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An off duty Danbury Police Detective and two passing motorists rescued a 17-year old girl from a partially submerged vehicle in Ball Pond Tuesday morning.  Detective Sergeant Adam Marcus was driving on Ball Pond Road and saw that an accident happened. 

 

He and two Danbury residents, 32-year old Chris Dimauro and 28-year old Danielle Lo Medico, saw the Jeep Liberty on its side in the pond.  The vehicle was about 50 feet from the shoreline.

 

The three entered the pond to help the injured 17 year old.  They were able to free her from the vehicle and bring her to shore where medical emergency personnel later arrived. 

 

The investigation determined that the teen was headed south, lost control and struck a telephone pole and several guard posts. The teen was transported to Danbury Hospital and issued a verbal warning for traveling too fast for conditions. 

 

The state Department of Environmental Protection also responded to the scene.



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Three Danbury residents have been arrested on drug related charges.  Neighbor complains about 24-year old Denzel Wilkins and 25-year old Tiffany Ortiz allegedly selling drugs from their Main Street apartment. 

 

While conducing surveillance Thursday, Danbury Police say Wilkins make a suspected drug transaction to 25-year old Marissa Palumbo in a parking lot near 385 Main Street.  When Palumbo realized that police were approaching Wilkins' car, she hid the suspected drugs in her shirt/bra area, which was later confirmed. 

 

Wilkins was found in possession of heroin packaged for sale.

 

    

(Wilkinson, Ortiz, Palumbo)

 

Investigators went to the apartment where Wilkins and Ortiz live.  Ortiz was there with a young child.  Police found more heroin packaged for sale and suspected cash proceeds of drug sales.

 

Palumbo was charged with possession of narcotics and released on a written promise to appear in court at a later date.

 

Ortiz was charged with possession of narcotics, possession with intent to sell, possession within 1500' of a prohibited place, possession with intent to sell within 1500' of a prohibited place, possession of drug paraphernalia within 1500' of a prohibited place, possession of drug paraphernalia and risk of injury to a child.  She was held on $2,500 bond.

 

Wilkins was charged with possession and sale of narcotics, possession with intent to sell, possession and sale within 1500' of a prohibited place, possession with intent to sell within 1500' of a prohibited place, possession of drug paraphernalia and risk of injury to a child.  He was held on $25,000 bond.



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A bus driver has been arrested on allegations he sexually assaulted an 11-year old intellectually disabled girl.  State Police launched the investigation into 39-year old Luis Cruz in February.  He was a bus driver for Connecticut Transportation Services, LLC and would drive the girl from New Fairfield to Bridgeport.  The alleged assault happened in the parking lot of the National Shooting Sports Foundation in Newtown.  Cruz was charged Wednesday with sexual assault, risk of injury to a minor and illegal sexual contact of a victim under age 16.  He was held on bond for an arraignment hearing yesterday.

 

The victim told her foster mother that Cruz touched her.  Since the girl couldn't say where the incident took place, the Department of Children and Families had trouble determining which police department to contact.  Emails between the bus company and DCF initially also misidentified the involved driver.

 

The alleged assault took place on January 25th.

 

The girl's regular driver says she is usually joyful and would sing along with the radio.  The day after the alleged assault, he reported that she was rigid and quite.  When he got near exit 11, the victim's usual driver reported that she started screaming "Don't get off! Stay on the highway!"  An investigation revealed no unauthorized stops that day.

 

DCF sent document to police in March that CTS provided a one-time transport of the victim from New Fairfield to her foster home in Bridgeport.  Police then spoke with a social worker at Family & Children's Aid in Danbury about their interview with the girl.

 

Cruz initially said he didn't know why police were questioning him.  He also told investigators that he took Route 34, and was told by police that the bus had GPS, showing he took Route 25.  When asked about the unscheduled stop, Cruz claimed he went to check if the victim was still wearing her seat belt. 

 

When Cruz dropped the girl off at her foster home, she told her foster mother that he touched her.  He claims that the woman told him not to worry about it because the victim "was not all there."  The foster mother denied his claim, saying she told the driver to wait there.

 

According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Cruz eventually told investigators that he pulled into the NSSF parking lot with the sole intent to sexually assault the victim.  He reportedly believed she was asleep and would be unaware of the contact.  Cruz said he touched the victim's inner thigh on top of her clothing.



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5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty and Senator Chris Murphy are each introducing legislation to combat climate change and create jobs in the clean-energy sector.  The measure calls for a $50 billion capitalization of the national Green Bank.  But they have left it open to discussion how to pay for that investment since there are different rules in the House and Senate.

 

They say this will help bolster the Connecticut Green Bank, which was the first of its kind in the country.  The entity just marked 5 years in existence. 

 

Esty says the climate change debate is not a choice between protecting the environment or protecting jobs, it can be both.  The legislation establishes a national green bank to fund clean energy and energy efficient projects. 

 

Esty says she wants to reclaim America's leadership in the clean energy market.  She says the wind industry employes 102,000 people, the natural gas industry employs 262,000 people and the solar industry employs 374,000 people.

 

The biggest obstacle Green Banks face is a lack of access to large scale financing.

 

Esty says climate change will be the defining economic and social challenge of the century.  She called this bill a pragmatic, market-driven plan to create jobs, help businesses reduce energy costs and ensure this country does its part to protect the environment.

 

Senator Chris Murphy says because of the withdrawl from the Paris Climate Agreement, some country will be the beneficiary of millions of new jobs in green energy, and right now it's not going to be America.  He says this country is ceding global leadership on renewable energy jobs.  If sensible, pro-growth, pro-environment policies soon, Murphy says America will be left out in the cold.

 

Murphy called the Connecticut Green Bank a huge success.  He says the entity has helped create 13,000 direct or indirect jobs.

 

Curtis Packaging has operated in Newtown since 1845 and is a small to mid-sized manufacturer.  Vice President of Operations Kerry Brown says the new owner bought the company in 2003 and has focused on environmental responsibility.  They use wind, solar and natural gas power, the company is 100 percent carbon neutral, recycles 98 percent and is 100 percent landfill-free.

 

Other businesses that have benefitted from Connecticut Green Bank investment include Tier ONE Machining and Assembly in Newtown and Defeo Manufacturing in Brookfield.



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A Pawling man has been accused of stealing from a Carmel cemetary.  New York State Police charged 47-year old Robert Bauer Tuesday with Grand Larceny, Forgery and Falsifying Business Records.  All area felony counts. 

 

The Putnam County District Attorney's Office contacted police in January about a sizeable loss of money and supplies from the Raymond Hill Cemetery.  An investigation revealed that Bauer, a former employee, stole in excess of $250,000 in money and equipment from the cemetery. 

 

He is accused of submitting inflated invoices from actual companies to reflect a purchase made for the cemetery between 2007 and 2015.

 

Bauer was held on bond and is due in Carmel Town Court July 11th.  New York State Police say the investigation is ongoing and additional charges against Bauer are likely. 



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Brookfield has decided to cover legal fees of former Republican Registrar of Voters Tom Dunkerton.  The Board of Selectmen voted this week, after losing several rounds in court.  The matter stemmed from when Dunkerton removed a Brookfield resident from the GOP voter rolls under a little used statute about lack of good faith party affiliation. 

 

First Selectman Steve Dunn previously said that Dunkerton was acting as a member of a local political party, not in his official town employee capacity.  Brookfield and Dunkerton's attorney are negotiating how much Brookfield owes. 

 

Dunn told the Newstimes that he is concerned the case sets a precedent that any board member could hire a lawyer without the town's permission and could prevent Brookfield from negotiating possible legal fees.

 

The former registrar sued the town for more than $15,000 after the town refused to pay his attorney's $26,000 legal bill.



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Normal boating traffic on Candlewood Lake in the area of Danbury Bay will be disrupted Saturday due to the Annual Danbury Volunteer Fireman’s Fireworks Display.  Beginning at 4pm, all boats in the vicinity of City Island must maintain a “slow-no- wake” speed to allow for the fireworks company to safety set up the fireworks behind the Island.

 

The Marine Patrol will be setting up a safety zone just north of City Island in Danbury Bay.  No vessels will be allowed to anchor south of the safety zone starting around 5 hours prior to and during the event.

 

The Candlewood Lake Authority Marine Patrol is working with DEEP EnCON Police on a safety operation tomorrow.  They will be stopping all boats entering Danbury Bay for a safety inspection.  One Life Jacket for each person on board and lights in working order must be on board.  Any boat without the required safety equipment will be turned away and not be allowed to enter the area until the requirements are met.

 

Marine Patrol Chief Doug Vane says a safety lane will also be created along the eastern shore of Danbury Bay.

 

Boaters are also reminded that as they pass within 200 feet of a stationary law enforcement vessel using its lights and audible signal, they are required to slow to “slow-no- wake” speed until it is more than 200 feet away.

 

After the fireworks, boaters must proceed out of the viewing area at “slow-no- wake” speed.



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Immaculate High School in Danbury has named a new principal.  Dr Patrick Higgins of Bethel will take on the role as of July 1st at the private, non-profit Catholic college-preparatory school.  Joe Carmen resigned from the position last summer to become Director of Leadership Development at Quinnipiac University.  School President Mary Maloney has been serving as Interim Principal for the past year.  Higgins taught AP Social Studies at Ridgefield High School for two decades before serving as the Dean of Students and Director of Student Activities at Joel Barlow High School from 2011 to 2013.



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Ridgefield Police are continuing to investigate a June 5th shooting that happened on Hulda Lane, but the search warrant affidavit has been released.  The Ridgefield Press reports that a group of four people, including the 15-year old girl who was shot in the back, tried to steal a Land Rover from Mauro Tropeano's driveway. 

 

No charges have been filed as of yesterday. 

 

Tropeano is licensed to possess a firearm.  He turned over surveillance footage to police, who then filed for a search warrant of his home. 

 

The Press reports that Tropeano was in possession of seven pounds of marijuana, injectable steroids and 219 “unmarked yellow tablets” and other pills.  Police also found more than $26,000 in cash and three guns. 

 

The Waterbury girl survived, but the bullet is lodged close to her spine and doctors were unable to remove it.

 

Tropeano is the owner of Stanziato’s Wood Fired Pizza in Danbury.



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The Wilton Police Department is asking for the community's assistance in identifying the person or people responsible for the graffiti found at various locations in the Town Center.  Much of the spray painted images were found in the area of Schneck's Island.  Anyone that has information is asked to call the Wilton Police Tips Line at 203-563-0256.

 

 



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A Wilton student has been named as a finalist for the 2017 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge.  Anika Bhagavatula, from Middlebrook Middle School is among the top 10. 

 

The competition is for students in grades 5-8, who use scientific thinking to create an innovation that will improve lives in their local communities or globally. 

 

Anika developed a solution to clean up oil spills using a combination of natural materials including orange peels and pomegranate husks. Her research proved this mixture can absorb solvents two-to-three times its weight.  She will partner with a 3M scientist through a summer mentorship program, where they will meet virtually to turn her concept into a reality. 

 

Anika and the other finalists will compete on October 16-17 during a live event at the 3M Innovation Center in Minnesota.



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Police say a Bethel man was speeding on Interstate 684 in the rain on Monday afternoon when his car crossed the median and caused a three-car collision on the opposite side of the highway. 

 

New York State Police say 64-year old James Desposito was headed southbound around 12:30pm and lost control of his car.  He struck a vehicle being driven by a 52-year old.  A 44-year old travelling behind the Glastonbury man was unable to take evasive action and struck Desposito's car. 

 

The Bethel man and Fishkill woman were transported to Danbury Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.



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The Brookfield Zoning Commission is holding a public hearing tonight about a proposal to allow apartments on the second floor of a commercial building on Federal Road.  The building near Candlewood Lake Road has a Sprint Store, salon and massage parlor on the first floor. 

 

The proposal calls for 9 one-bedroom units on the second floor, which has been vacant for more than a decade. 

 

Applicant Bob Hussain says three of the units would be considered affordable housing so he could apply to be part of the state's 8-30g program, which means the project could only be denied by the Zoning Commission for health or safety reasons. 

 

The Zoning Commission is meeting at 7 o'clock tonight in Room 133 of Brookfield Town Hall.

 

The Newstimes reports that Hussain and the town recently ended a legal fight over back taxes.  Brookfield acquired the land a parking lot sits on from the state.  Deed restrictions said the parcel could only be used for recreational purposes.  When the town and Hussain found that out, he reportedly stopped paying rent. 

 

The matter went to court and the published report says Hussain agreed to pay Brookfield $146,000 in back rent and legal fees.  The town will pay the state $244,500 to lift the deed restrictions.



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A Bethel man has been sentenced for distributing drugs that led to two overdose deaths.  51-year old Paul Mignani was sentenced Tuesday to five years in jail, followed by three years of supervised release.  The sentence was above the guideline range, and the judge noted that one of the victims died in Mignani's bedroom. 

 

Bethel Police responded to a report of an unresponsive 54-year old woman on July 31st 2016.  An investigation revealed that Mignani distributed the heroin, fentanyl and cocaine consumed by the victim shortly before her death. 

 

On December 11th, Bethel police responded to a report of an unresponsive 25-year old at Mignani's home.  Nine empty heroin folds were found in the victim's purse and jacket.  A search of his home turned up three plastic bags of cocaine, each containing one gram of the drug.  $1,531 in cash and multiple cellphones were seized from his home. 

 

Mignani was arrested on state charges on December 12th.  He was arrested again on December 28th after a federal criminal complaint. 

 

According to statements made in court, Mignani regularly sold several hundred grams of heroin and cocaine in total to 10 customers.



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The Ridgefield Board of Selectmen has started discussion about the possibility of adding security cameras to Ballard Park.  This follows two incidents in the last 8 months where racist and anti-semitic graffiti was discovered at the park.  The Ridgefield Parks and Rec Commission will be asked to take the idea of cameras under consideration.



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New Milford officials have met with Skate Park users that altered the park with concrete ramps, as well as a designer/builder.  The users apologized before Parks and Rec Commission for the changes they made, saying they had good intentions.  A design plan and a budget to fix and improve the park will be presented.  Private donations over $5,000 have been been raised and are expected to supplement the Town funds previously budgeted for routine maintenance.  New Milford Mayor David Gronbach says depending on when the designs get submitted and approved, he expects an improved Skate Park to open soon.



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Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell has held the second in a series of information sessions about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s County-wide Shared Services Initiative.  The proposal requires county officials to develop localized plans that find property tax savings by coordinating and eliminating duplicative services and propose coordinated services to enhance purchasing power. 

 

The first session was held last month.  There will be another session next month.  Odell is seeking feedback and suggestions from Putnam County residents on shared services.

 

Some of the suggestions include joint purchasing of energy and insurance, sharing highway and plowing services and reducing back office administrative overhead.  She notes that school districts account for 71-percent of tax dollars, towns are 18-percent and the county is 9-percent.  Odell says Putnam County still has the lowest county tax portion on bills in New York State

 

Odell says she has tried to manage county government through socially and fiscally responsible measures.



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Danbury Police have identified the man who was found dead at Farrington Woods Tuesday.  Police say 56-year old Stephen Shafer of Bethel went missing Monday when he failed to return home from mountain biking in the park.  The Medical Examiner's Office continues to investigate. There were no apparent signs of trauma.

 

A call was made to the Danbury Police station expressing concern Monday around 10:45pm.

 

Chief TJ Wiedl says the man was found about three-quarters of a mile into the deeply wooded area.  He was located shortly before 11:30am Tuesday. 

 

Officials were told that the man uses the park on a regular basis for mountain biking.



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A house in Bridgewater was destroyed by a fire overnight. 

 

Emergency responders initially reported a resident was trapped in the Christian Street home.  One person was rescued from the second story of the home.  The fire broke out shortly before 10:30pm. 

 

Three occupants and one firefighter were evaluated at the hospital.  The extent of their injuries was not immediately released.

 

(Photo: County Car 9)

 

Mutual aid was provided by Bethel, Brookfield, New Milford, Newtown, Northville and Roxbury fire companies.  The fire marshal's office is investigating the cause.



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A Ridgefield resident who is attending Ithaca College has been presented with a $100,000 scholarship.  Sammie Watts received the funding live on the Today Show, from actor Will Ferrell.  The tuition contest was created by the Today Show and Ferrell's new film, The House.  2,000 submissions were sent in, and Watts, who wants to become a speech pathologist, was selected yesterday.  Her father is recovering from esophageal cancer and most of the family's money has gone toward treatments.  The tuition contest was to write about why someone you love deserves money for a college education.