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Newtown Labor Day Parade prompts road closures, parking bans

The 53rd Newtown Labor Day Parade will step off at 10 am on Monday, September 1. The parade forms on Main Street, near its intersection with Currituck Road. The parade proceeds southward on Main Street, turns left onto eastbound Glover Avenue, and then turns left onto northbound Queen Street.  All roads leading to the center of town be closed to traffic from approximately 9:40 am to approximately 1:15 pm.


Police have announced the following roadblocks leading to the town center:


-Mt Pleasant Road at its intersection with Reservoir Road;


-Academy Lane, Currituck Road, Hanover Road, Schoolhouse Hill Road, and West Street, all at their intersections with Main Street;


-Church Hill Road at The Boulevard;


-Sugar Street at Elm Drive;


-Queen Street at Elizabeth Street;


-South Main Street at Elizabeth Street; and


-South Main Street at Mile Hill Road.


Traffic traveling northward on South Main Street (Route 25) will be detoured onto Mile Hill Road and Wasserman Way.


A number of temporary No Parking zones will be posted with signs and will be considered tow-away zones during the parade.


The no-parking zones are: The Boulevard, between Church Hill Road and Schoolhouse Hill Road; Schoolhouse Hill Road, between The Boulevard and Main Street; Hanover Road, between Main Street and Hall Lane; and Elm Drive, between Sugar Street and Hawley Road.  Parking will be banned on one side of Meadow Road and also on one side of Elizabeth Street


For spectators and Participants, parking is available at: Big Y, Caraluzzi's, Hawley School, and St. Rose.  There is no parking on Private or Town Property without written permission.  Shuttle bus service will be provided.

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Danbury works with parents to resolve school bus concerns

There are always new parents in a school district, whether they are the guardian of a kindergartener or have recently moved into town.  Danbury Superintendent of Schools Dr Sal Pascarella is reminding all parents there is a system in place if they are dissatisfied with something.


If there are bus stops that need to be looked at for safety, school staff and the bus company will go out ant look at them.  Pascarella says they do have a person in the office dedicated to working with the bus company.  He adds that they do have regular meetings with the bus company.


On the first day of school last week a number of parents were concerned with the bus route taking about an hour, one way.


Pascarella says he's heard of some parents upset that kids are the first ones picked up and have to sit through the whole bus run, but sometimes you can't make adjustments.  He notes that what's reasonable for one set of parents might not be reasonable for others.


He says in some cases the parents will appeal to the board.

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Danbury to switch some parking lot lights to LEDs

An energy efficient lighting program by CL&P has been approved for 17 buildings in Danbury.  City Councilman Paul Rotello asked for clarity regarding the proposed payback schedule, and whether it accounts for the cost benefits of LEDs.  New England Energy Management said an analysis of what the city pays and what the city would pay based on the upgrades.  No increases in market pricing was taken into account.


CL&P, working with the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, will subsidize a portion of the project, with the balance of the cost being paid for by loans without interest through the Small Business Energy Advantage Program.  The LED lights have to meet specific criteria to qualify for the program.


The estimated monthly savings is little more than $1,500.  Public Buildings Superintendent Rick Palanzo says the loans without interest, costing $130 a month, will come from the individual building's utility accounts.


A NEEM representative told the Council there is more environmental impact now with the ballasts that have to be swapped out.


Palanzo says the color rendering was taken into account, so there wouldn't be a garish blue light, it would be closer to a warm light.  The light pattern would be cast in a downward pattern so there would not be light pollution.

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'Back to School' drives outfil more than 600 students with supplies

The Volunteer Center of United Way of Western Connecticut has helped about 600 students in the Greater Danbury and New Milford areas during their Back to School Drives this month.  The program is aimed at lowering the financial stress associated with getting a child ready for school by collecting donations from individuals, groups and businesses. 


The 23rd annual Back to School event in Danbury was held at the South Street School.  It was hosted by the Western Connecticut Business Volunteer Council, a coalition of area businesses who join together to advance community volunteerism and help meet community needs. 


This year, 35 area businesses, civic groups or individuals sponsored children by providing them with a filled backpack and a $100 gift card to purchase school clothing.  In addition to 44 children from the South Street School, an additional 289 children were helped by this program – a total of 333 children were given the resources to be prepared for school.


The 23rd annual Back to School Drive in New milford held by the Volunteer Center of the United Way of Western Connecticut has helped more than 300 students.  It was held earlier this month at Kimberly-Clark in New Milford. This year, 334 children were given a new backpack filled with grade appropriate school supplies, two new school outfits, a winter jacket, a pair of sneakers, socks, undergarments, and personal care items. 


The cost of sponsoring one child is $250.  This year alone, more than $83,000 worth of donated items was collected. This event was staffed with 10 local volunteers and 8 Youth Leadership students from New Milford High School.

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Money rolling into Connecticut 5th District race

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Connecticut's 5th Congressional District race is expected once again to be an expensive battle, attracting millions of dollars in outside money.


Both the Democratic freshman incumbent, U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, and her Republican businessman opponent, Mark Greenberg, have already been targeted by their national parties as candidates that potential donors should watch. National Democratic groups have already reserved more than $1 million in TV ads to help Esty retain her western Connecticut seat, while Greenberg has already loaned his campaign more than $600,000 and has the resources to contribute even more.


"It's not going to be cheap," Esty said. "We're in an expensive media market. I've got a wealthy self-funder. He has basically a limitless checkbook. We've seen in the past what that looks like in this state, and I expect to see a lot of that again."


Greenberg contends he doesn't think a lot of money should be spent on the race - by him or others. On Saturday, he publicly challenged Esty to join him in asking all third parties not to spend millions on a bevy of TV ads and mailers. If the groups do spend money, one candidate would contribute the amount to the other candidate's charity of choice.


"I just think fundamentally when we spend $3 (million) to $4 (million) to $5 million on each side for a congressional race every two years, there's something wrong," Greenberg said.


Greenberg's challenge to Esty is similar to what has become known as the People's Pledge, or what Greenberg is calling a transparency pledge. The People's Pledge was created during the 2012 Massachusetts U.S. Senate race between Republican incumbent Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren to discourage attack ads funded by outside groups.


While the Massachusetts pledge did help to block TV, radio and Internet ads by outside groups, both campaigns still spent a total of $21.7 million. It ranked fourth on the list of spending in U.S. Senate races that year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.


Bill Evans, Greenberg's campaign manager, said his candidate is open to any kind of limits on spending.


"We're literally putting it out there as an idea and they can come back at us," he said. "If they want to, make it let's cap the race at a certain point. We're open to suggestions."


It appears unlikely Esty will accept the challenge given the continued high level of interest from both sides in winning this seat, considered the most politically equal among the five U.S. House seats. Two years ago in her victory speech, Esty spoke about being "up against the odds" when three out-of-state super PACS opposing her candidacy spent about $2.5 million in the final weeks. She said her victory proved "Connecticut cannot be bought." This year, she's also voiced concerns about Greenberg's ability to tap his personal wealth.


"This is just a deceptive ploy from an ultra-rich tea party candidate who's been running for Congress for six years and has already spent $3 million of his personal fortune in two failed attempts," said Esty campaign spokeswoman Laura Maloney. "How can voters trust him to keep his word when he's already pledged to spend whatever it takes to get elected?"


Esty ultimately outspent her 2012 GOP primary opponent, former state Sen. Andrew Roraback. She spent $3.2 million compared to his $1.57 million and won 52 percent of the vote. Esty loaned her campaign more than $600,000 that year.


As of June 30, Esty's campaign had $1.48 million in cash on hand. Of the money she has raised, $647,614 came from committees, such as political action groups. Greenberg's campaign reported having $263,768 on hand. He had raised $7,500 from committees. Greenberg said he's prepared to spend more of his own money if necessary.


Both candidates say they agree the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision concerning the regulation of campaign spending by corporations has been harmful, leading to more special interest money being spent on elections. Esty said she supports comprehensive campaign finance, including a "constitutional amendment that prevents special interest money from drowning out the voices of voters." Greenberg, meanwhile, said he believes U.S. House members should serve four years rather than two, and be limited to two terms. He said that could help limit the influence of outside money.

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Connecticut gun rights group backs Foley

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley's endorsement on Friday from a 15,000-member gun rights organization renewed accusations from Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's campaign that Foley would support repealing the gun control law passed last year after the mass school shooting in Newtown.


Shortly after the Connecticut Citizens Defense League posted its bipartisan list of candidate endorsements on the group's website, Malloy's campaign called the CCDL an "extreme right-wing gun advocacy group" and claimed Foley would stand with the organization to roll back the law, which expanded the state's assault weapons ban and barred the sale and possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines.


"Just this week, Mr. Foley said he would sign a repeal of the law and even said he wouldn't enforce parts of the law to keep dangerous weapons out of Connecticut's communities. It's clear that Tom Foley and the CCDL would stand together to take us backward on our smart gun law," said Mark Bergman, Malloy's campaign spokesman.


He was referring to comments Foley made during a debate with Malloy earlier this week.


"If the legislature handed me a repeal provision of that bill, I would sign it," Foley said Wednesday night. "That's not saying I would seek repeal of the bill."


Foley said he is particularly concerned that law-abiding gun owners who failed to register their once-legal assault weapons and large-capacity magazines by Jan. 1 could face a felony charge, promising he'd make sure they weren't prosecuted. The state law, however, imposes a misdemeanor for first-time offenders. Repeat offenders could face a felony.


CCDL President Scott Wilson said while his grassroots organization would ultimately like to see the law repealed, he acknowledged it's not practical given the current membership of the General Assembly. His group is seeking to overturn the law in federal court.


"The leadership of the Democratic Party keeps saying that Tom Foley will repeal it. And it's an attempt to try and scare people and scare voters, when, in fact, the only way it would ever possibly be repealed is if somehow the sentiment within the makeup of the state legislature would consider something like that," Wilson said. "That may be years away. We're realistic here."


One gubernatorial candidate, petitioning candidate Joe Visconti, has said he would actively work to repeal the bill. Visconti, however, did not receive the organization's endorsement. Wilson acknowledged that Foley's chances of winning in November played a key role in the CCDL's decision to back his candidacy.


"He's not Clint Eastwood, but as far as electability goes, he's right up there," Wilson said.


The group's backing could play a role in the election, considering the closeness of the 2010 race when Malloy defeated Foley by 6,404 of the 1.1 million votes cast.


"We welcome the support of the CCDL and any group seeking change in Connecticut," said Chris Cooper, Foley's campaign spokesman. "CCDL members have been bullied by Governor Malloy, as have teachers, state workers and parents."


Wilson took issue with Malloy's campaign referring to the CCDL as "extreme," questioning why it wasn't criticizing fellow Democrats who voted against the gun bill and also received endorsements.


"I'm a bit dismayed that the leadership of the Democratic Party and Malloy's campaign are trying to portray us, our organization and our members, as some sort of devil incarnate," he said. "Really, we're just ordinary citizens that are just using our rights, our First Amendment rights, to protect our Second Amendment rights."

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Monroe police investigating suspicious death of woman

Monroe Police are investigating the suspicious death of a 41-year-old town woman who was found bleeding, with a head injury.  She was found in the middle of the road at a condo complex early Monday morning.


Police responded to Windgate Circle in the Hills of Monroe Condominium complex shortly after 6am Monday after receiving a 911 call about an unconscious woman, later identified as 41-year old Jennifer Sredzinski, a resident of the complex.  The condominium complex includes around 25 two-story buildings, which each contain six apartment-style condo units.


Emergency medical care was administered at the scene.  Sredzinski was then transported to Bridgeport Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries.


No information was provided on what caused the head injury, a motive or who might be responsible.


NBC has reported that Sredzinski was the ex-wife of Town Council J.P. Sredzinski, who is also running for State Representative in the 112th District.

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Bethel Library's sole fundraiser of the year coming up

The Bethel Public Library is holding its one and only fundraiser of the year soon.  It's the fifth year that the library has held the Wine Tasting and food fundraiser, but the first time it's at the library.  Board of Directors chairman Tia Murphy says in the past, they done a lot of smaller events to raise funds, but by pooling their efforts into one big fundraiser, they would be more successful.


The fundraiser on Tuesday September 16th is from 6-9 pm, at the Bethel Public Library.  Admission is $40 per person.


Murphy says they also want to say "thank you" to residents for their support in the newly-renovated space.  They want to reintroduce the newly renovated library into the general public.  A number of Bethel restaurants will also be serving food at the fundraiser.


All of the money raised is used for programs, new equipment and items to add to the library's collection.


Guests will receive a complimentary commemorative wine glass and the opportunity to participate in a silent auction, which includes three trips: a ski getaway at the Whistler BC Fairmont Chateau, NCAA Final Four Championships tickets, and U.S. Open Golf Tournament passes. All trips include airfare.  Reservations are required. For more information and to purchase tickets, call 203-794-8756 x6, or visit the Library website at

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Full lifeguard force on duty at Squantz Pond this holiday weekend

The number of lifeguards at state park swimming areas will be significantly reduced over Labor Day weekend, but not at Squantz Pond state park in New Fairfield.  At this time of year, many lifeguards leave their positions to return to college, but Director Tom Tyler says they try to maintain coverage wherever possible.


At Sherwood Island State Park in Westport, where electronic highway signs direct people when Squantz Pond fills up, there will be no lifeguards at West Beach.  The East Beach swim area though will have lifeguards. 


After Labor Day, Monday, there will be no lifeguards on duty at any of Connecticut’s state park swimming areas.

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'The Prospector Theater' highlighting employment for adults with disabilities

The soon to be opened Prospector Theater in Ridgefield is a non-profit theater that's dedicated to providing job training and employment for adults with disabilities.  Ridgefield resident Valerie Jensen founded the Prospector, which is located on the site of the old Ridgefield Playhouse.  The idea came from her work leading SPHERE - Special People Housing Education Recreation and Employment - which helps people with disabilities. 


The Prospector currently has 10 full-time employees, with a goal of hiring about 60 people to work part-time jobs by the end of the first year at the theater’s concession stand, the restaurant, or working behind the scenes on the film projectors or sound systems.  The theater will also house a small production center that will train people with disabilities to produce, shoot and edit films.


“The answer to the unemployment epidemic among adults with disabilities is in our own backyard, on every Main Street in America,” Jensen said. “Employment opportunities are in our local movie theaters, restaurants, and shops. Small businesses are missing out on a huge resource that lies in the incredible talent pool of the 44 million talented Americans with disabilities, who are willing, competent, and able to work.”


“The Prospector represents the best of private investment in our community,” First Selectman Rudy Marconi said. “It’s a new movie theater built by a private family that will not only bring economic vitality to our downtown but also create a work environment for people with developmental disabilities. We're excited and extremely appreciative to the Jensen family for their investment in and caring for our community."


"Far too often, Americans with disabilities who have the ability and desire to work don’t have access to job training and employment opportunities,” 4th District Congressman Jim Himes said. “The Prospector Theater is a remarkable private investment that will create jobs and improve the quality of life for people with disabilities in Ridgefield’s community. It’s also an economic asset for downtown Ridgefield that the entire community will be able to enjoy.”

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Brookfield Economic Development Commission launches new website

The Brookfield Economic Development Commission has launched a new website to feature information for local businesses.  The group's goal is to also have the site be a resource for businesses looking to move to the town. 


The website will include a Brookfield Business Directory. 


This comes as the Brookfield Board of Finance votes down a proposed tax incentive deferral program for a developer building in the Four Corners area.  The vote by the Board is not binding, just a recommendation back to the Board of Selectmen.  The incentive was proposed by First Selectman Bill Tinsley.

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Southbury police investigating phone scam

A possible telephone scam has been reported to Southbury Police.  A caller saying they are an associate of Microsoft  tells the victim that their computer is infected with a Trojan virus, and that they know this because automatic updates are being returned to Microsoft uninstalled. 


Police say the caller charges the victim's credit card $250 for the fix and gains remote access to the computer and all documents on it.  The scammer has represented themselves as WiseTuneUp, and when asked for a refund will not provide one.  Police say that's a conflict with their online policy of a 30-day money back guarantee for all orders. 


According to the Microsoft Safety and Security Centre, Microsoft and it's partners will never call to charge you for computer fixes.  The statement says there are some cases where Microsoft will work with internet providers and call to fix maleware infected computers.

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Civil suit filed in case of seized Redding horses

A civil suit has been filed by the state Department of Agriculture to officially seize custody of two horses taken from a Redding woman last month.  75-year old Lisa Lind-Larsen is fighting the custody suit in Hartford Superior Court. 


Two emaciated horses were seized in July from an unkempt barn and have been recuperating at a state facility in Niantic. 


The civil case continues September 4th.  Lind-Larsen will be back in Danbury Superior Court on September 17th to face the two animal cruelty charges.

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Cat found in car being towed had been dead for weeks

The decomposing cat found in a car being towed from a Danbury condo complex had been dead for one or two weeks before being discovered.  Animal control officers say they are still trying to determine whether the cat died before being placed in the car or after. 


A private tow truck company responded to a call from the Brookside Condo Complex on Padanaram Road Tuesday afternoon about a car in violation of their rules.  The tow truck operator spotted the animal and called police.  No other details about the cause of death were immediately released. 


There was no information provided about the vehicle's owner.

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54th annual Mark Twain Library book fair

The 54th annual Mark Twain Library book fair is being held this weekend.  The book fair continues through Labor Day, when area residents can pay $10 for a box to fill up. 


Book Fair organizers say there are some new features this year, including an After School Spree.  From 2pm to 4pm today, library staff will be in the Children's Room of the book fair to help kids select age appropriate books.  Kids buying books during that time will be treated to free ice cream. 


The book fair is being held once again at the Redding Community Center.  The Mark Twain Library Association was founded in 1908 by Redding resident Samuel Clemens--Mark Twain.

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Area vote machines part of election result audit

Voting precincts have been selected at random for an audit of the August 12th primary results.  10-percent of all polling precincts used in an election are subject to the state mandated audit.  They were selected at random by the Secretary of the State's office. 


Among the 68 that will go through hand recounts are the machines from the Stony Hill Fire House in Bethel, Scotts Ridge Middle School in Ridgefield and the Community Building in Southbury. 


Secretary Denise Merrill says Connecticut has the toughest elections audit laws in the country, officials don't just take the machines' word for it.  The audits must be completed by September 12th.

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Annual Newtown Road Race 5k, Kids Run to be held Saturday

Two road races are being held Saturday to benefit Newtown Youth and Family Services.  The 9th annual Newtown Road Race 5k is being sponsored by Nike.  The Newtown Prevention Council is sponsoring this year's Kids Run.  Both races will be held at Dickinson Park.


The first race kicks off at 8am.  Parts of Route 302 will be closed from 7am to 10am.


The race features individual awards the top female and male runners in each of the eight age brackets.


Newtown Youth and Family Services is a licensed, non-profit, mental health clinic and youth services bureau.  They provide programs, services, activities, counseling, support groups and education throughout the Greater Newtown area.


Registration information can be found here.

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Attorney: Wilton aide inappropriately touched child

The attorney for a Wilton family says their child was inappropriately touched by a preschool aide who recently was charged for possession of child pornography.  33-year old Eric Von Kohorn worked as a paraprofessional at the Miller Driscoll School and resigned in June when district officials learned of the police investigation.  District officials said Von Kohorn passed state and federal background checks and had no criminal record when he was hired. 


At a meeting held Monday night, Superintendent Kevin Smith said the alleged misconduct took place at the former employee's home in Bridgeport.  According to a statement from Attorney Paul Slager physical evidence proved that the man inappropriately touched a preschooler while helping the child in the bathroom last January. 


Slager also says going into a bathroom with a child is against school policy.  He should have waited outside, but the attorney quoted a written report that the man admitted to help the child in the bathroom, while staying outside the stall.


Von Kohorn is free on bond for a court appearance Tuesday.

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Conn. bank teller in court for allegedly stealing from accounts

A Connecticut man has had his court case continued on allegations he withdrew money from a Monroe resident's bank account. 


Monroe police received a complaint last month from a town resident saying more than $23,000 in five transactions had been made without her permission from her People's Bank account.  The investigation led to 25-year old Robert Walker of Bridgeport, a teller at the People's Bank branch in a Trumbull Stop and Shop.  He was arrested August 18th by Monroe Police and released on $50,000 bond for arraignment yesterday. He faces charges of conspiracy to commit forgery and larceny, accessory to larceny, illegal trafficking of personal information and two counts of identity theft. 


His case was continued to October 1st.


The investigation revealed additional victims.  Police say Walker processed actual checks and looked at the balance to see if there was enough to make counterfeit withdrawals .  He recorded the account information and made fake checks that so-called "runners" would bring to his teller station at a later date to cash. 


People's Bank issued a statement saying they have spoken with all affected customers and reimbursed them for losses.  The bank went on to say this was isolated to a single teller, and that employee has been fired.

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Weston woman's child endangerment case continued

A Weston woman has had her court case on a felony risk of injury to a minor charge continued.


Police arrested 32-year-old Christina Failla of Weston early Sunday morning on allegations she left her 22-month-old child alone in a vehicle outside a Norwalk bar as she drank with friends.  She was released on a promise to appear in court Wednesday, where her case was continued to October 1st. 


A witness called police after finding the child sleeping alone in a locked sport-utility vehicle.  Police say Failla told officers she had only been gone a few minutes, but a witness said she had several alcoholic drinks at the bar.


Ice Bucket Challenge COMPLETED!!

Rich Minor accepted the challenge from his friend to donate to the ALS Association AND do the Ice Bucket Challenge.

His "bucket" of choice...well, that's where Westchester Tractor came into play.

Check it out!




Who's this beautiful hunk of man meat?

It's 32 year old Chris Soules,

a farmer from Iowa and the new Bachelor!


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