A lawsuit has been filed against the Ridgefield Planning and Zoning Commission's approval of the contractor's yard development on Route 7. The Ridgefield Press reports that 24 neighbors at the Regency at Ridgefield condominiums, located near the proposed facility, filed the suit on Friday challenging the approval. The lawsuit says that the proposed contractor's yard will "negatively impact their property including but not limited to its fair market value...and use and enjoyment of the property." The developer who proposed the facility and its owner were named as defendants in the suit.
A Southbury Training School Employee has been charged with Workers Compensation Fraud. 45-year old Carol Griffin of Waterbury is accused of illegally collecting workers' comp benefits while earning thousands of dollars working as a bail bond agent.
According to the arrest warrant, Griffin suffered a work-related injury in July of last year and received $68,000 in benefits through this August. The warrant alleges that Griffin wrote bonds that allowed her to earn more than $126,000 while denying that she had other employment and was collecting workers comp.
She turned her self in on Friday and was released on a written promise to appear in court on the 14th.
Several police canine will be at Wilton High School this week conducting a drug sweep. The Wilton Board of Education approved the use of canines in the spring to ensure a safe school climate. Superintendent Kevin Smith said the first search will be on Friday morning. Notices will be posted to alert students to the search, which will trigger a lockdown drill. Smith says future searches will not be announced. Police, school administrators and other officials will conduct the brief sweep of the school with eight canine units from surrounding towns. Police will also search the parking lots.
REDDING, Conn. (AP) -- A meeting between Connecticut NAACP officials and police regarding the death of a 35-year-old black attorney has been postponed.
Gugsa Abraham "Abe" Dabela was found shot in the head in a wrecked car near his home in Redding last year. Dabela's family and the NAACP are questioning determinations by police and the medical examiner's office that his death was a suicide.
The local state's attorney's office is still investigating. The state NAACP has launched its own investigation.
NAACP members were supposed to meet Monday with Police Chief Douglas Fuchs, but the meeting was rescheduled to Oct. 22 because of concerns about Hurricane Joaquin.
The NAACP says many questions remain about Dabela's death, including why his DNA wasn't found on the trigger of a handgun found at the crash site.
Five ordinances have been proposed by Bethel officials and are the subject of a public information session being held on Tuesday. They were going to be discussed in a public hearing, but First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says the information session is a lot less formal, allows for more give and take, and gives the Selectmen more time to make any changes based on feedback from residents.
The Board of Selectmen meeting is at 7:30pm.
A Snow and Ice Removal ordinance is being proposed, and is based on state statute. The proposals says the the town will not be liable to any person injured on property caused by the presence of ice or snow on a public sidewalk, unless the Town is the owner in control of the land or abutting sidewalk . It also requires property owners to clear their sidewalks or be liable if someone is injured. Any effort to recover damages for injury must be made within two years.
A change has been proposed to the Exemption for Veterans. State statute now allows an additional exemption from property tax. 100-percent disabled veterans would be entitled to a property tax exemption equal to three times the amount of the exemption provided for in state statutes. There are some income restrictions listed in the proposal.
An ordinance about overnight parking on town property is being proposed. No cars would be allowed in public parking lots owned by the town between 3am and 6am including the Old Bethel Railroad Station at 5 Depot Place, the Library, the Municipal Center and the Board of Education parking areas. The exception would be in permitted lots. Overnight parking permits are granted for exceptional reasons at the discretion of the Police Chief or the First Selectman. The permits are limited to one 24-hour period.
Vehicles parked in restricted areas without permit for 24 to 48 hours will receive a written warning. A $10 per day fine would be issued for cars parked more than 48 hours but less than 7 days. Vehicles parked in restricted areas for longer than 7 days will be towed at the owner's expense.
A Hazards to Public Roadways ordinance defines some terms and discusses enforcement. Hazards such as snow, leaves and other debris is allowed to be moved into a public right-of-way. If someone received a written warning for violation by the Bethel Public Works Director to remove the hazard and it's not done within 15 days, a $100 fine could be issued. Each subsequent written warning is a new violation and subject to additional fine.
A Noise Ordinance is proposed to deal with excessive noise and disturbances in town. It's also been proposed to protect the safety, health and general welfare of Bethel residents. The law would regulate commercial construction, demolition, excavation and building operation so that it can't take place before 7am during the week, before 8am on Saturdays and before 10am on Sundays. It can't take place after 8pm on any day. Excessive honking and sound amplifying devices in cars emitting excess noise are also not permitted.
Lawn care equipment is allowed to operate between 7am and 9pm without violating the noise ordinance.
Enforcement would be in the hands of the Bethel Police Department. Anyone violating the ordinance could be fined $50 for the first offense, $75 for a second violation happening within 30 days of the first, and $100 for any subsequent violation happening withing 30 days of the second offense.
There are several exceptions including bells or chimes from buildings, permitted recreational or celebratory activities like parades, concerts or fireworks.
The Healing Hearts Center for Grief & Loss is the featured charity for Stew Leonard's Wishing Well, until October 22. The spare penny or two tossed into the Wishing Well at the front of Stew Leonard's stores adds up with more than 400,000 customers entering the stores each week.
Healing Hearts Center for Grief & Loss is the only program of its kind to service Western Connecticut and nearby New York and is solely funded by donations. Healing Hearts has provided support to thousands of families for 20 years. Their mission is to bring hope and meaning back to families lives. Healing Hearts program manager Joanna DeNicola says through education, support groups and workshops, children and families have a safe place to begin healing. She says they begin to understand their feelings as they face the challenge of rebuilding their lives with meaning and hope.
DeNicola says they have different groups for adults based on the type of loss they've suffered. The groups include the loss of spouse, an infant, a child of any age, and then a general loss group for those grieving a parent, sibling or someone else close to them. A survivors of suicide group is also offered.
The Wishing Well is located in all four Stew Leonard's locations, and each store features a local charity that changes on a weekly or monthly basis. Customers and their children are invited to toss in their spare change as they exit the store.
A forum on the future of Connecticut’s highway and rail system sponsored by the West Conn and the League of Women Voters of Greater Danbury will be held Wednesday night. State Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker is the keynote speaker. The forum, from 5:30 to 7 pm in Warner Hall on the Midtown campus, will also feature Thomas Maziarz, chief of the Department of Transportation Bureau of Policy and Planning, and Oz Griebel, a member of the Governor’s Transportation Finance panel.
The state Legislature this year approved a $2.8 billion bonding package to improve Connecticut transportation, the first part of Governor Dannel Malloy’s long-term plan to transform the state’s highways and rail system.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff of Norwalk, and Republican Senator Toni Boucher of Wilton, a ranking member of the legislature's Transportation Committee, will discuss legislative perspectives on the plan.
Redeker says “It is essential that we continue to improve transportation options and service in Connecticut. Improving our transportation system also makes Connecticut a more competitive, sustainable and livable state.”
League member-at-large coordinator Judy Greensman says the forum will give residents an opportunity to ask questions of government officials and political leaders on this crucial topic.
A man acting suspiciously in a car parked at the Brewster Ice Arena earlier this month has been arrested on a number of charges. The Putnam County Sheriff's Office reported the arrest Friday. When a Deputy approached the car just after midnight on September 16th, the man was trying to hide something.
The smell of marijuana was coming from inside the car.
The man, later identified as 18-year old Austin Garafola of North Salem, was found with pot, a switchblade knife and a fake Maryland drivers license. Garafola was charged with criminal possession of a weapon and of a forged instrument as well as unlawful possession of marijuana.
He was released on bond for a future appearance in Southeast Justice Court.
A New York man is facing domestic violence related charges. Putnam County Sheriff's Deputies were called to a Putnam Valley home early on Tuesday morning on a 911 report of a dispute. Deputies determined that 35-year old Sergio Lamouth had punched a woman in the face during an argument. The man was charged with assault and harassment. Lamouth was held at Putnam County Correctional Facility for arraignment.
Legislation is going to be introduced next week by Connecticut's two U.S. Senators that would bar gun sales until background checks are completed. The current practice is that sales go through if background checks are pending beyond 72 hours.
A similar bill was already introduced in the U.S. House by 5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty. She called the loophole the "yellow light theory". Esty says it's like seeing the yellow light turn to red "so quick give them a gun now because we can't sort out if they're a felon or not". She called it a dumb and crazy system. Esty says Congress can and should fix it.
Senator Richard Blumenthal said it's a tragic and sad coincidence that this press conference fell the day after another mass shooting at a school, but that it had been scheduled days ago. Blumenthal says there have been 142 shootings in schools since Sandy Hook. He says this press conference could have been scheduled any week and the day before there could have been a shooting.
Their bill would close a loophole in the Brady Handgun Violence Act.
Blumenthal says the time for expressions of regret is over, it's time for action. He says this country has responded to other public health crises whether it's a disease epidemic or carnage on the roads that led to seatbelt requirements or drunk driving prohibitions. He notes that this country knows how to deal with public health emergencies, and must deal with this one.
Senator Chris Murphy says the silence by Congress condones these murders. He says those whose minds are beginning to come unhinged think they have been given an endorsement to go forward with their plans. He was critical of his colleagues who were all talk and no action.
"I don't care how many members of Congress send out tweets saying they're sorry, or they extend their sympathies. You aren't sorry, you aren't truly sympathetic if you're not willing to act."
Murphy responded to claims that a good guy with a gun is the way to take down a bad guy with a gun. He says there are thousands of other gun free zones where there aren't mass shootings, so the fact that a shooting happened in one , doesn't mean that gun free zones aren't effective. Murphy says to suggests laws and rules don't work all the time is an invitation for anarchy.
The Congressional delegation members say this isn't a tragedy like an earthquake which couldn't be predicted or stopped. They called gun violence a man-made tragedy which could likely be prevented.
Danbury's Annual Fire Safety Day is being held today in Danbury. The event in the Home Depot parking lot off Federal Road takes place from 9am to 1pm.
A home sprinkler demonstration is being held. Two simulated bedrooms were constructed and furnished. These two structures are being set on fire. The Fire Marshal's Office says they hope to show families that the one equipped with a sprinkler receives very little damage, while the non-sprinklered one is gutted.
Organizers say this is a great time to meet the local firefighters and first responders. The volunteer firefighters will be doing an extrication demonstration.
The Fire Marshal's office will be be handing out some fire prevention information about safe cooking, space heater usage and the importance of smoke alarms in residential buildings. More than 3,400 people across U.S. die from not having smoke alarms. Deputy Fire Marshal Gary Bruce says there is a slogan they like to use when it comes to smoke detectors: "hear the beep where you sleep".
There have been some developments and changes in the case of Operation Juice Box, the steroid distribution ring allegedly headed by former Newtown Police Sgt Steven Santucci. U.S. Attorney spokesman Tom Carson says jury selection for Santucci and former Newtown dispatcher Jason Chikos has been postponed from this month to January 12th.
Both Santucci and Chickos resigned after their arrests in April, and have pleaded not guilty.
12 people in all were charged in the case. One man, 54-year old Steven Fernandes of Southington, died while in hospice care last month.
Two of the co-defendants, 32-year old Michael Mase of Sherman and 33-year old Mark Bertanza of Shelton, are due in court next week to reportedly change their pleas.
A meeting has been held in Redding about the former Gilbert & Bennett Wire Mill property. The Redding Pilot reports that at the presentation Wednesday, First Selectman Julia Pemberton said that the MTA has made a committment to opening a Georgetown rail station.
The future of the transit-oriented development is unclear due to the debt problems connected to the site. Before the recession, plans were in the works to develop the area but that has long since stalled and new developers have been hesitant to make a committment to the area.
Redding recently entered into foreclosure proceedings against the owners of the site over the debt owed by six parties totalling more than $20 million.
Arrests have been made in both field vandalism cases that happened this summer in Ridgefield. A Redding man turned himself in to police yesterday on a criminal mischief charge for damaging the field at Shadow Lake in August.
21-year old Jesse Beatty was released on a written promise to appear in court on the 15th.
The other field damaged this summer, the East Ridge Middle School field, was driven over in July. An estimated $2,000 to $3,000 worth of damage was done to each field when a vehicle left deep ruts in the sod.
20-year old John Dumke of Ridgefield and 18-year old Cody Dingee of Florida were arrested on criminal mischief charges in August for the damage done to the school field. Each has pleaded not guilty and are due back in court on November 17.
The President of Western Connecticut State University has sent out a letter to students and staff letting them know that there will be a greater police presence on the two campuses in response to yesterday's shooting at a community college in Oregon. West Conn spokesman Paul Steinmetz says the university community is being asked that if something suspicious is seen, police are called.
The university Police Department is communicating with police and other protective agencies in the region to make sure the two campuses are secure and safe. West Conn President Dr John Clark says more information will be communicated as warranted.
Some WCSU officers from the overnight shift continued to work through the morning. Steinmetz says they wanted to make sure that there were enough officers available to talk to anyone who might have questions or concerns.
A community improvement and neighborhood restoration project is moving forward in Danbury. The City has completed negotiations with the bank that holds the title to the blighted Octagon House on Spring Street. Mayor Mark Boughton says they did come in at a number approved by the City Council.
The listing price is about $195,000, but Boughton says that's above what the property value is worth given its condition. He did not elaborate on the deal that was reached. The vacant and decaying house was in foreclosure. It has attracted vandalism, squatting and general blight in recent years.
Attorneys are putting together closing documents, and Boughton expects to close in the next week or two.
Boughton says the City owning this property would provide stability to the neighborhood in response to resident's complaints and concerns. The area has become a magnet for drug dealers and prostitutes.
Danbury officials have identified several grants that will help renovate the house. Permission to apply for an historic grant will be presented to the City Council.
Boughton wants to house the Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team and a police substation on the property. There are more officers on the streets now that the City has civilian dispatching, and more officers are coming out of the academy. He says the bike patrol and other related officers would likely operate out of the substation. He wants to convert the upstairs into a community room for residents to use. The backyard would become community garden monitored by a non-profit.
Boughton says the building needs $200,000 to $300,000 worth of work because it's fallen into disrepair. The yard also needs some upkeep, and the parking would have to be reconfigured.
It's one of only a handful of 8-sided houses left in the country and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was built in 1852 by John Earle, an innovator in the hatting industry and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. The house was converted to apartments, but abandoned by its owner in 2008.
5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty is touting final passage of the Smith-Esty STEM Education Act.
Esty says the bipartisan bill strengthens ongoing science, technology, engineering, and math education efforts at federal science agencies and ensures computer science is included in these efforts as a subject that builds on the traditional STEM subjects. Esty says this bill also supports competitive merit-reviewed grants for informal STEM education, which is learning outside of the classroom at places like museums, science centers, and afterschool programs.
No new or additional spending is authorized in this bill. The bill now awaits the President's signature.
Esty says more and more jobs of the 21st century require science, technology, engineering, and math skills, and this bill will help children thrive and be competitive in a global economy. She notes that manufacturers and others are finding it tough to find workers with the necessary technical and critical problem-solving skills to fill jobs in demand.
Newtown's Police Chief will be among those attending a press conference this morning in Connecticut about background checks for guns.
Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy plan to announce new legislation that would bar gun sales until background checks are complete. The practice now is that sales go through if checks are pending beyond 72 hours. The Senators say the killings of nine innocent people in a South Carolina church in June was possible because the alleged gunman was able to buy a gun due to a loophole in the Brady Handgun Violence Act.
Connecticut prohibits such sales, and Walmart is among the firearms dealers not allowing the default sales nationwide. But Blumenthal and Murphy say with guns easily passing across state borders, Connecticut remains vulnerable in the absence of strong federal action.
This week along there was a shooting at a South Carolina mall, a high school in South Dakota and a community college in Oregon. Some members of Congress are calling for action. On Thursday morning, more than 140 members of Congress sent a letter to the Speaker of the House urging gun violence prevention legislation be brought to the House floor.
4th District Congressman Jim Himes was among those who signed on to the letter which said that gun violence affects every District and every community in America.
The letter specifically mentions Sandy Hook, and that many elected officials vowed to never let something like that happen again, but notes that there have been at least 50 mass shootings since then. The letter says it's long past time that Congress addresses the national epidemic of gun violence.
Charges against a private school teacher from Danbury have been dropped. Michael Maida was been charged with sexually assaulting a student at a Greenwich parochial school last year.
It was alleged that he had sexual contact with a student at the Convent of the Sacred Heart, an all-girls Catholic school for students from kindergarten through high school. Prosecutors on Tuesday withdrew the charges, which he consistently denied.
Maida had been placed on leave pending the outcome of the case, and the school is reportedly offering a position to him.
According to court documents, the accuser was 11-years old when the alleged incident happened back in 2009 but that the girl had been admitted to a psychiatric institution and in two other cases she made similar allegations were deemed unfounded.