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Danbury High School improvements discussed by City officials

A bond package totalling $53.5 million is being considered in Danbury for a new wing at the High School.  A committee of the City Council met this week to talk about the plan to accommodate an increase in enrollment.  The full City Council takes up the idea on April 7th.


The proposed design would essentially give the 9th grade their own building, creating the Freshmen Academy.  Part of the plan calls for enclosing the current canopy at the cafeteria to accommodate the increased student population.  A redesigned front entrance along with parking and bus expansions are also planned.  The bond proposal also includes a new roof, which will be outfitted with solar panels.


The cost covers the addition, reconstruction of the current autoshop building and construction of a new facility to house the autoshop program.  62-percent of the project will be paid for by the state.


Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola says the proposed autoshop replacement building would include enhanced equipment.  He says the existing building and equipment are antiquated based on what's currently being taught based on some of the electronics cars today have.


Alternative proposals to accommodate increased enrollment were more costly.  One option was split sessions, similar to those held in the 70s, but that required a lot of buses and more logistics to organize.  Another option was to bus students to other towns where there is declining enrollment, but no one district could take 100 to 150 students in one grade level without having to hire more staff.


Vision 2020 Committee Phase One work was to renovate the elementary schools and open the new middle school.  The next phase is to accommodate increased enrollment at the high school level.  There are 3,000 students currently enrolled at DHS, and that's anticipated to grow to about 3,450 over the next five years.

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Lawmakers urge more study of US tribal recognition changes

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Several congressional members called on the U.S. Interior Department Thursday to slow down an overhaul of the rules for granting federal recognition to American Indian tribes, saying more study is needed of problems that could result from lowering the bar for the coveted status.


U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, a Utah Republican who recently became chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, sent a letter with four other lawmakers outlining their concerns to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.


"We do not support the sweeping changes that have been proposed to the criteria," the lawmakers wrote.


Federal recognition has been granted to 566 American tribes, and is sought because it brings increased health and education benefits to tribal members in addition to land protections and opportunities for commercial development.

Tribes have been pushing for years for Congress or the Interior Department to revise the process. The overhaul would be the first in two decades.


In Connecticut, the governor and the entire congressional delegation have spoken out against the rule changes, which could make it easier for three small tribes to win recognition and revive long-simmering land claims. Two Connecticut Democrats, Rep. Joe Courtney and Rep. Elizabeth Esty, are among the lawmakers who signed the letter.  The Kent-based Schaghticoke Indian Tribe has been seeking federal recognition for years.


The lawmakers say other states may not grasp the significance of the changes proposed for the recognition process that has been criticized as slow, inconsistent and overly susceptible to political influence.


"We are concerned that the Department's proposed rules fail to address many of the issues that have been identified and could create new problems that lead to unintended and unjustifiable outcomes," the lawmakers wrote.


One of the more controversial changes is a new requirement that tribes demonstrate political authority since 1934, where they previously had to show continuity from "historical times."


Supporters of the rule change say it helps to remove unfair burdens. Advocates say that some tribes have been denied recognition because records were lost or burned over hundreds of years, and any tribe that was still together by 1934 had overcome histories of mistreatment.


The letter urges the Interior Department to hold off on putting out final regulations until issues with recognition can be evaluated more thoroughly. The other congressional members who signed the letter are Rep. Don Young, an Alaska Republican, and Rep. Mike Thompson, a California Democrat.


A spokeswoman for the Interior Department said the agency is reviewing the letter.


The Interior Department's Bureau of Indian Affairs proposed the new rules in 2013 to make tribal acknowledgment more transparent and the process more efficient. The department, which has held hearings around the country and received hundreds of comments from the public, proposed formal changes last May that were expected to be finalized soon.

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Wanted Danbury man apprehended in New York

A Danbury man has been arrested in New York for being in violation of his probation.  The Putnam County Sheriff's office was advised by Connecticut authorities that 38-year old Marc De Benigno was believed to be in New York.  He was located in the Peach Lake Road area of Southeast on Tuesday and taken into custody. 


De Benigno is awaiting extradition to Connecticut. 


The Danbury man was convicted on charges of Burlary, Larceny, Possession of Narcotics, Illegal Possession of a Weapon, and Credit Card Theft, and had been sentenced to probation.  De Benigno was prohibited from leaving Connecticut without written permission from his probation officer.

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Local lawmaker fights for more Alzheimer's services in Connecticut

A bill to allow more state residents to participate in Alzheimer's respite care program services is moving through the legislative process. 


Newtown State Representative Mitch Bolinsky voted in the Aging committee to approve the bill.  It would increase the annual income limit for participants in the Respite Care Program, which provides respite for caregivers who care for people with Alzheimer's disease or related disorders.  The annual income limit for participants in the Respite Care Program would increase from $43,846 to $50,000.


The Legislature's Appropriations Committee, another committee on which  Bolinsky serves, will be the next to consider the measure.


The asset limit is $116,567. Current income and asset limits are set by Department of Aging policy. The law requires the department to annually increase these limits to reflect social security cost of living adjustments.


Last year, the Connecticut Statewide Alzheimer's Respite Program provided direct services for 713 Alzheimer's patients. Services included nursing, home health aides, companions, Adult Day Centers and Meals on Wheels. Sometimes, a family caregiver was not available.  Almost 1,000 families received information, referrals and counseling to help them with the difficult job of family caregiving.

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Two Danbury residents arrested for shoplifting from Walmart

Two Danbury residents have been arrested for shoplifting from Walmart.  Video surveillance showed 32-year old Jose Raul Sandoval and 28-year old Danielle Barto removing items from the shelves of the Danbury Walmart on Tuesday, then leaving the Newtown Road store without paying for the merchandise. 


Police say while the pair was in store custody, Sandoval tried to get rid of 30 packets of heroin.  He's been charged with larceny and possession of a controlled substance.  He was held on $10,000 bond. 


Barto was charged with larceny and held on $2,500 bond.  She was also wanted on two other active warrants.  Court records show the charges include failure to insure a motor vehicle and failure to appear.  One of the case records is sealed.

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Newtown Community Center meeting draws opposition

Another informational session has been held in Newtown about the proposed Community Center.  GE donated $15 million  to the town, with a proposal that $10 million be spent to build a facility and $5 million be used to operate it for several years after completion. 


There was some strong opposition voiced during the meeting on Tuesday.  Several residents objected to the idea that it would basically be a senior center and aquatics center, feeling the rest of the community was left out.  Several people spoke about kids not being served by the center. 


A vote is slated for April 28th on accepting the donation.  There are now questions on if the item will remain on the ballot.

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Case continued against Monroe man who accientally shot son

A father accused of accidentally shooting his 11-year-old son in the face while putting away his handgun has had his assault case continued in Court.  44-year old Vincent Pizzolato appeared in Bridgeport Superior Court Wednesday and the case was continued to April 28th.  Pizzolato was also charged with reckless endangerment and unlawful discharge.  


His lawyer said his client is disappointed that charges have been filed. He called the shooting a "terrible accident."  The bullet from the 9 mm gun shattered the boy's jaw, knocking out many of his teeth. 


Pizzolato has not yet entered a plea.

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Danbury prostitution sting nets 4 arrests

A prostitution sting in Danbury has landed four women under arrest.  The sting was part of an ongoing effort to curb prostitution.  effort was carried out in the Elm Street, Stevens Street, Spring Street, Beaver Street area.  Spokesman Lt Christian Carroccio says an undercover officer was offered sex for money Wednesday.


50-year old Donna Walker, 33-year old Patricia Gibson, 29-year old Jodi Davenport and 23-year old Paige Kummerer were all charged with prostitution and held on $500 bond. 


Gibson, Davenport and Kummerer were also charged for possession of drug paraphernalia.



(Donna Walker,    Patricia Gibson,    Jodi Davenport,    Paige Kummerer)

Photo Courtesy:Danbury Police

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Connecticut man charged in fatal hit-and-run in New York

AMENIA, N.Y. (AP) Police say they've charged a Connecticut man in the hit-and-run death of a 36-year-old mother of two who was struck while getting into her vehicle after attending an in-home merchandise party in eastern New York.

The Dutchess County Sheriff's Office says Wednesday that 57-year-old Randy Miles of Kent, Connecticut, turned himself in to detectives on Tuesday, a day after investigators tracked him down. His vehicle was found Saturday.

Miles was charged with leaving the scene of an accident.

Deputies say Miles hit Concetta Eastman of Copake in Columbia County last Thursday as she was leaving a product-selling party held at a home in the town of Amenia, on the Connecticut border. She later died at Sharon Hospital in Connecticut.

Miles is being held in the county jail. Police didn't know if he has a lawyer.

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Man locked out of bar, breaks window

Breaking a window at a downtown Danbury bar has landed a City man under arrest.  Police say 31-year old Wilson Yuqui was arguing with another patron at Fajitas & Margaritas on Main Street late Sunday night when they took the dispute outside.  In an effort to prevent the pair from coming back in as the bar was trying to close for the night, employees locked the door.  Police say Yuqui tried the door and when he couldn't get in, punched out a glass window.  He was treated at Danbury Hospital for minor injuries.  Yuqui was charged with breach of peace and criminal mischief.

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NY man beats, robs victim at South Salem condo complex

A South Salem man has been arrested for beating a robbing another New York resident.  New York State Police were called to Oak Ridge Commons Condo complex in South Salem on Monday night. 


The 27-year old victim told police that he was dropped off at his home by a friend and the suspect, identified as 21-year old Wyatt Gilchrist, forcibly pulled him from the car.  The victim told police that he was punched several times and then Gilchrist took off his leather belt to continue assaulting him.  Troopers determined that Gilchrist also took the victim's wallet before driving off. 


He was charged with assault and robbery, arraigned and held in jail on 50-thousand dollars bond.  Gilchrist is due back in court on Monday.


The victim was transported to Norwalk Hospital for treatment of cuts to his head and face.

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Brewster man on parole arrested for selling drugs

A Brewster man on parole, who has a long criminal history, has been arrested on a number of felony drug charges.  The Putnam County Sheriff's office launched an investigation into 42-year old Daniel Durden in January on a tip that he was selling prescription medication, cocaine and heroin from his residency at a local motel. 


Controlled drug purchases were made by deputies. 


Last week, members of the Narcotics Enforcement Unit arrested Durden.  A search of his motel room turned up narcotics and drug transaction records.  The Brewster man was charged with four counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance and three counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance. 


He was arraigned and is being held without bail.  Durden was on parole for a 2011 drug sale conviction.  If found guilty, he could face up to 25 years in prison and a fine of up to 30-thousand dollars for each charge.

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State plans roundabout in Monroe at Routes 110, 111

An informational hearing was held last night in Monroe about a proposed roundabout at the intersection of Route 110 and Route 111.  The state Department of Transportation made a presentation about the project to address operation and safety concerns at Shelton Road and Monroe Turnpike. 


The proposed project includes removing the existing flashing light and constructing a roundabout.  Hurd Avenue would be turned into a cul-de-sac and sidewalks would be installed in the area. 


Construction on the estimated $4.1 million dollars project could begin in the spring of 2017.  80-percent of the construction would be covered by federal funds.

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Brookfield Finance Board backs Meadowbrook Manor flood relief plan

The Brookfield Boards of Selectmen and Finance are recommending that the town appropriate $2 million to fund a drainage and flooding mitigation plan in the Meadowbrook Manor neighborhood.  The proposed project was reviewed by the Board of Finance last week as part of a capital items to be funding in the coming fiscal year. 


The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has approved a request to divert the brook in order to alleviate flooding conditions in the 128 home neighborhood. 


There were back-to-back 100-year level floods in 2011, which prompted homeowner Jean Hartnett to push for a solution to the problem that's existed for decades.  In the meantime, Public Works crews have cleaned catch basins to reduce some of the flooding.  Neighbors have waded out in water up to their knees, many have had flooded basements in the last several years.


A number of other capital items were approved by the Board of Finance for the budget referendum. 


They including roof replacement at the town library and at town hall, road paving and money for the volunteer fire companies.  Also among the items is acquisition of a dump truck, fuel storage tank replacement at the Highway Garage and miscellaneous repairs to Brookfield High School and Whisconier Middle School.

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Belimo holds grand opening of new Danbury headquarters

A grand opening is set for today for Belimo Air Controls.  The U.S. headquarters of the Switzerland-based company is now located on Turner Road in Danbury.  The company produces control valves used by the heating, ventilation and air conditioning industry in the United States, Canada and Latin America.  Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton says a seven year tax deferral was offered to Belimo.


Belimo moved from Old Ridgebury Road.  The new, energy-efficient 200,000 square foot building is located on 34 acres at the former Novo Laboratories property. 


The building features a space for hands-on training for Belimo University courses and an improved space for employees from Ability Beyond.  Company officials say this new building has expanded production capabilities.  Belimo says this new building has one of North America's largest H-VAC control valve design and testing labs.


Boughton says 85-percent of the employees live in Danbury.

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Newtown home of Sandy Hook school shooter is demolished

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) The Newtown home of the man who carried out the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary school has been demolished.

Several neighbors had asked that the 3,100-square-foot Yogananda Street house be taken down, saying it was a constant reminder of the tragedy in Newtown.

The home was demolished Monday, and plans call for leaving the property as open space.

Newtown took ownership of the home last year when the deed was turned over at no cost to the town by the bank that held the mortgage.

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UPDATED: Torrington bank robbery suspect caught after Rt 7 crash at Brookfield/New Milford border

One lane in each direction of Route 7 at the Brookfield/New Milford border have reopened.  The remaining lanes are still closed for a police investigation.  The accident near Faith Church stemmed from a police pursuit.  There were police scanner reports that the driver had a gun pointed out the window. 


The man had to be extricated from the vehicle.  He was transported to Danbury Hospital for evaluation.


The suspect robbed a bank in Torrington around 8:45am before heading south.  The suspect was identified as Chris Basigalup, who walked into the TD Bank on High Street in Torrington and implied he had a weapon.  Police say the 46-year old has been arrested in the past and is known to them.

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Ex-candidate Wilson-Foley sentenced to 5 months in prison

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) -- Former Republican congressional candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley was sentenced Tuesday to five months in prison for a scheme to hide the role played in her campaign by former Gov. John Rowland, a man regarded as talented politically but tainted by a federal corruption conviction.


Wilson-Foley apologized to anyone hurt by her actions and said she should not have run for Congress. "I do take full responsibility for having that ship veer far off course," she said.


Wilson-Foley and her husband, Brian Foley, both pleaded guilty to conspiring to make illegal campaign contributions. Prosecutors say the couple created a sham contract between Foley's nursing home company and Rowland to hide the $35,000 they paid the former Republican governor for help on Wilson-Foley's failed 2012 campaign for the 5th Congressional District seat.


Rowland was sentenced last week to 2 1/2 years in prison and is expected to appeal his conviction. Foley was sentenced in January to three years of probation.


Wilson-Foley's attorneys had argued that hiding the payments for Rowland's work was a record-keeping violation that could have been handled in a civil enforcement by the Federal Election Commission. Rowland's lawyers argued same thing and said the former governor did legitimate work for Foley's company.


The payments originated with Foley and constituted campaign contributions but were not reported to the FEC, a violation of federal campaign finance laws, prosecutors said.


Wilson-Foley wanted Rowland to work on the campaign but believed that because he had previously been convicted of a felony, disclosure of his paid role in the campaign would result in substantial negative publicity for her candidacy, prosecutors said.


Federal prosecutor Christopher Mattei said transparency was vital to the integrity of the election system.


"This court's sentence should absolutely send a message to other candidates ... that if you try to cheat the voters ... there's a price to pay, regardless of all the good you have done in your life," he said.


Wilson-Foley's lawyers also suggested the criminal prosecution was driven by sensationalism due to the involvement of Rowland, and the government's dissatisfaction with the 10 months Rowland served in prison for his 2004 corruption case for accepting illegal gifts while governor - a scandal that forced Rowland to resign from office.


Prosecutors denied those claims. They said in their pre-sentencing request to U.S. Judge Janet Bond Arterton that had Wilson-Foley been elected, she would have taken office "as a criminal who had won election by criminal means."

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Two Danbury residents arrested for drug sale charges

Neighbor complaints of drug sales from a Park Avenue apartment have resulted in the arrest of two Danbury residents.  The investigation started weeks ago and revealed that 35-year old Terrence “Ratchet” Walker was involved in activity consistent with drug trafficking. 


Search warrants were carried out Monday evening as Walker parked at a business on Germantown Road.  Spokesman Lt Christian Carroccio says Walker was found in possession of heroin and crack cocaine packaged for sale.  Walker was found in possession of heroin and crack cocaine packaged for sale. 


A woman who lived at his apartment, 31-year old Sonya Henry, was also arrested after more drugs were found in the home.  Two school aged children were also there.  The children were placed in the care of a suitable adult until DCF arrived. 


Walker and Henry were charged for a number of drug related offenses and also risk of injury to a child.  Walker was held on $250,000 bond, Henry was released on a written promise to appear in court.

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Lottery open for DHS Early College Opportunity program

The lottery is open for Danbury High School students interested in the Associate Degree program.  The Early College Opportunity program begins this fall.  Freshmen could start earning an Associate Degree in Information Technology simultaneously with their high school diploma.  


The degree would be from Naugatuck Valley Community College.  Freshmen will begin accelerating their high school requirements so that by sophomore or junior year they can begin incorporating college-level courses. 

The lottery is open until April 10th. 


There is no cost to complete the program while at DHS, through there is some attendance at NVCC required after graduation. 


Superintendent Dr Sal Pascarella says every students will be paired with an industry mentor from New Oak Capital or Pitney Bowes.  They will have in person and over-the-internet meetings.  Students will discuss concepts learned during “Workplace Learning,” a class period during their day.  The students can also see strategies in action during one-on-one meetings with their mentor in the workplace. 


To apply to the program, visit and click the link for Danbury Early College Opportunity.

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