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Local Headlines Archives for 2022-11

Brookfield officials weigh in on proposed cell tower

A virtual public hearing has been held by the Connecticut Siting Council about the proposed construction of a telecommunications facility in Brookfield.  Residents have been critical of 5G and similar technology, speaking out before Board of Selectmen meetings for a couple of years warning of the potential impact on health.  The applicant, Homeland Towers, presented an overview of the proposed 165 foot tall tower at 60 Vale Road, with AT&T/FirstNet as the anchor tenant.  They may install public safety antenna at the top of the facility.  During a meeting this week, First Selectman Tara Carr read her comments from the hearing into the record and is opposed to the tower.  Selectman Harry Shaker questioned if emergency responders could put their equipment up without 5G technology.  Selectman Steve Dunn says it would cost less to hook into a new tower than to construct one of the town's own.  Homeland Towers is the same company that constructed the tower at 100 Pocono Road behind the firehouse.

Veterans Day to be marked with ceremonies in Greater Danbury area

Greater Danbury area municipalities are marking Veterans Day.  The Bethel Patriotic Association and the Bethel American Legion Post 100 are hosting a Ceremony at 10:50am on the front lawn of the Municipal Center.

Danbury's Veterans Day ceremony is planned for 11am at the Danbury War Memorial. The ceremony will include the singing of the National Anthem by the Immaculate High School Choir, remarks by Mayor Dean Esposito and state Veterans Affairs Commissioner Thomas Saadi.  The placing of a memorial wreath will be done by Esposito, Saadi and Marine Corps League Hat City Detachment William Moser. A rifle salute by the Danbury Police Honor Guard and Taps by Al Russo will follow.

The New Fairfield Veterans Association will hold a celebration at 11 am at Veterans Memorial Park to honor all men and women who have served in the armed forces.

American Legion Post 78 will conduct a ceremony at 11am in Ridgefield in front of the Lounsbury House/Veterans Memorial Garden.  George Schuster, a graduate of Ridgefield High School and UConn who served in the Vietnam War will be the keynote speaker. 

Luminaries honoring Veterans have been placed along the walkways of the New Milford Town Green.  Mayor Pete Bass thanked the VFW Auxiliary, Volunteers, and others for sponsoring the tribute. 

The Danbury Fire Department, professional firefighter's Union and the Veterans of Foreign Wars have teamed up to collect old, damaged or retired American flags throughout November.  At the end of the month, the flags will be turned over to the VFW for proper honors and a retirement ceremony.  Flags can be dropped off at Fire Headquarters on New Street, and at the fire stations at 201 Osborne Street, 36 Eagle Road, 171 South King Street or 75 Kenosia Avenue Ext.  

Alex Jones ordered to pay $473M more to Sandy Hook families

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Alex Jones and his company were ordered by a judge Thursday to pay an extra $473 million for promoting false conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook school massacre, bringing the total judgment against him in a lawsuit filed by the victims’ families to a staggering $1.44 billion.

“The record clearly supports the plaintiffs’ argument that the defendants’ conduct was intentional and malicious, and certain to cause harm by virtue of their infrastructure, ability to spread content...” Judge Barbara Bellis wrote in a 45-page ruling.

Christopher Mattei, a lawyer for the Sandy Hook families, said he hopes the award sends a message to conspiracy theorists who profit from lies.

“The Court recognized the ‘intentional, malicious ... and heinous’ conduct of Mr. Jones and his business entities,” Mattei said in a statement.

Jones called the award “ridiculous” and a “joke” and said he has little money to pay the damages.

“Well, of course I’m laughing at it,” he said. “It’d be like if you sent me a bill for a billion dollars in the mail. Oh man, we got you. It’s all for psychological effect. It’s all the Wizard of Oz ... when they know full well the bankruptcy going on and all the rest of it, that it’ll show what I’ve got and that’s it, and I have almost nothing.”

Eight victims’ relatives and the FBI agent testified during a monthlong trial about being threatened and harassed for years by people who deny the shooting happened. Strangers showed up at some of their homes and confronted some of them in public. People hurled abusive comments at them on social media and in emails. Some received death and rape threats.

Six jurors ordered Jones to pay $965 million to compensate the 15 plaintiffs for defamation, infliction of emotional distress and violations of Connecticut’s Unfair Trade Practices Act.

Jones, who lives and works in Austin, Texas, has bashed the trial as unfair and an assault on free speech rights. He says he will appeal the verdicts. He also has said he doesn’t have the money to pay such huge verdicts, because he has less than $2 million to his name — which contradicted testimony at a similar trial in Texas. Free Speech Systems, meanwhile, is seeking bankruptcy protection.

Jones said Thursday that he has only a “couple hundred thousand dollars” in his savings account.

Jones’ lawyer, Norm Pattis, wrote in a text message to the The Associated Press, “To paraphrase Karl Marx, the verdict was tragedy, this latest ruling is farce. It makes our work on appeal that much easier.”

Bellis found Jones and his company liable for damages without a trial last year, as a consequence for what she called his repeated failures to turn over many financial documents and other records to the plaintiffs. After the unusual “default” ruling, the jury was tasked only with deciding on the amount of compensatory damages and whether punitive damages were warranted.

Jones says that he turned over thousands of documents and that the default ruling deprived him of his right to present a defense against the lawsuit.

The punitive damages include about $323 million for the plaintiffs’ attorney fees and costs and $150 million for violations of the Unfair Trade Practices Act.

In Connecticut, punitive damages for defamation and infliction of emotional distress are generally limited to plaintiffs’ legal fees. The Sandy Hook plaintiffs’ lawyers are to get one-third of the $965 million in compensatory damages under a retainer agreement.

But there is no cap on punitive damages for violations of the Unfair Trade Practices Act. The plaintiffs had not asked for a specific amount of punitive damages, but under one hypothetical calculation they said such damages could be around $2.75 trillion under the law.

In a similar trial in Texas in August, Jones was ordered to pay nearly $50 million to the parents of another child killed in the Sandy Hook shooting for calling the massacre a hoax. A forensic economist testified during that trial that Jones and Free Speech Systems have a combined net worth as high as $270 million.

On Wednesday, Bellis, the Connecticut judge, ordered Jones to not move any of his assets out of the country, as the families seek to attach his holdings to secure money for the damages. Jones, meanwhile, has asked the judge to order a new trial or at least reduce the compensatory damages to a “nominal” amount.

A third and final trial over Jones’ hoax claims is expected to begin around the end of the year in Texas. As in Connecticut, Jones was found liable for damages without trials in both Texas cases because he failed to turned over many records to the plaintiffs.

Baggie of drugs recovered from pond after pursuit of suspect in Danbury

A baggie of drugs has been recovered from a pond in Danbury after a drug trafficking suspect reportedly threw the narcotics into the water while fleeing police.  Danbury Police detectives investigating the sale of cocaine in the city obtained search warrants for 34-year old George Kalu and his Cleveland Street apartment.  Police tried to stop the man as he walked along West Wooster Street yesterday afternoon, but he fled on foot.  During the pursuit, Kalu allegedly threw a bag containing cocaine into a nearby pond.  A dive team member retrieved the drugs, and Kalu was apprehended.  Police found "numerous" glassine bags containing fentanyl, and from his apartment seized packaging materials and an electronic scale. Kalu was charged with tampering with evidence, interfering with the duties of a police officer, and two counts each of possession of a controlled substance and possession of narcotics with intent to sell.  He was held on 150-thousand dollars bond.

Exchange Club of Danbury to hold annual Veterans Day Recognition Dinner

The Exchange Club of Danbury will hold its annual Veterans Day Recognition Dinner tonight at Anthony’s Lake Club. This has been an Exchange Club tradition since 1978 honoring area Veterans who, after completing their military service, have continued to serve the community in professional, volunteer and advocacy capacities. State Commissioner of Veterans Affairs, Tom Saadi, Chair of the Exchange Club Veterans Day Committee, will serve as the master of ceremonies.  Remarks and certificates of recognition will be presented by Saadi, the Club, Mayor Dean Esposito, and State Senator Julie Kushner.  Saadi says this year’s honorees are an extraordinary group of Veterans.

This year’s Veteran honorees are:

Jason Culbreth, Explosive Ordinance Disposal Senior Technician 1st Class (Retired) – U.S. Navy:  his service in the Navy from 1996-2007, included multiple combat deployments and high-risk missions in the Middle East, Asia and Europe. Culbreth is a Danbury Firefighter. 

Michael Pederson, Corporal U.S. - Marine Corps: his service in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1983-1987 included assignment to Okinawa, Japan. Pederson, is a Danbury Police Officer,

Tabitha   Potok,   Lt.  Colonel   –  U.S.   Air  Force: her service from 2005 to the present in the Air  Force  included deployments to the Middle East and the Horn of Africa.  Potok is currently assigned to the 402 Aircraft Maintenance Group, Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, Robins Air Force Base, GA as the Deputy Group Commander.

Paul Schlemmer, Storekeeper 3rd  Class – U.S. Navy:  his service from 1962-1970 in the Navy includes a tour of duty in Vietnam and later as a member of the crew of the U.S.S. Constitution.  Paul is the immediate past commander of VFW Post 149 in Danbury and works for the Danbury Water Department.

Thomas Presnell, Specialist 4 – U.S. Army: his service in the Army from 1968 – 1970 includes a tour of duty in Vietnam and later assignment to Fort Benning, GA.  Tommy, as he is better known, is a longtime leader at VFW Post 149 and works for First Student of New Fairfield and at Blue Jay Orchards

Voters decide to keep Newtown Board of Finance in Charter

Newtown residents have voted to keep the Board of Finance.  There was a Charter revision proposal on the ballot Tuesday that would have eliminated the advisory group from town government.  The tally was 7,678 against elimination and 3,161 in favor of the change.  The Board of Finance will continue to exist as it is currently framed in the Charter.  Residents also voted about 5,300 to 4,800 to approve procedural revisions. 

Hayes wins 3rd term in US House, defeats Logan

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Jahana Hayes has won reelection for a third term, fending off a challenge from a former state senator in a Connecticut race that national Republicans had targeted and resisting a red wave that overwhelmed some of her fellow Democrats in neighboring New York.

Hayes defeated George Logan, a Republican who repeatedly linked her with President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and accused her for being tone deaf about the impact of inflation on voters. The race attracted millions of dollars in outside money, with national Republicans seeing the western Connecticut 5th Congressional District as a key opportunity to crack Democrats’ lock on the state’s congressional delegation.

“National Republicans threw everything at me but the kitchen sink, put millions of dollars in this race,” Hayes told reporters who gathered at her campaign headquarters after the Secretary of the State’s Office announced it had received election results from a remaining community that had been delayed because of a technical issue.

“I had to work twice as hard and really fight to hold this seat. And at the end of the day, I think that was the message that resonated with the people in my community, that I’m one of them and I’m going to continue to fight for them,” she said. “Listen, a win is a win. So, I’m excited. I’ll take it.”

Republicans made gains all around Hayes’ western Connecticut district, picking up at least two seats in Congress just across the state line in New York’s Hudson River Valley.

A message was left seeking comment with a spokesperson for Logan. Earlier in the day, the campaign had expressed optimism he would ultimately win the close race.

Hayes, a former National Teacher of the Year, became the first Black woman to represent Connecticut in Congress when she was elected in 2018 by the politically diverse district covering western and central parts of the state.

During the campaign, she focused heavily on abortion rights, arguing Logan couldn’t be trusted on the issue despite promising he wouldn’t support a national ban. Hayes also touted her record of passing legislation and delivering funding to the district, including money for police departments.

“People don’t have to wonder what I’ll do when I’m elected to Congress because people know what I’ve already done,” Hayes said in a debate.

The race marked the first time two Black major party candidates have run against one another for a congressional seat in Connecticut. Logan, the son of immigrants from Guatemala, a community relations director at a water company and a guitarist in a Jimi Hendrix tribute band, portrayed himself as a social moderate and fiscal conservative who would vote against GOP leadership if he felt necessary.

“I’m going to go to Washington and hit the ground running,” he said in a recent debate. “The current House Republican leadership, they know where I stand on the issues.”

Logan has hoped to become the first Republican to win the 5th Congressional District seat since it was reconfigured following the elimination of the state’s 6th Congressional District in 2003. Connecticut lost a seat following the 2000 Census. With Hayes’ win, Connecticut’s congressional delegation remains all Democrats.

State DOT schedules paving project at Exit 1

The state Department of Transportation will be paving the highway in part of Danbury on Monday and motorists are cautioned to expect lane closures.  The resurfacing project on I-84 is taking place by exit 1 East and Westbound.  There will be lane closures on the exit 1 on and off ramps from Saw Mill Road to the New York State Line.  Work is scheduled from 7am to 4pm Mondays through Fridays.  DOT traffic control will be in place to guide motorists through the work zone. Drivers are advised to maintain a safe speed when driving in this area.

Brookfield to unveil new Honor Wall at Town Hall

The Town of Brookfield is holding a ceremony today for the unveiling of a new Honor Wall at Town Hall. Participants will include U.S. Army Honor Guard, family members of Veterans being honored, Veterans from all services, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and the Brookfield High School Chorus.  The Honor Wall is a donated permanent display case that was hand built to hold photos, biographies and memorabilia of Brookfield residents who have dedicated years of their lives to military service.  The ceremony is set for 5pm.

Bethel Fire Marshal releases findings of investigation into kitchen fire

The Bethel Fire Marshal's Office has released the findings of an investigation into a kitchen fire on October 30th.  Tom Galliford says the fire started in a hot pan of oil for cooking and was labeled as accidental.  One man sustained severe burns to his hand and was hospitalized.  The fire in the 2nd floor apartment on Grassy Plain Street was contained to the kitchen, with serious smoke damage throughout the apartment.  The first floor unit sustained minor water damage.  The investigation revealed that all apartments had working smoke alarms, and sounded when firefighters arrived.  Galliford is reminding residents to have at least one smoke detector on each level of the home and that they are working. 

Three people honored by Ability Beyond

Three people have been honored by Ability Beyond.  Senator Chris Murphy, Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi and Danbury Health Department programs coordinator Veasna Roeun were recognized for their efforts to help people with mental health and substance abuse issues.  Ability Beyond held their annual Autumn Mental Health Breakfast at the Amber Room yesterday.  Murphy co-authored the 2016 Mental Health Reform Act and has advocated for mental health parity in health insurance coverage.  Marconi and Roeun each received the Theresa Foss Memorial Award for contributions to the mental health, safety and physical well-being of the people they serve.

State Representatives elected in Greater Danbury area

Greater Danbury area incumbents up for reelection were mostly able to hold onto their seats, including Democratic incumbent Raghib Allie-Brennan in the 2nd House District of Bethel and Republican Patrick Callahan in the 108th House District serving New Fairfield and Sherman.  Democrat Maria Horn won third term in the 64th House District, which includes Kent and the surrounding towns.  New Milford Republican state Representative Bill Buckbee earned a 4th term serving in the 67th House District.  Democrat Bob Godfrey will continue his 34 years in office with an 18th term serving Danbury in the 110th House District. In the 111th House District, Democratic incumbent Aimee Berger-Girvalo won reelection.  Redding state Representative Anne Hughes will have third term in office serving the 135th House District.  

The 42nd state House District now includes Ridgefield because redistricting. Keith Denning is the Democratic candidate and defeated Wilton Republican Selectwoman Kim Healy for the open seat.  In the 107th House District, Republican Martin Foncello won election in the open seat, defeating Phoebe Holmes.  Farley Santos will follow in Democrat David Arconti's footsteps and represent the 109th House District in Danbury, winning over Republican Jesy Fernandez for the open position.

Democratic 138th House District incumbent Ken Gucker is trailing Republican Rachel Chaleski by 27 votes.  There will be an automatic recount.

State Senators for Greater Danbury area elected

Democratic incumbent Julie Kushner has won a 3rd term representing the 24th state Senate District, which includes Danbury and part of Ridgefield. 

In the 26th District of Ridgefield, Redding and Wilton, Democrat Ceci Maher defeated Republican Toni Boucher, who held the seat before being defeated by the outgoing Will Haskell.

Connecticut’s 28th state Senate District now includes all of Fairfield, Easton, and Newtown, and most of Bethel. Due to redistricting it no longer includes portions of Westport or Weston.  Republican incumbent Tony Hwang garnered enough votes for another term. 

In the open 30th state Senate District, which represents Brookfield, New Milford and 16 other towns in the northwest corner, Republican Stephen Harding was elected.  Harding is currently the 107th House Representative.

The 32nd state Senate District now includes part of Bethel, and serves towns including Bethlehem, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Roxbury, Southbury, Washington, and Woodbury.  In a repeat of the 2020 match up, Republican incumbent Eric Berthel defeated Democratic challenger Jeff Desmarais.

Probate Court Judges elected in Greater Danbury area

Probate Court Judges for the Greater Danbury area have been elected.  In Danbury, where longtime Judge Dianne Yamin is retiring, Joe DaSilva defeated Dom Chieffalo.  In the Northern Fairfield region serving Bethel, Newtown, Redding and Ridgefield, Steven DeMoura won over Jennifer Collins. 

After more than 30 years, Danbury Probate Judge Dianne Yamin is retiring.  Voters yesterday elected Democrat Joe DaSilva Jr to be the next Probate Judge.  He practiced law for 20 years, is past president of the Danbury Bar Association and past member of the Board of Directors of the Fairfield County Bar Association. He stepped down from the Board of Ed to run for the seat.

Housatonic Probate Judge Martin Landgrebe was unopposed in Bridgewater, Brookfield, New Fairfield, New Milford, and Sherman.

Danbury man killed in hit & run accident while crossing Route 7 in New Milford

A Danbury man has been killed in a hit and run accident in New Milford last night.  Police responded to Route 7 shortly after 5pm on a report of a pedestrian struck in the southbound lane by a vehicle as he crossed Danbury Road.  The vehicle that hit 61-year old Galo Rafael Guaman-Sarmiento fled the scene and is believed to be a black sedan with front driver's side damage.  Police say it was possibly a Ford Fusion.  Water Witch Hose Fire officials say multiple vehicles stopped to help. Despite immediate care from bystanders, responders and EMS, the victim was pronounced deceased at the scene.  A detour was set up as Route 7 was shut down in both directions for the investigation.  Sherman Fire Department responded with their portable light tower. Units cleared at 7pm with the Police taking over the revised traffic patterns while they processed the scene.  Anyone with information about the crash or the evading vehicle is asked to contact New Milford Detective Nicholas Smith at 860-355-3133.

Dishwasher sparks fire in Bethel home

Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Company responded to a kitchen fire shortly before midnight Monday night.  The on Apple Tree Road residents were alerted by a beeping smoke alarm while they were asleep.  The house was filled with smoke from a small fire in a kitchen appliance.  The fire was held to the dishwasher itself causing minor damage to the kitchen area.  The residents evacuated the home and no injuries were reported. Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Company says this serves as a reminder that working smoke detectors save lives. Anyone who hasn't changed smoke detector batteries yet, is encouraged to do so.  Residents are also urged to check the manufacture date on the backside of the detector. The National Fire Protection Association recommends all detectors be replaced after 10 years.

Danbury emergency responders, Eversource hold training drill

The Danbury Fire Department joined Danbury Emergency Management, Police, Public Works, Schools, Danbury Hospital and Eversource for a Unified Command Emergency Exercise. The goal of the drill was to give firefighters and frontline leaders a hands-on opportunity to mitigate impacts during a critical situation. Officials say the exercise helped to fine tune emergency plans and make responders better prepared for any event that may take place. 

Republicans hope to flip 5th District, Democrats hold others

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut Republicans were still hoping to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes early Wednesday after the rest of the state’s all-Democratic congressional delegation managed to win reelection.

The national GOP has been enthusiastic about its chances to flip Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District, which includes parts of northwestern and central Connecticut, and finally elect a Republican member of the delegation after more than a decade. The race has attracted national attention, with outside groups spending more than $7 million on the race between Hayes and former Republican state Sen. George Logan.

By 1:30 a.m., it remained too early to call a winner in the race.

“I’ll wait patiently for however long it takes to count every single vote,” Hayes said Tuesday night. Logan told his supporters he expected to win by the “shortest of margins.”

Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, has twice visited New Britain, a key city in the district where the RNC this year opened a community center as part of an outreach effort.

Republicans haven’t held a House seat in Connecticut since former U.S. Rep. Chris Shays lost in 2008 to Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, who still holds the seat representing a southwestern part of the state and was re-elected Tuesday.

Hayes is the first Black woman to represent Connecticut in Congress.

Logan, the son of immigrants from Guatemala, is a mechanical engineer and community relations director at a water company. He’s also a guitarist in a Jimi Hendrix tribute band. Despite being labeled as too extreme by Democrats, he has portrayed himself as a social moderate and fiscal conservative.

Logan says he supports abortion rights and opposes a federal ban but backs a parental notification requirement. He has accused Hayes and the Democrats of trying to “scare” voters about what he might do in Congress.

“My opponent and the Democrat leadership insiders repeatedly put out false attack ads about my position,” he said during a recent debate. “I would not support a national ban on abortion. It doesn’t matter to me who in the Congress would want one.”

Hayes has said it’s unlikely Logan would go against Republican House leadership.

“If anyone in this room thinks that the Congressional Leadership Fund is putting millions of dollars into the campaign of someone that they can’t trust will vote for the things that they would like, then you are all sadly mistaken,” Hayes said during the debate.

The national GOP also targeted Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, who was first elected to Congress in 2006 to represent the 2nd Congressional District in eastern Connecticut. But Courtney, who billed himself as someone with a record of effectively working with Democrats and Republicans, managed to defeat his Republican challenger, state Rep. Mike France, chair of the General Assembly’s conservative caucus.

In the 4th Congressional District, Himes won an eighth term. He was being challenged by Republican Jayme Stevenson, an abortion rights supporter who served more than a decade as Darien’s first selectman.

Democratic U.S. Rep. John Larson won his 13th term representing the 1st Congressional District, which spans northern and central parts of the state, including Hartford. He was challenged by Dr. Larry Lazor, who describes himself as a moderate Republican. A minor party candidate is also running.

And Democratic U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro won her 17th term in office in the 3rd Congressional District, which includes areas of southern and central Connecticut. She was challenged by Republican Lesley DiNardis, a college administrator, as well as two minor party candidates.

Election Night Greater Danbury 2022

Election Night Greater Danbury 2022

* denotes incumbent

Municipality/Position Affiliation Candidate
5th Congressional District Democrat Jahana Hayes* (109,965)
    (92% reporting) Republican    George Logan (112,286)
4th Congressional District Democrat Jim Himes* (118,377)
   (90% reporting) Republican Jamie Stevenson (82,895)
24th State Senate District Democrat Julie Kushner* (15,116)
  Republican MIchelle Coelho (13,716)
26th State Senate District Democrat Ceci Maher (25,562)
  Republican Toni Boucher (19,390)
28th State Senate District Democrat Tim Gavin (7,582)
  (30% reporting) Republican Tony Hwang* (8,538)
30th State Senate District Democrat Eva Zimmerman (14,211)
     (80% reporting) Republican Stephen Harding (18,452)
32nd State Senate District Democrat Jeff Desmarais (19,418)
  Republican Eric Berthel* (27,962)
2nd District State Representative Democrat Raghib Allie-Brennan*  (5,006)
    Republican Jenn Lewis (4,248)
64th District State Representative Democrat Maria Horn* (4,281)
  Republican Chris DuPont (3,049)
42nd District State Representative Democrat Keith Denning (5,500)
  Republican Kim Healy (5,017)
67th District State Representative Democrat Alexander Thomas (2,987)
  Republican Bill Buckbee* (5,330)
106th District State Representative   Republican Mitch Bolinsky* (7,374)
107th District State Representative Democrat Phoebe Holmes (5,019)
  Republican Martin Foncello (5,882)
108th District State Representative Democrat Jeff Ginsburg (4,306)
   Republican Parick Callahan* (5,942)
109th District State Representative Democrat Farley Santos (3,119)
  Republican Jesy Fernandez (2,487)
110th District State Representative Democrat Bob Godfrey* (2,090)
  Republican Eric Gleissner (1,273)
111th District State Representative Democrat Aimee Berger-Girvalo* (6,179)
  Republican Bob Hebert (5,014)
135th District State Representative Democrat Anne Hughes* (5,741)
  Republican Alexander Burns (3,243)
138th District State Representative Democrat Ken Gucker* (3,319)
  Republican Rachel Chaleski (3,346)
     (headed to recount)
Danbury Probate Court Judge Democrat Joe DaSilva Jr. (10,702)
  Republican Dom Chieffalo (9,680)
Housatonic Region Probate Judge Republican Martin Landgrebe* (19,040)
Northern Fairfield Probate Judge Democrat Steven DeMoura (18,718)
  Republican Jennifer Collins (17,562)

(vote tallies) Numbers are unofficial results which must be certified by the Secretary of the State's office.

Newtown officials split on proposed Charter revision to eliminate Finance Board

The current Newtown First Selectman and two previous office holders are speaking out against a proposed Charter Revision on the ballot this Election Day.  First Selectman Dan Rosenthal, Pat Llodra and Herb Rosenthal co-signed a letter of opposition sent to the Newtown Bee saying they will be voting No on Question 1, which would eliminate the Board of Finance.  They say in the letter that they've worked extensively with the Board and that the gains made by Newtown since its creation two decade ago are undeniable.  The three agree that there are redundancies in the present government construct with the way the charge of the Finance Board is written and the duties of the Legislative Council, but disagree with its removal.  Meanwhile other Newtown officials, including several members of the Legislative Council support its elimination.

Sample ballots, polling location information available online

Connecticut voters can go online and view the ballots for every city and town.  Polls will be open from 6am to 8pm.  Voters can visit the Secretary of the State website to also check their registration status and find their polling place.  Due to redistricting, residents may be voting for different House or Senate seats than they have in previous years.  Voters can look up their legislators on the General Assembly's website.

Election Day Registration permits anyone to register and vote in person on Election Day who meets the eligibility requirements for voting in this state and is not already registered, OR is registered in one town but has moved to another town.  Election Day Registration is not available at local polling places but is available at a designated location in each town, mostly town halls or municipal centers. Anyone in line at the Election Day Registration site at 8 pm can remain in line to complete registration and vote.  People will need to provide proof of identity and residency. 

There are sample ballots available for each municipality available online.

Brookfield Police Officer completes training academy

Brookfield Police Officer Rocky Ongaro has completed 6 months of academy training.  He is part of the 19th Training Session of the New Britain Police Department Basic Recruit Academy.  Ongaro graduated from the police academy and is ready to begin field training. For the next 12 weeks, he will be partnered with veteran officers to learn how to safely and appropriately apply his new training to keep the residents and visitors of Brookfield safe.

Danbury Fire brings regionalĀ Foam Trailer asset to gasoline tanker rollover in Norfolk

The Danbury Fire Department was requested to bring the regional Foam Trailer asset to help at a gasoline tanker rollover in Norfolk this weekend.  Danbury participates in numerous State and Regional response programs, as part of the Connecticut Statewide Fire-Rescue Disaster Response Plan. The Foam Trailer holds 500 gallons of foam, with others located in Winsted, Willington, Hartford, New Haven, Waterbury, Norwich, and Fairfield. The trailers are in the process of being switched to non-PFAS "green" foam, and only Danbury, Willington, and Winsted's are converted, so those three were deployed.  The gas tanker truck rolled over in the area of Beacon Road and Route 44 early Saturday morning releasing its full load of 8,200 gallons of gasoline, largely into the storm drain system and neighboring properties.  The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection also responded.  The area was closed for an extended period of time, with a detour set up.

C.H. Booth Library front entrance closed due to roof work

The front entrance of C.H. Booth Library in Newtown is temporary closed due to roof replacement work.  Library officials say the entry closure was done for the safety of patrons as the slate roof is replace.  There are rear and side entrances to the library, but residents can also schedule a patio pickup or delivery of items by calling or emailing the library.  The slate roof is original to the 1932 building.  CH Booth Library will also be closed this Friday in honor of Veterans Day, but will be open Saturday from 9:30am to 5pm and Sunday from noon to 5pm. 

Brotherhood-In-Action of Bethel seeks volunteers for Thanksgiving food deliveries

The nonprofit Brotherhood-In-Action of Bethel is set to deliver food to residents in need this Thanksgiving.  They are looking for volunteers to help with delivery on November 19th, starting at 9am at their location next to Bethel United Methodist Church. There is no pre-signup, volunteers just need to show up, using the Greenwood Avenue parking lot entrance.  A vehicle queue will be formed, with a drive-through line that will allow organizers to hand out delivery assignments and load vehicles.  Brotherhood-In-Action says they well set with donations for Thanksgiving due to the summer postal drive, collections from the school system, and availability of items from the food bank. After these deliveries, they will re-assess where they are on supplies and give notice of any changes for Christmas.

Pedestrian struck as a car collides with building in Newtown

A pedestrian was struck as a car collided with a building in Newtown on Friday.  Police responded to a parking lot off South Main Street and determined that a car collided with the side of the Stop & Shop building, striking a pedestrian in the process.  The driver and pedestrian were transported to Danbury Hospital for treatment of injuries sustained in the crash.  The accident remains under investigation. Botsford Fire & Rescue says the motor vehicle operator reported they lost control of the vehicle while attempting to park. They traversed a much bed, struck a column and then continued on hitting a pedestrian before striking the building.  The building sustained damage but remained structurally sound. 

Motorcyclist was seriously injured in Brookfield crash

A motorcyclist was seriously injured in an accident in Brookfield Saturday night.  Brookfield Police were notified by several motorists of a crash at the north end of Super 7 and its intersection with Federal Road shortly after 5pm.  The two adults and infant in the Subaru sedan were not injured.  The motorcycle operator was taken by ambulance to the Danbury Hospital Emergency Department with apparent serious injuries.  The accident remains under investigation, and names are not being released at this time until the family of the motorcycle operator can be located and notified.  Super 7 was closed between Industrial Park Drive and the Elephants Trunk in New Milford until around 9pm. 

Newtown Legislative Council creates explanatory text for Charter Revision questions

When Newtown residents go to the polls on Election Day, they will see two Charter Revision questions on the ballot.  The Legislative Council has approved explanatory text, or a brief summary of the questions.  The explanation does not advocate for passage or rejection, but is meant to describe the proposals.  One question asks if the Board of Finance should be deleted from the Charter, with the powers vested in the Legislative Council.  The board doesn't have fiscal authority and is soley an advisory body.  The other question is about the remaining Charter amendments.  Most of the proposals are administrative items. 

The approved explanatory text states that, “Approval of Question #2 accepts the rest of the proposed changes in their entirety, comprised of organizational, non-substantive, and substantive changes made to the document including but not limited to:
“a) Section 1-25(a)(7). This provision redefines the term “Town Department” as the term applies to the Board of Education by exempting the Board of Education from certain duties and functions of Town Bodies which would violate other provisions of the Connecticut General Statutes applicable to the Board of Education.
“b) Section 2-01(c). The Connecticut General Statutes shall prevail over the provisions of Section 2-01(c), which allows Town Bodies to make their own rules of conduct.
“c) Section 2-05(d) eliminates the Building Appeals Board from the Charter, as does Section 2-15(d).
“d) Section 2-25(a) excuses members of a Town Body from voting on the minutes of a previous meeting at which they were not in attendance.
“e) Section 2-31(c)(1-5) describes the procedure for filling vacancies on the Board of Education.
“f) Section 2-135(a) states Town Clerk shall also be the Registrar of Vital Statistics.
“g) Section 2-160(a) states Board of Police Commissioners shall also act as the Civilian Police Review Board.
“h) Section 2-210 eliminates the Building Appeals Board.
“i) Section 3-15(e) describes the election process for the Board of Education.
“j) Section 6-20 delineates the duties of the Legislative Council relative to the Budget.
“k) Section 6-20(f)(2) defines the process subsequent to a failed annual budget referendum.
“l) Section 6-35(b) & (d) revises the requests for emergency appropriations.
“m) Section 6-35(g) modifies the procedure for emergency and special appropriations.”

Conn. General Assembly members up for election tomorrow

Democratic incumbent Julie Kushner is seeking a 3rd term representing the 24th state Senate District, which includes Danbury and part of Ridgefield.  Republican Danbury Board of Education member Michelle Coelho is looking to unseat Kushner.  Coelho is a design project coordinator who was one of the initial developers of The Rivington.  The mother of three is a Cuban American.

Republican Toni Boucher is looking to get back into politics.  The former longtime state legislator is running for her old seat, the 26th Senate District.  She spent 12 years in the House and 10 in the Senate.  Democrat Ceci Maher is also running for the open seat.  She worked 14 years as Executive Director of an organization called Person-to-Person and most recently served as interim Executive Director of Sandy Hook Promise. 

Connecticut’s 28th state Senate District now includes all of Fairfield, Easton, and Newtown, and most of Bethel. Due to redistricting it no longer includes portions of Westport or Weston.  Republican incumbent Tony Hwang is seeking another term and being challenged by Democrat Tim Gavin.

There's an opening in the 30th state Senate District, which represents Brookfield, New Milford and 16 other towns in the northwest corner.  Democrat Eva Bermudez-Zimmerman and Republican Stephen Harding are running for the position.  Harding is currently the 107th House District Representative and Bermudez-Zimmerman has been  an advocate for 16 years, with 10 years representing child care providers.

The 32nd state Senate District now includes part of Bethel, and serves towns including Bethlehem, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Roxbury, Southbury, Washington, and Woodbury.  The race today features a 2020 match up of Republican incumbent Eric Berthel and Democratic challenger Jeff Desmarais.

Republican Jenn Lewis is seeking to unseat Democratic incumbent Raghib Allie-Brennan in the 2nd House District of Bethel.  Due to redistricting, the seat represents larger portions of Bethel and Danbury, but no longer includes parts of Newtown and Redding.

The 42nd state House District now includes Ridgefield because redistricting. Wilton Selectwoman Kim Healy is the Republican candidate.  She was an auditor with PriceWaterhouseCooper.  Keith Denning is the Democratic candidate.  He is a practicing Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. 

Democrat state Representative Maria Horn is seeking her third term in the 64th House District, which includes Kent and the surrounding towns.  She is being challenged by political newcomer Chris DuPont, a Goshen Republican. 

New Milford Republican state Representative Bill Buckbee is seeking a 4th term serving in the 67th House District.  He serves as the ranking member of the Commerce Committee and is a member of the Energy and Technology, Human Services and Veterans’ Affairs committees.  He is being challenged by Democratic New Milford Town Council member Alexandra Thomas, who previously served on the New Milford Board of Education. 

Republican Martin Foncello is running for the open state House seat in the 107th House District, which includes Brookfield and portions of Bethel and Newtown.  Foncello is a retired Army colonel, a former Homeland Security intelligence officer, and served two terms as Brookfield’s First  Selectman.  Democrat Phoebe Holmes is also running for the open seat.  She is a member of the Brookfield Zoning Commission. 

State Representative Patrick Callahan is running for reelection in the 108th House District serving New Fairfield and Sherman.  Democrat Jeff Ginsburg is looking to unseat him.  Ginsburg grew up in Danbury and retired in Sherman.

Farley Santos is seeking to follow in Democrat David Arconti's footsteps and represent the 109th House District in Danbury.  He previously served on the Board of Education and is a City Council member.  Republican Jesy Fernandez is also seeking the open seat.  He came to the country from the Dominican Republic,  served in the United States Navy, and is a small business owner.

Democrat Bob Godfrey is looking to continue his 34 years in office with an 18th term serving Danbury in the 110th House District.  Republican Eric Gleissner is looking to unseat him.  Gleissner has been a business owner for 35 years as a landscaper and mason.

In the 111th House District, Democratic incumbent Aimee Berger-Girvalo is seeking reelection.  Republican Selectman Bob Hebert is looking to unseat her.

Redding state Representative Anne Hughes is seeking a third term in office serving the 135th House District.  Republican Alex Burns is looking to unseat her.  He is currently serving on the Weston Planning and Zoning Commission. 

Democratic incumbent Ken Gucker is seeking another term representing the 138th House District.  He is being challenged by Republican Rachel Chaleski, the Danbury Board of Education chairwoman.

Newtown state Rep. unopposed in 106th House District

Newtown state Representative Mitch Bolisnky is running unopposed in the 106th District.  He says affordability is topmost of people's minds right now.  He says the state should be careful of unintended consequences of policies the legislature enacts.   Bolinsky says children's mental health issues have created a crisis in the education system.  He says kids are a lot more isolated and believes society needs to reclaim compassion, civility and kindness.  He touted a pair of mental health bills passed in the last General Assembly session and supports creative arts therapy.  He says in the crisis days of Sandy Hook, reaching children sometimes required something other than talk therapy. He's working to certify dance and movement therapy.  Bolinsky says seniors are feeling the economic pinch as much as anybody and applauded his colleagues from removing the state tax burden from social security and pension incomes.  He says that's been a five year process.  He wants the state to look at how Connecticut deals with accessory apartments and other related issues.  When it comes to infrastructure, considering the amount of federal dollars available, Bolinsky says the state process is slow.  He sees a lot of need to reduce the congestion on I-84 and thinks the DOT is working off old traffic studies.  He says the highway should be at least three lanes from Danbury to Waterbury, which will make less of a bottleneck in Newtown.  Public safety is another concern.  He says there's a certain lack of respect for the law right now.  Bolinsky says the most recent crime stats are deceptive because of the pandemic.  During the 2020 and 2021 lockdowns, crime was down so Bolinsky says the comparison is absurd.  Compared to 2019, property crime, murder and assaults are up.  He wants to look at the recent criminal justice reforms approved in the General Assembly.  

Conn. Congressional members up for election Tuesday

Connecticut's Congressional delegation is up for election tomorrow.  

The candidates for the 4th Congressional District are Democratic incumbent Jim Himes and Republican former Darien First Selectman Jaime Stevenson.  They agree with a woman's right to chose and would stand against a national ban on abortion.  Each also say more has to be done to lower the cost of health care, but disagree over how to reach that goal.  Stevenson does not support lowering the age of Medicare and instead suggested slowly increasing the age.  She says people are working longer than in the past.  Himes supports lowering the age.  He says lowering the age of the population that will create downward pressure on the costs associated with the program.

Democratic incumbent Jahana Hayes is seeking a third term representing the 5th Congressional District and being challenged by Republican George Logan, a former state senator. Hayes currently sits on the House of Representatives committees for education, labor, and agriculture.  Logan is a government affairs official for a water company in Connecticut.

Planning & Zoning member seeks to unseat two-term 135th state Rep. Hughes

Redding state Representative Anne Hughes is seeking a third term in office.  She decided to run again because of what she sees as a fragile time for democracy.  She says she wants to protect women's rights, come up with a resiliency plan to fight climate change and tackle the issue of gun violence.  Hughes supports the ballot question about allowing some form of in-person early voting.  She touted the now second-in-the-country Data Privacy Act approved this year.  Hughes says cybersecurity is a big threat that needs to continue to be addressed.  She added that Big Tech is not being held accountable for what happens with people's private information and they should be.  As a Social Worker who focuses on elder abuse, she wants to involve the Department of Consumer Protection and Attorney General's Office in further discussions about financial exploitation.  When it comes to clear cutting trees around power lines, Hughes says that's where climate change and grid security meet.  She called Eversource a monopoly and doesn't think the company has been serious about hardening the grid.  It was deregulated as a utility.  She notes that the reservoirs in Easton and Redding supply all of lower Fairfield County with water and if the centuries-old ecosystem is damaged it will have catastrophic effects.  She was critical of possibly replacing the trees with nonnative trees.  She wants to look into using federal Infrastructure Act dollars to bury the utility lines.  Hughes supports continuing the 25-cent gas tax and providing free public transportation.


Republican Alex Burns is looking to unseat Hughes.  He is currently serving on the Weston Planning and Zoning Commission.  He decided to run for state office because of high taxes and the state's debt load.  He sees the cost of living as the biggest issue in the district.  Burns says this can be mitigated through tax cuts, including extending the gas tax holiday.  He also wants to fund ways to lower electric rates.  He also wants to focus on making Connecticut more business friendly and attractive to young people.  Burns was critical of proposals in Hartford for regionalization, believing municipalities should have control over zoning, education and other issues.

Retired infantry officer challenges four-term incumbent in 28th state Senate District race

Connecticut’s 28th state Senate District now includes all of Fairfield, Easton, and Newtown, and most of Bethel. Due to redistricting it no longer includes portions of Westport or Weston.  Republican incumbent Tony Hwang is seeking another term and being challenged by Democrat Tim Gavin.


Gavin served as an infantry officer in the Army.  He ran a program in college to connect students to nonprofits and was an Eagle Scout.  Gavin supports no-excuse absentee voting and early voting.  The top issues he's hearing when out going door to door are taxes and affordability.  He wants to expand the income tax credit and the child tax credit.  The other top issues are abortion rights and concerns about gun violence.  Gavin says extending the gas tax holiday makes sense in the current climate, but he wants to keep an eye on the budget.  Gavin says priorities should be on expanding health care access and preparing students to meet the job demands of a 21st century economy.  He added that the state must reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.  He'd like to see some sort of TCI program and an effort made to cut energy costs.  When it comes to housing affordability, Gavin says communities should be protected, but the state should make it so young people and seniors can stay here.  He called for more common sense gun safety measures and supports the state's expanded Red Flag laws.  Mental wellness of kids would be a priority as well.  He says the government has a critical role to play in establishing safety standards for social media companies.  While he would support funding for professionals to help ensure mental wellness, addressing the root cause will go a long way.


Hwang says he's encouraged that the state is moving to a new normal, getting through the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.  While he's grateful for the vaccine, the work of frontline health care workers and emergency responders, Connecticut paid a price.  He says there were many challenges, restrictions and alterations to lifestyle and state residents should be proud of the job done to keep people safe.  Hwang says one of the big challenges now is to truly move forward to address what's been left behind.  Hwang says affordability is the biggest issue facing the state.  He says it's not just the taxes, inflation or electric costs, but the system of government.  He says the influx of federal dollars, there was an opportunity to make state government more sustainable.  Hwang wants to keep local governance and control in the hands of municipalities.  He opposed previous efforts, which did not advance, to have more regionalization and mandates.  Hwang touted three comprehensive bills to tackle the mental health crisis, but was critical of his colleagues and state leaders for ignoring the impact of lockdowns and other regulations on children.  Hwang says there's a housing crisis in the state.  He called for a model, not a state mandate, to encourage affordable and diverse housing stock. 

New Milford Town Council member seeks to unseat 3-time state Rep.

New Milford Republican state Representative Bill Buckbee is seeking a 4th term serving in the 67th House District.  He serves as the ranking member of the Commerce Committee and is a member of the Energy and Technology, Human Services and Veterans’ Affairs committees.  He is being challenged by Democratic New Milford Town Council member Alexandra Thomas, who previously served on the New Milford Board of Education.  Buckbee says he wants to help businesses thrive, fill jobs and make it affordable for them to be in Connecticut.  She wants to focus on children and their needs in the areas of education, healthcare and housing.

32nd state Senate District races features 2020 rematch

The 32nd state Senate District now includes part of Bethel, and serves towns including Bethlehem, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Roxbury, Southbury, Washington, and Woodbury.  The race today features a 2020 match up of Republican incumbent Eric Berthel and Democratic challenger Jeff Desmarais.  Berthel is seeking a 3rd full term, having been selected in a special election in 2017, and re-elected in 2018 and 2020.  Desmarais was a Watertown Town Council member and has served on the Watertown Public Buildings Commission, the Charter Revision Commission and is the chairperson of the Watertown/Oakville Democratic Town Committee. Berthel says affordability is the biggest issue facing the state ranging from high electric rates and taxes to looming budget deficits.  Desmarais supports a middle class tax cut says the state should be able to find ways help municipalities.  On health care, Desmarais supports a public option health care plan. Berthel voted against a bill approved this past session protecting abortion providers and patients from extradition to states that have banned abortion because of the expanded scope of practice for medical professionals who are not trained in performing abortions.  Desmarais supports the law.  Berthel has said he supports requiring private health insurance companies to pay for metabolic and bariatric surgery procedures.

Bethel moves forward on property purchase for Parloa Park parking

The Bethel Board of Selectmen has signed off on spending up to $125,000 for a parcel of land near Parloa Park in order to expanding parking options for residents.  The offer on 134 South Street was accepted by the seller.  The matter was sent to the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Board of Finance.  Town Attorney Martin Lawlor says it wouldn't be a problem for the town to add a cross walk to get from the property to the park.  The Bethel Parks and Recreation Commission says the need for more parking has been known for years, but was highlighted at a recent meeting about possible improvements to the park.  The property is in a flood zone so there are restrictions, but it could be used as a parking lot.   The proposal would not need to go to a full Planning and Zoning hearing, rather a a referral to have them weigh in on it. 

Northwest corner candidates in 64th House District agree on a number of issues

Democrat state Representative Maria Horn is seeking her third term in the 64th House District, which includes Kent and the surrounding towns.  She is being challenged by political newcomer Chris DuPont, a Goshen Republican.  Horn served on the Environment Committee in the last General Assembly session and DuPont also says preserving the character of the northwest corner is important.  Horn also chaired the Public Safety Committee.  The former federal prosecutor says there should be a focus on providing law enforcement with the tools it needs for ensuring mental health.  DuPont is a former member of Watertown Fire Department and EMS.  Horn also served on the Energy and Technology Committee and wants to increase broadband in the rural district.  DuPont says affordability is a key issue and wants to look into sales tax reductions and repealing the highway use tax on trucks set to take effect next year.  As for healthcare, both agree that keeping services at Sharon Hospital is a top priority.  Both candidates are pro-choice.  

Former Brookfield officer charged in case linked to student photos

A former Brookfield police officer assigned to the High School has been arrested in a case involving the distribution of nude photographs of two former students.  Connecticut Insider reports that Steven Rountos was the school resource officer and charged Friday with tampering with or fabricating physical evidence.  According to court documents, the 2017 and 2019 graduates became aware in 2021 that nude photos taken while they were still in high school were circulating on social media and reported it to Brookfield police, but felt their complaint was not taken seriously.  One former student went to a Danbury police and was put in touch with a Special Agent from Homeland Security.  Court documents say the photos were obtained when a Snapchat account was “hacked and illegally accessed." Lawyers for the former students said the agent told them the photos had been found on a cell phone and flash drive in Rountos’ possession.  The 32-year old Southbury man was placed on administrative leave and later resigned.  He is due in court on the 18th.

Conn. woman sentenced for creating false COVID-19 vaccine records

A Connecticut woman has been sentenced for creating false COVID-19 vaccine records for several individuals.  25-year old Zaya Powell of Waterbury will serve 3 years probation, pay a $5,000 fine and perform 200 hours of community service.  Powell worked as a Data Entry Specialist for Griffin Health and traveled to various COVID-19 vaccination sites in Connecticut.  She didn't administer vaccines, but had access to the electronic health record system and blank vaccine cards.  Between August and October 2021, Powell created fraudulent records in VAMS for 14 different individuals when none had received any vaccination.  The cards included lot numbers of genuine vaccines that were administered to others.  4 of the 14 individuals were state employees who worked at the Southbury Training School, a Connecticut Department of Developmental Services facility.  They were required under gubernatorial executive orders to be vaccinated.  The 4 state employees were charged in state court and their cases are pending.

Social club in Danbury has liquor permit temporarily suspended

A social club in Danbury will have its liquor permit suspended for three days this month. The AOH Irish Center at 6 Lake Avenue has paid a $250 fine and the permit will be suspended November 16th through 18th.  Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle Seagull says the Liquor Control Division imposed the fine and suspension for violation of the nonprofit club permit.

New Fairfield Police collecting for annual Holiday gift card drive

The New Fairfield Food Center as well as New Fairfield Police will have donation boxes for this year's Thanksgiving and Christmas/ Holiday gift card drive. With the cost of food increasing, they believe gift cards could go along way and are in high demand. But the Food Center will have a donation box as well where paper goods can be donated (toilet paper, plates, cups, napkins, paper towels etc).  Anyone who knows of a New Fairfield family in need is asked to contact Shannon Howley or Officer Cassavechia. 

Brookfield Police hiring entry level officers

The Brookfield Police Department is hiring entry level officers.  Applicants must by at least 21 years old with a high school diploma or GED and a valid driver's license.  The process will include written, oral, and physical exams, background check, drug test and polygraph among other requirements.  The application can be completed online.

New Fairfield emergency dispatchers have new phone system

The New Fairfield Office of Emergency Management and local Police Department are alerting residents that the town's dispatch center has a new and upgraded phone system.  The system is designed to put callers in touch with the needed agency quickly and efficiently with voicemail options. Anyone with an emergency should still call 911.

Bethel Police participate in No Shave November

Some Bethel Police Department members have started to grow their beards. This is in support of No Shave November, which brings awareness to both Prostate Cancer and Childhood Cancer. Officer's donate money to Circle of Care which provides emotional and financial assistance to children and families, from day of diagnosis through treatment and beyond, with programs and services that meet the unique and challenging needs of pediatric cancer treatment. Residents can support Bethel Police in their fundraising efforts through this link:

Driver extricated from car involved in accident with dump truck

A car rolled over in Kent Wednesday morning during an accident involving a dump truck, trapping the driver.  Kent Volunteer Fire Department responded to Route 341 for the two vehicle crash. Wearing proper protective gear, firefighters secured the vehicle, cut away the windshield and assisted the patient to Kent Ambulance for transport to Danbury Hospital.  The driver sustained non-life threatening injuries. The truck driver was unharmed.  Debris was cleared from the road to allow for one lane traffic.

Brookfield Police raise thousands for Special Olympics

The Brookfield Police Department has raised over $20,000 this year for Special Olympics Connecticut.  That's the second-highest law enforcement donor in Connecticut. The department raises funds through a number of events including National Night Out, Tip A Cop, Over The Edge and others.  Donations support Special Olympics athletes and sponsor events like their summer and winter games. Two members of the Brookfield Police Department are attending the 2022 International Law Enforcement Torch Run conference.

Brookfield Police raise thousands for Special Olympics

The Brookfield Police Department has raised over $20,000 this year for Special Olympics Connecticut.  That's the second-highest law enforcement donor in Connecticut. The department raises funds through a number of events including National Night Out, Tip A Cop, Over The Edge and others.  Donations support Special Olympics athletes and sponsor events like their summer and winter games. Two members of the Brookfield Police Department are attending the 2022 International Law Enforcement Torch Run conference.

Accident involving live wires closes Brookfield road

A single vehicle accident in Brookfield involving a telephone pole and live electrical wires down closed a major roadway last night.  Brookfield Volunteer Fire Department responded to Grays Bridge Road between Federal and Old State Roads shortly before midnight.  The driver was able to self-extricate and was uninjured.  This was their 3rd call of the evening.  There was also an activated fire alarm in an apartment building and a smoke odor in a private residential dwelling.

Some Danbury residents speak out about proposed warehouse

Over 1,000 petitions have been presented to a Danbury City Councilman from residents concerned about a warehouse proposed for the City's westside.  Councilman Emile Buzaid says residents of Crown Pointe and Rivington are opposed to plans by Clancy Moving and Storage to locate to the neighboring Summit property.  While plans for the 182,000 square foot warehouse, along with office and maintenance space, have been in the works for at least a year, he says many were first hearing about the project when the City Council signed off in September on a tax abatement for the company. 

Each phase of the Summit Master Plan goes to the Environmental Impact Commission for approval before site plans can be approved because the property includes 6.7 acres of wetlands.  Each phase is reviewed administratively by City staff under PND regulations. The Planning Department must review the site plan by December 1st and the Zoning Commission does not need to be presented with the plan. 

Clancy plans to hold a public meeting November 15th at 6pm in the lobby of the Summit.

The Patterson, New York-based company modified their design for a driveway between the proposed warehouse and an administrative building in order to reduce the overall direct wetland disturbance.  Owner John Clancy said during a committee meeting on the tax abatement request that the $25 million project would bring more than 130 full-time jobs to the city.

Political newcomer challenging Bethel State Rep. seeking 3rd term

Republican Jenn Lewis is seeking to unseat Democratic incumbent Raghib Allie-Brennan in the 2nd District of Bethel.  Due to redistricting, the seat represents larger portions of Bethel and Danbury, but no longer includes parts of Newtown and Redding. Lewis, a former educator and current small business owner, decided to run to advocate for the community.  She says being a parent and homeowner are also important voices to be heard in Hartford.  The biggest issue she sees is affordability.  She is also concerned about crime in the community, including recent property crimes such as smash and grab robberies.  Lewis says Connecticut is collecting a lot of taxes from residents and she wants to review the ones that cost more to collect than they bring in in revenue.  Lewis also wants to look at why energy costs are so high.  She says the environment is important, but it comes down to affordability.  Lewis isn't looking to change Connecticut gun laws, but when it comes to public safety, she wants officers to be able to do their job and would review the Police Accountability Bill.  She says there were some good aspects to the measure, but some pieces took away from police morale.  Lewis says the fallout of the pandemic is something that will be around for a long time.  She believes more resources are needed to help students recover from the isolation, learning loss and other mental health issues.  She says for every mandate that comes down that is unfunded, it takes away from the dollars the schools need for other things.  Lewis says there's not a one-size fits all solution for education and wants to watch what the state is requiring from the schools.


Allie-Brennan is seeking a 3rd term.  He served on the legislature’s Energy and Technology, Public Safety and Security, and General Law committees. During his previous term, Allie-Brennan held a number of community roundtable events regarding the opioid crisis and worked to foster communication between law enforcement, community leaders and organizations.  During the 2022 session, he introduced bills concerning Children's Mental Health, suspending the gas tax, data privacy and online monitoring, and the Connecticut Clean Air Act among others.

Video surveillance, security approved for Bethel fire departments

The Bethel Fire Department will be getting a new video surveillance system.  The Board of Selectmen signed off on about $49,000 from the Capital Non-Recurring Fund for the allocation.  The Board also signed off on $6,000 for a security system for the Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Department, done by the town's IT Department.  Fire Chief John Baker says the original cost for the project from outside vendors was estimated at between $17,000 and $20,000.  The Board also approved funding for a replacement liner for a steel portable pond for Bethel Fire.  The original request of $3,200 would have been a complete replacement of their existing equipment, but $1,900 will pay for the liner, and may end up being covered by insurance.  

Barnes & Noble is re-locating Danbury store

Barnes & Noble is re-locating its Danbury store.  The lease at their current location at 15 Backus Avenue ends next year.  The bookseller has been at that location for 31 years, and plans to only move down the road.  The new store at 7 Backus Avenue will occupy 19-thousand square feet that previously housed a furniture store, between Dick’s Sporting Goods and Primark.  The new store will also include a cafe.  Plans are to open in the mall to coincide with the end of its current lease.

DEEP evaluating Newtown roadway following oil truck crash

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is evaluating whether a Newtown road needs to be dug up and replaced following a home heating oil truck crash earlier this week, according to The Newtown Bee.  A 41-year old headed down New Lebbon Road Monday morning left the roadway, struck a utility pole and rolled over, coming to rest in the opposite shoulder.  The accident happened near the intersections with High Rock Road and Beagle Trail.  The driver did not sustain any injuries.  Fuel did leak from the truck.  An environmental remediation company, along with Newtown firefighters and DEEP were able to contain the spill, but there was oil spillage on the road.  No charges were immediately filed as the accident remains under investigation. 

Alex Jones trial moves to punitive damages phase

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Alex Jones is facing the possibility of having more penalties heaped onto the amount he already owes for spreading conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, as the punitive damages phase of his Connecticut trial is set to begin Friday in a lawsuit filed by the victims’ families.

A jury last month ordered Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems, to pay nearly $1 billion in compensation to the Sandy Hook families for the harm they suffered when he called it a hoax perpetrated by “crisis actors.”

The jury also said punitive damages should be awarded. That amount will be determined by Judge Barbara Bellis following evidentiary hearings set for Friday and Monday.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers, in court filings, suggested punitive damages could total $2.75 trillion based on one hypothetical calculation, but have not asked for a specific amount.

“Justice requires that the Court’s punitive damages award, punish and deter this evil conduct,” attorneys Alinor Sterling, Christopher Mattei and Joshua Koskoff wrote in a motion. “Only a punitive damages assessment of historic size will serve those purposes.”

Jones’ lawyer, Norm Pattis, is arguing that any punitive damages should be minimal, in part because the $1 billion compensatory damages award is the functional equivalent of punitive damages due to its extremely large amount.

“Few defendants alive could pay damages of this sum,” Pattis wrote. “Indeed, most defendants would be driven into bankruptcy, their livelihood destroyed, and their future transformed into the bleak prospect of a judgment debtor saddled for decades with a debt that cannot be satisfied. To regard this as anything other than punishment would be unjust.”

Pattis did not return a message seeking comment. Mattei declined to comment.

All the plaintiffs, including relatives of eight of the shooting victims and an FBI agent who responded to the school, gave emotional testimony during the trial, describing how they have been threatened and harassed for years by people who believe the shooting didn’t happen.

Strangers showed up at some of their homes and confronted some of them in public. People hurled abusive comments at them on social media and in emails. And some said they received death and rape threats.

Jones was found liable last year for damages to the families for defamation, infliction of emotional distress and violating Connecticut’s Unfair Trade Practices Act. Although punitive damages are generally limited to attorneys’ fees for defamation and infliction of emotional distress, there are no such limits for punitive damages under the Unfair Trade Practices Act.

In a calculation in a plaintiffs’ court filing, they said Jones’ comments about Sandy Hook were viewed an estimated 550 million times on his and social media accounts from 2012 to 2018. They said that translated into 550 million violations of the Unfair Trade Practices Act.

“If each of the 550 million violations were assessed at the $5,000 statutory maximum, the total civil penalty would be $2,750,000,000,000 ($2.75 trillion),” their attorneys wrote.

They also said punitive damages for violations of the unfair trade practices law typically are multiple times more than compensatory damages.

As for legal fees, the plaintiffs and their lawyers have a retainer agreement stipulating the law firm, Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, will get one-third of any compensatory damages recovered from Jones and Free Speech Systems. The firm says its legal costs in the case have been nearly $1.7 million so far.

In documents recently filed in Free Speech Systems’ bankruptcy case, a budget for the company for Oct. 29 to Nov. 25 estimated product sales would total $2.5 million, while operating expenses would be about $740,000. Jones’ salary was listed at $20,000 every two weeks.

Jones has vowed to appeal all the verdicts against him related to Sandy Hook.

3 boaters rescued from water by Carmel Police dive team

Carmel Police made a water rescue yesterday afternoon.  Dive team members responded to Croton Falls Reservoir shortly before 12:30pm and assisted in the rescue of three boaters that had fallen in the water when their boat overturned. All three were successfully removed from the water and transported to Danbury Hospital for evaluation. Several other agencies provided mutual aid including the Putnam County Sheriff's Department, New York State Police, NYC DEP Police, Mahopac Volunteer Fire Department, Mahopac Falls Volunteer Fire Department, Ambulnz-Putnam County EMS, Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services, and North Salem Volunteer Ambulance Corps.

Lottery opens for Westside Middle School Academy

The Danbury Public School District has opened the lottery for Westside Middle School Academy.  There are separate applications for STEM and for Global Studies.  Parents are asked to complete a separate form for each child, and list their current school information for the student who is applying to attend.  The application is valid for the Fall 2023 Grade only.  Applications must be received by November 15th.

Virtual public hearing about proposed cell tower in Brookfield

The Connecticut Siting Council has scheduled a public hearing via Zoom tonight about the construction of a telecommunications facility proposed in Brookfield.  The hearing at 6:30pm is about the structure proposed at 60 Vale Road. The applicant will present an overview of the proposed facility. Homeland is looking to build a new 165 foot tall cell tower, with AT&T/FirstNet as the anchor tenant.  They may install public safety antenna at the top of the facility.  Homeland Towers is the same company that constructed the tower at 100 Pocono Road behind the firehouse

No leak after propane truck rolls over in Mahopac

A propane truck rolled over in Mahopac, but there was no active leak from the tank.  Mahopac Falls Volunteer Fire Department responded to Stillwater Road Tuesday around noon on a report of an accident.  The propane truck rolled over the embankment.  No other vehicles were involved. The driver was able to self-extricate and was evaluated on scene, but refused any further medical attention.  The road was closed until the truck could be removed from the embankment and towed away.  Carmel Police and Putnam County EMS also responded.

Brookfield Police officer promoted to corporal

A Brookfield Police officer has been promoted to corporal.  The Brookfield Police Commission approved the promotion of Joseph Kyek at their meeting last month.  He was sworn in to the rank of Corporal Tuesday afternoon.  Several eligible officers participated in a competitive testing process, which included an oral board panel and comprehensive written exam.  Kyek joined the force in 2009 as an emergency dispatcher and became an officer in 2013.  He's a member of the DIVE team and a K9 handler.  He was awarded a lifesaving medal in 2015 and has received several letters of commendation.  Kyek is one of the coordinators of the Department's Toy Drive and organizes the National Night Out event for the Department. 

Easton Police receive reports of check washing crime

The Easton Police Department, and others around the state, have seen an increase in check washing crime. The process of erasing the details from an already completed check allows them to be rewritten.  In most instances, Easton Police say checks that have been put in mailboxes -- and are awaiting pickup by a postal employee-- are stolen. The suspect then alters the check by changing the payee and the amount and then cashes or deposits it at a bank.  The checks that end up being “washed” have been stolen from both residential and United States Postal Service mailboxes within Easton and the State.  The easiest way to combat this is to avoid placing checks directly in the mailboxes.  Instead, Easton Police say it would likely be safer to either complete the transaction electronically or by mailing the check from inside the post office.  

More changes to Old New Milford Rd in Brookfield

There's a roadway change in Brookfield as the town works to improve traffic flow along Federal Road.  Old New Milford between Healthy Weights and the medical center at 60 Old New Milford is now a dead end.  Only Southbound traffic coming from the Route 133/Federal Road intersection may travel up the hill on Old New Milford Road.  Between the intersection of Huckleberry Hill and 60 Old New Milford, northbound traffic is business access only. Any traffic on Huckleberry Hill needing to reach Federal Road must bear right off Huckleberry Hill onto Old New Milford Road, to the new signalized intersection with Federal Road. More worked is planned on Federal Road. Travelers are encouraged to increase awareness and follow the road signs.

Two candidates vie for open state House seat in 107th District

Republican Martin Foncello is running for the open state House seat in the 107th District, which includes Brookfield and portions of Bethel and Newtown.  Foncello is a retired Army colonel, a former Homeland Security intelligence officer, and served two terms as Brookfield’s First  Selectman.  He served in Vietnam, the first Gulf War, and in the current war on terror. While serving as First Selectman, he was called back into service for the Army reserves.  He says the economy and affordability are the top issues he's hearing from residents.  Foncello wants to focus on things that can be done at the state level to combat inflation.  He opposes mandates on cities and towns when it comes to affordable housing.  He added that it's more than just 8-30g, it's a matter of getting developers to build housing that's affordable.  Foncello says there's a dent in the bell-shaped curve in the 20 to 40 year old age group, the group most likely to have kids in school.  He attributes that to kids who've gone to college and not returned to the community.  Foncello says Connecticut is the 2nd most taxed state in the country.  He wants to attract businesses here, but says they're also impacted by taxes.  If there are attractive jobs, he says that will make it more attractive for young people to return.  When it comes to gun violence, Foncello says Connecticut has some of the strictest laws in the country on firearms.  He says he'd have to look if there's any additional safety measures that could be put in place, but wants to focus on the related issue of mental health.  He's spoken with a number of doctors and health professionals who say the system infrastructure is decaying and there aren't enough mental health professionals in the area.  Foncello has heard stories of people seeking treatment having to wait up to a year to get seen by a physician.  He'd like to look into how to attract those professionals.  Foncello opposes the early voting initiative on the ballot next week.  He says it will increase the cost of holding elections because security would have to be posted around all of the machines for each night, and the polling facilities will be tied up on those days. He says there's already a procedure for extended voting, absentee ballots, and he supports that.  On infrastructure spending, Foncello would like to see more money put into highways and bridges, but also into cyber security.  He added that cleaning up the lake and general environmental issues should also qualify for infrastructure dollars.


Democrat Phoebe Holmes is also running for the open seat.  She is a member of the Brookfield Zoning Commission.  Holmes calls herself on her campaign website an environmentalist and is looking to pass legislation that fosters climate improvement and a more environmentally friendly world.  On gun legislation, Holmes says that she supports Common sense Gun legislation.  She wants to keep guns in the hands of responsible gun owners and will advocate for the raise of the purchase to age 21. Holmes says on her site that she would like to see the Child Tax Rebate program from this summer become permanent. She is in favor of a wealth-tax on the top 1-3%- the extremely wealthy billionaires and large corporations.  Holmes would support suspending the state’s gas tax for at least two more years 

Waterbury Police ID pedestrian killed in crash as New Milford man

Waterbury Police have identified the man struck and killed by a car Tuesday night as a New Milford man.  Police say 42-year old Merton Larmore was struck on Chase Avenue shortly after 7pm and later died at the hospital from injuries sustained in the crash.  Police closed the accident site, and about two hours later, a driver sped into the crash scene, nearly striking investigators.  The vehicle reversed, colliding with a police cruiser and another car parked nearby as it fled the area.  During the pursuit, Police say the driver tossed an “extensive amount” of heroin outside his vehicle, which officers later recovered.  35-year old Myrice Hodge of Waterbury, faces a number of charges after he crashed into an apartment building where he lived. Drugs were found in and around the vehicle.

Danbury Library makes push for library card sign up

Danbury Library is making a push to get residents to sign up for a library card, saying it's easy as pie.  Residents who apply for a new card or refer a friend will have a chance to win a $30 gift certificate for Mothership Bakery in Danbury.  The library has a goal of 350 library card sign ups in the month of November.  From print materials to instant digital downloads, private study pods to professional grade recording studios, and tech support to MakerLab equipment, there’s a variety of materials and services accessible with a library card.  A Danbury Library card enables resident to access materials from all Connecticut libraries through an Interlibrary Loan system.

Newtown Police marking Alzheimer's Awareness Month

November is widely recognized as Alzheimer's awareness month.  Newtown Police are offering residents the opportunity to place a small sticker or note in a prominent place in their loved one's home in order to alert first responders that the person they are serving may be suffering from symptoms related to Alzheimer's or dementia.  A limited number of these stickers are available at the Police Department free of charge.  Newtown Police say caring for a family member who is suffering is a frustrating and emotional task, and no one should have to tackle it alone.  They suggest contacting the Department of the town's Director of Human Services for information about local resources for loved ones.

Traffic violation leads to DWI charge for Southeast man

A traffic violation has led to a driving while intoxicated charged for a driver in the Town of Southeast.  A Putnam County Sheriff Deputy on patrol early last Monday saw a car cross the double yellow line and the driver having trouble maintaining the lane of travel.  The driver was pulled over and the Deputy saw signs of alcohol impairment.  The 37-year old from Southeast failed field sobriety tests.  He refused to take a breathalyzer test and, in addition to the misdemeanor DWI, was charged with Refusal to Take a Breath Test, Operating a Motor Vehicle with a Suspended Registration, Drinking Alcohol in a Motor Vehicle, and Driving to the Left of Pavement Markings.  Due to his refusal, he was held in the Putnam County Correctional Facility pending his arraignment.

Two Danbury men seek to be next 109th District state Representative

Farley Santos is seeking to follow in Democrat David Arconti's footsteps and represent the 109th House District in Danbury.  Santos was raised in Danbury, graduated from Henry Abbott Tech and has been involved in the community.  He is a community development manager at Savings Bank of Danbury, served on the Board of Education and is a City Council member.


Santos wants to find ways to lessen the burden of healthcare costs and improve accessibility.  He's also passionate about veterans issues and called DVA Commissioner Tom Saadi a mentor.  He wants to expand access to mental health care to veterans.  He touted the work of VFW 149 veterans who've returned from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, working to help their peers connect with services and benefits they need and deserve. 


If elected, he says education issues would be a top priority.  He wants the Education Cost Sharing formula changed to better address community growth.  Santos says the needs of and challenges posed by the booming population should be better addressed.  He is a public school advocate and if there are proposals that would take away from public education funding, which is already underfunded, he would not be supportive of.  He wants more clarification on the current proposed charter school before making any decisions on that topic. 


When it comes to water quality, Santos wants to learn more about the needs of Candlewood Lake.  He says more funding should be made available for testing and treatment, and better collaboration with the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection so they understand the needs of the lake.  He would work with the Candlewood Lake Authority to maintain the economic, recreational, cultural and health needs of the lake.  He says there should also be safer standards on the water for recreational vessels. 


Santos says middle class families are currently feeling the economic pinch and he would support continuation of the 25 cent gas tax holiday.  He says it's important to lessen the burden on working families and wants to make the state more affordable for seniors.  He wants to explore options for a lower tax burden on those populations. 


When it comes to public safety, Santos supports funding for police, firefighters and EMTs.  He says that will keep the responders safe, and in turn keep the community safe.  But Santos says there aren't enough police officers on the force.  He says Connecticut gun laws are some of the most restrictive in the country, but would be against easing those laws.  He believes in the 2nd Amendment, but doesn't think the framers would think the weapons used for war is what they had in mind when it was written. 


On the issue of infrastructure, Santos says there's a need to improve the roads.  He called for a traffic plan because an assessment hasn't been done in over 20 years. 


Republican Jesy Fernandez is also seeking the open seat.  He came to the country as a young boy from the Dominican Republic and served in the United States Navy, serving many tours abroad.  He is a small business owner and father of two.  Fernandez says education is the main tool for citizens to achieve the American Dream. He supports the proposed public Charter School saying it will eventually serve 770 students with little to no cost to taxpayers.  He also wants to increase the availability of vocational education, and job training. One of his top priorities is to work towards a Danbury Police Department that has sufficient officers and resources to keep the city safe. He says he will fight any attempts to criminalize law enforcement and to empower criminals. Fernandez doesn't think the state should burden small business with ever increasing taxes and wants to lower taxes, finding what he called sensible alternatives that encourage investments and growth in the city.  He says the state needs business leaders at the capitol that understand how the economy works.  Fernandez called for the elimination of the diesel tax, and any other taxes that are directly hurting the working class and small businesses. On infrastructure, Fernandez says he would fight for dollars to update bridges and other infrastructure projects that can eliminate the congestion in the downtown area. He also wants more funding for bike paths, bus and train routes. 

Danbury man accepts plea deal on manslaughter charge

A Danbury man has accepted a plea deal in the manslaughter case stemming from the September 2019 shooting death of 33-year-old Jason Hoffman.  David Ramos pleaded guilty to a number of crimes on Monday under the Alford doctrine, not admitting guilt.  The shooting happened in the Sterling Woods condo complex where Ramos was living with his mother.  The 37-year-old said he didn't mean to shoot his friend, and that the gun accidentally discharged.  The gun was was found in a storm drain behind the condo and had the serial number scratched off, something Ramos said happened before he bought the gun.  An investigation determined that New Milford resident Nikos Chelioudakis sold the handgun and the 37-year old is facing charges related to the sale.  Two others were also arrested in the case for making a false statement and witness intimidation. 

Carmel Police warn of text messaging scam

The Carmel Police Department is cautioning people to a text message scam.  Some residents have reported receiving a text with an ad for $ 10 off a Carmel Police hoodie, but police say it's a scam and encouraged recipients not to click the link or send money.  Police say this is likely a phishing scam looking to obtain personal financial information from unsuspecting residents. 

Danbury Planning Commission to take up application for recreational cannabis retailer

A plan for a retail cannabis facility in Danbury is being presented to the City's Planning Commission tonight.  The proposal is by BUD-R Hartford Holdings for 108 Federal Road.  A traffic study by the company estimated 500 car trips on a typical weekday, about the same on Saturday as well.  The City said in a report to the Commission that the proposal would not cause congestion, but does reserve the right to charge the shop owners as much as $50,000 for traffic control during the grand opening. Danbury now allows a limited number of marijuana business in select commercial zones and is also considering a proposal from the medicinal marijuana dispensary on Mill Plain Road to add recreational pot sales as a hybrid retailer.  


According to a report submitted for the meeting, the project team must provide a written statement on their site plan outlining the hours of operation.  The allowed hours are Mondays through Saturdays 9am to 8pm and Sundays 9am to 3pm.  Also to be included on the site plan is a statement saying that no cannabis shall be applied, ingested, or consumed inside or on the premises of a cannabis retailer.  The written odor abatement program must describe all odor control and abatement measures installed on the site and within the structure to ensure that cannabis odors do not emanate from the proposed facility.


A staff report says the applicant is required to provide a written security plan to ensure the contents of the building are secured. The security plan must include information on vaults for the safe keeping of cannabis product and provisions for the installation of video cameras. Outdoor audible alarms are required for all cannabis establishments. The Chief of Police is currently reviewing the Building Security Plan and site plan to ensure adequacy and compliance with the security protocols.

WCSU waives application fee for Conn. high schoolers for one day

West Conn is waiving the application fee for Connecticut high school seniors applying to the university on November 15th.  This is a one-day event.  For those who want to learn about the academic programs, athletic program, clubs and campus life WCSU offers, West Conn will host an Open House this Sunday.  Sessions and tours are at 9am and 10am.  There will also be tours November 12th and 19th.  West Conn offers more than 60 accredited undergraduate and graduate programs.  The university, located on two campuses in Danbury, Connecticut, offers programs from its Ancell School of Business, Macricostas School of Arts and Sciences, School of Professional Studies and School of Visual & Performing Arts.

10 projects funded with ARPA dollars gain approval in Redding

Redding residents have approved 10 projects to be funded with American Rescue Plan Act dollars.  All but one passed with unanimous support at a recent Special Town Meeting.  Money was approved for the installation of signs as proposed by the Georgetown Village Restoration, subject to state approval.  $100,000 will go to the Boys and Girls Club of Redding Easton, and up to $ 60,000 for the installation of a retractable room divider in the Heritage Center at Redding Community Center.  Up to $ 45,000 will be used for construction on the second floor of the Redding Grange to include building an ADA compliant restroom, installation of air conditioning, and improvements to the electrical wiring.  Mark Twain Library will use up to $200,000 to support the outdoor patio project, up to $150,000 will go to improvements at Topstone Park, and New Pond Farm will use up to $200,000 for the restoration of wetlands.  The only project that wasn't approved unanimously, but still garnered enough support to pass, was up to $113,000 to construct two pickleball courts at the Redding Community Center.  For a project at Joel Barlow High School, Easton must approve funds and the Region 9 Board of Ed would have to sign off, but Redding ARPA funds were approved for the Barlow Fields Improvement Project.  Plans have been created for the construction of a building at the stadium that provides an ADA compliant restroom with related septic facilities, team rooms, and a functional kitchen.

Despite opposition, ARPA funding for pickleball courts in Redding approved

Most of the proposed American Rescue Plan Act proposals up for a vote in Redding recently were approved unanimously and without discussion.  There was one where a number of residents weighed in an the vote was spilt.  The $113,000 proposed for two pickleball courts was approved on a vote of 128 to 52, with the rest in attendance abstaining or not raising their hands.  The courts would be constructed at the Redding Community Center.

Redding residents approve ARPA funds for Board of Ed project

Redding residents have signed off on 10 projects to be funded with American Rescue Plan Act dollars.  Most passed unanimously, without discussion.  A few residents made comments on the $83,000 for the Redding Board of Education's LOTS project or Life-long Learning, On-going Assessment, Teacher Training, Safe Spaces.  The four-part project was approved.  It will improve and create appropriate learning spaces for students that need to regulate their emotions and feelings in order to be successful in the classroom. Funding will equip the spaces with advanced materials suitable for regulation and flexible learning. The project will be anchored in training for RES certified and non-certified staff as well as classroom materials to support post pandemic learners. Materials to support these learners have changed. This will give the teachers proper support needed to reinforce self-regulation, calming techniques, and social emotional learning. Finally, the project will embrace new tracking and logging mechanisms to enhance learning and on-going assessment.

Parents cautioned to be on lookout for 'rainbow fentanyl'

Now that Halloween candy has been collected through Trick or Treating and Trunk or Treat events, the Danbury Health Department is offering some reminders for parents.  They are asked to be on the look out for so-called Rainbow Fenanyl.  The brightly colored pills have been spotted in two dozen states, but no reports in Connecticut.  The DEA has seized fentanyl pills in candy packages elsewhere and say traffickers use bright colors for many reasons, targeting children is not one of them.  General Halloween candy safety tips from the City Health Department include not eating candy not commercially wrapped or if the wrapping has been tampered with.  For any child with food allergies, parents should check all labels before consuming.

Ridgefield volunteer, professional firefighters compete for charitable donation

Members of the Ridgefield Professional Firefighters Union and the Ridgefield Volunteer Fire Department have launched a competition to benefit charity.  Local 1739 challenged the volunteers to a mustache contest for No Shave November.  At the end of the month, they'll let residents decide who grew the best mustache.  If it's a volunteer, the union members will make a 500-dollar donation to the charity of their choice and vice versa. 

WCSU Institute for Holistic Health Studies to host workshop

Western Connecticut State University’s Institute for Holistic Health Studies is hosting a workshop tomorrow night aimed at helping participants deal with the “new normal” after the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The workshop is at 7:30pm tomorrow in White Hall Room 127 on the university’s Midtown campus.  Institute Director Christel Autuori, a certified holistic stress management instructor, will share practical ways for participant to navigate the “new normal” using inner resources developed in dealing with the pandemic. She will share tips and tools to create and maintain resilience using grace, patience and humor.  General admission is $20 per person, $10 for WCSU faculty, staff and alumni; and free for WCSU students. Proceeds benefit WCSU’s Institute for Holistic Health Studies.

Political newcomer hopes to unseat 34-year incumbent in Danbury's 110th House District

Democrat Bob Godfrey is looking to continue his 34 years in office with an 18th term serving Danbury in the 110th House District.  Republican Eric Gleissner is looking to unseat him.  Gleissner has been a business owner for 35 years as a landscaper and mason.  He currently has a handyman service.  The political newcomer decided to run for office because there are many changes he'd like to see made in order to better the community.  In the last session lawmakers continued to deal with the fallout of COVID-19.  Godfrey touted state tax cuts for working families, child tax credits and the 25-cent gas tax holiday.  Godfrey says the income tax on pensions and social security taxes were eliminated and similar issues should be addressed in a new session. 


Gleissner says some of his priorities would be to tackle affordability and inflation.  He says it's time to control unnecessary spending and to reduce taxes.  He also wants to see if there's a way to reduce electric rates.  Godfrey touted being able to secure bonding for the Danbury War Memorial to fix the roof and the HVAC system.  He says updated systems are important considering the fact that it's the emergency shelter for the City. 


Gleissner wants to fight for more state education dollars for the City.  He also supports the proposed Charter School.  He notes that the state's 7th largest city is the only city in the state without a charter school.  Godfrey says more needs to be done to help healthcare providers and deal with a booming student population.  Godfrey touted the delegation's effort to secure 80-percent reimbursement on eligible costs for the proposed Danbury Career Academy.  He'd like the Education Cost Sharing formula for Danbury increased.  As for the proposed charter school, Godfrey says this could cost the school system and the City $10 million to $12 million over the first 6 or 7 years of operation because the City would still have to pay for transportation and nurses. 


Godfrey says the cost of oil has been driving inflation more than anything else and called it 'greedflation.'  When everyone stayed home, costs went up to make up for losses and hurt everyone down the line.  Gleissner supports the gas tax holiday.  He says it's keeping the economy working, but wants to find a long term solution to lower energy costs.  Gleissner called for more state funding to help the elderly with their bills.   He's concerned with fuel costs this winter and wants to work toward long term solutions to reduce costs.  He would like to see less taxation for every Connecticut resident.


Godfrey supports amending the state Constitution to allow for early voting.  He notes that absentee ballots can be used for up to 30 days before the election, but they are not no-excuse absentee voting.  He believes voting should be safe, secure and convenient.  Gleissner says early voting isn't necessarily a bad thing, but doesn't think it should be more than a week early.


On infrastructure improvements, Gleissner would like to see capitol improvements to protect the community for years to come. He is concerned with staffing a bureaucracy.  When it comes to transportation, he wants the I-84 expansion to finally happen.  Godfrey supports broadband expansion through Infrastructure Act dollars.  He says access is not only a rural issue because of the reliance on connectivity for work and school.  


On the issue of crime, Godfrey says the catalytic converter theft bill passed last year was a start.  He thinks preventative efforts are important and believes it will be a big topic of the new session.  When it comes to police retention and recruitment, Godfrey doesn't think the issues are related to the Police Accountability Bill because it's something seen nationwide.  He is open to reviewing the measure to see how it has worked or isn't working.  Gleissner supports law enforcement.  He says more can be done to address crime, noting that there aren't enough officers on the job.  He says it's hard with the lack of support from the community for police.  Gleissner says police are doing the best they can to keep people safe, but need help. 


When it comes to firearms, Gleissner says there should be better education, safety and restrictions but doesn't see gun crimes on the rise in this area.  He believes criminals with firearms should be targeted, with more education around the second amendment.  Godfrey is a member of the Judiciary Committee and is an advocate of gun responsibility.  He wants to close ghost gun law loopholes, address bullet tracing, and fund police so they can deal with 21st century crimes.  Godfrey says the mostly public health related task force called the Commission on Community Gun Violence Intervention and Protection is expected to deliver a report to lawmakers early next year.  He says there should be a balance of civil liberties and the ability of police to deal with crimes and guns. 

Wrong way driver injured in Newtown crash

A Danbury woman has been arrested for a wrong way crash that happened on I-84 in Newtown yesterday morning.  41-year old Crystal Smith was charged with Operating Under the Influence, Driving the Wrong Way, and Reckless Endangerment.  Troopers responded to the eastbound side of the highway shortly after 2am on a report of a car headed westbound.  The vehicle collided with  a tractor trailer head-on.  The truck then went off the roadway, damaging about 100 feet of the wire rope guardrail  Smith refused to complete field sobriety tests and was taken into custody.  She sustained minor injuries and was released on bond for a court appearance on the 15th.  The accident closed the eastbound side of the highway into the morning commute.

Newtown Police investigating shoplifting incident

A shoplifting incident in Newtown is under investigation. Police responded to Big Y on Queen Street on Thursday, shortly after 2pm, for a report of items taken from the store.  The initial investigation determined that a woman stole about $250 worth of seafood.  A photo of the suspect and the suspect vehicle has been posted to the Newtown Police Department Facebook page.

Home heating fuel truck rolled over, leaks

A home heating fuel truck rolled over in Newtown yesterday morning and was leaking.  The driver was out of the vehicle when Botsford Fire Rescue arrived on New Lebbon Road and was not injured.  Crews went to work attempting to mitigate the leak and spill.  With the help and tools from the state Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, firefighters were able to clamp down further on the truck’s lid to slow the leak.  They then created a portable catch basin, with absorbent pads, booms, and substrates deployed.  A sand truck from the town was requested, along with an environmental clean up team.  The tanker was emptied of remaining fuel oil.  Eversource was notified of the broken pole, though no wires came down in the accident. Recovery and environmental remediations were still ongoing several hours later and traffic was detoured.

Today is deadline for voter registration for Nov. 8 election

Today is the deadline for voter registration for the election on November 8th.  The New Fairfield Registrar of Voters Office will be open from 9am to 8pm for voter registrations.  Residents are asked to bring proof of identity such as social security card, driver's license or birth certificate.  If foreign born, proof of citizenship is requested.  Election Day Registration is available to new voters, those who have recently moved to New Fairfield and those who have moved to a new address in New Fairfield.  That can be done next Tuesday at Town Hall in the Registrar of Voters Office beginning at 6am and ending at 8pm on Election Day.  Same day registration is not available at the polls.

Newtown Police warn of leaf disposal into streets

The Newtown Police Department is offering an annual reminder about fallen leaves.  Residents are asked not to blow the leaves into the roadway because they obscure road lines and markings and create a hazardous slippery surface when wet.  The leaves can also clog storm drains and sewers resulting in excess water in streets and yards.  Leaves can also conceal potholes, bumps, or dangerous objects that may have fallen into the road.

Former Danbury couple found guilty of firearms offences

A former Danbury couple has been found guilty of firearms offences. The trial for 45-year old Darnell Macon Sr and 23-year old Kharisma Brooks started last week.  The U-S Attorney's Office say Macon and Brooks visited a federally-licensed firearms dealer in Kent in May of last year.  Macon possessed, and then Brooks purchased a .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol.  In 2002, Macon was convicted in New York of two counts of assault and 2003 he was convicted in New York of criminal possession of a weapon and therefore not allowed to possess a firearm or ammunition.   ATF special agents investigating the Kent firearm purchase, and another firearm purchased by Brooks in Stratford a few days before, visited Macon’s and Brooks’ Danbury residence and recovered the two firearms.  At sentencing, which is not scheduled, Macon and Brooks each faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years. Macon and Brooks are released on bond pending sentencing. The jury found Macon guilty of one count of unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, and Brooks guilty of one count of aiding and abetting the unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.  The jury found Brooks not guilty of one count of making a false statement during the purchase of a firearm. This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. 


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