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New Milford Mayor David Gronbach is providing an update on asbestos testing done at the former John Pettibone School.  He says based on the preliminary testing, no asbestos was found in the sheetrock or ceiling tiles. 

 

The old Board of Education decommissioned Pettibone as a school in 2015, taking materials deemed valuable to the respective schools where teachers were re-assigned.  Some wall-mounted fixtures were also removed, leaving holes in the walls. 

 

Cosmetic work has been done to spackle holes, but Gronbach says the contractor halted work to make sure they were not disturbing asbestos.  He expects work to resume soon to repair the damage. 

 

Gronbach says this means the town can also move forward with plans for Town Offices and Community Center to move into the former school building.



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Newtown Police are giving an update on the two armed robberies reported over the weekend.  Police say the detective unit is very active and following good leads.  Newtown Police say they have the absolute confidence that these cases can and will be resolved in the near future. 

 

In one case, a gas station on South Main Street was robbed late Friday night by one white man and one black man. 

 

On Saturday night, a South Main Street liquor store owner reported two white men robbing him and setting a fire in the rear of the store.  As police searched the scene, they also found a racial slur and two swastikas painted on the building.



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New York State Police have released this week's Cold Case Tuesday file.  The featured case is a nearly five decade old homicide of a Pawling man.  New York State Police say 49-year old Emile Zaniboni was killed at his family-owned Cattle Car Restaurant in early January, 1971. 

 

His wife and daughter discovered him murdered inside after they went to the eatery after he failed to return home. 

 

 

The restaurant appeared to be in disarray; bar stools had been turned over and coin boxes had been removed from the juke box and cigarette machines.  Zaniboni died of multiple gun shot wounds. 

 

His death continues to be actively investigated by New York State Police.  Numerous leads have been followed over the years, but the homicide has never been solved.  Anyone with information is asked to contact the New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Dover by calling (845) 677-7300 or (845)877-3660. Please refer to SJS # 3025018. All calls may be kept confidential.



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Brookfield Police and the Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company responded to a car fire this morning.  A call came in about the blaze in a stopped motor vehicle on Federal Road near the New Milford Town Line.  Brookfield Police provided traffic control while firefighters extinguished the flames.  There were no injuries reported.

 

(Photo Credit: Bernie Meehan)



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State Police are reminding Connecticut drivers about the "Move Over Law" following a crash involving a state police cruiser.  A Trooper was stopped behind another state police cruiser and a broken down motor vehicle on Route 7 in Brookfield yesterday when her cruiser was struck from behind at a high rate of speed. 

 

 

The Trooper remained hospitalized overnight. 

 

When approaching a stationary emergency vehicle located on the shoulder, lane or breakdown lane a driver must reduce speed to a reasonable level and move over when it is safe to do so.  Emergency vehicles include Law Enforcement Vehicles, Fire Vehicles, Ambulances, Highway Maintenance Vehicles, or Tow Trucks.



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A head on collision closed part of Route 34 in Newtown for a short time Monday afternoon.  Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue and Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps responded to the area of Thunder Ridge Road shortly before 3pm for the two car crash.  Fire officials say the driver's side airbag in one car deployed and there was smoke coming from one of the vehicles. 

 

Both vehicles came to rest in the shoulder of the road, facing opposite directions. 

 

 

A 44-year old man was transported to the hospital for treatment of shoulder pain.  Another man, who was unsteady, was checked on the scene, but refused further medical attention. 

 

Some fluids spilled on the roadway and needed to be cleaned up with Speedi-Dri.  Both batteries were disconnected and the vehicles were towed from the scene.

 

While firefighters were on the scene of the head-on collision, a second call came in about a car versus tree accident.  Fire officials say the driver was complaining of chest pain.  Firefighters responded shortly after 3:30pm to the accident. 

 

 

The driver was the sole occupant of the car and was transported to Danbury Hospital by Newtown Ambulance Firefighters waited for the wrecker to arrive then cleaned the scene about an hour later.



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A Danbury resident is being applauded for probably saving the lives of neighbors last night by calling 911 about a fire.  The blaze was reported at Birchwood Condos on Crows Nest Lane shortly before 10:30pm.  The Danbury Fire Department was called by a neighbor who couldn't wake the occupants. 

 

The family had a fire in their fireplace, but the damper wasn't open so the unit filled with smoke and carbon monoxide.  There was a child and two adults asleep at the time.  They were treated on the scene for smoke inhalation, and did not require hospitalization.

 

The meters used by firefighters to detect carbon monoxide alert at 30 parts per million.  They measured 60 parts per million in the Danbury condo, which Assistant Fire Chief Mark Omasta says is rather high.  At 1,000 parts per million, carbon monoxide is lethal in just one hour. 

 

The family did have smoke detectors in the unit, but they were not working.  The Fire Department replaced two of the detectors and the batteries in a third detector.



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A committee of the Danbury City Council is considering a lease with Benny's Cafe for a trial period of 6 months to operate the cafe next to Danbury Library.  During their meeting last week, Mr. and Mrs. Benitez said their son, Brendan, would own the business.  The couple, who owns a Nardelli's location on Newtown Road, would be the managing entity. 

 

Brendan Benitez was not at the meeting, citing a scheduling conflict. 

 

Committee Chair Councilman Vinny Dejulio raised questions about how that business arrangement would work.  The committee also wanted more information how how this business would work, in conjunction with their franchise agreement. 

 

The cafe has been vacant since February when the previous operator left to pursue other opportunities.  The new proposal calls for the half a year trial period to start on day 1 of opening to get a fair assessment of the cafe's success.  The owner is proposing to then pay $500 a month in rent, which would include utilities. 

 

The menu would include bagels, muffins, fresh fruit, salads, sandwiches and soups.



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A State Police Trooper, helping a Trooper investigating an earlier accident, was injured Monday morning when her police cruiser was rear ended.  The unrelated accident happened about 800 feet north of the Exit 12 ramp and the vehicle could not be moved. 

 

Trooper Karen Nixon parked her marked cruiser, with emergency lights activated, a distance behind the first trooper's vehicle to offer additional protection as he completed his investigation.  State Police say the marked cruiser was in the left lane of Route 7 northbound. 

 

 

Despite a clear sightline of over 800 feet, 38-year old Brian Glasser of Danbury remained in the left lane at highway speeds and collided with the rear of the cruiser.  Both vehicles sustained extensive damage, and the cruiser was pushed 80 feet forward from its original parked position. 

 

 

Trooper Nixon was transported to Danbury Hospital for treatment of minor injuries sustained in the crash.  A State Police spokeswoman says Trooper Nixon is being kept overnight at Danbury Hospital.

 

The incident remains under investigation.



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Firefighters extinguished a blaze at a Danbury home late Saturday night.  Firefighters responded to 52 Taylor Street to find fire around a woodstove pipe leading to the outside of the house.  Fire was in the walls, in one room and closet on the second floor.  Taylor Street was closed during the response because the water hose was laid across the street.  Since the home is near railroad tracks, Metro North was asked to slow trains travelling through the area.  There were no injuries reported.  The occupant's pet bird was also unharmed by the fire.  The cause of the blaze is under investigation by the Fire Marshal's Office.



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Fire companies from 17 town responded the former Wykeham Rise School for Girls in Washington, Connecticut last night.  The fire was reported around 8pm last night.  There were no reported injuries.  The fire was still burning in spots early this morning. 

 

 

Firefighters from Bantam, Bethlehem, Bridgewater, East Hartland, Kent, Litchfield, Morris, New Milford, Norfolk, Northville, Riverton, Roxbury, Warren, Washington, Winchester, and Woodbury responded.

 

The building was slated to be torn down this year as part of a development project to turn the property into a luxury resort.



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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Some Connecticut lawmakers are working to stiffen the penalties for assaulting and threatening police officers and judges.

Rep. J.P. Sredzinski is proposing a bill that would make it a hate crime to assault or "verbally attack" police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians because of their occupations. The Monroe Republican says the legislature needs to send a message that Connecticut condemns attacks on first responders.

Several other bills would increase the penalties for assaulting "reasonably identifiable" off-duty police officers and correctional officers. Another would increase the penalty for threatening state judges.

State law already makes it a felony to assault police officers and other first responders. The crime carries one to 10 years in prison.



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WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) - A children's triathlon program created by the Connecticut family of a Sandy Hook shooting victim is expanding.

A ceremony is scheduled Thursday in Waterbury to sign a formal agreement that will allow for 20 Race4Chase Youth triathlon programs in Connecticut, Rhode Island and South Carolina next summer.

The parents of 7-year-old Chase Kowalski founded the program. The boy had competed in his first youth triathlon - a 20-yard swim, half-mile bike ride and third-of-a-mile run - just months before he was killed along with 25 others at Sandy Hook Elementary school in December 2012.

The free day camps expanded to eight sites in 2015 and 14 last year, including one in Fort Mill, South Carolina. Counselors teach the campers how to swim, ride a bike and the basics of running.



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Senator Richard Blumenthal, 4th District Congressman Jim Himes and 5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty participated in the Women's March on Washington Saturday.  Senator Chris Murphy opened his home to marchers.  There were several buses that left from Connecticut to Washington, D.C. and to a sister event in New York City.  Esty says she stood strong with people who are concerned that their rights not be taken away and that progress toward greater equality is made.  She said it was also important to show support for the same access to health care that everyone has. 

 

Connecticut Students for a Dream had a contingency of undocumented women attending the Women's March in Washington.  80 buses from Stamford, Danbury, Hartford, UConn Storrs, Norwalk, and New Haven descended on the capital with a message of unity.  The groups stood together to protect the rights of women, people of color and for economic justice.  Angelica Idrovo of Danbury said she marched to honor a heritage of fearless women.

 

Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill joined the Women's March in New York City,.  She says wether it's Connecticut, New York and Washington, it's time to be heard about the issues that define this country.  Merrill said we must be forceful in defense of women, immigrants, education, the healthcare of all Americans.  The Eleanor’s Legacy organization invited her to join the march.  Merrill said as much as the inauguration is a pivotal historical event, the right to dissent is equally relevant at this moment in history.

 

Governor Dannel Malloy and Comptroller Kevin Lembo participated in the Women’s March on Hartford.  The local event was a sister rally of the national Women’s March on Washington – a peaceful demonstration in support of the protection of the rights, safety, and health of people and families across the country.  Lembo said that Connecticut knows how to rally for rights, and noted that he joined with thousands of others called to action.



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Families may have noticed changes in an elderly loved one over the holidays that raise questions about his or her ability to live independently.  Every January, Assisted Living Services co-founder Ron D’Aquila says they see a  jump in phone calls inquiring about in-home care. 

 

He says there is a way for loved ones to care for the family member as a credentialed provider.  There is a relatively new “CT Adult Family Living /Foster Caregiver Program” providing financial compensation.  The Department of Social Services added the Caregiver program as a new service under the Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders and the Personal Care Assistance Waiver Program in 2013. 

 

Under the program, the caregiver can receive a tax-free stipend of up to $500 per week/$26,288 per year. 

 

In order to qualify, applicants must be a Connecticut resident, 65 years or older, who meets financial eligibility criteria.  The applicant must be at risk of nursing home placement needing assistance with critical personal care such as bathing, dressing, eating, taking medications, toileting.  

 

D’Aquila says the state has recognized the unique contribution family caregivers provide to prevent people from needing institutional care.  Assisted Living Services provides oversight to caregivers--including orientation, education, training, and on-going support.  D’Aquila notes that most people prefer to remain in their own home.  He says this program not only reduces the State’s budget strain by reducing the number of residents in an institutional care facility, it gives a family the financial freedom to care for their loved-ones themselves.



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Bethel officials have been working with an architect to draw up renovation plans for Rockwell and Johnson elementary schools.  Schools officials asked the Board of Selectmen last week to hire Connecticut-based Perkins Eastman for the next phase of the design for the projects and help make application to the state for partial reimbursement. 

 

A study about possible renovations was conducted in 2010 and found that $50 million to $60 million worth of work was needed at the two schools.  A special town meeting will be held soon, asking residents to approve $150,000 for initial design work. 

 

Johnson School was built in 1980 to house grades 4 and 5.  Rockwell School, which was built in 1971, was renovated in 1977.  Rockwell is one of two schools in Bethel to teach kindergarten through third graders. 

 

Among the areas in need of upgrade are the electrical systems, heating systems and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act in the bathrooms.  Possible asbestos also needs to be addressed.  School officials are aiming for a referendum on the full project next fall.



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Newtown Police are investigating a robbery that took place at he Red Rooster Liquor store on South Main Street just before 8:30pm Saturday.  When officers arrived, they saw a fire at the back of the building.  Firefighters put out the blaze with a fire extinguisher.  The proprietor of the store told responding officers that two men entered the shop asking for help in finding a product.  One men reportedly brandished a firearm and walked the victim to the counter, taking a large amount of cash from several nights worth of sales. 

 

When the suspects fled, they allegedly started a fire before exiting through a rear door.  The proprietor was forced to smash a front window in order to exit the building.

 

The two white males were described as being tall, wearing dark clothing.

 

Newtown Police, with the assistance of a State Police K9, checked the area for suspects.  During that search, officers found a racial slur and two swastikas painted on the rear door of the building.  The proprietor said that the markings were not there before the incident. 

 

Newtown Police, with the assistance of the State Police Major Crime and Fire Marshall's Unit, are investigating.  Anyone with information is asked to contact the Newtown Police Department at 203-426-5841.



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Danbury officials are investigating if a crime was committed by a man seen in a video appearing to be holding a Trump sign, verbally harassing students coming out of Danbury High School. 

 

The video, posted on Twitter, contains profanities.

 

Danbury High School Principal Dan Donovan released a statement saying that the incident in question happened around dismissal time when an intoxicated man was on school grounds to pick up a relative.  The man was being driven by someone else.  Donovan continued by saying that the man got out of the car and approached several students in a threatening way while making loud, disparaging comments about the school's immigrant population.

 

There was an altercation between the man and a student.  Police were then called to the scene.

 

Early Saturday morning, Danbury Police did not have a report available about the incident, saying it was still under investigation.

 

Donovan says Danbury High School prides itself on its diversity, and that students understand and respect everyone's right to celebrate and/or protest.  He said the students had a difficult time standing by watching an adult insult their fellow classmates.



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Newtown Police are investigating an armed robbery at a gas station.  Police responded to 151 South Main Street shortly after 10:30pm Friday.  The suspects are described as one white man and one black man.  Both were armed with handguns.  No injuries were reported.   The suspects fled with an undisclosed amount of cash from the register.  Anyone with information is asked to contact Newtown Police at 203-426-5841.



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A Patterson man who tried to free his crashed vehicle with another car then got into a fight with family members, injuring two.  New York State Police from the Brewster Barracks responded to a 911 call late Wednesday night about a dispute. 

 

An investigation revealed that 29-year old Christopher Scully crashed on South Lake Drive.  He tried to remove the vehicle from a ditch with another car, but failed.  He then got into a physical altercation with family members. 

 

One of the two people who sustained minor injuries called 911 requesting police assistance.  Scully fled before police arrived.  He was located early the next morning and taken into custody. 

 

Scully was charged with felony aggravated unlicensed operation, driving while intoxicate with a previous conviction and misdemeanor assault.  He was previously convicted in 2013 for a DWI.  Scully was arraigned and ordered held in Putnam County Jail on $50,000 bond.  He is scheduled to appear in Patterson Court on February 14th.