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Easton, Redding, Region 9 names new school superintendent

The Easton-Redding-Region 9 schools have named a new Superintendent.  Dr Thomas McMorran who is currently Assistant Superintendent and Head of Schools of Joel Barlow High School will move into the lead role on July 1st.  The appointment was made by unanimous vote of the three boards at a special meeting Tuesday night. 

 

Dr. McMorran will succeed Dr. Bernard Josefsberg, who last fall announced his intention to retire from the position of Superintendent at the end of the current school year.  The 51-year old Newtown resident has served as Head of School and Assistant Superintendent for Regional School District 9 since 2007.  

 

McMorran was named the 2012 Connecticut State High School Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals and Connecticut Association of Schools.

 

14 applications were reviewed by a Search Committee.  An online survey of residents drew 650 responses to help developed a set of qualities and attributes to be met by candidates.  Focus group sessions were also held. 

 

McMorran served as Assistant Principal (2005-2007) and English Department Chair (2001-2005) at Ridgefield High School in Ridgefield, Connecticut. He began his educational career as an English teacher and has held teaching positions in Ridgefield, Newtown, New Fairfield, and, from 1989 to 1992, at Joel Barlow. He holds an undergraduate degree, cum laude, in English and Education from Boston College, as well as a Master’s Degree in Philosophy from Fordham University, a 6th Year Degree in Educational Leadership from Southern Connecticut State University, and a Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) from Seton Hall University. He was named to the Seton Hall Graduate School of Education Hall of Fame in 2014.



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Bomb threat reported at New Milford High School

There is a reported bomb threat at New Milford High School.  The students have been evacuated to the football field and are waiting for the buses.  All other New Milford schools will be dismissed at their regular times.  An automated message was sent out to New Milford High School parents by Superintendent of Schools Dr. JeanAnn Paddyfoote.

 

All after school and adult education at New Milford High School Wednesday have been cancelled.

 

Connecticut State Police say a state police K9 unit is assisting New Milford police.



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Woodbury man charged with assault on baby daughter

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) Court documents show a 21-year-old Woodbury man whose daughter suffered a head injury last June had searched the term ``shaken baby syndrome'' on his smart phone shortly after the girl was injured.

Benjamin Marshall is free on a $50,000 bond after his arraignment Monday on an assault charge.

Marshall told police he was changing his daughter when he received a chat message and become distracted. He said he caught the child as she fell from the changing table, but the baby hit her head.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, police searched the phone and found four searches for ``shaken baby syndrome.''

The baby was treated at Saint Mary's Hospital in Waterbury for a fractured skull.



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Police cracking down on texting while driving

State police and more than 50 local police departments have begun a crackdown on people using their cell phones while driving.  The Connecticut Department of Transportation says the ``U DRIVE. U TEXT. U PAY'' initiative focuses on texting, but police also will be looking for drivers talking on their phones. 

 

The Brookfield Police Department received an $18,000 grant to support officer overtime, for targeted special enforcement of distracted driving laws on local roads.  New Milford and Danbury Police Departments also received grant money for the month long effort.

 

The effort will run through the month of April.  Violators face fines of $150 for a first offense, $300 for a second violation, and $500 for any additional charges.



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Route 53 bridge in Redding being replaced

A construction project starts in Redding today.

 

The state Department of Transportation will be rehabilitating a bridge over Route 53.  The bridge that carries Route 53 in Redding over a brook between Umpawaug Road and John Read Middle School is being replaced.

 

The bridge was built in 1928 and is 28 feet wide.  A 21-foot section is being rebuilt so that there can be 12-foot travel lanes and 4 foot shoulders in each direction.  Some other minor safety improvements will also be completed. 

 

The project work will be done Monday through Friday 9am to 3pm with alternating one way traffic controlled by flaggers or temporary traffic signals.  The construction is scheduled through September 8th.

 

Dayton Construction Company Incorporated of Watertown Connecticut was awarded the $425,000 contract.



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Mental health care roundtable held in Danbury

A roundtable discussion about mental health prevention, intervention, and treatment has been held in Danbury.  It was hosted by Senator Chris Murphy, who is writing a bill with a Republican from Louisiana to reform the mental health system.  He wanted to learn about the concerns and needs of the Fairfield County mental health advocacy community.

 

In the Danbury region, Murphy says there's a lack of inpatient bed space for someone with a complex psychosis who needs two weeks or a month of care.  Murphy says people get discharged into the community too early because that type of facility doesn't exist in the area.

 

He was joined by mental health professionals, providers, clients, educators, and advocacy groups.

 

(Photo Courtesy: Senator Murphy)



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Boehringer Ingelheim cuts ribbon on new research facility

Boehringer Ingelheim has cut the ribbon on a new research facility. 

 

The Ridgefield-based pharmaceutical company says the Pilot Plant will be used to produce larger quantities of compounds being researched for testing and other uses.  Senator Chris Murphy was among the officials on hand Tuesday for the ribbon cutting.  He says the Pilot Plant will play a crucial role in research and development to bring new treatments to market faster. 

 

The building project was about $65 million and part of a larger overall expansion of BI's U.S. headquarters.

 

(Photo Courtesy: Senator Murphy)



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Danbury High School teacher arrested for sex assault, giving liquor to a minor

A Danbury woman has been arrested for sexual assault and distributing alcohol to a minor.  The incident was first reported to Danbury Police by Danbury High School administrators on February 10th.  The investigation led to a warrant for 24-year old Kayla Mooney.  She turned herself in Tuesday afternoon.  Mooney was released on a written promise to appear in court on April 14th.

 

The Police Public Information Officers could not confirm, and Mayor Mark Boughton would not comment on if the woman is a High School employee.  A message was left for Superintendent Dr. Sal Pascarella.

 

Mooney was placed on administrative leave after the report to police, but her name was not released because she was not yet charged with a crime.  She was a first year science teacher.

 

An automated message was sent out to parents Tuesday night by the Superintendent informing them of the arrest saying that the incident occurred off campus with a boy late last year.  No other details were provided.



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Former Bethel teacher accused of sex assault released on bond

A former Bethel teacher charged with sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor has been released after posting $250,000 bond.  30-year old Brian Stroh was in court today. 

 

The judge denied a motion to release the former Berry Elementary School first grade teacher on a promise to appear in court.  The Clerk's office didn't immediately have a date for the next scheduled appearance for the New Fairfield man. 

 

Stroh's attorney had filed a motion seeking release saying his client couldn't access mental health treatment.  The victims, 3 boys, were ages 6, 9 and 11.  Stroh was placed on leave February 19th when Bethel school officials learned of a State Police investigation into inappropriate contact with minors.  He resigned shortly after. 

 

In letters to parents, Bethel officials said there was no reason to believe the crimes happened on school grounds.

 



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Monroe Police investigate possible embezzlement of PTO funds

Monroe police are looking into suspicious transactions from a school PTO account. 

 

Officials with the Stepney Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization alerted administrators March 18th, who then turned the matter over to Police.  Monroe Police say the PTO noticed discrepancies in their bank account showing personal and non-PTO expenses. 

 

PTO members are questioning more than $10,000 in expenditures, but police have not determined how much might have been misappropriated. 

 

A letter was sent to parents by the Stepney PTO yesterday about the investigation.  Police obtained a search warrant for a Monroe resident's home and seized a computer and bank statements.  Police did not identify the person's home that they searched.  Bank records from a financial institution have also been requested and a forensic audit will be done to determine wether money has been embezzled or if the expenses were legitimate PTO purchases.



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Conn. man sent to prison for leading mail-theft ring

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) A Bridgeport man has been sentenced to more than four years in prison for running a mail-theft ring that raided mailboxes around Fairfield County for checks and credit cards.

Dayquan Jackson was sentenced Monday in New Haven federal court to four years and seven months in prison.

Authorities say he and others used the stolen checks to purchase cars, motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles listed for sale on the Internet. The losses to financial institutions and individual victims amounted to more than $170,000.

Jackson was arrested in August and he pleaded guilty in October to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and bank fraud.

Police in Greenwich, Fairfield, Wilton and Bridgeport aided federal authorities in the investigation.



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Newtown Commnuity Center info meetings cancelled

Planned informational sessions about the proposed Communtiy Center project have been called off.  At the latest info session, residents were critical of the plans for Phase 1 to be a senior center and aquatics center, saying children and other sectors of the community were left out. 

 

Newtown's attorney says the $15 million donation from GE doesn't need voter approval from residents.  Newtown Patch reports that there's no technical requirement for the acceptance of the gift, except that a financial contract statement be filed. 

 

David Grogins said in the report that the only required step is for the town to enter into a donor agreement, which was done last November. 



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Improvements to Newtown Road in Danbury proposed by DOT

Proposed improvements to Newtown Road in Danbury have been discussed during an informational meeting.  The state Department of Transportation gathered public input last night on the proposals to widen Newtown Road and to realign some intersections among other work. 

 

The project is in the preliminary design phase and would not be started until 2017. 

 

Project Manager Michael Calabrese says the four lane section that ends at Plumtrees Road would be continued to Old Newtown Road.  The shoulder would also be widened by the Public Works Complex to allow drivers to bypass people waiting to make a left turn there.  A new driveway providing access to the Public Works Complex and future commercial development is proposed on its south side. 

 

A raised median is planned for a section of Newtown Road running from Old Newtown Road to Industrial Plaza Drive. 

 

Designated left turn lanes would be added at a realigned Old Shelter Road Road.  The intersection would form a "T"-shape.  Traffic signals would also be installed.

 

The estimated construction cost for these projects is approximately $11.3 million.  This project is anticipated to be undertaken with 80% federal funds and 20% state funds.  The targeted start time will be based on funding availability.



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Projects in Brookfield, New Milford receive state Department of Housing grants

More than $60 million in state funding is being distributed to 14 affordable housing projects across the state.

 

One is the Brookfield Village project at Route 202 and Station Road.  Department of Housing Commissioner Evonne Klein says a 48-unit mixed-use, mixed-income development will be created with 43 of the units restricted as affordable housing.  The project will consist of two three-story buildings.  The site is also adjacent to a local HARTransit bus stop with service to New Milford and Danbury.

 

The Department will provide up to $4.5 million and the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority will provide $4.6 million in tax exempt bond financing to Brookfield Village, LLC.  43 of the 48 units will be restricted as affordable housing in this community and will be targeted to families with 25%, 50%, and 60% of the area median income. 

 

New construction and renovations at East Street Apartments in New Milford will receive some funding.  Dakota Partners will work with National Park Service historic guidelines to create 38 apartments.  30 of the units will be available to people with incomes less than 60-percent of the area median income.  Sustainable design features include measures to reduce impact on the town's storm drains and make use of new natural gas infrastructure. 

 

The Connecticut Housing Finance Authority has awarded $6.2 million in 9% LIHTC equity and the Department of Housing will provide up to $4.2 million in state capital funds.

 

After 15 years, the development will be converted to condominiums and tenants will have rights of first refusal to purchase their units.  Relocation assistance will be provided for tenants who choose not to purchase.



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Bond set at $1 million for babysitter accused of burning child

Bond has been set $1 million for the Danbury woman who allegedly intentionally burned a child in her care.  Danbury Police were called late Friday night by a woman who said her 3-year old daughter had been assaulted by the nanny that day.  When the woman arrived home from work, she saw 2nd and 3rd degree burns on her daughter's hands and leg. 

 

The nanny, 31-year old Lidia Quilligana, said the child accidentally touched the hot stove while she was tending to the other children.  The girl was treated by her doctor. 

 

That night, the mother watched video from a hidden nanny camera which was recently installed.  The mother saw that the injuries were intentionally inflicted on the child by the nanny. 

 

Quilligana was charged with assault, criminal mischief and risk of injury to a minor.  The investigation is ongoing, and has been referred to the Special Victims Unit for follow up.

The case has been continued to April 22nd.  WVIT-TV reports that if Quilligana is able to post bond, she will have to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet and surrender her passport.



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Ridgefield lawmakers gather for meeting with constituents

Ridgefield lawmakers are getting together for a meeting with town residents Tuesday.  The meet your legislators event is being held at Ridgefield Library. 

 

State Representative John Frey and Senator Toni Boucher will be in attendance.  The lawmakers say this is their chance to hear what's happening locally.  They often hear a variety of issues from residents during these get togethers and also about resident's concerns.  The lawmakers will also tell residents about what's happening at the Capital. 

 

Tuesday night's event at the Ridgefield Library is from 7 to 9pm.



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United Way starting social service grant review process

Volunteers are being sought by the United Way to serve on a grant allocation committee.  The committee run by the United Way of Western Connecticut is for Danbury's social services grant review process. 

 

There is a lump sum of funding in the Danbury budget each year for social service agencies and the committee vets which organizations receive how much funding.  The volunteers must be over age 18, a Danbury resident and willing to volunteer approximately 20 to 25 hours from the beginning of April through early June. 

 

Presentations are made by various groups, agency proposals are reviewed, and then discussions are held about funding recommendations.  There will be a Volunteer Training/Orientation held on April 6th from 9am–10:30am at United Way of Western Connecticut's conference room on West Street in Danbury.

 

The recommendations are also approved by Danbury officials. 

 

Contact Melissa Hannequin at Melissa.Hannequin@uwwesternct.org for more information on how to become a volunteer for this process.



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Regional Hospice launching Veterans program, seeks volunteers

Regional Hospice and Home Care is looking for volunteers.  The nonprofit agency is hosting Training Sessions for New Volunteers this week and next.  Regional Hospice is starting a new program called We Honor Veterans, which will match the Veteran volunteers with Veterans in the care of the hospice.

 

Some positions are located in the new Center; others include visiting some patients in their homes or other residences, such as assisted-living facilities and hospitals. 

 

Some of the attributes the organization says suit the candidates are being a good listener, the capability to brighten someone's day and enjoys being around people.  Training includes information on the hospice philosophy in general, as well as the specific services provided by the Regional Hospice team. The death and dying process is also reviewed in detail.

 

Volunteers are needed in a number of capacities, including Family Support, Pet Partners, Pet Peace of Mind, Lobby Greeters at the new Center, Community Bereavement Volunteers, Children’s Bereavement Volunteers, Kitchen Volunteers, Administrative Volunteers and Fundraising/Chapter Volunteers.

 

Anyone interested should contact Mary Beth Hickey, volunteer manager, at 203-702-7415 or by email at mhickey@regionalhospicect.org for an interview and to fill out an application.



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Zero tolerance for school threats legislation advances

A legislative committee has advanced a bill to increase the penalties for threatening when the threat involves a preschool, school or an institution of higher education.  The legislation was introduced by Newtown Representative JP Sredzinski, Wilton Senator Toni Boucher and freshman State Senator Tony Hwang, whose district includes a part of Newtown.

 

Hwang says he understands the long-term effects the Sandy Hook tragedy had on the community, and he wants certain school threats treated as felonies.

 

Hwang says they are trying to ensure that post-traumatic fallout from the Sandy Hook shootings is not continually exacerbated by individuals who initiate threats resulting in lock-ins, evacuations, and other disruptive reactions at local schools, as well as in other school districts across the state.

 

The Judiciary Committee on Friday voted 35 to 7 to send the bill to the next step.  Among those voting in opposition was New Milford Representative Cecilia Buck-Taylor.  Greater Danbury area lawmakers on the committee voting in favor of the measure include Boucher, Danbury Representative Bob Godfrey, Brookfield Representative Steve Harding, Danbury Senator Mike McLachlan, Redding Representative John Shaban and New Fairfield Representative Richard Smith. 

 

Sredzinski says this bill will send a powerful message to those who seek to traumatize Connecticut children.  Representative Mitch Bolinsky says each threat represents a serious setback to his community's healing.  He says not only is there an emotional toll, but each one hits the municipal and school budgets.

 

Testimony was submitted to the Committee by Newtown Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Erardi.  He says there's been an uptick in frequency and intensity in threats over the past several years.  Erardi has been a Superintendent in Connecticut for the last 16 years.  He feels the perpetrators have a "catch me if you can" attitude.

 

Fairfield Police Chief Gary MacNamara said in written testimony that because of the hypervigilance of school communities, these threats activate security plans, notification and response.  He says that activation has caused fear, anxiety and disruption that lasts long after it's determined to be a threat or not an actual event. 

 

MacNamara added that as the threats continue, it makes it more difficult for first responders and teachers to discern what is a real event, and overtime the doubt will slow their ability to react appropriately to identify when a true emergency is happening.



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Bullet hole found in 3rd parked, unoccupied car in Ridgefield

A 3rd car with a bullet hole in it has been reported to Ridgefield Police.  Officers increased their presence in the Bennetts Farm Road neighborhood since the first report Monday that bullet holes were found in two cars parked in a driveway. 

 

A resident on the street called police Thursday night about a possible bullet hole after checking their vehicle following reports Monday of the other incident.  Authorities believe the third car was also hit on the 23rd.  

 

The first cars struck on Bennetts Farm Road were located near Old Stagecoach Road.  This one was near the intersection with Bates Farm Road. 

 

Police are asking residents to call police at 203-438-6531 if they notice suspicious activity.  Anyone with information or who lives in the area and has outside surveillance cameras is urged to call Ridgefield police detectives at 203-431-2794 or submit an anonymous tip by calling 203-431-2345.



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