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The body of a 19-year old Redding man who drowned while travelling South Africa has been found in the water according to local media SABC News.  Nicholas Upton, a junior at George Washington University, had not been seen since swimming in the East Cape Province on Sunday and being pulled away by a riptide. 

 

Upton was studying abroad in South Africa and was traveling during a break from classes with 11 other students.  The Joel Barlow High School graduate was a member of the Kappa Alpha Order fraternity and the university's rowing team. 

 

Rescuers called off the search on Tuesday and his parents travelled to South Africa to conduct their own search.  A Go Fund Me account created on Tuesday raised more than $83,000 to help his parents with their travels.

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A New York Appellate court has found in favor of a Judge and the Putnam County District Attorney in a ruling against 42-year old George Galgano, an attorney accused of bribing an alleged sexual assault victim so she wouldn't testify against his client. 

 

Wednesday's unanimous decision upholds an order allowing the DA's office to search materials seized from Galgano through a search warrant. 

 

The ruling said that Galgano failed to show the order was issued without jurisdiction or in excess of the court's authorized powers. 

 

Galgano was previously indicted on criminal impersonation, attempted bribing a witness, seven counts of bribing a witness, and two counts each of witness tampering and of conspiracy.  The charges stem from the case against Galgano's client, former Mahopac restaurateur Lani Zaimi.

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A Connecticut man pulled over for erratic driving was found to have a machete in his car.  Monroe Police saw an orange Ford Mustang driving slowly on Route 25 Monday, crossing the center line and nearly hitting oncoming vehicles.  When officers pulled the driver over, they could smell alcohol on him. 

 

25-year old Antonio Fuentes of Bridgeport failed field sobriety tests and was arrested.  Police say he had a large machete under the front seat, he didn't have a valid driver's license, was uninsured, and the car was not register.  Police say the license plate on the vehicle actually belonged to another car. 

 

Fuentes is due in court on Wednesday.

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The Ridgefield Board of Selectmen has approved a settlement agreement with The Prospector Theater.  The item about the organization's tax status was on the Board's agenda Wednesday night.  The Ridgefield Press reports that both sides have signed the legal settlement where the town is recognizing The Prospector as a charitable-instructional institution going forward. 

 

The Prospector has agreed to make $36,000 payments in lieu of taxes to the town each year, adjusted for the mill rate.  The Press reports that that figure is about a quarter of their annual tax bill. 

 

The settlement stems from a lawsuit by the Prospector against the town over the Tax Assessor saying the organization was 55-percent charitable and 45-percent commercial.

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An improvement project on the Danbury Branch of Metro North over a decade in the works has been officially closed out by the state Department of Transportation.  Wilton Senator Toni Boucher says the problem-plagued effort to have a computerized control signal is finally in place and working properly. 

 

Most of the work on the project was completed two years ago, but engineers have to put a "stop-and-warn" procedure in place because of issues with the crossing gates at intersections along the branch line.

 

But she says physical roadblocks weren't the only issue.  Funding was also a challenge.  She says state funding had been diverted for other uses or taken to close a budget deficit.  Because officials waited so long, it was just a month before federal funding would be lost that they pulled together and made sure the project got put in place.

 

Previously, someone would have to get out of the rail car and pull a lever to allow trains to pass each other.  She called that 1800s-style technology something from pioneer days.

 

Boucher says the upgrade means that more trains can be added, and they can move faster down the tracks.  She adds that this is the first step toward electrifying the rail line.

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Connecticut State Police are setting up roving DUI patrols and checkpoints during this Labor Day weekend.  Roving patrols will be done on I-84 and Route 7 in the Greater Brookfield and Danbury areas today through Monday. 

 

Labor Day is one of the busiest weekends of the year on the roads.  Troopers will be concentrating their enforcement efforts on drunk driving, speeding, seatbelt violations, and distracted driving.  Trooper Kelly Grant says there are no second chances for first time DWI offenders.  An Ignition Interlock Device can be installed on your vehicle if you are arrested for DWI.

 

Putnam County Sheriff deputies will be conducting sobriety checkpoints along area roadways as well.  Sheriff Donald Smith says the announcement of the planned checkpoints is aimed at deterring intoxicated or impaired driving and is part of a statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown effort. 

 

Labor Day celebrations include end-of-summer gatherings of friends for picnics and backyard barbecues, which can result in increased instances of persons drinking and then driving.  Smith says they are encouraging all residents who plan to drink, to make appropriate plans now to have a designated driver or use a taxi.

 

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A local lawmaker is taking the Governor to task over his recent presentation to General Electric.

 

Ridgefield state Representative John Frey says a dozen states have made offers or presentations to Fairfield-based General Electric to move their headquarters.  Frey told the Hartford Courant that Governor Malloy's presentation was "the least persuasive, the least interesting and the least prepared".  Frey continued by saying that Connecticut's presentation was not well received, in part, because it features a picture of a jet engine built by competitor Pratt and Whitney. 

 

Malloy's spokesman told the Courant that Frey was not in the room and probably has a second-hand account. 

 

GE threatened to move when lawmakers approved massive tax increases in June.

 

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The state Board of Education has met to discuss a new STEM Agriscience Academy at Shepaug Valley High School.  The Science, Technology, Engineering and Math academy in Region 12 would be the 20th of its kind in the state.  But it needs districtwide approval in a vote to be held November 10th. 

 

The $39.4 million design would be constructed by Torrington-based O&G Industries. 

 

At the start of the Region 12 Board of Education meeting Monday, members recognized Representative Arthur O'Neill for introducing, and getting passed, a measure that provides additional time for the District to submit an application for a grant covering 95% of the cost. 

 

 

O’Neill noted that with the measure Region 12 could expect to grow an additional 50-60 students per year, and expand by a total of 200-240 students studying agriscience over the next four-year period. 

 

Nearby Agriscience STEM Academy facilities have reached their capacity.  A new STEM academy could enroll students from Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Sherman and Washington.  Sending districts would pay tuition and provide transportation for the students they select.

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A Danbury woman has been sentenced to prison for her role in a violent home invasion robbery of illegal drugs and drug trafficking proceeds.  27-year old Casey Kershaw was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison followed by three years supervised release.

 

Danbury Police started an investigation in 2013 into a heroin and crack cocaine trafficking ring operating out of Danbury.  The group also rented out hotel rooms where they would package and distribute the drugs. 

 

Kershaw drove four co-defendants to the home of a known marijuana dealer, where they forced their way in.  The armed men pistol whipped the victim, demanding that he give them drugs and money.  He turned over cash and a pound of marijuana.  The victim's mother, girlfriend, infant child and a friend were in the home at the time. 

 

Kershaw then drove her codefendants to her house where they divided up the $30,000.  Kershaw received $2,000 for driving, and they all then travelled to Mohegan Sun. 

 

Kershaw was also involved in the planning of another robbery during which a co-defendant hit the victim in the head repeatedly with a fully loaded gun.  After the robbery, the codefendants gathered at Kershaw's home to regroup.  The guns used in these strong-arm robberies were stored at her house.

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More than two dozen veterans were helped yesterday by a Bethel-based nonprofit.  Save-A-Suit provides the veterans with a suit and gives them tips for job interviews.  Fox Connecticut reports than 30 veterans from West Haven, where the Connecticut VA is based, came into the Bethel facility yesterday and were able to get suits thanks to donations.  Aspen Dental also brought the mouth mobile in to give free dental checkups to the veterans.  The Bethel-based groups has been in operation nearly 5 years and says they help about 500 veterans a year.

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Two men were found in a Danbury hotel room with crack cocaine and heroin following complaints of drug sales in the Danbury area.  Police spokesman Lt Christian Carroccio says officers started an investigation several months ago into 28-year old Yochanan Levitansky. 

 

Based on surveillance of activities consistent with drug trafficking, a search warrant was issued by the court. 

 

The New Haven man was tracked Wednesday to a hotel and spotted conducting several drug deals.  Police then found him in a hotel room with 28-year old Miguel Melendez of Danbury.  They had crack, heroin and a substantial amount of cash. 

 

Each man was charged with possession with intent to sell, sale of narcotics and possession of drug paraphernalia.

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Two new Deputy Fire Marshals are being sworn in Thursday in Danbury.  The pair were confirmed by the City Council on Tuesday night.  Mayor Mark Boughton says

 

Fire Lt Tyler Bergemann started his career with the Danbury Fire Department in 1997, has an Associates Degree in Fire Science and is pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Fire Administration.  Bergemann is a certified paramedic, Incident Commander, Rescue Technician and HAZMAT Incident Commander.  He served in the U.S. Air Force and in the Reserves as a Fire Protection Specialist.

 

Fire Lt Eric Handau started his career with the Danbury Fire Department in 1993.  He holds a Bachelor's Degree from West Conn, and is pursuing his Master's Degree in Fire Technology.  Handau is a certified paramedic, Fire Service and Red Cross instructor, a Rescue Technician and HAZMAT Technician.  He has received several awards and recognitions including Unit and Rescue Citations as well as a Mayor's Proclamation.

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In addition to a series of workshops, open houses and public input sessions about the future of the Ridgefield-owned Schlumberger property, an online survey has been crafted.  First Selectman Rudy Marconi says the 9-member Schlumberger Citizens Committee is working diligently to gather as much public input as possible.

 

Ridgefield residents have until the 25th to take the survey.  

 

The Citizens Committee has brought on consulting firm Milone and MacBroom.  First Selectman Rudy Marconi says the firm has done work in Ridgefield before.  They are helping to organize a series of public input sessions.  The committee urged all Ridgefielders to participate in what they called a critical first step in planning for the future of this important parcel of town-owned land.

 

30-acres of land located near the center of Ridgefield is still in the town's control.  The former Schlumberger site was purchased by Ridgefield several years ago and portions have been sold to developers.

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A complaint was unsealed Wednesday charging four defendants with participating in a scheme to steal, transport, and sell a shipment of approximately 1,200 computers, valued at over $1 million, that were bound for two public high schools in New Jersey.  All four defendants were arrested in White Plains federal court Wednesday.

According to court document, the actual crime happened in Danbury, but that's not the story that police were initially told.

 

In January of last year, shipping company driver Anton Saljanin drove a truck from Yorktown Heights to a technology company located in Massachusetts to pick up the shipment of MacBook Air computers.  Saljanin brought his brother, Gjon Saljanin, with him.

 

The next morning, Anton Saljanin reported to police that the truck had been stolen from a parking lot located in Yorktown Heights.  Later that day, he told Police that he had been driving around looking for the truck when he happened to spot it from the highway in a parking lot in Danbury.   Authorities say the truck would not have been visible in the Danbury parking lot to a driver passing by on the highway.  Cell site data for the man's cellphone contradicts his claims about the route he took to look for the truck.

 

Police detectives examined the truck and found that a window had been broken.  Detectives found broken glass in the Danbury parking lot but found no broken glass in the Yorktown Heights parking lot, suggesting that the window had been broken in Danbury and not in New York where Saljanin said it had been stolen.

 

Security camera footage from various locations in Yorktown Heights shows that a truck matching the description departed from the brothers claimed route, and went to one of their friend's home.  Authorities say the footage lapses show the brothers travelled to Ujka Vulaj's home, unloaded the computers and returned to the Yorktown Heights parking lot.

 

Vulaj and a co-worker, Carlos Caceres, sold at least dozens of Apple MacBook Air computers for far below the market price, and handed over each computer in plain brown cardboard packaging.

 

All four men were charged with conspiring to commit theft from an interstate shipment, interstate transportation of stolen property, and receipt, possession, and sale of stolen property.  The brothers and their friend were also charged with stealing property with a value of at least $1,000 from an interstate shipment, aiding and abetting such theft, transporting in interstate commerce stolen property with a value of at least $5,000, and aiding and abetting such transport.  Vulaj and Caceres were charged with receiving, possessing, and selling stolen property with a value of at least $5,000, and aiding and abetting such receipt, possession, and sale.

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The 54th annual Newtown Labor Day Parade is coming up on Monday.  This year's theme is Celebrating the Fine Arts of Newtown, and will showcase the artists and creative organizations in town.  This year's Grand Marshal will be Ruth Newquist.  She is an award winning artists known for her land and cityscapes in watercolor and oils. 

 

In addition to honoring Newquist, the SCAN organization is being highlighted.  It stands for Society of Creative Arts Newtown.  It was started over 40 years ago to promote, encourage and instruct both local and regional artists. 

 

Parade participants are lining up by 9:30 Monday morning, with local roads along the route closed at that time.  The parade steps off at 10am.  Spectators are asked to line the route by 9am on Monday.  Parking is available at Hawley School, at Caraluzzi's and Big Y on Queen Street.

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A woman has been charged with assault after slapping a Danbury Hospital employee.  Danbury Police were called to the hospital Tuesday afternoon.  A woman told officers that she went into a room to check on a patient and saw someone else in the room, later determined to be 72-year old Diana Oberndorfer. 

 

Police spokesman Lt. Christian Carroccio says the victim reported asking about her being in the room, tapping the woman on the shoulder and saying that she couldn't sit on the bed. 

 

Oberndorfer then allegedly slapped the victim in the face.  She was charged with assault and disorderly conduct, and ordered to appear in court on the 9th.

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A Carmel woman has been arrested for allegedly shop lifting from Kohl's Department Store.  New York State Police were called to a Kohl's in Courtlandt on a report by the store's loss prevention team that there was a larceny.  The investigation determined that 43-year old Jessica Fox of Carmel selected several items from the store and only paid for one of them. 

 

She left without paying for more than $280 worth of merchandise.  Loss prevention recovered the items outside of the store and Fox left before Police arrived. 

 

She was later arrested at her home and issued a ticket to appear in Court on September 11th on the petit larceny charge.

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A Brookfield Emergency Services dispatcher has been arrested in Bethel for drunk driving.  Bethel Police responded to an accident on Castle Hill Drive late on Sunday night.  Officers determined that 27-year old Gregory Beck hit a parked car. 

 

He failed field sobriety tests and was charged with DUI and failure to keep right on a curve.  He was released on bond for a court appearance next Tuesday. 

 

In 2013, soon after being elected to the Brookfield Board of Education as a member of the A Brookfield Party, Beck made a comment on Facebook about the movement "26 Acts of Kindness".  The movement encouraged people to do one act of kindness a day for the 26 days leading up to the first anniversary of the shootings at Sandy Hook School.  He said he would give a box of ammunition to his gun enthusiast friends. 

 

He allegedly made the post while on duty as a dispatcher.  Beck issued an apology and resigned from the Board of Ed shortly after being sworn into office.

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As of this weekend, tax is being charged on the parking fee at Squantz Pond State Park in New Fairfield.  The 6.35 percent sales tax requirement was tucked into the state budget signed by Governor Malloy June 30th.  The three shoreline parks started collecting the sales tax around the 4th of July.  Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Spokesman Dennis Schain says they've been slowly adding to the number of parks where tax is collected.

 

25 of the 109 state parks and forests charge for parking, including Kettletown in Southbury and Kent Falls.  The tax revenue will be placed into a general fund, not necessarily going back to the parks. 

 

Fees had been based on round numbers, and staff member didn't used to need coins.  He says DEEP has made arrangements with the banks they deal with to make certain there is plenty of change on hand.  Schain says it's a little more difficult now to make change, but hasn't added too much time to the wait to get into parks.

 

Schain says parks are open year round, but for the most part fees will stop after next weekend.

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A Danbury-based gas supplier has purchased a Texas based company.  Tech Air, a distributor of industrial, medical, and specialty gases and related welding supplies, has completed their acquisition of Texas-based Gas & Alloy Supply Corporation.  GASCO will become part of Tech Air of Texas, Incorporated. 

 

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

 

Tech Air Texas President Jeff Palmer said in a statement that the combination of GASCO and another existing business in nearby Arlington will be a benefit for the employees and customers of both companies. 

 

This is Tech Air’s 15th add-on acquisition since CI Capital Partners acquired the company in partnership with Tech Air’s management in 2010.  Tech Air now operates through 31 branch and fill plant locations.

 

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