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Two local lawmakers are hosting a Stuff a Humvee collection to benefit veterans.  The event is next weekend at the Bethel Municipal Center.  Representatives Steve Harding and Will Duff says the non-perishable food items and toiletries will be donated to local Veterans in need through the Veteran Services of New England, a registered Connecticut not-for-profit, Veteran Service Organization.  The collection on July 7th is from 11am to 2pm.  The Veteran Services of New England assist those in the reserves, active duty, prior service members and their immediate families, includes providing employment, mental health, recreational rehab assistance and other services associated with the transition from military service to the next phase of life and beyond. 

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The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation is hosting an inaugural event in Bethel this weekend.  Sunday's 5k is in memory of a firefighter, who ran with 60 pounds of his gear through a closed Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the World Trade Center on September 11th. The event at Bethel High School is at 8:30am. Siller is a cousin of former New Fairfield First Selectman John Hodge. The foundation raises money to build smart homes for catastrophically injured service members, and aids families of fallen police and firefighters.

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This is graduation season and the Putnam County Sheriff is cautioning that it's also seen by some as a rite of passage to engage in underage drinking at celebrations.  Robert Langley says while some parent's don't see a problem in hosting parties where alcohol is served, but there is a Social Host Liability Law.  The local laws passed by every town in Putnam County make it a misdemeanor to organize or allow a party, gathering or event where three or more minors are present and alcohol is being consumed by a minor.  Those who violate the law face up to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine.

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Danbury firefighters responded to a fire reported at a condo complex early this morning.  Police blocked the area roads around Triangle Streets while firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze in the attic of a unit in Lions Condos. Smoke was visible from White Street.

 

(Photo: DFD)

 

The reported 3-alarm fire was called in shortly after 6:30am.  Four units sustained damage.  All residents were able to self-evacuate.  Two residents were avaluated at the scene by EMS.  One firefighter was taken to the hospital for observation. 

 

Ridgefield and Bethel provided mutual aid.

 

 

The American Red Cross was requested for the displaced occupants and the remaining units were able to be reoccupied.

 

Danbury branch trains of Metro North were briefly delayed due to the activity near the railroad tracks.  Train service has been restored to normal and roads have been reopened.

 

The Danbury Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the cause of the blaze.

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Two people have been arrested in Wilton for stealing cars from an assisted living housing complex on River Road.  The area has been the target of multiple stolen vehicles and thefts from cars in recent months.  A patrol officer saw four cars leave the complex around 3am yesterday.  Officers stopped two of the drivers.  One was in a car reported stolen from North Haven last week and one was just taken from the complex. 
 
19-year old Michael Lockhart and a 17-year old, both of Bridgeport, were arrested.  A third vehicle was later found abandoned in a parking garage, while another has not been recovered. 
 
Lockhart was charged with driving with a suspended license, three counts of larceny and two counts each of burglary, conspiracy to commit larceny and conspiracy to commit burglary.  The juvenile was charged with two counts each of larceny, burglary, conspiracy to commit larceny and conspiracy to commit burglary. 
 
Two cars were reported stolen from the Wilton Center area during Wednesday into Thursday with several vehicle break-ins also reported. All vehicles entered were left unlocked.  All vehicles stolen had their keys or key fobs left in the car. 
 
Wilton Police say the greatest deterrent to this type of activity is to lock cars and remove the keys. Police are also asking anyone with video surveillance systems that may have captured the activity to contact them at (203) 834-6260.

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The New Milford Board of Education has revised the budget for the coming fiscal year now that residents have approved a spending plan.  $1.26 million was cut, which prompted members to adopt so-called Pay to Play for student athletes.  It will cost $125 for each sport, with a $500 per family cap.  Student parking fees were increased from $150 to $225.  10 positions are being eliminated across the district.  Spending for textbooks and other supplies is being delayed.

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Funeral arrangements have been announced for the Waterbury woman who died of injuries sustained in a boating accident on Candlewood Lake in New Fairfield on Tuesday. 
 
Calling hours for friends and family of 38-year old Wanda Tirado are Sunday 4 to 8pm at Casey's Eastside Memorial Funeral Home.  Funeral services will be held at 11am Monday at the funeral home, followed by burial in New Pine Grove Cemetery.   
 
Tirado was a mother of two.  She was born in Puerto Rico and came to the U.S. in 2000, working as a physical therapist before becoming a teacher earlier this year.  

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The United Way of Western Connecticut has hosted their annual Day of Action.  More than 210 corporate volunteers representing 18 companies completed service projects in the Greater Danbury and New Milford areas.  Service projects were also carried out at seven nonprofit agencies across the region. 

 

Volunteers gathered on the Danbury Green to pack more than 200 literacy kits for second graders at Hayestown Avenue Elementary School in Danbvury and hill and Plain School in New Milford.  Volunteers also assembled snack packs for food insecure households. 

 

End Hunger Connecticut participated in a Summer Meals Blitz in downtown Danbury to raise awareness of the free summer meal locations available to area children this summer. 

 

In the afternoon, there was a community block party, featuring resources to make for a healthy and safe summer. 

 

United Way CEO Kimberly Morgan says volunteers are making an active change in the community and praised the companies for sharing in the agency's values of volunteerism and community investment.  United Way's Day of Action launched in 2008 and participation has grown each year. This year's national focus was on summer learning and nutrition. 

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Five projects will receive approximately $8.5 million in state funding under the second phase of the 2017 Responsible Growth and Transit Oriented Development Grants.  The competitive grant program supports transit-oriented development and responsible growth in the state and is targeted at boosting economic activity and creating jobs.  
 
Danbury is receiving  $200,000 for the City's Downtown Streetscape Project.  The money will help prepare design drawings and construct sidewalk and other improvements near the Train Station.  The overhaul includes the new construction or replacement of sidewalks, intersection improvements, landscaping, removal and installation of street trees, ornamental lighting, and pedestrian access improvements detailed in the Downtown Transit Oriented Development Planning Study.
 
In April 2017, the state released a request for applications for the grant program, and the State Bond Commission approved a total of $15 million to be used – comprised of $5 million from the Responsible Growth Incentive Fund and $10 million from the Transit-Oriented Development and Pre-development Fund.  Following that, OPM – with input from other state agencies – reviewed, rated, and ranked each of the proposals.  The first round of grants were released in December 2017 and totaled $4.5 million.

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Danbury firefighters responded to a fire reported at a condo complex early this morning.  Police blocked the area roads around Triangle Streets while firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze in the attic of a unit in Lions Condos. 

 

The reported 3-alarm fire was called in shortly after 6:30am.  Four units sustained damage.  All residents were able to self-evacuate.  Two residents were avaluated at the scene by EMS.  One firefighter was taken to the hospital for observation. 

 

Ridgefield and Bethel provided mutual aid.

 

Danbury branch trains of Metro North were briefly delayed due to the activity near the railroad tracks.  Train service has been restored to normal and roads have been reopened.

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There are a lot of facets to tackling the opioid addiction and overdose crisis. A coalition has been formed in Danbury to address the  public health issue.  MCCA Director of Prevention Terry Budlong says this issue hasn't hit a plateau yet and is still on the rise, so it can't yet decline.  The coalition received a $5,000 community mini-grant opportunity as part of the state's response to the public health crisis.
 
More than a thousand people in Connecticut died from an accidental opioid overdose.  The typical victim in Connecticut is a whIte male between the ages of 30 and 59.
 
 
The partnership includes the Danbury Police Department.  Chief Patrick Ridenhour says they have a prescription drug drop box in their lobby, available 24-7, in order to help keep unwanted and unneeded medication out of reach of those who may be vulnerable.  He says this also ensures proper disposal and destruction.
 
On a legislative level,  Danbury Representative Bob Godfrey says they have passed laws allowing any licensed health care professional to administer the overdose reversal drug Narcan and allowed pharmacists to prescribe Narcan, including making sure first responders, teachers and school bus drivers have access.  Prescriptions of opioids are now capped.  Good Samaritan laws have been extended to those who help overdose victims.  
 
There is also a connection to the schools.  Superintendent Dr. Sal Pascarella says it really does take a village to keep a community safe.  They are having the athletic director and counselors reach out to parents. 
 
Danbury Public Schools, Police Department and Emergency Services have teamed up with Stand Together Make a Difference, Housatonic Valley Coalition Against Substance Abuse, and M-C-C-A to create an awareness video about the misuse of opioids.  

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Six municipalities and organizations, including New Milford, are being awarded a total $1 million in state grants that will help the entities remediate and redevelop clusters of blighted properties – also known as “brownfields” – and put them back into productive use.  New Milford will use a $170,000 grant to develop a master plan to assess remediation needs along the Housatonic River Corridor.  The project will focus on reuse of town-owned and private properties to help restore public access to the river and serve as a catalyst for economic development within walking distance of downtown.

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New York State Police are trying to identify two suspects wanted for questioning in a Grand Larceny investigation.  On Saturday, the pair allegedly stole four Canon cameras from the Kohl’s Department Store on Independent Way in Brewster.  The suspects are described to be two middle aged white men with brown hair. 
 
 
A gold Honda Accord was used during the incident. 
 
 
Any one with information about this investigation  is asked to contact Investigator James Sawner at (845) 677-7300. Refer to Case No. 8303020

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WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) - The Waterbury community is mourning the loss of a local teacher who died in a boating accident.

A large crowd attended a vigil for Wanda Tirado on Wednesday at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. The 38-year-old and mother of two died earlier in the day at Danbury Hospital after suffering serious injuries Tuesday in a boating accident on Candlewood Lake in New Fairfield. She was a middle school science and math teacher at St. Mary School.

Police responded to a call concerning a missing person at the lake. Authorities say a good Samaritan pulled Tirado from the water.

Police have charged the operator of the boat Tirado was on, 65-year-old Gary Morrone, of Oakville, with reckless operation and other charges.  

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A report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition has ranked Connecticut as the 9th highest for how much money is needed in order to afford rent. The Out of Reach report about the average fair-market rent shows that a minimum wage employee would need work 79 hours a week in order to afford a one-bedroom.  In the Danbury area, the report pegs that number at 97 hours a week.
 
Without spending more than 30-percent of income on housing, a Connecticut resident would need to earn $41,600  a year to afford a one-bedroom rental.  But that is the statewide average, a worker would have to earn significantly more in the Danbury Labor Market Area.  In order to earn enough to pay for a one bedroom in the Danbury area, someone would have to be making $51,200, or $24.65 an hour.
 
According to the report, the fair market rent average for the state on a two-bedroom apartment is $1,295 dollars.  The average in the Danbury area is little more than $1,600.

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A public hearing was held recently in Brookfield about a proposal by the Regional YMCA of Western Connecticut for their support campaign.  The YMCA applied to be part of the state-run Neighborhood Assistance Act Program.  Proposals are eligible to receive donations from various people and businesses.  Contributors will then receive a tax credit they normally wouldn't receive.  The YMCA will receive $150,000 in state funding for their proposal.  Brookfield Human Resource Development oversees the local program, which requires a public hearing.  The Board of Selectmen approved the proposal.  First Selectman Steve Dunn cleared up some confusion among residents saying there is no town funding being allocated.  The YMCA is the only Brookfield municipal or tax exempt organization to apply each year, and have done so for several years.

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WHATELY, Mass. (AP) - Massachusetts State Police have released the name of the driver of a fuel tanker who died in a crash on Interstate 91.

Officials say 47-year-old Jody Crosby, of Seymour, Connecticut, lost control of the tanker Wednesday afternoon while traveling through Whately.

Police say the tanker veered off the road and rolled over.

Crosby was pronounced dead at the scene.

A small amount of gasoline leaked from the truck's ventilation system but the tank wasn't breached.

Authorities rerouted traffic for several hours as crews cleaned up the site. 

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WATERTOWN, Conn. (AP) Police say a man who was pulled from a lake in Connecticut has died.

Officials say they received a call of a missing swimmer at Sylvan Lake in Watertown around 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

Crews pulled the man out of the water and performed CPR before he was transported to Waterbury Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police have identified the man as 23-year-old Isaiah Anderson.

Authorities say Sylvan Lake Park has a designated swimming area, but it has not opened yet for the season. Police say the man was outside of that area, where it is posted ``no swimming.'' 

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Members of Connecticut's congressional delegation are traveling to Texas to meet with migrant families being held in detention facilities.

Democratic U.S. Reps. Joe Courtney, Rosa DeLauro, Jim Himes and Elizabeth Esty announced Thursday they will join more than 20 other members of Congress making the trip. The group plans to speak with children and parents affected by a White House policy that had separated more than 2,300 children from their parents over the past several weeks.

The practice set off an outcry. President Donald Trump signed an order Wednesday to stop the separations, but a host of unanswered questions remain.

Lawmakers on Saturday will tour the McAllen Border Patrol Station and the Centralized Processing Center in McAllen, Texas, before visiting the Port Isabel ICE Detention Center in Los Fresnos. 

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Squantz Pond State Park has reopened to swimming.  The beach area was closed Wednesday due to indicator bacteria, but was retested and the levels are now appropriate.  The weekly water quality tests are done by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

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