along Candlewood Lake Road North by Lynn Deming Park

New Milford Mayor Pete Bass is reminding residents and visitors that there is no parking on Candlewood Lake Road North by Lynn Deming Park.  All cars parked on the side of the road will be towed. There also can be no “ Ferrying” of people into the park.  Bass says this is when a person with a park pass picks up people and brings them into the park, then leaves and goes to pick up additional people to drop off to the park as well- sometimes for a fee.  If caught, the permit will be revoked for the rest of the season. New Milford Police are also reminding park users that alcohol is not allowed at Lynn Deming.  Anyone without a boat permit to dock or permit to launch a boat is not allowed to dock a boat or jet ski and use the Park.

Danbury-based energy company earns award

A Danbury-based company has been recognized at the Environment + Energy Leader Solutions Summit 2022.  FuelCell Energy's Trigeneration Platform received a Top Product of the Year Award.  The system, with renewable gas supply, will enable an onsite, industrial scale, zero-carbon solution for the Toyota Logistics Services facility in the Port of Long Beach, California. The co-location of the hydrogen generation and hydrogen fueling at the facility is the first of its kind and the only platform in the world that will produce electricity, hydrogen, and water from a single platform.

Bethel Registrars prepare tabulators for Tuesday referendum

The Bethel Registrars of Voters have tested ballot tabulators for the July 26th referendum on the capital project to complete the Police Firing Range. The testing confirmed that the tabulators properly read the ballots. The Registrars packed and sealed the ballots. On Monday, they will set up the polling places.  In order to comply with the state requirement to test the tabulators 10 days in advance of the Primary, the Registrars will test the tabulators on the day after the referendum.

Candlewood Lake Pumpout Vessel unavailable this weekend

The Candlewood Lake Pumpout Vessel will not be running this weekend and part of next weekend.  The pumpout boat won't be out tomorrow, Sunday or next Saturday the 30th.  The state launched the sewage-collection vessel in 2012 to cope with heavy recreational traffic on Candlewood Lake.

Danbury area labor mark holds steady in June

Two of the six larger Connecticut Labor Market Areas showed employment gains last month, while three regions declined, and the Danbury area was unchanged in June.  The Hartford and Waterbury areas added jobs.  The Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk area declined by 2,600 positions.

The June unemployment rate for Connecticut is estimated at 4-percent, lower by two-tenths of a percentage point from May.  The U.S. unemployment rate is 3.6 percent, unchanged from May.  The Connecticut unemployment was 3.4 percent in February 2020, just before the pandemic lockdown. 

Conn. Department of Health updates Danbury area COVID-19 data

The Connecticut Department of Public Health has updated case rates for Greater Danbury area municipalities over the last 7 days. According to the report ending July 21st, there were 60 cases in Danbury, Bethel reported 9, Brookfield had 9 and New Fairfield 11 . There were 15 COVID cases in New Milford, 26 in Newtown, Redding reported 6 cases while Ridgefield had 12. 

The Connecticut Department of Public Health has updated test positivity rates for Greater Danbury area municipalities over the last 7 days.  At home tests are not reported. 

The rates are:

Newtown 4.6 percent

New Milford 6.8 percent

Bethel 7.2 percent

Ridgefield 9.9 percent

Brookfield 10.6 percent

Redding 10.69 percent

Danbury 11 percent

New Fairfield 11.3 percent.

The number COVID-associated deaths in Connecticut has grown by 8 since last Thursday.  The state is also reporting a cumulative breakthrough rate of COVID-19 infections among the more than 2.7 million people who are fully vaccinated of 9.19 percent.  There were 4300 positive COVID cases reported to the state over the last 7 days out of 40,000 tests.  The rolling 7-day average positivity rate was 10.59 percent. The number of people in Connecticut hospitals testing positive during that time increased by 19.  The inpatient total is 312.

The BA5 Omicron subvariant of COVID-19 makes up the majority of the cases sent for genomic sequencing in Connecticut for the week ending July 9th.  According to the latest report, 74.3 percent of samples were BA5 while 9.5 percent were BA4.  BA2 accounts for 14.9 percent, and the original strain was found in 1.4 percent of samples tested that week.

Local towns to benefit from Congressional Appropriations bill

Redding, Ridgefield and Wilton are benefitting from funding included in an Appropriations package passed by the U.S. House this week.  Among the 10 community project funding requests in the 4th District is $200,000 for the Western Connecticut Council of Governments for the development of sanitary sewer infrastructure in the towns of Ridgefield and Redding.  The Wilton Department of Public Works will receive $1.4 million to enhance of the storm sewer system surrounding the stadium turf at the Wilton High School Sports Complex.

New Fairfield kids learn forensic sciences at summer camp

The Connecticut State Police Major Crime Van hosted a presentation for New Fairfield students yesterday at Memorial Field.  A Forensic Science class is now in it's fourth year and is part of the New Fairfield Parks and Recreation summer camp.  Students were taken through several mock crime scenes and provided with an inside look at what crime scene detectives do.

Newtown Community Center hosting National Night Out with Newtown Police

The Newtown Community Center is hosting National Night Out next month with Newtown Police.  Neighborhoods across the country are participating in events on August 2nd.  The local event is being held partnership with Newtown Prevention Council.  The camaraderie building campaign promotes strong police-community partnerships to make neighborhoods safer, more caring places.  National organizers say this is a time of unity to showcase the importance of citizen involvement in the police-community relationship.  Admission is free for the August 2nd event, from 6pm to 8pm, featuring K9 demonstrations, Dunk a Cop, and games played with the Newtown Police and Fire Departments.  Emergency vehicles will be on hand for tours, along with family-friendly activities.

Drivers reminded not to leave pets in hot cars

Putnam County SPCA and the Carmel Fire Department are reminding drivers that the temperature inside a car can rise up to 40 degrees higher than the outside temperature. It only takes 10 to 15 minutes for an animal to suffer irreversible damage due to heat stroke.  

When it's 75 degrees outside, the car will reach 100 degrees inside in just 10 minutes.  When it's 85 degrees outside, it takes 7 to 10 minutes and when the outside temperature approaches 100, it only takes 15 minutes for the inside of a car to become 140 degrees.

Anyone who sees an animal which has been left unattended during extreme temperatures and may be in distress, is asked to call the SPCA at 845-520-6915 or emergency responders.

Ridgefield to work with Aquarion to plan water line to schools

Plans are being drawn up by Aquarion Water Company to connect Ridgefield High School and Scotts Ridge Middle School to public water.  The two schools are currently on well water, and do meet water quality guidelines, but First Selectman Rudy Marconi said at the recent Board of Selectmen meeting that the town has issues with contamination.  He added that by having public water, that reduces the burden of testing and monitoring. The Board of Selectmen agreed to hold a public hearing August 17th and town meeting September 7th.  Ridgefield will apply for grant assistance through the Clean Water Act.  This would be part of a project by Aquarion at the intersection of Barlow Mountain Road and North Street to install a 10-foot by 20-foot structure to control water pressure.  The water main would be extended up Route 116 to the Craigmoor Road pump station.  There currently is no water line between the Ridgefield main system and the Craigmoor system so residents in that area would be able to get hooked up to the system.

Danbury-Southeast rail line environmental impact study grant approved by Congress

The U.S. House passed an appropriations bill on Wednesday, and it included a 2 million dollar grant for the City of Danbury.  The money will be used to study the impact of a fast track rail service to New York City.  Danbury and Southeast officials have been looking into reviving the old Maybrook line as a commuter route from downtown to the Metro North station in New York, to connect riders with the Harlem line.  A previous 1 million dollar grant was awarded for a feasibility study.  An environmental impact study is the next step in the planning process.

Restoration crew doubled at New Milford High School

The restoration company working at New Milford High School to clean up smoke and water damage from a July 5th fire has doubled its crew to 100 workers. Mayor Pete Bass says they continue to take out drywall and insulation from the second floor and clean wall cavities.  They're also detaching cabinetry to remove damaged drywall from behind it, and taking down suspended ceiling tiles from the halls of the 1st and 2nd floors.  New Milford officials are working with their insurance carrier and the former roofing company's insurance on the timing of the deliver for the modular classrooms.  Plans are being finalized for additional parking.

Public hearing held in Danbury on ATV ordinance


A public hearing has been held in Danbury about a proposal to beef up the City's ability to crack down on illegal ATV riding.  The proposed ordinance would fine those who operate all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes on public property.  The vehicles could be confiscated, and after a time, sold at auction.  The Traffic Authority and the United Neighborhood Inspection Team would be able to enforce the prohibition as well. Two speakers told the City Council that they have seen reckless driving by all terrain vehicle users and others on similar vehicles.  In 2003 Danbury regulated all-terrain vehicle use to prevent damage to public parks and City-controlled property.  In 2016, the state added dirt bikes and mini motorcycles to the statute.  Towing and storage cost, along with repairs for any damage, would be the responsibility of the owner/rider.  There are some conditions on auction though.  It can't be resold if there's a lien or lease on the vehicle, or if there's a lienholder who didn't reasonably known that the person on the motorcycle/dirt bike/etc was using it the way it was.  

Cafe seeks liquor permit for dance club in Danbury

The Danbury Zoning Commission is being asked to sign off on a cafe, with liquor license, that would feature dancing and live bands.  The proposed 70-seat café, called Revolution, on Mill Plain Road wants to locate in a former package store.  Plans for the 53-hundred-square-foot café and bar in a multi-tenant building show a dance floor, a DJ booth, a stage for live bands and a 22-seat bar along with a liquor room, a beer cooler and an office.  Two restaurants, a patio store, and a fitness gym are also located in the building behind Noah’s Arc Veterinary Office. The Danbury Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing on the application August 9th.

Squantz Pond swim area remains closed today

The swim area at Squantz Pond State Park in New Fairfield remain closed today due to continued elevated levels of bacteria being detected in sampling.  The water will be retested today with results expected tomorrow morning. DEEP collects samples of state-run swimming areas each week and the Department of Public Health's laboratory analyzes them for presence of certain indicator bacteria with potential for contamination.  Black Rock in Watertown and Indian Well in Shelton swim areas were closed yesterday, but reopened today.

COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Newtown today

A COVID-19 vaccine mobile clinic is being held in Newtown today.  The state Department of Public Health-Griffin Health team will hold the walk up clinic at Newtown High School from 3pm to 7pm.  This is for anyone 6 months and older.  Booster doses, including pediatric boosters, will be available.  About 4 percent of Connecticut kids 6 months to 5 years old have received their first dose.  About half of kids 5 to 11 have started their vaccine series.

Newtown officials caution residents to continued high heat

Newtown Emergency Management officials are offering some information for residents to prevent becoming victims of the heat during these continued high temperatures.  Residents are encouraged to check on elderly or frail neighbors to be certain they are doing ok, and suggest they go to cooling centers if their home is overheated.  People are reminded to stay hydrated and avoid strenuous outdoor work.  Residents are being reminded to monitor pets, keeping them out of the sun and not left in hot cars.  When the temperature outside is 85 degrees, it takes less than 10 minutes for the inside of a car to reach 100 degrees and half an hour to reach 120 degrees. The Newtown Health District is reminding residents of some common symptoms of heat related illness to watch for during this continued high heat.  They include dry, red spotted skin, weakness, headache, fatigue and nausea.  If experiencing these symptoms, move to a cool location, loosen clothing and apply a wet cloth.  

Monroe Police say pharmacy not robbed, but incident under investigation

The Monroe Police Department has fielded a number of questions about the police presence at Walgreens Tuesday from people who thought the pharmacy had been robbed.  Monroe Police say it was not a robbery, but they were called to the store.  Police are continuing to investigate an incident, and did not provide further details about what took place.  Police did say there is no concern for public safety.

Bethel officials warn of caller ID spoofing scam

Bethel officials are warning residents about a spam call spoofing the Town of Bethel's caller ID. The town received a notice from a resident that the number was not from town hall, but it said Town of Bethel.  Municipal officials note that Bethel will never call concerning Medicare. The resident reported hanging up immediately because she recognized the voice from other scam calls received in the past.  

Construction work continues in Ridgefield on Main Street

Construction work continues in Ridgefield on Main Street.  The second phase of a realignment project involved the contractor digging three test pits for fire hydrant relocation and verification of existing water main conditions.  On Monday evening, July 25, Richards Construction will dig six or seven additional test pits to verify existing water main conditions.  Starting Tuesday at 7 pm, workers will dig a 60-foot trench along Bailey Avenue to secure existing water pipes with additional restraints. This effort will prevent or mitigate future leakage. The Bailey Avenue construction will be completed by the end of the week.

Former Legislative Council member to fill Newtown Board of Ed vacancy

The Newtown Board of Education has voted for a new member to fill a vacancy.  Former Legislative Council member Alison Plante will serve in the role.  The Democrat is finishing the year-and-a-half left of the term of former Board of Education member Rebekah Harriman, who resigned June 24th.  The Board had 30 days to fill the seat.  5 applicants were interviewed and each school board member submitted a question to ask the candidates ahead of the interview process.  Plante was not the candidate put forth by the local Democratic Town Committee.

Self-storage facility approved by Newtown Planning & Zoning

The Newtown Planning and Zoning Commission has approved an application for a self-storage facility on Turnberry Lane, off Toddy Hill Road.  The public hearing was closed on July 7th.  Members voted to add self-service storage facility in the M-4 Zone and a special exception and site development plan from Barth Builders.  A two-story 44,000 square foot building for self-storage units and associated parking would not be open 24/7.  The hours would be 6am to 10pm seven days a week.  The applicant was asked to add additional shielding if lighting is visible from neighboring residential homes dimmed after hours of operation.  They will also be required to add plantings if gaps are found in buffer along residential properties.

Clean up, restoration work continues at New Milford High School

Clean up and restoration work continues at New Milford High School from a July 5th roof fire that resulted in smoke and water damage to dozens of classrooms.  There have been some questions from teachers about when they'll be able to see what, if any, of their supplies, lesson plans and other items were damaged or destroyed.  Public Works Director Jack Healy says right now their priority is to clean and clear the building.  Then they can make access available to those materials, outside or somewhere else in the building.  But he says they still have to have discussions with school administrators about that process.  Healy says the music wing and gym wings will be open, with the plan to also have cafeteria open.  He says those areas will connect to outside classrooms.  Superintendent Alisha DiCorpo says they're looking for area for relocation of emergency events for parents to park around the High school.  She says Pettibone Community Center may be an option, but notes that it is a distance away.

Brookfield offers locations to beat the heat

The Brookfield Health Department is advising people to "Stay Cool" during spells of hot weather and use sunscreen.  Police are reminding resident to be extremely careful with children and pets outside and especially in overheated cars. There are cooling centers available during normal business hours at the Brookfield Library, Brookfield Senior Center and Greenknoll YMCA. 

Injured hawk rescued in Danbury.

An injured hawk has been rescued in Danbury.  State Police Troopers responded to the area of Exit 11 of Route 7 South yesterday morning on a report of a hawk unable to fly.  Troopers located the bird, which had an injured wing.  With the assistance of Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Officers, they managed to safely handled the injured hawk and transport it to a nearby wildlife rehab center for treatment.

(Photo: CSP)

Squantz Pond State Park closed to swimming again

Squantz Pond State Park is again closed to swimming.  The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Water Quality Report shows elevated levels of bacteria detected in water sampling.  The water will be retested today, with results expected tomorrow.  DEEP collects samples of state-run swimming areas each week and the Department of Public Health's laboratory analyzes them for presence of certain indicator bacteria with potential for contamination.  Black Rock in Watertown and Indian Well in Shelton also have closed their swim areas.

Southbury Police investigating commercial burglary

The Southbury Police Department is investigating a burglary which occurred at JMS Dry cleaners located at 220 Main Street South last week.  The incident occurred on July 12th around 8pm.  Southbury Police are looking to identify a heavy set male who is seen entering the business where cash was stolen and later exiting the same door.  A photo of the man has been posted to their Facebook page.  Anyone with any information regarding this incident is asked to contact Officer Markette at 203-264-5912. All calls will be kept confidential upon request.

Newtown Police seek evading vehicle in single car accident

Newtown Police are investigating at single car accident that damaged property off Berkshire Road.  Police say a vehicle travelling east hit an embankment by Grays Plain Road Sunday, around 6:30pm.  The car hit a “No pedestrian crossing” sign.  Car parts discovered at the scene were traced back to a 2022 Lexus IS 300 or 350.  The vehicle sustained front end damage.  Anyone with information on the evading vehicle or driver is asked to connect Newtown Police at 203-426-5841.

Putnam County cohosts reimagined 4-H Fair

A Putnam County summertime staple, the 4-H Fair, was reimagined this year.  The three day event held over the weekend featured concerts under the stars, traditional 4-H exhibits, food trucks, craft vendors, a beer garden and games for children.  Cornell Cooperative Extension approached County Executive MaryEllen Odell about partnering for a larger scale festival following two years of a break due to the pandemic.  In the past, the 4-H Fair had drawn up to 20,000 visitors in three days.  Weekend activities included Eastern Hudson Valley Horse Council Demonstrations, 4-H Miniature Horse Showmanship, and the first annual Duck Derby.

Center for Empowerment and Education to hire Prevention Educator

The Center for Empowerment and Education, formerly the Women's Center of Greater Danbury, is looking to hire a Prevention Educator. They provide training and referrals related to addressing and preventing  domestic/dating violence, sexual violence, and gender-based discrimination and harassment. While gender-based violence prevention is the primary focus of this position, the expectation is that the role is also integrated into the overall gender equity work of The Center.

Newtown, Greater Danbury Chambers of Commerce to merge

The Chamber of Commerce of Newtown and the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce are merging, effective September 1st.  Officials say the decision to join the two organizations together was not made lightly.  The Boards of Directors of both Chambers have been in dialogue over the past year.  They note that in today’s environment, it is important to achieve scale and an eye toward the growth of the business sector.   Under the leadership of president and CEO PJ Prunty, the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce will continue its long tradition of serving the Greater Danbury Area and will incorporate many of the initiatives and events that were founded by the Chamber of Commerce of Newtown. The Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce currently serves the 10 towns of Bethel, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Danbury, Newtown, New Fairfield, New Milford, Sherman, Redding, and Ridgefield.

Danbury bar has liquor license temporarily suspended

The state Department of Consumer Protection Liquor Control Commission has ordered the temporary suspension of a Danbury establishment's liquor license.  A notice on the Department's website says La Canchita Bar & Lounge will have it's license suspended August 1st through 4th.  The Delay Street business has paid a 25-hundred dollar fine for violations.  The suspension was for sale to a minor, violation of hours and days of closing and conduct of permit premise statutes.  The owners were also cited during the pandemic for violating state regulations.  La Canchita was among 5 found to be noncompliant with an executive order restricting outdoor dining.

New Fairfield closes COVID-19 testing site

The Town of New Fairfield has announced that COVID testing at the Senior Center has ended.  Anyone needing a PCR test was encouraged to go online to, the provider which wrapped up testing yesterday, or to a testing site run in Danbury at Pat Waldron Hall on Memorial Drive.  Testing is done Mondays and Wednesdays this month, 3pm to 6pm. New Fairfield First Selectman Pat Del Monaco says the town will continue to monitor the demand for testing and re-establish a local testing facility if necessary.

Cooling centers are open again today in Greater Danbury area

Cooling centers are open again today in the Greater Danbury area for residents to beat the heat.  In New Fairfield, the Library will be open from 10am to 7pm and the Senior Center will be open from 9am to 4pm for cooling.  In Newtown, the Municipal Center, CH Booth Library and Newtown Community Center are open during normal business hours.  New Milford has the senior center, the E Paul Martin Room at Town Hall and Oddfellows Hall open as cooling centers.  In Danbury, the library, war memorial and New Street Shelter are open.

Brookfield Public Works no longer accepting used motor oil

The Brookfield Public Works has field many questions over the last few months on why they no longer take used motor oil at the town garage.  They stopped because of a serious illegal dumping issue at the facility several months ago.  As a result, Brookfield had to pay over ten thousand dollars to clean the site of PCB’s. Insurance would not cover the cost. Since there is no reasonable way to control or identify what people dump at the facility, they were forced to close it.  Brookfield residents can still return up to 5 quarts per day to the location where it was originally purchased. 

Monroe Police investigating theft of 5,000 pills from pharmacy

More than 5,000 pills were stolen from a Monroe Pharmacy and Police are investigating if the brazen theft is connected to similar ones elsewhere in Connecticut and New York.  Police Chief Keith White told News 12 Connecticut that four men wearing masks and hooded sweatshirts walked behind the Rite Aid pharmacy counter, demanded staff open the safe and stole all of the narcotic pills late Wednesday on Monroe Turnpike.  White says the suspects knew what they were looking for.  The pills were worth an estimated $100,000.  He says there was no weapon show, but there was an implied threat.  Four employees were working at the time and no injuries were reported.  The suspects left the scene in a black Volkswagen Jetta.  White says a similar incident was reported at a Rite Aid in Milford on June 22nd and Walgreens stores in New Haven and Orange, stealing pills from one and cough syrup with codeine from the other.  

Injured hiker rescued along Appalachian Trail in Kent

An injured hiker was rescued along the Appalachian Trail in Kent yesterday afternoon.  Water Witch Hose of New Milford and Gaylordsville Fire were called to assist Kent Fire and EMS shortly before 3:30pm.  The hiker suffered a broken ankle on her way towards Maine. It was going to be a far hike and climb to the patient.  The three fire companies entered the trail less than an hour later and together, a group of 16 hand carried the injured hiker down the trail on a stokes basket for 30 minutes to the nearest access for Water Witch’s Ranger UTV, then continued off the mountain by the Devil’s Staircase. The patient was extricated from the woods around 4:30pm, just ahead of the incoming storms.

Public hearing tomorrow in Danbury on proposed Chipotle location

The Danbury Planning Commission will hold a public hearing at their meeting tomorrow for a proposed Chipotle restaurant on Sugar Hollow Road.  The fast food restaurant with drive-thru use and a medical office would generate over 500 vehicle trips per day at the site of the former Pier 1 Imports.  To access the site, the applicant is proposing to use the existing two-way driveway on Sugar Hollow Road.  The existing driveway on Backus Avenue would be closed.  The plans show that the drive-through for the fast food restaurant has been designed to ensure all queuing occurs within the parking lot. Additionally, the site plan notes the drive-through lane only accommodates mobile pick-up orders and an order window is not provided.  Site improvements include the redesign of the parking lot, associated grading, landscaping, the installation of a storm drainage system, and the construction of a concrete sidewalk and driveway apron.  The Zoom meeting tomorrow is at 7:30pm.

Cooling centers opened in Greater Danbury area

The state has activated the severe weather protocol due to forecasted hot weather through Sunday.  Cooling station locations can be found by calling 211 or online at  In New Milford, the senior center and town hall are open, along with Oddfellows Hall as cooling stations.  Easton Police note that with the first heatwave of the summer underway, the senior center and the EMS building are open as cooling centers.  Cooling centers have been opened in Danbury due to the forecasted extreme heat over the next few days.  Among the designated locations are Danbury Library, during normal business hours, and the New Street Shelter 9am to 2pm today through Friday.  Library hours are Tuesday through Thursday 10am to 8pm, Friday 10 to 5 and Saturday 10 to 2pm.  The Danbury War Memorial is open 5am to 10pm today through Friday, 7am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday.  Hatters Hall on E. Hayestown Road is open today, tomorrow and Thursday 9am to 4:30pm.

Southbury set to start construction on Flood Bridge Road, Heritage Road Bridge

The Town of Southbury is beginning construction on Flood Bridge Road and Heritage Road Bridges over the Pomperaug River next Friday, the 29th.  The rehabilitation of both bridge decks and repair work to the underside of the structures.  This repair work will extend the life of both structures approximately 20+-years. The golf cart path below the Heritage Road Bridge will be protected and remain open to golfers for the duration of the project.  Flood Bridge Road will be closed for the three month duration of construction and there will be a detour in place.  Heritage Road will be staged during construction, allowing partial use by drivers.  During Stage 1 there will be access to and from Heritage Village.  Stage 2 will restrict drivers to one way into the Village.  A detour for those leaving the Village will be set up.  The bridges are expected to reopen around October 27th, or sooner. 

New Milford officials to meet with insurers today over High School roof fire

The contractor working on remediation of smoke and water damage at New Milford High School from the July 5th roof fire is continuing to make progress.  New Milford officials are meeting with their insurance carrier today.  Crews began preparation work for the removal of water-damaged drywall and insulation on the 2nd floor.  Mayor Pete Bass says they also are taking out air movers and dehumidifiers in the lesser impacted areas as well as areas where water-damaged drywall and insulation removal is complete.  Crews are continuing to detach overhead lighting, projectors, exit signs, and speakers on the second floor. 

SONIC to open in Danbury on Thursday

SONIC will open its first location in Danbury on Thursday.  Located at 172 White Street, it's directly across from the Western Connecticut State University midtown campus.  The fast food restaurant will look to employee around 40 team members from the local area, with select roles still available.  In celebration of the grand opening, the Danbury SONIC will offer a free Corn Dog to every guest on Thursday, while supplies last.  SONIC also donates a portion of drink, slush and shake sales to support local public education through the brand’s Limeades for Learning initiative. Since 2009, SONIC has donated more than $20 million to funding local classrooms, becoming one of the largest programs to support public education in the U.S.

The Center for Empowerment and Education looking to hire Multilingual Educator Advocate

The Center for Empowerment and Education, formerly the Women's Center of Greater Danbury, is looking to hire a Multilingual Educator Advocate.  The primary role is to provide education, training, advocacy, support, crisis intervention, and referrals, related to addressing and preventing all forms of domestic/dating violence, sexual violence, and gender-based discrimination, harassment, and violence in the community. While gender-based violence prevention is the primary focus of this position, the expectation is that the role is also integrated into the overall gender equity work of The Center.

New school year opening in New Milford delayed to September

The new academic year in New Milford will be delayed.  Superintendent Alisha DiCorpo says with only 38 days until the originally scheduled August start date, and the proposed arrival time of some portable classrooms 4 to 6 weeks away, classes won't start on time.  The first day of school for all students will now be Tuesday, September 6th.  This change applies to all students, at all schools, PreK through 12.  


The delay is due to the fire on the New Milford High School roof, which damaged two classrooms and left smoke and water damage in 50.  The restoration company has been working to continue to clean areas of the high school building that were impacted.  


Mayor Pete Bass has authorized the purchase of 50 temporary classrooms to be set up outside New Milford High School.  A company has about 33 available for use at this time and have identified the potential for additional units.  Despite the Mayor signing off, the district as of yesterday was awaiting a signature from the insurance carrier.  Work has already begun to align sewer, water, and electrical hookups to the portables in preparation for their arrival.  Bass says the tentative arrival of the first pods will be at the end of first week in August.  


The contractor began removing water-damaged drywall and insulation from the first floor. DiCorpo says they should know more about the availability of additional rooms this week.  The air quality test results are due back this week.  The structural integrity analysis results have been returned.


The next joint public update meeting between the town and schools will be held on Wednesday, July 27th at 5:30 pm.

Annual statement of conditions of Danbury Fire Department released

An annual statement of conditions of the Danbury Fire Department has been provided to the City Council. 


Chief Richard Thode said in his report that they are undertaking a location study for a new headquarters building and for a west side fire station, closer to the New York border.  The closest career department is on Kenosia Avenue.  There are space constraints and other issues with the New Street headquarters, in addition to an out of date HVAC system and asbestos insulation that needs abatement.  The site straddles a flood plain and the potential for rebuilding it is dependent on FEMA, EPA and local approvals. 


Thode noted that there's an addition being constructed at Station 26 for four double apparatus bays. 


The Danbury Fire Department has 117 of 120 positions filled on the career side, with 70 certified suppression responders on the volunteer side.  With modern equipment and current facilities, Thode says the Department will deliver quality emergency services and the conventional operations of the Department are sound. 


With a new fire headquarters, Thode says Battalion 19 could move into that building and dispose of their firehouses, which are all city-owned properties.  Danbury has 16 fire stations in the city and his goal is to get to at least single digits. Thode says 7 of the 12 volunteer fire companies are in the final phases of consolidating.  Volunteer companies 3, 7, 10 and 11 formed Battalion 31 and want to relocate into one building.  Volunteer companies 5, 6 and 8 joined to create Battalion 19 and aim to do the same.


The report suggests demolishing the North Street volunteer fire station because it's in a “poor location” at a curve on a busy street, with inadequate parking.  The station needs “costly” repairs, including to the roof, windows, gutters and fire escape.  He then proposed selling the land.

Special Town Meeting in Bethel tonight on police station firing range

A special town meeting will be held tonight in Bethel on outfitting the police station firing range.  Residents are being asked for approval to spend up to $1.4 million to purchase and install equipment needed to finish the firing range in the new police station.  The money would coming from Fund Balance. The price tag includes funding for contingency and escalation costs.  Chief Stephen Pugner said in a social media post that the 7pm meeting begins the long overdue process of completing the training range.  He says members must remain exceedingly vigilant in their firearms training, especially with the evident rise in gun violence within the United States. Currently, Bethel officers are only able to train with instructors once a year and these days are dependent upon the schedule and invitation of external facilities in locations such as Danbury, New Milford, and Southbury. With the completion, officers will also be able to safely train in various use of force scenarios and situations. 

Cooling centers open in New Milford

Due to a weather forecast indicating that temperatures over the next several days will reach into or above the mid-90s, with the heat index expected to go over triple digits at times, Governor Lamont is directing Connecticut’s extreme hot weather protocol to be activated through 8pm on Sunday.

The purpose of the protocol is to ensure that the most vulnerable populations receive protection from the hot conditions. While enacted, a system is set up for state agencies, municipalities, and other partners to coordinate with United Way 2-1-1 to make sure that information regarding cooling centers is available statewide, providing a location to get some relief from the hot conditions.


In New Milford, where the predictions for Tuesday through Friday is temperatures in the 90s, the town will be opening several facilities at 8am.  The Senior Center is open at 40 Main Street and for other residents, today and tomorrow, the E  Paul Martin Room in Town Hall will be open. On Thursday and Friday, the cooling center will be in the Loretta Brickley Room of Town Hall.


Anyone in need of a cooling center should call 2-1-1 or look online at to find their nearest location.

As part of this protocol, the energy utility companies provide the state with regular updates regarding the impact of the weather conditions on their respective utilities.

New State's Attorney for Judicial District of Danbury appointed

A new State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Danbury has been appointed by the Criminal Justice Commission.  David Applegate was appointed to an eight-year term succeeding Stephen Sedensky who recently retired after serving as Danbury State’s Attorney since February 2007.  Applegate will complete the remainder of Sedensky’s term, which expires on June 30th 2026.  The State’s Attorney is the chief law enforcement officer for the Judicial District of Danbury which includes the communities of Bethel, Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, Newtown, Redding, Ridgefield and Sherman.  Applegate joined the Division of Criminal Justice in 2006 as a Deputy Assistant State’s Attorney in the Stamford Office. In 2015, he transferred to the Cold Case/Shooting Task Force Bureau in the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney before joining the Office of the State’s Attorney in the Fairfield Judicial District in 2018. Prior to his service for the state of Connecticut, Attorney Applegate worked in private practice in New York City from 2004 to 2006.

Monday storms cause power outages, flooding

Eversource is reporting some scattered power outages remaining in the area after yesterday's storms.  Some of the outages are being attributed to down trees.  The estimated time of restoration is by noon or 1pm today for most of the problems in the Greater Danbury area.  The storm also brought flash flooding that caused problems for drivers.  Metro North had to temporarily suspend service on the Harlem and New Haven lines yesterday, which caused delays to Brewster and along the Danbury branch line.

New chair of Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education appointed

JoAnn Ryan has been appointed to serve as chair of the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education.  The governing body for the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system consists of four state universities, 12 community colleges, and Charter Oak State College.  Ryan has served as vice chair since February and has been a member of the board since 2018.


As new board chair, Ryan also serves on the BOR’s Finance and Infrastructure Committee and Human Resources and Administration Committee. She has been president and CEO of the Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce since 2002 and is first woman to hold that title since the Chamber’s inception in 1901.


She was previously an adjunct faculty member of Naugatuck Valley and Northwestern Connecticut Community Colleges, a high school history and English teacher, and Torrington City Councilwoman.


CSCU President Terrence Cheng says Ryan's dedication and strong relationship with educators, students and businesses is exactly the right experience and leadership style needed to ensure our 17 colleges and universities are in the position to help students succeed and gain a competitive edge in the workforce.

Also appointed to the board are Juanita James, president and CEO of Fairfield County’s Community Foundation and James McCarthy, former interim provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs at Baruch College, The City University of New York. 

988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline now active

Redding Police Department is alerting residents to a new National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.  The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline can be more easily reached by calling or texting 988 or online at  It serves as a universal entry point so that anyone in the U.S. can easily access 24/7 emotional support.  Trained crisis counselors can help callers through whatever mental health challenges are being experienced.  The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Communications Commission, and other suicide prevention and mental health partners in the field worked together to get this up and running.

Redding warns of low water flow in Norwalk River

The flow in the Norwalk River is abnormally low now.  Redding officials say now is the time to eliminate outdoor watering.  The Norwalk River Watershed Association says native plants typically do not need to be watered once they are established and are tolerant to this climate and are a  way to reduce the need for water, pesticides, and fertilizers while supporting pollinators.

Sandy Hook Fire & Rescue thanks mutual aid partners for support as members mourn

Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue wrote a heartfelt thank you to area fire departments on their Facebook page after multiple towns stepped up to provide coverage of all of the fire houses in Newtown on Thursday and Friday during the wake and funeral for Chief Bill Halstead.  The members said that 'thank you' doesn't seem to be enough to cover everything that everyone has done for the company last week. Members said they appreciate every gesture and every task taken on, large and small, that was done to help since the tone dropped and their hearts broke on July 8th. The Officers and Members of Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue note that they still have long days ahead and asked for patience as they continue to mourn. 

Two women wanted for trespassing in Southbury

Two women are wanted for trespassing in Southbury.  Police say the females entered into a house under construction on Holly Hill Road yesterday, around 5:30pm.  Southbury Police received  multiple calls that they were near other houses in the area and that they may live in the area.  A photo has been posted to the Department's Facebook page.  Anyone with information about the incident or knows the people involved are asked to contact Ofc. Ezzo at (203) 264-5912. All calls will be kept confidential.

Newtown Police seek to ID larceny suspect

The Newtown Police Department is looking to identify a man in regards to a larceny case.  The white male was pictured carrying sporting goods and sneakers out of a store. The surveillance photo is posted to the Newtown Police Facebook page.  Anyone with any information is asked contact Officer Michael McGowan at 203-426-5841 or at All information will be kept confidential.

Danbury applying for Hazard Mitigation Grant to replace, add emergency standby generators

The City of Danbury is applying for a Hazard Mitigation Grant to replace and add emergency standby generators at various facilities.  The state will cover 90-percent of the more than $4 million cost.  The grant would be from the state Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.  Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola notes that the City applied for a grant several years ago, but was not successful so they now took that work to base this new application on.  He notes that the City has been building up a reserve to replace some generators.  The City's share of up to $404,000 is available in the current Capital budget.  The initiative is part of a citywide effort to have power at pre-identified critical infrastructure facilities during outages.  The locations could include places such as sewer pump stations, schools, fire stations and the new EMS building on Wooster Heights.  Emergency Management Director Matt Cassavechia says when the City applied to the National Weather Service to become a StormReady community, they looked at vulnerability and power restoration.  He says a multi-day outage is a major concern.

Despite drought, Danbury has adequate supply of water

Connecticut is in a Stage 2 Drought condition.  Residents and businesses across the state are being asked to take actions to conserve water.  But Danbury Mayor Dean Esposito says Danbury has an adequate supply of water for drinking and fire suppression.  He notes that due to the extremely high demands for water, residents may experience occasionally discolored water.  Steps people can take to help reduce the impact of the drought include not washing vehicles, stopping irrigation of lawns and gardens and postponing planting new lawns or vegetation.

Lifeguards credited with saving two people on Candlewood Lake

Two lifeguards are being credited with saving two people in New Milford.  Mayor Pete Bass said Aiden Mulligan- Brown and Tamas Biro rescued a father and son from Candlewood Lake at Lynn Deming Park yesterday.  This is at least the second rescue at the town park this season.  Municipal and state officials are urging people to take care in the water and to be aware of swimming capabilities before entering the water.

Ridgefield Police Department investigating altercation

The Ridgefield Police Department is investigating an altercation.  Police are asking for the publics assistance, in regards to the fight that took place in the Copps Hill Plaza parking lot near Venice Pizza/Rite Aid, on Tuesday.  The incident was reported at approximately 5pm. Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to contact Officer Vasquez at (203) 438-6531 or the anonymous Tip Line at (203) 431-2345.

Bethel Police name new K9 officer

The Bethel Police Department has announced the name of their newest K9 officer.  Penelope, or Penny, is a bloodhound and will be trained in tracking.  She met members of the community at Bethel’s Food Truck Friday event.  She was donated to the Department by Virginia-based breeder Momma’s Bodacious Bloodhounds & Rescue, with the assistance of Zeus Canine--the tristate area's leading source for police service dog acquisition and training. They specialize in tracking/Search and Rescue, and odor work, with staff all current or retired police K9 handlers with over 30 years combined experience in the field.

Danbury Proton appeal rejected by State

The state Office of Health Strategy has rejected an appeal of Danbury Proton to build a proton therapy center in Danbury.  The rejection Thursday follows an initial denial in February.  The 80 million dollar facility would have provided cancer patients with a noninvasive radiation treatment.  The company said in its application that about 500 Connecticut residents left the state in 2019 to receive the therapy in the 40 other facilities open nationwide.  Both the appeal and the initial denials stated that Danbury Proton “did not establish a clear public need for proton beam therapy and did not show that the proposal was financially feasible.”  A similar facility was approved by the state in April.  The Wallingford site will be run by Yale New Haven Health and Hartford HealthCare.  Danbury Proton officials are assessing next steps.

Local lawmaker touts community college program

After enacting free community college for full-time students in 2019, the Connecticut General Assembly expanded it this year to cover part-time students.  Ridgefield state Senator Will Haskell, who is not seeking reelection, visited almost a dozen community college campuses in Connecticut, and says he's seen firsthand how these institutions provide students with the skills they need to succeed in a 21st century workforce. From advanced manufacturing training to nursing programs, Haskell says they’re helping to bolster the workforce pipeline in countless key industri

Greater Danbury area COVID-19 data updated by DPH

 The Connecticut Department of Public Health has updated case rates for Greater Danbury area municipalities over the last 7 days.  According to the report ending July 14th, there were 75 cases in Danbury, Bethel reported 24, Brookfield had 11 and New Fairfield 10. There were 24 COVID cases in New Milford, 21 in Newtown, Redding reported 5 cases while Ridgefield had 26. 


The test positivity rates for Greater Danbury area municipalities over the last 7 days were also updated:

Brookfield 5.86 percent

Redding 7.7 percent

Newtown 9.2 percent

New Milford 9.5 percent

New Fairfield 11.4 percent

Bethel 12 percent

Ridgefield 13.4 percent

Danbury 13.8 percent


The number COVID-associated deaths in Connecticut has grown by 30 since last Thursday.  The state is also reporting a cumulative breakthrough rate of COVID-19 infections among the 2-point-7 million people in the state who are fully vaccinated of 9.09  percent.


The rolling 7-day average positivity rate was 10.5 percent. The number of people in Connecticut hospitals testing positive during that time increased by 29.  The inpatient total is 293.  About half of Connecticut children aged 5 to 9 years old have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The number of infants and toddlers, up to age 5 increased their vaccination rate nearly doubled from 2.6 to 4 percent since last week.

WCSU participating in new technology education programs

7 new technology education programs have been created at Connecticut’s public and private colleges and universities.  Grants were awarded to business-higher education partnerships as part of an initiative to rapidly increase the competitiveness of the state’s postsecondary institutions and meet growing business demand for tech skills.  The Connecticut State Colleges and Universities will collaborate with businesses through the Capital Area Tech Partnership and the Southwest Connecticut Tech Partnership.  Faculty will directly work with various partnerships to analyze jobs and skills demand data and develop a refreshed program with cross-cutting digital skills built off of the success of the newly released Foundations in Digital Analytics micro-credential backed by Connecticut businesses.  The program is a partnership of the New England Board of Higher Education, the Business-Higher Education Forum and the Connecticut Office of Workforce Strategy and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development.

Bethel Police gets new K9 officer

The Bethel Police Department has a new K9 member.  The 4 month old Bloodhound was donated by a Virginia-based breeder, Momma’s Bodacious Bloodhounds & Rescue, with the help of Zeus K9.  Bethel Police say Zeus K9 will be instrumental in training Corporal Jared Robinson and his new partner in tracking. The newest officer will be at the Bethel Food Truck Friday event this afternoon at the Municipal Center from 6pm to 7pm.

(Photo: BPD Facebook)

Stony Hill Fire recognizes mutual aid partner for EMS assistance

Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Company EMS officials this week presented Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps with an appreciation plaque. In January 2022, Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps loaned Stony Hill one of their ambulances while the fire department's was out for repairs.  Department officials say it's the generosity of the mutual aid partner that allowed them to remain in service.   They respond to 103 calls for service.

New apparatus for Danbury Fire Department blessed, put into service

The Danbury Fire Department has a new fire apparatus that Chief Richard Thode called the swiss army knife of trucks.  It not only carries rescue tools, but also is a pumper.  

It was blessed yesterday.

The Danbury Fire Department, seeking to avoid supply chain issues and an expected double-digit manufacturers increase, bought a new rescue pumper that was the early stages of construction, with the parts purchased months earlier.  The City Council signed off on $881,000 in November. Had the Council not agreed to the spending request, Thode said that would have set the Department back two years.  Pierce Manufacturing is the largest fire apparatus manufacturer in the world and built all of the City's apparatus.  

Danbury's oldest truck, a 2006, has over 12,000 engine hours and 110,000 miles.  The estimate for repairs came in at between $35,000 and $40,000.  The Department's 2007 Pierce Rescue truck did not see the severe service call volume the pumper did and is coming up for a complete refurbishment at a cost of $300,000.  By purchasing this new truck, the 2007 can be placed in Special Call status, prolong its life.

Lt. Kevin Lunnie says each tool has a dedicated shelf and is mounted.  The firefighters designed and personalized the truck to make it work efficiently for them.  One feature is two seats in the back with air packs on them, so firefighters sitting there can put the straps on and just get out of the truck.  The driver's pack is mounted inside so that firefighter doesn't have to climb up into the truck, get into the seat and strap an airpack on.  He notes that this truck is significantly higher than some of the older engines so this was done from an ergonomic standpoint and as a time saver.  This particular truck normally comes with two more seats, but they opted to remove them to have other items available in the cab.

Lunnie says all of the shelving, mounting, and boards were reconfigured and custom built for the City to suit their needs.

The truck carries tools such as the Jaws of Life, rope equipment, ice rescue gear and stabilization tools.  The ropes and ice suits and other soft goods in cabinets inside the truck to protect them from the elements.  There are also battery charges for the equipment.  The hose lines are preconnected to the pump.  A high rise pack can be brought to upper floors and hooked into a standpipe so they don't have to connect preconnected hose on the fire truck.

Lunnie says Engine 21 has a small medical district, but responds to all structure fires, technical rescues, machine accidents, trench rescues and boating accidents as part of the marine unit.

Danbury officials weigh options to buy historic courthouse from State of Conn.

More questions than answers have resulted from a Danbury City Council Committee meeting about the possibility of the City taking ownership of a state-owned old courthouse on Main Street.  The state offered to sell the 1899 building to the City for $1.4 million, but Danbury doesn't have the funding.  Another suggestion was made by former Congressman Jim Maloney for his nonprofit to apply for a $5 million state economic development grant to buy the building, two adjoining properties, and a building across the street. 

Connecticut Community Facility Development Corp. would be leased back to the City long term, requiring only the utilities be paid.  The deadline to apply for the grant though is July 25th. 

One hold up would be the owner of the home, parking lot and 67 Main Street building not wanting to sell.  While Maloney believes they would be amenable, state Representative Ken Gucker says he spoke with the owner and she is not on board.  If the grant is approved and the owner refuses to sell, Corporation Counsel Les Pinter explained that the City could get an appraisal, negotiate the value, and condemn the property forcing a sale for the public interest. 

Councilman Paul Rotello says he's not comfortable with that.

The outright sale to the City has a September 1st deadline and then the state plans to put the building on the National Register of Historic Places on the market.  Danbury could use the space for health department offices, probate court, or the Danbury Museum. 

The committee agreed to meet again before July 25th.

MA man arrested for alleged road rage incident involving firearm

A Massachusetts man has been arrested on weapons charges for an alleged road rage incident in New York.  State Police responded to Interstate 684 in Southeast on Sunday afternoon on a report of a man menacing another motorist with a firearm.  The suspect's vehicle was located northbound by the I-84 ramps.  An investigation determined the man, identified as Justin D. Blundell, got into a road rage incident with another operator and menaced the victim, who had children in the vehicle, with an illegally possessed 9MM handgun. He was also in illegal possession of another 9MM handgun and a AR-15 style rifle with a noncompliant ammunition feeding device.  He was arraigned and ordered held on bond for a future court appearance.  He was charged with 3 counts of felony criminal possession of a firearm, menacing, Possession of a Large Capacity Ammunition feeding Device, and three counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

New Milford High School roofing company fired after 2nd fire

The company working on the New Milford High School roof has been fired by the Mayor.  Pete Pass says the contractor is to blamed for two fire and a falling pipe and a ladder hitting a town Community Emergency Response Team truck.  The Fire Marshal's Office has not yet ruled on the cause of the July 5th fire, but one in December originated due to work being performed on the roof.  In both cases, contractors were using a propane torch at the time.  It was authorized in December, but not this time around. Bass handed Brookfield-based United Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. a termination letter Wednesday.  

Alex Jones defiant in deposition in Sandy Hook hoax lawsuit

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was defiant and cited free speech rights during a lawsuit deposition in April when questioned about calling the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting a hoax and the effect the statement had on families who lost loved ones, according to court documents released Thursday.

Jones insisted he wasn’t responsible for the suffering that Sandy Hook parents say they have endured because of the hoax conspiracy, including death threats and harassment by Jones’ followers, according to partial transcripts of the deposition in Bridgeport, Connecticut, on April 5 and 6. Several Sandy Hook families are suing Jones for defamation over the hoax claim.

“No, I don’t (accept) responsibility because I wasn’t trying to cause pain and suffering,” Jones said, according to the transcripts. “And this is they are being used and their children who can’t be brought back being used to destroy the First Amendment.”

Jones added, “If questioning public events and free speech is banned because it might hurt somebody’s feelings, we are not in America anymore. They can change the channel. They can come out and say I’m wrong. They have free speech.”

After first promoting the hoax conspiracies, Jones later said he did believe the shooting happened but has maintained he had the right to say it didn’t.

Families of eight of the victims and an FBI agent who responded to the school are suing Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems.

Connecticut Judge Barbara Bellis found Jones liable for damages to the families in November. Jury selection for a trial to determine how much money he should pay them is scheduled to begin Aug. 2 in Waterbury.

Bellis found in favor of the Sandy Hook families’ claims and defaulted Jones without a trial on the liability issue, as punishment for what she called Jones’ repeated failures to follow court orders and turn over documents. Jones has criticized Bellis and denies he failed to turn over documents to the Sandy Hook families’ lawyers.

A judge in Texas issued similar default rulings and found Jones liable for damages to Sandy Hook families who filed lawsuits in that state over the hoax conspiracy promoted by Jones. Trials on damages also are pending there, with the jury selection in the first one scheduled to begin July 25.

The partial transcripts were released ahead of a court hearing before Bellis on Thursday to prepare for the trial. They were included in a motion by the families’ lawyers, Alinor Sterling and Christopher Mattei, asking the judge to bar Jones from challenging her liability finding against Jones during the trial.

Questioned by Mattei during the deposition, Jones called Bellis’ ruling “fraudulent,” accused her of lying and alleged she was friends with a lawyer in Sterling and Mattei’s firm, Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder.

“I’m sure your pet judge will do whatever you want,” Jones said.

Mattei asked Jones if he had said the Sandy Hook shooting wasn’t real. Jones’ lawyer, Norman Pattis, objected to the question. Jones then said, “It is my right as an American citizen. ... I have said that in context I could see how people would believe it’s totally staged and synthetic.”

Mattei later asked Jones if he considered the Sandy Hook families to be “unwitting pawns” in a plot against him.

“I have just seen really a lot of sad people that lost their children using me to keep the story of their children in the news and gun control in the news. And so ... then I see the accusations by you guys that I made all this money off Sandy Hook when I know I didn’t.”

Thursday’s court hearing was held to deal with various scheduling matters and motions filed by both sides in the case. Bellis did not issue any major rulings.

Jones has filed motions to bar certain evidence from being presented at the Connecticut trial, including information about “white supremacy and right-wing extremism.”

Pattis also objected to media coverage of Thursday’s hearing, saying pretrial publicity could undermine Jones’ right to a fair trial. Bellis denied the objection, saying it did not outweigh the presumption of open courtrooms.

Flags to return to full-staff at sunset

Flags in Connecticut will return to full-staff at sunset this evening.  Flags are currently at half-staff statewide as a mark of respect for Sandy Hook Fire Chief William Halstead, who died in the line of duty shortly after responding to a call last week. A funeral service for Chief Halstead is scheduled to be held this morning at St Rose of Lima Church.  Calling hours were held last night with emergency responders setting up two overflow lots for those paying respect.  Town offices are expected to be lightly staffed today and the Town Clerk and Fire Marshal's Offices will be closed from 10am to noon to allow staff to attend the funeral.  Area fire departments are providing mutual aid by staffing the 5 volunteer fire company houses for Newtown.

Ridgefield officials postpone vote on Affordable Housing Plan

The Ridgefield Board of Selectmen did not vote on an Affordable Housing plan at their meeting this week as expected.  The Planning and Zoning Commission didn't vote on it at their meeting the day before, and the Selectmen said they didn't want to take action without that approval.  The draft plan calls for the town setting a goal of adding 125 affordable units over five years.  Municipalities are required by the state to update their affordable housing plans every 5 years about how they intend to increase the number of affordable housing developments, with many leaders calling them guiding documents.  The plan makes several recommendations including transit-oriented development, new zoning regulations to encourage multi-family housing and the adaptive reuse of existing buildings.  First Selectman Rudy Marconi has notified the state Office of Policy and Management that the town needs until the end of September to submit the plan.   Affordable housing is defined as housing that costs less than 30 percent of the income of a household earning 80 percent or less of the area’s median income.

Construction work continues in Ridgefield on Main Street

Construction work in Ridgefield on Main Street is ongoing.  The second phase of a realignment project continued this week.  The contractor is digging three test pits along Main Street for fire hydrant relocation and verification of existing water main conditions.  The work is taking place near the CVS parking lot and at the intersections with Catoonah Street and Bailey Avenue.  Ridgefield officials say this work should not cause a significant traffic disruption.

Another overflow parking lot set for Sandy Hook Fire Chief's calling hours

An overflowing parking lot has been made available for people paying respects at Honan Funeral Home in Newtown tonight for longtime Sandy Hook Fire Chief Bill Halstead.  Parking will be be available behind Edmond Town Hall, but also at Newtown Middle School on Queen Street.  Shuttle busses, with police escort, will run continuously between the middle school and the funeral home.  Those parking at Edmond Town Hall will walk to the funeral home, with police help pedestrians with safe passage crossing Main Street.  Calling hours are from 5pm to 8pm.

New traffic pattern coming to I-84 exit 11 on ramp

A new traffic pattern is coming to the I-84 exit 11 on ramp.  This is part of the state Department of Transportation's intersection improvement project on Route 34 at Wasserman Way in Newtown.  Traffic will be shifted onto a new temporary on ramp next to the existing one, which is being closed to allow for permanent reconstruction.  Traffic will be shifted to the southern curb line to allow for work to be done on two retaining walls on the northern side of Route 34.  The overall project is slated to wrap up in May of 2024. 

Paving project on Route 133 in Brookfield scheduled

A paving project is planned in Brookfield.  The state Department of Transportation will do a milling and resurfacing project on Route 133 from Route 202 to Route 25.  The milling portion of the project will be done from July 28th through August 1st.  Paving is expected to start on August 15th and be completed the following day.  The work will be done Mondays through Fridays 7am to 4pm.  There will be alternating one lane traffic and drivers are cautioned to expect delays. 

Ridgefield Police seek to identify man

The Ridgefield Police Department is seeking the public's help in identifying an individual.  The man captured on surveillance footage was in the area of Danbury Road/Main Street on Monday July 11th around 5pm.  Police have not detailed why they are seeking to identify the man. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Thomas Dardis at (203) 431-6531 or the anonymous Tip Line at (203) 431-2345.  A photo of the man has been posted to the Ridgefield Police Department's Facebook page.

Sustainable Bethel Commission seeking public input

The newly formed Sustainable Bethel Commission is seeking public input on their mission to foster inclusivity and resiliency striving for a vibrant community and providing opportunities for all by implementing sustainable actions that build the local economy, support equity, and respect the finite capacity of the environment. The Commission includes 10 Bethel residents and includes the existing Energy Commission programming and policies.  They have posted their first survey online for residents.

COVID-19 vaccination van making stop at Danbury Library

The state COVID-19 vaccination van is making a stop at Danbury Library next week.  A vaccine clinic is being held on Tuesday inside the library from noon to 6pm, with a follow up visit on August 9th.  People ages 12 and older who are immunocompromised may receive a second booster at least 4 months after their first booster dose.  People ages 18 to 49 years who received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine as both their primary series and booster dose may receive a second booster dose using an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 4 months after the first J&J booster dose.

Man jailed for killing wife sentenced for daughter's death

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A man who authorities say started a new life and family in Ohio after killing his wife and teenage daughter in 1995 when they lived in a New York suburb was sentenced Wednesday to 60 years in prison for his daughter’s murder.

A judge in New Britain, Connecticut, imposed the prison time on 78-year-old Robert Honsch, who was convicted of murder by a jury in March for the death of 17-year-old Elizabeth Honsch. Her body was found wrapped in sleeping bags and garbage bags behind a New Britain strip mall in the fall of 1995.

“I think this finally gives the family some peace of mind,” New Britain State’s Attorney Christian Watson said Wednesday. “The sentence ... was a just sentence because of the tragic loss of a young life in Elizabeth.”

Honsch’s lawyer, public defender Justin Smith, asked Judge Laura Baldini to impose the minimum 25-year sentence and said an appeal of the guilty verdict was being considered.

Honsch, who did not say anything at the sentencing, is already serving a life sentence in Massachusetts for killing his wife, 53-year-old Marcia Honsch. Her body was found in western Massachusetts, a week after her daughter’s body was discovered.

Both mother and daughter were shot in the head. Authorities still aren’t sure where the killings took place. The family lived in Brewster, New York, at the time.

After Marcia and Elizabeth Honsch’s bodies were found, their bodies remained unidentified for 19 years. Authorities could not identify them because of a lack of evidence. Several rounds of DNA testing determined they were mother and daughter, but they remained unidentified until a woman from Virginia Beach, Virginia, contacted New York state police in June 2014 looking for relatives unaccounted for since 1995.

During that span, Robert Honsch remarried and had three children. He was found living under an assumed name, Robert Tyree, with his current wife and three children in Dalton, Ohio, when he was arrested in 2014. Authorities said an examination of items found near Elizabeth Honsch’s body connected him to the scene.

Lake Zoar Authority Marine Patrol responds to numerous complaints

The Lake Zoar Authority Marine Patrol is reporting that there were a number of issues on the lake already this month.  Over the July 4th holiday weekend, a victim of a previous jet ski theft reported that he spotted his stolen jet ski on the lake. Troopers and Newtown and Monroe officers searched for the stolen jet ski. The Newtown Police Department is actively investigating the case. On the evening of July 3rd, after the marine boats were docked for the night, a disturbance occurred on the sandbar between Newtown and Southbury.  Reportedly, there was a misunderstanding between two regular parties to the Sandbar. One of the parties contacted the Newtown Police Department, which then contacted state EnCon police.  The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is currently investigating the incident and has not released any further details. Marine Patrol enforcement activities will be adjusted to deter future incidents, including foot patrols on the sandbar.

WCSU Tickborne Disease Prevention Lab conducting Deer Fence Tick Suppression Study

The Tickborne Disease Prevention Laboratory at West Conn is collaborating with the University of Rhode Island on a Deer Fence Tick Suppression Study.  Biology students are evaluating whether deer fencing on single residential properties reduces the number of host-seeking blacklegged ticks. The study is comparing half- to six-acre residential properties with deer fence (treatments) to similar properties without deer fence in southwestern Connecticut, Westchester County, New York, and southern Rhode Island. For over a decade, the Tickborne Disease Prevention Laboratory at West Conn has focused on the prevention of Lyme and other infectious diseases transmitted by blacklegged ticks in the northeastern United States. Its goal is to help residents avoid illness by managing tick populations and reducing risk of exposure to ticks. Since 2011, more than 40 undergraduate students have contributed to Tick Lab projects  Studies in the WCSU Tickborne Disease Prevention Laboratory have been funded by multiple agencies, including the CDC and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

Newtown town offices to be lightly staffed Friday

Town offices in Newtown will be lightly staffed on Friday and the Fire Marshal and Town Clerk offices will be closed on Friday from 10am to noon so staff members can attend the funeral of Sandy Hook Fire Chief Bill Halstead.  He was a longtime fire marshal and his wife is the Town Clerk.  The funeral Mass will be live streamed on the St Rose of Lima Church website.   Calling hours are being held tonight at Honan Funeral Home from 5pm to 8 pm.

Clean up from New Milford High School roof fire continues

A contractor working to clean up smoke and water damage at New Milford High School from the roof fire this month has made more progress.  All of the suspended ceiling tiles from the 2nd floor have been removed.  Carbon and other filters have been ordered for the HVAC units to clean particles from the air.  Two sections of the building have been isolated by plastic containment for cleaning.  School officials and others took a tour of temporary classroom pods that could be ordered so all students can start the new academic year next month on site.  50 classrooms were impacted.  The Board of Education says remote learning would be a last resort.  Modular classrooms would likely be used for science classes.  It would take four to six weeks for the temporary pods to arrive.  The investigation into the fire is still ongoing.

Special Town Meeting, referendum set in Bethel for Police firing range funding

A special town meeting will be held later this month in Bethel on outfitting the police station firing range.  Residents are being asked for approval to spend up to $1.4 million to purchase and install equipment needed to finish the firing range in the new police station.  The money would comg from Fund Balance. The price tag includes funding for contingency and escalation costs.  The budget would be reduced by at least $160,000 if the town can lock in a purchase order with the Action Target company before August 1st.

Action Target has a five-month lead time, so construction wouldn't begin until at least January. 

The special town meeting is set for July 19th, with a referendum on the 26th. 

The new police headquarters on Judd Avenue was constructed several years ago, but the range doesn't have the specialized heating, ventilation and air conditioning system needed to filter out lead dust associated with the range.  Funding was not included in the building project for that, or for training equipment which requires some structural enhancements. 

The firing range equipment was once estimated between $600,000 and $700,000, but there's been a large cost increase for a specific piece of HVAC equipment and for general construction costs. 

The project had been delayed because the area leaked every time there was a strong rain storm.  The issue was recently resolved.  The special town meeting will be in Meeting Room A of the Municipal Center at 7pm.

Round1 Bowling & Amusement planning to locate to Danbury Fair

An entertainment company has selected two Macerich properties for a new location, including Danbury. Round1 Bowling & Amusement is planning to locate to Danbury Fair and a location Phoenix.  The company offers bowling, arcade games, billiards, karaoke, ping pong and darts.  Mall officials say Round1 plans to move into a 61,000-square foot space in the lower level off the center court, a spot that formerly housed Forever21. A date for the opening was not immediately known.  Since the entrance will be on the lower level, a way of getting shoppers from the upper level to the entrance will need to be put in place.  This following another announcement of a former anchor location getting a new tenant.  Last month mall officials announced that Target would open a two-level, 126,000-square-foot store in the space formerly occupied by Sears.

Virtual town hall tonight about New Milford High School roof fire

A virtual discussion will be held tonight about the July 5th New Milford High School roof fire.  Town and school leadership will be answering questions asked by residents via the comments feature on the town's Facebook page during the 5:30pm meeting.  Those without Facebook accounts will be able to view the meeting live and later as it will be recorded.  People with questions can email them in advance to   Participants in tonight's virtual meeting are:
New Milford Mayor Pete Bass
Superintendent Alisha DiCorpo
Department of Public Works Director Jack Healy
Board of Ed Chairman Wendy Faulenbach
Board of Ed  Vice Chairman Pete Helmus
School District Director of Facilities Matt Cunningham
School District Facilities Committee Chairperson Brian

Speed violations continue to be reported in Rochambeau bridge no wake zone

The I-84 Rochambeau bridge construction no wake zone on Lake Zoar in Newtown is still actively monitored for speeding boats as the construction company continues to report violations. There are two radar devices available to the Lake Zoar Authority. The average speed on the lake was recorded as 38mph last weekend, including jet skies. 

June enforcement action on Lake Zoar outlined by LZA

Lake Zoar Marine Patrol noted 72 enforcement actions for the month of June including 6 issued infractions, 16 written warnings, and 50 other warnings. Issues included no boating license, registrations, and jet ski violations. The majority of violations are from visitors to the lake who travel to the state launch with no personal watercraft registration or license. The jet ski violators have been jumping wakes, riding with children who are too small to board a PWC, and other unsafe behaviors. There will now be spot checks at the launch ramp to further enforce safety measures. The Marine Patrol secured and towed a partially submerged pine tree on Friday, tagged it, and removed it from the lake.  Officials say this prevented a propeller accident or impaling injury. There were five other large trees or logs removed, and several pieces of discarded split wood.

Area fire departments warn that Fire Danger Level today is High

The New Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department is asking residents to use extreme caution with fire pits, camp fires and cigarettes. The very dry weather has sparked grass and brush fires in surrounding towns.  Today's fire danger level is considered High.  At that level, town-issued burn permits are not valid for those burning within 100 feet of a grassland or woodland.


The Danbury Fire Department says dry weather means the increased threat of brush fires.  Residents are asked to avoid any outdoor fires or activities that could cause a blaze because brush fires spread rapidly and are dangerous.


Bethel Emergency Management & Fire Marshal's Office is cautioning to be especially careful with any disposed smoking materials into mulched flower beds or dry grasses along the roads.  Ashes should not be discarded outside in the woods or grass line, instead that should be placed in a metal container outside and soak with water.

Local Disaster Emergency declared due to New Milford High School roof fire

A State of Local Disaster Emergency has been declared by New Milford Mayor Pete Bass due to the High School roof fire earlier this month.  He says this will allow for a streamlining of decision-making process for clean up and repairs.  Department of Public Works Director Jack Healy says all of the desks are being removed from affected classrooms and cleaned, but they've run out of storage space in the cafeteria.  The desks will be brought to a warehouse temporarily. 

The contracted clean up company has activated the electrical panels on the 1st and 2nd floors after checking every circuit on those floors for safety.  One elevator is up and running and they're working on getting IT components running.  One elevator pit needs to be decontaminated because it filled with water and soot during the fire and response. 

They've done a structural analysis of the roof where the fire started and found that the structural steel is in good condition.  The roof deck needs to be replaced.  Healy notes that some support pieces warped 3 inches will be removed and replaced. 

Municipal Building Committee member Tim Clark says the committee was comfortable with the oversight in the roof replacement contract.  The architect is there every Thursday.  The manufacturer's representative is on site every day and provide daily reports to various municipal and school officials.  He says when the Fire Marshal releases a report about the fire it will be clear what the issue was and how it happened, but until then they don't know. 

400,000 square feet of roofing is being replaced, according to plans for the original replacement project.

Funeral arrangements announced for longtime Sandy Hook Fire Chief

Funeral arrangements have been announced for longtime Sandy Hook Fire Chief William Halstead, who died Friday shortly after returning from a call. 


Calling Hours tomorrow are from 5pm to 8pm at Honan Funeral Home on Main Street.  The funeral home parking lot will be limited to family and those who need assistance walking and otherwise entering the building. All others will be asked to park behind Edmond Town Hall.  Newtown Police Department officers and others will help pedestrians with safe passage crossing Main Street. They will also be assisting with traffic control.  Carpooling is strongly encouraged.  


A Funeral Mass Friday will be held at St Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church at 10:30am.  Carpooling is again strongly encouraged.  Apparatus is discouraged, again due to expected parking congestion.  A Mass shuttle for out of Town companies will be available from Sandy Hook School to St Rose Church. Buses will leave at 10 am sharp. Buses will also provide service to St Rose Cemetery after the funeral and then return to SHVFR’s main station following the conclusion of services at the cemetery.  Visiting fire companies are asked to not bring apparatus, to enter the funeral home as a group and present a salute together.  


Following the Mass, the procession will travel east on Church Hill Road into Sandy Hook Center, and then onto Riverside Road. The procession will then continue east on Riverside Road, to Cherry Street. It will then travel north on Cherry Street, stopping at the intersection of Cherry Street and Black Cherry Lane. Mourners will enter the cemetery from Black Cherry Lane.  Personal vehicles will not be allowed into the cemetery during the service. Parking assistance will be guided by police at the cemetery.


Residents should expect delays and extended travel time along the route


Over his long career, Chief Halstead worked for the State of Connecticut at Fairfield Hills Hospital, serving with the fire department there for 25 years. He was chief of the hospital’s fire department until his retirement in 1997. He also served as Deputy Fire Marshal for the Town of Newtown from 1983 to 2001, when he became the full-time Fire Marshal. He served in that position until his retirement in 2016. He additionally served as Newtown’s Emergency Management Director for 23 years. 

Brush fire extinguished along Route 7

A brush fire with heavy smoke along the Danbury/Brookfield border has been extinguished.  This happened yesterday on Super 7 by exit 11.  The Danbury Fire department reported there was so much smoke at one point, there was low visibility and asked State Police  to shut down the roadway.  This was the 3rd time since Friday crews battled numerous mid day brush fires along Super 7.  Multiple units from the Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Company also responded.  Conditions are dry and motorists are being asked to be careful disposing of smoking materials.


(Photos: BVFD)

Danbury man sentenced for engaging in illicit sexual acts with child

A Danbury man has been sentenced for engaging in illicit sexual acts with a child.  36-year old Wayne Marcell was ordered to 22 year in prison, followed by 10 years of supervised released.  He was also found guilty of photographing and video recording his sexual abuse.  The Judge also ordered Marcell to pay a 30-thousand dollar fine.  According to prosecutors, a 14-year-old Georgia girl met Robert Fyke, of Texas, on an online video/chat platform.  Fyke and the minor victim then used Kik and other social media platforms to communicate.  He picked her up and she lived with him for a month.  The minor victim began communicating with Marcell and he paid an individual 2-thousand dollars to drive the minor victim from Texas to Illinois.  Marcell then drove from Connecticut to Illinois, picked up the minor victim, and brought her to his home in Danbury.  Marcell has paid restitution of $86,885.74 to his minor victim. Fyke was sentenced to 30 years of imprisonment.

Questions arise in investigation of Brookfield Finance chair

The Brookfield Board of Selectmen heard from a number of residents at their meeting last week about a brewing drama between an attorney with the town's contracted law firm and the chair of the Board of Finance.  First Selectman Tara Carr announced at the Finance meeting last month that she was launching an inquiry into past alleged behavior by Glenn Rooney.  Some residents are concerned that could violate the town's charter as the Board of Selectmen, not the Office of the First Selectman has the authority for engaging an investigation.  Others though support the effort, noting that the previous Board of Selectmen didn't take action when an incident involving Rooney happened in 2020.  Charter or ethics complaints must be submitted to the town clerk, who notifies the respondent and the Board of Ethics, which conducts a probable cause investigation within 20 days.  Matt Grimes, a former Town Attorney, says the Board of Finance is the only entity by law that can discipline one of its members.  He says a point of order should have also been called at the meeting since under Connecticut Freedom of Information Law personnel matters can only be discussed during executive session.

COVID-19 vaccine clinics scheduled in New Fairfield

The Griffin Health Vaccination Van will return to New Fairfield now that the youngest children have been approved for COVID-19 vaccines.  The van will be at the New Fairfield High School cafeteria on Saturdays, July 23rd, August 13th, and August 20th from 10am to 4pm. The Van will offer COVID-19 vaccinations to all age groups, starting at 6 months of age.  The CDC recommends that everyone over 6 months get a the primary series of vaccinations, and boosters, if eligible.  Starting at 6 months, Emergency Use Authorization has been given for 3 doses of Pfizer, with the second vaccination after three weeks and the third after eight more weeks--or two Moderna doses four weeks apart.  Children 5 or 6 to 17 have been approved for 2 doses of Pfizer 3 to 8 weeks apart with a booster or 2 doses of Moderna 4 to 8 weeks apart with boosters for those who are immunocompromised.  2nd boosters have been approved for Pfizer and Moderna for adults 18 and older.  

Brookfield updates contingency plan for election emergencies

The Brookfield Board of Selectmen has approved an updated contingency plan for election emergencies.  It's something that's mandated of municipalities by the state and filed with the Connecticut Secretary of the State’s office.  The plans must cover various scenarios, including loss of power and polling station evacuation and relocation.  The emergency plans must also detail the hiring and training poll workers to ensure voting locations are adequately staffed on election day.  Brookfield's health director is now included on the list of emergency management officials tasked with guiding preparation and response for elections, primaries, and referendums.  One scenario not covered was one that came up during the budget referendum in May.  49 outdated ballots from the 2021 referendum kept in a closet were used by polling workers at the Brookfield High School gym and cast by residents.  The ballots were counted based on voter intent.  Municipalities are required by state records retention laws to hold onto unused ballots for 60 days after an election and may destroy them without getting permission from the state’s election authority.  Now they will be stored in a vault and shredded eventually.

Danbury Police Department has new police captain

The Danbury Police Department has a new police captain. Detective Lt. Mark Williams was promoted to the position and sworn in on Monday.  He's been with the Department since 1987 and has served in numerous positions including as public information officer.  He was unanimously confirmed to the new role by the City Council at their meeting last week.  He said he still affirms to the oath that he gave 35 plus years ago to the city of Danbury, to do the best that he could to protect this city and make the agency and the community proud.  Williams has served as youth bureau supervisor, a member of the Bike Patrol and Safe Neighborhoods Program, and part of the Emergency Service Unit (SWAT). He has participated in Special Olympic Torch Runs and Tip-a-Cop fundraising events, in addition to helping to create the department’s Citizen’s Police Academy.

Watertown house fire extinguished

Firefighters battled a house fire in Watertown last night.  Bethlehem Fire Department responded with mutual aid to the home on Ledgewood Road.  The house was fully involved in flames when firefighters arrived.  All of the residents safely evacuated, but officials say they were sent to the hospital for evaluation.  No injuries were reported.  Firefighters pumped water from the pond down the street to supply water directly to the flames.

Hearing scheduled on proposed ATV ordinance update

The Danbury City Council has scheduled a public hearing on a draft ordinance to prohibit ATV use on city property.  The ad hoc committee will meet on Thursday at 7pm in Council Chambers in City Hall.  The ordinance applies to All-Terrain vehicles, utility vehicles, dirt bikes, and mini motorcycles.  ATVs can be seized by an officer and, after 15 days, forfeited and sold at auction.   Offenders would also be subject to a $1,000 fine.  It's $1,500 for a second violation and $2,000 for the third offense.  The Traffic Authority and the Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team would also be able to enforce the prohibition.  There is no limitation on the seizure.  Towing and storage cost, along with repairs for any damage, would be the responsiblity of the owner/rider.

Public hearing in Bethel tonight on proposed affordable housing project

The Bethel Planning & Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing tonight on an application for affordable housing on Whitney Road.  The meeting is at 7pm in Conference Room D of the Municipal Center.  A couple is seeking a zone change to the Transit Oriented Development Overlay zone for 32 one-bedroom units and associated site improvements.  The 1.7-acre lot has served as a contractor’s yard for the last three decades.  Bethel’s zoning regulations require 20 percent of planned residential development in the TOD zone to be considered affordable, so six of the units proposed for 17 Whitney Road would be affordable. The public may send comments via regular mail and email to

Planners sign off on Danbury day care center expansion

The Danbury Planning Commission has signed off on an application from a daycare center for an expansion project on White Street.  Twinkle Little Star Daycare wants to take over the rest of the space in the building they've been operating in for the last several years.  By occupying the vacant space, 180 children would be able to attend programs at the facility. There are no changes proposed to the footprint of the building. The existing free standing storage garages and containers, which were previously deemed non-conforming by the Zoning Enforcement Officer, will remain.

Public hearing in Danbury tonight on cannabis establishments

A virtual public hearing is being held tonight by the Danbury Zoning Commission about extending the temporary moratorium on acceptance of applications for cannabis establishments for one year, or until the Commission takes action.  The City's Planning Director is recommending zoning regulation amendments to clarify definitions of cannabis establishments, to allow and regulate specific adult use establishments in specified zoning districts, establish a parking requirement and prohibit variances for cannabis uses. 

The draft regulations would allow four types of permitted businesses, but not on Main Street.  According to the draft, the number of dispensary, retailer, and micro-cultivator businesses would be capped at no more than four at any time citywide.  The Mill Plain Road medical marijuana dispensary counts toward the cap.

The businesses would be restricted to certain commercial and industrial zones not near schools, parks and houses of worship. Seven other kinds of businesses permitted in state law, such as cannabis food and beverage manufacturing, would be banned.  Also according to the draft, patrons will not be able to consume cannabis in marijuana businesses, and marijuana businesses must have a written “odor abatement program” as a condition of approval to ensure the business contains “any detectable impacts beyond the physical limits of the building.” 

Tonight's hearing is being held via Zoom at 7:30pm.

Ridgefield Affordable Housing Plan up for a vote tomorrow

The Ridgefield Planning and Zoning Commission will review the draft Affordable Housing Plan for the town at their meeting tonight.  The Board of Selectmen will then vote on the proposal at their meeting tomorrow.  The plan requires a vote of the Board of Selectman only. Revisions have been made to the document since its original draft was released in April.  Some were minor changes-- such as the deletion of specific references to individual properties and disclaimers stating it’s not a binding agreement.  It also noted that the 2020 data sources were constrained due to the pandemic.  All municipalities were required by the state to submit plans by June 1st on how they intend to increase the number of affordable housing developments.  It's a review done every 5 years.  Affordable housing is defined as costing less than 30 percent of household income based on 80 percent or less of the area’s median income.  The Planning and Zoning meeting is at 7 o'clock tonight.

Musical instruments stolen from Ridgefield High School

Musical instruments have been stolen from Ridgefield High School.  The Police Department is investigating the larceny complaint.  The theft is believed to have occurred on March 28th.  Ridgefield Police yesterday posted photos of a person of interest and that person's vehicle.  Ridgefield Police are asking for the publics assistance in identifying both the vehicle and the man.  Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective DuBord at (203) 438-6531 or our anonymous Tip Line at (203) 431-2345.

Sandy Hook families recognized during Rose Garden bill signing ceremony

Some Sandy Hook families were recognized by the President yesterday during a ceremonial bill signing for the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.  Nicole Hockley and Mark Barden, who each had sons killed nearly 10 years ago, and their families attended the Rose Garden event.  Hockley says she's thankful to those who advocated for Congress to pass the bill that aims to toughen background checks for young gun buyers, keep guns away from more domestic violence offenders, and help states pass laws to take weapons from people judged to be dangerous.  During the ceremony, President Biden noted that nine Sandy Hook families settled a landmark lawsuit against Remington for $73 million, and asked Hockley and Barden to stand, saying they did more to keep all this going than anyone.

Brookfield approves loitering ordinance

Following a public hearing, the Brookfield Board of Selectmen has passed a loitering ordinance.  The law will be enforced on property owned or leased by the town and its grounds, along with town-owned public places such as parks, sidewalks, streets and bridges.  Police could issue a cease and desist from further engaging in the behavior or issue a citation with a 99 dollar fine.  According to the document, it would be a violation to stand, sit, lie, spend time idly or delay, linger or gather in a way that obstructs reasonable free passage of pedestrians.  Individuals may not loiter or congregate with intent to cause inconvenience, annoyance or alarm.  One of the latest updates to the ordinance prior to approval last week was that individuals can not accumulate “baggage, boxes, bags, containers and/or luggage which are unnecessary to use” on town property or in public places.  The ordinance does note that gatherings or assembly allowed by law are not prohibited.

State Police investigating catalytic converter theft from commuter lot

A catalytic converter theft from a vehicle parked in a commuter lot is under investigation.  State Police responded to a report of a larceny in the lot off exit 11 of I-84 in Newtown.  Troopers met the complainant around 5pm on July 4th.  They said they left their vehicle there June 29th, and returned to find the exhaust emission control device missing.  The National Insurance Crime Bureau says the high value of metals contained in catalytic converters is considered a driving force behind the nationwide increase in thefts.  Vehicles with high clearance, as well as Toyota Priuses, are often targeted.

Bethel Police considering new SRO for school security

Following the elementary school shooting in Texas, school districts in the Greater Danbury area are once again looking to increase security. After that shooting, an additional Bethel Police officer was assigned to patrol the education park.  The district has two permanent School Resource Officers on staff. Police Chief Stephen Pugner says he got positive feedback on the perimeter security-type patrols through the end of the academic year. 

Pugner told the Board of Education one suggestion he got for going forward was to hire an armed security person, but he doesn't like that idea because if someone walks onto the school complex, they’d have no authority to put them in handcuffs, arrest them or cite them for a violation.  Another suggestion is to pay a Bethel police officer overtime to serve as a third SRO. 

He is backing a different option: hiring an additional police officer.  Overtime would cost about $86,000 but a full time officer would, at most, be about $100,000.  He notes that the officer would then be available to do other police work around town when school isn’t in session.  Pugner was asked to submit a formal proposal so the town’s comptroller can review the budget.

While physical security and “hardening” the school buildings remains a focus, Superintendent of Schools Christine Carver says they also want to ensure that students feel not only physically safe, but emotionally safe and accepted as part of the community. District staff also do active shooter training sessions with the local police department. Carver noted that situational awareness is a big focus of the district’s training and drilling exercises.

Individual struck, dragged by motor vehicle in Brookfield parking lot sustains serious injuries

An individual was struck and dragged by a motor vehicle in a Brookfield parking lot on Friday night.  The Brookfield Police Department is investigating the incident that happened in the southern part of the Kohl's/Five Guys parking lot around 6:30pm.  The individual was transported to Danbury Hospital with serious injuries.  Brookfield Police have spoken with the operator involved in the incident, but are asking any witnesses to contact Detective Sgt O'Brien.

Gov. orders flafs to half staff in honor of Sandy Hook Fire Chief

Governor Lamont is directing U.S. and state flags in Connecticut lowered to half-staff in honor of Sandy Hook Fire Chief William Halstead, who died in the line of duty after responding to a call on Friday evening.  Flags should remain lowered until sunset on the date of interment, which has not yet been determined.  Lamont noted in the declaration that Chief Halstead provided decades of service to the community in which he grew up, calling that dedication exemplary.  Chief Halstead joined the Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company in January 1965 when he turned 16. He has served as its chief since 1978.

Driver trapped, fire sparked in car v. fuel tanker truck accident

A car versus fuel tanker truck accident resulted in a fire and one person trapped.  Southbury Fire Department responded to I-84 westbound between exits 15 and 14 Saturday, shortly before noon.  Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire on the exterior of the tanker.  Additional crews worked on the car involved in the accident and used hydraulic rescue tools to open the stuck door.  State Police, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection HAZMAT, and an environmental contractor pumped the fuel off the tanker onto another truck so it could be transported safely.  All fire units were cleared around 2:30pm.

Propane tank fire extinguished in Mahopac

Mahopac Volunteer Fire Department responded to a Harbor Lane home on Sunday afternoon on a report of a propane tank fire.  Firefighters found a 20 pound cylinder with flames, which were extinguished, but it was leaking gas.  The Putnam County Hazmat team was called in and able to secure part of the leak.  Another was unable to be secured.  They were able to mitigate the problem with a controlled release in an open field.  Fire Department officials say with this being the time of year when grills are used frequently, residents are urged to make sure to secure the connections and keep the tanks out of direct sunlight when not in use.

Firefighter work overnight to extinguish Webb Mountain brush fire

A brush fire reported in Webb Mountain Park in Monroe could be seen from across the river in Oxford.  Stevenson and Monroe Volunteer Fire Companies were dispatched just after 9:30pm Saturday and say it was a challenge to locate the blaze.  Crews hiked along with an ATV, located the flames and ran a hose line down from the road in Webb Mountain.  Two tanker trucks were used to extinguish the fire and hot spots.  Firefighters cleared the scene around 2am.

Burglaries under investigation in New Milford

A burglary is under investigation in New Milford.  Police are asking for the public's help in identifying a person of interest.  The man was observed in two locations on Danbury Road on July 3rd and was able to make entry and commit a larceny.  Police did not disclose the exact locations.  He was driving a dark-colored Infiniti SUV.  Surveillance footage showed the man wearing a light-colored hoodie and pants, a black face mask and a hat with a Chicago Bulls logo.  Anyone with information is asked to contact New Milford Police.

Monroe Police search for shoeless man who fled car crash

The Monroe Police Department is asking for the public's help in locating a person who fled on foot from a motor vehicle crash on Route 111 near Big Y Friday night.  The black male with a black and yellow shirt, wearing white socks with no shoes was last seen fleeing into the woods across from 556 Route 111 towards Countryside Drive. Police K9s combed the area and Monroe Police say a stolen car has been towed and a passive search was continuing.

Clean up, repairs continue at New Milford High School following roof fire

The New Milford High School roof contractor has created a plan of action with the Department of Public Works and Board of Education Facilities Director on fixing the area of last week's roof fire.  The crew size has been increased to 50. 

All contents, horizontal surfaces, and floor were cleaned in the cafeteria to make space and prepare for storage of cleaned contents from the smoke-and-water-affected areas.  All student desks from the 3rd and 2nd-floor corridors were cleaned, stored, and covered in plastic within the cafeteria.  Crews started removing suspended ceiling tiles of the weekend from the same area.  All drying equipment is being monitored when in use. 

Exterior glass cleanup was completed on the rear of the building by the main entrance.

The New Milford Town Council will be meeting tonight and getting an update on last week's fire at the High School, along with the clean up and repair process.  The Board of Education will get an update at a special meeting tomorrow.  The Municipal Building Committee, which is in charge of the roof replacement project, will hold a special meeting on Wednesday. 

Mayor Pete Bass says the goal is to open the school to students at the start of the new academic year at the end of next month.  But there will have to be adjustments.  He says one of the possibilities is to bring temp pods, each with 6 classrooms and two bathrooms, to be used while repairs are done in affected classroom areas.  New Milford officials are still working with the insurance carrier and the roof contractor's insurance carrier on the scope of the project and costs.

Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company Chief passes away

Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company Chief William Halstead has passed away.  After responding to a call on Friday evening of Friday, he returned to his home and became ill. Despite the efforts of paramedics and other emergency responders, Halstead passed shortly after the incident.   He joined Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue in January 1965, when he turned 16. He had served as chief since 1978.  The fire company will announce further details when available. Halstead was also Newtown's Director of Emergency Management, a post he had held since its creation.  He was also a long-serving Fire Marshal until his retirement in 2016.   Halstead was elected president of Connecticut State Firefighters Association in 2020. Prior to that he served as second vice president and then first vice president. He was inducted into CSFA's Hall of Fame in 2011.

DOT to start flood mitigation project in Danbury

The Connecticut Department of Transportation will be conducting a drainage improvement project in Danbury.  Work is being done on Main Street at Wooster Street where there's been decades of flooding issues.  The project on Route 53 is slated to start on Monday July 11th and be completed on July 22nd.  The hours will be 7:30am to 4pm Mondays through Fridays.  Motorists can expect delays and one lane alternating traffic.  Traffic control personnel and signing patterns will be used to guide motorists through the work zone.  The City of Danbury came up with the plans and then the DOT put a pump where the Department of Public Works installed one temporarily, in the meantime. After an investigation, it was determined that about 100 feet of a nearby culvert collapsed because of tree roots.  The culvert was likely constructed in the 1920s.  The storm drain just beyond it is wide open, where the water was pumped to.  Then-Mayor Joe Cavo said the operation didn't cause any problems down stream. The idea of pumping water off West Street in Danbury to clear the roadway like the City recently did on Main Street won't work as a solution. Cavo says that's not caused by a blocked culvert, it's the nearby dam that's problematic. 

Off-duty cop won't be charged for fatally shooting bear

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — An Connecticut police officer will not be charged for fatally shooting a female black bear outside his Newtown home while off duty in May.

The state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) said in a news release issued Friday that it did not find sufficient evidence to bring charges against the man, who was suspended from the police department in nearby Ridgefield after the May 12 shooting, but has since been reinstated.

“The investigation determined that the homeowner had numerous encounters with the same bear over multiple days that caused him to fear for the safety of his family, for himself, and for his livestock,” the DEEP said.

DEEP officials said they determined the bear had lost its fear of people and learned to associate humans with sources of food.

The bear, known as Bobbi to local residents, was captured, tagged and relocated on two separate occasions in 2017. In subsequent years, it had more than 175 documented human interactions, most occurring in the Southbury, Redding and Newtown areas, according to the DEEP.

The shooting orphaned two cubs, who were captured a week after the shooting and sent to a wildlife rehabilitation facility in New Hampshire.

Bridge work repairs start in Newtown

Bridge work in Newtown means some residents will have to find an alternate route for a popular bypass.  Bridge work at Meadow Brook Road will close the bridge to through traffic until November.  It's a typical route for those travelling between South Main Street and Huntingtown Road in the Botsford section of town.  Detour signs have been posted using Cold Spring Road.  The Army Corps of Engineers is requiring the new bridge to be a clear span, hydraulic bridge. The old bridge used a box culvert to allow water to pass underneath.  It will be wider, which officials say hopefully means traffic won't hit the abutments as when the narrow lanes were open.  The 1-point-12 million dollar cost is being paid for by the town’s Bridge Replacement Fund. 

Planning Commission OKs car dealer move from Federal Rd to Miry Brook Rd

A car dealership and service center have been approved by the Danbury Planning Commission to be built on a parcel of land at the corner of Miry Brook and Sugar Hollow roads.  Curry Automotive can begin work to clear the 2-and-a-half acre construction materials storage lot to make way for a Mercedes-Benz dealership, moving the franchise from Federal Road to an area with other high-end auto businesses.  The Commission is requiring Curry to install camera detection equipment at three nearby intersections to improve traffic management and signal operations due to the expected traffic generated by the site.  Curry will pay the City 50-thousand dollars to buy and install the equipment.  The applicant also needed to secure zoning variances, wetland approvals, and Federal Aviation Administration clearance.  Deputy Planning Director Jennifer Emminger says they only want cars parked in places included on the approved plan.  The Zoning Commission does need to sign off on the new motor vehicle dealer’s license for a 31-thousand -square foot-dealership with rooftop parking on the second floor and 22 service bays. 850 vehicle trips are anticipated to be added to the area on an average weekday and 1,600 car and truck trips on an average Saturday.

COVID-19 case rates for Greater Danbury area updated by Conn. DPH

The Connecticut Department of Public Health has updated case rates for Greater Danbury area municipalities over the last 7 days.  According to the report ending July 7th, there were 42 cases in Danbury, Bethel reported 22,  Brookfield had 13 and New Fairfield 9. There were 9 COVID cases in New Milford, 14 in Newtown, Redding reported 0 cases while Ridgefield had 18. 

The weekly test positivity rates are:

Redding no positives this week

New Milford 3.9 percent

Brookfield 9.21 percent

Newtown 9.6 percent

Danbury 9.8 percent

Ridgefield 13.9 percent

Bethel 14.7 percent

New Fairfield 15.1 percent


The number COVID-associated deaths in Connecticut has grown by 10 since last Thursday. 

New state data released Thursday show there were 3,400 positive COVID cases reported to the state over the last 7 days out of 32,000 tests.  The rolling 7-day average positivity rate was 10.64 percent. The number of people in Connecticut hospitals testing positive during that time increased by 29.  The inpatient total is 264.  The state is also reporting a cumulative breakthrough rate of COVID-19 infections among the fully vaccinated population, since vaccines first became available, of 8.95 percent. 

Since Connecticut began genomic sequencing of COVID-19 positive tests, 45.46 percent of samples have come back as being a strain of the Omicron variant, outpacing the previous dominant variant. Delta accounted for 41.76 percent of samples tested.  Alpha, the first variant, was found in a total of 6.47 percent of samples tested.

C.H. Booth Library 46th annual book sale this weekend

The Friends of the C.H. Booth Library, a nonprofit providing financial and material support to Newtown's public library, is hosting their annual book sale this weekend.  The 46th annual event takes place at Reed Intermediate School.  Funds raised this weekend got toward the purchase of books, music and movies, programs for children and adults and special projects to enhance the patron experience.  The hours are Saturday 10am to 5pm, with $5 admission.  Sunday is half price day, from 10am to 5pm, Monday is $5/bag day from 10am to 5pm.  On Tuesday, remaining books are free from 10am to 1pm.  Masks are recommended and may be required.   

Newtown Police seek to hire Certified Officer

The Newtown Police Department is looking to hire a certified police officer.  Applications are being accepted through August 1st.  The salary ranges from about $60,000 to $87,000, depending on experience.  The  Department has 45 sworn personnel and 5 civilians.  The selection process will include, at minimum, a detailed review of the application packet, and written, physical, oral and psychological exams.  Applicants will be subject to a detailed background investigation, Polygraph test, medical test and Chief’s Interview.

Monroe firefighters donate equipment to Ukrainian counterparts

The Stepney Volunteer Fire Department has donated 25 air packs, 30 masks and 44 bottles to Ukrainian firefighters who are suffering from equipment shortages amidst the ongoing war.  The equipment was picked up by Trumbull resident/firefighter Konstantin Tartakovsky, who has already collected used gear from 13 area departments to be sent to Ukraine. 

Bethel Social Services reaching out to families with food insecurity

Bethel residents facing food insecurity can contact the Social Services Department about using the Community Food Pantry, which operates twice monthly.  This will also qualify families for the Brotherhood In Action food baskets.  There are income eligibility guidelines.  For a single person household, it's income at or below $31,900 dollars. A 2-person household about 43,000, a family of 4 it's $65,000.  The scale goes up to 8-person families, but those with larger families can add $11,000 to the highest income limit to figure to determine eligibility.

Boaters rescued after crash in Sherman on Candlewood Lake

Sherman Volunteer Fire Department has rescued boaters after a crash on Candlewood Lake.  Firefighters were dispatched to a vessel in distress with victims in the water in the area near Chicken Rock shortly after 7 o'clock last night.  Marine 7 located the vessel in distress farther to the north of Green Island in Sherman Bay to find three occupants of a vessel that had been struck by another vessel.  Candlewood Lake Authority and Brookfield Volunteer Fire Department's Marine 25 arrived shortly after to secure the scene and support Sherman. There were no life-threatening injuries and only one patient was transported to the ambulance to be evaluated and released. Once all persons were escorted safely ashore, the scene was turned over to the EnCon Police and CLA for investigation. New Fairfield Ambulance, Medic 4 and Connecticut State Police also responded to the Command Post at Sail Harbour.

Injured swimmer rescued at Roxbury Falls

An injured swimmer was rescued from the Shepaug River Wednesday.  Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company responded to the Roxbury Falls on Minor Bridge Road to assist with the rope rescue.   8 members assisted the Roxbury Volunteer Fire Department, the Roxbury Ambulance Association, and the Water Witch Hose Company of New Milford in removing the injured person.  They had to dismantle  part of the bridge railing and build a rope system to lift him to safety.  The injured swimmer was successfully extricated and  transported to Danbury Hospital.

New Milford School Superintendent to resign

New Milford School Superintendent Alisha DiCorpo will be resigning in the fall.  She will be joining EdAdvance, a Litchfield-based organization that provides educational and related services to school districts.  Her last day in New Milford will be October 4th.  The Board of Education will accept her resignation at their next meeting.  Among the challenges DiCorpo has faced in recent years was remote learning and a school bus driver shortage, in addition to two fires at the high school.  The proposed resignation of New Milford High School Principal Raymond Manka, which he later rescinded, prompted a petition calling for DiCorpo to be ousted.  Nearly 2,000 signers blamed her for the departure of 10 staff members since she became Superintendent in February of 2021.

Danbury considers applying for grant to buy historic courthouse from Conn.

The Danbury City Council has formed an ad hoc committee to look into a proposal to apply to the state Department of Economic and Community Development for a $3 million grant to buy the Old Fairfield County Courthouse from Connecticut.  The proposed price tag includes two connected parcels for parking, repairs, sidewalk installation and intersection improvements at Park Place. 

The 1899 building is on the National Register of Historic Places.  The City could use the structure for the Danbury Museum and Historical Society, the Probate Court offices or the health department. 

The state Department of Administrative Services declared the building surplus and is asking $1.46 million.  Under this proposal, Former Congressman Jim Maloney says a nonprofit he advises, the Connecticut Community Facility Development Corporation, would own the title to the courthouse and lease it to Danbury long term at cost.  The City would pay only the utility bills. 

The courthouse was used by the state for juvenile court until six months ago.  A single-family home behind the courthouse would be razed and combined with a nearby parcel to create municipal parking.

Squantz Pond State Park again closed to swimming due to bacteria in water sample

Squantz Pond State Park is again closed to swimming.  The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Water Quality Report shows elevated levels of bacteria detected in water sampling.  DEEP closed the park to swimming last Wednesday, but it reopened on Thursday.  The water was retested yesterday, with results expected today.  DEEP collects samples of state-run swimming areas each week and the Department of Public Health's laboratory analyzes them for presence of certain indicator bacteria with potential for contamination.

More municipalities register for Sustainable CT

Sustainable CT is a voluntary certification program to recognize municipalities for wide-ranging best practices that build local economies, support equity, and protect the environment.  The Western Connecticut Council of Governments says Newtown has now registered for the program, pursuing their first certification to acknowledge the existing sustainability efforts they champion throughout their community.  Weston and Wilton have each achieved bronze level.  Volunteers in Weston are working toward Silver while those in Wilton are seeking recertification.  Brookfield and New Milford have noted that they are exploring options to engage in the Sustainability CT Program.

Danbury to schedule hearing on updated ATV ban ordinance

The Danbury City Council is once again looking to crack down on ATV users riding on City streets and on other city property.  A draft ordinance will be up for a public hearing, at a date to be determined.  In 2003 Danbury regulated all-terrain vehicle use to prevent damage to public parks and City-controlled property.  In 2016, the state added dirt bikes and mini motorcycles to the statute.  ATVs can be seized by an officer and, after 15 days, forfeited and sold at auction.   Offenders would also be subject to a $1,000 fine.  It's $1,500 for a second violation and $2,000 for the third offense.  The Traffic Authority and the Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team would also be able to enforce the prohibition.  There is no limitation on the seizure.  Towing and storage cost, along with repairs for any damage, would be the responsibility of the owner/rider.  There are some conditions on auction though.  It can't be resold if there's a lien or lease on the vehicle, or if there's a lienholder who didn't reasonably known that the person on the motorcycle/dirt bike/etc was using it the way it was.  Under state statute, there's a longer wait period and additional process if a private wrecker tows the ATV from the scene.  Danbury Police do not have the capability in-house to tow these vehicles and would have to call on the on-duty tow company.  

Danbury Hatters Hat City Youth Sports participants compete in national championship

The Danbury Hatters Hat City Youth Sports youth track and field team just finished competing at the 2022 USA Track & Field National Youth Championships in New York City and reached historic levels of achievement.  Machai Henry, an incoming Danbury High School freshman, won the National Championship in the 100 meter and 200 meter running events.  Henry bested over 45 athletes from across the United States in two rounds of competition in each of the two running events. He also achieved All-American status by placing third in the Long Jump event.  Four other Hatters athletes, including one Immaculate freshman from Danbury named Lorenzo Lopes and three others from area towns, but all representing Danbury, also achieved All-American status at this meet.  The others are Carter Hey of Carmel, Phoebe Smith of Redding and Kennedy Jackson of Bethel.  In all, the Hatters sent 8 athletes to the National Championships this year.  The Club, founded in 2019, operates year-round with Indoor Track & Field in the winter, Outdoor Track & field in the spring and summer, and Cross Country running in the fall.  The program includes boys and girls ages 5 through 8th grade from Danbury and all area towns.

Sample primary ballots posted

Primaries will be held in Connecticut next month, August 9th.  Some towns will have longer ballots than others, but there are also some statewide positions where the party-endorsed candidate is being challenged.  Brookfield has posted sample ballots on the town's website.  On the Democratic side, there are races for state Treasurer and Secretary of the State.  On the Republican side, it's for Secretary of the State and U-S Senator.  Connecticut has a closed primary system, meaning only people registered with a particular party can vote in that party's primary.

Brookfield students honored for sustainability work

The Brookfield Board of Selectmen has recognized some students for their work as members of the Brookfield Sustainability Youth Council. First Selectman Tara Carr recognized Jackson Sharpe, Alexa Dattner, Maahi Dhote and Shruti Kelkar for the work they've done to create a sustainable community by promoting equitable action, inclusivity and eco-friendly practices. They graduated last month. 

New Milford officials provide update on fire damage, summer school schedule

Six firefighters sent to the hospital on Tuesday for evaluation or treatment of minor injures sustained while battling a roof fire at New Milford High School have been released. Most suffered from smoke inhalation.  The cause of the fire remains under investigation.


The fire damage appears to be localized on the roof itself, however, the overall damage to the interior of the building is extensive. Superintendent of Schools Alisha DiCorpo says they will need to do remediation on several levels of the building and have notified the insurance carrier. The school district is working with Town officials, as the Municipal Building Committee is in charge of the roof project. At this time, there is no estimate of how long it will take, the funding it will take, and if they can replace materials that were damaged. 


A restoration company was on site yesterday to begin an assessment. No one is allowed in the building and no items can be removed at this time.


Another update will be provided for each summer school program as Monday's potential start date draws near. DiCorpo cautioned that that date is dependent on several factors such as the availability of air conditioning at Schaghticoke Middle School and the potential for air conditioning at Northville Elementary School with the sourcing of portable units. The district is ordering curriculum and instructional materials and all other necessary items. 


Start and end times will remain the same, however, bus pick-up and drop-off may be different. The updated bus list is being worked on and will be available on the school district website under the transportation tab. The individual program directors will share a link with participants as Monday draws near and will follow up with a program-specific email for each program.
Credit Recovery Program-Grades 9-12: Schaghticoke Middle School Library Media Center (Transportation provided) Contact: Holly Hollander:
Extended School Year Program: Schaghticoke Middle School (Transportation provided) Contact: Laura Olson:
Extended School Year Program Ages 3, 4, and 5 only: Northville Elementary School (Transportation provided) Contact: Laura Olson:
Summer Bridge Program: Incoming Grades 3-6: Northville Elementary School (Transportation Provided) Contact: Holly Hollander:
Summer Bridge Program: Incoming Grades 8 and 9: Schaghticoke Middle School (Transportation Provided) Contact: Holly Hollander:
*Algebra Readiness Program will be located at Schaghticoke Middle School from July 25-29 no transportation will be provided. Contact: Holly Hollander:

Ukrainian refugee gives birth at Danbury Hospital

A woman who fled her war-torn country of Ukraine for Connecticut has given birth at Danbury Hospital.  Olya Yurkiv fled  a western city about three hours from the Poland border two months before she was due to give birth.  As Russia attacked, her family hid in basements and bathtubs. In the dark of night, her husband carried their sleeping toddler to shelter.  The 25-year old said it was impossible to leave home and her husband, but she and her 4-year-old daughter boarded a bus for Poland, saying it was more impossible to stay.  

(Photo: Nuvance Health)

5th Congressional District candidates weigh in on SCOTUS abortion ruling

Incumbent Democratic Congresswoman Jahana Hayes is trying to win her third term in the 5th District. Republican George Logan is looking to unseat her.  While he lives in the 3rd district, there is no residency requirement.  Yesterday the candidates took up the issue of abortion and the U-S Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade.  Both say they are pro-choice. Logan wants some restrictions and parental notifications for teen patients.  Hayes says timing and other decisions should be between a woman and her doctor.  The remarks by Hayes came during a visit to a Planned Parenthood health center in Waterbury with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. He noted that states accepting Medicaid funding are required to cover emergency care services which could include abortions.

Demolition drawings are being requested for Consolidated School

Demolition drawings are being requested by the New Fairfield Permanent Building Committee for the Consolidated School.  Funding for the demolition was included in a referendum approved previously by residents.  New Fairfield Board of Education Director of Buildings and Grounds Phil Ross says the original section, still in use was constructed in 1941.  It's a wood framed building and he says the town has gotten it's money worth out of it.  The electrical services come into that section of the building.  The 50s section got a facelift in 2000, but they need roofs and the bathrooms are in pretty bad shape.  The newest portion is 22 years old.  He notes that there will be issues with water and septic if a lot of people are using that building going forward.

Underage Drinking Compliance Initiative carried out in Putnam, Westchester Counties

An Underage Drinking Compliance Initiative has been carried out in Putnam and Westchester Counties.  Plainclothes New York State Police in Troop K made unannounced visits to 14 retail establishments with an underage operative, utilizing a valid New York Driver’s License. 12 establishments were in compliance and refused to sell any alcoholic beverages to the underage operative. Two establishments illegally sold an alcoholic beverage to a minor resulting in two arrests.  A 20-year old clerk from Mohegan Lake at a Putnam Valley store and a 37-year old Cortlandt Manor man employed in Cortland were issued appearance tickets. New York State Police routinely conduct underage drinking enforcement operations in an effort to curb alcohol abuse and DWI incidents involving teenagers.

Danbury man killed in motorcycle crash in Great Barrington

The Connecticut man killed in a motorcycle crash in Great Barrington has been identified as being from Danbury.  Police say 68-year old Antonio Desousa was severely injured and flown to Albany Medical Center where he died from his injuries.  A driver tried to turn left and allegedly did not see the motorcycle coming in the other direction and pulled directly in front of the motorcyclist.  The driver and passengers of the Honda Accord did not suffer any injuries.  The accident remains under investigation.

Vandalism reported at New Milford Dog Park

The New Milford Dog Park has experienced a few incidents of vandalism recently.  The board president filed a police report after Monday night's vandalism seemed to escalate. In addition to alcohol bottles in the park, a chair was found crushed and tossed in pieces around the parking lot. Another chair was found in a tree.  Dog waste bags were removed from dispensers and thrown around the ground. A rake was also bent.  New Milford Police will be increasing their presence in the evenings.

Hours updated for Danbury COVID-19 vaccine, testing

New hours have been announced for COVID-19 testing and vaccine clinics in Danbury.  The PCR testing at 118 Memorial Drive in the Pat Walrdon Building will only be done on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3pm to 6pm.  The COVID-19 vaccine clinics at 118 Memorial Drive will be weekdays 1pm to 7pm and weekends 10am to 4pm.  The Sunday clinics are for people 18 and older only.  There will also be a COVID-19 vaccine clinic on July 19th at 170 Main Street from noon to 6pm.

Danbury Police Department investigating a theft

The Danbury Police Department is investigating a theft and asking for the public's help in identifying a person wanted for questioning. Photos of the individual have been posted to the Danbury Police Facebook page.  Anonymous tips can be made at 203-790-TIPS or by texting DANBURYPD at Tip411.  Anonymous web tips can also be submitted right from the Tip411 site or mobile app.  The technology removes all identifying information before officers receive it.  The app is not monitored 24-7 so in the case of emergency or crime in progress, call 911.

Danbury Planning Commission to continue hearings tonight

A public hearing is continuing tonight before the Danbury Planning Commission.  An applicant is looking for approval of site plans and exceptions to build a self service storage facility at 95 Mill Plain Road, at the corner with Aunt Hack Road.  Diamond Point Development says a requested crosswalk and new apron on opposite side of Aunt Hack  has been added to the plans.  Any curbing added to Mill Plain will match the state curbing.  Updated documents say no storm water is being diverted.  Groundwater infiltration and storm water quality will be improved from existing conditions due to the pervious subsurface soils in the front of the site and the stormwater management design. 


The Commission is set to wrap up discussions and possibly vote on an application from a daycare center for an expansion project on White Street.  Twinkle Little Star Daycare is seeking to take over the rest of the space in the building they've been operating in for the last several years.  By occupying the vacant space, 180 children would be able to attend programs at the facility. There are no changes proposed to the footprint of the building. The existing free standing storage garages and containers, which were previously deemed non-conforming by the Zoning Enforcement Officer, will remain.


An auto dealer could gain Planning Commission approvals at their meeting tonight. Curry Automotive has an application for site plan approval at 1 & 15 Miry Brook Road.  They are seeking approval for a two story building for auto sales and repairs at the corner of Sugar Hollow Road.  The applicant has submitted a Traffic Impact Analysis.  The proposal would generate more than 500 vehicle trips per day.  The property is located within the Airport Approach Zone District and the applicant has received a final determination from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration for the building and pole lights.  The Danbury Airport Administrator agrees with the FAA final determination with a notation that the obstruction lighting adhere to the FAA determination.  Tonight's virtual Danbury Planning Commission meeting is at 7:30pm. 

6 firefighters injured battling New Milford High School roof fire

Half a dozen firefighters suffered smoke inhalation as they worked to put out a roof fire at New Milford High School yesterday afternoon.  The area of the roof that was burned had an emergency patch put in place last night due to forecasted rain.  The middle of New Milford High School has severe water and smoke damage. 

(Photo: Water Witch Hose Co. #2, Facebook)

Multiple mutual aid departments were called in by Water Witch Hose, Northville Volunteer and Gaylordsville Fire Departments.  When firefighters arrived, flames were visible from the roof area to the interior portion of the building.  Flames also reached into a 3rd floor classroom. 

(Photo: Newtown Hook & Ladder, Facebook)

A total of 6 firefighters were transported to the hospital with minor injuries or for observation.  The fire was put under control at 5:41pm. 

(Photo: Danbury Fire Department, Facebook)

Firefighters stood watch overnight and New Milford Police also remained on scene. 

The Fire Marshall, Board of Ed Facilities Director Matt Cunningham and Department of Public Works Director Jack Healy plan to continue the assessment today and plan for clean up.  Summer School at the High School is canceled for today. The Board of Ed is working on a plan for summer school and school opening for the regular school year.

(Photo: Mayor Pete Bass, Facebook)

With limited access and heavy smoke filling the structure additional resources were requested.  Over 100 personnel responded.  Brookfield, Danbury, Wooster Engine, Water Witch Company #7, Sherman, Litchfield County Coordinators, Washington , Newtown Hook and Ladder, Bantam, and Battalion 19 arrived with trucks, water and firefighters. Responding EMS and Rehab Units were: New Milford EMS, Danbury EMS, Medic 4, Roxbury EMS, Washington EMS along with New Milford CERT.  Other departments provided backfill into the communities that were responding to the call.  These departments included; Bridgewater Fire, Warren Fire, Morris Fire, and Stony Hill Fire. 

(Photo: Newtown Hook & Ladder, Facebook)

Bethel Police issue warning about snapping turtles at dog park

The Bethel Police Department is issuing a warning for visitors to the dog park.  Police were notified last month of a snapping turtle that was located inside the Dog Park at Meckauer Park. The turtle was safely removed, but they want to remind visitors that snapping turtles are active this time of year.  Visitors are asked to  survey the area before releasing dogs into the park. If a snapping turtle is located, Police say people should do not approach it or attempt to move it--rather contact the Bethel Police Department for assistance.

Work resumes in Ridgefield on Wastewater Facilities Upgrade project

Work is resuming this week in Ridgefield on the Water Pollution Control Authority's Wastewater Facilities Upgrade project. Force main pipe installation will continue along Ligi's Way, working from South Street towards Farmingville Road in the southbound lane.  The road is closed from 7am to 4pm.  More than 13-thousand linear feet of new 8-inch diameter underground force main piping is being installed from the Route 7 pump station to the South Street Wastewater Treatment Facility. The existing Route 7 Pump Station will be demolished and replaced with a new pump station in the same location on Route 7.  The Route 7 Wastewater Treatment Facility will be decommissioned and demolished.  The work is expected to last through August of next year.

Crash snaps utility pole, injures woman

A crash into a utility pole in New Fairfield is being investigated by police.  The accident happened shortly after 5:30pm Monday on Shortwoods Road.  A 37-year-old Waterbury woman was headed westbound when she lost control, crossed into the eastbound lane and continued across a residential driveway and down a small embankment.  The car came to rest after hitting a utility pole, cracking it in half and causing wires to fall onto the damaged vehicle.  The driver was transported to the hospital with possible injury and her car was towed from the scene.  The crash remains under investigation.

Two teens injured in New Fairfield car accident

Two teens were injured in a holiday weekend car accident in New Fairfield.  Police say charges are pending against a 17-year-old driver involved in the crash on Ball Pond Road early Friday morning.  The single car crash happened shortly before 1am when the vehicle left the roadway and hit a utility pole.  The teen and a 15-year old in the car were transported to the hospital with possible and suspected minor injuries.  Police say the passenger was the only one wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.  

Several firefighters injured during response to New Milford High School blaze

At least 6 firefighters suffered smoke inhalation as they battled a blaze at Mew Milford High School Tuesday afternoon. According to officials one firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion and one was tested for an abrasion.  Mayor Pete Bass believes that a roofing project could be a contributing factor as flames could be seen coming out the top of the building at about 2:15pm. Superintendent Alicia DiCorpo says students in the summer school program were all on their buses when the fire broke out. Classes will not be held at the school Wednesday and school officials are evaluating options for where and when they will resume.  An assessment of the damage is needed.  This is the second fire at New Milford High School in recent months. A blaze broke out in December, also during roof construction, and students were forced to evacuate. At that time, classes were canceled the next day.

Person with arm pinned by car in Bethel freed

A person got their arm pinned by a car in Bethel on Saturday morning. Firefighters responded to the center of town and found the motorist with their arm stuck between the front tire and fender when the vehicle became unstable.  They extricated the patient using the Hurst electric “jaws of life” tool in conjunction with a T and J Rescue Enterprises stabilization and lifting tool.  The person was transported to the hospital for evaluation and treatment.  Bethel Police closed off the area as firefighters worked.

Area fire departments assist with fireworks displays

Carmel Fire Department assisted Brewster Fire Department with the annual Town of Southeast firework display Sunday evening. Their brush truck was at the launch site to assist with any emergencies that could arise.  A Polaris ATV was out patrolling the surrounding area for any related emergencies and to keep spectators safe.  In a similar effort, Monroe firefighters were on hand in Trumbull for their fireworks display to wet down the field area.

Funding included in new state budget for 18 domestic violence child & family advocates

The Center For Empowerment And Education, formerly the Women's Center of Greater Danbury, could benefit from new state funding included in the budget for the fiscal year that started on Friday.  Connecticut allocated $1.44 million to fund 18 domestic violence child & family advocates across the state.  Danbury state Senator Julie Kushner says the rate of family violence skyrocketed during the pandemic, and these roles are critically important to keeping survivors safe, and to help them develop healthy coping skills to deal with the trauma they have faced.

Rare July chimney fire reported in Monroe

Passing drivers called in a rare 4th of July chimney fire in Monroe yesterday.  Flames and smoke were coming from the chimney on lower Fan Hill Road when firefighters arrived.  The resident was attempted to clean the flue when the fire started. There was no extension into the home but the flames were stubborn to extinguish due to a heavy creosote build up.  Firefighters from Monroe, Stepney Fire Department and Stevenson Volunteer Fire Company operated on scene and Monroe Volunteer Emergency Medical Service assessed crews due to the heat.  Monroe police had the road shut in both directions during the incident. No one was injured.

Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company adds additional on call paramedic

Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company has implemented an additional on call paramedic 40 hours a week during the day for this new fiscal year.  The paramedic slot will assist in major incidents, cover 3rd calls in town and assist neighboring towns.  Department officials say the hours and days will vary based on data provided from charting software to ensure they cover the busiest days and hours.

Veterans Walkway of Honor once again taking orders for brick sale project

The Veterans Walkway of Honor, established in Danbury in 2012, is once again taking orders for the brick sale project.  The commemorative walkway is lined with bricks that are engraved with the name, rank and the service branch of members of the United States Armed Forces.  Bricks will be installed once a year, before Veterans Day. The cost is $75 for a 4x8 inch brick with four lines or $150 for an 8x8 inch brick with eight lines of engraving. Military logos can also be added to that size for an additional cost of $25.  The number of lines on the brick would be reduced.  For more information about the project, visit or contact organizer Lee Teicholz at 203- 748-0723.

Dog rescued from locked car in New Fairfield

A dog was rescued from a hot car in New Fairfield when officers broke the vehicle's window. 

Local Police and State Troopers responded to a Route 39 business parking lot on a report of a Yorkie in a car, which was not authorized to be parked there. The temperature at the time was about 82 degrees.  The dog appeared to be in distressed and the windows were rolled up.  It's unknown how long the dog was left unattended.  Officers broke the window and moved the dog to an air-conditioned police cruiser, where its condition improved. 

(Photo: Conn. State Police)

The investigation by the New Fairfield Animal Control Officer remains ongoing. The owner was located at Squantz Pond State Park and advised of the situation.  Charges are pending. 

When the temperature outside is 85 degrees, it takes less than 10 minutes for the inside of a car to reach 100 degrees and half an hour to reach 120 degrees.

Certified Nursing Assistant arrested for allegedly stealing from elderly client

A Certified Nursing Assistant has been arrested by Newtown Police for allegedly stealing from her elderly clients’ bank account.  54-year old Dominga Juanita Bush of Bridgeport was charged Friday with larceny and forgery.  She was released on 50-thousand dollars bond for a July 19th court appearance.  Newtown Police opened a five-month long investigation into allegations she stole and misappropriated money from her clients’ bank account while working for them.  Police have not indicated how much money was involved.  Newtown Police said in a statement that fraud and financial crimes are notoriously complex investigations to navigate and the detectives work is the first step toward justice for the victim.  The statement continued to say “Unfortunately, the elderly population are frequently victims of this type of fraud, and the Newtown Police Department wanted to remind residents to frequently audit elderly family members’ accounts to try and catch this type of theft as early as possible.”

Motorcyclists seriously injured in highway offramp crash

Two people were injured in a highway accident in Danbury this weekend.  State Police say a motorcyclist cut across three lanes of travel to the exit 5 westbound off ramp as a 20-year-old Danbury woman was driving up the ramp.  The 57-year old New Hampshire man hit the back of her car.  The man and his passenger, a 55-year old woman, each sustained serious injuries.  They were transported to the hospital for treatment.The car driver was also taken to the hospital for evaluation of possible injuries.  Her passenger was not injured.  The right and center lanes of I-84 west were cloased for a couple of hours due to the crash.

New Milford Police cautioning of dangers of Housatonic River

New Milford Police are cautioning residents and visitors to the dangers of the Housatonic River.  Officers and a Park Ranger were making patrols of River Road on Sunday and saw multiple people, including children in the river.  Officials say swimming there is dangerous for a number of reasons and note that there have been multiple drowning ins the past three years.  There are also PCBs contaminating the river bottom.  Anyone seen swimming or lounging in the Housatonic will be asked to get out of the water.  Canoeing, Kayaking, Fishing are allowed.  Campfires along River Road are not.  During a watercourses assessment this Spring,  New Milford officials made it a goal to have zero drownings this year and posted flyers both in English and Spanish in various retail establishments in the Greater New Milford/ Danbury area talking about the dangers of the River. 

New York State Police investigating adouble fatal accident on I-84

New York State Police are investigating a double fatal accident on Interstate 84 stemming from a road rage incident. Troopers responded to the westbound side of the highway near exit 59 in the Town of Kent early Saturday morning.   An initial investigation determined two men, 38-year old Mark Hall of Holmes, New York and 22-year old Fabian Tirado of Wappinger, New York, stopped in the right lane of travel and exited their vehicles due to a road rage altercation.  While they argued in the right lane, a third vehicle struck both men.  They were were pronounced dead at the scene. The third operator suffered minor injuries and was transported to Danbury Hospital.  The investigation remains ongoing.

Squantz Pond busy this holiday weekend

Squantz Pond State Park in  New Fairfield was busy this long holiday weekend.  Shortly before 8am yesterday the Resident Trooper's Office was warning drivers to avoid Route 39 near the park as all traffic was stopped.  Squantz reached capacity yesterday around 8:30am.  Throughout the summer, the Trooper's Office is asking that residents protect private property with no parking signs, natural barriers such as rocks, or cones and yellow caution tape.  There will be additional "no parking" signs posted on town roads.  Additional New Fairfield Police Officers and State Police Troopers are being made available for parking and traffic enforcement. 

Discussions continue into historic preservation of Fairfield Hills buildings

The Newtown Legislative Council has gotten an update on a potential redevelopment project at the Fairfield Hills Campus. The Connecticut Office of Historic Preservation responded to Newtown's plans for two empty buildings by calling on the town to preserve vacant former hospital buildings for at least five years after the completion of the redevelopment.  The town was seeking the state's backing as it gets ready to apply for historic preservation tax credits from the National Park Service.  Boston-based WinnDevelopment is looking to convert Kent House and Shelton House, built in 1940 and 1933 respectively, into housing and shops.  Kent is 200,00 square feet while Shelton is 100,000 square feet.  The estimated renovation cost is $71 million, but that was done close to a year ago.  Newtown has demolished other unsafe structures and officials have previously said the remaining buildings are dilapidated and need to be demolished as well.  First Selectman Dan Rosenthal says they're not lobbying for the entire campus to be put into historic preservation, but rather a modified district.  The state wants all of the buildings preserved.  Rosenthal says his impression was that the agencies would be more flexible than they are.  He says with layers and layers of beauracracy, he was tempted to say they would just tear down all of the buildings and do no preservation.  Whatever is done, will outlast current elected officials.  For 5 years after project completion, they can't be demolished.  If the town does go down this road, if the credits are awarded, that wouldn't happen until 2023.  The credits would flow over three years, about the length of time for construction.  With construction completed in 2027, it would be 5 years before the town could touch a building.

Visitors to state parks, boat launches urged to plan ahead

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Connecticut State Police, and municipal leaders are reminding visitors to state parks and boat launches to plan ahead, arrive early, and have a back-up plan in mind in case the location of your choice is full and closed to new visitors upon arrival. 

State Parks such as Squantz Pond State Park in New Fairfield often fill to capacity on the holiday and other nice summer weekends. Once capacity is reached the park is closed and new visitors will be turned away. Parking illegally outside of a park can result in a ticket or your vehicle being towed.

At Squantz Pond State Park specifically, on nice weekend days in the summer, more visitors arrive to visit than can be accommodated at the park.  Each year, traffic congestion, parking issues, and visitors being turned away contribute to a disappointing experience for many would-be visitors.  

“New Fairfield welcomes all visitors to Squantz Pond State Park,” New Fairfield First Selectman Patricia Del Monaco said.  “We want everyone to have an enjoyable and safe experience while visiting New Fairfield, and ask that everyone observe posted “No Parking” signs once the Park has reached capacity.”

“We know that Squantz Pond is an attractive day trip for many people inside and outside of Connecticut. We encourage people to enjoy all state parks safely and consider other destinations within our state,” Colonel Stavros Mellekas, Commanding Officer of the Connecticut State Police, said. “We continue to work in collaboration with CT DEEP, the town of New Fairfield and other locations to develop strategies that allow everyone to visit and safely enjoy our natural resources.” 

If you do go to New Fairfield to visit Squantz Pond State Park, there is no parking allowed on nearby streets outside of the park, unloading near the park, or any other violations of posted traffic signage.  Violations can result in vehicles being ticketed and/or towed. Once capacity is reached, the park is closed, and will remain closed for the rest of the day.

Up-to-date closure notifications are posted on the CT State Parks Twitter account @CTStateParks, and on the “What’s Open Outdoors” page of the DEEP website. DEEP recommends checking these prior to venturing out to a park, and to have a back-up plan in mind ahead of time in the event a park closes while you’re en route. It’s important to remember that many State Parks and Boat Launches reach capacity and close early on holidays and nice summer weekend days, with some smaller state parks reaching capacity by 9:00 a.m. 

Easton Police warn of email phishing scam


Easton Police Department are cautioning that a few residents, and even police officers have received a phishing email from what appears to be Best Buy Geek Squad.  It claims that the recipient is being invoiced for a certain amount and to call the number if it is a mistake.  Anyone receiving such an email is urged to delete it--as the phone number will go to an overseas scam center.  Anyone affected by the scam should call the police department. 

Area legislator touts Covered Connecticut Program

Danbury State Senator Julie Kushner says families making too much money to qualify for HUSKY, but not enough to afford private health insurance, may be eligible for no-cost health insurance.  The Covered Connecticut Program started Friday, offering private health and dental insurance to people caught in the middle.  The first-in-the-nation waiver program will provide coverage to 31,000 low-income, working people.  There are no premiums, no co-pays or deductibles for eligible residents. The program combines Medicaid with state support and resources provided by the Affordable Care Act. Covered CT Plans are offered by Anthem and ConnectiCare.

Local lawmaker calls for ARPA funds for SRO programs

New Milford State Representative Bill Buckbee is leading the call to use federal resources from the American Rescue Plan Act to create a grant program that would help Connecticut towns hire additional school resource officers.  Buckbee wrote a letter to Governor Lamont to formally request the matching grant program be established.  He says with a historically large budget surplus right now, the flexibility to apply ARPA dollars, and in light of the Texas elementary school shooting, it's time for swift action.  New Milford is looking to hire 3 new armed security guards for the schools. According to Buckbee, his proposed grant program will allow municipalities  who may not be able to afford it, to hire SROs.  He says while they are obviously the first line of defense in an emergency, SROs also serve as role models to the students and can address mental and behavioral health problems. 

Area organizations recognized by Wreaths Across America

The Sherman-based Live for TJ-The TJ Lobraico Foundation and two organizations in Southbury are being recognized by Wreaths Across America.  Throughout the month of July, the national nonprofit will be celebrating its annual Giving in July campaign. It is a month dedicated to recognizing the volunteer Sponsorship Groups and individuals who “give back” to their communities while helping to share the mission to Remember, Honor and Teach, all year long.  Several local Sponsorship Groups ranked as the top in the state for their efforts to raise funds for philanthropic efforts while raising wreath sponsorships for local service members laid to rest in their communities.  American Legion C.E.Hine Post #147 and American Heritage Girls CT0003 are also being recognized.  Wreaths Across America is best known for placing wreaths on veterans’ headstones at Arlington National Cemetery. However, this year, the organization placed more than 2.4 million sponsored veterans’ wreaths at 3,100 participating locations nationwide.   

Law enforcement to launch Operation Dry Water this weekend

Operation Dry Water takes place this weekend.  Law enforcement across Connecticut will be on heightened alert looking for those violating boating under the influence laws.  In previous years that has included the Candlewood Lake Authority Marine Patrol.  The enforcement is Saturday through Monday.  The state Department of Energy & Environmental Protection is working to increase boater awareness of the dangers and risks associated with boating under the influence and will be on the lookout for impaired boaters on Connecticut’s lakes, ponds, and rivers, as well as Long Island Sound. Boaters will notice an overall increase in officer patrols both on the water and at recreational boating checkpoints.  In Connecticut, it is illegal to operate a vessel with a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 – the same as it is to operate a vehicle. 

Conn. DPH updates COVID-19 data for Greater Danbury

The state Department of Public Health is providing an update on COVID-19 data for all Greater Danbury area municipalities.  According to the report for the 7 days ending June 30th, there were 32 cases in Danbury, Bethel reported 13,  Brookfield had 10 and New Fairfield  7. There were 19 COVID cases in New Milford, 18 in Newtown, Redding reported 0 cases while Ridgefield had 22. 

Danbury Farmers Market is back on CityCenter Green

The Danbury Farmers Market is back on the Danbury CityCenter Green, Saturdays from 10am until 2pm through October 29th, featuring local produce and other products.  A number of new vendors are on site, including crafters. Live music, dance classes and a special Macaroni Kids Family Fun Zone and other activities will also be taking place. Throughout the season there will be food/good eating workshops with a $15 market money incentive, among other programs.  This is the 12th year of the CityCenter Danbury Farmers’ Market, a project of the Danbury Farmers’ Market Community Collaborative with 35 community stakeholders.  CT SNAP Match, formerly food stamps, are accepted and matched at any dollar amount.  Double Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers for seniors and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children recipients as well. Veterans (with vet ID) receive $10 in market coins per market.  

Fire Departments urge caution this 4th of July

Greater Danbury area Fire Departments are urging caution this holiday weekend when it comes to fireworks.  Fireworks injure over 10,000 people a year, with hand and finger injuries the most common, followed by head, face, and ear injuries.  People should only light one firework at a time, maintain a safe distance after lighting and never re-light or pick up fireworks that did not fully ignite.  A bucket of water or garden hose should be nearby in case of fire.

Bethel Police investigating serious motor vehicle accident

Bethel Police responded to a serious motor vehicle accident on Route 302 eastbound this morning in the straight away before Shelley Road. The sole occupant was transported to the hospital with serious injuries.  The road was closed from about 7am until shortly before 11am during the on-scene investigation. Anyone who may have witnessed the accident is asked to contact the Bethel Police Department.

New Milford lifeguard credited with saving boy

A lifeguard in New Milford is being credited with saving the life of a young child at Lynn Deming Park in New Milford yesterday.  A boy went out too far and yelled for help, saying that he couldn't swim.  Mayor Pete Bass says the lifeguard didn't hesitate and was in the water very quickly.

Local lawmaker calls for ban on walk ins at state parks

New Fairfield State Representative Patrick Callahan has been visiting Squantz Pond State Park the past few weekends to observe the crowds.   He says the overflow is disruptive to area businesses and neighborhoods.  He's been in contact with New Fairfield officials, law enforcement, park staff and state park management about walk in visitors.  He says they are creating a dangerous situation by parking illegally and walking along state roads.  The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has long maintained that they can't regulate walk ins.  Callahan says if reelected in November, he plans to pursue a legislative change next session.  In previous years, efforts have failed in the General Assembly to ban walk ins at state parks.

Danbury Police remind residents about fireworks safety


The Danbury Police Department is reminding residents about fireworks safety, noting that only fountains and sparklers are legal for private use in Connecticut, by those 16 and older.  They added that children should not be allowed to ignite or play with fireworks.  People should also not use fireworks while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Putnam County police agencies to crack down on impaired drivers

Putnam County police agencies are participating in special efforts this weekend to bring awareness to the dangers of impaired driving. The statewide STOP-DWI High Visibility Engagement Campaign started today and will end on Tuesday.  Putnam County Sheriff Kevin McConville says the Fourth of July extended weekend is historically a deadly period for impaired driving.  He says highly visible, highly publicized efforts like this aim to further reduce the incidence of drunk and impaired driving.  There's a mobile app called Have A Plan where people will be able to find a safe ride home. McConnville notes that impaired driving is completely preventable, all it takes is a little planning.

Ridgefield to celebrate 'Let Freedom Ring'

On this Fourth of July, Ridgefield will be celebrating Let Freedom Ring, a long-standing tradition in which local churches, institutions, and individuals ring their bells 13 times at 2pm, representing the 13 colonies that fought for freedom and independence in 1776.  The Ridgefield Historical Society will once again lead the town in the bell-ringing tradition.  Participating institutions include Jesse Lee, St. Mary, St. Stephen’s, Sacred Heart, Saint Patrick’s in Georgetown, The Meetinghouse/Ridgebury Congregational Church, the Peter Parley Schoolhouse, and Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center. With the Town’s permission, a group of patriots will also be congregating on Bailey Avenue to give the old fire bell 13 tolls for independence.  A reading of the Declaration of Independence will follow the chiming bells. The Let Freedom Ring tradition was made official in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy proclaimed July 4 to be “National Bell Ringing Day” through U.S. Congressional Resolution Number 25, where all across the nation Americans would ring bells to celebrate freedom and patriotism, as the founding fathers would have done when the Revolutionary War was won in 1783. Historic sites like the Liberty Bell, many National Parks, Pearl Harbor, and the Alamo have participated in this event, and locally the Norwalk Historical Society has hosted this event in the past.

New Fairfield Lions Club annual Independence Day parade is Monday

The New Fairfield Lions Club annual Independence Day parade is being held once again.  The parade procession will start at 9:30am on Route 37 in front of the senior center parking lot and proceed south on Route 39, past Town Hall and onto Memorial Field.  Police will close streets involved around 8:45am and barriers at several locations, including the intersection of Routes 37 and 39, at Beaver Bog Road, Sawmill Road and Barnum Road.  An awards ceremony with presentation of trophies for vest floats and groups in the parade will take place at the Lions Gazebo.  About 40 different groups are participating.  Adults leading youth group participants should arrive early so parents dropping off kids do not have to wait, causing congestion on Route 37.  A shuttle will be available starting at 8am between the Department of Education Building across from Town Hall and Croix Hill Road at Route 37, which is at the middle of the parade line up order.  

Bethel man arrested, Danbury resident sought in alleged armed home invasions in Winsted

A Bethel man has been arrested for alleged armed home invasions in Winsted and Police are searching for a second person wanted in connection with the incidents. 

Winchester Police received a call Wednesday evening about two men attempting forcible entry into two homes on one street.  One man was seen brandishing what was believed to be an AK-47 or Tech-9 style firearm. The pair sped from the scene in a VW Jetta after encountering one of the occupants and crashed.  The suspects fled on foot and officers located the firearm and a red colored “do rag” worn by one of the suspects in a wooded area. 

A male and female were seen walking out from the wooded area and police determined that 22-year old Aba Wonderful, of Bethel, was involved in the incident on Wheeler Street and the collision.

He was charged with two counts each of conspiracy to commit home invasion, conspiracy to commit burglary and risk of injury to a minor.  He was also charged with Criminal use of a firearm, Receiving a long gun without a valid eligibility certificate, Breach of peace, Reckless endangerment, Tampering with physical evidence, and Possession of high-capacity magazine.  Wonderful was held on $500,000 bail.  He has pending case in Danbury Court for numerous charges including burglary.

No one was injured during the home invasion, but one of the drivers involved in the collision sustained a broken arm after a brief altercation with one of the suspects.

The second suspect is believed to live in Danbury and officers from this department as well as the Statewide Narcotics Unit are working to locate the second suspect.    The incident is still under investigation and additional charges are expected to be filed.   The police believe that this is an isolated incident and do not believe that the general public is in danger.  

DEEP identifies man pulled from Candlewood Lake Tuesday

The body of the man recovered from Candlewood Lake on Tuesday has been identified.  the State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection says 20-year-old Denis Junio Rodrigues Pio of Bridgeport was discovered in the area of Chicken Rock at the southern tip of Green Island on the Sherman-New Fairfield border.  That's the area where he was reportedly seen last one week ago.  Authorities are investigating the incident as an accidental drowning.   He is the third person to die on Candlewood Lake this year. 

Redding Police identify Danbury man killed in car accident

Redding Police have identified the Danbury man killed in a car accident on Route 53 early Monday morning.  Police say 30-year-old Elrick Mora was pronounced dead at the scene.  Redding Police responded to the area just north of John Read Middle School shortly after 2am and found a heavily damaged vehicle off the roadway.  Police determined that the car was headed south, struck a tree off the shoulder of the road and the driver was ejected from the vehicle.  Mora was the lone occupant in the vehicle.  The investigation into the accident remains open as officers await toxicology report results.

3 Newtown retailers cited for selling tobacco products to underage individuals

Three Newtown businesses have been cited for selling tobacco products to underage individuals.  Newtown Police, the Newtown Prevention Council and the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services conducted unannounced tobacco law compliance checks at 21 locations on June 15th.  The clerks at Fairgrounds Wine & Spirits on South Main Street, the Mobil gas station on Church Hill Road and Newtown Wine & Spirits on South Main Street were fined 300 dollars and the establishments face possible administrative action by the state Department of Revenue Services.  The law prohibits retailers from selling tobacco, vape and other related products to people under the age of 21 and requires them to inspect the photo ID of anyone who appears to be under the age of 30 before selling such a product.

New 'captive audience' law takes place in Conn. workplaces

With the start of the fiscal year on July 1st, a number of new laws take effect in Connecticut.  One is the so-called captive audience bill, advocated for by Danbury state Senator Julie Kushner.  It prohibits an employer from coercing any employee into attending or participating in a meeting sponsored by the employer concerning the employer's views on political or religious matters.  It prohibits employers from penalizing workers, or threatening to do so, for failing to attend.  There will be exceptions to let employers give workers information on the law and rules on what they may need to do to perform their jobs.

New Milford to host annual fireworks celebration tonight

New Milford will host their annual fireworks celebration on Friday, weather permitting.  Mayor Pete Bass says an opening ceremony will get underway at 6:30, a band will be planning on the green from 7pm to 9:30 and the fireworks will go off at full dusk.  Prior to these events, the New Milford Women's Club will be doing their "cake on the Green" at 6pm.  Bass thanked the Chamber for their assistance in the fireworks and ceremony.

NY law enforcement urging boating safety this summer

Summer is officially here, and the number of people taking to local waterways on boats and personal watercraft is increasing. Members of the Putnam County Legislature and public safety agencies are raising awareness to boating safety this season. 

Carmel Fire Department officials are encouraging all vessel operators to take an approved course on boater safety and operating, and strongly recommend that everyone operating or riding on any type of watercraft wears a proper Personal  Flotation Device. Safety components should include a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, throw cushions, horn, whistle, anchor, rope, and paddles. 

The Putnam County Sheriff's Office is reminding boaters that it's illegal and unsafe to drink and boat.  Those out on the water should designate a sober boater to navigate safely.  The Carmel Police Department, New York's Marine Unit, continues to patrol Lake Mahopac to educate the boating public on safety and enforce the Navigation Law.

Assemblyman Kevin Byrne is reminding residents that they need to obtain a New York State Boating Safety Certificate.  This was established by Brianna’s Law, enacted in 2019, for all motorized and personal watercraft operators. This requirement is being gradually phased in, and this year it applies to people born on or after January 1st, 1988. New York residents can, for a fee at the DMV, have the boater safety certificate marked on a driver’s license so the paper version won't have been be carried around.


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