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Local officials pleased with storm response

The statewide travel ban has now been lifted, but police and fire officials are urging continued caution on the roads. 


Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says gas stations and grocery stores are open, some restaurants are opening for the day.  Many officials say if you don't have to go out, it's best to stay in and let the clean up continue.  Knickerbocker says they are thankful that people have not hit the roads, which made for easier clean up.  He reported no power outages in Bethel.  There was only one ambulance call, which Knickerbocker says turned out to not be a serious problem.


Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton says people listening to the travel ban made the job of snow removal much easier for highway crews.  He noted that there were no major incidents overnight in Danbury.  Property owners have to have sidewalk cleared two hours after the end of the storm, but Boughton says the City does give them some leeway.


Brookfield First Selectman Bill Tinsley says the roads still need some clean up work.  The wind gusts are blowing the snow back onto the roads creating some treacherous driving conditions.  But Tinsley says there are not a lot of accidents to report through Tuesday afternoon.  There are also no major power outages.


Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi says he is grateful that there were no power outages and that the region was spared the brunt of the storm.  He says the worst part of this storm was that the snow was light and the wind was fierce, so the snow was blown back into the roads once it was cleared.  Marconi says the storm gave Ridgefield an opportunity to practice getting the phone banks up and ready, to get the Emergency Operations Center prepared to open up and to get large crews ready.  So he says the blizzard bust has not been a waste, but is glad to not be looking at a major clean up and hundreds of outages.

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Danbury firefighters put out chimney fire

Danbury firefighters battled a gas fireplace and chimney fire around 11:30 Tuesday morning at 48 East Hayestown Road.  Despite the snowy roads, Department Spokesman Steve Rogers says firefighters were able to arrive in a timely fashion and quickly extinguish the blaze.  Danbury firefighters saw the homeowner rushed out of the house with a fire extinguisher.  Firefighters then cleared the home of smoke.  There were no reported injuries to residents or firefighters.  The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

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DMV allows extension for registrations, license renewals

Governor Dannel Malloy today announced that he is ordering an extension of expiration dates for motor vehicle registrations and driver’s licenses due to the impending severe winter storm.  The Governor’s action covers expiration dates and periods of validity for motor vehicle registrations, licenses, permits, certificates and other forms of credentials issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles and runs through January 30.  This also covers emissions test late fees.


The extension period runs from January 24, when a snow storm shuttered DMV offices, to midnight on Friday, January 30.  On January 31, all required late fees and penalties will resume.


All knowledge and road skills tests for license applicants are canceled for Tuesday and Wednesday due to storm conditions. 


To reschedule a test:


Knowledge Test – Customers should wait for an e-mail from DMV regarding then cancelation, then visit, enter their personal identification number and then follow the instructions.


Road Test – Customers should call 860-263-5700 within the Hartford area and those outside the Hartford area can call toll-free at 800-842-8222. DMV will also be contacting customers with appointments.

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Cl and P Says Power Stays On In Storm

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Power outages have been rare despite the significant snowfall in the winter storm pummeling Connecticut.

Al Lara, a spokesman for CL and P  parent company Northeast Utilities, said the snow has been light and powdery, posing little threat to power lines that typically come down under ice or wet and heavy snow.

CL and P  has been bracing its systems in response to destructive storms. It won permission from regulators to recover $89.5 million for damage from storms in 2011 and 2012 and $25.3 million to protect equipment from storms in the future.

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Police arrest Danbury man for December bank robbery

Danbury police have made an arrest in the robbery of a Savings Bank branch last month.  On December 26th a suspect robbed the Newtown Road branch.  Police determined that the suspect was 63-year old Wendell Hovey of Danbury.  A search warrant was granted by the court and Hovey was arrested this morning.  He was charged with robbery and held on $2,500 bond.

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Feds: 12 years for Venezuelan financier in Connecticut fraud

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Federal prosecutors say a Venezuelan financier who ran a massive investment fraud scheme in Connecticut deserves at least 12 years in prison.

Authorities say in their sentencing memo that the crimes of Francisco Illarramendi caused losses of more than $300 million. The biggest client among his mostly foreign investors was Venezuela's state oil company.

In the memo filed Monday, prosecutors say Illarramendi took $20 million of the money for himself, using some of it to build a $5 million home in New Canaan.

The 45-year-old Illarramendi pleaded guilty in 2011 to several counts of fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Prosecutors say he lied repeatedly to investors and creditors to cover up losses.

Illarramendi has argued he should receive no more than six months of home confinement.

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Greater Danbury region prepares for Blizzard 2015

Area towns are taking precuations for the blizzard of 2015.  Most have closed town offices and libraries for Tuesday.  Schools around the region have also closed for the day.


Danbury has issued a Level 2 Snow Emergency.  If residents have no other place to park, the Patriot parking garage will be open free of charge for the duration of the storm. Cars on city streets will be ticketed and towed.- are prohibited from parking on city streets. All vehicles may be returned after all snow-and-ice-control operations have ceased.


Redding Town Hall Emergency Info Line is functional at 203-938-2002 and will be open from 9am-5pm during the day as a means by which residents can obtain up to the minute information.  After hours this line will have an automated message detailing information for residents. Please ONLY call 911 in the event of a true emergency.


New Milford has declared a snow emergency and parking ban effective at 5pm so that snow removal can be done.  Public Works Director Michael Zarba says New Milford will close the two crossovers on the Green for use as temporary snow storage.  The areas will be cleaned as time permits and then reopened.  Alternate parking is available in the posted lot behind Town Hall.  Additional parking is also available in the Patriots Way lot by the railroad tracks and the Richmond Center along the rear fence. 


Bethel winter street parking ban will be in effect for the duration of the storm. Please ensure all vehicles are off town streets through the duration of the storm to aid highway cleanup operations.  The Police Department reserves the right to tow vehicles if necessary to ensure successful snow removal operations.  Residents are advised to shelter "in place" and stay indoors for duration of the storm. Bethel's emergency center has been made ready in case it is needed.  Conditions will be evaluated early Wednesday to determine if emergency shelter is needed.

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Connecticut governor orders travel ban on state highways

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has ordered a travel ban on Connecticut highways in response to the expected winter storm.


Malloy said Monday the ban is set to begin at 9 p.m.


He also said the state's two utilities expect outages due to heavy winds.


The governor also plans to activate the emergency operations center at 4 p.m. Monday. It will remain open throughout the storm.


The National Weather Service is warning of a two-day snowfall of 20 to 30 inches and winds gusting more than 30 mph to as much as 75 mph. The state is under a blizzard warning from 1 p.m. Monday until midnight Tuesday.

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Teen accused of running Ponzi scheme due back in court

A teenage club owner charged with running a Ponzi scheme is due back in Court today.  Ian Bick of Danbury was charged earlier this month with defrauding 15 people out of nearly $500,000.  Bick was arrested for fraud, money laundering and making false statements. 


Prosecutors say Bick solicited investments from friends, former classmates and their parents by promising high returns in a short time.  Bick allegedly told some victim investors that he would use their money to buy electronics to resell on the internet.  The indictment alleges that Bick instead used the money for hotel stays and jet skis. 


Bick pleaded not guilty and was released on bond.

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Man commits suicide at Danbury Mall

Danbury police responded to the Danbury Fair Mall on Saturday afternoon on a report of a man stabbed in the bathroom of Sears.  Police located the man and say it appears he committed suicide.  Danbury Police say the man is the while male is in his 50s.  His name has not been released.

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NY man sentenced for home invasion, armed robberies of drug dealers

A New York man has been sentenced to 7 years in prison for his role in two home invasion armed robberies in Danbury of marijuana dealers.  The judge yesterday also ordered 27-year old Scott Myrie of Bedford Hills to serve 3 years supervised probation, substance abuse counseling and to seek education opportunities or vocational training. 


Prosecutors says Myrie was part of a 10 person group that preyed on Danbury area drug dealers, by breaking in, stealing money and drugs before assaulting their victims. 


In January 2013, Myrie and others pistol-whipped a man and intimidated his wife, mother and 1-year old child.  They fled with 30-thousand dollars and a pound of marijuana.  The following month, Myrie and two others pistol-whipped a man and further assaulted him until the victim fought back.  The victim's mother also fought off the suspects, who fled with no money or drugs.

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Area lawmaker calls for more state budget cuts

Connecticut's governor has announced $31.5 million in spending cuts to help close a budget shortfall.

The cuts announced Friday afternoon follow $54.6 million in cuts ordered by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in November to address a projected deficit of more than $120 million.  The new round of cuts includes $6 million expected from the Judicial Branch, $2.3 million from operating expenses at the University of Connecticut, and $1.5 million from the Connecticut State University system.

Malloy's budget director, Ben Barnes, will take additional steps if necessary to keep the budget in balance. Barnes has said the state will balance its books by June 30.  The state comptroller says the projected deficit has grown in part because of lower-than expected gas tax collections, caused by falling gas prices.

Southbury Senator Rob Kane, Ranking Member of the legislature’s Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement in response:


“Cutting spending is the way to fix our state’s financial crisis.  We simply can’t afford more and more tax hikes in this state. We face multi-billion dollar problems in the years ahead.  We need to stay focused on what taxpayers’ dollars are spent on, and go line by line in the budget to make cuts.  The sooner we confront our state’s spending addiction, the better off Connecticut taxpayers will be in the long run.  We have got to work together, as Republicans and Democrats, to do what is best for Connecticut.”

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Wilton police investigating iPhone thefts at High School

Wilton Police are investigating a couple of iPhone thefts from the high school.  Police say in one case, a 14 year old has been charged with larceny and credit card theft for being found by a staff member with an iPhone and a debit card of another student.  The youth will be in juvenile court on February 3rd. 


Police say the debit card was in the iPhone case and was not used. 


In another incident at Wilton High School this month, a female student reported that her iPhone 6 was taken from her backpack in the team room.  The phone was in a custom case and is still missing.

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Danbury Library adds new iPad kiosks to Children's Department

Danbury Library is adding some new technology for kids ni the new year.  Funding from the Friends of the Danbury Library has enabled the Library to put in Crayola kiosks in the children's department that hold 8 iPads.  Digital Services Librarian Katherine Chung says kids can access over 50 educational apps on the iPads.


Danbury Library has also added two new online databases for children to encourage reading and learning. 


“Starwalk Kids Media” provides children in kindergarten through eighth grade with a selection of high quality books. Children and parents can select books by age, grade or reading level and children can listen to an audiobook or read it themselves. This program's app has been downloaded to all of the Junior Department’s iPads so the books can also be enjoyed while visiting the library.


The second online database that is has made its debut is the “Worldbook Early World of Learning.”   The online resource encompasses three interactive learning environments for preschoolers and children in the early elementary grades. The program includes interactive games, narrated stories and videos that teach numbers, shapes, phonics, vocabulary, and research.

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League of Women Voters to host legislative forum

State House and Senate members from the Greater Danbury area will be at a forum tomorrow at Danbury Library.  It's being hosted by the Danbury Area Member-at-Large League of Women Voters.  Spokeswoman Judy Griemsmann says this region had an active league in the past, but not in the last two years. 


The League of Women Voters produces voter guides and hosts public forums and candidate debates among other activities.  The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan group.  They don't support political parties or candidates, but rather is there to raise public awareness of issues and increase citizen participation in policy making. 


People who attend the event will hear the legislators discuss goals of this General Assembly session, ask questions of the legislators.  Voter registration forms will also be available.  


The event is at the Danbury Library 2:30 to 4pm on Sunday.

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Danbury group to receive state funds to help end homelessness

New efforts to end chronic homelessness among veterans and persons with disabilities in Connecticut by 2016 has been announced.  The state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services is awarding 15 private, not-for-profit agencies $1.1 million to provide in-home supportive services to 176 recently housed persons who have experienced chronic homelessness.


Center for Human Development in Danbury is among the recipients of the new supporting housing subsidies from the state. 


The state has also been chosen by a national non-profits coalition to be part of a 6 state initiative to combat homelessness.  The national initiative is being organized by the nonprofit Community Solutions. 


According to recent surveys, there are about 1000 Veterans and about 2400 chronically homeless people with disabilities in the state.

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Missing teen found, mother freed from jail

A 14-year old boy missing for more than a month and was the subject of a nationwide search has been found.  14-year old Storm Sorrentino was reported missing last month by his father, Saverio Sorrentino of Newtown. 


The boy's mother, Kathyrn of Fairfield, has been jailed for three days for not telling a judge where the boy was.  The couple divorced in 2007 and Saverio was granted custody last May.  Each of the last three days Kathyrn was brought before a judge and asked where Storm was, and each day replying that she didn't know despite her ex-husband's belief that she did. 


Fairfield Police received a call Friday afternoon of a suspicious person sitting on a stone wall.  It was the missing 14 year old. 


The location was about three miles from his mother's house.

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Sandy Hook School Support Fund looking for input on continued needs

The Sandy Hook School Support Fund is looking for community input on the on-going needs of those impacted by the shootings at Sandy Hook School.  A similar survey was sent out by the group last year. 


This is an online survey with some questions proposed by the Recovery and Resiliency Team.  The survey is anonymous and the Distribution Committee says is being done to get as accurate a picture as possible of the needs and feelings in the community.  Most of the questions are the same however, so the group can measure the data against the benchmark first survey done last year on challenges, strengths and needs.


Responses must be completed by February 6th.

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Ridgefield Board of Education member arrested

51-year old Irene Burgess plans to resign as Vice Chairman of the Ridgefield Board of Education.  She was arrested Thursday for a 6th degree larceny charge.  Ridgefield Police report that officers were called to Stop & Shop to investigate a possible theft.  Their investigation revealed that Burgess stole $69 worth of items. 


She was released on a written promise to appear in court on February 5th. 


Burgess told the Ridgefield Press: “It’s a mistake, but in order to prevent embarrassment to the board I’m going to resign even though nothing was intentionally done wrong.”


Burgess was arrested in November 2013 on the same charge for an incident at Kohls where she allegedly stole $160 worth of items.  She pled not guilty last January and entered the state's accelerated rehabilitation program.  The she completed the program in December, the charge was dismissed. 


At the time she said it was an accident and misunderstanding between the store manager and the police.

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Man arguing across from police station arrested for pending charges

A man having an argument across from the police station has landed him under arrest for outstanding warrants. 


Newtown Police say a man was involved in an argument across the street from the Department on Sunday and officers went to investigate.  Police say 26-year old Victor Stendbergh was wanted on pending charges from state and local police so he was arrested.  


Court records show that Stendbergh was arrested by Newtown Police in August for refusal to show his license and registration, but didn't appear in court and was charged in October with failure to appear.  He is due in court Monday on those charges. 


He was arrested by State Police in September for operating under the influence, failure to drive in the proper lane and possession of drug paraphernalia.  He is due in Waterbury Superior Court on Monday.  Also on that date, he faces charges of evading responsibility, operating an unregistered vehicle, following too closely and improper use of license plates.


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