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A Monroe resident burning a small pile of sticks Wednesday called 911 when the fire quickly escalated.  It spread to two boats and trailers, a box truck, and a large section of woods off Webb Circle.  Firefighters from Monroe, Stevenson and Stepney volunteer departments responded around 1:30pm. 

 

Smoke could be seen from several miles away. 

 

Monroe Fire Marshal Bill Davin says the blaze was stopped fairly quickly despite the area not having fire hydrants.  Several tanker truckers were on scene.  No one was injured. 

 

 

(Photos: Monroe Volunteer Fire Department Facebook)

 

Burn permits are required through the Monroe Fire Marshal's Office and burning must be done away from wooded areas.

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Milling and paving work is being done next week on Federal Road in Brookfield between Candlewood Lake Road and the Danbury city line.  The work, weather permitting, will be done on Wednesday and Thursday.  There will be various lane closures. 

 

This stems from a project to extend a water line down Federal Road. 

 

Property owners along Federal Road are paying for the infrastructure work in the form of a benefit assessment.  But there was a mistake when the bonds were issued in 2010 and 2013.  They were done as tax free, and Brookfield now owes the IRS 289-thousand dollars.  The Newstimes reports that Brookfield must also spend 150-thousand dollars to swap out the bonds for taxable ones.

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The Danbury Police Officer of the Year Award has been presented to this year's honoree.  The Exchange Club of Danbury says Police Officer Joseph Pooler is a veteran officer with a genuine concern for the public and his fellow officers. 

 

He is a member of the SWAT Team, Crisis Negotiation Team and serves as Sniper Team Leader. 

 

The Exchange Club says Pooler's mindset is focused on the prevention of crime, and has a knack for putting victims at ease.  He was also selected as this year's Officer of the Year for a successful conclusion to cases through diligent investigations.  The Exchange Club says Officer Pooler's dedication to the Danbury Police Department and community, professionalism, pride and respect that he has for his job and fellow officers is highly commendable. 

 

The Exchange Club says Pooler was selected as this year's honoree because he demonstrates a consistent work ethic and professionalism.

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A Danbury woman has been arrested for threatening people with a box cutter.  Police were called to the bus station on Kennedy Avenue yesterday afternoon on a report of a woman carrying the box cutter and yelling at pedestrians.  When officers arrived, police say 43-year old Melissa Myers tried to hide the razor.  She was charged with breach of peace and possession of a dangerous weapon.  Myers is being held on $5,000 bond.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Tim McGraw is defending his decision to headline a Connecticut concert to benefit a Sandy Hook group, responding to critics who call it a ``gun control fundraiser.''

Gun rights advocates took to Facebook and Twitter, calling the country singer a hypocrite for appearing in the event that will benefit Sandy Hook Promise, which seeks to protect children from gun violence.

Opening act Billy Currington withdrew and said on his Facebook page he's ``never been one to take on controversial issues.''

McGraw said in a statement to The Washington Post Thursday he supports gun ownership, but it requires education and safety. He said the concert is intended to help the community.

McGraw will perform at the XFINITY Theatre in Hartford, Connecticut, on July 17.

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More progress is being made on construction of the new Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.  In an updated post on the official project design and construction website, the contractor says the foundations for Wing A and the basement of Wing B have been excavated. 

 

 

(Photos: sandyhook2016.com)

 

The foundations and footings for those areas have also been installed.  Some utility work has started at the site as well.  Retaining walls along the new entry driveway and some drainage infrastructure has also begun. 

 

Construction officials said in their forecast of the work this month is that the Wing B foundations would continue to be installed.  The start of the Wing C foundations is set to begin. 

 

The school is slated to open in the fall of 2016.

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A local member of Congress is lobbying U.S. House leadership to act on gun violence prevention measures.  5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty is calling on House leaders to not include legislative language in upcoming appropriation bills that would block efforts to reduce and prevent gun violence. 

 

Esty, Vice Chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, says these riders have been added without open debate in previous bills, and have acted as roadblocks.  She specifically cited language that's prevent law enforcement and academic institutions from using gun trace data to better understand the pattern of criminal gun transfers. 

 

Esty says there's no justification for preventing scientific research into the causes of gun violence and restricting the ability to track and combat the spread of illegal guns.

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A local social service agency is working on a new campaign to reduce homelessness.  The United Way of Western Connecticut has collaborated with Opening Doors of Fairfield County for this effort. 

 

Together, they have launched a 100 day campaign to direct the limited housing resources available to families and individuals who are currently experiencing a housing crisis. 

 

One of the goals of the effort is to reduce the family shelter wait list by housing 100 families.  Another goal is to reduce the time between assessment and allocation of resources for housing inventory.  The United Way says they also want to enhance outreach efforts to landlords to help increase the inventory of affordable rental units throughout Fairfield County.

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The mascot of the Western Connecticut State University Colonials, Chuck, is playing host to the 3rd annual Mini-Mudder event this weekend.  The event fundraiser is to benefit recreation programming.  Assistant Director for the Center for Student Involvement Amy Shanks says it's one of the most popular events held on campus and is changed a bit from year to year.

 

The event on Sunday will include 16 physical challenges over the course of two miles.  It begins and ends on the turf field of the Athletic Complex on the West Side Campus on Sunday. 

 

Registration is $20, and free for WCSU students.  Registration will begin at 7 a.m. on the day of the event in the lobby of the Westside Athletic Complex (stadium building) until 8 am. The first heat will start at 8 am. Additional heats will start every 15 minutes.

 

The event will not be timed and will be held rain or shine.

 

Headbands will be distributed at the finish line. Camouflage “Got Mud?” t-shirts will be available for purchase on event day.  The event is hosted by the WCSU Recreation Office, the WCSU Health Promotion & Exercise Sciences Department and the Student Government Association. Participants between the ages of 12 and 17 must have written parental consent. Participants between the ages of 12 and 16 must be accompanied by an adult throughout the course.

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A benefit is being held this weekend in Monroe to raise funds for the organization known as Female Soldiers Forgotten Heroes.  The community-based transitional housing facility in Bridgeport helps homeless female veterans and their children. 

 

The home was purchased in partnership with the Kick for Nick Foundation, named for 19- year old Nicholas Madaras of Wilton who was killed in Iraq in 2006 while on foot patrol. 

 

The luncheon fundraiser on Saturday is being held at Roberto's Restaurant on Main Street by the Monroe Women's Club.  There will be a silent auction among other events that afternoon. The benefit is from 1-4 pm.  The cost is $35 per person. Tickets may be purchased by calling 203-452-8468. Questions can be directed to monroewomensclub@yahoo.com.

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A teenager has been arrested in Danbury for selling drugs at Tarrywile Park.  Danbury Police were conducting surveillance of the upper parking lot around 5 o'clock Tuesday night when they saw 18-year old Brian Berrios conducing the sale from a car. 

 

Police say the teen had a digital scale, 11 grams of marijuana and $155 cash. 

 

While being processed on the drug possession charges, police found an outstanding warrant fro Berrios for failure to appear in court.  He was released on bond for an April 23rd court appearance.

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With taxes on people's minds, Monroe police are warning of a phone scam from someone saying they are from the IRS.  The Monroe Courier reports that the scammer has been calling people and telling them that if back taxes are not paid immediately they will be arrested. 

 

One victim reported last week that the Caller ID was spoofed to show up as the IRS and the man on the phone said to get a money order for hundreds or thousands of dollars and ship it overnight to the provided address.  A second call showed up as the local police department saying to cooperate with the IRS investigation.  The victim was then told to either transfer the money to a Wells Fargo Bank account or send a color copy to a GMail account. 

 

The IRS says they never tell people to transfer funds or send money orders.

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DANBURY, Conn. (AP) -- Police say video from a nanny cam shows a baby sitter beating a 3-year-old Connecticut girl and burning her on a hot stove.

 

Lidia Quilligana is in custody on a first-degree assault charge that carries a 20-year prison sentence. Following her arrest in late March, bail was set at $1 million after a prosecutor who saw the video argued for an increase from $100,000 that was initially set.

 

Hearst Connecticut Media Group reported that Danbury Police Officer Thomas Geanuracos wrote in the arrest report that the video shows Quilligana put the child's hands on what appeared to be hot stove burners.

 

The 31-year-old Quilligana has not entered a plea. Hearst Connecticut Media Group said her lawyer, Jennifer Tunnard, was not available for comment Wednesday. She did not immediately return a call early Thursday morning.

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The position of Director of Veterans Affairs in Danbury has officially been listed as an opening. 

 

Over the last several months, the workload of the office has been audited.  Mayor Mark Boughton says the position is right-sized at 19 hours a week.  Last month there were 33 requests for service from area veterans.  21 of them were not Danbury residents.  Boughton says that was the case over the last five or six months since the passing of Director Patrick Waldron in October at the age of 81.

 

He attributed part of the slow down to the opening of the new Veterans Affairs office on North Street.  That office, opened by the federal government, provides needs counseling and other services for returning veterans. 

 

The local job has now been posted.

 

Boughton says Waldron did such a great job and had so many procedures that he just knew about, it's going to be a big learning curve for the next person coming in.  Boughton says the City suffered a major loss with the passing of the 37-year Director.  He said Waldron fought relentlessly to help veterans, serving generations of veterans.  Waldron help generations of veterans, their widows and dependents.

 

The City will work closely with the state and federal VA departments to provide a seamless approach to services offered to veterans.

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Union members, civic leaders and elected officials from Western Connecticut were part of a global protest Wednesday.  Arally and march were held in Danbury. 

 

(Photo courtsey: AFT Connecticut)

 

Healthcare employees, school support personnel, adjunct professors, home health and child care providers, service and maintenance workers joined fast food and retail workers at 4:15pm in a protest called Fight for $15.  Speakers at the rally will included Danbury Hospital Nurses Union President Mary Consoli and AFT Connecticut First Vice-President Steve McKeever.

 

The Danbury rally was one of four in Connecticut.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The president of the Connecticut Lottery Corporation says keno can be up and running in six months, if lawmakers ultimately agree to pass legislation authorizing the gambling game.

Anne Noble said the quasi-public agency already has ``the expertise, infrastructure and vendor relationships in place'' to launch keno.

The legislature's Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee held a public hearing Wednesday on a bill allowing the lottery to offer keno. It's similar to legislation scrapped last year after lawmakers had second thoughts about allowing the game.

While Noble said keno would help the lottery diversity its portfolio and protect its revenue stream to the state, some lawmakers voiced continued concern with the legislation.

Sen. Tony Hwang, whose district includes Newtown, said he's worried about the impact on families by allowing the game in bars and restaurants.

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A New York man is facing felony drug possession charges following a routine traffic violation.  Putnam County Sheriff's Deputies assigned to a DWI checkpoint on Route 311 in the town of Kent on Saturday stopped a motorist who wasn't wearing a seatbelt.  24-year old John Calvachio III of Kent initially didn't stop.  He was found with drugs in the car and to not have a valid drivers license.  Calvachio was arraigned and is being held on bond for a May 4th court appearance.

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Fausto “Junior” De Los Santos, 17, of Danbury, died on Sunday, April 12th as a result of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident.  He attended Danbury schools and was a member of the Junior Class at Henry Abbott Technical School where he was studying carpentry.

 

An obituary posted by Jowdy-Kane Funeral Home says De Los Santos enjoyed soccer, ice skating, boating and jet skiing. Most especially, he enjoyed the time he spent with family and friends.

De Los Santos, a son of Karen (Pecor) De Los Santos of Danbury and Fausto De Los Santos, Sr. of Danbury is also survived by two sisters, Kristin Soares (Oseias) of Danbury and Yuriset “Judy: De Los Santos (Ralph Azcona) of Hightstown, NJ; his paternal grandparents, Prebisterio and Ludovina De Los Santos; four nieces, two nephews and several aunts, uncles, cousins and many friends.

 

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday evening, April 16 at 7pm in St. Peter Roman Catholic Church on Main Street.  Interment will be private and at the direction of the family.

The family will receive friends at St. Peter Church on Thursday from 4:45pm to 6:45pm.

Contributions may be sent to the Fausto “Junior” De Los Santos Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 459 Ridgefield, CT 06877.

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New York State Police are investigating a fatal car crash that happened Tuesday night on Interstate 684 in Brewster.  Police say a car driven by 37-year old Israel Albarracin of Danbury was headed northbound and struck the rear passenger side of a Subaru Legacy. 

 

Albarracin's car left the roadway, rolled over and struck a tree.  He was pronounced dead at the scene from head trauma. 

 

The other driver, 27-year old Raymond Finney of Carmel was uninjured. 

 

Troopers were assisted by the Brewster Fire Department, Transcare ambulance, and the Danbury Police Department.  The cause of the crash remains under investigation.  Anyone with information about the moments leading up to the crash, is asked to contact police at (914)277-3177.

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The asphalt plants were supposed to open last week, but Danbury Public Works Director Antonio Iadarola says many delayed opening until this week because of the rain.  Four crews had been at work in Danbury filling potholes during the off-season with Cold Patch, but Iadarola says that will be ramped up.

 

Danbury officials are asking resident to continue reporting potholes to the City’s 311 Information Line.  Motorists are being cautioned that when driving over a puddle of water, it might be a particularly deep pothole in hiding.

 

If you brake directly over a pothole, it can actually cause more damage than if you're able to slow down before getting to the pothole.  The potholes are prioritized on the busiest roads and then crews continue down the list.

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