The New Milford Town Council did not approve a proposed ordinance to continue providing town health insurance coverage to employees of the Children's Center. Mayor David Gronbach says a compromise previously negotiated with the Children's Center for subsidized private health insurance will be put in place in January. Gronbach opposed continuing to offer town health insurance policies to non-town employees. He instead suggested a compromise that included a cash payment to subsidize their health insurance at a Platinum level plan.
Security was tight at Hofstra University for the first debate of the 2016 presidential election featuring Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump. It was so secure, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who was not credentialed to be on campus, was escorted away by police after completing scheduled interviews. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson was not on the debate stage either. The Commission on Presidential Debates requires minor party candidates to have at least 15% in five national polls.
There were some 2,000 protestors gathered at the designated free speech area, several blocks long. Police say there were about two dozen arrests, most for disorderly conduct
Classes had been cancelled for the day, but students were out in force marching and chanting for various causes. They also displayed their candidate of choice on tshirts and signs. Debate viewing parties were held in locations in the student center and in dorms across campus.
Some students were in the debate hall. The first 350 students were given commemorative tickets for the event, but they spelled Hillary Clinton’s name wrong, leaving out one "L". University officials say they will reprint the tickets for the students who won the lottery to be inside the debate hall.
More than 700 journalists from around the globe gathered in the media filing center to cover the debate.
In a first, one of the candidates came into the Spin Room after the debate. Trump was joined by his wife and children.
Surrogates for each of the candidates came into the Spin Room before and after the debate to talk up their candidate. Mark Cuban, a Clinton supporter, and Republican Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence did media interviews.
4th District Congressman Jim Himes was at Hofstra early Monday morning. He said the volleyball team was playing in the parking lot with some journalists. The pep band also played in the media gathering area into the early morning hours Wednesday.
Many members of the New York congressional delegation were in attendance. Partly because the event was held on Long Island, but also because the two candidates live in New York.
Governor Dannel Malloy was at the debate in support of Clinton. He says there was no comparison on issues and temperament between the two candidates.
Connecticut Republican Party Chairman J.R. Romano says Trump did well. He noted that Trump hit the nail on the head when he said that Clinton has been in politics for 30 years and the country is in serious trouble.
Jury selection started today for a Danbury man charged with murder and assault. 20-year old Emanuel Harris will be tried as an adult even though he was 17 when he was accused of stabbing another teen in 2013. Harris and 17-year old Luan Pitol attended a dance at the Harambee Youth Center and their two groups of friends got into an argument after a soda can hit the ground near one another. Each group went on their way, but police said at the time that the two group then came together on Wooster Street. Harris allegedly stabbed Pitol and another teen in the backs. Harris remains held on $1 million bond.
There was a minor car accident involving a school bus this afternoon in Danbury. A car rear ended a bus from St Joseph School on Main Street near Garamella Boulevard shortly after noon. Police say the car became wedged under bus. There were no reported injuries to the 8th graders who were on board at the time.
There is a water main break in Danbury. The state contractor working on the North Street expansion project hit the main, flooding the exit 6 on ramp. Mayor Mark Boughton says the break has sent millions of gallons of water into the street. The break happened shortly before noon. The repair is expected to take 6 to 8 hours. This is the second time in recent months that the contractor has struck a water main in the project area.
New York State Police have conducted an underage drinking enforcement detail. On Saturday, Troopers along with an underage volunteer, conducted the checks in North Salem, Somers, Pound Ridge and Lewisboro. There were 10 stores checked, and all of them were found to be in compliance with New York State Alcohol and Beverage Control Laws. No violations were observed during the checks.
In Danbury... a 64-year-old man was arrested this week for sexually assaulting a teenage girl earlier this summer. Police Spokesman Lt. Christian Carrochio says Nelson Cassiano was taken into custody by police this week on an arrest warrant charging him with second-degree sexual assault and two counts of risk of injury to a minor. Cassiano was arrested for the sexual abuse of a 13-year-old-girl. He was held on a $200,000 bond after his arrest.
In New Milford... fire department crews were able to contain a fire that broke out at Staples on Route 7 this morning. Dispatchers say several engines responded to the retail store after a report of an electrical fire in the building. Customers were evacuated while crews responded to the fire. Authorities say the fire appeared to be under control around 10:30 this morning and no major structural damage to the retail store resulted from the blaze. There were no injuries.
Instead of cutting the ribbon on a new Danbury Fire Department training building, the Jaws of Life cut through a metal pole. Danbury Fire Department training used to be done in a construction trailer. Since April, members of the Danbury Fire Department have been taking classes in their new 6,000 square foot facility on Plumtrees Road. The new facility has been 10 years in the planning, since the rebuilding of the burn tower, which is also located on the property.
The new training classroom is also being used by 30 other fire departments around the region.
Maura Juan, principal architect at 72Architects, worked with Chief TJ Weidl and Assistant Cheif Mark Omasta on the interior layout, free of charge. She then shared the information with Friar Associates who continued the design work. Hawley Construction and Nozzle Construction also worked on the project. The overall cost was about $1.1 million.
Wiedl says in a time when other communities are making cuts in training and in facilities, they are blessed to have a community that takes care of the Fire Department. He added that the Department will never let the community down.
Omasta says a major drainage project doubled the useable size of the property.
In the old construction trailer classroom, Training Officer Steven Rogers had to use a projector and could only teach to 10 students at a time. Now there is state of the art technology, including a touch screen interactive smartboard. In theory, the Fire Department could take a picture of every building in Danbury and use it for training purposes by adding a virtual fire and discuss how to tackle it.
Rogers says they are constantly training to keep up on skills. Once they stop practicing, they start to lose a safety factor.
25 students are currently enrolled in the Firefighter 1 training class.
Rogers says a $400,000 federal grant allowed the Department to purchase all new emergency radios.
Lt. Nick Cabral says 30 years ago, turnout gear was just rubber boots, a long coat and orange rubber gloves that stuck to skin in a fire. It only let firefighters get a few feet in the door. Today’s gear covers the entire fighter from a hood and helmet to coat, pants and boots. Cabral says this allows them to push into a building, make more rescues and get more people out to safety. The gear is fire resistant and can withstand 2.5 seconds of direct flame contact. Today’s house fires burn at about 800 degrees.
The radios and turnout gear represent about $3,500 worth of equipment. Cabral says the gear they have now is innovative for its time because it’s considered “athletic”. It’s designed to fit the firefighter perfectly and not leave skin exposed if they reach up or down. The turnout gear is also lighter than it used to be. The helmet is about 6 pounds, 30 pounds for the breathing apparatus and 25 pounds in bunker gear.
In addition to classroom training, the firefighters can practice a number of practical skills. There are bailout trainings so that firefighters can safely evacuate from a building.
Besides the training classroom building and the burn tower, there are donated vehicles which firefighters can practice using the Jaws of Life tool. They now open battery-operated tools. There is a burnt out car on the property with a fire that can be controlled remotely. Firefighters can use that to train on what to look for when there is a vehicle fire.
A structure on the property can be used to train on how to fight fires in attics. There are built in rafters and a section of the roof that can be cut away for firefighters training to ventilate the roof of a home that’s on fire. The saw that the department uses is specially designed to be able to cut through nails and hardwood. Firefighters are also trained on how to “sound the roof”. They constantly test roof strength for collapse.
Danbury has more than 2,000 fire hydrants, and yet that doesn’t cover the entire city. Firefighters are also trained on how to use the tanker trucks, which pump water into a pool that can be used to supply water to fire hoses.
Danbury’s HAZMAT truck is a regional asset paid for with state and federal funding. It can be called to 43 towns in Northwestern Connecticut. 30 HAZMAT technicians undergo annual training. They can respond to radiological, chemical and biological emergencies. A “rad seeker” allows this specially trained unit to identify a radiological source and determine whether it’s a weapon of mass destruction, or medical radiology. The state doesn’t have one of these tools, when the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection response to an emergency, they borrow Danbury’s tool. The HAZMAT Unit is like a rolling warehouse with enough protection suits for 20 members of the units can go out on call.
A heavy rescue truck has tools for responses in confined spaces, trench rescues and ropes. The Danbury Fire Department responds to Tarrywile Park to rescue hikers on average once a week.
A jury has found a Monroe massage therapist not guilty on a sexual assault charge. 60-year old Bruce Smith was acquitted of the charge by a jury on Wednesday. The claim against him was filed in 2014 by a client who told police that she was inappropriately touched. Smith maintained his innocence. He said in an emailed statement that his life was completely destroyed by the unfounded allegations of one individual and will never again be able to practice his profession due to all the negative publicity that followed.
A Danbury man accused of stealing a purse from a car on Main Street was caught quickly. Danbury Police responded to a report of a larceny early Friday morning. The victim, who parked her car and went into a restaurant to buy food, said she returned about five minutes later to find her purse had been stolen.
Witnesses described a man they saw near the vehicle. He was later identified as 23-year old Lucas Viganor. Officers later observed Viganor down the road in the parking lot of Walgreens, carrying two shopping bags.
Viganor admitted to stealing the purse and using the victim's credit card to charge about $2,000 of merchandise. He was charged with larceny and held on $10,000 bond.
A Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Day is being held in Danbury this morning. Residents from the towns of Bethel, Danbury, New Fairfield, Newtown, Redding, Ridgefield can participate. It's being held from 9am to 2pm at the the Public Works building on Newtown Road.
Proof of residency is required. There is no cost or limit to dispose of items. A licensed contractor will dispose of the items and is being paid with funding that each of the towns send to the Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority.
The HRRA says this is a responsible way to get rid of products that require special handling. Otherwise, it goes into landfills and can pose environmental issues down the road.
Paints, Stains and Varnishes, Paint Thinners, Polishes for Furniture, Floor & Metal, Cleaners for Upholstery, Ovens , Toilet Bowls and Drains, Swimming Pool Chemicals and Fluorescent Bulbs. Also being accepted are Pesticides, Herbicides, Insecticides, Moth Balls, Lighter Fluids and Kerosene and Gasoline. Rechargeable Batteries, Camera Batteries and Thermometers will also be collected.
Certain items will not be collected including electronics, empty Aerosol Cans, Auto Batteries and Tires, Controlled Substances and Pharmaceutical or Medical Wastes.
The Association of Religious Communities and an interfaith group of area congregations is taking part in a national Concert Across America to End Gun Violence on Sunday. ARC is co-hosting one of hundreds of concerts held across the United States. In 2007, Congress designated September 25 as the National day of remembrance for murder victims.
Rev. Phyllis Leopold, the Executive Director of ARC, co-chaired the concert at the Central Christian Church on West Street from 2pm-3pm. Some of the congregations participating in the concert include B’Nai Israel, the Islamic Center of Western Connecticut, New Hope Baptist Church and the United Universalists Congregations of Danbury.
Leopold says the interfaith community is standing together to bring awareness to the need to end gun violence. She says ending violence is a core principle of all major religions and notes that advances will come as faith communities unite in solidarity and service. Organizers say it's a tribute that interfaith congregations are gathering to turn up the music and drown out the rhetoric that has sidetracked common sense gun safety legislation.
They peacefully gather and raise voices in song in hopes of bringing an end to the growing epidemic.
A Danbury man involved in a motorcycle accident on the highway Wednesday sustain a serious leg injury. State Police say 52-year old David Costello was exiting Interstate 84 westbound at exit 7 when he failed to negotiate the curve and dropped the motorcycle on its right side.
The motorcycle slid across the road hitting a metal wire rope guard rail post off the left side of the ramp. The man hit a support post with his left leg sustaining a severe laceration.
Costello is listed at Danbury Hospital in fair condition.
The accident remains under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact State Police Troop A at 203-267-2240.
A Weston woman accused of falsifying patient files for Medicare claims has pleaded guilty to obstruction of a federal audit and making false statements on an income tax return. The U.S. Attorney's Office says 48-year old Danielle Faux entered the plea yesterday.
Faux operates a physical therapy clinic in Norwalk.
In 2009, a contractor for the Medicare program conducting an audit requested records of 40 claims for physical therapy. The documentation was to support the services billed, including the physical therapy progress notes, physical therapy flow sheet/activity sheets, and any additional documentation verifying medical necessity for the physical therapy procedures. According to statements made in court, the no patient progress notes or similar records existed that would support many of the Medicare claims so Faux told an employee to create such records.
Faux admitted that from 2008 through 2011, she skimmed checks and cash proceeds from her physical therapy practice and did not declare it on tax returns. She avoided paying more than $77,000 in taxes over the four year period.
A Danbury man has been arrested for sexually assaulting a child. 55-year old Baltazar Lopez was charged yesterday with 4th degree Sexual Assault, Risk of Injury to a Minor by Sexual Contact and Risk of Injury. Danbury Police received a complaint in mid-July about the sexual abuse of an 11-year old boy. The suspect was identified as Lopez. He was taken into custody without incident and is being held on 200-thousand dollars bond.
SHERMAN, Conn. (AP) - An attorney representing a man who has been living in Connecticut as a fugitive for 48 years after fleeing a Georgia prison work camp says his client will be allowed to remain in the state.
Norm Pattis tells the Hartford Courant that Connecticut officials have accepted terms to allow 71-year-old Robert Stackowitz to stay in Sherman under the supervision of a state parole officer until 2022.
The Georgia Department of Corrections said this week that it would turn over Stackowitz's supervision to Connecticut if state officials agreed.
Stackowitz was arrested May 9 as a fugitive from justice after applying for Social Security benefits. He was serving a 17-year robbery sentence in Carrolton, Georgia, when he escaped in 1968.
Stackowitz had fought extradition to Georgia citing his deteriorating medical condition.
Western Connecticut State University students will once again canvas the city in an effort to help out a variety of charitable organizations and agencies as part of the third annual Western Day of Service. The event will begin with a welcome reception and ceremony at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 23, at Ives Concert Hall in White Hall on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White Street in Danbury, with speeches by Mayor Mark Boughton and WCSU President Dr. John B. Clark.
After the ceremony, approximately 500 WCSU students, faculty and staff will volunteer at a variety of activities to help area 49 organizations and those they serve. Work will include raking, trimming, weeding, cleaning offices, washing firetrucks, moving books, working with animals, picking up trash and painting. Students will be also out today reading to school children, working at museums and cleaning the Lake Kenosia area.
The goal of the Day of Service is to connect the university with the community and for students to become more familiar with the Greater Danbury area. Dean of Students Dr. Walter Cramer says this is also an effort to highlight the work of students during the year.
A benefit for Sandy Hook Promise is being held Sunday in Danbury.
The Danbury Music Centre will host the Concert Across America to End Gun Violence. It's presented by composer and Danbury native Paul Frucht. He says the concert is part of a nationwide series of concerts and live events that will all be held on Sunday to raise awareness of the approximately 12,000 Americans who are murdered by a firearm each year. September 25 is the day designated by Congress in Remembrance of Murder Victims.
Frucht says the concert at Danbury Music Centre, which will be performed by recent graduates of the Juilliard School, will realize the mission of Sandy Hook Promise through music. Musical selections will reflect the values of Sandy Hook Promise’s mission through their musical character, history of community engagement, and unique ties to the local community.
The concert is free with a suggested donation of $15. Proceeds will go to Sandy Hook Promise. It's being held in the Marion Anderson Recital Hall at the Danbury Music Centre on Main Street at 3pm Sunday.
A film festival is being held in New Milford starting on Sunday and running through Saturday October 1st. Films and forums will be held throughout the week. On Sunday night there was going to be a Q&A at Bank Street Theater with Mia Farrow following a screening of Rosemary's Baby, but Mayor David Gronbach says no one expects the Q&A to go forward following the death of the actress's 27-year old son Thaddeus. There's been no official word though on if the Q&A will be cancelled.
Over 100,000 film lovers in over 250 cities will be viewing and voting on the Finalist’s Films in the 19th Annual Manhattan Short Film Festival. Two shows are available this year in New Milford, and all of the finalists will be shown at each screening.
Mr. Deeds and the Six Wives of Henry Lefay were filmed in New Milford in the recent past and will be shown during the festival. The screenings of each of these films are free. There are a few ticketed events during the week-long festival ranging from $5 to $20, but many of the showings have been underwritten by local businesses.