5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty opposes draft legislation that would institute a monthly reduction in pay for troops as a means of offsetting the cost of expanding G.I. Bill eligibility and longevity for future veterans. She is concerned about asking the troops, who she says have already sacrifice more than enough, to bear any additional burden in exchange for the benefits they deserve. Esty says asking the troops to pay for their own benefits while the country is still engaged in conflict sends the wrong signal. Esty is a member of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.
Easton First Selectman Adam Dunsby will seek a third term in that role. Dunsby told the Easton Courier that he plans to run in November for the part time position. The Easton First Selectman also serves as state Representative for the 135th District of Easton, Redding and Weston. That is also a part time position. Dunsby was unopposed when he ran for a second term. In the House, he serves on the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee, the Education Committee, and the Environment Committee.
Easton Police Officer Mark Pastor has been selected to receive the Daryl F. Gates D.A.R.E. Lifetime Achievement Award. Pastor is being recognized for over 27 years of teaching the D.A.R.E. curriculum to students. He was selected from numerous entries from across the country. He's been an instructor throughout the northeast and is the lead senior mentor for the Connecticut State Police. Pastor will be honored during the 30th Annual D.A.R.E. International Training Conference in July.
The Easton Police Department has had recent reports of vehicles entered at night and items taken. All vehicles entered have been left unlocked and valuable items were left inside--especially keys and electronic devices. Easton Police are reminding residents that these are crimes of opportunity. They are calling for a a community-wide effort to remove the opportunity by remembering to remove all items from cars and to make sure your vehicles are locked at all times.
The defense attorney in a Danbury murder case has been hospitalized, raising concerns about the future of the trial. The Newstimes reports that the Public Defender for Garfield Sanderson failed to show up in Danbury Superior Court for closing statements last week. Officials did not disclose the nature of Michael Courtney's illness or how long he might be hospitalized. Sanderson's next court appearance is scheduled for tomorrow. He is accused of shooting alleged rival gang member Jeiel Kingston in 2014 outside a Danbury bar. The published report says that the Judge is concerned jurors could be forced to drop out if there are further delays.
There was a fatal motorcycle accident in Newtown yesterday evening. Newtown Police responded to Currituck Road around 7:45pm on a report of a single vehicle crash. The driver was identified as 27-year old Jaclyn Ann Schultz. Police says the Newtown resident was transported to the hospital, where she was later pronounced dead. Witnesses have been interviewed, but anyone else who may have seen the accident is asked to call Newtown Police as it remains under investigation. Police say additional details may be released at a later time.
A New Fairfield man has been arrested for allegedly engaging in sexual activity with a minor. New York State Police say 50-year old Richard Spring was charged Thursday with 4 counts each of Criminal Sexual Act and endangering the welfare of a child.
Troopers partnered with the Dutchess County Child Advocacy Center to investigate a sexual offense reported to an agency's Child Abuse Hotline. State Police say Spring subjected a teenage boy under the age of 17 to sexual contact at a Pawling home.
He is also accused of offering the victim alcohol and marijuana.
Spring was stopped on Milltown Road for operating under the influence of drugs and charged for driving while ability was impaired by drugs. He was arraigned and ordered held on $50,000 bond.
This investigation is ongoing and the State Police believe that there may be additional victims. Anyone with additional information regarding Spring is encouraged to contact the State Police at (845) 677-7300. All calls can remain confidential.
One person was killed and one seriously injured in a single car crash in New Fairfield yesterday. State Police say a driver headed south on Route 39 lost control and crashed into a utility pole by Ball Pond. The vehicle then caught fire. The driver, who has not yet been identified by police, was pronounced dead at the scene. The passenger, 45-year old Victor Declet of Rochester New York, was transported to the hospital with serious injury. The crash happened shortly before 1am, and closed the road until 4pm. State Police say the accident remains under investigation.
The Brookfield Board of Selectmen has authorized the First Selectman to apply for STEAP grant funding for Phase II of the Four Corner Streetscape project. Brookfield is applying for up to $500,000 in Small Town Economic Assistance Program funding.
First Selectman Steve Dunn says he's not sure if funding will be awarded because of the state's continued financial problems. But he says it's a good thing anytime 50-percent of a project can be paid for with a grant.
Selectman Sue Slater asked about a time frame. Dunn said he expects to hear back in three to six months. He noted that the state will likely wait to finish their budget process before sending out award notices because that's been the process in the past.
The state signed off on the first phase of the Four Corners streetscape project last week after some adjustments were made ot the plans. Brookfield residents voted to borrow $1.7 million for the project, with the balance of the $3.5 million paid for with grants. The project calls for sidewalks, planters and other beautification in the Four Corners area. Construction on the first phase could begin as soon as next month.
An aggressive crackdown on distracted drivers is underway. Several Police Departments in the Greater Danbury area are participating in a campaign to stop drivers talking or texting on their cell phones.
Brookfield Police say officers are stationed around town and say there's been no shortage of motorists to stop. They are reminding drivers that if they have a cell phone in one hand, they'll get a ticket for the other. Brookfield Police are asking motorists to put the phone down and just drive, and drive safely.
Danbury Police spokesman Lt Christian Carroccio says texting while driving is more than just personally risky, it makes you a danger to everyone around you. Carroccio urged passengers to speak up if they see the dangerous activity. He says no one likes to criticize a friend, but notes that it's worse to get caught by law enforcement doing something wrong.
The fine is $150 for the first offense. The fine is $300 for a second offense and $500 for third and subsequent offenses.
The enforcement effort runs through the end of the month.
Sunday is Volunteer Firefighter Day in Connecticut, and kicks off National Volunteer Week. More than 60 fire departments will hold open houses Sunday from 10am-2pm. Visitors to the fire houses will be able to talk with volunteer firefighters about the work they do, see demonstrations, explore fire apparatus and turnout gear, get a tour of the fire house, and fill out an application.
More than 80 percent of all fire personnel in Connecticut are volunteers. Officials say the majority of fire departments throughout the state are experiencing a volunteer shortage.
Volunteer Firefighter Day is part of Everyday Hero CT, a program to increase the number of volunteer firefighters throughout the state. It's a partnership of the Connecticut Fire Chiefs Association and the International Association of Fire Chiefs.
Below is a list of some volunteer departments in the area:
Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company
92 Pocono Road, Brookfield
Easton Volunteer Fire Company
1 Center Road, Easton
Kent Volunteer Fire Department
28 Maple Street, Kent
Northville Volunteer Fire Department
359 Litchfield Road, New Milford
Hawleyville Volunteer Fire Company, Inc.
34 Hawleyville Road, Newtown
Dodgingtown Volunteer Fire Department
55 Dodgingtown Road, Newtown
West Redding Volunteer Fire Department
306 Umpawaug Road, Redding
Weston Volunteer Fire Department
52 Norfield Road, Weston
Earth Day is being celebrated in Bethel today. Bethel Community Earth Day is co-sponsored by the Town of Bethel, Bethel Parks & Recreation, and the First Congregational Church of Bethel. They are calling on the town to come together to build and support a healthy environment.
The Bethel Community Earth Day event, which will be hosted on the lawn of the Bethel Municipal Center, will include local vendors, non-profit organizations, community groups, artists, craftspeople, farmers, animals and animal lovers, and others who are dedicated to environmental awareness and preserving the planet. Throughout the day there will be live music performed by local musicians, a kid’s activity station, and service projects including a town clean-up.
The event is from 9am to 4pm.
An LGBTQ Pride Parade is being held in Bethel Sunday. Hailey Gesler and her friend Marcella Antunes are organizing this parade to show support for others in the community that need a place to feel like they can be themselves.
About a month ago the 12 year old was tasked by a school project to pick an issue that affects society and write about it. She chose LGBTQ rights. She also said that she wanted to organize a parade for people in the area to come and support people from all walks of life.
The parade will officially kick off on main st by the church and end at the municipal center in downtown Bethel. Several speakers are slated to make remarks.
Newtown State Representative Mitch Bolinsky participated in the Alzheimer's Association Connecticut Chapter Lobby Day at the State Capitol Wednesday. Bolinsky, who personally serves as a caregiver, says this disease should not be viewed as a political matter. He called it a public health priority to find ways to ensure adequate funding for accessible support systems.
Bolinsky says the statewide Respite Care Program is resource for families to create contingent care plans and also offers services for those diagnosed with Alzheimer's and related dementias. He is advocating for the full restoration of funding in the upcoming budget.
More information on the Respite Care Program can be found by calling the State Department of Aging at 1-866-218-6631.
Starting next week, there will be a traffic pattern change in Weston. The state Department of Transportation is rehabilitating the Route 57 bridge over Kettle Creek. Route 57 in Weston will be open with one lane in each direction on the east side of the road with temporary precast concrete barrier in place to protect the work zone. This is a change from the travel pattern during stage 1 which allowed one lane in each direction on the west side of the road.
Some firefighters in New Fairfield are taking part in a traditional ceremony today for their new fire engine.
A Wet Down ceremony will be held by Squantz Engine where their new truck will be sprayed with water. The two other fire companies from New Fairfield will be in attendance. Assistant Chief Timothy Pfeiffer says firefighters from Sherman, Putnam Lake, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Vermont will also be on hand.
Connecticut is one of the last places to hold wet down ceremonies.
All of their rigs will be out and opened up for visitors to see. If there's enough interest, Pfeiffer says they might take people for a ride around the block in the engine.
The wet down ceremony and open house is from noon to 4pm at 255 Route 39.
Renderings of a proposed roundabout in Monroe have been released. The roundabout would replace the intersection of Routes 110 and 111. The stone wall around firemen's field in the rendering will not be included after the state opted instead for natural vegetation.
The project is aimed at addressing operation and safety concerns at the intersection of Routes 110 and 111. The project consists of removing the existing flashing beacon and constructing a modern roundabout. The proposed work includes converting Hurd Avenue to a cul-de-sac, as well as installing sidewalks throughout the project area. Landscaping and other decorative features will also be included.
The estimated construction cost for this project is approximately $4.1 million, anticipated to be undertaken with 80% Federal funds and 20% State funds.
New Milford Police are asking for the public's help in identifying a suspect wanted for stealing tools. The incident occurred on Bridge Street overnight April 16th into 17th. The window of a work van was broken in order to gain access. New Milford Police say a roofing-nailer, a hand grinder and other items were stolen. Anyone with information is asked to contact New Milford Police at 860-355-3133 or the anonymous TIPS Line at 860-355-2000 or by sending an email to TIPS@newmilfordpolice.org.
The New Fairfield Board of Finance has signed off on a no-increase budget for the towns and schools. But town officials caution that pending cuts in state aide could add 4-percent to tax bills. The proposed school budget was reduced by $1.5 million. The Newstimes reports that 6 new employees will not be hired by the Board of Education and two restoration projects will be put on hold. Those two changes account for $670,000 of the needed reductions. The municipal budget is pegged at $10.91 million.
A Wilton resident's appeal of a Planning and Zoning Commission decision has been dismissed by a superior court judge. William and Eliot Patter filed a suit in 2015 about an artificial turf field being installed at Middlebrook School. The Wilton Bulletin reports that the application by Wilton Youth Football's application for an amendment to a special permit and for their sight plan approval. They claimed the commission arbitrarily and illegally decided because Wilton Youth Football lacked standing to submit the application. The judge reportedly decided that because the has been actively running youth football programs there, it had sufficient interest in the property.